Do you know these people?


As I’ve been updating and sharing what is going on with the flood, I’ve
gotten to meet some people you should know.

Do you know Cassandra?

She tweeted “help” to places like Walmart, Target and Costco. She also made people aware of the situation in Morley when it was quiet. And when they ran out of drinking water.

Do you know Jess and Marty?

She was organizing people to go out to Morley. Her and boyfriend Marty
organized a carpool to Morley.

Do you know Kim?

She’s been making sure people are aware of how to volunteer effectively.
She also opened her home for donations.

Do you know Janette?

She’s been keeping people updated. As well as keeping people’s spirits up in a
time when we can all be down.

Do you know Elle?

Every possible place she could volunteer the last week, she did. Anything

that she could help with someone, she did.

Do you know Ryan?

He is organizing food to feed 150 people on Thursday in Bowness. On his own
dime.

Do you know Candace?

She lives in Red Deer. I asked her  about generators. There was a shortage
and a need for generators.She posted this on her Facebook.

Do you Justin?

He also lives in Red Deer. I asked him about generators. He called and
called until he found one.

Do you know Patrick?

Everyday since this flood happened, he has messaged me to go out and help.

Do you know Brad?

He also messaged me everyday and asked  to help.

Do you know Sara?

She was one of the first people I knew who was out volunteering on
Thursday when the flood happened, she was at shelters.

Do you know Angela?

She lives in a small town in Lampman, Saskatchewan. She wants to do more,

but she has been advertising offerings of art works.

Do you know Lee?

She lives in Edmonton. She connected people in Edmonton who wanted to
donate to those impacted by the flood.

Do you know Sheena?

She’s picking up some stuff in Edmonton to bring back to us.

Do you know Serena and Fraser?

They also have been asking to help. If they are not needed in one place, they will go to another.

Do you know Julie?

She is one of many involved with Calgary Clean Up, organizing volunteers

this week. She wants some on Canada Day.

Do you know Karen and Patrick?

Karen went out right away to help, where she lives. Siksika.

And Patrick? He got off the plane from a holiday and went right to work.

Do you know Melissa?

Like many of us lately, she was having a sleepless night. She came up with
this idea. To tell your stories.

Do you know Connie?

She jumped on during a busy schedule to help out. How one writes with kids

making noise (in the background) is beyond me.

Do you know Christina?

She lives on Vancouver Island. She helped us create this blog.

 
If you don’t know these people, you should. know them. Them and the thousands more I can go on, and on, and on, and on about.  The unselfish and caring. The quiet, the strong. The everyday people. Not looking for fame, but looking to help.  Those not looking for anything more than simply to help. Not looking for thanks , just simply to help.

We should tell these stories. We should share them.  All of them. The big

things, the little things, all the things that kept YYC Together.

Agree or Disagree: Hollywood is manipulating Christians.


Agree or Disagree: Hollywood is manipulating Christians.

There has been some talk about the new Superman movie Man of Steel.

Although some of the talk has been the review of the actual quality of the movie, there has also been talk of the Biblical references in the movie.

According to this article, Screenwriter David Goyer told the Los Angeles Times that he had the Bible in mind when he was writing the story. Warner Bros hired a faith based public relations firm Grace Hill Media to ensure Christians saw the connections. 

This is not the first time this effort has happened in movies and television. The apparent spiritual themes can be seen in many movies. Movies like the Matrix, Lord of the Rings. There also has been more “faith based” movies come up. Movies like The Blind Side, and the Chronicles of Narnia had some very clear Christian messages in them.

While Hollywood seems to be open and acknowledge the need to reach the “Christian” audience. This blogger Jonathan Merritt contends a different point. Here is how he ends this post.

 

Let’s be clear that Warner Brothers isn’t trying to spread the Christian gospel; they are trying to make a profit. And, whether we like it or not, religion in America can be a lucrative business. In this case, generating profit means transforming pastors into marketers, hocking movie tickets from their pulpits. If the real test of morality is not just the nature of a behavior, but how that behavior shapes us as human beings, then this trend fails that test.

So let’s and rejoice at Hollywood’s efforts to produce art that resonates with religious moviegoers, but let’s also be as “wise as serpents” in how we partake. If Christians allow themselves to be manipulated by movie marketers, they may unwittingly participate in making faith a means to a end rather than an end in itself.

Which leads me to express a personal confession about Christians and movies.

As a Christian,I don’t like watching movies with Christians. 

Just because  something has “Christian” themes doesn’t make it a spiritually healthy movie. Or a movie that as a Christian I’m required to watch.

And just because something has “Non-Christians” themes doesn’t mean it’s an unhealthy movie. Or a movie that as a Christian, I’m required to avoid.

And yet the general debate I have with many Christians is this. What is the rating on the movie? Not, what’s the movie about.  In a sense, I understand that some movies can be uncomfortable to watch. However, I’ve learned life isn’t always comfortable to live.

Tell me a story. A story with interesting characters and a great script. Also great directing, music, camerawork and if needed, special effects.

I’ll make the choice if I will be impacted by it. I don’t need a marketing firm or a pastor to tell me if I will be.

 

 

Agree or Disagree: There is too much meat in our diet


Agree or Disagree: There is too much meat in our diet

This the column/story I wrote in Beacon News today.

I know that I have had many discussions around the table with my friends about health. And to be honest, I have been looking for ways to bring up things like this. Timing always being a little bit of an issue.

But we are here now. I do think this is an important topic.

What do you think of the idea and encouragement of reducing meat in your diet? 

An Open Letter from a Christian to the March for Jesus


Some of you may or may not know about this event going on in downtown Calgary Sunday afternoon. No, it’s not a specific Father’s Day event. It’s an event called the March for Jesus. It is expected over 1,000 Christians will be taking part in this event. They will be wearing T-shirts, providing food, and live music. They will be walking from Millennium Park to Olympic Plaza along 8th Avenue. They have 9,642 likes on Facebook so the idea clearly has caught on for many Christians.

As a Christian, I’ve seen this event. I’ve seen what goes on. I thought I would write an Open Letter to the March for Jesus as they prepare to go.

 

An Open Letter from a Christian to  the March for Jesus.

 

Dear March for Jesus.

 

I have been around the Christian scene for a long time.I’ve participated in youth groups, young adult groups and several other “revival” like events.

 

I’ve heard the messages. The encouragements. The challenge.The  Bible verses. The questions if I’m ashamed of Jesus. And the reminder that if I am, then He’s ashamed of me. The call to share the Good News. I’ve heard several times why we can’t cheer for Jesus as much as we cheer for our local sports team.Because He deserves it.

 

Looking back, there was a part of me that got caught up in it. There was another part that this didn’t sit right with me.

 

Of course as a Christian, my desire is to honour Christ the best that I can. And of course, as a Christian I’m not ashamed of Jesus. I am also not ashamed of the good news that is the Gospel. But, I must admit honestly, as a Christian, I’m actually really ashamed of this.

 

Let me tell you of my experience in 2011. I thought it would be interesting to tell this story. The story of what this March for Jesus is. The story of this Jesus you wish to share.

 

From the moment I stepped in, I have to tell you that my heart hit the pit of my stomach.

 

There was lots of red t-shirts . T-shirts reminding people that Jesus is returning. T-shirts reminding us to repent. Reminding us that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. There was flags, microphones, dancers. There were signs to remind us that Jesus is King. There was Gospel tracts to give out. Tracts that were given and immediately thrown away. Or left on a car. There was hamburgers, hotdogs, and music. Music praising Jesus.  There was even advertising on “Gods plan for marriage” Anything possible to ensure that the name of Jesus was spoken.

 

Except well,  it felt like… Jesus.

 

I took some time to actually ask people what they thought of this. The people I talked too weren’t really aware it’s a March for Jesus. Some thought it was a March for Pride parade. Others a protest. Others were reminded of Westboro Baptist. I don’t think this was what you are trying to display

 

 The city of Calgary is full of concerned Christians. Some of you that will attend this event. Concerned about real issues in the city. The homeless. The poverty. Their colleagues. Their family. They have developed a reasonable amount of respect within their community. They may have been their for families and friends in times of trouble. They may have sincerely listened to questions and concerns. Some may have been told that they act like Jesus. Even if they don’t agree with Christianity, there was a sense of respect developed.

 

People know the story of Jesus. They are familiar with who Jesus is. They know the story of how He died and rose again. They also know stories of His healing’s and His miracles. They also know of His teachings. The ones about loving your neighbours, your enemies, do good to each other. The reminder of “Judge not lest you be judged.”

 

They also know about the stories how He spent time with sinners and confronted the religious. Some may see this as the religious confronting the sinners.

 

For some people seeing events like this or things they may see on TV ask why would I want to become a Christian. Or for some of us, admit they are one at all.

 

But we do. Many of us for different reasons. Mainly because we do love and want to share the good news that we know.  Not with threatening t-shirts, loud music, or flags. But with a sincere heart, a listening hear and with no fanfare at all.

 

So today as you go out and March for Jesus, I ask you just to take a moment to stop. Take a moment and look around. Please see the impact you are making. Have real conversations with people. Put down your loudspeaker, your flag, your gospel tract and really really listen.

 

This world needs more real people willing to listen and willing to care. Not a parade reminding them that their faith is better than everyone else’s.

 

Thank you,

 

Kevin Olenick

A Christian 

Agree or Disagree: Churches should give up tax exempt status


Agree or Disagree: Churches should give up tax exempt status

 According to this article in the Examiner,this was a statement recommended by Mike Huckabee at the Southern Baptist Convention this week.

This was an announcement from Mike Huckabee’s Twitter.

 “It’s time for churches to reject tax exempt status completely; freedom is more important than government financial favors”

When he was speaking at the pastors conference prior to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Huckabee said this.

 “I think we need to recognize that it may be time to quit worrying so much about the tax code and start thinking more about the truth of the living God, and if it means that we give up tax-exempt status and tax deductions for charitable contributions, I choose freedom more than I choose a deduction that the government gives me permission to say what God wants me to say.

Some might question Huckabee’s motives. However, the issue is interesting. What do you think?