Archive for May, 2012

Between head and heart

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce is urging the Manitoba government to remove all Sunday-shopping restrictions and let retailers set their own hours.
“The Chamber has had a long-standing policy that Manitoba retailers should have the same ability to decide when they open based on consumer demand, as retailers in other provinces do,” C of  C president and CEO Dave Angus said in a written statement. “This is simply about giving Manitobans more choice and added convenience.”
It used to be that no store would even think of being open on Sundays. That was the way it was and it seemed to be rooted in Christian tradition and then the Lord’s Day Act.
There are several problems with that approach. One is Sunday is not the Sabbath, Saturday is. The other is that restricting activities on Sunday has always been half-hearted at best. If you worked in a hospital, a mental institution, a jail, a nursing home or as a policeman, Sunday was pretty much another day, all day.
When technology and the market place demanded highly efficient manufacturing, 24-7 became the norm. Many years ago, I am told, the trains stopped on Sundays. Now everything that moves, moves every day.
A tradition of Christian influenced legislation has a been Sunday shopping restrictions. The hypocrisy of that has been that a majority of Christians troop off to the restaurant right after the Sunday church service. The Christian church has tried to legislate Christianity into peoples’ heads rather than teach it into peoples’ hearts.
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he said in Matthew 22:36-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”
   The Ten Commandments say in Exodus 20:2-17 “You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
Doesn’t say much about Sunday shopping in there. In fact, the only reference to anything remotely close would be, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and again that’s Saturday if the truth be known. Strangely enough, if you ask people if they want to work Sunday, most will say, “No, it’s a family day.” A family day sounds pretty close to a “day of rest” or a Sabbath to me.
God gives the above two sets of verses as a guide to living our lives. It takes a lifetime to understand the second set. One can keep coming back to them and in so doing draw closer to God. In the intervening time, the first set provides the short notes version: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, etc. (see above).”
And what about attending church services on Sunday? Maybe churches should be open seven days a week too. 

Contrasting Times

Friday, May 11th, 2012

As I usually do, I have a history book beside my bed for late night reading. The current one is called The Overlanders. It’s about a group of Canadians who gathered in 1862 at Red River (Winnipeg) and struck out for the Caribou in what is British Columbia today. They were looking to strike it rich in the gold fields. The group included around 150 men, one woman and her three small children. Oh yes, the woman was also several months pregnant.
They travelled by ox cart, on foot, by horse, by log rafts, by canoe, in beef hide boats. They experienced one stretch of 11 days straight of rain.  A few died, mostly by drowning. Oh yes, they had to stop for the baby to be born. 
In what would become Manitoba, the trail was well worn and with even a mediocre guide, they could make their way across. In what would become Saskatchewan, the trail was sketchy. In the future Alberta, it got even rougher. To get into what is now BC, they needed a new guide, one who knew the way. From Tete Jaune, (Yellowhead), they needed another guide as individual guides only knew parts of the trip.
The point is that they went across a wilderness with no government assistance whatsoever. They took, what we would today call, horrendous risks for a reward they could only dream about. It was really a very foolish trip but they struck out across a wilderness in search of a dream, a chance to improve their lot in life.
Contrast that today with the student protesters. Dressed in pretty good clothes, and some students adorned with very expensive tattoos on their arms and who knows where else, taking days and days away from classes or work to protest in Quebec, where it’s reported that the tuition fees are the lowest in North America. The sense of entitlement is atrocious. There is only one place to put the blame. It’s on the parents. Take a glimpse into an elementary school class room. In come the little ones, back packs on their back or dragging in the dirt (whatever) and then look closer. In some cases, mom follows into the classroom to unpack the backpack. We can be pretty sure it was mom who packed it as well.
Contrasting the Overlanders with a few people of today, we can see what’s wrong with our world. Students investing hundreds of dollars in tattoos and designer clothes and losing out on weeks of work or classes, all the while protesting an increase in too low tuition fees, seems like a very foolish move. They obviously don’t have to work so is mommy still packing and unpacking their backpack?
In one scene in the Overlanders’ saga, the group has to portage (carry) their goods and herd the cattle and horses through nine miles of rugged country to bypass a particularly bad set of river rapids. They had to cut trail through the bush for themselves and the herd of cattle and horses to pass through.
It took days to go nine miles.
In contrast today, a student protester only has to roll off the (his mother’s) couch and hit the streets to show how badly treated he is at university.
We can be very thankful that most students today don’t buy into the entitlement and protest movement. There are times for protest but it’s called the ballot box, the political committee room, the campaign team. And how smart are these protesters anyway? They haven’t figured out that if you throw a rock at a cop, you might get retaliation. 
I think we want our next generation leaders to come from the group that went to class, took a summer job, took an extra course in the summer. Universities and university professors are far from perfect but it sure beats the stupidity and destruction of student protests gone astray.
I was at university in the original protest days, the 60s. The protests, the demonstrations, the violence of the 60s accomplished nothing. The whiners of the 60s passed on some of their genetics to today’s protesters, two generations later. 
It boils down to getting off your backside and finding something to do. Hopefully it’s something you like to do but at least do something that will advance your goals. Maybe that’s the problem, the protesters don’t really know what they want but they will fight to the death to get it.
Contrast that again with the Neepawa Area Collegiate H.O.P.E group raising money for a water well in Kenya and for local projects here at home. Every high school in the country is reaching out to their community and the world in some charitable way. It’s the same old story, most people get it. We have to work to make a difference in our lives, in our communities, in the lives of others. Working and protesting all take effort. Most of our students have decided which effort is more productive. This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247