A liberal’s true wretchedness is revealed in their words…

It can rightfully be said that a liberal’s true wretchedness is revealed in their words. Take a gander at what has been said publicly over the last few days on social media and the liberal news outlets.

Hayley Geftman-Gold, former VP at CBS said that she was “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican.”

Hayley would later go on to apologize for her cold and nonsensical statement(s):

“Earlier today I posted an indefensible post in a Facebook discussion thread concerning the tragic Las Vegas shooting, a statement I sincerely regret. I am deeply sorry for diminishing the significance of every life affected by Stephen Paddock’s terrorism last night and for the pain my words have inflicted on the loved ones of the victims. My shameful comments do not reflect the beliefs of my former employer, colleagues, family, and friends. Nor do they reflect my actual beliefs — this senseless violence warrants the deepest empathy. I understand and accept all consequences that my words have incurred.”

According to a CBS spokeswoman, Geftman-Gold, “who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS. Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families.”

If you commit the crime…you do the time.

Do you really want to be associated with “friends” that think, speak, and act that way? Almost no compassion, zero tolerance for opposing viewpoints, and a cavalier attitude towards human life.

To add insult to injury, the icky liberals are crawling out of the woodwork claiming that they feel sorry for Hayley and that she is a “victim” of freedom of speech.

Oh, for the love of foosball. Are these people certifiably insane? What slimy rock did they crawl out from under?

Like an invasion of cockroaches, the liberal mindset just never seems to go away.

Unless, of course, one is fearless enough to squash them one by one.

And, please…don’t resort to the same sort of violent mentality of groups like the Antifa et al. Fight incomprehensible evil with the truth. The inked quill is mightier than the sword. Combat evil, like the aforementioned, with words of wisdom and NOT VIOLENCE.

Yes, I know, it is really hard to be tolerant and respectful of individuals and/or entire groups who hate God and country. No one said that this would be an easy task, did they?

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An Open Letter to a Friend: A Journey Towards Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation

Thanks my friend for your understanding and encouragement. As as an individual who was raised in Catholic orthodoxy and later studied in a conservative Protestant college and seminary, I too am wrestling with the default orthodox and/or Evangelical theological position that the underlying philosophy and practice of the LGBQT community is erroneous (hamartia derived from the Greek ἁμαρτία, from ἁμαρτάνειν hamartánein, which means “to miss the mark” or “to err”) versus tolerance, inclusivity and acceptance of the aforementioned community in the Church.

As a follower of Christ, I am still learning to be tolerant, inclusive, accepting and loving of people from all walks of life, including my friends and associates in the LGBTQ community. At the same time, I endeavour to develop a deeper theological understanding of what Church history and the Bible has to say comprehensively on the aforementioned subject area. This is no easy or simple task to approach without an open heart and mind, continually trusting for guidance under the direction of the Holy Spirit. I have an innate desire to be a on-going learner or seeker of truth, a Berean, and not merely jump on the band wagon of the accepted norms or the status quo of the institutionalized Church or contemporary society for that matter.

In my life experience, I have come to recognize that there is considerable tension and animosity between the aforementioned orthodoxy and the LGBTQ community. Both sides seem to be “at war” with each other. This troubles me deeply.

As a follower of Christ, I have suffered and endured many things, often for no other reason than identifying with Jesus. As one who has been called to be a peacemaker, I have been deeply hurt and offended by individuals representative of both groups. My only recourse is to forgive, yet only time can ease the sting of misguided animosity perpetrated by less-than-perfect people. As humans, we really are fragile creatures, prone to missing the mark that God intends for our lives.

You are quite right, my friend. We should not require nor desire a Christian culture to dominate society in order to moralistically strong-arm people into certain behaviour. People are free to make their own decisions in this life, for better or worse. Isn’t that what the theological construct of being a free moral agent (free will) is all about?

It is my understanding that our witness to Christ and His influence comes precisely from NOT coercing and enforcing as the world does (regardless of the end behaviour we seek to bring about ) but by demonstrating genuine love and vulnerability to all.

We are not at liberty to be repulsed by contemporary culture. Instead we are to engage with and transform culture – to love and serve all people by seeing everyone as God actually sees them – created in His moral image.

Thanks for reading…

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Moving Towards a More Tolerant Society

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I have managed, over time, to develop a courteous association and friendship with a young woman on social media. We have never met in person, although, from time-to-time, I think about her as I would my own adult daughter(s). I genuinely do care about her well-being and that of her family as they start a new chapter of their life in North America. We share a love for reading, writing, and history. We value the liberal democracies that we live in, and tend to look at modern culture, religion and politics from a moderate point of view.

Although we have grown up in remarkably different societies, we share a strong interest in understanding the world that we live in, including the desire to step out of the ordinary in order to truly understand the extraordinary. For a young woman, she possesses an incredible amount of wisdom and grace, pointing to many positive influences in her life including, perhaps, immediate family and friends. It is almost as though I know how she thinks and feels  – a kindred spirit as it were. We may not always agree on various aspects of modern culture, politics, and religion, but I value her directness, honesty, and that ever-so-British politeness.

I think that is what tolerance is all about – learning to listen to the points of view and perspectives of others without being dismissive and/or judgemental. It is when we genuinely care about the lives of others in a personal way, that the dividing walls of gender, race, religion, country of origin, politics, etc., come tumbling down.

I may have developed very strong convictions and beliefs in the religious and political arenas, but God help me if I neglect to LOVE another human being. Alas, this is where the rubber meets the road – loving others and exercising tolerance for individuals and whole societies that differ from our own.

There are many views of love and an equal amount of opinions on the subject. The love that I am referring to is something I am still working on – a work in progress, so to speak.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Recently, I read an excellent article, an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria, published on CNN in June of 2016. Fareed could rightfully be considered as a moderate, who attempts to correctly differentiate between Islamic terrorists and ordinary Muslim people. Fareed, in discussing the current conflicts, asks the question:

How can we bring an end to this?

And then provides a succinct answer:

There’s really only one way: Help the majority of Muslims fight extremists, reform their faith, and modernize their societies. In doing so, we should listen to those on the front lines, many of whom are fighting and dying in the struggle against jihadis. The hundreds of Muslim reformers I’ve spoken to say their task is made much harder when Western politicians and pundits condemn Islam entirely, demean their faith, and speak of all Muslims as backward and suspect.

I tend to agree with him. Islam is not a stagnant belief system any more than Judaism and Christianity. Muslims around the world do want to reform their faith and modernize their societies. When one takes exception with Islamic terrorism, and works towards the peaceful coexistence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in society, they are moving in the right direction. We may not concur on various elements of our respective faiths, but we can live in peace and mutual prosperity, demonstrating tolerance, respect, and love towards each other.

Utopianism you say? I know…I get a lot of flak from friends and foes alike when I publicly espouse the ideals of freedom of religion and conscience in society. Yes, I lean towards being an idealist who expects great things, not only in myself, but in others also. I hold on to the biblical concept that “we are our brothers keeper” wholeheartedly, and try to extend the same grace towards those outside of my own inner circle.

I am also a realist and truly understand, from my own life experience, how difficult it is for even like-minded people to mesh together in a continual peaceful coexistence. Nevertheless, if the Jewish and Muslim people of the Middle East could peacefully coexist for hundreds of years (before the tragic wars of modern times), there is hope for North American cultural, religious, and political plurality.

Fareed Zakaria said it best:

But if America is about anything, it is the idea that people should be judged as individuals with individual liberties and rights.

I agree with his sentiments. If that makes me a Liberal, so be it.

To Grind or Not to Grind: Gravel Riding & Racing in Saskatchewan.

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Master men’s lead group coming out of a tight corner.

A number of people have asked me over the last couple of years why I don’t participate in gravel riding and racing. My standard answer is that I do not own a gravel bike and already have too many bikes in the stable. If an individual presses me a little harder, I will tell them that the agricultural dust and chemicals carried by the perpetually blowing winds in Southern Saskatchewan are some of my asthma triggers, especially during aerobic exercise. Both of the aforementioned are honest answers, the latter being one of the primary reasons why I chose not to grain farm with my dad on a permanent basis so many years ago.

The need to breathe is a primal instinct for survival 🙂

As some of you may know from earlier posts, I had been away from Club cycling for some time before I decided to sign up with Regina Cycling Club (RCC), historically a road racing club in Regina, Saskatchewan. The club was founded by individuals I consider to be friends, although they are closer to my dad’s age than mine. I have met, and continue to meet awesome people through RCC and other cycling clubs locally and elsewhere.

Times have changed, and now gravel riding and racing is a significant part of the club and racing schedule. What I did not realize, until this year, is that there appears to be a bit of tension between traditional road riders and gravel riders in terms of agenda, events, and “air time” within the public discourse on FaceBook (FB).

As for me, I do not want to see the club (RCC) drift too far from its original purpose of being a traditional road racing club with well-organized road races, criteriums, and time trials. Please don’t get all up-in-arms over my personal preference(s) – I am just being honest here. Some of the older riders inside the club have mentioned to me that they do not like the direction we are heading with the heavy emphasis on gravel racing, cyclocross, fat biking, and just about everything else besides road racing. I tend to agree with them and have spoken freely in public forums about it. Nevertheless, a new generation and a few old-timers love gravel riding and racing and are quite vocal about it on the FB public forum also.

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Elite men’s criterium chase group.

To each his/her own. Live and let live? I am getting too old (or too wise) to get involved in the internal squabbles and small-time politics of non-profit clubs, let alone the provincial cycling association.

I must say, though, that I was disappointed in the small turnout to both the Provincial 15km and 40km TT’s and the Criteriums, especially the Elite men’s criterium this year – 4 riders showed up to the starting line. There were no women who entered the criterium races. The Master-aged riders put on a good show though! Sign of the times? I do not know.

Is road racing (in all its disciplines) dying a slow and painful death in Saskatchewan?

Based on a recent conversation with a provincial cycling official, and personal observation, I am beginning to believe that the very principle of volunteerism is dying in our cycling clubs. In other words, it is getting increasingly difficult to secure volunteers for events.

The old guard is still doing the lion’s share of the work and complain of having no one to pass the baton too.

I get that…I really do. I am still being nagged from time to time to volunteer and be involved in the local church that I attend. That church I am referring to is composed of predominantly the Gen-X and Millennial generations. My response is always the same. I have volunteered in various capacities in the church, service clubs, school groups, and sport clubs for over four decades…

…It is time for a younger generation to take the baton and run with it.

Today it seems that local cyclists are more interested in the social aspects and group dynamics of women-specific or age-group clubs and novel venues such as gravel riding/racing than the highly structured sport of road racing (i.e., officials, clearly defined rules and governance). Are the specific disciplines within road racing too hard? Do individuals loath being humiliated and dropped by a raging peloton cruising at 45km+ per hour? My experiences earlier this year was certainly a mixed bag, but I honestly loved every minute of it, whether being out front desperately trying to stay ahead of the scratch group or being dropped unceremoniously from the pack and having to ride solo all the way home.

God knows I want to be back racing with all my heart, but my body, so far, is refusing to cooperate. Patience young Jedi…

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Spring training before the ice is melted on the lake. Photographed in Wascana Park, Regina, Saskatchewan © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

A hundred kilometres of gravel racing in 30C+ heat is no walk in the park either, yet events like this tend to draw a larger crowd and more female participants. This reminds me of the early days of mountain bike riding/racing, of which my generation essentially invented and participated heavily in. Eventually, the wild off-road antics of mountain biking became organized and regulated, partly due to opposition from equestrian riders, hikers, and environmentalists, and partly because of the process of natural evolution, i.e., evolving from a fringe sport to being recognized as a viable Olympic sport.

Only time will tell if gravel riding/racing, which is predominantly a North American phenomenon, will develop and evolve into something more universal like mountain biking did. According to a recent conversation with an employee of a local bike shop, the sale of mountain bikes and city bikes are still the bread and butter of their existence alongside repair services.

Recently, an individual asked a question on FB as to whether there were any paved roads to ride on anymore? I was not sure if his inquiry was tongue-in-cheek or was sincere. No one responded, but I did take the time to write out a response (which I decided NOT to post on FB) that I will share with you here:

I will try to answer your question straight up. There are still lots of rideable paved road routes in and around Regina. The Regina Bypass Project has created a lot of obstacles for road riders to get out of the city somewhat safely. As you probably know, a significantly increased population has led to increased traffic on our major highways, but most of the shoulders are wide and doable. I use ear plugs in high traffic areas on the highway, i.e. one can still hear traffic adequately but much of the high frequency noise and the wind is drowned out. Bright clothing and a powerful rear flashing taillight help out with visibility to traffic.

Others here have mentioned that some of the traditional road routes have been wrecked by chip seal paving and the removal of paved road shoulders completely. It kind of reminds me of riding in some of the rural areas of Scandinavia, Great Britain and Europe now, as we no longer have the privilege of adequate paved shoulders on some of our historical road riding routes.

Although I personally no longer ride gravel or off-road (since the late 1990’s), I can appreciate why others do. Yes, I know it is hard to believe that some of us road gravel back then 🙂 I do know that others in our club (RCC) enjoy the opportunity of discovering new routes, landscapes, and the challenging hills of gravel riding, not to mention less traffic and a much quieter environment. As with road riding, there are pluses and minuses to gravel riding/racing also. Relentless heat, dust, bugs, washboard or freshly graded and loose road surfaces, flying stones from trucks and other farm machinery, no place to restock on water and food, vicious dogs, and shotgun wielding property owners 😉

In the final analysis, cycling is cycling, and I trust that each person involved in our club or the many other cycling clubs in Regina are enjoying the challenges and the sense of community that comes from participating in sport with others of like mind. Cheers!

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Why Freedom of Religion in Canada Matters to Me

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV

Exactly one year ago, I was confronted by a rather likeable young man (a Pastor) concerning some of my posts on FaceBook about specific individuals and their relatively novel theological positions on traditional Christian teaching or doctrine concerning the Rapture, the Second Coming of Christ, and the positive role of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in both the past and the future.

We had a long and somewhat stimulating conversation concerning our very different points of view on Eschatology (final events of human history). I think part of this stimulation simply was the result of drinking too much coffee! Nevertheless, we came away from the conversation with an agreement to disagree with each other’s point(s) of view, yet agreed to demonstrate tolerance and acceptance for one another regardless of our somewhat polarized positions, different perspectives, and life experiences.

Now, I wish I could end this story by saying everything was just peachy, however, it was not. Many young people can reason and formulate an opinion very quickly. Sometimes, for no other reason than having less life experience to incorporate before making an opinion. As a middle-aged adult, sometimes one has to ponder and think about things a little longer before we can formulate an opinion and/or come to some sort of conclusion.

The gist of this story is that I had felt, somehow, I had conceded and/or given up my constitutional right to freely adhere to my own beliefs, and practice of my Christian Faith without interference or coercion from another group and/or individual’s idea(s) of what I should believe, who I can or cannot disagree with on matters of theology, and whether or not I will be accepted into this particular group if I do not “submit” to their particular authority(s).

Been there, done that. I have experienced for many years what it is like to be truly free to worship God, as I understand Him, without some organized group or individual attempting to control or dominate my personal life with their particular ideas of God, the Bible, and the inevitable system of rules and regulations so prevalent to religious groups.

And yet, I still felt somewhat insecure in my position. Even now, I marvel at the aforementioned statement. After all, I was a trained Pastor with an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies, and a graduate education in ministry, with a life experience that literally dwarfed that of this young man. Yet, the need for acceptance was dominating my common sense and experience.

It took my loving companion of 35 years, my wife, to remind me that I was indeed free to choose to follow my own conscience without interference. And I am continually grateful for her kind and insightful advice.

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Happy are the PeaceMakers

“…evangelicals have more in common with conservative Roman Catholics than they do with liberal Protestants.”
 
As one who is culturally most comfortable amongst Catholics and yet holds to many evangelical doctrines or beliefs, I must admit that my choices and worldview are a bit of an enigma. I have invested the better part of my life walking that thin line between these two sociocultural and religious groups in order to bring peace and focus on that which unites us rather than divides. This has often put me at odds with the hard right or left thinking of both groups, yet I have remained true to my sense of calling to be a peacemaker and mediator, not only between these two diverse Christian groups, but between a predominantly secular humanist Canadian society and Christianity.
 
True peace can only be achieved on the basis of truth and not falsehood, exemplified by tolerance and respect for others who have been created in the moral image or likeness of God.
Tolerance and respect are ideals, that if we are truly honest, are ideals that we all falter or fail at from time to time. But, we should never give up in our pursuit of these noble ideals.
 
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 NLT
 

The Nature of Discovery: A Journey of the Mind

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Life is an open road

I would like to take a moment to thank each one of you who have chosen to follow my blog, EclecticChoices. Today marks a milestone for me – 101 unique followers. Thank you for your participation on WordPress.

I started this blog five months ago to demonstrate that people from many different nations, cultures, political and religious beliefs, educational backgrounds, etc., can find common ground in just about anything in life. We may not agree with each other on any number of ideas, concepts, or philosophies, but we are all here to learn from each other in a common sense and respectful way.

I chose the name EclecticChoices because that is an apt description of my entire life. I have made many unique and somewhat unusual decisions or choices in my life. Some of those choices have led me off the beaten path to both metaphorical and literal places of intrigue and wonder. As a Canadian with a cultural heritage of Norwegian and German, my wanderlust seemingly has no boundaries. Yes, I have physically travelled to many places on this great blue planet – each one eclectic and unique in its essence. At the same time, and perhaps so much better, I have endeavoured to go on a journey of the mind.

There is infinite truth to discover in this life. The joy of that journey is not so much in the destination, but rather the process. In other words, each new day, I delight myself in the process of learning and discovering, rather than worrying about the destination or purpose and end result.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a sincere follower of Christ. It is through His leading and guiding, that I have come to experience those things magnificent – joy unspeakable. At the same time, if you have actually read a few of the 200+ articles on EclecticChoices, you know that I am just a human being subject to the same weaknesses and faults of all those around me. And that, my friend, is the beauty and wonder of walking together in this life.

One of the greatest ideals that I have sought after, with an almost unstoppable passion, is to exercise tolerance for those that may differ from my own worldview. This is not an easy thing to do, in a world of so many people with differing viewpoints. But, does that mean we should not continue to try? Of course not!

So, it is with that in mind, love and tolerance for each other, that I would encourage you to continue to walk with me on this journey together. Please feel free to comment on any post here with that notion of kindness, respect, and tolerance in mind. Thank you.

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