Author: smcintos

Guru Jesus: It’s Not About You

Is it possible to learn from Jesus, without being Christian? Yes. Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu who admired the teachings of Jesus, but never became a Christian. Gandhi’s ideas about ‘passive resistance’ come directly from the Bible, and that wisdom brought almost a billion people, in South Asia to independence, without a destructive civil war. Today, the nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and probably Burma, owe a great debt to Gandhi, the peaceful liberator; and his ideas came from Jesus. Gandhi the Hindu treated Jesus like a guru, and that changed to history of the world, in a good way. In Webster’s dictionary, a “Guru” is “a personal religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism.” Jesus was Jewish and not a Hindu, but we apply the definition to Him, easily. You might have heard of “WWJD” for Protestants and “Imitatio Christi” for Catholics, and similar ideas for Orthodox Churches. “What Would Jesus Do?” dates back to 1896, from a novel by an American writer Charles Sheldon. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox …

Is Che Guevara Like Jesus?

When I was in high school, some of my fellow students were radical leftists, or at least they tried to be. We always knew them because they wore army surplus clothes, and raised their fists and shouted words like “Che, Che, Che!” They were referring to Che Guevara, the communist revolutionary who fought in Cuba, as a comrade of Fidel Castro. Che was a doctor, born in Argentina, who joined the communist guerrillas in Cuba, led by Fidel Castro. After the successful Communist take-over in Cuba, he travelled to several countries to promote Communist revolutions. It all ended when he went to Bolivia and formed a guerrilla force to overthrow the government there. The Bolivians did not support him, including the Bolivian Communist Party, and he was betrayed, and then captured and killed by the Bolivian army. RELATED: Che Guevara: Wikipedia The face of Che Guevara as a popular icon, almost a religious symbol, is still popular on t-shirts and posters, and tattoos. It was the great symbol of youthful rebellion among my friends. Recently, …

Church in Germany Credit: Bernard Blanc/Flickr/Creative Commons

Bad News for Organized Religion

Where I live, we are a few days away from an election. A few night’s ago, we had a leader’s debate, with all the usual personal attacks and petty bickering. The reaction today is that no-one won the debate, and the voters haven’t changed their minds about how they will vote. It was all a required exercise before the vote, with no results. In all the arguments, there is a story about someone who preached a sermon at a Baptist church. I wasn’t there for the sermon, but apparently he talked about sexuality and morals, and he described some similarities between homosexuals, and pedophiles who molest children. I don’t know what he said, but someone found a record of the sermon, and noted that the preacher is a candidate in the election. That has produced angry demands to fire the candidate, and he has apologized. The debate last night included angry words about “homophobia” but I predict that preacher will win his local election by a landslide. People in his small-town region don’t have a …

Credit: duncan c/Flickr/Creative Commons

Make Yourself Healthy With the Bible

Have you heard of LKM? Me neither, until today. The letters mean “Loving Kindness Meditation” and it’s one of the newest health fads. Apparently it’s right up there with KETO diets and Yoga and fruit smoothies. Who knew? Apparently, this meditation helps with migraines, depression, and possibly aging. LKM is even recommended by the Mayo Clinic: RELATED: Mayo mindfulness: Can sharing kindness help your health? Kindness, or some expression of God’s love, is highly recommended in the Bible. Really, I don’t think it’s recommended; kindness is required. There is no other lifestyle for a Christian. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) These words are instructions, not one more fad to think about. So does that mean the Bible had LKM first? Can the Bible make us healthy? Yes. And this is important for the Christians I know; kindness is an action, not a feeling. Kindness is not warm and fuzzy, and sentimental. You can be kind when you are not in the mood. The …

Christchurch, New Zealand Jon Sullivan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Guns, Bombs, Muslims and Christians

A few days ago, someone attacked a mosque in New Zealand and killed fifty people, by the most recent count. Now, the entire nation of New Zealand is in shock, and the Prime Minister has vowed to never say the name of the killer. This news moved quickly around the world, and now, a week later, a detailed account is available in Wikipedia: RELATED: Christchurch Mosque Shooting When I heard the news, I waited for the information that we all dreaded. What was the name of the killer? In crude terms ‘One of us or one of them?’ Did a Muslim kill other Muslims, or did the killer have a grudge against that religion? Even worse, what if the killer identified as a Christian and tried to pull the rest of us into the fight? I’m a Christian; is someone dragging me under the bus? Fifty people died in Christchurch New Zealand, including children, and that is very wrong. If this mass killing generates enough payback anger, more wrong will grow from the first incident, …

Credit: verifex/Flickr/Creative Commons

Narcissism and Religion: PODCAST

  Group narcissism can happen in religion; most of us are guilty. Imagine a peaceful and quiet nursery for mothers with new babies. Everyone is resting, and happy, with excellent medical care and a regular feeding schedule. Suddenly, the door bursts open and the room is filled with many, very tall, alien creatures. They take the babies from their mothers and squeeze and rub the babies, and disrupt all the peace and order in the nursery, including feeding schedules, and possibly they transmit infectious diseases from outside. Then they give the babies to the wrong mothers and leave. Imagine the crying babies and the hysterical mothers, and imagine if some of the babies died. That horror story happened recently, in England. Really. If you missed the news story, I left some details out. The nursery was a pig farrowing barn and the mothers were sows, the tall aliens were about one hundred animal-rights activists who invaded to cuddle and pet the piglets, to comfort them. And yes, some of the piglets died. RELATED: Vegans accused …

Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr/Creative Commons

Millenial Narcissism, and Maybe Death

Last Friday, after midnight, a loud sound woke me up. It sounded like a traffic accident, but then it happened again, and again. I realized that someone was pounding on our apartment building. I am not responsible for the building, but I put on a coat and went to the front door, around 2 a.m. I found someone trying to force their way into the building, by kicking the glass in the door to break it. I should have called the police first, but I was still waking up. I tapped on the glass and told the person to go away, but she refused and shouted at me. It dawned on me that she might be a visitor with the right to come in, so I opened the door, and she forced her way past me and ran up the stairs. I could smell alcohol on her as she passed me. I am not ever permitted to let a violent drunk into the building because of concerns for the safety of the people inside, so …

Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland Credit: SebaSimon/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Y si Dios no nos ayudará?

English: What if God won’t help us? Tengo algunos amigos que están luchando con problemas en sus vidas. Donde vivo, la economía está muy mal y la gente está perdiendo sus puestos de trabajo, y un buen amigo está perdiendo su negocio. Es doloroso ver el proceso de cierre de las puertas dl negocio y al mismo tiempo tratar de pagar las deudas. Soy cristiano, y oro por mis amigos, pero los problemas siguen con nosotros. Nos está ignorando Dios? ¿Hay una razón por la que no podemos tener un milagro? En la religión judía hay un debate titulado “Teología Holocausto.” Después de que millones de personas inocentes murieron, en lugares terribles como Auschwitz, Judios religiosos comenzaron a preguntar ‘¿Dónde estaba Dios?”Ellos quieren saber por qué Dios no las atrocidades contra su pueblo escogido. Relacionados: ¿Cómo podría Dios haber permitido que el Holocausto? : Correo Huffington No quiero ser uno de esos Cristianos cómodos, diciendo a esas personas lo que deberían haber hecho hace muchos años de manera diferente. Nadie quiere ser un entrenador sentado …

Jim Bakker Credit: YouTube Capture/The Jim Bakker Show

Jim Bakker is back. Did you know?

If you are older than 40, you should know the names Jim and Tammy Bakker, although the younger generation might not know about the famous television-evangelist couple. Their story is still interesting. For at least a decade, they were household names, and people who had no interest in Christian things knew about them. It ended with scandals involving misuse of money and sexual misconduct, and Jim Bakker went to jail. His wife Tammy divorced him, and later died of cancer. Jim is out of prison now, and remarried, and active as a Christian speaker again. Apparently, he owes millions to the tax department. We can never accuse Jim and Tammy of being boring. The media needs stories to sell, and Jim and Tammy probably generated millions in revenue for the press. People paid to read those stories. RELATED: Jim Bakker: Wikipedia Jim Bakker has been operating as a Christian speaker for several years now, and it’s not correct to say he just came back, but I think he is getting more attention recently. For most …

Church on Lake Bled, Slovenia Credit: Alex Krivec/Flickr/Creative Commons

Spiritual but not Religious? Yes

Have you heard about SBNR or SBNA? That means “Spiritual But Not Religious” and “Spiritual But Not Affiliated.” The Internet is full of blogs and videos about this, and it seems to be most popular with young adults today “Millennials.” RELATED: Spiritual but not religious So is this good for us? Should we run away from it? Is it the enemy of Christianity? Yes, No, and Maybe. I believe, if we want to talk about something, we should invest some intelligent thought. Emotional storms just generate destructive arguments. So let’s be careful and rational. True spirituality is not … 1) Dishonest Manipulation. We all know there are religious cults in the world that are controlling and dangerous. Imagine a person telling you that they are ‘Spiritual’ when they are not. They are lying to make you do what they want. That person is a religious sociopath, and someone we should avoid. 2) Ignorance. We might use a word like “spiritual’ to win an argument with someone, maybe our parents. I have been guilty of that …

Decisions Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to Die in Prison

There is a news story developing, in Syria, that is very sad. As the last territory controlled by ISIS is overrun, and the militants face defeat, many people are trying to escape with their lives. ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, is described as a terrorist organization and it is accused of many atrocities. The horror stories have shocked the world, and now no-one wants the refugees. People who participated in organized evil against so many innocent victims, are not wanted back in their home countries. One refugee from ISIS is Shamima Begum, a young woman who is now nine months pregnant. Shamima left her home in England when she was fifteen, and travelled to Turkey with two other your girls, and then they crossed the border into ISIS territory to become brides of ISIS fighters. She was legally a child when she left England, and in ISIS territory she had two babies, both dead now, and she is about to have her third baby. She is appealing to the British government to let …

Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland Credit: SebaSimon/Flickr/Creative Commons

What if God won’t help us?

Español: ¿Y si Dios no nos ayudará? I have some friends who are struggling with problems in their lives. Where I live, the economy is weak and people are losing their jobs, and a good friend is losing a business. The process of closing the doors and trying to pay debts is painful to watch. I am a Christian, and I pray for my friends, but the problems are still with us. Is God ignoring us? Is there a reason why we can’t have a miracle? In the Jewish religion there is a debate called “Holocaust Theology.” After millions of innocent people were killed, in terrible places like Auschwitz, religious Jews started asking ‘Where was God?” They want to know why God did not stop the atrocities against his chosen people. RELATED: How could God have allowed the Holocaust?: Huffington Post I don’t want to be a comfortable Christian, telling those people now, what they should have done differently many years ago. No one wants an armchair quarterback, but we can all relate to the …

Credit: Bernard Blanc/Flickr/Creative Commons

So What is Cisgender?

I heard part of an argument recently, and one angry person accused others of being “cisgender.” I didn’t know the full meaning of the word, but I understood part of the argument, and I knew the words were spoken in anger. I think this word is new, and I know it is often used in anger, to identify people who are wrong and cruel to others. It’s like ‘fascist’ or ‘racist’ or ‘white male’, a description of people who discriminate and are politically incorrect. We should know this word. But first, I have a small detour. A few days ago, an instructor asked several of us an interesting question, referring to “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” You probably know the pattern, at the bottom are poor or unhealthy people who are fighting for survival, and as we become more secure in life, we focus on higher priorities like love, and self esteem. RELATED: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs This was the question: If you were given a choice by your employer, which one would you choose? a) …

Credit: Mathew Wilson/Flickr/Creative Commons

That Time When I Was Healed

Praying for the sick is an old tradition among Christians. Apparently, the Last Rites in the Roman Catholic Church started as prayers for healing, but they morphed into a final send-off. Today, I am sure that Christians in most denominations will pray for a sick person, for healing and for peace at the end of life. If they don’t, they should. Praying for the sick makes Christians different from all other religions. It’s not a common practice, in the religious world. The Bible is very clear about this responsibility in Christian churches. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5: 14 and 15) It’s clear to me that this is the business of the leaders in the church, and not the exclusive property of specialized faith healers. …

Credit: Michael J. Moeller/Flickr/Creative Commons

But I Don’t Like You

So who do you not like? You could answer with a name. I could do the same in my life. If we want to use the word ‘fault’ it probably is their fault, and maybe they started it, that’s even better. Have you noticed how easy it is to dislike, and maybe hate people these days? Internet media gives us pictures and videos of people who need correction, and it’s always their fault, and they started it. We can correct the whole world, and feel good about ourselves. There is a popular video game called “Hatred” where we can act this out in virtual reality, and not liking other people is the basic plot of most movies these days. We can pay money in a theatre to watch the ballet of pay-back. In October of 2018, some protesters with different ideas collided in the same space. It’s not hard to see the dislike: If you watch the video, you will soon start to dislike someone, and it really is their fault, and you didn’t start …

New York City street Credit: Andrea Komodromos/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are Some Races of Humans More Intelligent? The Bible says no!

If you are a dog owner, the following information might make you unhappy, or maybe happy. Brace yourself. What are the most intelligent breeds of Dogs? And what are the least intelligent? Apparently sheep dogs from Scotland, Shelties, are some of the brightest, along with Poodles, and those long haired hounds from central Asia, Afghans, are among the dumbest. I don’t own a dog, so I can’t confirm my answers, but I believe that you are not offended by the question. So what races of humans are the most intelligent? And who are the least intelligent among us? You should be offended by those questions. I am writing this as a Christian, and I believe that God made us all in His own image and since only humans were created in God’s image, we are all equally intelligent. Questions about racial intelligence never come up among Christians, in my experience. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) and …

Credit: Fergus Macdonald/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Islam Incompatible with Christianity?

Very recently, in a “town hall” meeting, a citizen questioned the Prime Minister of Canada, and stated that Islam is not compatible with Christianity. People in the audience booed, and I have since read comments aimed at the citizen, about Fascists and Nazis and intolerant people. RELATED: Trudeau stands up for immigrants as town hall questioner slams Islam I know the speaker had one big problem. He is an unsophisticated citizen and he was up against a skilled and sophisticated spin-doctor politician. My advice to anyone who disagrees with a professional politician, is to stay away from the microphone. We can’t compete in their arena. In the case of the Canadian Prime Minister, the citizen with a grievance became a foil. In literature, that means a mirror. If the citizen can appear to be bumbling and unsophisticated, the politician can look like a shining star of reasonableness, in contrast. The citizen’s concern will never be heard, and no-one will try to understand. Modern western culture is dominated by sound bites, and insulting put-downs, and bitter …

Credit: Ben Keating/Flickr/Creative Commons

You Need A Business Failure In The New Year?

Some of us own businesses. I own a small business, very small. It exists mostly so I can get paid with invoices. There is no gleaming office tower. A few days ago I talked to a good friend who also owns a business. Well, he did own a business, until the Credit Union called in a loan. They seized his inventory, worth much more than what he owed, and auctioned it for about two hundred dollars. Now they might force the sale of his house. I met my friend for a coffee break, and when I located him, he was at a site working with another man. The other man was friendly, but really wanted to know who I was. I learned later that he owned a successful business, and he needed to upgrade some equipment. He went to a lender that specialized in business loans, and they looked at his books carefully. Their conclusion was that they would only give him a line-of-credit for ten times what he asked for. They saw great potential …

Credit: Mahmoudreza Shirinsokhan/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Eres perezoso, tonto, malvado o quizás ungido?

English Version: Are You Lazy, Stupid, Evil, or maybe Anointed? Todo el mundo cree. Yo soy cristiano, hay millones como yo y el mundo también está lleno de otras religiones. Los ateos, que no creen en Dios, creen en algo. Tienen alguna manera de dar sentido a la vida en este mundo. No quiero señalar a los ateos para las críticas especiales aquí, pero estoy seguro de que ellos creen, al igual que el resto de nosotros. Creer es una condición del ser humano. El problema es con los creyentes que se convierten en “ungidos”. Ese es un estado especial, en cualquier sistema de creencias, en el que estamos tan convencidos, que llegamos a una etapa en la que nunca se puede criticar. Simplemente sabemos que estamos en lo cierto, y eso significa que todo desacuerdo está equivocado. No necesitamos discutirlo, simplemente están equivocados. ¿Has oído hablar de la “Visión del Ungido?” Thomas Sowell presenta el concepto de que somos gobernados por élites que se auto-felicitan, el “Ungido”. Su lenguaje es religioso, pero escribe sobre política …

Credit: Mahmoudreza Shirinsokhan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are You Lazy, Stupid, Evil, or maybe Anointed?

Español: ¿Eres perezoso, tonto, malvado o quizás ungido? Everyone believes. I am a Christian, there are millions like me, and the world is also full of other religions. Atheists, who don’t believe in God, believe in something. They have some way to make sense of life in this world. I don’t want to single out Atheists for special criticism here, but I am sure that they believe, just like the rest of us. It’s a human condition. The problem is with believers who become “anointed.” That’s a special status, in any belief system, where we become so convinced, we arrive at a stage where can never be criticized. We just know we are correct, and that means every dis-agreer is wrong. We don’t need to discuss it, they are just wrong. Have you heard of the “Vision of the Anointed?” Thomas Sowell presents the concept that we are governed by self-congratulating elites, the “Anointed.” His language is religious but he writes about politics and society. Many of the secular “Anointed” today have a PhD and …

Photo taken on May 21, 2011, the day predicted as judgement and rapture day by American Christian radio host Harold Camping. Credit: Just call me Jac/Flickr/Creative Commons

For Bad Religion, Just Add Armageddon

In November of 2017, the police arrested some kidnappers in an industrial suburb, close to where I live. Nisku, the suburb, is a huge oilfield service area. If any place is good for a kidnapping, Nisku is not it. The place is filled with large trucks and welding shops. When the details were told, the story got stranger; the kidnappers were mostly naked, in cold weather, and they fiercely resisted the police, who tasered and pepper sprayed them. One of the kidnap victims was a tiny baby. The three kidnap victims escaped unharmed, and the kidnappers have been tried and just recently convicted. The whole story is bizarre, and it was all about religion. The kidnappers are Jehovah’s Witnesses who worked themselves into a frenzy for several days, and there might have been some hallucinogenic tea in the house. They all decided that November 6, 2017 was the day of Armageddon, and then they decided to save their neighbors from the destruction at the end of the world. They rushed to the rescue-kidnapping so quickly …

Credit: Mark Lehigh/Flickr/Creative Commons

Fake Christian Conversion and Migration

Sometimes a news organization will report that migrants are converting to Christianity, and it’s obvious that the conversion allows them to make a refugee claim, if they come from a country where Christians are persecuted. As new Christians, they can say they will be punished or even killed if they are deported to their home country, since they have converted away from the approved religion. In Iran, for example, the only religious conversion permitted, is to Islam, and I imagine that means to the approved sect of Shia Islam. Saudi Arabia has a similar policy, and conversion away from Islam, apostasy, can be punished by death. There are many places in the world where conversion away from the religion of the ancestors, and of the government, can bring severe punishment. Many of those countries are Islamic, but I’m sure a Buddhist in Myanmar (Burma) or possibly Thailand would cause an offense if they converted away from the national religion. I don’t know if they would be punished severely, but I’m sure they would be criticized. …

Nativity Scene, New York City Credit: Gary Wong/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christmas Without Jesus

When I was in high school, we had a Christian club called BASIC. That meant “Bothers And Sisters In Christ.” Looking back, our weekly huddle in a classroom, with our dry sandwiches, was the first time I got to be a Christian without supervision. My older generation liked to control the kids, and religion was pushed on me constantly, at home and in church. We knew how to behave, to avoid criticism and discipline, but I think most of my friends dropped out of church as soon as they grew up, and they don’t identify as Christian now. In BASIC, we made our own choices. Maturity had to start somewhere, and I learned about Christianity that was just Jesus. The members of BASIC came from different churches, and some had no family church. I remember two girls from a Plymouth Brethren group, and they seemed to detest Christmas. To them, the season was filled with pagan symbols and idols and shrines, especially those decorated trees. I struggled with their ideas, but I learned that the …

Churches in South Korea often display red crosses. In what is described as Reverse Missionary, South Korean Churches are sending missionaries to the West. Two churches side by side in Suwon, South Korea Credit: donut2D/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you met a Reverse Missionary?

Recently, a young man named John Allen Chau traveled to a place that belongs to India, North Sentinel Island, where the natives attacked him and probably killed him, although some family members think he might still be alive. The North Sentinelese have a long history of killing anyone who visit their island, and it is likely that Mr. Chau is dead. The government of India bans all travel to the place, and now no one can recover the body, or even identify it. RELATED: Missionary wrote ‘God, I don’t want to die’ right before tribe killed him Mr. Chau was a missionary, he went to the island to tell the natives about Jesus. His las name “Chau” might seem Asian, but he is from the U.S. Apparently his home is Vancouver Washington, on the north side of Portland Oregon, and I think he trained to be a missionary in Kansas. His story, and his probable death, have generated some discussion, like ‘He’s crazy.’ and ‘Those Christians are colonial imperialists.’ and ‘Why do those island people …

Credit: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Religion Evil?

Is all religion evil? Some people think so. Recently, a large number of devout Muslims met in a wedding hall in Kabul Afghanistan to celebrate the birthday of their Prophet Muhammad. As they were celebrating their holy day, a suicide bomber detonated explosives among them, killing at least fifty and injuring many more. RELATED: Suicide bombing at Kabul religious gathering kills dozens I am not a Muslim, but I sympathize with the victims; they were innocently commemorating something that is sacred to them. The killer was a fellow Muslim, but many extreme Muslim terrorists have condemned the bombing. Some really dangerous people are appalled by what happened. They would never take it that far. Stories like this just boost the argument that religion is an evil force in the world and it should be removed. One famous quote, apparently by Karl Marx is “Religion is the opiate of the peoples” but that might have been a common proverb in his time. My impression of anyone who wants us to quit something, is that they want …

Las Vegas Credit: Mr. Jason Hayes/Flickr/Creative Commons

Vegas and Hollywood: the truth

On the evening of October 1, 2017, a man named Stephen Paddock used a gun to kill and injure spectators at a country music concert in Las Vegas. You probably know something about the story, but have you noticed all the comments and conspiracy theories that have spun off from the incident; the story about the story? It’s interesting because Mr Paddock is such a mystery. We don’t know why he shot those people except that he made a decision. His background story gives us no clues, so we are free to make our own judgments. That’s useful for some people. RELATED: Las Vegas Shooting: Wikipedia A few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published an article about Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the Hollywood movie industry. He has been accused of gross misconduct with young women who were trying to make careers in movies and television. At this time, it is fair to say the accusations have been denied, and any accusations are only alleged; but that …

Brussels, Belgium Credit: Francisco Antunes/Flickr/Creative Commons

God Bless You

Do you feel better now? I hear people getting blessed all the time, when they sneeze. In ancient times, people worried that the soul would come out with the sneeze, where the devil might steal it. A blessing would put it back safely. But really, what is the point of a blessing? Is there something we should know here? I learned some lessons about blessing yesterday. Lesson 1) I already know that words spoken into the air have no power, unless God does a miracle. OK, not ‘no power’; I might feel better about myself if I hear myself saying the words, but the other guy only gets words. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2: 16) Lesson 2) Blessings are common in the Bible, so they must be a good idea. In ancient Israel, the priests were told to say these …

Credit: FrankGuido/Flickr/Creative Commons

Show Me The Easy Money

I once met a couple who won a lottery. They were ordinary people in a small town, and no-one would call them especially good-looking or interesting, they were just the neighbors. Before they won, they worked at jobs, and the cost of living was low in the small town. I think they had children and I’m sure their bills were all paid. After they won, they invested their winnings in expensive horses. They did not invest in each other, but they had to travel to the bank together to take out money, so they still had a relationship. I don’t know how anyone can make money on horses, and by now the money is probably gone. My best advice is, ‘Go back to work, that’s where you were successful.’ A woman in Canada won the lottery, one thousand dollars a week, for life. And guess how she is spending her money? She is not into investments, expensive jewellery, or sports cars. I made that up, but she is not doing what we expect. She decided …

Wealth comes to China Credit: Jimmie/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have You Fallen From Your Car?

Recently, a young man in Russia posed for a picture, with him sprawled on the ground. His feet were near the bottom step of a very expensive private jet. This was a joke, pretending to be richer than Solomon, and owning a fabulous private jet. Most of the world would never know about this small joke, except that it went viral and became a meme, in China. Now, China has a fad of ‘falling out of your car.’ Typically, a young woman, in expensive clothes will pose for a picture, sprawled on her face. Around her head will be an arch of expensive things that only rich people have, like high-end phones, make-up, jewellery, and wads of cash. Her feet will be near the open door of a very expensive car, as if she fell while getting out. All the hardware and clothes show that she lives the life of a fabulous movie star. RELATED: China’s ‘flaunt your wealth’ challenge goes viral with people falling out of cars with luxury goods I predict this meme …

St Paul Minnesota Credit: James McLarnan/Flickr/Creative Commons

When Our God Fails Us

I am sure that everyone believes. I am a Christian, and that comes from a choice that I made when I was young. Now I follow and worship Jesus. Many of the people around me, including some friends, do not follow Jesus; but everyone believes. Everyone has a god. Recently a famous journalist in Canada published an article starting with the words “People my age grew up believing the world, led by the West, was becoming more progressive. It wasn’t and isn’t.” The title was “Lose your illusions. It’s an ugly, dystopian world.” If you read Mr MacDonald’s article, you might be offended. He has some strong negative opinions, and he gives out much anger. For example, he describes the United States and Saudi Arabia as “Republic of Dystopia, our southern neighbor, and the Kingdom of Draconia, Canada’s most violent and temperamental weapons customer.” He also describes the President of the U.S. and his American supporters as the “savage, braying president, and guffaws from the simple-minded flying monkeys he commands at his rallies.” RELATED: Lose …

Red Square, Moscow Credit: Matt Shalvatis/Flickr/Creative Commons

How to be a Persecuted Christian

Are you a Christian? If ‘yes’ do you know that you will be persecuted? The Bible is very clear about that “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “Will be.” I recently followed the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. And yes, it is dangerous for me to say that, but note that I live in Canada and I don’t want to pick sides in someone else’s argument. What I noticed was that accusers and the accused were like soldiers on the front line, and they could be sacrificed for the benefit of greater powers. I am sure the dispute was more intense because the U.S. was a few weeks away from mid-term elections, at the time. So much was at stake. I could say more, but I am now in dangerous territory. This is safe for me; I have often traveled to the U.S. and I am always impressed by the large numbers of good people that I meet …

Fire near Santee, CA during the 1980s. Credit: Rick Bolin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 5: The Final Occupation

This is about the end of the book that is at the end of the Bible. It’s the last installment in a series of articles on the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible. Revelation is a future description of the end of this age in history. Christians are supposed to read this book, but too many of us are satisfied with a few pictures like 666 (chapter 13 and verse 18) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (chapter 6), and Armageddon, the great final battle (chapter 16 and verse 16). The pictures are interesting, but we are told to read the whole book: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (1:3) We are supposed to make sense of this book, and to understand where we are in history. So, think about something that makes you angry, or someone who has that effect. Now calm down …

St Paul's Cathedral, London, England during the Great Fire attack during World War II, December 29, 1941 Credit: National Archives/New Times Paris Bureau/Public Domain

Apocalypse 4: The Atheist Wars

I don’t believe in Santa Claus. If Santa was God, I would be an atheist. When my children were little, I took them to the mall before Christmas, where other families brought their children to see Mall Santa. Those children had fun, and got coloring books and candy canes, all for free. So where were my children? In the line up with everyone else. With my Scottish name, it must be clear that I love not spending money, and free anything is attractive to me. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and I told my children that he was not real, but fake Santa sure was fun. And my wallet stayed safe in my pocket. I have met one atheist who truly did not believe in God. I am a Christian and he was a friend of mine. I never saw him in church, but he probably would not object to a visit. He was an atheist, not a hater. Have you noticed that most people who call themselves atheists are angry at God? They …

Credit: L Geoffroy/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 3: The Eco-Apocalypse

Doomsday cults, and doomsday predictors are everywhere. Some are Christian, but the end of the world is a big thing in most religions. The tradition in Islam is that Jesus will return and rule the world, and the teachings of the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are built around preparing for the end. Secular scientists have a Doomsday Clock, and climate change activists have their warnings about the end and our extinction. RELATED: The Doomsday Clock It seems like we all believe, and that makes us targets for cult groups that can manipulate us and ruin our lives. One group from Korea recently moved to Fiji to escape the coming apocalypse and the leaders are accused of abusing their followers. RELATED: ‘I lost my entire family to a cult’: How one woman escaped Grace Road: BBC Note that the Korean group, like most doomsdayers, are concerned about en eco-apocalypse. They were hiding in Fiji, from a coming famine. I have a serious warning for you: we all believe and we are all …

Desert in Qatar Credit: Sam Agnew/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 2: Really, It’s their Fault

Have you ever thought about the future of war? The experts predict future combat that will be much worse than anything we have seen before. RELATED: Future war will result in destruction ‘beyond our comprehension’, says US General The Bible has been saying the same thing for thousands of years. Human beings have always been good at self destruction. We think we will succeed by conquering and stealing from the neighbors, and we always bring down destruction, in the end. The Christian Bible ends with the book of Revelation. Most people know about images from the book, but most people do not know the book. For example, if I mentioned the Antichrist, or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, people everywhere would have some cultural knowledge, but it’s hard to find even a committed Christian who has read the whole book. Let’s change that. Revelation is one narrative, a story that progresses from a beginning to an end, and it is useful for us to read the whole big picture. Those images that we all …