Improved Sex Ed in Ontario

Sex Ed Protesters
Some people don’t think children should learn about sex until they start experimenting for themselves.
Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/26/michael-coren-why-critics-of-ontarios-new-sex-ed-curriculum-are-wrong/

Our Ontario government right now is attempting to push through new and improved sex education. And by attempting, I mean it is really a matter of time since they have a majority government, barring some disastrous uproar of protest that make them back down. One key concept that undergirds much of the curriculum is consent. Specific elements include same-sex families discussed in grade 3, puberty in grade 6, and STDs and sexting in Grade 7.

This is definitely a good thing.

Unfortunately, many are up in arms over this, including many Christians. As far as I have been able to hear, it all boils down to “we’re uncomfortable with our kids knowing anything about sex.” I’m sorry to break this to them, but that isn’t an option. They are humans. They are going to learn about sex. The question isn’t whether they will learn, it’s whether they will learn something healthy or something unhealthy.

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Thoughts on Selma

Selma movie posterI know I’m way behind on this one, but we finally went to see Selma. Best movie of the year for me, although I’ll reserve any comments on how big of an Oscar snub it was since the only of the Best Picture nominees I saw was Birdman (hated it) and part of Grand Budapest Hotel (I think I was way too tired that night to understand it).

No Whitewashed MLK

The overall aspect that I loved is how MLK was not whitewashed. He was not tamely petitioning for change the way most white people tell the story. He did not play well with the rules of respectability politics. He was firm in believing nonviolent resistance was the Jesus way and the most effective way, but he definitely stirred up a lot of trouble and was pretty unashamedly abrasive in getting his point across.

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We Need Confession

Things like shame, fear, and judgementalism have no place in the Christian life. The perfect love of Jesus casts out that stuff. We have new life in Jesus. We face no condemnation. That is all true and very important to remember.

I talk about that kind of thing a lot, but sometimes we over-correct and become afraid of confession. One phrase I’ve heard is that we are Easter people, not Good Friday people. Yes, that’s true. That is where our hope is found. But by definition Easter could not have happened without Good Friday. Jesus couldn’t have been resurrected if he didn’t die first. We, like Jesus, have new life, but the process of that new life isn’t comfortable. It would be wrong to celebrate Easter without Good Friday just as it would be wrong to celebrate Good Friday without Easter.

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About MennoNerds

Recently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to the GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God. I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

The next question(s), then, adapted to be more chronological:

What is the MennoNerds network?

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#ChapelHillShooting and Islamophobic Narrative

23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19
The victims: 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19
Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/chapel-hill-shooting-three-young-muslims-gunned-down-in-north-carolina-at-their-family-home-10037734.html

This is another example where I am glad to be a regular Twitter user. If not for Twitter, I may not have even heard about the shooting at Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Three young Muslim students (1 male, 2 female) were killed by a middle-aged, white, atheist man named Craig Stephen Hicks. The mainstream media (MSM) has been pretty much silent on it so far.

Do you remember the events of Charlie Hebdo in France? Muslim kills people. Story dominates the media for weeks. Reports constantly emphasized how the killer was Muslim and there was a lot of hype around rights of free speech even when that speech belittles others – a right I agree with, in case somebody misreads that. There were analyses about whether Islam is inherently dangerous (correct answer is a resounding “NO”). Everyone simply assumed motives, projecting their fears and thereby reinforcing that fear. World leaders were shunned if they didn’t drop everything to join France in mourning. We could do similar comparisons with the shooting in Ottawa or the siege in Sydney.

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Coldest Night of the Year

Emily, Ryan, Mike, Laura
Emily and I with our friends Mike and Laura before the Toronto 2013 walk.

Canadian readers may have heard of the Coldest Night of the Year initiative. In cities all over the country, people walk on a cold night as a way to raise money for and empathize with those who do not have a choice about being outside on cold nights. This year features walks in 80 different cities and a total goal of $3 million.

I walked two years ago in Toronto where the money went to a great and well-known organization in Yonge Street Mission. They do a lot of amazing things in Toronto, particularly closer to downtown. To what degree we empathized is debatable since “the coldest night of the year” was actually a pretty comfortable walk, close to the 0*C freezing mark. But we still raised a pile of money to help those who are out there on much colder nights.

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3 Bad Arguments for Christian Violence

Medieval Sword
This is a medieval sword, not Ancient Roman, but I thought it looked cool.
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/albioneurope/7312976032/

In a comment discussion on another blog, I was given three really bad arguments in favour of Christian violence, so I’m going to take a minute to answer them here just in case others have heard similar. To be clear, I have heard better arguments. I’m not dismissing genuine proponents of Just War Theory as not really Christians or anything like that. But these particular arguments are really bad.

God Judges

The first was the parable of the tenant farmers in Matthew 21:33-45. Short version: God is landowner but rents it out. Tenants refuse to pay for the land, so God sends messengers (prophets) who they kill, until he sends his son (Jesus) who they also kill. God will “totally destroy” (CEB) those farmers.

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About the Canadian Bible Society

Recently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God. I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

The second question:

Tell me about the Canadian Bible Society – what is it and what do you do there?

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AIDS Care

I’ve been thinking lately I want to make a bit more room on the blog for stories of how the Church (not just TMH, all of the Church) is living out the Kingdom and making the world better in practical ways. I also want to provide some specific ways that you can be a part of that. Consider this the first post in that goal. I don’t want to be a guy who sits around writing about Jesus without acting like him. I hope you’d also like to act like him instead of just reading about him, whether through the things I profile here and/or other ways.
AIDS Care logoEvery year The Meeting House partners with Mennonite Central Committee, supporting their work in Southern Africa with those living with HIV/AIDS. The work spans 14 projects in 6 countries. As a church, we’ve done it 5 years so far with this being the sixth. In that time, we’ve totaled over 5,700 AIDS CARE Kits (packages of essential supplies along with $100 to buy medicine) and 5,300 AIDS CARE Cards ($100). They’re pretty staggering numbers and something I’ve been proud to be a part of the past couple of years and again this year. I remember being told a couple of years ago why the Card system was implemented: we had sent too many Kits for MCC’s staff to be able to distribute so the Cards provided another way to help.

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