Friday, July 31, 2009


"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." - C. S. Lewis.

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." - C. S. Lewis.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Verdict in Spite of the Evidence

More brilliant insight from Alister McGrath.
There is no doubt that the debate over how we generate and justify our beliefs is immensely important . . . . In recent years, considerable attention has been paid to the way in which people sustain their belief systems. The evidence is disturbing, especially for those who continue to believe in the Enlightenment vision of complete objectivity of judgment in all things. Yet there is growing evidence that belief systems - whether theistic or atheistic - are neither generated nor sustained in this way.
Cognitive psychological research has demonstrated repeatedly that people "tend to seek out, recall, and interpret evidence in a manner that sustains beliefs." The interpretation of data is often deeply shaped by the beliefs of the researcher. These implicit beliefs are often so deeply held that they affect the way in which people process information and arrive at judgements. Both religious and anti-religious belief systems are often resistant to anything that threatens to undermine, challenge qualify, or disconfirm them. Deeply held assumptions often render these implicit theories "almost impervious to data."
Some Christian and Islamic writers seem unwilling to examine their deeply held beliefs, presumably because they are afraid that this kind of thing is bad news for faith. Well, maybe it is - for intellectually deficient and half-baked ideas. But it doesn't need to be like this. There are intellectually robust forms of faith - the kind of thing we find in writers such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and C. S. Lewis. They weren't afraid to think about their faith, and ask hard questions about its evidential basis, its internal consistency, or the adequacy of its theories.*

*Alister McGrath, Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007, p. 82, 83; with quotes from Richard E. Nisbett and Lee D. Ross, Human Inference: Strategies and Shortcomings of Social Judgment. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1980, p. 192, 169.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Science and Faith

I am again reading and writing on the interactions of science and faith. I have been reading Alister McGrath's book, Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life. Maybe one day I will write a book about my own journey relative to science and faith. It is an important topic and one that has always been part of the human story.

We must continually reassess our faith in light of the science of the day. Augustine of Hippo (354 to 430) discussed this in his Commentary on Genesis more than fifteen hundred years ago.
In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines our position, we too fall with it. We should not battle for our own interpretation but for the teaching of Holy Scripture. We should not wish to conform the meaning of Holy Scripture to our interpretation, but our interpretation to the meaning of Holy Scripture.
God created a world too marvelous for us to fully comprehend. It should not surprise us that His ways of doing this are beyond our comprehension. Many words have been spoken, written, and argued regarding creation, science, design, evolution, and faith. Perhaps we must again hear the words of an ancient theologian and "not rush headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines our position, we too fall with it."

Friday, July 24, 2009


We all need to have more laughter in our lives.

"When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him." - Thomas Szasz, "The Second Sin"

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans are suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you." - Rita Mae Brown.

"What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?" - Irv Kupcinet

"I have an existential map. It has 'You are here' written all over it." - Steven Wright, US comedian and actor (1955 - ).

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." - Mark Twain, US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Training a New Generation of Planters

On July 13-15, 2009 Church Planting Canada ( presented a Church Planter Summit for church planters in Alberta and British Columbia. A summit (sometimes called a boot-camp) is training for those who are in the process of planting a church or are about to plant a church. Ideally it fits in soon after a planter has been assessed and has a vision in mind for where they would like to plant a church.

Gord Fleming (Director of Church Planting for the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren) and Keith Shields (Lead Minister of LifeHouse Christian Church) were the primary facilitators and presenters to 20 planters representing 11 plants in various stages of development in Calgary, Edmonton, Chilliwack, Surrey, Langley, Sechelt, and Vancouver. These planters were from Mennonite Brethren, Evangelical Free, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Apostolic Churches of Pentecost, and Brethren fellowships.

Other presenters included Mark Anderson (Marineview Chapel), Jerry Conner (The Bridge Church), Cam Roxburgh (Southside Community Church, Forge Canada, Church Planting Canada), Bindu Sidhu (Lead Planter of The Life Centre in Abbotsford), Ray Woodard (National Advocate for Church Starting, Canadian National Baptist Convention) and John Caplin (John F Caplin Coaching and Consulting, Church Planting Canada).

This summit was designed to lead planters through a process whereby they walk away with a coachable strategy for planting their church. The planters came with their visions, their ideas, their models, the beginnings of core values and the summit helped them sharpen these into a coachable plan. Topics covered included “Counting the Cost,” “Core Values,” “Vision,” “Mission,” “Assembling a Prayer Team,” “Fund Raising,” “Transforming the Neighbourhood,” “Servant Leadership,” and “Guarding the Heart.” At the end, each planter made a presentation to the rest of the summit showing their strategy for planting a church in their target area.

God is raising up a new crop of labourers who are willing to plant churches and bring the Kingdom of God to our country. Many of these planters and potential planters will continue to educate themselves and prepare for planting churches. We too need to continually educate ourselves and pray that God might give us the abilities to reach this nation for Christ. This fall we have an opportunity to participate in a national event focussed solely on renovating our country with the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Plan now to take in Renov8, the national congress on church planting presented by Church Planting Canada. It will be held in Calgary on November 17-20, 2009 ( Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that we might see many new churches planted.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


"Be sure that it is not you that is mortal, but only your body. For that man whom your outward form reveals is not yourself; the spirit is the true self, not that physical figure which can be pointed out by your finger." Cicero Roman author, orator, & politician 106 BC - 43 BC.