Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Swords Up!

Back in my private Christian school days, our pastor used to hold "sword drills." He'd start by saying, "Swords up!" and we'd all raise our Bibles over our heads. Then he'd shout out a Scripture reference, like "John 4:18." The first student to find the passage would stand up and read it. It was great practice at getting to know the Bible.

Well, people, swords up!

Take a look at this advice column in the Toronto Star, entitled, "Don't look to the Good Book for advice about sexual ethics."

The question, raised by a parent confused as to how to impart Christian sexual ethics to a 14 year old daughter, is how to back up a ban on pre-marital sex using Scripture (my first tip to this parent: don't ask the Toronto Star about how to follow the Christian faith).

The response, by Ken Gallinger, is that the Bible does not have such a ban, but instead claims that Scripture speaks instead of the "trust, fidelity, respect and mutuality that must be present for human relationships to be happy." He also claims that Jesus himself "couldn't care less about premarital sex." (ahem... see John 4:18)

Ken is kind enough to include an email address for further questions. Shall we enlighten him about what Scripture really says?

This, by the way, is why Sola Scriptura was a bad idea. See Acts 9:31.

Friday, April 18, 2008

You Deserved That

It has come to my attention that some of the videos YouTube suggests when finished watching this video are inappropriate; please use discretion. This is the Internet, after all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Too Bad

Well, my Ottawa Senators have carried their post-All Star slump straight down the Playoff toilet. At least nobody can accuse them of choking this year - choking implies they were breathing well prior to the playoffs. They were lucky to make it to the post-season dance at all this year.

Still, they did better than Toronto AGAIN and that's always comforting. Also nice to note is that they'll have lots of salary room next year, as pricey defenceman Wade Redden (the highest-paid defenseman whose contract expires this year) will probably not be re-signed and high-highfalutin' goaltender Ray Emery will find a home somewhere that's big enough for his ego (maybe he can play with Alexei Yashin in Russia). The trades made this season offloading some of the smaller-salary players like Joe Corvo, Patrick Eaves, and Peter Shaeffer for rental players up for unrestricted free agency this summer also help in that regard. Those trades and the UFA happenings will save the Sens about $16 million, but about $10 million of that is already eaten up by Spezza, Heatley, Alfredsson, and Fisher's increases next season. Assuming they can't get rid of Emery, they'll have about $6 million to spend signing some Phillips or Volchenkov level defensemen, and that's the direction in which they've got to go.

So while this season ended poorly, the core is still intact and shouldn't be touched. The young talent is developing nicely, they have solid goaltending in Martin Gerber, and are well-positioned financially for the summer trading frenzy.

For now, dear chums in Red & White, enjoy your golfing. We'll root for you next year! Go Sens Go!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Priorities of the Canadian Bishops

or, "By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them"

Every day as part of my browsing habits I do a quick perusal of the website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. I eagerly watch for their commentary on the faith and how to make it real in my life and my community.

From my perspective, the biggest issues confronting the Catholic Church in Canada are the general lack of faith among 'cultural' Catholics, the lack of Eucharistic emphasis in our parishes, poor catechesis of the previous and current generation (how many Catholics attend Mass every Sunday, or reject artificial contraception?), the dearth of young men responding to their call to the priestly vocation, and ultimately the attack on the family via the Culture of Death. We are being diluted, and I suspect many of my readers would generally agree with my assessment.

So one would naturally hope that the Canadian Bishops would speak out against these evils, and in support of the time-tested solutions to remedy them.

Do you know on which single topic the Canadian Bishops have issued the most pastoral letters? Their website only goes back to 1996, and there have been fourteen letters issued in that time.

According to our esteemed shepherds, the single most pressing issue for Canadian Catholics should be... the environment.

--Letters on the environment: 4
--Letters on issues directly relating to religion (one on the Charismatic Renewal, and another French-only letter on the Canadian martyrs), marriage, and eliminating poverty: 2 each
--Letters on the plight of aboriginals, health care standards, and celebrating 50 years of the wonderful Canadian Religious Conference: 1 each

Why are they so disconnected from what's going on in their Church? Not that any of the above issues are unimportant (with the possible exception of the vainglorious navel-gazing celebrating the CRC), but they are treating symptoms of a greater sickness by addressing just those issues. I've haven't read every letter in that list, but the ones with which I'm familiar do not fail the test of truth. Neither, though, do they really address the real needs of today's Catholics.

Far better to inspire in the faithful a return to sacramental living: challenge us to love the Pope, to hunger for the flesh of Christ, to spill our souls to the Father in the confessional. Call us to reject the modern poison of contraception and to stand apart from our culture when it comes to perspectives on sexuality.

Only then will we see a re-kindling of true Catholicism in Canada.