I’ll be honest: I’m tired of this repeated, irrelevant behaviour from Christianity. But,there’s hope.


rob-bell

I have never met Rob and Kristin Bell. I have enjoyed some of his books and his videos. I find Rob’s approach to Christianity refreshing He likes to question, challenge and make people think.  Not only that, he strikes me that he has an optimistic view on live. I imagine Kristin is the same.

I imagine that it was this behaviour that led him and Kristin’s interview to reflect these statements in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.

One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

Rob Bell

Oprah Winfrey asked, “When is the Church going to get that?”

Rob Bell said: “Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable and we’re moments away from the church accepting it.””I think culture is already there and the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbours, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”

With that, the internet exploded.

Perhaps it was Kristin’s pragmatism that had her state this.

“I think there are a lot of people who as they see culture moving, their response is to dig in deeper and hold their ground.”

Was she ever right.

In one of many articles from the Christian newspaper world, Christianity was, quite frankly, disappointingly predictably, up in arms by the above comments from Rob and Kristin Bell. That the church is “moments” way from embracing the idea of same sex marriages.

Click here for one example.

Christians over the internet have proclaiming the end is near with this statement. They have proclaimed their place and reminded you who belongs and who does not in their church. And reminded you again that if you are one of “those”, you will not be included in God’s church. There may be some that accepts “them”. But they are not really one of “us”. They aren’t the “Biblical” church.

Biblical. Interesting word.

Here are some of the “Biblical” tweets and Facebook comments I have read today.  Read them, and take a moment to read some Biblical responses to them.

“Why don’t Christians realize that Rob Bell walked away from Christianity a long time ago and thus it doesn’t matter what he says to Oprah?”

Judge not, lest you be judged Jesus said

Former “Pastor” Rob Bell Goes Full Blown Apostasy – Says the Church Should Embrace What God Calls An Abomination.

“Love your neighbours” Jesus said

Rob Bell, village idiot, global false teacher.

“Love your enemies” Jesus said.

And as a reminder, who can forget when certain Christian leaders, subtly or blatantly, depending on your perspective, encouraged  people to stop feeding children in third world because World Vision was willing to hire people in same sex marriage. One even bid them “farewell”. They cancelled sponsorships in droves.

“Feed my sheep” Jesus said

“Truly, I tell you whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me” Jesus said.

You can attempt to translate and twist them however way you want. But the response from Jesus is straight forward.

Meanwhile, while you continue to scream “abomination” from your moral superior  and privileged porch, it is noticed that you refuse to align with “them’. You refuse to bake cakes for “them”. You ignore homeless, bullied and even suicidal kids that you refuse and reject from your church.

It is noticed that you think that you are better than “them”

Your catcalls, insults,and condescending behaviour is becoming irrelevant. Your us vs them approach is irrelevant

What is relevant is what has been relevant all along. People.  People of all shapes and perspectives working together to strengthen our village. Our community.  Realizing we don’t have all the answers, but questions on how everything works in this world. Instead of us vs them, it’s simply us.

Working together to fix the oldest ache in humanity’s bones. Loneliness.

Agree or Disagree: This PC petition opposing someone wearing a niqab while taking the oath.


“Not the way we do things here”

The above petition is from the Federal PC Government.

They are asking you to sign a petition requesting that women not wear a full face covering during the Canadian oath.

To quote the petition here it is;

In Canada, women are full and equal members of society — including when they take the oath of Canadian citizenship.

That is why we are strongly opposed to anyone wearing a niqab – a full face covering – while taking the oath.

As PM Harper said last week, that is not the way we do things here: 

“It is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family.”

In Canada, women are full and equal members of society. Including when they take the oath of Canadian citizenship.

In order to give some perspective as to why those choose to wear the nijab, I’ll post this link from the BBC. It is from woman who explain why this is very important to them.

So, do you Agree or Disagree with the Federal Government addressing this topic at all?

Would you sign this petition?

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast -An Adult conversation around GSA’s


Derek Fildebrandt, Terry Lo, Jojo Ruba, and Jeff White discuss the issues around the Gay-Straight Alliances, Bill 202, and Bill 10.

Derek wrote an excellent blog about having an adult conversation on GSA’s. You can read that here.

Terry, if you remember, left his role as VP of communications for the party Calgary- Glenmore constituency association. This was because WRP members didn’t pass an expanded statement on equality rights on their last meeting.

Jojo and Jeff represent Faith Beyond Belief. They exist to help Christians become effective ambassadors for Christ.

One of the observations Jojo made was that many moderate Christians voices haven’t been a part of the conversation. They feel that they have been shut out of the conversation.

Listen to the Podcast here

Topics we cover include;

Some benefits and concerns about GSA’s. Particularly those involved in a Christian school.

What was missing in this conversation?

Parental rights

Religious rights

The silence of Gordon Dirks and how it impacted both sides.

Why the PC government mishandled the situation so badly?

A possible solution going forward.

Follow Derek Fildebrandt at Fildebrandt.ca

Terry @calgarydreamer on Twitter

Faith Beyond Belief at faithbeyondbelief.ca

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@kevole
@AorDThePodcast
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Agree or Disagree: @calgarydreamer’s decision.


As I have been writing this, it has been 11 days since my last post. This is due to travel and illness.

But I’m back. It’s good too be back. And, it appears we have some catching up too do.

Now, last week, you may have seen this face on your newspaper, or your newsfeed.

terrance-lo

This is Terry Lo, or @calgarydreamer. He tweets a lot on the yyc food scene. He organized YYC Burger Week and YYC Pizza Week. You also heard him on Agree or Disagree: The Podcast.

Last week, he made some waves this week with this post. He resigned his position as VP Communications for the Calgary Glenmore Wildrose Constituency Association.   Here is a portion of his post that I would like to highlight.

This past weekend at the AGM, the party, either in the misguided misunderstanding that nothing LESS than the statement of equality would do after the Lake of Fire event, or out of genuine desire to swing far right, actually BACKTRACKED and voted out the 2013 statement that affirmed and protected HUMAN RIGHTS.

In that moment, the party actually went against their leader and the recommendation of the MLAs, and basically said “screw you” to groups that have never felt included, or protected adequately compared to the white, christian majority. And the sad part, the membership seems to be falling on the argument that the more generic “ALL” statement supported is more than adequate. It’s far from that. In an ideal world, where peace reigns and harmony rises upon the streets, then it would be. But not a single member can comprehend ever the fear of a LGBT or minority kid who’s been beat up by another kid who belongs to that majority. As this vote proves to many outside of the party, “All” in the context of a Wild “Lake of Fire” Rose means the same as the famous statement in Orwell’s Animal Farm: ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’

This vote confirmed to me that the misguided angry beliefs of a minority of the rank and file holds actual sway in party policy. I’ve since spoken to another notable ethnic member who confirmed a similar experience as well over years. Ideologically, I believe now that the party is swinging far right again on social issues, and as such, totally in opposition to my own beliefs. And ANY party that visibly does not protect my son, is one that has lost my support, and in fact, earned my opposition.

To specify what happened, and I imagine you know this part, the Wildrose Party voted 148-109 against adopting as policy a statement approved last year that affirmed the rights for everyone regardless of race, religion, and sexual orientation.

This led to a wave of criticism towards the Wildrose Party. Some of course questioned the leadership of Danielle Smith. Some wondered who’s voices are being listened too within the party. Some used terms like bigot and homophobic.

Today, things got worse for the Wildrose. Two MLAS, Kerry Towie and Ian Donovan announced they have crossed the floor to the PC Party. This, along with Joe Anglin who left earlier this month, knocks them down to 14 seats in the Alberta  Legislature. With rumours of more planning to cross the floor.

Now, I wasn’t at the convention or voted on this policy. I don’t know the debate or the discussion those that were at this convention had. What we do have however is a perspective from someone who was there.  But first, let’s read the statement up for discussion.

Wildrose will defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons. This includes, but is not limited to, the right to freedom of belief, public expression, practice, and association. These rights and freedoms shall be protected, regardless of race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation of that person or class of persons.”

This is the perspective of Jane Morgan who’s blog is called Up Close and Personal. You can read her perspective here.

Now, Terry will be coming on the Podcast to discuss his perspective. It is fair to say that while Terry has received tremendous support for his decision, he has faced some criticism too.  Some have questioned his motivations. Was this his so called 15 minutes of fame? Was he really a member of the Wildrose Party? We will talk to Terry about both.

Of course, we will welcome you into the conversation as well. What questions do you have for Terry? Do you Agree or Disagree with his decisions? Do you admire his decision? Or, do you question his motivation?

Question: How should men speak about feminism?


Emma Watson’s speech to the UN.

This video has gone viral on social media.

It’s Emma Watson speech to the U.N. about women’s rights. To sum her speech, she has invited, and encouraged, men to be a part of the conversation. She encouraged men to express their sensivity and be themselves.

Now as a man I have a bit of a …..reputation….in coming across sensitive. I’m ok with that because it is true. I also have spoke for equality. As one simple example, I find it ridiculous that in 2014, there are still issues and a debate about equal work and equal pay.

However, also as a man, one of the points that Emma made is there have been times our participation hasn’t been welcome by some. It might be because we men have made many, many inappropriate comments. Fair enough. However, I know that there are men that want to speak properly into this.

My question, or questions if you will,to you is this. How should men speak into this conversation? How do we make valuable conversation into the legitimate concerns women have expressed over the years? How do we help move the conversation forward?

Any feedback is welcome?

Agree or Disagree: This man’s religious rights were violated


Agree or Disagree: This man’s religious rights were violated

Above is a rather… bizarre story.

I have to explain this in a kind of picture this.

Male student arrives in Canada. He decides to study at York University.

Perhaps not reading the brochure, or doing any research available to him, the man makes a shocking discovery. 

There are women in his classroom.According to the man’s religious beliefs, at this point unknown, he cannot study with women

He decides to take this issue to the Dean Martin Singer of York University. After an unknown time of discussion, Dean Singer agrees that the man should not have to work with the women in his group. He should work with males.

This is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Canada.

The instructor, J. Paul Grayson is in the class everyday. He has a sense of how the entire class, men and women interact. He sees the behaviour of the man towards his female counterparts.

He decides to defy the order of the Dean. He orders the male to work with the women in a group. 

Grayson’s  reason why he made this decision? 

We have to make a value choice,” he told the Toronto Sun. “What’s more important, the rights of females who make up 54% of the population, or those of individuals with religious notions incompatible with egalitarianism?

Rightly I think, Grayson is being applauded and supported for his decision. He has received many emails supporting this decision.

The question is was York University right in granting this request first? Is this mans religious rights violated?