Agree or Disagree: The Canadian Middle Class is in financial trouble.


Agree or Disagree: The Canadian Middle Class is in financial trouble.

Is it me, or is this the week for Justin Trudeau?

This time, Trudeau had an opinion on the financial plight of middle class Canadians. After a report from the Conservative government says that Canadian families are getting wealthier since 2005, Trudeau said the middle class  is “stagnant incomes and skyrocketing household debt, no matter what Statistics Canada says.

You can read the article above. You can also read this article http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/02/25/canadian-families-are-getting-wealthier-statistics-canada-study-says-as-net-worth-rises-sharply-since-2005/

Now, both Trudeau and Jason Kinney both said the same thing about each other’s perspective on the report.

“You are making things up.”

I ask you, who knows your financial situation, do you feel that The Canadian Middle Class is in financial trouble?

 

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-Social Media and Sochi


For this week’s episode, Kali Readwin, Brett Hopper, Donna Mctaggart, Merry Kuechle, Terry Lo and myself discuss the Social Media and The Sochi Winter Olympics.

Topics include:

The expectations going into the Olympics

The themes and topics around the Olympics

Interest and actual availability of the Olympics in the United States. 

While Canada was cheering, Ukraine, Thailand and Venezuela were under violent protest.

What is going on in Calgary Social Media? 

Of course, we would love to hear from you and your thoughts. What struck you during the least two weeks of the Winter Olympics?

Part 1 is here.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/social-media-and-the-olympics

Part 2 is here.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/social-media-and-sochi-part-2

 

 

Agree or Disagree: Justin Trudeau is fit to be the PM of Canada


Agree or Disagree: Justin Trudeau is fit to be the PM of Canada

 

The above article/video is from Sun News.

It is discussing of how Justin Trudeau made, quite frankly, a rather flippant and offensive remark about the very tragic events that have been happening in the Ukraine. 

If you missed it, Trudeau made a joke about how Russia was a threat to Ukraine because “they lost a hockey game”. This was after there was a tragic event that lost over 20 lives. Below is the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dlFdx0qzE8

This has led to some serious questions about the ability of Trudeau to be the Prime Minister of Canada. Now, before you simply argue that this article is from a Conservative perspective, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair was upset on Monday saying that ” “You don’t make jokes about people lying dead on the streets of their capital.”

So, what do you think?  Does this incident prove or disprove Justin Trudeau can be the Prime Minister of Canada?

An Open Letter to say Thank you to Donald Miller, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell.


On February 18, 2014 this article http://www.christianitytoday.com/parse/channel/comments/allreviews.html?id=116670&type=article was written in Parse Leadership Journal. The title is The Strange Yet Familiar Tale of Brian, Rob, and Don.

The Article is written Anglican Pastor Kevin A. Miller and identifies Donald Miller, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, three of the most influential Christian thinkers in the last 10-15 years. In a nutshell, and you can certainly read this for yourself, he seemed to put some blame on these three for their influence and questioning of some of current issues within Christianity. As a matter of fact, Miller recently wrote a post called I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect with Him Elsewhere which you can read here http://storylineblog.com/2014/02/03/i-dont-worship-god-by-singing-i-connect-with-him-elsewhere/ Not surprisingly, instead of examining what Miller actually has to say, many in the evangelical church  have done the disservice of questioning Miller’s faith. (Even though the Guy they claim to follow had a conversation about judging)

To his credit, McLaren wrote a very gentle and kind response http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/q-r-you-rob-bell-don-miller-and.html

I admit to be one of the many that in some way, shape or form, have been impacted by Miller, McLaren, and Bell. I feel that this is in a positive way. The way I express my views on Christianity in some ways, come from understanding their thoughts. So, this Open Letter is a letter of thank you from me to them. Maybe you resonate with what you read.

Dear Don, Brian, and Rob,

You don’t know me, but my name is Kevin. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I’m assuming you know Calgary. Donald, I remember seeing you speak in Edmonton for a conference a couple of years ago. Brian, and Rob, I don’t know if you have come this way, but you should. I am one of many that can say they were positively impacted by your words, and your thoughts.

I know what you are asking. How? Great question and glad you asked. Let me tell you stories.

Donald, it was the book Blue Like Jazz. I have to admit, I was a little cynical about this book. The reason was because, many people liked it and my friends would call me against the grain. However, when I read this book, the words that still sink in for me were this.

“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” 

It started to sink in for me and it was beautiful. I appreciated the honesty and the reflection and continued to read. I will also remember your story about going to a carnival and personally apologizing for the actions of Christianity. In the back of my mind, I knew we needed to do that, but was too afraid to say it. It was because people would question my Christianity.

I moved on to other books like A Million Miles and a Thousand Years. I took it with me on a travel to Vancouver. I loved the honesty. 

Brian, for you it was two books in particular. The first was a New Kind of Christian. I loved the characters, the deep issues handled with integrity. Issues like cancer, questioning your faith, changing your approach to faith. I was impacted by how my Christianity was about us vs them instead of simply, us. 

The second was  A New Kind of Christianity. The questions about how we read the Bible, how we view Jesus, God and sexuality. Quite frankly, your questions were far ahead of the times. Because many are comfortable with the Blue eyes and handsome Jesus that is portrayed as a super hero. Not the one, we see in Scripture. I love questions, I love asking and reflecting on things. That book was inspiring too me.

And Rob, Rob, Rob. I remember taking a bus from Calgary to Seattle reading Velvet Elvis. I remember reading the section on how you thought the Bible should be interpreted. I thought to myself “You are right!”. I decided to read that section in a group I led. Needless to say, it was met with resistance. However, it created quite a conversation which I liked. Your books made me think.

The other thing is you made me think about God. Your video The Gods Aren’t Angry still impacts me to this day. The quote that sticks with me is this

“If you are repenting because God wants you to do something, you are bargaining with the wrong kind of god.

It helped me realize my distorted views on this god I call God. I’ve been repenting from that ever since.

This is just a small sample size of your impact. However, in a day where it seems so easy to critique from afar as all three of you have been so often, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for asking questions. Thank you for your deconstruction and construction.

I’m one of many that have needed to hear it.

 

As we gather tomorrow…..


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Tomorrow morning, Canadians will be up as early as 3:00 AM in the West Coast. Some are going to decide if they are going to stay up all night, or go to bed early.

We will get up and gather together for a hockey game. We will post statuses, pictures with our friends on where we are and who we are with on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or text. We will high five  or maybe hug strangers. In Alberta, we will probably drink a beer. When the game is over, our day will be impacted by if we win or lose.

 

Meanwhile, in the midst of our Olympic watching, you might have missed this.Image

 

This is a picture taken in Venezuela. It’s one of three countries that are going through anti-government protests.  The others are Ukraine and Thailand.  The protests have become violent, with destruction, and death.  Many in this country are unable to sleep because they fear for their safety. Or, they lost  a dear loved one and can’t stop thinking about them. The pictures they show are of those lost loved ones, or their ruined cities. That’s if they can a some may not be able too at all. They gather not for a simple game, but in hope that their very country that they love survives.  They are not debating about alcohol at 5 AM, but wonder what will happen at 5AM.

I as a Canadian will be one of us that will be very excited about tomorrow’s hockey game. I will be cheering with all of my heart because I love my country.  However, at some point, I will be saying a prayer for Ukraine, Venezuela, and Thailand. 

Because they gather for something bigger than a simple game.

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-Christianity and Sexuality


One of the things I’m going to enjoy about Podcasting is the organic conversation we will have.

This was one of them. D’arcy Watsham, Jill Thompson  and myself conversed about Christianity and Sexuality.  Here are some of the themes you will hear.

What Sexuality is and what it isn’t.

Binary habits.

The Bible’s view of Sexuality.

Assumptions made about people in Church or from other backgrounds.

Identifiers on how honest people can be about their sexual lives in church.

Solutions going forward.

Here’s the Preview/Intro.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/preview

Part 1

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/agree-or-disagree-the-podcast-ep-2

Part 2

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/christianity-and-sexuality-part-2

Part 3.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/christianity-and-sexuality-part-3

Thank you for listening and look forward to your comments.

About The Son of God


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  You might have heard that there is a movie called Son of God. It’s being released February 28.

 

 It’s a movie about Jesus and you know who is excited? 

 

 Pastors Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Craig Goeschel, Miles Mcpherson, and Ray Johnston. Also, Archbishop Jose Gomez is too!

 

They are so excited that they have decided that on February 27, the day before opening night, to take over multiplex theatres in their city. The purpose is that they will be distributing tickets for people to see it. How many? Glad you asked. 

 

According to an article written on the Christian Post, here are some numbers for you.

 

  • Joel Osteen (Lakewood Church) – Houston, Texas – Distributing 8,000 tickets from an anonymous donor
  • Craig Groeschel (LifeChurch) – Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma – 18 Campuses. Weekly attendance of 60,000 and Bible application with over 100 million downloads
  • Archbishop José Gomez (Archdiocese of Los Angeles) – Over 4 million members
  • Miles McPherson (Rock Church) – San Diego, Calif. – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
  • Unpolished Entrepreneurs Group (Crossroads Church) – Cincinnati, Ohio – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Liberty University) – Lynchburg, Va. – Over 12,000 students
  • Ray Johnston (Bayside Church) – Sacramento – Weekly attendance of over 10,000

 

It is interesting to note that Crossroads Church have estimated that booking a one night event cost $33,600. If we use this number and we multiply it by 7 churches involved in booking these Multiplex Theatres here is the total.

$235,200. This would be for one night of booking. $235,200

 

 It’s interesting to think about that number. Then it is interesting to think about how many people walking or driving to see this movie, will go by some of the “least of thees” that the Son of God talks about.

 

Yesterday, I took some heat and criticism for, well criticizing this idea. Someone suggested that I was “fighting the Body of Christ”.  I’m not trying to fight, I’m trying to bring in a perspective. 

 

Think about this. At the drop of a hat, 10 churches dropped $235,200 for ONE DAY at a theatre. What if this money was used differently? What if instead of spending this money this way, one person took another person for a coffee and had a real conversation about the Son of God. Or, maybe instead of booking a theatre where people can sit and watch a movie, you send people out to places in your community that need support.

 

You might argue that churches already do that. I agree with that. But you know what, I need to say this and it may sound harsh.

 

People are REALLY  tired of the same old,same old approach to the Son of God over and over again.  A picture with a handsome, white Jesus with eyes like stars, and sultry, sexy (oops said sexy) voice. People know who Jesus is, and they know this is not it. And quite frankly, many would question if this  is “What Jesus Would Do”.

 

Sometimes I think some Christians think Non-Christians can’t read.

 

People know about the Son of God They also know the stories. They know the story about feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and two fish. They also remember the story about Jesus turning the tables in the temple. Calling out “The house of God has been turned into a den of thieves!”

 

Based on that, some might wonder if spending $245,000 for a one night bash is really something Jesus would endorse.

 

They also know who the Son of God was. The type of person He was. They know He was genuine. They know He was approachable. They know He was sincere. They know He was willing to talk. Really talk.

And they don’t see the slick advertising, smooth talking, sharp dressing, events something that the Son of God would be a part of.

 

Others may wonder if some churches combined in their efforts of $235, 200 for more than a one night event, what a positive impact that can REALLY  be to communities in need. They imagine if for a moment how that can help some of the really needy in their own community. Spending $235,200 may lead to cynically ask what the churches real motivation is? And the current conclusions in peoples heads are not very flattering.

 

It’s tiring and it what is turning people off from main stream Christianity. Non-believers and frankly believers alike. They are tired of the fear mongering, superior acting Christians. They are tired of the bombarding of Multiplexes, spontaneous baptism, colouring books,and snake biting pastors. They are tired of the circus act.

 

They just want a real conversation about the Son of God. And they want the representatives to simply act like Him.

Can’t we just give them that?

Agree or Disagree: Christianity and Libertarianism are compatible.


Agree or Disagree: Christianity and Libertarianism are compatible.

The above link is an interesting story from the Christian Post. 

 

According to these Young Evangelicals, they feel that Christianity and Libertarianism are compatible. They give 5 reasons which I will recap here. The article will expand on the thoughts

1.Christianity Celebrates Voluntary Action, Value Creation

2. Big Government Does Not Solve Poverty

3. The Biblical Role of Government

4.  The Welfare State Harms Christian Charity

5. Wealth is not Inherently Sinful.

As I mentioned,  the article expands on these thoughts more. I imagine you will expand on them as well.

Agree or Disagree: Events that are judged should not be part of the Olympics.


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The ice dancing/figure skating events are some of the most popular watched events in the Winter Olympics. Today, many were glued to the TV as Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir battled with Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie Whyte for the Gold Medal in Sochi 2014. 

An incredible performance by Virtue and Moir was only to be outdone by an even better performance by Davis and Whyte. Davis and Whyte were awarded the Gold, Virtue and Moir the Silver.

At least, that what’s the judges said.

Now, some of you will agree that the judges were right. You might be regular watchers and have a solid opinion on who should have won. I respect that. However, there is a growing question on the validity of these competitions the Olympics. Some would argue that sport has a clear winner and loser that we can tell with a final score, not judges. Sport is competitive and result driven they say. 

Now, there are more than figure skating that this would seem to impact.  Here is a list of Olympic Events that are judged.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_Olympic_events_has_a_judge?#slide=1

What do you think? Is it time to remove events tat are judged from the Olympics?

Agree or Disagree: #SochiProblems is more of an embarrassment for America than it is for Russia


Agree or Disagree: #SochiProblems is more of an embarrassment for America than it is for Russia

http://www.policymic.com/articles/81663/sochiproblems-is-more-of-an-embarrassment-for-america-than-it-is-for-russia

When we first began discussing the Olympics in Sochi, #SochiProblems was trending on Twitter.   We were seeing pictures of bathrooms and small beds. We saw dirt in water and debris in hotels. People are following @SochiProblems. As a matter of fact, they have 410,000 followers.

The issue when this began was this was an embarrassment to Russia. However,as the policymic article is mentioning, this might be more of an embarrassment  to America, then it is to Russia. The reason is because of the way many have mocked the Russians.  Mocking how they live, and mocking who the Russians are without a true understanding of life there.  It’s becoming telling of the type of people we are, as opposed to the type of people Russians.

This article is from 2012, but this might be an interesting read on who the middle class is in Russia. Point being, perhaps some people may not understand how it is to live in Russia.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/09/10/what-is-the-russian-middle-class-probably-not-what-you-think/

Now, I’m currently reading the @SochiProblems Twitter feed. Based on what I’m seeing, they may not have as much to complain about as they hope. Here is the latest tweet from @SochiProblems:

It might speak to who is more embarassed.

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12:24 AM – 14 Feb 14