The Week That Was.

I thought this would be a good Saturday thing to review the week

Agree or Disagree’s.

The Agree or Disagree You talked about the most was The Right to Die.

The Agree or Disagree You Read the most: Ezra Levant issue with the CBSC.

5 Stories of the week

Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts of sexual assaults.

Ralph Klein received the Order of Canada.

Calgarians shared their sympathy on Twitter and Facebook to Mayor Naheed Nenshi who lost his father last weekend.

We met Kathryn Klein who was insulted by students on a school bus in New York. There was a fund set up for her.

The story you might have missed.

I’m going to touch on this tomorrow, but if you haven’t read this. There was a controversial interview about a lady who had an “exorcism” performed on her.

Have a great weekend!

Agree or Disagree: Blessed are those who are insulted

This title comes from a saying from Jesus who says “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matt 5:11.

I’m sure we have all felt the sting of being insulted. I know I have on many levels. But there is a story going around that I wanted to share.

The first part of this, I must warn you, will be uncomfortable it is 68 year old Karen Huff Klein who was being insulted by some schools kids from New York.

As uncomfortable and angry as it is too watch, there is a powerful reaction. The video going viral has caused people to step in. Someone decided to start fund to help her out. It’s a website called Indiegogo. At the point of this article the fund was at $185,000.

In an interview today on CTV Newsnet,  it has been reported that the fund has gone up over $300,000. That shows me there is some great human beings out there.

Back to being insulted. I know first hand what it’s like. Including a few times on the way home on a school bus. I also witnessed a friend of mine who drove a school bus deal with it as well. It’s not fun, and it does not feel “blessed”.

But what can be a blessing is the type of people that come around you. And the type of person you can become.

Agree or Disagree: Ezra Levant is being unfairly treated by the CBSC and other media outlets.

There are some names that create a polarizing view. Either you really like them or hate them. Although Canada is a peaceful nation we have a few. People like Don Cherry, Pierre Trudeau, Ralph Klein, Stephen Harper, and Rob Anders to name a few. In terms of news reporters, we don’t have many that strike a chord like someone like a Rush Limbaugh for example, but there is one that does.

Ezra Levant.

Who is Ezra Levant? He is a Sun News Reporter/ Columnist that has a conservative stance. Sun News has labeled him as Canada’s freedom fighter. He battles and discusses issues of free speech in Canada. It is not the only topic he discusses He did write many books including Ethical Oil. He has also has challenged some of the funding of the CBC and how they have operated.

For some he is a fresh voice. Many believe that there is a liberal bias in the media and he is an excellent counter for them. He writes with a very sharp wind style.

For others, he’s not. Many also call him a right wing extremist and other things that I won’t mention here. You might remember him for publishing the infamous Danish cartoons that depicted Mohammad.

Levant has come under fire from the Canadian Standards Broadcast Council his show on December 22, 2011. He was discussing a Spanish food company Chiquita Brands International boycott of the Alberta Oilsands. In the editorial, he called the company “anti-Canadian bigots”.  According to the facts from the CSBC,when The Chiquita letter attempted to clarify the company’s position, Levant called them a “liar” and ended the editorial with “Hey you.Yeah you (name of Chiquita executive)Chinga tu madre”. For those who don’t know, this is a swear word in Spanish.

Levant has written two responses to this. Which you can read:

Broadcast standards council upset over my ‘excessive’ language in dealing with Chiquita Banana

Expose and dispose

 There was a post on Facebook asking if he was being unfairly targeted? I’m going to answer this question

I have never personally met Levant, but he seems to be  passionate guy with a lot of fire. However, I did a little on a story that he told on his show as well.He interviewed Artur Pawlowski who runs Street Church in Calgary. Street Church was having some issues with the City of Calgary over Christmas  about their public displays and there were arrests.   Pawlowski,  felt that the city was being anti-Christian for not allowing  them to sing songs and pray in City Hall over Christmas. He even showed citations that he got. Levant called Nenshi a “bigot”.

The story got me curious. If the city was being “anti-Christian” then surely other Christian organizations would have felt the same way. So I called, emailed and checked and other organizations. Turns out the other Christian organizations like the Mustard Seed and Street Light had a good relationship with the city. As a matter of fact, Mayor Nenshi recently was invited to speak at church in the city here.

From the article that Levant wrote, I would like to point out something that he said. He is not a reporter, he’s an opinion journalist. He was conducting an interview, so as an interviewer would it not have been perhaps prudent to ask the question about other organizations and the relationship with the City? Or at least call the city? He’s from Calgary, and he would have connections. He didn’t ask any of that. He just criticized the City.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge story, But what it does is tells me something about Levant. He has two rules. 1)Do it his way or 2) else.

What Levant didn’t mention in his article was that the CBSC received 22 complaints on the matter and that six requested that they investigate the matter

An important point from the CBSC decision. They said Levant was completely in his right to cast doubt,He crossed the line when he used coarse language.

Unfairly targeted? I don’t think so. If anything, this has been a long time coming. He has crossed the line on more then one occasion. He has insulted people who do not side with him. Perhaps the CBSC took this into consideration.

Perhaps Levant can learn from the old saying those who play with fire end up getting burnt.

Agree or Disagree: Dog owners are responsible if their dog attacks.

I have a small personal story as I was running across the street when a big dog started barking. Fortunately the owner held dog back. I’m pretty certain, the dog felt I was running at it, not by it.

We have had a two incidents in Calgary the last week that dogs attacked. Do you think that tougher fines will prevent this?

Agree or Disagree: The right to die.

I know we have never discussed this before. I imagine for some this might be quite personal for us.

There was a recent ruling in B.C. saying banning the right to die or doctor assisted suicide was ruled as unconstitutional and ordered Parliament to rewrite within a year.

I think something like this will somehow impact us. Perhaps you or someone within your circle will have to answer this question. Or you have.

Meanwhile here is 64 year old Gloria Taylor. She has Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. Her story and perspective interesting considering she was one of the plaintiffs in the case.

What would you think if this was you?

Love wins vs Erasing Hell: What does this have to do with us who are dying to live?

I consider myself to be an avid people watcher. I am a symbolic fly on the wall and have been quite good at it. Sometimes in parties, I’ll tend to sit back and observe all of the connections being made.  It really is a neat way to observe and notice things that are going on; the energy of the room. Who is interested in whom? Who’s not? Who’s talking about what? 



I also tend to somehow find myself in a middle of the table when it’s a group of people eating at the restaurant. I listen to both conversations. I’ll turn my head left and listen, and turn my head right and listen.


In all of the people watching I have done, all the parties I have been at, can I be honest? I have never taken the time to think about if people are going to Heaven or Hell.  I haven’t done this before I read these books, and I won’t after.


I know some might think that I’m a horrible Christian for it. It is quite different from what Francis Chan did when he was in Starbucks while writing this book. Here’s an excerpt from page 72.


“The place buzzes with life. Meanwhile, I sit here reading passage after passage after passage, which all says that some of these people are going to hell. It sickens me to say that, and I can’t explain how conflicted I feel right now. There are at least a dozen people within ten feet of me right here, right now, that may end up in the agony that I’m studying. What do I do? Do I keep writing? Keep studying? Should I bag this whole book thing and start building relationships with them? How can I believe these passages and sit here silently?”


I remember my decision to Christianity. I was invited to go to a play at the church across the street from my house. I’ve been to church before, but I knew the rules. So I dressed up. My suit was right out of Don Johnson from Miami Vice.


I head to the play. The title of the play is “Heaven’s Gate, Hell’s Flames”. The premise is that it’s different people in different scenarios and they all die. They head to a Judgement Day. If there name is in the book of life, then they would go to Heaven. If not, Satan would come (with a microphone) and take them to hell. It was a terrible play.


But at the end of the play, a guy comes out. He uses the same microphone and asks this question. What would happen if you went across the street and got hit by a car? Well that did it! I had to insure my walk across the street. I went up and accepted Jesus. I don’t know if this is important, but the guy who played Satan was the person that prayed for me.


Now some of you might see this and say “See, this is an effective way to share the gospel.” You were saved!  Well while I was there, there was a very beautiful and peaceful feeling that I never felt before that point, and there were some questions in the back of my mind. Questions like “Am I now a Jehovah’s Witness? Does that mean I have to go downtown and hand out those magazines?” I didn’t want to do that. They didn’t seem fun or have much life to them.


The truth is the reason I accepted Jesus was to make sure I don’t get hit by a car and go to hell.


Now during that process, I have made some significant personal and spiritual choices which I feel is the right decision. The reason for me personally has a lot more to do with living than dying. This is where we will go next:


After both books unpack the concepts of the afterlife and God, they deal with what to do with the information given. As a matter of fact, the last half of Love Wins has everything to do with the very topic of living and where life comes from. Here is a quote from Page 126 in the chapter Dying to Live.


“Paul takes something we experience in relationships and says essentially, “That’s what happens on the cross.” God has made peace with all things”
So when Jesus died on the cross was it the end of the sacrificial system or was it the reconciling of all things?”


Bell goes on to very effectively challenge and question if we really believe that when Jesus rose it was done. Rather than to simplify it into one particular word or metaphor, to describe this, Bell expands the beauty of Jesus being the point


Chan for his part shows some sensitivity to his readers. He realizes this is a deep and tough issue that can be overwhelming. However, he does not let up in the intent of sobering you up to the concept. In his chapter, What Does this have to do with Me? he starts off by explaining that he stopped writing and allowing the passages of hell speak to him. Page 117,


“I didn’t think about writing; I didn’t try to figure out all the nitty-gritty details of the text. I just let the New Testament speak in all power and simplicity, and here are the shocking things that God hit me with.”


Chan goes on to point to a verse found in Matthew 7:22 and 23 which says this:


Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Reading this is strong language and if you do what Chan recommends, it is sobering. And to be frank in terms of dealing with the tough passages on hell, I felt Chan was better than Bell in addressing them. Bell went to a more political route and I think it is a fair criticism that he avoided really dealing with them.
However, the direction they go in with the rest of the book is interesting. Particularly reading them side by side. Chan and Bell agree that Jesus is the point and the actions on the Cross was enough. Chan even agrees with Bell about the issues of racism and dealing with the poor as being extremely important.
Where Chan and Bell separate is why. Chan points to everything coming down to a final judgement as to what your reward in heaven will be. His final chapters have a strong theme of assuring your place by knowing Jesus. And been if you know Jesus, you need to make sure you know Jesus. Example page 148 from the chapter Don’t Be Overwhelmed.
…” However in light of our discussion, it is fitting that I beg you to be absolutely sure that you are not headed there. (hell). This is for everyone. Pastors, leaders, seekers, skeptics- no one knows what you are thinking right now. Let down your guard, and take time to deal honestly with the issue. 
Do you know Him? Are you secure in Him? Are you in love with Him?”

Now just picture Bell responding to this comment with this comment from page 173
“Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way, that is the way the person telling them the gospel does, and they were hit by a car and dies later that same day, God would have no choice but to punish them forever in a conscious torment in hell.”
Chan would say “Sorry but yes”.
Bell would go on in page 174.

“If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted, let alone be good.”

“Loving one moment, vicious the next. Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye”
Perhaps you should do what Chan did and stop reading and let that resonate with you. Especially if you agree with what Chan says.

For me, and this is where I will enter the conversation, I know that God is better than that. Can He do what He wants? That’s a bigger answer then simply Yes He can.
From my personal experience, He chooses to be good. He is good. He is gracious. He is merciful. And it has taken a long time for that to simply be more than words and sink in.

As much as people have argued and questioned if Bell is a universalist or if he believes in a Hell, and as much as there is some fair things to push back from, there is an important thing he said that was missed.
“What you believe about Heaven and Hell will say a lot about the kind of God you like.”

Let me say this: If you are one who wishes to share the gospel by delivering tracts that ask where people are going when they die, you are missing the ENTIRE POINT of the gospel.

The word Gospel means “Good News”. Have you received good news? Have you got a promotion? Asked someone on a date and they said yes?  Asked someone to marry you and they said yes? Have won a championship? How does that make you feel? GOOD!!
Think about that.

 Both Chan and Bell would agree with me. The Good News is relevant NOW. The Good News can start NOW. It impacts us NOW.

It’s not insurance that we won’t be hit by a car.