Thursday, November 30, 2006

Astronomy and space discovery

I was just reading my new edition of National Geographic (a fantastic magazine, I might add) which had a stunning article about Saturn, our solar system and certain discoveries and space missions we have sent into the dark about our planet earth.

I don't know why it is but these are some fascinating things happening! Does nobody know that we are sending machines that operate very well in space millions of miles away from our planet? They get them to return images and information to us about other planets we will never get any closer to.

In particular the Cassini spacecraft snapped a pile of images (including the one above) as it orbited the giant gas planet. How do they get these things into an orbit around a planet that is moving at amazing velocities millions of miles away in a different direction and speed than we're going?? THEN they send this mini probe off of Cassini, when its in range, to orbit and drop down onto the moon Titan around Saturn! Amazing! We're landing on a moon next to Saturn! This just amazes me. And nobody really thinks much about what we're doing or discovering in Space. It is ground breaking; never done before. We've just discovered Pluto is only one of many dwarf planets that orbit our sun away out there beyond Neptune.

I just had to share my appreciation and amazement of the world of space that is so much larger and unknown than our little world (which we are always discovering more about as well). I love space :).

Christmas, Holiday or Season?


Do you prefer to say 'Happy Holidays!'

'Seasons Greetings!'

Or 'Merry Christmas!'?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Winter Question


Do you prefer experiencing a longer colder, snowy winter season or are you of the opinion that winter should remain in the far north?

Winter Wonderland

Well, I never thought I would experience a winter snow like this. -10 right now in Hope. Glorious! I love the snow and I love having a definite winter season to enjoy. Last night our friends Pat and Peggy and us went for a late night walk in the snow. Throwing snowballs, enjoying early Christmas light decorations and knocking snow off power lines were among our exploits. I truly do enjoy this season. Doesn't make driving safe but that's o.k.. Home is a great place to be too.

I was out in the weather and visiting some friends who were having people over newly arrived from South Africa. This particular lady and her young daughter had never before experienced snow. And they were having a great time sledding down the driveway :).

Friday, November 24, 2006


This is today, November 24th, 2006. It started to snow this morning and hasn't stopped in Hope here. Big fat flakes that are wet and sticky.

I love the snow. It is a compelling mystery the affects that snow seem to have on people. For myself, I see a beautiful blanket that has many affects on a community. Many do not enjoy the snow, especially driving in it. My mother is one such. Children (in Canada, at any rate) thoroughly love building forts and snowmen and playing in it. Men like to pee in it. We like to slide on it down mountains on flat pieces of wood.

It also has the affect of dampening sound. Much of the noise in a city or town is dampened to silence because of the soft cushioning snow has on the environment. It's a beautiful silence of white. People tend to slow down, close schools and businesses, start a fire, read a book with a cup of hot chocolate. It is the essence of a Canadian winter and the weather's way setting us up for the advent of Christmas.

Here my wife and I are on a street in Victoria sometime around 2:00am. It snows only very rarely in Victoria and this was one such time so we took advantage of it to go walking under the street lights in the early morning enjoying each others company and the newfound delight of snow (that, consequently, only lasted a day). For what other weather do we get excited about like that? Well, in Victoria it's a novelty.

Snow is good for us. It slows us down. It quiets us and gets us to look at our surroundings for a while. It encourages to feel like children and to go playing again. It makes me appreciate my home and family warm inside. For some reason, a fire and hot chocolate and a book are 10 times better when it's snowing outside. Strange. Enjoy the snow!

So I got the shot ...

O.k., o.k., I got the shot. But I had a good chat with the doctor before he stuck me. So, apparently, newborn babies have virtually no immune system to speak of (not unlike old folks later in life) until a few months into life where, by the time they've had a chance to breast feed for a while, they acquire their mothers' defense against disease. So, really, if they got the flu, though they would likely acquire a quickly active immune system, it would be very hard on them and there's a greater likelihood that they would die of pnuemonia or some other complication often as a result of the ordinary flu. At six months of age they recommend giving the child the flu shot themselves. So now I've got the flu shot.

And for those who think I'm a wimp, I'll have you know I have many an antibody floating in my body due to shots. Tetanus, mumps, Hep A, Hep B, Menningococcal, Yellow Fever, Typhoid. And I have given blood ... once. I figured Jesus gave his blood for me, the least I could do was give some blood to someone else. I think my blood is 0+, but I'll have to confirm that with my mother.

The picture is, what I believe to be, a red blood cell, a macrophage and a t-cell. The latter two are a part of the immune system. But my doctor friends can correct me if I'm wrong.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

To be shot, or not to be shot

The Flu shot. How indicitive of our nation. I would like your reaction to my feelings about it.

Persnally, for the majority of the population, I believe it is redundant to receive the flu shot. The flu does not (most usually) kill people. Those who are most at risk are the elderly and very young children. According to health Canada some 4 - 8 thousand elderly people die a year due to the flu or flu related symptoms or complications. That's a hefty sum, I suppose.

Now, my wife (who is probably right), believes I should get the flu shot before our child is born (consequentially, my wife has already received the flu shot, and therefore, so has our little unborn child). This to reduce the risk of giving our little newborn the flu, should we get the flu.

My beef is this: Does not the body naturally build immunity by going through illness?? How will my little child build antibodies to defend itself if he/she is protected as such. I'm not saying I WANT my child to get sick, or plan on slobbering all over it when I get the flu! Far from it. But a child's environment are what prepare them for defending themselves against infection. At least, that's what I was taught. I've even been given the advice to let my child eat dirt! Because it helps their bodies produce immunity to disease! Am I not delaying the inevitable by getting the shot?

Maybe I just don't want to get the shot. I don't really care if I get the shot or not, but my argument stands. To be shot, or not to be shot?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A beautiful view of Christmas and its significance

An excerpt from Brian McLaren's a Generous Orthodoxy :

"If the Evangelical Jesus saves by dying, the Pentecostal Jesus by sending his Spirit, and the Catholic Jesus by rising from death, the Eastern Orthodox Jesus saves simply by being born, by showing up, by coming among us. In Jesus' birth, these Christians believe two wonderful things happen. First, God takes the human life of Jesus into God's own eternal life, and in so doing, Jesus' people (the Jews), species (the human race), and history (the history of our planet and our whole universe) enter into--are taken up into--God's own life. God's life, love, joy, and power are so great that all our death, hate, pain, and failures are erradicated, swallowed up, cancelled, extinguished, and overcome by bing taken up into God. In this way Jesus will ultimately bring blessing to the whole world, to all of creation.

Second, as humanity (and all creation) enters into God through Jesus, God also enters Jesus' people, species and history. And by entering all creation through Jesus, God's heart is forever bound to it in solidarity, faithfulness, loyalty, and commitment. God will never give up until all creation is healed of its diseases, cured of its addictions, retrained from its foolishness, relcaimed from its lost state. Jesus saves by coming, by being born. It's no wonder that, for the Eastern Orthodox, Christmas is celebrated with such profound joy and rich, sustained intensity. It's the celebration of God's saving (rescuing) of the world--that God has entered creation through Jesus (incarnation is the theological term for God's embodiment in Jesus) and creation has been taken up into God so that all will be well. This is surely Good News!"

Not that I am Eastern Orthodox in practice, but I particularly enjoy the intensity of the truth and profoundness of God becoming man.

The picture is of my niece Maddison.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My wife is home!

YEAH! Kari has returned from a 10 day trip to her Mom in Powell River and friends and family in Nanaimo and Victoria. She had an excellent time but is glad to be home and I'm glad to have her back here.
Her belly is considerably bigger too, since last I saw her. Boy that child grows quickly!
Man I love my wife. And nothing brings that truth home more than getting my wife back after a prolonged abscence. I have met some people who have spent copious time away from their respective spouses. How they manage is beyond me. Though abscence happens from time to time, I have also heard of couples that INTENTIONALLY live apart for the majority of their married lives. Why continue to be married? Doesn't make much sense to me. Marriage, to me, is a sacred union that should be nutured as much and as well as possible.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Manitoulin Island

Did you know:

Manitoulin Island, in lake Huron, has the greatest number of degrees repeated of lakes within islands (that I know of)? There is a lake on an island on a lake on Manitoulin island which is in Lake Huron. A lake on an island in a lake on an island in a lake.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Prayer and interpretation

I have been in some thought and consideration on the essence of prayer and am intrigued by what Matthew again, has written here. I would enjoy your comments.

"I remember being part of a movement in the late 90s that believed that if enough people prayed fervently and continuously, there would be a great revival in the Church, and lots of people would get saved.I think that there may be something to this principle. When the Church humbles herself to pray, God does hear, and turn, and heal the land.But there are a few problems with the revivalist prayer model. First, there is no model. Second, its success depends solely on the amount of time people spend fervently asking God to do things, specifically to send revival. Thirdly, it has no format for intercessors to structure their prayer time. Fourth, it fails to take into account the fact that the church has never stopped praying. Fifth, it fails to take into account the fact that it is not only the living who are praying, but also all those who have died in Christ.So, what if a few evangelicals start to meet under a haystack and pray 24-7? This is the Tipping Point for Christendom?Do the math. Try and estimate how many Christians have died over the past 2000 years. Then, consider that all these saints now pray ceaselessly before the throne of God. Think millions of saints, billions of prayers. Then, think of the thousands of Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican monks that pray around the clock in monasteries around the world. Then, think of the corporate prayers that happen every day at the Catholic Mass worldwide. Then, think of the prayers that millions of Orthodox Christians pray every morning and evening. Then, think of the few thousand Moravian-style 'prayer warriors' out there today, praying in their shared spaces, fanning their own evangelical fervor (which isn't a bad thing!).Now, more prayer never hurts, and I am happy whenever anyone displays sincere passion about God. But let's be honest. The Moravian, 24-7 (see the link on my sidebar) and House of Prayer movements represent mainly cultural shifts in the evangelical landscape. I think there are some really interesting things happening in the 24-7 Prayer Rooms. I really get excited when I hear about young people, especially skinheads and punks, becoming excited about prayer, and finding authentic, creative expression for their faith in God.But seriously. God isn't going to suddenly change America or Europe into Bible belts simply because a few thousand more people start 'REALLY praying'.

Prayer occurs on groggy mornings and exhausted evenings. Those who hope in the Lord, they often hope alone, or hungry, or while running for their lives. They may hope while half-asleep, grumpy, doubtful and despondent. Hoping is not the sensation that all shall be well. It is the act of waiting at the door for the savior to knock"

So then, what is prayer? How have you discovered communing with the Almighty God and Creater of the Universe to be? Have you discovered a mode that benefits you in your relationship with Chirst?

I remember someone once scolding me for praying a very short (and according to them) irreverent prayer before a meal. But in truth, my thoughts were extremely sincere and had little to do with the way in which they were delivered. I was thankful and I shared my thanks. I was not rude. But the mode I used was not what was expected and they thought I was in errency as to God's will and desire!! Over a little prayer. But that is what we do, isn't it. Call our interpretation of God's Word God's sovereign will for mankind. And in such terms we have made war and killings and extortion and a host of other things a top on our priority list as Christians.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Hero. What is a hero? Last night I watched the movie, Flags of our Fathers which asked that question. Is there really someone called a hero? Or what defines a hero? Are they only a made up ideal of another human being to give the greater populace hope in a nation ... or a notion?

I'm not sure. I know that I have 'hero's' in my life. But let me define the word hero, in this instance. These are people who extraordinarily have made/are making a great difference in my life and are people I look up to and consider a privilege and honour to know. I have listed a few here that you might know them. Because they, among many others, are great people to me. They are ordinary people who believe extraordinary things and have helped make me who I am today:

Kari Larson (my beautiful wife):

Brian Hamp (friend; mentor; Director of Youth Unlimited, Comox Valley):

Paul Bergmann (friend; One time youth pastor of VPRAC):

Paul Kostamo (friend; one time roommate):

Tim Kostamo (friend; one time roommate):

Scott Neufeld (cousin and friend):

Chris Massey (friend; one time

Jerry Loeb (friend; skipper):

Graham Blackburn (friend; one time roommate):

Dan Krestinski (Mentor; friend; Late Director of Camp Homewood):

Jack Duckworth (UVic Campus worker IVCF; friend; mentor):

Christopher Wickham (friend; Director of Pioneer Pacific Camp):

Pat Wiens (good friend; Pastor of Nazarene church in Hope):


Thy will be done

A quote from an old friend from Victoria concerning prayer:

"1. It is, first, doxology. We call God by name. To pray in an orthodox manner, God must be rightly named. He must first be called GOD, and not 'Santa'. God is free and holy and other than us. He is not bound by our expectations. He is, rather, true to His word.Interpretation, however, is a receiver-act. It is our act. God is not true to our interpretation, an act of our mind, but rather to His word, an act of His mind. Therefore, to say "Thy will be done" is to invoke a word we have not yet fully understood; it is to expect a world which we cannot ever fully, well, expect.To ask for God to move on our interpretation of His word is to ask Him to create the world we imagine. It is to ask Him to make His will OUR will, not the other way around. In other words, it is "My will be done.""

Matthew Davidson



A thought by J. B. Phillips:

"Now John, in his wisdom, points out in inspired words, 'if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.' This is a gentle but salutary rebuke to our assumption that we know better than God! God, on any showing, is infinitely greater in wisdom and love than we and, unlike us, knows all the factors involved in human behavoir.
We are guilty of certain things, and these we must confess with all honesty, and make reparation where possible. But there may be many factors in our lives for which we are not really to blame at all. We did not choose our heredity; we did not choose the bad, indifferent, or excellent way in which we were brought up.
This is naturally not to say that every wrong thing we do, or every fear or rage to which we are subject today, is due entirely to heredity, environment, and upbringing. But it certainly does mean that we are in no position to judge ourselves; we simply must leave that to God, who is our Father and 'is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.' It is almost as if John is saying, 'If God loves us, who are we to be so high and mighty as to refuse to love ourselves?'"

Oh these words were good for me to read today. I have so often considered myself the authority on myself and have refused to love myself. I would even say that at one time I hated myself with a pure loathing of something corrupt. But Jesus in His rich mercy stripped away the filth that my eyes could only see and showed me that for which He died and loves. Thank you Jesus.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I will take this time to reflect upon Remembrance Day and its significance to me.

Remembrance Day. A day to remember. Lest we forget. A moment to remember years of bloodshed and sacrifice. We remember that our fathers bravely agreed to fight for the freedom of all people. And we remember this so that we might not find ourselves slaying each other again. And perhaps also we remember this time and that there was good reason for us to fight ... but it was not for fightings sake. It was for my sake and yours.

How many of my children will remember as I do, as my father does or as my grandfather did, the atrocities and realities of World War. It is becoming so far removed from our generations. A dusty page in a history book in the mezannene of a library. I am acutely aware of the horror, bloodshed and pain that marked the second world war. And that by choice. My grandfather (Papa), now dead, fought in that war as a tailgunner in a lancaster bomber. It was a horror he did not relish to revisit. My grandpa from my mothers side abstained as a mennonite pacifist and was unofficially 'interned' on Texada Island for the duration of the war. These people are dear to me and I know them and could see in their eyes that memory of a war that covered the globe.

Let us not forget and in so doing honour the memory of those who fought and died.

Lest we forget.