Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ash Wednesday

"If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.


O my people, what have I done unto thee.


Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice"

from the poem "Ash-Wednesday" by T.S. Eliot

Monday, February 27, 2006

Pastor Dan Casieri is still in critical condition and has not yet been awakened. Please continue to pray for him, that God would heal him and allow him to remain with us.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Prayer Request

I am asking everyone to please pray for my pastor Dan Casieri who went in for heart surgery Friday morning. There were complications during and after the operation and we're now waiting for him to stabilize. He probably won't wake up until Sunday. Please ask God for healing, and also for comfort and strength for his family.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Nana and Aunty Laura's Visit from Massachusetts





Monday, February 20, 2006

Tickled Pink



Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Miriam


Friday, February 17, 2006

Miriam Elizabeth Belli


was born at 4:48am on Friday, February 17. She was 7lbs. 14oz. and healthy. Emily had a 24 hour labor and did amazingly well. She's doing great. With the addition of my daughter, now both of the most beautiful girls in the world are right here at the Civic Hospital. I just came home but am going back to the hospital. Check for updates.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Trying hard to choose
a subject for my haiku,
I thought of this one.

Adventures with the Belli's

Emily recounts an exciting night in the life of our family on her blog, Letters Mingling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Feast of Saint Valentine

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.
-Chaucer, Parliament of Foules
Valentino, Bishop of Rome, was jailed for helping martyrs in prison. While there, the jailer was converted when Valentine restored his blind daughter's sight. He was beaten and beheaded in 269. In order to honor this devout priest who gave his life to the ministry of the gospel and who died for Christ, it is obvious that chocolate and flying chubby babies are the way to do it.
Actually, some believe that February 14 was a Roman holiday in which boys would draw girls' names in some sort of honor to the fertlity and sex goddess Februata Juno. Of course, Christian leaders went and 'sanctified' the pagan day- like Christmas and Easter -and named it for St. Valentine in order to distract their flock from paganism... Well, 2000 years later it worked; the day is all about self-sacrificial Christian service and not at all about eros...
Valentine is the patron saint of the following:
  • Betrothed couples
  • Against fainting
  • Bee Keepers
  • Epilepsy
  • Greetings
  • Greeting Card Manufacturers
  • Love
  • Happy Marriages
  • Plague
  • Travellers
  • Young People

I'm sure there's an entertaining Valentine's Day story someone could come up with incorporating the above items.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Evolution Sunday

If you didn't know, yesterday was Evolution Sunday, where churches across the globe distanced themselves from those wascally cweationists, and celebrated the contributions of Charles Darwin. I'd like to share the liturgy of our solemn worship with you now.

The choir led us in a rousing rendition of

"Guide me O thou great Selection,
Primate through this barren land.
I am fit, so sure is my survival;
Change me to an upright man.
Evolution, Evolution,
Morph me till I can no more;
Morph me till I can no more."


Then we all recited the Five Points of Darwinism, or the acrostic "THORN," as we say in our circles:

Total Vulnerablity- we're at the mercy of nature
Humanism- we must strive to advance a master race
Oops- we're the product of chance, not design
Resistance is Futile- you will be assimilated
Natural Selection- (although it IS unconditional)


Then we heard a wonderfully zealous sermon on sanctification called, "From Goo, to the Zoo, to You"


And we of course recited the Nicene Creed (21st Century Version):

I believe in the Bang Almighty,
the Beginner of space and earth,
and in the Primordial Goo, life's womb:

In which life was conceived by complete chance,
born as an amoeba,
evolved into an insect,
and then a worm, fish, and a whale.

Thus the origin of mammals.

The third billion year period it rose from the sea.

It ascended onto the beach
and crawled into the forest,
where it became an ape
so he could hide in the trees away from predators
in order to stay living and not become dead.
From whence it came down from the trees and began to farm, create religion, and have mortgages.

I believe in the Survival of the Fittest,
the holy Natural Selection,
the evolution of organisms,
the nonexistence of sins,
the worthlessness of the body,
and life nothing special.
Amen.

Finally, we partook of a communion of bananas in remembrance of Charles Darwin.

Of course we didn't offer up any prayers of petition because we know that praying against cancer and other illnesses would be against natural selection, and would be contrary to survival of the fittest.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"By perseverence the snail reached the ark."
Charles H. Spurgeon

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blogging

I need to say this. Most people who bother looking at my blog know me. And by knowing me, they know my personality. I like to provoke reactions, and not always "walk on eggshells" around issues. I don't say things out of ignorance (most of the time) and neither do I mean to belittle other people. Once in a while I post something that I know will generate discussion.

My jeremiad on the global warming theory was one of those sure winners. I definitely received what I predicted, but on a greater scale, as many of my Canadian friends weighed in on the debate. Although I've been accused of stupidity in having this opinion, which many thousands of scientists hold to be true, I'm no less convinced than when I started. Call it stubbornness. By the way, what would I possibly have to gain by not believing in global warming unless I just believe otherwise based on the legitimate science I've seen?


My biggest concern here is the rhetoric that people have used against me. I'm not attacking what you said, I'm just saying that we hear these same arguments from those who hold to evolution and Darwinism. So I guess I'm just saying that, should we buy into any scientific theory beacuse of the following rhetoric? If yes, then none of us should be Creationists because a seeming "consensus" of scientists believe otherwise.

  • "I am very suprised that you just seem to look past this evidence."
  • "I believe that you should be aware that quite probably a much larger number of reputable scientists contribute to organizations such as this than the few that you have found to back up your beliefs."
  • "Lots of scientists have said global warming is extremely real. In fact, I think most scientists have made such conclusions. Those who deny it are the exception."
  • "I think that this is clearly an example of someone who wants what they believe to be made true."
  • "I am deeply saddened by the mentality of ignorance that you have subscribed to."

Whether global warming be true or not, as a Christian I must never follow a broad path just because it's broad. But I'll follow it if it's true, broad or not. But in this present case, I am still not convinced of its truth.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Colonial Church of Edina


Okay. I found a website for the Colonial Church of Edina, Minnesota. You may or may not be wondering how there could be something colonial in Minnesota. But the reality is, a contemporary "Puritan" congregation has constructed a HUGE facility in the desire to be closer to their Colonial founders. Their property holds a Puritan-style meetinghouse (see photo) and a New England covered bridge among many other facilities. There's also the Jonathan Edwards Youth Center and Lounge, the Anne Bradstreet Hearth Room, and many other rooms named for old American Christians.

The fellowship hall has a great symbolic theme. It's called the Pastor John Robinson Great Hall (he was the Pilgrims' pastor) and it's an open room filled with natural light. They say, "The pastor whom the Pilgrims of the Mayflower left behind counseled them that 'God hath yet more truth and light to break forth from His Holy Word.' This place of eating and meeting allows us to be open to the light."

What a great idea. Granted, naming every single room for someone may be overkill, but it's still a noble effort. I think I'll visit them someday... the next time I'm in Minnesota...

See the rest of the pictures here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Happy 100th Birthday to a Hero

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Feb. 4, 1906-April 9, 1945), German pastor and theologian, is remembered for both his written works as well has his involvement in Nazi resistance. His most celebrated book, The Cost of Discipleship, is still one of the most widely celebrated books on Christian growth ever printed. There is a film portraying his heroic life, and he's one of the ten 20th century martyrs depicted in the statues over the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey.
.
While involved in a conspiracy plot to assassinate Hitler, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned when a money trail (money used to smuggle Jews into Switzerland) was traced to him. When the Nazis later discovered his plot to kill the Führer, he was hanged at the concentration camp at Flossenbürg... three weeks before its liberation. His most famous quote from Discipleship is, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
On the 100th birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the least we can do is quitly consider: are we willing pay the ultimate cost of following Christ?
"Cheap Grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting
to-day for costly grace.
Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us
from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow upon ourselves.
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution
without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace
without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly
go and sell all that he has…"

Friday, February 03, 2006

False Alarm

Unfortunately, our little baby came out yesterday, saw its shadow and hurried back inside. So it looks like six more weeks of pregnancy! (Sigh)

Further Reading...

I don't need to carry on with this debate on my blog. There's plenty of other exciting and irrelevant topics to talk about, so I'll just leave a few resources, from Cambridge to Princeton, which can all be found on Amazon:




In fact, over 17,000 scientists have signed a Petition against international treaties (like Kyoto) based on the flawed science of "global warming".


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Global Warming Myth #3

Myth #3 Human-Caused Global Warming Will Cause Cataclysmic Environmental Problems.
"Proponents of the theory of human-caused global warming argue that it is causing and will continue to cause all manner of environmental catastrophes, including higher ocean levels and increased hurricane activity. Reputable scientists, including those working on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations organization created to study the causes and effects of global climate warming, reject these beliefs.
Sea levels are rising around the globe, though not uniformly. In fact, sea levels have risen more than 300 feet over the last 18,000 years - far predating any possible human impact. Rising sea levels are natural in between ice ages. Contrary to the predictions of global warming theorists, the current rate of increase is slower than the average rate over the 18,000-year period.
Periodic media reports link human-caused climate changes to more frequent tropical cyclones or more intense hurricanes. Tropical storms depend on warm ocean surface temperatures (at least 26 degrees Celsius) and an unlimited supply of moisture. Therefore, the reasoning goes, global warming leads to increased ocean surface temperatures, a greater uptake of moisture and destructive hurricanes. But recent data show no increase in the number or severity of tropical storms, and the latest climate models suggest that earlier models making such connections were simplistic and thus inaccurate.
Since the 1940s the National Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory has documented a decrease in both the intensity and number of hurricanes.
Since factors other than ocean temperature such as wind speeds at various altitudes seem to play a larger role than scientists previously understood, most agree that any regional changes in hurricane activity will continue to occur against a backdrop of large yearly natural variations.
What about other effects of warming? If a slight atmospheric warming occurred, it would primarily affect nighttime temperatures, lessening the number of frosty nights and extending the growing season. Thus some scientists think a global warming trend would be an agricultural boon. Moreover, historically warm periods have been the most conducive to life. Most of the earth's plant life evolved in a much warmer, carbon dioxide-filled atmosphere.
Conclusion
As scientists expose the myths concerning global warming, the fears of an apocalypse should subside. So rather than legislating in haste and ignorance and repenting at leisure, our government should maintain rational policies, based on science and adaptable to future discoveries."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Highlights from the State of the Union Address

When all was said and done last night, and the applause died down, and the president left the building, and the janitors were vacuuming the Congressional carpet and polishing the engraved Ten Commandments on the wall, we were left pondering a "safe" State of the Union speech. The president was not radically partisan; he reached across the aisle many times, and received laud from both parties. He was interrupted by applause 59 times in a 50 minute address. However, conservatism shone through on several occasions, much to the chagrin of liberals like Billary Clinton, whose facial expressions told an epic tale of leftist extremism. But it was not half as bad as last year's, when most of the approval came from the Republican side of the room, while my Senator Ted Kennedy shook his head and rolled his eyes so much that I thought for sure he was sloshed. I've decided to highlight a few lines from President Bush, including an impressive plan to rid ourselves of oil as an energy source!! Please read them:

  • ON THE WAR- "If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will – by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself – we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil."
  • ON FOREIGN AID- "We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery."
  • ON WIRETAPPING- "It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack – based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have – and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. ...[It] has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it – because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again. "
  • ON THE ECONOMY- "Our economy is healthy, and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs – more than Japan and the European Union combined. Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world. "
  • ON OIL AND ENERGY (sticking it to those who think he's a puppet of big oil businessmen in Texas)- "Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
  • The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources – and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative – a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy. We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment … move beyond a petroleum-based economy … and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."
  • ON CRIME- "In recent years, America has become a more hopeful Nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row. These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation – a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment."
  • ON LIFE- "A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research – human cloning in all its forms … creating or implanting embryos for experiments … creating human-animal hybrids … and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator – and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale."
  • HE CONCLUDED WITH DESTINY- "Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well? Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom’s advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward – optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America."