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It seems that these days the whole controversial issue of homosexuality (though I would say it's becoming less and less controversial in North America) has degenerated into an argument about whether gay people were born that way or choose to be gay. We only need look to Lady Gaga for a prominent example. This is sadly an irrelevant argument though because it actually doesn't matter. At all. The fact is that whether you chose something or whether you were born into it has exactly no impact on whether it is right or wrong, true or false, moral or immoral. In fact, everybody knows this in almost every other area of their lives. For some reason though, homosexuality has become a social exception.

Let's think about this for a moment... 


 
WakeUpWorld! wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2012! As usual, here's a special Christmas video to get you thinking about what this time should really be all about.
 
I was recently chastised by a couple of friends (at least, I hope they're still my friends) for thanking God on Facebook for the fortunate timing of the arrival of a replacement hard drive for my computer. Their immediate reaction was that I belittled the suffering of starving children in Africa, for example, by thanking God for something so insignificant and unimportant by comparison. How dare I?

And in some ways, I don't blame them. In fact, I'm glad they care so much about the plight of starving children in Africa, if indeed they do. Not enough people on this earth have that much compassion for those outside of their own line of vision (and we've become very good at averting our eyes when they are in our line of vision, as if pretending they don't exist is somehow the better option). However, these are not people who believe in God in the first place. The underlying theme of this "attack" was not so much to do with helping these children as much as it was that a good God would not allow so many children to starve and die without providing them food and then go ahead and provide me with a stupid hard drive. Fair point, despite the completely unnecessary personal judgment and hostility.
 
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‎10 years ago today, a few men changed the world forever.

I was in my first year of high school, Phys. Ed. class. Another teacher stood in the doorway and informed us that something tragic had happened. Something big. We congregated later in the library to see the footage for ourselves. I doubt any of us fully understood what was going on. There was confusion, disbelief, rumours of other planes flying up north to us in Canada. I don't think any of us fully understood that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives. That we would tell our children where we were on that fateful day. That the world would never be the same again.

10 years ago today, a few men changed the world forever. Their actions were wrong, as were their motivations. But nobody can ever take away from them their passion and willingness to act on what they believed to be true. 

May we who stand for truth and righteousness live out what we believe every day that we have left. May we rid the world of apathy. May we not be only reactive to evil, but also proactive to prevent and change it. May we love truth, but may we also love indiscriminately. May we truly change the world.

 
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The American Dream. 

It's what we all long and hope for. What we spend our whole lives trying to achieve, or in some cases what gets handed to us without very much work at all. It's what many of our forefathers came to North America for, and what we've stayed for. It's what we hope for our children and what has become the central focal point of many of our lives.

This may come as a shock to you, but I don't want the "American Dream" for my life.

 
In April 2011, soul artist Anthony David put out the above music video for his song "God Said." Watch a few minutes of it and you'll start to get the idea behind the lyrics. On his own blog, David outlined his reasons for writing this song and making the video. Here's an excerpt:

"I wrote a song called GOD SAID after watching Pat Robertson declare that the earthquake in Haiti was because of a curse from God. After hearing a man named Rev. Wiley say that he was praying for President Obama's death during the election (the prayer didn't work BTW). After hearing people fiddle around with the idea of a curse on Japan after their recent disaster. After hearing about Koran burnings and battles that seem to have peoples' interpretations of religious texts at the foundation of them all. 

I'm not one of those who claims that religion is the ONLY thing that causes all of the wars and bloodshed, but it has caused many. But not necessarily even the religion but the interpretation of a few dangerous minds put into the wrong position of power or influence.  I figured it was time to have a conversation with extremists like this, and put that kind of thinking in its proper perspective.

It's just my opinion, but I suspect peace-loving people from all walks of life will agree with me on SOME level." 

Let me first say that I have a huge amount of respect for David just for writing and releasing this song. He shows that he cares about this world, about his fellow man, and about truth. He cares about making a difference through his music, not just selling records. And he cares about people, not just winning an argument. For these reasons alone, he is automatically a better artist to me than the vast majority of them out there. 

He has a lot of good things to say too. He rightly criticizes Rev. Wiley Drake for praying for Obama's death and calling it God's will (should we really be giving people like that the title of Reverend?). He demonstrates his heart for the people of Haiti and Japan by speaking out against those who would call them cursed. And there is no question that he is right about the atrocities caused by "a few dangerous minds put into the wrong position of power or influence."  

BUT there are some clarifications that need to be made...
 
Note: If you are not familiar with Westboro Baptist Church prior to reading this open letter, watch a bit of ABC's 20/20 report here. You'll get the idea.

Dear Pastor Fred Phelps and members of Westboro Baptist Church;

I forgive you.

That's probably not what you were expecting. You probably don't think you need my forgiveness. Most other people reading this probably don't think you deserve it. Nevertheless, I forgive you.
 
Ah, Christmas...A time when families come together to enjoy one another's company. A time to express love for those who are closest to you through the giving of your gifts and time. A time to celebrate all the goodness of life...right?

Ok, let's be honest with each other. You realize it too. Christmas in our society today is essentially a giant commercial for consumerism and warm fuzzy feelings. We spend, spend, spend our money on gifts and then spend a little bit of time with our families...or we just spend time with our gifts...but often it's just more stressful than anything else. Now, I'm all for family time, but having shopping as Necessary Christmas Component Number One is getting a little wearisome if you ask me. And neither of these things are the point. Whose birthday is it again? From all the money flying from person to person, it's hard to tell that we're really celebrating the birth of God in the person of Jesus Christ.