Why Your Christian Friends and Family Members Are So Easily Fooled by Conspiracy Theories

Instrument of Mercy

In sixth grade, I participated in a debate in which I attempted to convince my fellow classmates that we never landed on the moon.

It was the first time I used the Internet to research, and my partner and I found a treasure trove of information. We couldn’t believe it. It was so obvious. The U.S. clearly faked the moon landing in 1969 to trick the Soviet Union that we had superior rocket technology.

On the day of the debate, we exceeded our allotted 30-minute timeslot by more than an hour. After the debate, we held a poll. My partner and I convinced 75% of our classmates that the 1969 moon landing was faked by the government.

I’m sure we made our science teacher proud.


In the words of the Apostle Paul, as I grew older I “did away with childish things.” And that includes my childhood belief…

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A Crisis of “Othering”

Othering occurs when structures and practices of one group define those not of one’s group as outsiders. To some extent, this is unavoidable. If I am not of your group, then I am by definition outside of it. But othering goes further than this. Othering defines difference as bad, unworthy, or dangerous.

God in the Midst of the City

In the fifteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus finds himself—for about the hundredth time—confronted by the Pharisees. First century Pharisees, like all Palestinian Jews in that day, are faced with a real problem: secular culture is challenging their religious lives. (Does that sound familiar?) For years the Romans have ruled Palestine, and for centuries before that, the Greeks were in charge. During all that time, Greek culture, with its idols, its materialism, and its tendency toward sexual license have filtered into Jewish life. Virtue is regarded as quaint. Vice is often redefined as freedom. What has traditionally been forbidden is now accepted without question. To the Pharisees, it feels as if their world is a ship slowly but surely filling with water.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day respond with a vengeance by teaching a renewed religious identity as Jews. They encourage strict observance of personal purity and dietary laws. They…

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I GOT THE PLACE

Well as it turned out, I got the East 19 location, signed the lease and September rent and now the next stage is to move. Since I’m not working, I’ll have lots of time to pack and purge and clean with little stress.

Exciting time’s

My Adventures in the search of a New Home

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This past month I’ve been tirelessly looking for a place to live. The experience has had its ups and downs, it’s highs and lows, and its disappointments.

One of the first places I saw I absolutely loved and did everything I could to get the place, but it didn’t happen. A week later, I Found a nice Laneway house which I liked but it was too small for what I needed. The landlady offered it to me, but I begrudgingly turned it down.

Sigh……

Still Another place I saw which is a close walk to Joyce station I liked, and it came with a backyard for gardening. That too was offered to me. The deal breaker at the time was the fact the suite did not have laundry and no place close to take my laundry to. I turned that one down.

Then came a series of duds, dumps and rip offs that perplexed, confused, and angered me. How can they charge such rents on dives like these…!

$&@?!”:

Yet despite it, I kept soldering on, always looking for that ever-elusive affordable place I could call home.

I kept looking and found a place on Wales street, close to 41 and Clarendon.

The landlady was nice, and we got along well. A few days later I got a text saying it was mine if I wanted it. It was just a little too far for me to get to work, but It’s still a place I’m considering.

“You can’t be too picky.”

Then on Thursday I looked at two places which had such a contrast of style and substance

One had an East Van vibe, old house small yard which I loved at first sight. The inside felt cozy, warm, and inviting. However, it is an old house in a boring neighbourhood. Takes 26 minutes to walk to work, which is only a few minutes more than what I’m doing now.

The other place I looked at I loved as well. The suite was small yet roomy, with all the things I wanted in a home.

I liked the feel of the place and the landlady was nice and the place is also close to Nanaimo SkyTrain Station. I could go downtown or stop at Broadway station and pick up a few groceries at Safeway nearby.

The commute to work consisted of two buses which would take about 40 min.

Not much different than when I was living Cambie and 19.

To make this decision easier, I thought I’d list the pros and cons of each place and decide from there.

that is of course if I’m offered both places at the same time

Place on East 19

Pros:

  • Roomy yet small and cozy
  • Double sink
  • $1000.00 month including utilities! (a deal!)
  • Nice landlady
  • Close to Nanaimo station so everything is a SkyTrain away.
  • Nice neighbourhood
  • Floor heat
  • One SkyTrain downtown

Cons:

  • Far from work so will have to take transit
  • Small
  • Crying baby next door
  • No laundry
  • Safeway is far though it’s only a SkyTrain away

Place on East 4th and Renfrew

Pros:

  • Cozy and warm feeling… positive vibes
  • Character
  • Potential garden at front
  • I won’t have to get rid of any furniture
  • 26 min walk to work

Cons:

  • Old house, slated for tear down eventually
  • Not sure if there is a sub floor which could be a cold place in the winter.
  • Old furnace
  • Concern that people upstairs like to party
  • Bit of a musty smell
  • Getting downtown will be a chore
  • $1200, all inclusive though

Both places have their merits but as I think about them, the East 19 avenue place seems long term while the other place, I could be gone in a few months if the owner decides it’s not worth fixing up anymore and demolish the house.

You can see both it’s benefits and its shortfalls… however I am thinking of the E19 place. Even though there is no laundry, there is a DROP OFF laundry service up near Nanaimo and Broadway, so I don’t have to spend hours wasting time washing clothes.

Whatever happens I hope something comes through for me.

I am determined to make it a home!

Rejecting the Bible – an interesting way to view scripture and doctrine

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

I recently interacted with someone on a Facebook forum dedicated to looking at the role of women and men from a biblical basis – that is, the point is to consider what the Bible has to say about women and men in the body of Christ. Our interaction in this instance was on a different point, though; she criticized my use of the words Old Covenant and New Covenant in discussing the eras in which we read of the great relationships of Ruth and Boaz (who lived under the Old Covenant) and Mary and Joseph (in the advent of the New Covenant).

She said the phrases Old Testament and New Testament wrongly give the impression that the original Hebrew Scriptures had been replaced. Yet I hadn’t used the word “testament” at all, and for the specific reason that I was speaking of the covenant the people lived under (or were approaching), not the name of the…

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Retreat at Rivendell

This was written shortly after the St. Brigids fall retreat at Rivendell November 22-24. I didn’t finish the post and left it until now. 

Spent a weekend with some of my friends from St Brigids congregation

It’s the St Brigids annual retreat at Rivendale which is on Bowen Island. The facilities were wonderful with private and clean rooms, huge kitchen and common room. A large fireplace. We spent time talking about prayer and what it is about with Curator André leading the sessions.

Why do I pray was one Of the questions, followed by how and what were we praying and what do we expect from God?

Prayer is talking to God, aligning my mind to the things of God. Helps to ease distress and uncertainty and to get a sense of His presence

What is Prayer?:

It’s Communication, a Conversation which we can Bring up Petitions.

Is it talking to yourself? Does it change us and others?

The book of Job was discussed in which God played the advocate as apposed to the accuser… Job had a limited understanding of God. We all have a limited understanding so we need to embrace the mystery and understand that we project our own ideas about God.

Eclesaties can Be called the book of mindfulness

We don’t always hear the answer, in fact Michael the Archangel said he was delayed Answering because he had to fight spiritual Forces. I think that sometimes we delay our own answer. We can dwell on the negative rather than the positive

What does Jesus say?:

Prayer is private. Don’t show off

It is to Bring the kingdom here. (Your Kingdom come)

His will be done

God already knows before you even speak it.

Examples:

Pharisee and the Tax collector

Persistent Knocker

Widow and the unjust Judge

Jesus on the cross. “Forgive them For they know not what they’re doing. Father why have you forsaken me?”

There is No clear answer on what is Prayer with Different theories about God.

God created then withdrew

God created and still involved but in a limited way

God is 💯 % active

God created then works through humans to accomplish his will in the world.

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In the second session, we broke up into groups and discussed different aspects of prayer. It was interesting and an eye opener.

That evening we went to the chapel for some Taizé worship. The harmonies were beautiful and a God presence was felt!

I enjoyed the retreat even though at times I was feeling left out, however I made sure to switch the negative thoughts and stopped comparing myself to others and that worked. I was able to interact with Others I refused to feel sorry for myself.

I would love to go back for my own personal retreat. Perhaps sometime this summer. We shall see how that unfolds.

Three exercises for noticing small emotions — Love Uncommon

Historically, I wasn’t very good at noticing emotions when they are small. In fact, for the longest time I really only noticed emotions when they became too overwhelming to ignore. This was not an effective strategy. It led to really painful interpersonal conflict and meant I spent a lot of time running away from emotional […]

via Three exercises for noticing small emotions — Love Uncommon

Regarding the grammar of God

A white stone

The recent debate over the marriage
canon of the Anglican Church of Canada has revealed at least two
major theological fault line, both deeply underexamined. One is how
we think about gender, both in the order of creation and in the order
of redemption, and in our language about God and humanity; whether
our scripture and tradition actually tie us into a simple gender
binary to anything like the extent we have believed for the last few
centuries. The other is how we think about the theological nature of
covenant partnership (and, secondarily, how this relates to the
institutions known as “marriage” at various times and places).

At the moment I am mostly making forays
towards the first question, not with any idea that it can be resolved
forever, but in an attempt to at least slightly complicate and deepen
some of our thinking. I’ve also glanced at the second…

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Pride

person with body painting
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

 

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

As Vancouver Pride is just around the corner (August 2-4) and New West Pride coming up August 17 (Saturday), I’ve been mulling around in my head what Pride means to me and what it entails and why I celebrate it. I had been an evangelical Christian since I was in my twenties and believed being gay (or more clearly practicing homosexuality) was a sin and was to be avoided and suppressed… which was what I did for over twenty years. However, after many agonizing years of trying to get “cured”, I walked away from the church and God, finally embracing that part of myself. My first Pride was 2008 in Vancouver. I just started dating a guy and he was in town for the festivities and of course I came along. We did the bars, some of the Pride events, and watched the Pride parade. I was overwhelmed with emotion at all the people who were gay and their allies. I felt I came home, that I found where I belonged. There has been No other time have I ever felt that way until recently when I came back to God.

Pride is about protesting and letting people know the injustices that so many in the LGBTQ+2 have suffered for so many years. It’s now evolved into a celebration, of the progress that has been made but we still have a long way to go before total acceptance. Some have wondered why there is not straight pride… well the answer is quite simple. There is a straight pride. It happens 7 days a week 365 days of the year, there is no fear of losing your job, your home, being beaten up and ridiculed simply because of who you love! So, Pride represents those who have been marginalized, and cast out. Fortunately, with the progress that has happened in the last 50 years. (I was a young child when it was still illegal to be gay) there is reason to hope. The Anglican Church of Canada recently had their General meeting or otherwise called “General Synod”. In this series of meetings, they discussed and voted on various things pertaining the church and how they interacted to the world around them. One of them among many was the motion to include same sex marriage in the Canon (rules of the church), which they discussed and voted. Unfortunately, the motion was defeated by a very slim margin, however many of the Bishops who had voted “yes”, decided to go ahead and allow same sex marriages within their own diocese anyways. Pride is still a protest and a way to keep the debate alive to keep moving forward to full acceptance. Also, during the August long weekend there is also an event called “Spirit Pride”, which is put on by St Andrews-Wesley United church and is being hosted by Christ Church Cathedral. It’s a conference about LGBTQ+2 Spirituality and runs in tandem with Pride.

I am not here to debate the scriptures about it, and not interested in hearing that side of the story as I’ve heard it all  before, and have spent a lot of time studying scriptures and hear divergent views on same sex attraction. My conclusion, God loves us all no matter and that being Gay is not a sin. I recommend getting know Gay Christians, find out how they tick, what they love, their passions and interests. You’ll find they are not so different from the rest of us. An excellent resource is Kathy Baldock’s  ”Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community”. I challenge you to take a second look at the scriptures, keeping cultural context in mind. Who was it written to, and why? what is the background, the culture of the day, the language they used?

 

When you isolate your self from the “other” you miss the richness of diversity and shortchange yourself. Get to know them, be friends, DON’T JUDGE! You will be surprised what you will find when you open your eyes and mind. God is much bigger than our own theology and our own perception of Him.

When I finally came to accept myself and God’s Love, that is when I truly felt I belonged… No other time in my life have I ever recalled being full of emotion than when I came to myself and realized that I was not an abomination, that God LOVED ME and accepted me. I am part of two Christian communities, St. Andrews Wesley United Church and St Brigids Community @ Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican Church of Canada) who both completely accept and affirm of LGBTQ2+ people. I’ve come full circle since the day I decided to walk away from all I had come to know about God, but now I am whole and know I am loved.

When we come to accept one another and not judge, when we embrace the “other” and seek to know them as a human being, when we finally realize that Gods diversity is much more than we can imagine, that His love is BOUNDLESS, Pride may no longer be needed, as we would all CELEBRATE our individuality and accept one another as children of God no matter who we love!!!

AMEN

Other resources to consider:

Un-Clobber, Colby Martin

A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic and Hopeful Spiritual Community, John Palovitz

Our Witness: The unheard Stories of LGBT+ Chrisitians, edited by Brandan Robertson

Rainbow in the World: LGBTQ Christians Biblical Memoirs, edited by Ellin Sterne Jimmerson

Together at the Table, Karen P. Oliveto