Musings and comments to share
The purpose of this page is to provide a platform where parishioners can express themselves on topics that they care about. Included are links to articles from other sources, which members may believe should be shared.
This page is edited and updated occasionally.
|If marriage is lost, we lose everything||Ross Whitelaw||August 31 2010|
"This unwillingness to fight for the family, on which civilization depends, is another sign of the failure of modern conservatism. The right can win a thousand battles against big government and lose the war for America's future, if it surrenders on marriage and the family." Read this article by Dan Feder on WorldNetDaily.com about the failure of conservative speakers to stand against the assault on traditional marriage.
|"Systematic Discrimination Against Church Now Seems Inevitable"||Ross Whitelaw||August 30 2010|
"Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely. A society where faith is prevented from vigorous public expression is a society that has fashioned the state into an idol. And when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering."
I read a report of this address on LifeSiteNews.com and found it compelling. Every good Christian needs to put away the differences that have kept us apart and realize that we have the same enemies in Secular Humanism and Radical Islam. Both seek the eradication of Christianity. Please take the time to read Archbishop Chaput's entire address as published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver.
|Report from our CoGS and General Synod delegate||Ross Whitelaw||July 20 2010|
"Please pay close attention to them [resolutions] as there are some major changes and some major issues avoided. I found this synod lacked the stress experienced at the previous synod. I believe, however, that we left an elephant on the table and possibly a gorilla in the closet. The coming months will tell as people react to the synod and dioceses continue or not to make decisions they know will distance them further from the wider community."
This General Synod was noted more for what was not dealt with rather than what was. Where will the Anglican Church of Canada be in the next twenty years? Will we be a part of it or part of rising conservative element, which opposes the direction our national church has seemed bent on moving. Click here to access Synod report
|The unstoppable expansion of justifications of euthanasia||Ross Whitelaw||March 26 2010|
I read this article on Mercader.net this morning and it gave me pause for thought. Consider this question, "Will euthanasia and assisted suicide need any moral justification at all if they are ever legalized?" Take the time to read this article by Margaret Somerville on Mercader.net
|The Rev. David Phillips on human sexuality||Ross Whitelaw||June 21 2009|
This article was discovered on the Anglican Essentials Website. I have copied and pasted the following from their site. I would advise that everyone read the four page word document, which is referenced below.
The Rev. David Phillips, Rector of the Parishes of Petite Riviere and New Dublin, Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, has released his presentation to the diocesan listening process on human sexuality. His consideration of human sexuality and same-sex attraction is full of wisdom, IMHO, and deserves to be taken seriously by all Anglicans. It is also radical—concentrating on the fundamental aspects of the issue.
Relying on Scripture and the Thirty-nine Articles, Rev. Phillips directly challenges modern presuppositions that have infiltrated the debate on sexuality.
"Rowan Williams, in an influential article The Body’s Grace from 1989, tried to articulate what might be the fruit of a sexual relationship that doesn’t intend procreation. He speculates that it is for healing, for human growth, for making sense of ourselves, and about learning to be human.
"It is in this way of understanding why sex matters, that it seems to many in the modern world as a great injustice to deny those with same-sex desire, the possibility of a sexual relationship that they too might grow. Many think that for young people growing up, the pattern will probably be or even should be that they will have various relationships involving sex until they discover the right person. It is just a necessary part of coming to maturity, and “thanks” to technology we’ve worked out some of the kinks - unwanted pregnancy and minimizing of sexually transmitted diseases. This is a sea change. Some will say immediately – yes, and for good reasons. I believe it is a cause for weeping.
"I would argue that sexual relations are not needed for human growth, for spiritual maturity or to know one’s self or another – they can only be a reflection of love, of an intimacy, that already exists. [In a longer paper more could be said about the purpose of sex within marriage.]
"These new ideas of the purpose of sex are a radical departure from Scriptural norms. Throughout Scripture there is the call to chastity – in the Law of Moses, sexual desire is restrained and directed to within heterosexual marriage and lust is covered by the 10th commandment (thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife). In the New Testament, Jesus recalls us to the ideal of one marriage (e.g. Mt 19:3-12) and says that to lust after another is not a problem because it leads to adultery, it is adultery (Mt. 5:27-30). St. Paul counsels treating one another in the Church as brother, sister, mother – without lust (1 Tim 5:1-2). If you are not married you are not to have sex, if you are married you are free to have sexual relations, and lustful thoughts are to be put to death by all.
"Chastity seems to be everybody’s business. Why? Why do Jesus and St. Paul seem to be tightening the screws on the expression of our love for one another in sexual relations outwardly and in our minds? Such an understanding just seems unreasonably unfair to everybody! Why does this seem so strange, so un-liberated, to our modern sensibility?"
The complete four-page article is posted at the parishes’ website as a Word document. Read the whole thing.
It is unfortunate that this moving and persuasive reflection is released just as Rev. Phillips has announced his resignation as rector of the Parishes of Petite Riviere and New Dublin, effective 15 September. In the latest issue of the parish newsletter, he says he has decided to give up parish ministry temporarily and devote some time—“probably a year”—to study and writing. May our Lord be with him.
|Science of Sex||Ross Whitelaw||June 21 2009|
"... Thanks to medical science, we now know that casual sex is unhealthy. Not just because of the myriad of sexually transmitted diseases it can cause, to say nothing of the unwanted pregnancies it can create, but because of what it does to the human brain. Two doctors, Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, explain what we now know about sex and the human brain in their book, Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children..."
The article is important for all youth and their parents to read Click here
|Rick Warren - another Easter denial||Ross Whitelaw||April 14, 2009|
This article was on a OneNewsNow Perspective Column on April 14th. Who are you to believe?
Sandy Rios - Guest Columnist - 4/14/2009 8:35:00 AM
"Even if others do, I will never deny you," declared the Apostle Peter some 2,000 years ago just hours before he did exactly that, three times, when the heat was on. Ten others boasted the same, but when the risk was more than theoretical, all deserted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Only one was seen at the cross.
A fascinating story...the "old story," as the secularists like to call it. Barack Obama alluded to this in his speech in France. We need a new story...a discovery of "new ways" of thinking. We must throw off the old, and embrace a much more enlightened, intelligent point of view, he said. By doing so, our president argued, we remove inconvenient barriers, cumbersome moral values and achieve self-determination with our new understanding of the world guiding the way. Surely we cannot be bound in this advanced new age by the old moral codes or put plainly, by what Jesus taught -- certainly not if we are to curry favor with the world in which we live.
During Holy Week, Peter's portion of the "old story" was revisited in a very contemporary way. The last instruction Jesus gave as He left earth was that His followers should tell His story of forgiveness and redemption not only in their communities, but to the "ends of the earth." And as His followers told the "old story," they should not leave out all the other things He had carefully taught them. He wanted future generations to go beyond mere intellectual understanding and move to actually living out the principles.
One of those principles was marriage. "For this reason shall a man leave his parents and join with his wife and the two shall become one flesh," Jesus instructed. One man... one woman...for a lifetime; no sex outside of that union. His clear moral teaching applied to homosexuality and never entertained a discussion of same-sex "marriage," because it would have been unthinkable. "I have come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it," Jesus said in regard to Old Testament moral standards.
Fast forwarding to November 2008, California voters of various religious persuasions -- in a ballot measure called Proposition 8 -- held to the Judeo-Christian teaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Pastor Rick Warren -- author of the multi-million selling book The Purpose Driven Life; pastor of Saddleback, one of the largest churches in the country; deeply influential -- rightly told his congregation just weeks before the election: "...if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear."
Until last week...Holy Week.
"Though others may turn away, I will never deny you," promised Peter. But then in the chill of night in a courtyard just outside the place of Jesus' trial, as others around the fire began to probe his relationship to Jesus, he denied even knowing him. No one was threatening his life, but the derision increased, until Peter's denial escalated to a curse to more emphatically deny he had ever known Jesus.
Peter was worried about his reputation. He didn't want to be the odd man out in the courtyard over the fire...it wasn't a Roman soldier with a sword who challenged him, it was a servant girl.
"On moral issues I come out very clear," declared Warren when speaking in the safety of his church last October. But when confronted by homosexual friends and by CNN's Larry King, he folded like Peter. He told a national television audience that he had "apologized" to his homosexual friends for making comments in support of Proposition 8. He "never once gave an endorsement" of the marriage amendment, he declared in that much larger, electronic courtyard. "I never once issued a statement." But that was not true. He had given an impassioned plea on camera for support of Proposition 8...a plea worthy of a Christian leader...a plea to follow Jesus' teaching on marriage. Then in one CNN moment, he not only backed away from the hard teaching, but lied in the process. On camera...both times...for all to see.
Seduced by the pressure of fame? Driven by the desire to please his friends? Afraid to be seen as bigoted to a national television audience? Whatever the motivation, the denial is no less significant.
After Peter finished his denial, he went out and wept bitterly. Jesus later forgave him in a personal exchange, and Peter became one of the greatest examples of Christ following of all time...crucified upside down for his faith...fearless to the end.
But he repented. If Rick Warren does not, he has lost his moral authority as a Christian leader. Without repentance, he joins the apostate ranks of others who declare Jesus' teaching when it is expedient and deny it when it interferes with choice or reputation.
Another Easter denial -- but we pray Warren will not let his story end there.
|On the Tragic Self-Deceit of the Human Race||Ross Whitelaw||February 13, 2009|
This article was on LifeSite News on February 13th and deserves consideration in the abortion debate. Please read and comment.
Column by John Jalsevac
February 13, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A while back Cardinal Egan wrote an uncharacteristically scathing column, which is one of the best I have ever read on the abortion issue, certainly by a bishop. In it he included these few lines: "If you can convince yourself that these beings (unborn children) are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as 'mere clusters of tissues,' you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is - forgive me - self-deceit in a most extreme form."
Human beings are extraordinarily adept at self-deceit, which is witnessed to by the fact that whole generations have periodically convinced themselves of things that are laughably (but often tragically) false, even when all the evidence points otherwise. Usually this is accomplished because the prevalent lie of the age happens to be a convenient one, and to think contrary to what is fashionable would spoil one's groove.
For instance, I often meditate upon the fact that not a few highly intelligent men and women (not to mention a lot of the rabble) convinced themselves not so very long ago that members of other less-developed civilizations were "sub-human," and could, therefore, be treated according to one's whims. Hence the institution of slavery, which was thought to be an extremely groovy institution by people who made bundles of cash off of it, and even by those who didn't profit at all, but were simply taken in by the propaganda.
I often idly wonder if I would have been one of those working alongside William Wilberforce. Would I have been fighting against all the odds to abolish the slave trade, or would I have been one of the complacent, or even (God forbid) one of the complicit? It is not so straight-forward a speculation as I would like to think. We like to forget (because of what it might say about us) that William Wilberforce was an anomaly, an almost solitary voice of contradiction, a single bolt of lightning in the midst of a seething black sky. In the end he may indeed have lighted the whole world, but it was only after he nearly killed himself in the effort to galvanize his compatriots into action.
There is a scene in the movie "The Mission," in which the Jesuit priests working amongst the South American natives present to a visiting Cardinal and his retinue a native child, who sings for them a convincing rendition of Ave Maria. The priests arranged this performance to demonstrate that the natives could perform well and with feeling the most elevated of art, and were, therefore, just as spiritual and human as anybody else.
Of course, the wily slave traders denounce the whole performance as a sham, observing that a beast could be trained to do the same, which was only the first of their many lies. But it is well to remember that this very same tragic scene was going on all over the world at that time, in many of the colonies. And the slave traders were considered the popular ones, while the puritanical objectors mere gnats buzzing in the face of progress and profit.
Vision is 20/20 in retrospect, and now we all rightly wonder at this monstrous blind spot in the collective conscience of the colonial West. But it is mere fantasy to suppose that some of us wouldn't have been taken in by the lie, if we had lived then. And the same goes for every other great lie in history.
Now, I happen to have a wife, and she happens to be pregnant. (But, before I explain my reasons for bringing her up, I feel I must dispense with an objection. Paul Johnson proclaims as law in his essay, "the art of writing a column," which I just read last night, that a columnist ought never to mention his wife in print. However, I observe that Johnson also lays out a scad of other rules, and, as far as I can tell he violates every single one of them, often. For instance, he wrote that a columnist should never talk down to his readers, but if anyone talks down it is Johnson, which is perhaps the very reason he is so popular. He also strongly proscribed against name-dropping, but after I read the essay in which he nonchalantly spoke of the time he kissed Margaret Thatcher, I began to suspect something of the humbug in him. Hence, I have thought it admissible to forego his advice.)
And so, back to my wife. As I say, she is pregnant, just recently into the third trimester, and therefore exceedingly uncomfortable. Now, I have never had a wife before, let alone one that is pregnant. Like most men, prior to discovering my own fatherhood, I never paid much attention to pregnant women, whom I thought strange and mysterious creatures that I could not hope to understand. And so now I am learning very many things, not the least of which is that they are much more strange and mysterious than I could have imagined.
One thing that I have been most astonished by, however, is just how present the baby has been. We began to be able to feel its movements quite strongly only 17 weeks into the pregnancy. And in recent weeks he seems to be positively in training for the Golden Gloves boxing match. I can even see when he or she (we have decided against finding out the sex) moves now, which I did not expect and is an odd experience.
The baby reacts to all sorts of things, including voices and light. Once I turned on the stereo and it came on unexpectedly loud, and the baby jumped all of a sudden, startled by the sudden noice. You can feel the baby's head, and feet and hands, and sometimes when you push against its hands or feet, he pushes back as if to say, "Please give me some peace in here. It is the only nine months of peace I am likely ever to have."
It is at such moments as these, when I feel this tiny fist resisting my own intruding finger, that I think soberly of the many women with children, or married men, including many politicians and journalists and other important and intelligent and influential people, who vociferously defend, not simply abortion, but late-term and partial-birth abortion, under the pretense that the fetus is a "blob of tissue," or "sub-human" in some other way. And at such times I can only think of that South American child beautifully singing the Ave Maria, oblivious to the fact that he was singing for the very existence of his race.
The President of the United States is a married man with two children. He has also been one of the most outspoken defenders of all abortions, including partial-birth abortions. I wonder then, did he ever take the time while his wife was pregnant to notice what pregnancy was like? Surely Barack has sat on the sofa with Michelle, as I have done with my wife, and watched as his child's fists imprinted themselves on his wife's belly in a sudden flurry of punches. Was he not moved? Did he not, even for a moment, question himself? And somehow we have convinced ourselves that Obama is the great, indeed, the model family man.
Ay, we humans are very adept at self-deception.
(John may be reached at email@example.com)
|The Financial Crisis and The Anglican Crisis||Ross Whitelaw||January 31, 2009|
I picked this article off the Anglican Essentials blog site this morning and thought, how appropriate. It's worth sharing with all parishioners. The Rt. Rev. William Anderson, Bishop of Caledonia, draws a parallel between the global financial crisis and the divisions now rending the Anglican Communion. Your comments would be appreciated.
This fall economies around the world continue to be shaken by the turmoil arising from the American sub-prime mortgage situation. Belatedly, some economists have acknowledged that the financial instruments that were created to manage the mounting debts from the marketing of high risk mortgages were so complicated that many within the financial industry could not completely understand them even as they invested them.
As people have analyzed the roots of the crisis, various theories are being advanced about what gave rise to a situation that has now had worldwide implications. From a Christian perspective, it could be argued that the answer really boils down to two things: greed and arrogance.
Many, especially those in positions of oversight within the financial industry, saw opportunities to make money through marketing financial instruments of questionable value, and pushing mortgages on people who had no realistic ability to meet them if the real-estate market collapsed. The arrogance came from assuming that the lessons of history somehow did not apply in the 21st century, notwithstanding that such speculative real estate bubbles have never been sustainable.
But people believe what they want to believe, often regardless of facts. Those who for years had been urging a more prudent approach to financial affairs were usually dismissed as too conservative, too cautious, and too outdated in their thinking. A great many people followed the herd in making investments that were ill-advised, but which they thought would make them rich. And now we have a major financial crisis that touches on the lives of virtually every person around the world.
Let me suggest that there is a parallel within our lives as a church which should cause us to stop and think carefully about what we are doing. For several years now there have been many who have urged us to throw off the older approach of being cautious in how we define and express our faith, and to simply embrace new theological ideas that are not grounded in Holy Scripture, the Apostolic teachings, and the traditions of the church catholic. Their promise is that by embracing the newly defined Christianity, we will be happier, and our experience of God will be less laden with guilt. We will, in the end, be able to define our faith individually according to what we want to believe, regardless of how nonsensical the ideas.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that this approach has given rise to a crisis with our church. Not surprisingly, the chaos in the financial markets is not unlike the chaos within our Anglican Communion. The activities of a few have hurt many, and created mistrust, anxiety and heartache throughout the world.
One of the outcomes of the recent Lambeth Conference was a call for a restrained and careful approach to how we care for the treasury of faith entrusted to us, part of which is the relationships we have with brothers and sisters in the faith who, with us, make up the Body of Christ. That call is binding on more than bishops- it ought to serve as a principal by which we all regulate our lives in the Church.
|"Somebody's Daughter" Makes a Case Against Pornography||Ross Whitelaw||January 19, 2009|
This article appeared in 'Christian Post' back on September 16, 2008. The article talks about a problem that plagues nearly 60% of all Christian men as well as 35% of all Christian women. I personally am deeply surprised at these statistics while admitting that I know it is a serious problem in our society. Please read this article by clicking on this link. Here is a link to Somebodysdaughter.org