Couple can’t adopt because they’re Christian?

Christian persecution! Christian persecution!

Or is it?

At first glance of the headlines one may think so, but them getting denied is not specifically because they’re Christian. Plenty of Christian couples are allowed to adopt children in Alberta, I’d wager.

I’ll quote from the Edmonton Journal:

The couple’s identities have been redacted from the documents filed in court, but a copy of a Safe Home Study Report completed in February 2017 describes them as employed, owning their own home and having happy and healthy family and community networks. They indicated they hoped to adopt a child, or up to three siblings, between the ages of seven and 17. The Catholic Social Services worker who prepared the report said in an email she was “pleased” to recommend them for adoption.

However, the report recommended a “homosexual child” not be placed with the couple because of an assessment that though they said would unconditionally love a child questioning or exploring their sexuality, they would not support the “lifestyle,” which could mean a child may not feel accepted.

They later tried to argue that it wouldn’t be an issue, that they’re just concerned about a potential adopted child’s future of depression, anxiety and possible suicide all because of “choosing” the wrong kind of lifestyle that they don’t like.

So much for the notion of unconditional love. They’re describing the exact opposite.

In response to inquiries about the court application, Aaron Manton, spokesman for Minister of Children’s Services, provided an emailed statement.

“Our government believes that every adoptive child deserves a safe, healthy, loving and inclusive home. We want to ensure that, in all cases, the adoption process gives both children and parents the best possible outcomes, which is why the application process is thorough and rigorous,” Manton said in the statement.

Snagging the end bit from Christian Headlines (where I found the story in the first place):

The case shows that Alberta “now has what amounts to an official doctrine when it comes to sexuality issues, especially homosexuality and same-sex marriage,” said Mohler in his podcast The Briefing on Nov. 15. Despite the fact that this couple’s beliefs mirror what Biblical Christianity has taught for over two millennia and what the country of Canada held to be morally mandated until very recently, convictional Christians are now being identified as “heretics of the new official state religion,” Mohler said, adding, “This is a church that is ardently hunting down heretics.”

(lbert Mohler is listed in there as “president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD board member.”)

Okay, but here’s the thing, Mr. Mohler. Equality for homosexuals is not a religious mandate, it’s a legal one. It’s not a “lifestyle choice” nor is it a decision someone makes on the fly. It’s an identity and it’s a legit identity, not someone’s idea of fuckable same-sex cosplay that he or she will try for a day and then go back to “normal.” Sexuality exists on a sliding scale, as it happens, and it’s about time lawmakers focused on the scientific reality of that instead of hanging onto an archaic Biblical model that makes sinners out of everyone who doesn’t “fit” what some ancient culture thought was true.

A hearing for this case is expected sometime in 2018 so hopefully it occurs to me to check again and see what went on with that.

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I’ve agreed to two different “Secret Santa” draws

One is via a Facebook group called We Ate’nt Dead that’s for fans of everything Terry Pratchett related and not actually anonymous; I have to mail something to a gal in Belfast, Irelend for that one. No idea who’s sending me a pressie, yet, though, so I guess it’s kind of mysterious. Miss Belfast is a fan of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and doesn’t like spiders or butterflies, but does like the colour green. Here I am in Saskatchewan with no clue what to mail her for Hogswatch.. Rider gear is green. Maybe a toque would fit the cash limit.. have doubts though..

The other is work related and will likely involve me buying something for someone I know nothing about.

I much prefer the gift game of something utterly random and everyone can pick a package out of the middle, open it up, and then hopefully trade with someone for something better. The other one I like is the White Elephant where you deliberately buy (or assemble) something utterly horrible and hope that you can trade up to something “better” when you see how ghastly your present is. Last year I’d found a garish red and green apron at Value Village and stuffed the pockets with the worst Harlequin titles I could find for sale there. It was fun waiting for someone to pick that present. Someone completely doofed the rules one year, though, and bought those awesome Smithsonian science sets. But we managed to hang onto them. One of these days the Young One should try out the volcano or crystal growing.

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1minion invites God in – the key to peace of mind

(Check the tag “Inviting God In” for the rest of this series, taking readings from Joyce Rupp’s book of the same name.)

Here’s number 6 on page 25:

I will say, “Peace be with you!” Psalm 122:8

I went to a Catholic school until grade 8 and we had some New Testament paperback “Good News!” version we used in our religion class. For grad in grade 7, I think it was, we got these lovely red “leather” bound pocket New Testaments that came with Psalms and Proverbs. In grade 12, I accompanied friends to a youth retreat at Millar College of the Bible and got a full bible that I highlighted and bookmarked until I grew bored of the thing and recycled it.

During a very brief stint in Basic Training, I was gifted another pocket sized New Testament upon getting my uniform and other gear. That one went to Community Living, probably. I never questioned it at the time, but I wasn’t a strident atheist at the time, either, although looking back I probably did question why they’d be forcing Bibles on us.. It never occurred to me to try saying no.

Long digression; I would read through the Psalms and proverbs sometimes, when I felt like thinking of the Bible as a self help guide — but that wasn’t something I was able to keep up on for long.

Peace is more than the absence of conflict. It is an attitude about life. … Trusting that God is with us and that this gift is all we really need for our happiness.

Which was the problem; it didn’t matter how many verses I highlighted, how many I looked up on whatever prayer topics were listed alphabetically at the end of them, no matter how many nights I lay in bed assembling my thoughts.. there never was a sense of getting an answer. I don’t consider myself a failure, though — and the idea that “Sometimes the answer is no” is preposterous. That’s how you make yourself feel better when prayers don’t seem to get answered.. except why is this an answer that should make you feel better? I don’t like being ignored. Imagine how people in iron lungs must have felt if they tried to pray for cures for their polio-caused paralysis. God thinks you deserve this disease because there’s something noble about suffering.. I think that’s horrible to tell someone and horrible that a so-called loving god would condone it. Give thanks to science for the ones who survived, not God.

Next up, God’s ways of being known.

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Morality Movie Monday – Wayne’s World

The Hubs and I watched this film last night, actually (can’t fault me for being honest) but it fits with the themes of other films I’ve featured in this series and you can search by Morality Movie Monday to find the rest of them.

This was a delight, I must say. My first experience with the film happened as the sequel was released in theatres and McDonald’s was selling cheap VHS tapes along with a burger.

All IMDB puts in for a movie description is this:

Two slacker friends try to promote their public-access cable show.

So, I’ll see if I can do better than that for anyone who’s never seen this, or at least needs a refresher. Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey play Wayne and Garth, a couple dudes who somehow manage to run a TV show through Wayne’s basement. It’s crazy popular on account of its metal music and silly gags, either at Garth’s expense, and otherwise directed at any guests.

Rob Lowe plays Chris Traeger — I mean, Benjamin, a TV producer who’s been shown their show and decides that its odd popularity could be used to his advantage. The owner of a local arcade chain is in need of better promotion and gets roped into becoming the main advertiser for the new Wayne’s World show. All well and good, but the fancy style of Ben’s version doesn’t really appeal to either host of the original. Wayne blows an interview with the arcade owner on the inaugural episode and gets fired. Garth is hopeless as a solo host, though.

Adding some conflict is the very beautiful Tia Carrere as Cassandra, a popular singer and Wayne’s love interest. Ben invites Cassandra and her band, Crucial Taunt, to do a very ridiculous snake-riddled music video, but Wayne’s worried about Ben having ulterior motives of the sex variety and Cassandra’s pissed over his lack of trust, thus breaking things off. Wayne wins her back in the end, of course.

This does not pass the Bechdel test. She’s one of the only named women in the film, but doesn’t talk to any other named women about anything, let alone something not related to a man. Added bummer, Garth’s love interest seems to be one dimensional – some smiley sexy blonde at the donut shop that never says a word to anybody, least of all Garth. She’s a pipe dream, not a person. Cass is at least fleshed out as a woman with passion and ambition. Another named woman of note is Stacy (Lara Flynn Boyle who was so fun and baffling as Donna in Twin Peaks). She has an unhealthy fixation on Wayne, who’d broken up with her sometime before the film events, but still thinks she needs to buy him things and hang around all the time. He’s quite mean to her, actually. As a viewer, I feel bad for her. Wayne’s an asshole. Surely, had this been reality, he could have sat the woman down and said, look, chick. You’re nice and all but we’re not really fitting well together and I think it would be better if we saw other people. Not everyone does well with rejection, though.

Side note, I’m reminded of prom. One of my neighbours set me up with someone he knew since I was single and hopeless. We arranged to meet at the dance and he was nice enough, but I wasn’t firm with him in terms of “this is only for tonight” and he tried to pursue me for most of the summer. I think he finally got the message when I completely ignored him at the mall and focused all my attention on my friend whose folks ran the lotto booth. It’s likely a good thing the internet was yet to be anything in 1992 (the year this film came out, happy 25th anniversary!), because the guy might have turned into one of those idiotic dudes who feel like they’re forced into celibacy by bitches rather than admit they have the social skills of a hammer.

Anyway, I enjoyed Wayne’s World. It’s such a product of its era. The Bohemian Rhapsody scene alone makes it a classic, in my eyes.

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Brazilian shaman sees “dark side” to positive thinking

Guess where I found this article. Go on, guess.

Yes, it’s from my go-to for wootastic whatthefluffery, Earth We Are One. So, what’s the deal here?

The article author notes that while positive thinking has been peddled by many a self-help author with a book deal and a daytime date with Drs. Phil or Oz,

it still remains far easier said (or thought) than done (or accomplished). However, a Brazilian Shaman named Ruda Lande argues that the philosophy itself is completely wrong, regardless.

Googling his name, I find out he’s a naturopathic therapist. Well, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about this. In fact, several other authors not typically featured on Drs. Phil or Oz have complained about the positive thinking model in the self-help field for years. New York Times, Psychology Today, Newsweek, and Forbes have published pieces by people critical of the movement.

What’s being suggested in this particular article is what anyone with an ounce of sense will tell you. Use a more reality-based approach – remain hopeful that things will work out but have contingency plans in case everything does go to shit. Overall it’s better to admit that things may go wrong and know how to deal with that than run around with blinders on thinking everything will be perfect forever and then have zero clue how to handle the unexpected when the unexpected inevitably punches you in the teeth.

Now, how much does this Shaman charge for his advice? I’ve just given it away for free…There’s a flaw here somewhere…

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Quickie story no. 8

This time I’ll just use one Rory Story Cube die and the six sides of it. Never done that before.

Bronze, red, orange, yellow; the grass and sidewalks were covered with the limited palette and yet prettier for it. Many trees had already undressed themselves but others stood with remarkable contrast from the green to the reds, just waiting for their chance to attract Old Man Winter with their bare limbs. The hussies.

The crunch and crackle of leaves underfoot were as satisfying to Mary-Beth Harlow as the crunch of potato chips or the crackle of a summer night’s campfire. Her Basset Hound, Barney, snuffled his nose through the fallen foliage as they walked through the park, seemingly with as much joy as she felt. No telling how many wondrous scents he discovered with every leaf he turned over. Only the leash kept him from finding all there may have been to offer.

Upon returning home from the walk, Mary-Beth checked the mail. Nothing but flyers. She let Barney off the leash and he ambled into the backyard. Mary-Beth followed, flipping through the sale ads for furniture, cars, and appliances. Nothing a twelve-year old would be wanting. But wait.. what was this? The pamphlet was bright and boldly coloured like a rainbow exploded. She flipped a few pages in. It seemed to be a magazine advertising a home business – you could buy these things from us and sell them for your own pocket money. Mary-Beth sat on the back steps and went through the little booklet page by page, more slowly than the first time. Barney laid at her feet, belly up for scratches, but she didn’t notice.

Mary-Beth heard her father’s truck stop in the alley while it waited for the grinding of the old garage door to open up enough to let the vehicle drive in. She walked over to the garage, bringing the pamphlet with her. Barney followed.

“Hey, Dad,” she said when she caught his attention. “I think I want to try this.” She waved the pamphlet in his direction.

“May-Bee, baby,” Dad called out to her as he spotted her; it was a nickname she hated, but she loved her Dad so put up with it. “What is this ‘this’ of which you speak?” She passed him the pamphlet on their way back to the house. Barney followed.

“‘Tower Entertainment presents the fastest way to earn a dollar…’ Oh, Embee, this isn’t something you want to throw your money into.” Dad frowned as he skimmed the jargon and small print. He folded the pamphlet and tucked it into his back pocket before bending down to give the patient dog the belly rubs he was waiting for. “Those companies are fly-by-night scams. They’ll take your money and sell you the garbage and you’re on the hook trying to sell it all to someone else before they know it’s trash. You’d be better off hiring yourself as a leaf-raker.”

Mary-Beth scowled, disappointed. “Like a pyramid scheme, Dad?”

“Near enough.” Dad nodded. “Where did you hear about those?”

“Mr. Murphy at school.” He was the social issues teacher and often gave the kids solid lessons on history and economics with a fond fixation on the myriad of ways the world and its people were out to trick other people.

“It’s worthwhile to be skeptical of this kind of thing. Keep an eye out. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.” Dad gave Mary-Beth a squeeze. “Sorry, kid. I know you want to make some spending money but I think we can figure out a less risky way to do it. Babysitting?”

Mary-Beth rolled her eyes. Never babysitting. “Think harder, Dad,” she groaned. Dad laughed and the two of them headed into the house for supper. Barney followed.

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1minion invites God in – remembering our gifted ancestors

(All devotions can be found under the tag Inviting God In.)

So here I am at no. 5 on page 24 of Rupp’s book. I’m not feeling any holier yet. Nor do I think God feels welcome in my body or my house. Before I get to the write-up from the book, this weekend we headed out of town to see the Hubs’ grandfather who was celebrating a birthday. Somewhere over the age of 85 but I didn’t hear the actual number. At random places on the walls of the kitchen he had little paper cutouts of Jesus Christ and Mary. He’s a devoted Catholic and always has been. Most notably on the top corners of the patio door, perhaps blessing anyone who might walk in that way? I should have asked… Anyway..

“So all the generatrions from Abraham to David are fourteen generations…” Matthew 1:17

I pull that from the book called Inviting God In (where all these devotionals come from – it’s available on kindle if you want to follow along) but check out the whole verse in your Bible (if you have one) or use Bible Gateway, which is the resource I like because they offer a wide selection of versions to choose from.

Verses 1-10 run the list of ancestors Jesus had but they aren’t listing the line down Mary’s side and we know J and M are kin through pregnancy; Those who assembled the book of Matthew were assuming Jesus was the direct spawn of Joseph. But Joe is only a step-dad, not a relation — if God really is the father and Joe’s sperm had nothing to do with the boy, then this ancestral line is absolutely meaningless, genetically speaking.

And, if you want to get even more heretical, probably, there’s no telling that the wives of all these men listed didn’t dally with other dudes to get preggers when their hubbies were sterile (or away in the desert at the time) and give any offspring the married name so as to avoid a stoning. Yes, he really does have your eyes, Ezekial…

Grandpa mentioned earlier has five kids and while the two girls have never been on the outs with him for anything, the three boys at various points of their lives have been “unwelcome” in that house for any number of reasons so the Hubs was quite surprised to see two of them there for the party. (The third lives in BC, I think, which would have been a fair distance to come just for this.) Family dynamics are weird.

Also, his girl cousins are nearly interchangeable due to their similar looks and all their little tykes take after the strong genes that make those girls so identical. A couple other kids from one of the uncles looked like they should have been the Young One’s siblings, though, instead of the Hubs’ youngest cousins. Wild how that works.

Rupp notes that many cultures revere the past generations, bringing up the Native Americans and their “calling in the ancestors.” I’m reminded of Japan and China and the shrines families might have in their homes or cemeteries — admittedly I’m going by what I’ve seen in Mulan and all the anime I’ve watched in my life; I know very little about the Asian cultures, I must admit. (So much I don’t know about everyone and everywhere and I’m first to admit my ignorance.)

There’s not much to this entry in the book. Just a reminder to think about the past and those who came before and think about their faith in relation to yours (unless you’re me without any). In terms of Christ, it can be argued that this is very convoluted, and not just because of this ancestor list that’s not entirely accurate. What if Jesus is a construct and not based on a real person?

What if he’s a creation of those who wanted to sell the end of a prophecy (or more than one) made generations earlier about a son of God coming to Earth? The concept of Christ could have been retrofitted later to fit whatever Jewish predictions had so far gone unfulfilled. Y-Jesus notes the existence of 61 prophecies and,

According to the Hebrew requirement that a prophecy must have a 100 percent rate of accuracy, the true Messiah of Israel must fulfill them all or else he is not the Messiah. So the question that either vindicates Jesus or makes him culpable for the world’s greatest hoax is, did he fit and fulfill these Old Testament prophecies?

The writers of the New Testament would have known about some or all of those prophecies. And since there are points in the Gospels where one tells the story one way, one tells another way, and other two never mention it.. as an atheist, I find it really odd that people trust the Bible to tell you that other parts of the Bible are true. It’s a weird circular logic. Back to Y-Jesus:

Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility. It could never happen, no matter how much time was allotted. One mathematician’s estimate of those impossible odds is “one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.”³

Which is why people peddle the “miracle” word so easily, I guess. It’s a sweeter pill to swallow than the possibility that any or all of the writers of their “Good Book” made shit up to fit a story generations in the making.

Next up, the key to peace of mind.

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