The Worldwide Plague of Racism

Image Credit:  Global Issues

Let’s Start Local…

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about the overt racism that seems to have found increased acceptance in our society.  Let’s not kid ourselves — there was always racism in our society, but it was generally more covert.  At least, that is my privileged perspective as a white woman who lives on an island that, until very recently, was populated almost exclusively by white people.  Most of my exposure to people of other races was on TV and in movies — and we’re probably all aware of just how biased and full of stereotypes those can be!

I’m quite sure that visible minorities across Canada would quickly tell me that they have experienced and continue to experience overt racism on a regular basis.  Atlantic Canadians don’t have to go very far find clear evidence of racism.  Even the United Nations has noted Nova Scotia’s track record of systemic racism against African-Canadians in a recent report.

I have been very disturbed by the unapologetic racist sentiments we are seeing with greater frequency in the news and on social media.  I am pleased to say that I am not the only one.  At Oasis 2017, our Atlantic Baptist family approved the following statement that was recently released to all of our churches and to the public:

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Today I am Thankful For…

Image Credit: Troy Wilson Natural Canada Photo

There are many things to be thankful for as we reflect on all of the blessings that God has given us this Thanksgiving.  Today, I am reflecting on the welcome that my ancestors received from the indigenous peoples who already occupied the land that most now call Canada.  I am thankful for their willingness to share their land and resources with strangers.

We saw a beautiful modern-day example of this very welcome at Oasis 2017.  Dr. Terry LeBlanc (Mi’gmaq-Acadian of Listuguj First Nation on the Quebec/New Brunswick border), Dr. Danny Zacharias (Métis), and Dr. Cheryl Bear (Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in British Columbia) welcomed Syrian refugees to Canada who had been sponsored by our Atlantic Baptist churches.  I am amazed and humbled by our indigenous peoples’ continued hospitality and generosity.  Even though my ancestors abused the welcome we were graciously extended, Canada’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples are still willing to welcome newcomers to this land.

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Answers to Prayer

Image Credit:  GeorgeMuller.org

Confession Time

I have a confession to make.  Here goes…

I was at a church meeting this week.  Among other things, we were discussing whether and how to proceed on a particular matter.  There were many suggestions and much discussion, but in the end we decided to give it some more thought and revisit the matter at our next meeting.

Here’s the problem:  To our shame (and I am definitely included in the shame part), not one of us thought to suggest that we pray about it. Read More

The Ideal Team Player

Image Credit:  GreatSchools

I just finished reading The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni.  He was one of the speakers at the Global Leadership Summit 2016 organized by Willow Creek Association (for more information about the annual Global Leadership Summit, click here).  Lencioni is founder of The Table Group, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership, teamwork, and organizational health.

As I was reading the book, I was thinking about how the Church needs ideal team players.  As the Body of Christ, the Church is made up of many different parts that work together (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).  If those parts don’t work together as a team, the Body starts to malfunction and becomes an ineffective witness to Christ’s saving power. Read More

Justice and the Environment

Image Credit:  Snopes

The latest development in world politics is the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, a voluntary, non-binding covenant signed by 195 of 197 countries that are members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  As for the two countries that didn’t sign the agreement, Nicaragua didn’t sign because there were no provisions in the agreement to punish countries that did not comply and Syria didn’t sign because they are currently in the middle of a civil war.  The US withdrawal will officially take effect on November 4, 2020, which is, coincidentally, the day after the next presidential election is scheduled to take place.

You may believe that climate change is real.  You may believe that it is a hoax.  For believers in Jesus, however, there are some things on which we can agree:  Read More

An Evangelism Reading List

Image Credit:  Christianity Today

PEI is having a real focus on evangelism in 2017.  ALPHA will be rolled out all across the Island in the fall and Will Graham’s Celebration of Hope will be held in Charlottetown in early November.  As part of my personal preparations for these events, I’ve been reading up on evangelism.  Here are some interesting evangelism-related blog posts I found this week:

To borrow from the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada’s vision, how are you preparing to “join God in changing [PEI] one neighbourhood at a time”?  Have you read any interesting evangelism blog posts or seen any evangelism-related videos you’d like to share?

“Go… I Am With You Always”

Image Credit:  The Pastor’s Pages

This post is based on a sermon I preached at Murray River Baptist Church on July 10, 2016.

In Deuteronomy 1:6-46, Moses recounts the Israelites’ first attempt at occupying the land God had promised them.  Israel’s rebellion prevented them from occupying the land the first time.  God punished the Israelites by making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until the entire generation that had rebelled had died (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb).

We, both individually and as the Church, are like Israel in many ways.  We regularly rebel against God and forget what God has done for us.  We sometimes place our faith in people and things rather than in the Creator.  In the New Testament, Paul tells us to learn from Israel’s rebellion so we can avoid the same pitfalls and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).  The writer of Hebrews tells us the same thing in Hebrews 3:1-4:13.  Jude 1:5 says, “So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful“, referencing the very history recounted by Moses in Deuteronomy 1.  With this in mind, we can learn a few things from Israel’s experience. Read More

Head First

Image Credit:  International Biblical Training

Self-help gurus have been touting the benefits of positive self-affirmations for years.  They claim that telling yourself positive messages will re-program your subconscious mind so you will naturally act in a way that makes those messages become reality.  Studies have shown that positive self-affirmations can, in fact, be helpful for some.

There are other situations, however, where self-affirmations can cause more harm than good.  In one study, people with low self-esteem who were asked to repeat phrases such as “I accept myself completely” and “I am a lovable person” felt worse afterward.  Why?  When someone repeats positive statements that come into conflict with their perception of themselves, it seems to reinforce their original belief about themselves rather than reverse it.  These people actually felt better after repeating the negative statements about themselves that they already believed, but that’s not helpful if you’re trying to change your mindset so you can have a healthy self-esteem. Read More

The World is Watching

Image Credit:  Know Your Meme

Wow!  We’ve seen some pretty bad public relations missteps in the past week or so:

  • First, it was the Pepsi ad that, amazingly, united the Internet in mockery and hatred of the ad to the point that Pepsi issued an apology and pulled it the day after it was released.
  • Next, it was United Airlines forcibly removing an already-seated passenger from an airplane to make room for airline employees who were due to work at the flight’s destination the next day.  The Internet responded again, calling for boycotts and smearing the airline’s image with snide memes and advertising slogans.  The day after the incident, United’s CEO issued a public statement apologizing “for having to re-accommodate these customers” and an internal memo that defended the actions taken by employees, which was promptly leaked to the media.  Backlash became even more heated and the resulting drop in United’s share price finally elicited a proper apology from the CEO a day later.  Ironically, this is the same CEO who was dubbed Communicator of the Year by PRWeek only weeks ago.
  • To top it all off, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a major gaffe on Tuesday by saying that, unlike Syria’s Assad, Hitler at least had enough decency not to use gas on his own people.  It seems Spicer’s knowledge of history isn’t very strong considering Hitler made regular use of gas chambers during his extermination of German Jews (and other “undesirables” plucked from Germany’s citizenry).  The only thing more stunning than the statement itself was its timing — the week leading up to Passover, a major Jewish holiday — and the number of follow-up statements it took for Spicer to issue a satisfactory apology for his inaccurate and insensitive comparison.

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Image Credit:  Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment

I’m a bit of a superhero movie nerd.  I watch them over and over.  I watched Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man so many times that the VHS tape wore out.  I own Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the Iron Man trilogy and have watched both several times.  With the advent of Netflix, I can binge-watch movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as many times as I want without even leaving my chair to switch from one movie to the next (assuming I can find the remote).

X-Men: Days of Future Past

One of the more prolific movie series based on Marvel comics is the X-Men series.  There are currently ten X-Men movies and related spin-offs and there are five other X-Men-related films in development.  One of my favourites from the X-Men series is X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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Image Credit:  Comic Vine

In the movie, Wolverine (pictured in the centre) goes back in time to try to prevent an assassination that will trigger the creation of highly sophisticated robotic weapons that target mutants and humans that carry the mutant gene, eventually leading to the annihilation of both mutants and humans.  I don’t think I’m spoiling the movie too much to say that the X-Men are successful in their quest.  I’ll let you watch the movie to find out how everything worked out in the end. Read More