Agree or Disagree: Gay Rights groups should be angered by the ” rugby marriage”

Agree or Disagree: Gay Rights groups should be angered by this “marriage”

Have you heard of the marriage of Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick?

They are in New Zealand they got married!

Isn’t that exciting? Another happy marriage! It is another progress for the LGBT movement right?


The reason? Travis and Matt are not gay. They are straight.

The other reason? They got married to win rugby tickets. You read that right. Rugby tickets.

McIntosh and McCormick tied the knot got hitched at a rugby stadium. 60 of their closest friends and tens of thousands were listening live.

This has caused anger from some gay rights groups.

In the above article from The Sydney Morning Herald, Alex Greenwich, an independent MP for Sydney and former convenes of Australian Marriage Equality is quoted as saying this.

“It essentially makes a mockery of marriage. Marriage is a really important institution about love and commitment and it’s sad to see that there are people who are making a joke out of that.”

What do you think? Is this something people standing for gay marriage should be upset about?

Agree or Disagree: We need more LGBT exclusive homeless shelters

Do we need more LGBT exclusive homeless shelters?

I hope you had the opportunity to listen to the Agree or Disagree: The Podcast interviewing Terry Lo and I had with Kelly Hofer. He describes himself as the Gay Hutterite Activist. You can hear the conversation here.

When I was thinking about this interview, I did some thinking on a few things. One if the things was the issue of homelessness.In the above CBC article, it is estimated that 25-40% of youth homeless identify themselves as LGBT. I posted a question on this topic on Facebook yesterday. We had a good discussion about it.

The other thing I was thinking about was an article from Rolling discusses the rise in the amount LGBT teens being homeless because they were disconnected from a religious family. You can read that below.

There is a lot of information here, but it leads to the question. Do we need more exclusive LGBT exclusive homeless shelters? Do we have the resources to provide the specific needs around this? Or, are homeless shelters currently able to provide this now?

Agree or Disagree:The Podcast-Interview with Kelly Hofer-Gay Hutterite Activist

Click here to listen to interview.

On the above link, you can myself and Terry Lo aka @calgarydreamer meet with Kelly Hofer. Kelly is a world recognized talented artist in Calgary. He also was part of the Hutterite community. However, his “coming out of the closet” has caused some friction within many in the community. I’m being polite saying that.

Topics we discuss include;

-How he got into, as well as learned photography.

-Understanding what exactly the Hutterite community is. As well as how it is structured.

-The benefits and concerns on how it is run.

-Growing up gay as a Hutterite.

-How he publicly came out and the responses he received for it.

-The work he has done to support other LGBT Hutterite’s.

-His current relationship with his family. As well as his attempt to his grandfather’s funeral.

-How and when should one “come out”? As well as how parents should respond.

-Gay Pride vs Straight Pride.

I’d like to thank Kelly for sharing his story. It show a lot of courage.

If you have comments, feel free to share them.

Follow @kellyhofer

Follow Terry @calgarydreamer

Follow me @kevole


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Kevin Olenick

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Agree or Disagree: There is enough reason to believe Jesus never existed.

5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed.

You might have seen this article. It is an article stating 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed.

To review what the article’s 5 reasons are that Jesus may not have existed, they are the following;

1.No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua Ben Yosef.

2.The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life,which become more crystallized in later texts.

3.Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts.

4.The gospels, our on accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.

5.Modern scholars who claim to have real historical Jesus depict wildly wildly different persons.

I will let you look into the article for the reasons behind them.

Now, I know we have discussed aspects of these in a number of different conversations over the years. I also know many of you will disagree with the 5 reasons. You might look at certain theologians like Ravi Zacharais, Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis as to reason why Jesus clearly existed.

For those who have kept reading, I would like to ask you some other questions.

Is it important that Jesus existed too you? Why or why not?

If Jesus didn’t exist, what about the stories and teachings He shared? Do they lose significance? Or, do the meanings of the stories remain important?

I suspect this will be an interesting discussion.

If you are not watching the Mark Driscoll story, you should be. Here is why.

Update on Pastor Mark

If you are not following the Mark Driscoll resignation, you should be.

There was big story in Sunday involving Pastor Mark Driscoll.

Driscoll announced to his congregation by video that he will step down from being Pastor for 6 weeks while Mars Hill Elders investigate formal charges he abused his power.

The charges stem from 21 former pastors of Mars Hill Church that he abused his power.

It has been a tough summer for Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Pastors have stepped down. Revelations of insults on a message board. Allegations of plagiarism. There has been a long list of issues well documented over the years of Mark Driscoll.

Now, some of you might be thinking that is just another blog on Mark Driscoll. Someone who is taking advantage of Driscoll’s demise. Or, you are not surprised by the story of abuse of the church and religion.

I would argue as while the story is about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, it’s actually about more. And for believers and non-believers, this is an important story to follow.

First, let’s look at the facts of the announcement.

It was a 17 minute video announcing his departure. Here is a portion of the quote from the video. Above is a link to it.

“I want to say to my Mars Hill family, past and present, I’m very sorry. I genuinely mean it. I’m very sorry for the times that I’ve been angry, short or insensitive. I’m very sorry for anything I’ve done to distract our mission by inviting criticism, controversy or negative media attention.”

“I have begun meeting with a professional team of mature Christians who provide wise counsel to help my maturity before God and men”.

” Storm clouds seem to be swirling around me more than ever in recent months, and I have given much thought and sought wise counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. Some have challenged aspects of my personality and leadership style, and while some of these challenges seem unfair, I have no problem admitting that I am deserving on some of those criticisms based on my past actions that I’m genuinely sorry for.”

At face value and first glance, this seems like a very sincere and genuine response. However upon some further examination, I think there are some very important things to consider.

First the actual process of investigation. This will be done by Mars Hill elders. I do not like this. I think there should be an independent and impartial review of this. Given the history of the issues, I would be very concerned having the church board investigating their own leadership. There can be a perception if bias. It is important to note that it has not only been Driscoll, but other Mars Hill Pastors accused of abuse of power. I would also be asking what this process of investigation involves. Who conducts and how is it conducted?

Second, and this may come across as a cheeky response to the “given much thought and sought wise counsel”. It is interesting to note that Mark Demoss, who worked on Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign was hired to work in a PR role with the congregation. Obviously, a significant and expensive hire. Clearly, Driscoll and Mars Hill have been thinking about the “storm clouds” and are prepared, or preparing a plan of response.

Third, this is very interesting. Mars Hill raised a total of $ 3 million, for a festival called the Jesus Festival. A festival that has been quietly cancelled.

An early look at the investigation, communication, and financial plan. I’m very concerned that this may handled in a fair, just manner. Not only for Driscoll, but the people he has hurt over the years.

That’s very sad. Because there is an opportunity here.

The sad fact of the matter is that as much focus as there been on such “sins” of homosexuality, or sex outside of wedlock, the church has had a deafening silence on one.

Spiritual Abuse.

Spiritual Abuse is not specifically a “Driscoll” issue. This has happened too many people by people in “spiritual authority”. Pastors, Priests, and other church leaders. They will use terms like Biblical, Spiritual, and Godly to ensure their followers comply with their beliefs. They will then threaten eternal damnation or personal separation from community for not.

In the meantime, the church has not spoke up. They have been silent. Or worse. They have brushed it under the rug. Using terms like “there is no perfect church, or perfect pastor” or “All you can do is pray for them” .

In the meantime, those who have been hurt sit in silence. Not being heard and concerns being ignored. Some sit in defeat in the church. Others leave faith all together.

This is the opportunity to say something. This is the opportunity to speak into that conversation.

Many of Driscoll’s defenders have reminded us about his gifts and contributions to the church community. They remind us of his gifted speaking style. His teaching. The gifts and talents are not up for debate. Let’s not forget how many “gifted and talented” leaders have abused people. There have been times victims of abuse are afraid to come forward because the leader is gifted. There is a fear that no one will believe the victim. Many times, the victims of spiritual abuse are not believed. This leads to another one.

This is the opportunity to actually discuss what spiritual abuse is. This the time to ask what are the signs, and triggers we should watch for the potential for abuse.

This is also the opportunity to watch how this is handled. This is a mega-church. They have lots of wealth, power and influence in the community. How they handle this issue will be telling to both victims of abuse, and quite frankly, abusers how this will be handled going forward.

Will the church in a position of power listen,and take these concerns seriously? Or, will it be another time when victims are silenced?

This is why this is worth watching.

Agree or Disagree: All religious books should be removed from hotel rooms

Agree or Disagree: Removing Religious Books from Hotels


In the above article from Sun News Network, it discusses that hotels are removing the Bible from hotel rooms.
The reason is it’s because it might offend Non-Christians.

Now, I’m sure for many of you there is one question that comes to mind.

There are still Bibles in hotel rooms?

Apparently! I have been in a few hotels recently and haven’t seen, nor looked for one.

However, if you want one, you can get one at the front desk.

Remember, the Bible is not the only religious book you can get at the hotel. Some hotels provide other religious books. As one simple example, the Book of Mormon is in a few hotel rooms. There is also the potential for religious articles in rooms as well

This leads to the question. Is it time to remove religious books, or for that matter from hotel rooms? Does it matter that they are there?

Should they be removed as well?rooms

1 in 5

1 in 5.

It’s been a number that has been ringing in my head this week.

1 in 5.

If you believe the statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association,and there is no reason not too, 1in 5 Canadians suffer from some form of mental illness. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe it’s behaviour or substance abuse.

Let’s put this in perspective.

As you scroll down your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest feed, 1 in 5 people’s status could suffer from a mental illness.

Of the people that you might have an online debate with, 1 in 5 could be suffering from a mental illness.

When you are at work,1 in 5 of your colleagues could be suffering from a mental illness.

When you are at the bar or the pub, 1 in 5 of the crowd could be suffering from some sort of mental illness.

If you are a church goer, 1 in 5 people in your church could be suffering from a mental illness. This by the way, will include the pastor, the ushers and the worship band.

We were all impacted this week by the sudden death by Robin Williams. A very talented, gifted actor and comedian, with apparently from us on the outside, wax successful and rich. We were shocked to learn it was death by suicide. We expressed our condolences, reflected on his great movie’s and TV Shows and honoured his talent.

Then a blog was written by someone that angered, hurt and deeply offended many people about depression and suicide. You know who it is. I’m not going to talk about it, because it is not the point of this conversation.

There was debate about solutions, choices and options. There were also many posts about mental illness this week. Here were a couple of things that stuck with me.

The first on is that depression is not discriminatory. It can happen to any of us, no matter the social status. There were many comments about how money cannot buy you happiness. If that is your thought, then I highly suggest you educate yourself on mental illness.

The second one might make you feel uncomfortable.

It is estimated that there are approximately 3,500 death by suicides in Canada. That averages out to 9.5 a day. Let’s put this in perspective.

The day before Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

The day that Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

The day after Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

I have to ask if there was any moving tributes or thoughts about that on social media this week?

Something else. The Distress Centre reported that there was a 6-7 percent increase in calls from people considering suicide this week. On Tuesday, they reported 200 calls about considering suicide.

There could be a number of theories as to why that is. However, remember this.
The Distress Centre takes calls like this every day. 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Including Christmas. The day before Robin Williams passed. The day of Robin Williams passing. The day after Robin Williams passing.

They will also take calls on suicide when this story becomes a distant memory.

I’m not an expert on this topic at all. I’m learning and continuing to educate myself on this issue. The main thing I’m learning is that there is lots to learn. And as much as we can tell someone to cheer up pray more, eat better, or look on the bright side of live, I’m learning this issue is much more complex.

I do think that the conversation around this needs safety, security and respect. There was a time I brought the topic in this thread and it came off very offensive. For that, I’m sorry.

However, this leads me to some questions.

I’m wondering how does topic move from something that we talk about when this happens to a person of stature to reminding people to be aware that mental illness is a real daily issue?

I’m also wondering how we help people be aware of others. How do we remind people that there is more to us than what you see? And there is power in connecting?

I also wonder how us in the blogosphere can move this topic to a respectful, kind, open, dialogue?

How does the 1 in 5 continue to resonate with us?