Comment here to be added.
What was your favorite tv show or cartoon?
When I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada we only had two television channels. One was CBC (the state funded public broadcaster) and the second was MCTV (a small local station for pretty much all of Northern Ontario, yes *that* kind of local). Coming home from school The Simpson's was on, so I grew up on Homer and Bart. When I was younger, I enjoyed Bill Nye the Science Guy and as I got older a cool show for teens on CBC was one of my favourites called Street Sense (it was all about living on your own, growing up, sex issues, etc.).
What was your favorite song?
Tubthumbing by Chumbawamba.
What was your favorite toy?
My favourite toy was not actually mine, it belonged to my brother. We had a toy Andy and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and while I was older I had a guilty pleasure of really enjoying those toys. I thought it was cool how the company made the toys and they were the same from the movie. As I got older I had model ships that I used to enjoy playing in the pool with (morbidly I used to sink the Titanic all of the time).
What was your favorite game?
Monopoly and still very much is.
What was your biggest fear?
Vampires. I used to have terrible dreams of them where I would wake up very scared and sweaty. These stopped in my teens.
What was your favorite fantasy or daydream?
Becoming an astronaut.
What was your favorite food?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What was your favorite book?
10,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Charley and the Chocolate Factory.
What was your favorite movie?
Apollo 13 and Titanic (not for the love story, I was obsessed with the Titanic and loved the visual accuracy of the movie).
Who was your favorite author?
My first favourite author was Lemony Snicket, his books and use of the English language made my head spin in wonderful ways and it was the first time I was ever exposed to that sort of unleashed writing.
What smell instantly brings you back to your childhood?
The smell of the orange soap that my dad washed his hands with to clean the oil off when he came home. We use the same wash in the ship and instantly after someone uses it in the heads (washroom), I am brought back to home and him coming in the house and washing up before supper.
Who was your crush?
Her name was Jesse Overton. I also had a huge crush on my grade 6 health teacher.
What was your favorite subject in school?
English. I also really liked civics and history. This hasn't changed.
Who was your best friend?
Riley Brown, his parents were teachers at the school and he lived two blocks from it and we would go to his place for lunch. We were cool.
Who did you admire?
My garde 5 teacher Mr. Huchabies (we used to call him Mr. Hercules), I can still remember the day he taught about how the House of Commons work and how a bill becomes law. I trace all of my interest in history, civics and politics to this one day. I was fascinated by the idea of seats and a Speaker and the Queen. It was a pivotal moment in my life. He also used to give us sour blasters when we got answers right, which was awesome. But his breath was terrible (probably from eating too much candy now that I think about it).
What's the stupidest thing you can remember doing as a child?
My dad bought me a snow machine on my 12th birthday. That winter, my cousin and I were fooling around in a field with it and we set up a massive jump off of a hay bail. Thinking back now that was extremely dangerous and I could have really hurt myself (I remember flying off of the machine and landing hard on the ground, I could have broke my back or neck in the process).
What's the best summer break of your childhood?
My mother has kidney disease and was on a dialysis machine when I was a child (she has had a transplant now for over 14 years), so we never got to travel much as a family. Plus, we did not have a lot of money until my dad secured better employment while I was in my teens. One summer we went to Muskoka (just north of Toronto, Ontario) for a summer at a camp for people on dialysis. It was a cottage facility on the edge of a lake and it had a pool, games room with pool table, a shed full of canoes and kayaks. I had an amazing two weeks there that summer and met a girl too (we held hands in a boat one night and I was on cloud nine). I can almost remember every moment of that summer. I almost won a pool tournament that my dad put me in (I had never played before) and since then pool has become a bonding thing for me and my dad. Ironically, Meganne was one lake over (and knew of the place growing up) enjoying a similar summer at her family cottage.
Color - Black
Food - Italian, Mexican (all of the Italian and Mexican food)
Smell - BBQ, fresh cut grass, the forrest
Movie - the entire Star Trek series (include reboots), Forrest Gump, Apollo 13
Music genre - all of the music (mainly Canadian indie and classic rock)
Texture - a women's touch
Time of Day - sunset
Day of the week - Sunday
Drink - Earl Grey tea, Coke (recently switched to Coke Life for health reasons), I also enjoy port and gin
Precious Stone - saphire
Animal - elephants
Flower - sunflowers
Sound - waves on a beach
Hobby - writing, gardening (recently), following politics
Fruit - all of the berries, bananas that are mostly green
Vegetable - beans, corn on the cob
Shop - Best Buy, MEC
Boy’s name - Peter
Girl’s name - Margaret
Ice cream flavor - chocolate
Soda - (we say pop in Canada), again, Coke but gingerale is underrated as is Dr. Pepper
Season - Fall
Month - Sep/Oct
Word - fork
Compliment - not picky here, please do, haha
Eye color - colour isn't as important as depth (if you get this you get this, if not I am sorry)
Dessert - New York style cherry cheesecake
Candy - Sour Patch Kids
Restaurant - The Union Club of British Columbia
Thing about myself - I have layers like an onion
Bathroom Book (yes, the book I keep in the washroom and read through as I do my business)
Wisdom of the Popes: A collection of statements by the Popes since Peter on a Variety of Social and Religious Issues - Thomas J. Craughwell (editor)
Lapham's Quarterly Volume X, Number 2 (Spring 2017) "Discovery"
Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome and the Making of Christianity in the West, 230 - 550 AD - Peter Brown
This is my second go at finishing Peter Brown's book. I started reading it last summer after some strong reviews here on DW but was side tracked when I realized that I was not up on my Roman history enough to fully appreciate what I was reading. A friend here recommended SPQR by Mary Beard to catch up, and I ended up eating that whole book up in the span of a week at sea. I honestly completely forgot about picking the Brown book back up, but alas I have it now and I am working through it.
Lapham's Quarterly, if you are not already aware of the publication, is an amazing periodical that is published four times each year. The periodical itself has a theme for each publication that is simple and yet extremely complex. For Spring 2017 the theme is Discovery. The magazine (it really is more like a book), is full of historical stories, biographies, letters, extracts from historical writings, etc that are all curated by the good people at Lapham's around the particular theme. In this issue, I was particularly moved by a piece written by Galileo Galilei about reaching for the stars.
|Date||Cals Burned||Steps||Dist (km)||Floors||Fairly Active (m)||Very Active (m)||Activity Cals|
Last Friday, my Fitbit died just before bed, so I got no sleep ratings for that night. I did not meet my goals for sleep this week. I recently adjusted my goal from 6 and a half hours of sleep to seven based on what I was getting for sleep last week and what the app recommended as healthy for my activity.
|Date||Asleep (m)||Awake (m)||Awakenings||Time in Bed|
I will not be sharing my score today (I did log it into my app for statistical purposes). But I do have some great photos to share.
Looking at the 18th hole (9th in our case) at Highland Pacific
The 17th (8th in our case) hole at Highland Pacific
A nice fairway-lie on the 16th (7th in our case) at Highland Pacific
A look back at the tee-boxes on the 15th (6th) at Highland Pacific
The weather was alright, well typical Vancouver Island weather. It was raining when we left the house but was just a light mist at the course. A few holes were windy and the rain would pick up, but for the most part we managed to stay dry and warm. Last year, our first round was in May but we decided to get an early start this year. We've actually be hitting the driving range weekly since the end of February.
My frankness here is totally intentional: the Christian Bible, when we actually take the time to read and understand it as a whole, neither condemns nor permits homosexuality as we have come to understand it in modern times. For most people reading this on both sides of the argument, this is probably going to come as a great surprise. To the devout Christians, I am sorry you have been tricked into believing something that the Bible does not take very seriously and actually has nothing of any value to offer in modern times. And to the broken hearted homosexual, I am sorry for all of the pain ill-informed Christians have caused and will continue to cause into the future.
Let's take a step back.
There are a grand total of six references to homosexuality (and even with this conclusion we are loosely using the term homosexuality) in the Bible. Surprisingly, if you were an alien who was foreign to this planet and you spent a few minutes listening to any Christian talk radio show or television programme, you might be under the impression that homosexuality and sex are the focus point of the Bible. This is simply not the case. The Bible spends more time talking about why you shouldn't wear two pieces of cloth on your body or plant two different seed types in a single field than it does about having sexual relations with a person of the same sex. It certainly talks a lot more about love and acceptance (straight from the mouth of Christ no less) than about condemning this and that person for such and such reason. Again, if you were foreign to this world and you listened to most Christians speak you might think that the whole book was littered with "condemn this" and "spite that," which again is not the case.
The most famous reference to homosexuality, and the one that is trod out in each and every discussion on the topic by seemingly devout Christians, is the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know how it goes, apparently the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah where such an abomination in the sight of the Lord that He sent angels to investigate the problem. While these angels were visiting in the form of human males, the house they were staying in was encircled by an angry mob who demanded that the owner (and host), Lot, send the strangers out so that "they may come to know them." The modern English translation describes the mob as being all of the male citizens of the town. However, the Hebrew phrase in the original text actually would more accurately describe the entire townsfolk (male and female) coming out and surrounding the house. Never mind the clear implications that the take-away from this story is that we should not gang rape people and we should protect our guests when they are strangers in our home (probably a great lesson for ancient civilizations where being a stranger in a foreign land was extremely dangerous). Modern Christianity instead focuses on the fact that the group was male and that they demanded that other males come out to be raped. Clearly, there is a link between modern homosexuality especially between two people who are engaged in a loving and exclusive relationship and having an angry mob demand the ability to gang rape strangers. There actually is not. We are told later on that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed by a pillar of fire because "the outcry against its people [had] become so great before the Lord." This is of course after Lot had offered his two virgin daughters to the angry mob to "do to them as you please" (never minding the extremely immoral action here). And after Moses and the Lord had a talk which pretty much ended in the Lord wagering that he would destroy an entire city if he could not find a single good person (again, we can just gloss over the moral implications of a God who simply wipes creation off of the face of the planet at whim).
Leviticus condemns sexual relations between men. It does not mention sexual relations between women which either means it is permitted or it was simply overlooked by the framers of the Law. We also recall that the Law rejects the mixing of meat and dairy, the murder of people who do any action on the Sabbath and the permits the outright oppression of women. It is hard to overcome the specific clauses of the law today unless we gain a better understanding of where they come from, why they exist in the first place. Let's not forget the historical perspective in Scripture and the fact that we know that the Book of Leviticus was written at a time when the Jewish population was very small and surrounded by Babylonian influence while in exile from Israel. At a time when Jewish leaders were afraid of the small group being overcome by the powers that surrounded them. It is understandable then that this Law would primarily serve to sustain the small group of people. And that is exactly what the most provocative sections of the Law seek to achieve. When we understand the historical context of Leviticus we can digest the Law in a more modern sense. We know that the Lord is Justice and there is nothing inherently just in cherry-picking law in application and yet this is exactly what happens when Christians rely on Leviticus to support their position on homosexuality. Ironically, they will state this position while wearing two different pieces of cloth on their body, after having just consumed a delicious meal of pork with a side of dairy and while standing before a field planted with two different strains of seed (all violations of the same Law they are smacking against a minority). Now there are rules within the Law that are still relevant for us, and we know this because Jesus actually said that they were important when He established the New Covenant (thus fulfilling the First). These are the Ten Commandments. Interestingly, the Ten Commandments represent a certain moral code that is somewhat universal across time and space in our humanity. We (the collective humanity 'we') have all almost always agreed that murder in cold blood is immoral. We have always looked down on stealing and cheating. These are moral codes which are written on our hearts because they belong to God and God made each and every one of us. There is nothing in the Ten Commandments about being in a loving relationship with a person of the same-sex. And I would say that this should mean the world to the Christian. It should not be a game of pick the cherry to define what is essentially a theologically weak position to support being against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Since we brought Him up, let's turn to Christ.
Christians will often try and make the debate about homosexuality and same-sex marriage "simple" by pointing to the story of Sodom and the provision in Leviticus and will say "Jesus would condemn the homosexual." Like most things that seem simple and clear cut, there is actually more here than what meets the eye. For starters, it is dishonest from a Christian perspective to start any discussion on any topic without starting with Christ and ending with the Law He fulfilled. The Bible from a chronological perspective starts with creation and moves through Abraham, Moses and the prophets all leading up to the birth of Christ and His death and resurrection. But the Bible from a Christian perspective works backward with his death and resurrection as the focal point and moving back through the prophets. And there is a very important reason for this, while we stumbled through the Old Testament as humanity we were like a hiker with a poor flashlight. We got glimpses of the Lord and our position within the universe, but it was never made clear to us and this is evident in some of the wild and crazy things that happen in the Old Testament. And then comes a friend with a bright light, brighter than any star including the sun. And our path is illuminated. And just like that hiker, we can see our entire path and beyond with this new Light. That Light is Christ. So an honest Christian does not waste their time stumbling through the dark because as Saint John tells us we have the Word now among us. Why would we blindfold ourselves and hike the path when we have daylight to guide us? So let's start with Christ.
Christ says absolutely nothing about homosexuality. Period. He does, however, say a lot about love and acceptance. And He does a lot to show this acceptance in practise. For example, He dines with a tax collector who would have been the most hated and reviled person in any ancient city of His time. There is most certainly a parallel here between the tax collector and those we have made the most hated and reviled people in society (homosexuals are pretty high up on that list by the way). If Jesus was here today, I truly believe that without question, He would attend a Pride Parade and it would piss off the Church establishment (much the same as it pissed off the Jewish establishment when He ate with the tax collector). He also says something very powerful during the Sermon on the Mount which I think has real life application today: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled," and "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Ironic that most militant Christians would actually quote both of those Beatitudes to justify their opposition to same-sex marriage, but they have terribly missed the mark here. For the last Beatitude wraps up the entire Sermon perfectly, "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Again, the militant Christian will attempt to claim that in modern society they are being oppressed by having to give up their beliefs in the name of the same love and acceptance that Christ directly preaches, you tell me who is bearing false evils against who in this argument? I think it is pretty clear.
Following the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the Apostle Paul writes that laying with a man is an abomination before the Lord. The only problem is that we are cherry picking to the extreme his entire letter when we confine that statement to just being about homosexuals. Let's take a look at the entire passage:
Therefore God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26-27)
There is absolutely no guidance in the Bible that would offer any insight on how we should deal with same-sex relationships. Aside from the clear message of love and acceptance. This is not a carte blanche for members of the gay community to turn to sexual relationships outside of marriage and to engage in promiscuous sexual lifestyles. In fact, same-sex couples are called to the same level of fidelity, honesty, love and exclusivity as opposite-sex couples. This is the Christian way. However, because we have cast out homosexuals writ large from the Christian community we have essentially forced a life of sinfulness on to an entire group of people, we have caused a group of people to become persecuted and we have done it in the name of Christ (sound familiar). We do not permit same-sex marriage in the Christian church, so we have condemned the good gay Christians who want a life together with the same amount of Christ-like love and support as the heterosexual couple from enjoying the fruits of marriage. This is our sin and our problem to fix.
I will close on one final thought.
Blaise Pascal was a famous mathematician and part-time philosopher who, while very sick and dying in his deathbed, scribbled thoughts on scraps of paper which were posthumously complied and became known as Pensées (French for 'thoughts'). There was a gem of logic in what we now call Pascal's Wager. Basically, he concluded that it was better to believe in God because if you were right than you enjoyed eternal life and if you were wrong than you suffered eternal punishment. Conversely, if you didn't believe and were wrong you were punished and if you were right you gained nothing in the after-life that didn't exist. I've always had a fondness for this wager because it can be understood by the pagan without an entire introduction to the Bible and Christian thought. It can also be applied to how Christians should act as Christians. For example, in the face of an unclear moral question is it better to condemn or to accept. If we condemn and we are right we gain satisfaction in the face of the Lord. If we condemn and are wrong we face damnation. If we accept and are wrong we at least followed the example of Christ. If we accept and we are right than we gain satisfaction. I believe that acceptance over condemnation in the face of unclear moral questions is a defence which would be acceptable to God on Judgement Day. I, for one, would rather stand before God to justify why I accepted and loved so and so regardless of their actions over standing before God to justify why I cast away one of His creations.
God be praised!
The first of these three are from items I have on a floating shelve above my television in the office. And the last one is the doorway into my office from the hall.
Keep Calm and Carry On, 1
Keep Calm and Carry On, 2
These next ones are a series on my three legged best friend Keetcha.
Keetcha Eating, 1
Keetcha Eating, 2
And lastly, I have a few photos from around the house.
Stained glass, 1
The Table, 1
Around the Corner and to the Front
I plan on taking my camera to sea with me this week and so I should be able to get some great photographs to share from there. Additionally, for some reason, I just feel compelled to take some photos and share them here. So hopefully there will be more.
|Date||Cals Burned||Steps||Dist (km)||Floors||Fairly Active (m)||Very Active (m)||Activity Cals|
Not bad for the first week if I do say so myself. I am at least building a good picture of where I am currently at without applying any sort of plan or exercise regime.
Sleep is another thing that I will be tracking closely with the Fitbit. With a goal to sleep seven hours (420 minutes) per evening, here is how my first week shaped up.
|Date||Asleep (m)||Awake (m)||Awakenings||Time in Bed|
I'll be posting these results (and probably some more as they develop) each week as time goes on.
Today, in the Christian faith, is the third day-- the day Christ rises from the dead after his crucifixion. Today is the most important holy day within all of Christianity. And for good reason, today is the day of justification, when all things are made new through Christ conquering death and sin. For the believer, today is the day that is rooted in all of the texts and all of the prophets of old. For the non-believer, today is a day rooted in the archetype of the greatest hero and the tragedy of death.
And for me the division between what Easter and the season of spring generally means from a Christian and pagan perspective is important. It highlights the divine nature of this season and the ritual of Easter in the Christian faith because of the fact that it is rooted in our biological need to look to a greater power for our protection and prosperity. The story of Christ is one that has existed within the archetype of human understanding beyond the writing of the book of Exodus. The concept of a hero that would sacrifice themselves for the good of the people as a whole is certainly not new to humans and Christianity itself certainly does not hold a monopoly on the concept. Furthermore, the attention to devotion toward a particular deity, especially during the great thaw from winter to summer is not new to humanity. And Christianity is not the first religion or sect to claim this season as the most important within the annual calendar.
For religions and rituals exist to satisfy our biologically driven need to depend on something greater than our own individual selves. And religion and rituals are vehicles for the archetypes that are handed down from generation to generation that form the patterns of our means of survival. We can go back to tribal societies and see archetypes developing around how to quickly identify friend from foe and we see these archetypes develop more complexly over time to a modern western society today where the average person comes into contact with more strangers in one morning than their equivalent in a tribal society would in their lifetime. These archetypes have indeed become complex. The archetype of the supreme hero that in Christ in Christianity is not immune to this development and this current complexity.
Today, the expression of rebirth inherent in the spring season is captured within the rising of new life of Christ and the Christian people as a result. This is a western expression of the archetype of the spring season and the harvest soon to be tilled and sown. No doubt other great traditions around the world have other outward expressions of this very same archetype. However, I am a Christian personally because of my connection and my own development within the western society. The archetype of rebirth and the hero of Christ is capable of capturing certain patterns and emotional responses that will be similar to those around me in the western world and that is how the ritual can become a greater sacrifice within the group. This is the foundation of religion and the ritual. And it will continue to exist as the expression changes over time, but the archetype will generally remain the same, if not become even more complex.
Easter, Christ, Christianity, spring, rebirth, ritual, sacrifice and archetype. All of these powerful elements of our humanity and western society specifically are present in the Easter season. It is indeed the most significant Christian and western holiday.
He is risen,
Dear Dr. Kellie Leitch:
I would first like to thank you for sending me your recent mail-out. How you received my address is actually a mystery to me because I joined the Conservative party through a completely different candidate than yourself. At any rate, I am actually grateful because your package included this pre-paid postage envelop which allowed me to send this letter to you with no cost to myself.
I find everything about your leadership campaign to be troubling. Not just for the Conservative party but for Canada as a whole. Your attempt to stir up discontent aimed directly at our immigration and refugees system is entirely off of the mark of what Canadians are expecting from a party seeking to be in government within the next three years. Additionally, your messaging (while being generous, may be coming from a good place) is actually a dog whistle for dangerous people who believe in extremely racist and bigoted ideas and are always on the lookout for someone in a suit to justify their terrible schemes.
As you have mentioned time and time again during the campaign, you are an educated individual and you clearly must have a reasonable head on your shoulders. However, this is not evident in the content of your campaign. It is troubling to me personally that an educated person such as yourself could even think of expressing the hateful and misinformed messages that you have done during the course of this leadership campaign. It leads me to think that either you are careerist politician who saw a window of support in tapping into these dangerous notions or you actually believe the things you say, in which case you are a terrible person.
I do not want to think that you are a terrible person-- I certainly did not believe that when you were a minister in the Harper government. I am inclined to lean toward you being a careerist politician who will do anything to gain a little support over their rivals. Even if it means tapping into violence and hate. That is a problem and for that reason I will not be supporting you in this leadership race. You are, in all honesty, fighting for the last ranking on my ballot with Brad Trost. For that, you should feel bad. A medical doctor and an effective cabinet minister going head-to-head with a soc-con loser like Trost; you did this to yourself.
Yours in conservatism,
PenlessEJ (obviously I signed with my real name)
First, I would like to apologize for my lack of activity around here as of late. To be fair, DW was not my only social networking service to be neglected during my prolonged period of absence, so there is that. But I changed the format of this blog into writing in letter format in order to have some sort of an inspiration to come here and write-- in the end after two entries I disappeared. So, for that, I am sorry.
Next, I would like to welcome all of the new users of DW coming from Livejournal. Terrible things are happening in Russia right now regarding the LGBTQ community and Livejournal is finding itself smack in the middle of the fight in the online realm. I do not need to get into the specifics of how it is happening or why it is happen (just click this link for that sort of background information), but I side with DW in pleading for users here to consider a donation to the Russian LGBT Network/Российская ЛГБТ-сеть. I hope that DW as a whole becomes more active and people are energized to jumpstart the communities that have started to die. In particular, I hope that the canadianpolitics community starts to pick up in activity (who is with me to help that out?).
I do plan on writing here more often. Things have changed a lot at work, and I am looking forward to sharing my new adventures with all of you.
Until next time,
EDIT: muccamukk has informed me that the Russian LGBT Network cannot accept foreign donations and suggests this site for North Americans to donate and help the cause -> https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechnya/