Agree or Disagree: The Gluten-Free Podcast


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If you don’t know who this is, this is Amber Romanuik.

She is  a Holistic NutritionistTeacher/Speaker/Editor in Chief Amber Approved Mag/Author/Owner of Amber Approved Cookbooks/All creations gluten/sugar/dairy/soy/corn free/

She joined Terry Lo and I to discuss the gluten-free options in Calgary. Topics include;

-Gluten free restaurant options in Calgary.

-Is the gluten free diet a fad?

-If you are considering the decision of going gluten-free, what factors should you look at?

-Gluten free grocery shopping

-You and your kids Halloween consumption.

Listen to the Podcast here

We also have a contest! We are looking for your best baking pictures. Tweet @kevole @amberapproved and @calgarydreamer your baking photos and Amber will determine who will win! You can also post them too my Facebook or the blog http://www.kevinolenick.wordpress.com

What is BDSM?- A perspective from someone who is in the BDSM Community.


A lot has been made since Sunday’s revelation that Jian Ghomeshi relationship ended with CBC. Shortly after CBC made the announcement, Ghomeshi posted an update on his Facebook. This included the following statement;

“Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others. We all have our secret life. But that is my private life. That is my personal life. And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life. “

This comment, along with other themes on his Facebook post, has led to many different themes of discussion. One of them was the topic of BDSM.

To be clear, and I think many would assume this, I do not know much about BDSM. I have had some conversations, but my opinions and perspective can be effectively denounced as uneducated. However, I do think in the midst of this discussion and debate of what exactly happened with Ghomeshi, it is important to get sone knowledge on what exactly BDSM is.

This is why I approached someone who I know is a member of the community to write a guest post tonight. But first, some clarity.

From my understanding and conversations, many in the BDSM have chosen to keep this a private manner. There are several different reasons for that. Family, confidentiality, fear of judgement. For these reasons, the person and I have agreed that the author be anonymous. I hope you can respect that. I also hope that you respect that this is a perspective, and as you will read, it is one perspective. This person give’s theirs.

So, I hope this gives you a perspective on what BDSM is.  My sense is this debate about Ghomeshi is long way from over. The topic of BDSM and what it is will continue. 

I also ask that you refrain from any judgemental and abusive remarks to the individual. 

Read below.

I never heard the name Jian Ghomeshi before this week and I still don’t really know anything about him. What I do know is that because of this man, it seems the whole country is abuzz. Now I’m not one to decide innocence or guilt, I’ll leave that up to our justice system but I do take issue with anyone being judged based on their sexual orientation or their lifestyle choices. As I said, I’m not one to decide innocence or guilt so I am not going to speculate what happened between Jian and his former lover. What I hope to do is spread an understanding of what BDSM is. I have always been of the belief that the more people understand the less judgmental they become.

I discovered BDSM and more specifically Domination and submission (D/s) nearly ten years ago when I was in my late 30’s. It was at times overwhelming to learn how very different people can be while still all being the same at the end of the day.

Every day of my life I hear some variation of “Oh I can’t do that, it wouldn’t be right” or “You must behave like XYZ, nothing else is acceptable” When I hear this I want to scream, WHY?? Why do we all have to conform? Why can’t we be expressive of what’s inside of us without fear of retribution for being different? Within my community there is a sub-community, a BDSM community, a community where people can be themselves without fear.. Few people in this community use their real name, some because they prefer a nickname but many others because they fear being found out, they fear their employer or family or their Pastor finding out that they enjoy associating with so called sexual deviants.

This fear is very real and it is very justified. People from all walks of life take part in some sort of BDSM activities, this includes Doctors and Lawyers as well as Celebrities, it also includes people who may be going through a divorce with a child custody battle. The fact is that simply associating with the BDSM community can be risky for people who want to protect their privacy. Someone might attend and event because they are fascinated with Shibari (decorative rope bondage considered to be an art form) and they want to learn more, or they may hope to meet a potential partner who is interested in it as well but as they are seen leaving the event the rumors begin to fly, suddenly, instead of being someone who is open minded and interested in an art form they become sexual deviants and are labeled abusers.

The reality of this community is really that of a family that is very protective of it’s members. I know with absolute certainty that if I went to members of the community and said that I need help then I would get help. If I went to members of the community and asked for information they would be sure to get me the information. And you know, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if I was getting that help from a guy who prefers to wear dresses or from a girl who gets completely turned on by Shibari or from someone with bruises on her backside because her partner was having so much fun with his new paddle the night before.

I digress, you don’t want to know about the BDSM community, you want to know about S&M, the juicy stuff.

S&M, Sadomasochism is only part of what BDSM is. I identify as a submissive who might have some masochistic tendencies.

The first thing you need to know is that if whatever is taking place is not 100% consensual then it is not BDSM, it is indeed abuse. But what about the term “consensual non consent”? This would be something that would be discussed at length between partners, they might discuss a scenario in very general terms with the sub or masochist consenting to whatever else might happen. This is not something to take lightly, it is very important that both partners have full trust in each other. Why do the girls in BDSM porn always look terrified and end up crying? Simple answer really, BECAUSE IT’S PORN, it’s not real!! No means no….except in BDSM? This is often true for a few reasons. Think of a small child being tickled and shouting “no” or “stop” so you stop tickling just for him to want you to start again. No and stop are words that we often say instinctively without thought and often without really meaning it. Many people who practice BDSM use safe words, a word that is not used in everyday language that means stop or no. If you were at a BDSM event and heard someone shouting “purple elephant” you could be pretty sure that is their safe word and whatever activity they are engaging in will stop immediately.

Safe words are used because both partners know ahead of time that activities they are engaging in can be risky, they are aware of the risks and they are also aware that sometimes things might go wrong therefore they need a quick easy way to communicate that the activity must stop immediately. S&M activities often stir up deep emotions, ones that we thought were long buried and gone. A safe word may be called because the physical pain has gotten to be more than they can handle (keep in mind we are talking bruises and welts, not broken bones) or a safe word might be called because an unpleasant memory or emotion had surfaced and that partner simply needs to stop play in order to deal with these feelings. But what about when the partner is gagged? Those partners have come up with a way to non verbally safe word, often the masochist will be holding an object in their hand and if they need things to stop they will simply drop the item.

So why do people do this you are probably wondering. Well, if you ask 100 different people you will probably get 100 different answers so I will give you my reasons.

I do it because it’s fun….well it is, and sometimes that’s really the only reason.

The first conclusion I came to to explain why I enjoy this type of play is that I love a challenge and enduring physical pain is an incredible challenge. Fight or flight wants to kick in, but no, I have to win, I have to hold on as long as I can. In the end it is so satisfying, and I have an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

After having done some serious self reflection I did discover another reason why I engage in this type of play. Life is hard, life beats you down sometimes and when it does the world will look at you and wait to see if you can manage to get back up on your own. I have realized that it is less the actual S&M play that I crave but then end of the play session, the time when my partner wraps a soft blanket around me and holds the glass of water for me while he strokes my hair and tells me how amazing I am. You see, life won’t pick you up and make it all better but my partner will.

BDSM is not abuse, it is not about a submissive being weak or about conforming to what anyone else feel they should. BDSM is about being true to yourself, it’s about discovering your own flaws and weaknesses and embracing them so that you can overcome them. It’s about growth and sharing yourself with someone else completely, it’s about being completely honest with yourself and with your partner even if you don’t want the neighbors to know.

.

Before you start criticizing Islam….


The Islamic Bulletin

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.”

Yoda.

Before you continue with this reading, I would like you to take a second to have a look at the link above. It’s from the Islamic Bulletin. It’s a list of Christians that have converted to Islam.

It’s an interesting list. There is a District Judge, Human Rights Activist, Scientist, Politicians, Theology Lecturer and a Musician. In their own way, have made a significant positive contribution to society. The list includes Cat Stevens and Malcolm X by the way.

Now, you might argue that this list is obviously bias to make Islam look good. However, we know that there have been Doctors, Scientists, Professors, Engineers, Nurses, to name a few professions, that have converted to Islam from a various of different perspectives. They have also made a positive contribution to our communities and society. Some have saved lives. Some have profound thoughts. Some make sustainable changes.

What we don’t see is the news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage discussing how these will positively impact our culture. And made a difference in our world. We also don’t see a spectacle of comments on Social Media discussing how this changes who we are as a nation.

We also know that there are Muslims that are Doctors, Scientists, Professors, Engineers, Nurses and others in a variety of professions who have made a significant difference in our world. Some in Canada. Some in America. Many all over the world.

What we don’t see is news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage discussing how these actions will positively impact our culture. And made a difference in our world.  We also don’t see a spectacle of comments on Social Media discussing how this changes who we are as a nation.

Today, we are learning of a gentleman named Michael Zihaf-Bibeau. He is a man that shot and killed a Canadian Soldier at a War Memorial in Ottawa. He then proceeded to walk into Parliament Hill and opened fire until a man named Kevin Vickers stopped him. Eventually, Zihaf-Bibeau was shot and killed.

What we have learned according to the RCMP, and other news agencies is that Zihaf-Bibeau converted to Islam. He came to Ottawa to deal with a passport issue. And despite reports to the contrary, he acted alone.

What we are seeing is news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage on how we need to be concerned of “Radical Islam”. And how the “radicalization” has changed our country for ever. We were also discussing the steps we need to take to stop this “radicalization”. This has created a spectacle on Social Media.

This is in spite of the RCMP making it clear that there is no indication Zihaf-Bibeau was connected in anyway with the radical group ISIS. Even though the RCMP, who are paid to investigate crimes by the way, says no, there are some “experts” that say yes.

The “experts” are trying to remind us of the very real threat “Radical Islam” is. What they forgot to tell you that, in spite of the media coverage and the questions, that Muslims ,converts or not, have made a significant positive impact on society. And the contributions, far, far outweigh the atrocities.

Let’s be clear. The actions of this man, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Atheist or any other perspective was awful. Men and women will be deeply affected by what happened. A mother and a father lost a son. Dogs lost their master. People were locked down and away from people that they hold precious. We must never lose sight of that.

But before we make assumption that this was about a conversion to a faith, let’s remember first, Michael was a human. A human that it appears mat have got caught up in fear. The fear led to some anger. The anger led to some hate. The hate led him to the actions of yesterday. That has happened to many, many humans. Not just an apparent converted Muslim.

Speaking of Muslim, before you start assuming you know something about the theology of Islam, might I suggest you do some research.

As mentioned, there are many Muslims who are devoted to their community, and embrace our culture. Remember Calgary, one is a Mayor of your city. There are many Muslims who spend more time praying for our world more than many Christians do quite frankly. They also know their Scripture far better than many Christians can claim to know theirs.

Speaking of Christians, this is where I get Jesusey on you.   Yes, Jesusey is a word.

Jesus said this. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.

Note what Jesus and even Yoda said.

Their quotes have nothing to do with being a part of a religion.  They don’t claim if you are this or that, that you will do good or evil because of your faith or religion. It speaks to the humanity of you. In other words

You can be Muslim and do good.

You can be Christian and do good.

You can be an Atheist and do good.

You can be Hindu and do good.

You can be Human and do good.

The decisions we make generally, come down to our maturity, character, perspective and outlook on life. Not necessarily because of the religion we follow.

We would do well to remember that before we start criticizing.

Agree or Disagree: Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted.


Going to Christian churches, there are certain things that you hear that makes you shake your head.  As an example,from time to time, you might hear comments about the coming “End Times.”

One of the things I heard some Pastors say was in regards to the legalizing same-sex marriages. There was concern that if they as a Pastor refused to perform a same-sex marriage, they could be prosecuted. Personally, I didn’t see that coming. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember this concern was addressed.

However, apparently in Idaho, something has changed.

If this story is true, there appears to be a movement to prosecute Pastors who refuse to perform same sex marriages.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are Ministers in Coeur d’Alene.  They were told to perform a same sex marriage or face jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Too be clear, the above story has had several clarifications and disputes.

This is just one example. This is a response from the New Civil Rights Movement to the story which you can read here.

I’m going to let you read the story. Then, I simply am going to ask this question.  I’m curious where this goes.

Do you think Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted under the law? Should the face jail time? Should they be fined?

Do you think that the Pastors that are concerned about being forced to marry same-sex couples have something too be concerned about?

Why or why not?

Agree or Disagree: It is time to eliminate the Separate School System.


As usual, there was lots of interesting conversation on Facebook.

Today, the topic was education. And the discussion of the need of the Catholic School System.

There was a comment on Facebook that made the rounds. I thought we can use this as our framework tonight.

It is from a contributor named Luke Fevin. Or, for now Duke Luke Fevin. Here it is.

PM Wilfred Laurier did a deal in 1905 just prior to Alberta coming into Confederation to secure the Catholic vote in the upcoming election. His end of the deal was to promise the option of “Separate” schools for the Catholics in Alberta, in areas where they were the minority and there was an existing Public (Protestant) school.

These schools were intended to be “secular” (yes, that’s the word they used to describe them) during the day with the exception of the option of opening the school day with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and RESTRICTS the option of 30 minutes of religious instruction to the end of the day.

The fact that there was so little difference (they were identical in every way during the day) meant that Separate schools weren’t generally expected to survive. That given the only difference between Public & Separate school was the last 30 minutes of the day, it was expected that the taxpayers would say it wasn’t worth the expense.

From 1905, we have in my opinion gone backward. The Catholic system has completely ignored, flouted and abused laws & the Rights of others.

Although to be fair, it’s not just the Catholic system that has ignored these laws. We have a number of Evangelical Christian Public schools, as well Christian programs such as LOGOS, as well as a couple of other Public Faith schools that all demand and enjoy the privileges and protections of law, but completely ignore it when it suits them.

It is time to dis-establish the Separate school system.

It is it blatantly unfair for the government to favor one religion with infrastructure and tax dollars and the “constitutional” argument is redundant. Firstly, other provinces have done it already. No biggie.

And let me ask you. If women not having the vote was constitutionally protected, would anyone care? No. It’s a bad idea, irrelevant to today and so we’d change it. The Separate school system is no different.

In fact, t is so unfair, that the United Nations Human Rights Committee actually cited Canada for religious discrimination!

A family with 3 kids in another denominational Private school is worse off by $150,000 tax dollars than the same Catholic family in a Catholic school . How is that fair?

And for those that say their property taxes get directed to their local Catholic board. No it doesn’t. The money goes in a big pot and then follows the child. On top of which, if you’re paying $3,000 a year in property taxes and have 3 kids in school – even if 50% of your taxes go to education you are still only contributing $500 of a $10,000 tab. The Province is picking up the other 95%.

And as for what we get in return for the approx. $200 MILLION we waste EVERY year in the operating inefficiences of running two competing duplicate systems? What is the educational advantage?

Nothing. We get a cross over the door of one in 5 of our schools and get to act like a farm team for the Catholic church. In the meantime (many of) the Catholic schools and boards get / choose to;

#1 Deny Canadian families their Charter Rights.
#2 Turn away non-Catholic families (including forcing them on lengthy bus rides).
#3 Discriminate in hiring non-Catholics teachers.
#4 Coerce young graduating teachers to become Catholic.
#5 Deny students the ability to form GSA’s.
#6 Force teachers / students to sign Christian lifestyle pledges.
#7 Teach abstinence focused sex ed.
#8 Fire gender-reassigning teachers.
#9 Coerce gay teachers in / remain in closet.
#10 Choose to deny schoolchildren the choice of easy access to medicine / vaccinations based on inaccurate religious beliefs.

Madness. You have to have grown up here to think that this is OK or normal. We actually operate a school system where we bus kids past schools they could walk to! For why?

Personally I’d rather spend the $200 MILLION dollars EVERY year from the EDUCATION budget on more teachers & schools – and I think it’s time we let our elected officials know that.

What do you think of this statement? Do you Agree or Disagree with it?

Question: What is a Christian?


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A while ago, I was part of a panel discussion with about the topic of Worldviews.

There was an Atheist,  a Baha’i, more of a conservative Christian, and me a “Progressive” Christian.

On Saturday, I’m going to be part of a panel discussing the future of Christianity. There will be a “Progressive” Christian, an ex-Christian, a new Christian, and a Conservative/Traditional Christian. This should be an interesting conversation.

One of the first questions we are going to discuss is this one. And, I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this.

If you were asked what a Christian is, how would you respond? You don’t have to be a Christian to answer this question. As a matter of  fact, I welcome those who aren’t.

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-The Freedom Initiative


Jennifer Kornfield, and Ryan Martin discuss a project called The Freedom Initiative.

The intent of the project is to share the great stories of social justice and foreign aid.Stories that happen in different countries. Stories that you don’t, or won’t hear in the news.

Click here to listen to the Podcast.
Topics we discuss include;

Who are Jennifer and Ryan?
In terms of social justice and foreign aid, what is currently working?

What is not working?

Does the media only focus on negative news?

The Freedom Initiative’s first project.

Their kickstarter campaign. Which is below

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1504281566/the-freedom-initiative-project-burma
Follow the Freedom Initiative
Facebook: The Freedom Initiative.
www.thefreedominitiative.ca
Twitter: @FrdmInitative

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Twitter:@kevole
Facebook: Kevin Olenick

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