Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Advice Given to me for Feeling Sorry for Myself

After I wrote my recent piece called 'Feeling Sorry for Myself' March 24th, a good friend wrote to me with some advice. Here it is.

"Ron: I see you woke up recently and realized you're getting older. Since I'm about a year older than you I thought I might give you some advice on aging. Remember they used to call this period in our lives, "the golden years" Now it is referred to as the "metal years:" silver in your hair, gold in your teeth and lead in your pants. It's that time of life when you think sexy lingerie is tube-socks and a flannel nighty, when you're out of your depth in a parking lot puddle, when you're still chasing women but can't remember why. You join a health club and by the time you get your leotards on you're too tired to exercise. When your memory's not as sharp as it used to be and when your memory's not as sharp as it used to be. When you've still got it but nobody wants it. You get into swing dancing, not because you want to but because some parts of your body are just prone to swinging. It really gets scary when your body starts making the same sounds as the coffee maker. Don't let aging get you down buddy; it's too hard to get back up."

Monday, March 30, 2009

More than Gold

When athletes and countries come to British Columbia next spring 2010 it will be to compete for the purpose of securing ‘gold’ in a variety of winter sports. The Winter Olympics are coming here. A gold medal will gratify a recipient for a lifetime.

What could be of greater value than gold? Is there something that can reward the recipient well beyond the end of life? ‘More Than Gold’ has been employed to express Christian Witness at other major sporting venues. In fact, the history of the phrase dates back to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games and since then it has been used at Commonwealth, Pan Am and Olympic Games. Global Events Group is a non profit organization that was mandated to coordinate the cooperative efforts of Christian communities at major sporting events around the world. MTG (More than Gold) communicates that the Christian community is present.

Within our wide community there is a strong and vibrant motivation among people and in churches to move from isolation to working together in ways that will surely result in a sharing of faith and good news with visitors from other lands that will change lives forever.

You can check out More Than Gold here.

Not only will there be hundreds of events and programs scheduled during the games but long-term strategies are being planned to follow this unified effort which may help to transform our own cities and others too.

Critics will always be critical but this Kingdom effort makes more sense than sitting on one’s duff.

That's Cindy Klassen with five golds and she will be letting people know about her relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Do you enjoy a savoury serving of prime rib or steak? Did it ever cross your mind that your impact on global warming might have something to do with how much meat you eat? Did you know that all of us who do enjoy meat are contributing to the global warming concerns? That’s what some scientists are saying. Ah, they're constantly out to spoil a person’s fun.

Two scientists named Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin examining the production of greenhouse gases, found that our consumption of red meat may be as bad for the planet as it is for our bodies. I didn’t even know that this was bad for my body and now I learn that I am offending the planet. They found that the amount of fossil-fuel energy required to produce and prepare a red meat product for purchase and for a meal was significantly higher than other diets. The vegetarian diet is the most energy efficient, followed by poultry. I can't think of a more futile vocation than theirs. Who is going to listen to them? But I could be wrong. There is an entire society of non meat eaters. Yes, that's right. They have had to form a society - an exclusive group of devotees.

I am not a vegetarian but I have read some disquieting reasons to consider this lifestyle change. We used to be a society that ate meat perhaps once per week and now meat eaters eat it every day. That means that “if meat consumption in the developed world was cut from the current level of about 90 kilograms a year to the recommended level of 53 kilograms a year, livestock related emissions would fall by 44 percent.” One scientist Mira Oberman, likens hamburgers to the Hummer of food in global warming. And my wife says that I am guilty of exaggerated communication.

Now let me introduce you to the term ‘vegan.’ Donald Watson, creator of the term vegan to denote "non-dairy vegetations", and founder of the Vegan Society in November 1, 1944, the first ever society for vegans. (that naturally follows). I think that's him in the photo and he looks healthy doesn't he? The word has since passed into common usage and is used in a variety of ways. See Veganism for more information. The date of the society's founding, November 1st, is now celebrated annually as World Vegan Day.

The Vegan mission is 'Promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.'

hmmm, barbeque sauce, pulled pork, ribs, succulent steak, glazed ham, farmer style sausage, southern fried chicken, mmmmmm

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Out for a Stroll

Have you gone for your walk today? Did it take some effort? Was it just around the block?
These two men walked around their vehicle. It may have been an effortless walk for two former school teachers. This past Monday Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold took their second and last space walk of this shuttle mission. They walked outside the International Space Station which is approximately 220 miles (354 km) from earth. Nevertheless it was work. They repositioned an equipment storage cart, deployed an external cargo mounting mechanism, lubricated the space station's robotic arm and reconfigured cables that power the station's gyroscopes. Their walk lasted 6 ½ hours. Spaceship Discovery docked on March 17 with the International Space Station, bringing cargo which included solar panels. During this mission the astronauts have installed the station's fourth and final pair of solar panels to expand the satellite's power supply. The mission also delivered astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has officially joined the permanent crew on the orbiting space station as its first Japanese member. He is replacing US astronaut Sandra Magnus, who will join the Discovery crew for the flight back to Earth. This departure is just one day before the Russian Soyuz rocket launches a mission carrying two more crew members to join the current International Space Station crew. Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and US astronaut Michael Barratt will replace Lonchakov and current commander Mike Fincke. In addition Hungarian-born software engineer and co-founder of Microsoft, Charles Simonyi, who is making his second trip to the station, is classified as a "spaceflight participant," really a tourist. It is reported that Simonyi paid $35 million US to book his second ticket to space. He first visited the station in April 2007. On Wednesday, March 25, 2009 Discovery undocked from the Space Station and stayed in space until today, Saturday March 28th when the craft is scheduled to conclude its 13 day mission with a return to earth.
I have to go for another walk. I didn’t go far this morning because it was so cool.

Friday, March 27, 2009

If I lived in Glennallen Alaska

If we had said yes to the job opportunity in 1980 to go to Glennallen, Alaska, what would our lives have been like? I have been speculating the past couple of days.

If we had gone, we might still be there. If we were there today, we would be two among 574 townspeople. . I am sure we would consider it beautiful if we had stayed all these years. It would be home. And home would lie along the Glenn Highway at its junction with the Richardson Highway, 189 road miles east of Anchorage. We would be very close to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest US National Park. The Ahtna people historically occupied this area but while many communities in the region were built on the sites of a Native village, Glennallen was not. While the town is classified a non-Native community, 12.1% of the town population are Alaska Native. We would think nothing of driving past 65 vacant homes among the town’s 269 housing units. We wouldn’t be alarmed that 303 residents of the towns 574 population were not in the work force because the unemployment rate is pegged at 5.02%. It might concern us that the average house price is $166,000 when the median household income is $38,846 and per capita income is $17,084, and 8.04% of residents are living below the poverty level.

While they grew up in Glennallen our children would have attended Glennallen Elementary School and Glennallen High School where 450 students are enrolled. They may have hung around to attend Alaska Bible College, and possibly each might have met a life partner there. More than likely our children would have moved away years ago to pursue education and other job opps. That is unless they had adapted so happily to the northern life in this isolated but beautiful area.

Like everyone else who lives here we would have endured or enjoyed the weather of the continental climate zone, that is, long, cold winters, and relatively warm summers. The mean temperature in January is -10°F (-23°C); in July, 56°F (13°C). However, temperatures can reach -50°F (-46°C) in winter and 80°F (27°C) in summer. Likely I would have become a hunter although it turns me off today, ever since I popped a rabbit with a pellet gun when I was 16. I might have worn a bushy beard for decades. I might have learned to fly a float plane. And I would have chopped a thousand cords of wood.

My job was to be combination, of pastor, Bible School teacher and radio broadcaster. There are a dozen churches in town so I would not have been the town’s only pastor. Radio 790 KCAM speaks to the entire Valley with weather, news, sports, music, commentaries and interviews. Church, school and radio station are all sponsored and promoted by SEND International mission agency. In fact there are job opportunities there now for the summer and for full-time. Contact Northern Light Network (NLN) president Jasper Hall at , or call (907) 822-5226.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Because we didn't go to Alaska

Yesterday I wondered how different our lives would have been had I accepted the job in Glenallen, Alaska. I mentioned that my children were ten and eleven years of age when in 1980, while I was pastoring a church in Peterborough, Ontario, a missions representative came to our area and stayed a couple of nights in our home.

For thirty years Phil Armstrong had been a founder and the General Director of Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (later called Send) and when we met him he was Minister of Missions of FEGC. He was seeking to interest Christine and me to accept a position in Glenallen, Alaska. I was being offered a three faceted role as a pastor, part-time Bible instructor at a Bible College and a part-time radio talk show host. Christine would have been involved in music at church, school and radio. My ten year old son thought he would have a rifle and a snowmobile. My daughter didn’t find the thought of such a move appealing. We considered this for a while and then declined. (photo of Phil in army uniform WWII)

During the following year, in September 1981, I received the news that our friend Phil Armstrong was aboard a plane with five people that went down off the coast of Alaska. His death was a shock to us and to the entire international Missions community in which he was known and respected. He was 62 years of age at the time of his death. In the short time we knew him he had impressed us as a warm, gracious and godly person with whom one enjoyed spending time.

It’s difficult and perhaps futile to surmise where I and the members of my family would be today and what it is we all would have become had we gone to Alaska. One of the factors Christine and I considered was our children’s’ futures as they were nearing their teen years. Ultimately our decision not to relocate to Alaska led to an opportunity to go to Toronto in 1982 where I pastored a vibrant congregation and our children grew within a multiethnic environment. When they completed high school we watched each of them thrive. Cari graduated at Mennonite Brethren Bible College and the University of Winnipeg where she received Bachelor degrees in Christian Education and in Music. She later accomplished a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from Western Washington University. She is now married and a mom of three children. Jeff went to Trinity Western University in Langley, BC and graduated to pursue a teaching certificate from Simon Fraser University and then embarked upon a teaching career. He is married and a father of two. Christine served with me in our church, directing music and worship, and giving leadership to a Canada wide Worship Leaders’ Fellowship. After ten years in Toronto, In 1991 Christine and I moved to British Columbia and a pastoral position in Cloverdale. I had opportunity to pastor four congregations over a 34 year span, picking up a doctoral degree along the way, and concluded a career in a leadership role as President of a denomination of autonomous churches for six years.

I am satisfied with the choices we have made.

Faith Missions: Do they have a future? By Phil Armstrong Phil served in the US Army during WWII, was a pastor and a Bible School instructor before working with the mission.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yellowknife Arctic Highway

How different our lives would have been had I accepted the job in Glenallen, Alaska in 1980. My children were ten and eleven years of age. Phil Armstrong, a well known Christian missions executive with Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (later called SEND), stayed in our home to talk to me about taking a job that would have offered me a pastoral position, a teaching role in a Bible School and an on air voice in a radio station. It sounded like a compelling opportunity. Christine and I prayed and considered it and turned it down. We were drawn to Phil, an endearing, good man and were shocked to hear in 1981 that he was one of five people who died in a plan crash in Alaska. That tiny anecdote is why this story of the ruggedness of the north and its people struck a cord with me.

With 87% of the road lying over frozen lakes, the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road in Canada's Northwest Territories is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Driven by long haul drivers who risk their lives with each trip, eighteen wheelers transport supplies to remote mining facilities only 500 kilometres from the Arctic Circle. Because of the long hours behind the wheel and the danger factor, drivers can earn a year’s salary in eight weeks. They make $2000 per trip of approximately 600 kilometres. A one-way trip to Lupin mine takes about 20 hours and truckers driving this road often forgo seatbelts because they want to use the available seconds to jump clear if the surface gives way. Through stiff winds, occasional blizzards and almost constant darkness they move their heavy rigs across frozen lakes on a highway constructed completely of ice during two months of the year when the ice is strong enough to support loads that weigh 20 tons. At an estimated cost of $10 million, the road is constructed annually in January and becomes operational in early February. The road is a joint venture of Echo Bay Mines Ltd., BHP Billiton, and Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.and DeBeers Canada Mining Inc. These mines are working the rich deposits of diamond-bearing kimberlite which has made Canada the world's third largest producer by value (after Botswana and Russia).The 10,000 loads of supplies and equipment collectively hauled by all trucks makes the construction cost easily worthwhile. Annually 300,000 tons of fuel, explosives, steel and concrete is hauled over the ice to operate the mines. During the 67 days of operation, four trucks drive onto the road every 20 minutes due to the delicacy of the ice. This equals a maximum of 288 trucks in one day, as the trucks run 24 hours a day for efficiency. In recent winters global warming has affected the road making the ice thinner. Two years ago Canada experienced its warmest winter on record, and the Northwest Territories felt the biggest temperature anomaly in the country, with winter 7.4 C above average. Trucking didn’t begin until March, stranding scores of trucks loaded and idle in Yellowknife.

Where would my children be? What would they have become? How long would we have stayed in the north? Could we ever have seen it as home? Crikey! Sarah Palin would be my governor?

The last two photos above of the Diavik mine reveal it connected to land by ice in the winter, and then as the island it is once again in the summer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feeling Sorry For Myself

The plumbing isn’t working properly. Oh that’s not nearly bad enough. My partial lower denture broke when I bit on something hard and so I am virtually toothless. Despite morning walk/runs my weight loss is so inconsequential that I will never gain biggest loser status – not even mediocre. I can’t see beyond my extended arm without prescriptive lenses. Because of a bizarre accident in 2007 when I nipped off the tip of my right index finger, I am now growing a nail that does not increase in length but in thickness. The worst case scenario will be that I wear a sling to support my heavy hand. I should probably get another prescription of cream to combat the skin eruptions on my head which the doctor informs me could become cancerous in a few years. And today I am loaded with aggressive antibiotics to fight off an infection of my prostate. So my sitter downer is not feeling so good. Of course my doctor did what doctor’s do in such examinations. He put on a rubber glove and told me to assume the position which informs the patient that the doctor’s hand is going to come into contact with some part of the patient’s anatomy that is both embarrassing and uncomfortable. My doctor calls this move his chandelier probe since he has to pull the patient down from the chandelier when he is done. I have fever and chills and pain all over my body. And my wife has been hit with a virus that settled in her esophagus. I am sixty-six years of age now, but I am now finally catching on. This is what I get. This is what awaits one upon retirement. Everything is on a sliding scale heading south. Oh, and if it sounds inappropriate to use the word prostate in a publicly read forum just be glad that I didn’t use the word ‘prostrate’ which a high percentage of men have failed to understand is not synonymous with ‘prostate.’ And further, it doesn’t seem to bother people to speak publicly about bodily functions as curse words and punctuations. Waiting in the doctor’s office I sat with several other patients. One middle aged woman across from me looked tough but her friend who emerged from an appointment looked cruder still. And she loudly told the desk nurse, “I guess I have to have a pap test.” And that began a five minute long public interaction about her period, a pap smear and more of her medical information than any of the rest of us needed to hear.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quinn Dunbar - 13th Birthday - Nothing Short of Amazing

On January 8 2009 I wrote about Quinn Dunbar, a twelve year old who was originally diagnosed with a Medullablastoma Brain Tumor and who passed away on New Year's Day following five years of illness. Following his death, the family planned a memorial gathering and selected a roomy public auditorium for the venue to which eight hundred people came to rejoice in this small young man with the compelling smile and the pleasant, happy, uncomplaining demeanor. Of course it was a farewell but from all accounts it was a love fest with several hundred people. In the midst of such a long term struggle to cope and recover and live and move forward there is a community that develops, a network of friendships that understand and support and genuinely love one another.

Quinn's father Dave recently wrote a note to express how predictably and yet for them personally, they miss Quinn. As you will appreciate it doesn’t take more than a glance at a photo containing Quinn or the sound of a shared familiar tune to cause them to miss their sweetheart deeply all over again. It will be a continual reality. Here is a family that moved with Quinn through all the stages of his lingering illness and did not miss one aspect of caregiving and therefore surely can have no regrets from that standpoint. The regret is always for the missing cure.

Dave wrote that Quinn longed to be a teenager and a few days ago on March 19th 2009, the date of his birthday Quinn would have been thirteen. In a private ceremony at the Surrey Centre Cemetery, a headstone/gravemarker was unveiled and positioned.The family and a few friends celebrated his birthday this way, even enjoyed a birthday cake at home later. In his note Dave invited people to visit the site later to view the marker. Perhaps that is something you will care to do. Quinn loved playing Scrabble, so creatively, the family chose to design a gravestone with Quinn's full name spelled in Scrabble shaped letters. As is so often true of families that pass through this extended grief and understand the needs and all that is involved in caring for a sick person, Dave and Suzanne remain committed to the care of others who hurt as they have and are board members of the British Columbia Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association, which assists the families of children with cancer.

Visit British Columbia Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association site
You can make a contribution. Perhaps you can consider this? What a profound way to honour Quinn's memory.

Quinn's story and his journey are carefully recounted at a website dedicated to him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two Men Along the Hudson River in New York

My reading is so diversified these days and I surprise myself at times with my observations. Here is an example, a comparative study of two men whose connection is their involvement with the Hudson River.

The Hudson River was most recently in the news when US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched in her but stayed afloat for the rescue of all 150 passengers and five crew members. Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, meaning the Great Mohegan is the Iroquois name for the Hudson River which flows its 315 mile course from the Adirondack Mountains to New York City emptying in the upper bay. Englishman Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch East India Company explored the river and its uninhabited shores in 1609 naming it Mauritius in honour of Prince Maurice of Nassau. He himself was later honoured when his name was given to the river. European immigrants settled around the river. It inspired the mid 19th century Hudson River School of painting, a group of landscape painters influenced by romanticism and using the Hudson River Valley, and the Catskill, Adirondack and White Mountains as their idyllic inspiration. The river is a premier example of industrial pollution.

Donald Trump was born in 1946 in New York City, the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, a wealthy real estate developer. Go figure! So much of his highly publicized business career has located along the Hudson River. His own offices and Penthouse home look out upon the waters. The Donald, as Ivana, the first of his three wives named him has been in and out of legal bankruptcy throughout his career having filed it three times, yet staying afloat by restructuring the debt by surrendering large percentages of ownership. His is ambitious and aggressive. His name and his moniker is born by the Trump World Tower, Trump Tower, Trump Entertainments Resorts which include (Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina), to name only a few. He has been earning in the range of 32 to 40 million dollars annually. In 2008 he failed to pay a $40M loan to Deutsche Bank citing the crisis was an Act of God. His most recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed on February 17 2009 on the Trump Entertainment Resorts. But it’s all business. He is on TV and he has written many books and his hair is lousy.

Pete Seeger was born in 1919 in Patterson, New Jersey near the Hudson River. His father, Charlie Louis Seeger Jr was a composer and pioneer ethnomusicologist and his mother, Constance Edson was a classic violinist. Although his parents divorced when he was seven, his stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger was one of the most influential female composers of the 20th century. In 1943 Pete married Toshi-Aline Ohta, a folk musician to whom he has been married ever since. Seeger himself became a key personality and contributor to the American folk music revival during the 50’s and 60’s. He wrote such memorables as “Where have all the flowers gone?” and “If I had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Countless other artists and musical groups have recorded these songs after Seeger made them famous. Seeger himself became famous for his anti Vietnam War activism and then later the environment and what has become his legacy, the efforts at Hudson River recovery. He also wrote “That Lonesome Valley” in 1969 to highlight the polluted Hudson River. He founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, built a sailing sloop used to education grade school children. Over time the US Government listened and began legislating and funding the cleanup.

Seeger is financially worth less than Trump but he may leave behind more that is worthwhile for everyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Rod Doerksen was my cousin. March 21st is the anniversary of his death in 2003. As far as his wife and two adult daughters and his sister were concerned, he was far too young to die. He was only in his middle years. Dying when he did, he missed his eldest daughter’s wedding. He wasn’t here for his first grandson’s birth. Because he was known as a good man by everyone in his community and church and family, he would have been a wonderful grandfather. All of us miss him very much.

I met him when we were both children. His parents lived in Minnesota. In following years I lost contact with both Rod and his sister. He resided in California. Then in 1991 Christine and I moved to British Columbia and I reconnected with both Rod and his sister. Now he and I were both adults, married and with grown children of our own.

Both of my brothers had opportunity to visit with Rod as well when they travelled west and for the three of us, the reconnection with these two cousins was like finding a long absent brother and sister. Rod’s father and my mother were siblings, the two children of Montana settlers who had come from Minnesota. When my mother was two years of age and her brother was four, their dad died, and their mother was alone without government assistance or any other help. She was directed to Saskatchewan where she met a widower with six children. Then together this pioneering couple had five more children. My mom’s brother (Rod’s dad) left the family home in his early teens to return to Minnesota. There he married and farmed and had two children. He died at an early age of forty or so and from what I recollect his death may have resulted from factors connected with the same genetic disorder that complicated Rod’s life and compromised his health.

Rod was strikingly tall throughout his childhood and youth and as an adult his height compared to some of the tallest NBA basketball stars. He suffered from Marfan syndrome (or Marfan's syndrome) which is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. It was so named after Antoine Marfan, the French pediatrician who first described the condition in 1896 after noticing striking features in a 5-year-old girl. The gene that makes the protein fibrilin, and gives skin and connective tissue its stretchy feel, is faulty. Because connective tissue is found throughout the body, Marfan syndrome can affect the skeleton, eyes, heart and blood vessels, nervous system, skin and lungs. People with Marfan's are typically tall, with long limbs and long thin fingers. The most serious complication is defects of the heart valves and aorta. It may also affect the lungs, eyes, the dural sac surrounding the spinal cord, skeleton and the hard palate. There is no cure for Marfan syndrome which does shorten life expectancy which has increased significantly over the last few decades. The syndrome is treated by addressing each issue as it arises, and Rod lived through many procedures and corrective surgeries.

Wonderful husband, father, brother, son, friend and a good, good person. Thank you Lord for allowing Rod Doerksen to touch our lives.

Friday, March 20, 2009

David Wilkerson, the Prophecy of Calamity

There is a whole lot of scaring going on. There are so many websites and blogs written by professing Christians that are proclaiming the near end of the world. Recently a well known Christian pastor and leader, David Wilkerson, the pastor of Times Square Church in New York City, made a pronouncement that an earth-shattering calamity will happen and his comments focused upon New York City. He claims the Spirit told his spirit to publicize this prediction because the event is a demonstration of God’s wrath against wickedness.

The actual March 7 2009 blog entry says: “AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE - EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US. For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago. There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.”

Written on his blog, this entry swept the internet like a prairie fire. It has incited concern, fear and bewilderment. It may also have resulted in some repentance which was Wilkerson’s chief intention of course. What are we supposed to do with this? I must confess that the cynic in me shouts to immediately dismiss the man and his prediction. But because I have noted many sincere people lining up in support of his prediction, I determined that I would be biblical and respectful.

I feel compelled to respond, so this is a bit of a heavy blog. If you hang in here, I will be interested to know what you think by the end of it. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you possess His Spirit. Wilkerson too is a Christian and he possesses the same Holy Spirit. With the same Holy Spirit, if the message is from God, shouldn't there be resonance? Does your spirit resonate with this prediction? Mine doesn't and that poses a problem for me. Here is a biblical prescriptive from 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21. “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good." And that is what I want to do.

That means that I will not arbitrarily dismiss Wilkerson’s comments but I must test them and then hang on to what is true. I am testing for resonance and verifiability.
1. The segment of his prophecy which depends upon the Bible I do accept with unqualified sincerity. Canada and the United States have become secularized and the scripture informs us that rejection of Jesus Christ is punishable and may incur punitive calamity but also spiritual awakening (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). God has already said this. One does not require special revelation for that which the Bible already pronounces. We have resonance here. This is authentic. It’s true. God said it. Hang on to it but understand that this isn’t new information.
2. Anything within the prophecy that goes beyond scripture should be evaluated by biblical criteria. This is where there is resonance deficiency for me. Wilkerson wrote in his blog, “First, I give you a practical word I received for my own direction. If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials. In major cities, grocery stores are emptied in an hour at the sign of an impending disaster.” Now God may have told Wilkerson this, but I am suspicious because it has no time reference. What kind of counsel is that from God? No starting date. In 1992 Wilkerson made a similar sounding prophecy and used the word “soon.” It was coming soon. Now he is unclear about a time for these provisions to be collected. That lacks authenticity. Make a scary claim without a reference to time and the odds are that eventually something will happen.
3. And when a prophet cites scripture he is not permitted to mishandle it to support his prophecy. Wilkerson advises in that blog that his spiritual advice is this. “As for our spiritual reaction, we have but two options. This is outlined in Psalm 11. We ‘flee like a bird to a mountain.’ Or, as David says, ‘He fixed his eyes on the Lord on his throne in heaven—his eyes beholding, his eyelids testing the sons of men’ (v. 4). This is not an authentic treatment of the verse. The verse is not a prescription of what David did in the face of calamity, so you do likewise. In fact, the words “he fixed his eyes” do not appear in the verse. Rather verse 4 is a categorical statement about God. “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.” This is not a small point. My spirit does not resonate with manipulation of God’s Word.
4. The Snopes site investigates the authenticity of various claims. Janet Porter wrote several articles in the WorldNetDaily about David Wilkerson, his prior predictions and the most recent forecast of economic holocaust. WorldNetDaily is right of right wing journalism, so highly sympathetic to the Wilkerson communications. In one article Porter wrote that God gave Wilkerson a warning in early Fall 2001 with a command to make sandwiches, lots of them. She told how he and his church made 2000 sandwiches through the night of Sept 10 2001 and at 8:46 am in Sept 11 the first plane hit the Trade Center. Her closing sentence was “…when the guy who made the 2000 sandwiches on Sept 10 warns us: ‘AN EARTH SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN,’ I think we would do well to heed it.” Then later an editor’s note was prepended to the article saying that: “The story in this column about Times Square Church making thousands of sandwiches just prior to 9/11 is false. Janet Porter confirmed the story with a church staff member as she wrote the column, but was given incorrect information. WorldNetDaily regrets the error.”
5. Hold fast to the written Word of God.

- Video of Wilkerson preaching 10 days ago on the subject of catastrophe in USA.

- In this free online document Wilkerson teaches on his subject of “God’s Plan to Protect His People in the Coming Depression.” He forecasts this worldwide economic holocaust and the hope held out is that God’s children will be preserved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Get this, I have just completed the artistic renderings for a TV celebrity’s wine cellar. It’s true. I have never seen a wine cellar but I did the designs for one. Can you imagine? I actually enjoyed the challenge. First I did six drawings and then when the clients made adjustments, I have done several redraws since then.

I am hoping that the company that called me for this will have more work for me doing drawings for other projects. I get to use my creativity and artistic ability. It is pretty much fun after decades in a board room, or in a book, or in a hospital room comforting the hurting. It introduces me to new circles of acquaintances. I enjoy that.

Here is a glimpse of what I was doing.

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is 74 years of age. I have written about Cohen before. In recent years I have gained appreciation for the man’s song writing and poetic proficiency. He began as a novelist and poet but his music soon overshadowed those areas. He is a master crafter of words and I admire that. He is a story teller. He is humbled that he is considered a singer since the way he carries a tune resembles rap, a tonal conversational kind of rap talking. But as he himself acknowledged as an unlikely event, he was inducted in 2008 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has been a prolific composer and writer and has gained a global audience of appreciative fans. Along the way he has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1991, Cohen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2003 he was made a Companion to the Order of Canada and that is Canada's highest civilian honor which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. In June 2008, he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. Cohen has published 12 books, including two novels (1963's "The Favorite Game" and 1966's "Beautiful Losers") and, most recently, 2006's "Book of Longing," a collection of poetry, prose and drawings. "Book of Longing" reached #1 on the Top 10 Hardcover Fiction Books in Canada, as compiled by Maclean's Magazine, being the first book of poetry ever to reach the top of the bestsellers' lists in Canada.

In 2008 he had to come away from his life as a recluse to go back on the road as an entertainer because Cohen’s former manager and lover Kelley Lynch misappropriated more than $5 million, reducing Cohen’s retirement account to $150,000. A Los Angeles court awarded him a $9 million civil judgment, but he has reportedly not been able to collect from Lynch. Too bad, so sad you might say. Wouldn't you like 150 grand?

The clip mentioned here is of Cohen singing/rapping the Tower of Song, an enigmatic piece, poetic, satiric, commentary, whimsical and it is the one he also quoted when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The wealthiest people have certainly taken a hit in the downturned economy. Mind you I am not crying sympathetic tears. They are not relegated to food stamps. A few weeks ago in commenting about the world’s hungry, I referenced the world’s capacity for feeding all the world’s people and I casually mentioned the world’s three wealthiest men in order of their worth from Warren Buffet with 62B, Carlos Slim Helu with 60B and William Gates III with 58B. Times change. A recent report informs us that the recession has knocked these boys around and Buffet got buffeted into second place losing 25B taking him to 37B. Helu and family also lost 25B rendering him next to penniless with 35B, and Gates claims top spot once again with a minimal loss of 18B for a worth of 40B.

Canadian billionaires are bumpkins in this extraordinary network of wealth. David Thompson and family of Canada rank twenty-fifth in the list of the world’s billionaires with 13B. Canadian Galen Weston and family have 5B, and brothers James, Arthur and John Irving share 3.9B. Vancouver’s Jim Pattison is a pauper at 2.1B. While Canada has 18 billionaires, the Unites States has 335. Customarily it takes people a number of years to acquire billionaire status so the average age among the world’s 793 billionaires is 63. Not Oprah. She is still riding a crest at 2.5B. What surprised me was the relative poverty of Donald Trump with 1.5B. Three hundred and seventy-three people lost their billionaire status during this past year. They will have to survive with multi millions of dollars.

No, don’t cry for them. The average Canadian family lost 14 thousand dollars this year and that hurts you much worse than the 15 or 20 billion of the big boys. Most have left their investment or RRSP portfolios intact waiting for recovery. That's advisable if you are young. Other people have pulled their monies out, unwilling to risk more. A financial advisor told me,"Well you only lost the gains that you have made over the last six years." That was a tactless comment and callous comfort.

Monday, March 16, 2009


We didn’t go to church yesterday. It was a gloomy wet day.
I used to tell this joke. A despondent son says to his mother, “I don’t feel like going.” His mother answers with, “No, son you must go to church today.” He counters, “But I don’t want to go to church.” Just as insistently she says, “But you have to go, you’re the pastor.”

How many Sundays are there in thirty-four years of pastoring and six years of national leadership in a denomination? With few exceptions I was at church on Sunday. We didn’t go yesterday. We would read our Bibles and pray on our own was the plan. Christine followed through as usual. I began reading and writing e-letters, writing blogs and other bits. The two of us began a conversation that became the predictable difference of opinion and grew from there. Two first-borns and whatever ingredients go into wiring and rearing numero unos, that’s us. Christine and I are the poster people for Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. And as we made up for the unnecessary escalated disagreement, which was my fault, because that too is invariably the case, not because I have big shoulders, but sloping ones so the liability rolls right off for me to recommit next time.

Back on the right side of each other we took a drive in the MX5 sports car to sit on a windy day and watch the white caps at low tide. The sun peaked out occasionally so we drove 8th Avenue to 216th Street and stopped at Domaine de Chaberton to inquire about their quaint Bacchus Bistro with its marvelous food. But we are seniors and ultimately we drove home, picking up a pizza to reheat and we watched About Schmidt during the evening. We had no idea what we were about to see. That stars Jack Nicholson who has just retired at age 66. He and his wife adjust to living together 24/7 and they have big plans to see America in their brand new Winnebago bus size Adventurer. We learned how both of them had grown to despise each other’s myriad personal habits when the youthfulness of their love was gone yet they were mutually committed to the marriage. Christine and I looked at each other and smiled knowingly. One day he returned from an errand to find her dead on the floor from a blood clot to the brain. He was alone. Soon a daughter got married in a far away state to a man he couldn’t stand and the rest of the movie is a marvelous character study of numerous people in this unblended family whom the scriptwriters understood perfectly with all the reactions, tired clichés and behaviours of ordinary people in ordinary life situations. Nicholson’s character finds an iota of joy in a note from an African Foster child whom he supports with $25 monthly cheques. And that was that. The credits scrolled. An overcast ending to the day I missed church. Oh, we kissed one another goodnight.

"So did you learn a lesson from the day?" "I don't want to learn a lesson! This is my memoir."

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Year after year, decade after decade the same kind of international tensions, conflicts and sorrow fill the news channels of the world. I find it depressing.

I have paid attention to the horrific condition of Zimbabwe and its starving people. Christine's uncle and aunt and two cousins lived in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) for many years before they were forced to leave. For three decades the country has been under the fist of its president Robert Mugabe. It was once one of the most prosperous African countries. Today millions of people depend on food aid and many tens of thousands are starving. Cholera has infected up to 100,000 people and thousands have died. The health, sanitation and educational systems have collapsed. The Zimbabwe dollar is almost worthless. Mugabe has been raped the country. I despise the reality that in this world so many people like him rise to power and thrive.

It’s a good thing that I have also found that the Bible gave advice long ago about how to filter this information. I need to employ the filters. “When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." NIV Luke 21:9

Making the news in 2008 was Zimbabwe’s national election in which the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 100 parliamentary seats, one more than Mugabe’s party, yet Mugabe retained power because he controls the military. Then in February of this year the Republic of South Africa brokered a deal for Mr. Tsvangirai to share power with Mr. Mugabe as his prime minister in a unity government. It’s not going well. Mugabe continues to take action unilaterally as he has always done.

Then a couple of weeks ago Mr. Tsvangirai’s wife was killed in a vehicle accident in which he himself was injured. His party immediately projected a plot by Mugabe but according to Tsvangirai himself it was a terrible accident involving a truck carrying American supplied antiretroviral AIDS drugs that lost control and struck his car.

In speaking about the cataclysmic times that unfold as earth’s civilization ages, scripture tells us “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:11 So all of this is not unexpected it seems, but it is still difficult for me to accept. It makes me want to live a reclusive life somewhere. I am glad for the security of Christ’s love. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? NIV Romans 8:35

Saturday, March 14, 2009


It was my youngest granddaughter’s second birthday yesterday. Her mommy and daddy hosted a supper birthday party at her home last night to which family and friends with other little and noisy children came. It was clear that she understood this was her day. She fully possessed the moment, posing, smiling for the camera, insisting upon opening her own presents even though several other children were all eager to rip wrappings, blowing out two candles with a single puff.

She is a cuddler. She comes to me with ease and climbs aboard my lap, lays her head on my chest and loves me. We will walk for long times together, her head on my shoulder as I sing nonsensical songs while she tucks into my warmth and the reverb of my voice. We are a good match.

I reprise a poem that I posted months ago about her and her mom, my much loved daughter in law Gina.


Long awaited she came, first a wife for a son
Then a daughter for them both
A sister for their boy.
She let me enter that chamber
Where birth happens and is seen,
Not usually by fathers in law
But on this occasion I was there.
I saw Kadence come into the world
A new sight for older eyes
Another life to love and nurture.
And now on one of those following days
The two girls sleep
Gina and her child.
'Kadence' meaning “with rhythm”
Is rarely given
So Kadence with a K she is
A strident girl, a girl with a voice
A girl who will be heard
A girl who will sing and laugh
And make parents proud
And give grandparents joy.
They sleep now, one only days old
But soon we will wonder where the years went.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Christine and I were hosting her brother and his wife as we breakfasted at White Rock on a windy morning and then drove to Crescent Beach. Near Blackie’s Spit we parked to watch a Fisheries hovercraft come ashore. That was impressive. One sees one of these vehicles only rarely. Why did it come ashore?

In a couple of minutes a Fire Department Rescue truck and personnel arrived, followed by an ambulance and some paramedics. A free lance videographer shot the unfolding drama hoping to sell it to Global TV.

The crisis developed around 8:00 am with a young man who was kite surfing far off shore in Boundary Bay and found himself being dragged out to sea without his board. He was helpless in the water for at least three hours.

An observant beach house resident spotted him at sea and called 911 and initiated this rescue. Delta Marine Rescue Service responded with a pickup and then a transfer to the CCG Hovercraft Penac and then to paramedics on shore. It was a thrill to observe.

We did not learn whether he was injured but he did suffer from hypothermia. When he was stabilized sufficiently to be removed from the hovercraft, it was obvious that his core temperature had plummeted drastically because as he was carried to the ambulance his body wrapped in blankets trembled uncontrollably.

This is a moment when one is proud of the professionals who care for us in a variety of areas and also one is grateful to live in this land.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Bachelor

Okay I admit it; I have watched some segments of the Bachelor reality show this year. On Monday night last week I sat upstairs with the small TV so I could watch the two hour special ‘24’ show. Bachelor was running simultaneously and downstairs, Christine was devoted to that show. When 24 concluded, I caught the tail end of Bachelor too. While it is a compelling fantasy to have fifteen women vying for one man’s devotion, I have always disliked the reality of such a scenario as he kisses each of them with regularity to find the perfect match. Why not call it Harem Search. That show confirmed for me both the romance and the disgust I feel for the show – which of course is precisely what makes it so appealing. On Tuesday night last week the absolutely last hour of 2009’s Bachelor show was telecast.

Bachelor Jason came to a choice between two girls each of whom he cared for immensely. Both Melissa (left) and Molly (right) are fine people and would have been good partners for him. Both professed to have fallen in love with him. One of them was going to be hurt. Jason was torn in making his choice but he said goodbye to a stunned Molly and of course the camera showed Jason buckled over in grief when he she left in the limo. As devastated as she was, she stated to him that she believed he was making a big mistake that he would regret. But then that segment ended with his glorious proposal to Melissa who was overjoyed as he told her he loved and he was the happiest man in the universe. And they kissed and spun in circles and embraced with Jason’s three year old son Ty.

The Monday night show began solemnly without a studio audience because we were primed by show host Chris Harrison that a measure of privacy (no audience) was required out of respect for Melissa and Jason and who else? Molly! That’s right. So these three spoke individually in front of a camera crew but very aware that a TV audience of millions was also watching. Some privacy! First, Jason, highly emotional, explained to Chris that things had changed between Melissa and him and he still had feelings for Molly. Then Melissa came out and he broke the news to her and she properly detonated and left the studio telling him never to contact her again. In came Molly who in private with Chris said that she loved Jason but when Jason entered to tell her that he just broke it off with Melissa and he wanted another chance with Molly, Molly was at first staggered and then clearly thrilled. Then Tuesday night’s show was a closer as the happy couple announced how much in love they are and how much hope they have for a future together.

One thing was clear. Jason, the super nice guy and father of Ty is a confused character who finds it hard to commit after losing his wife and that putting himself into the artificial setting of fifteen women competing for him was the wrong approach. A second point is that ABC or any network cares only about ratings and dollars and lives and reputations are disposable, but of course all participants in signing on, know this is a show with no guarantees of happiness. Third, the TV show is a great diversion for viewers like me with our own personal issues, because the reality show is not my own reality.

Reprise: Melissa is on the new Dancing with the Stars show now as a contestant. Jillian a Canadian and earlier dumpee from Jason’s nest will be next year’s Bachelorette who decides between 25 bachelors. Life is great isn’t it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taking Issue with the Slanderers – Part Two

There are encouraging observations we can make about the new administration. On the White House website, every effort is being made by the new Obama administration to communicate to his nation and any of the rest of us that choose to peek inside. (

This home page is set up in three columns and in the middle section is a reference to both the already signed legislation and under that the agenda. A close examination of these two files provides a reader with the data necessary to identify the areas about which conscientious bible loving believers should be concerned and the areas about which we should take heart. I will demonstrate it. Obama has signed four legislative acts listed here all of which cannot be deemed as objectionable.

1. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 approved by the House and Senate on February 13, 2009.
Obama Signed: Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009
The entire 400 page document is accessible.
2. DTV Delay Act The House approved this delay to transition from analog to digital TV, from February 17 -- less than two weeks away -- to June 12 2009.
Obama Signed: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009
3. Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act was approved by the U.S. Senate on January 29th, and is better known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP. The President’s signature legislates that this coverage will continue for six to seven million children and increase that coverage to four million more.
Signed: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009
4. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which will make it easier for people to get the pay they deserve -- regardless of their gender, race, or age.
Obama Signed: Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009

This may become more reading than you care to engage. However, every highlighted title is a hyperlink to a full synopsis disclosure and a speech from Obama if he has made one concerning the topic. More importantly, on the home page when you scroll down, there are several columns, the second being Agenda and under this are all the 24 relevant areas that the Obama administration intends to address. Economy, Energy and Environment are highlighted in this Agenda window, but as I say there are more issues so the entire agenda can be looked at.

Read the President's economic agenda.
Energy & the Environment
Read the President's agenda on energy & the environment.
More Issues
Read the President's entire agenda.

The issue that was flagged by the Kim Priestap piece I mentioned yesterday will be found among what are termed Presidential memoranda which may communicate Executive Orders or Administrative Orders all of which have the full weight of the Office of the President as do the legislative Acts cited above. The approach I am taking rather than that of an alarmist is to read not only the headlines but the words in which they are packaged because there the rationale reduces the alarm. So far, my conclusion is that the USA has elected an extraordinary person with many attitudes and values which I wholeheartedly support.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taking Issue with the Slanderers - Part one

I received a friend’s expressions of deep concern about President Barak Obama’s executive orders which some American political bloggers are associating with an Islamic lover’s agenda. I immediately began doing research to gather evidence to support my belief that Obama’s administration is one of integrity.

The communication that initiated the worry came from the keyboard of Kim Priestap. She wrote the following title, ‘Obama Signs Presidential Determination Allowing Palestinians Loyal to Hamas to Resettle In US.’ To support her contention she cited this link in the government’s own federal registry of legislative orders, She can be read at

I don’t know Kim Priestap at all but as I investigated her claims I came across countless other end times blogs and sites that have jumped on the same issue that caused her indignation. What disturbed me was the discovery that she appears to have plagiarized. Her piece contains verbatim the prose of a comment by an online name called crmann who wrote precisely what Priestap wrote as if it was her own.
* His first call to any head of state as president was to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah party in the Palestinian territory.
* His first one on one interview with any news organization was with Al Arabia television.
* He ordered Guantanamo Bay closed and all military trials of detainees halted.
* He ordered all overseas CIA interrogation centers closed.
* He withdrew all charges against the masterminds behind the USS Cole and 9/11.
* Today we learn that he is allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refuges to move to and live in the US at American taxpayer expense.
Anyone else seeing a pattern here?

At times some of us will want to take issue with some of the Obama administration positions that touch upon moral principles and biblical directives. For instance yesterday Obama reversed the Bush administration ban on stem cell research. Some will find that morally repugnant. However, he is keeping a campaign promise in so ordering and we should be pleased that one of the early hallmarks of the Obama administration is transparency and disclosure. Read his commitment below.
In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government… All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government… The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”

So for that reason the Obama administration informs the people of such areas as his or his administration’s approach to abortion rights, and gay marriages and other important moral issues. Americans who object to something should voice their objection and the confidence he is extending presently is that he and his authorized committees will listen. But he is governing a pluralistic society and conservative values will not always, in fact may seldom win the day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gross National Happiness

Most countries define quality of life by the measure of GNP or Gross National Product. GNP is the total dollar value of all final goods and services produced for consumption in society during a particular time period (i.e. one quarter or one year). A more accurate gauge of health is the GDP Gross Domestic Product which takes into account not only income from goods and services but also cost of labour and property. Countries measure their GNP and GDP by comparing with other countries.

High in the Himalayan mountains is the country of Bhutan with 600,000 people who measure their progress as a nation by placing higher value on spiritual development. Assessing quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms they tag their measurement vehicle the GNH or Gross National Happiness. This term was conceived by the Bhutanese and officially embraced in 1972. Bhutan is the world’s youngest democracy and it held elections for the first time in March 2008. Notwithstanding this, Bhutan still has a monarch, having crowned its fifth king, 28 year old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on November 6, 2008. He succeeds his father King Jigme Singye Wangchuck to become the world’s youngest reigning monarch. The new king is an Oxford educated bachelor who has promised to maintain a protectionist posture against globalization’s most evil features. He will maintain the GNH coined by his father when bringing this unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values into the age of modernization.

GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures:
1. Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
2. Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic
3. Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses
4. Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
5. Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
6. Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
7. Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

Can anything be learned by Canadians and Americans from Bhutan’s example?

Thanks to the Reuters News Service and Royal Government of Bhutan for its Handout