Monday, 29 July 2013
In July of 1975, I thought of a way I could contribute. Approaching Sister Roberta, the accordion player and music leader, I asked if I could strum along on my guitar. She declined at first, claiming that there were too few singers to balance out the musical instruments. After much pleading, she finally relented.
Being able to contribute to the music gave me a sense of belonging. I felt proud that I at last could contribute to the worship of God through my guitar. Whenever I visited another church, I felt humiliated that I couldn't read the hymnal or see the text on the overhead projector screen. Being able to play along with the accordion solved that embarrassing problem.
Decades later, another church helped me join in with the songs they sang. During the week, the pastor's wife typed the lyrics to the upcoming Sunday's hymns and printed them out in large type. The depth of the poetry and the theological richness of the songs amazed me. Never having been able to read the words in the hymn book before, I had to concentrate on hearing what others sang. Reading those lyrics blessed me like I'd never been blessed before.
Various sight-impaired people have told me about joining choirs as a way to help their churches. That wouldn't work well for me as every song seemed to be in the wrong key. Even so, I urge pastors to encourage their sight-impaired congregants to use what talents they possess to bless others musically.
I wrote extensively about challenges worship singing posed to me in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.
Friday, 26 July 2013
So who made me an expert on rabbit longevity? Being a member of several e-mail lists regarding house rabbits, I've known many of these well-cared-for animals living to ten years or longer. In fact, I heard of several rabbits who lived to fourteen years of age.
I also had a bunny named Neutrino who lived to the venerable age of ten. By the time he passed away on July 25, 2008, he had arthritis and suffered from seizures. Even so, he still enjoyed being petted and lying in the patch of sunlight on the kitchen floor each evening.
How can rabbits be made to live so long? Proper veterinary care is the key to long bunny lives. Spaying and neutering them not only lowers the risk of cancer but it makes them easier to get along with. Hormonal animals feel the urgent need to mark territory with urine and feces. When rabbits are spayed or neutered, almost all of this behaviour disappears.
Living creatures also need a stimulating environment. Rabbits flourish mentally and physically when they have room to run and toys to play with. A simple cardboard box with holes cut at each end makes a marvelous chew toy. Bunnies also enjoy shredding phone books and newspapers. Placing such material in their cardboard houses gives them many hours of enjoyment. Bunnies even nap in their cardboard boxes since they feel safe inside them.
Having eight years of experience with house rabbits, I wrote my adventures in a book called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. Click on my books link at the top left of this blog to read more about it.
I also have some videos which feature my rabbits. View them at the this link. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
How could ministers be cruel? By teaching that faith is a force and that words contain that force, charismatic teachers foist a false notion on their followers. People are taught to pray and claim whatever they want in the name of Jesus and if they have enough faith, they'll receive the desires of their hearts. When their prayers go unanswered and nothing happens, the victims of this dastardly belief are accused of lacking faith or having some sort of fault.
I experienced this personally in July of 1978. I had attended a house church, led by a self-proclaimed teacher from God, for six and a half years. Congregants laid hands on me and prayed that I would receive full sight. Whenever nothing happened, elders would insist that I not wear my glasses anymore.
During that time, I missed some Wednesday evening meetings because I had to work. Since the studies were recorded and transcribed by Sister Roberta (not her real name), I asked if I may borrow the tape so I could hear what Brother Herald taught that week. Sister Roberta reluctantly gave me the reel after warning me that Brother herald spoke about me that evening.
I enjoyed hearing the study until Sister Roberta asked why I wasn't being healed of my poor vision. Brother Herald's answer impacted me as if I had been kicked in the crotch. He said I lusted for sight since I wanted it so I could get a better job. If it wasn't for my misguided trust in him and his doctrines, I would have left that church and never returned.
I learned years later that faith is really our trust placed in God. It isn't like a electrical charge that would trip God's relay of blessing as that charismatic minister taught. Additionally, the Lord often works through disabilities. The ninth chapter of John's gospel is an excellent example of that. I take comfort that the heavenly Father is also working through my infirmity to bring glory to his name and make me a stronger person.
In How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, I wrote about the ongoing criticism I received from that cultic house church and how God freed me of their reprehensible nonsense. Read more about this inspiring story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Friday, 19 July 2013
Hearing the stories from the scriptures dramatized with a full cast and sound effects brought God's Word to life for me. I felt as if I was a witness to such events as Noah building his ark, Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and Christ healing many people. Though the stories were tailored for children, I loved each one of them.
Remembering the oft-repeated admonitions to be careful with the cassettes, I panicked one afternoon when the story of King Saul and the witch of Endor had a gap in the recording. I brought the cassette back and apologized to Sister Roberta, in whose home the church met, about the blank spot at the end of the tape.
"We did that," she admitted. "The story contained a lie about the woman of Endor so we erased it."
A few weeks later, Brother Herald taught on 1 Samuel 28:7-25. To cut a long story short, he claimed that the woman wasn't wicked because she fed Saul and his men with her own fatted calf. Brother Herald also claimed that this woman was exercising a skill that all believers should use, namely communicating with spirits. Though many Bible passages strictly forbid God's people to communicate with the dead and have nothing to do with familiar spirits, we believed our minister.
Now that I learned how to read the Bible in its proper context and without Brother Herald's theological blinders, I realize that our lay teacher was wrong about this sorceress from Endor. Through the scriptures, the prohibition against communicating with spirits has never been abrogated. The leadership of the cultic church deliberately disobeyed God's injunction and taught others to do so.
I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
In The Apocalypse Code, Hank Hanegraaff reveals the key to understanding John's letter to the seven churches in Asia. Knowing the other sixty-five books of the Bible is what decodes this mysterious book, writes Hanegraaff.
According to The Apocalypse Code, the mark of the beast was a mark of character. Just as the mark of the lamb was a mark of Christ-like behaviour on the part of believers, so the mark of the beast was a worldly attitude displayed by non-believers.
Unfortunately for those unskilled in biblical exegesis, many divergent ideas have been proposed by teachers and preachers today. Some say it's a microchip implanted in people's hands and foreheads. Others claim it's a spiritual mark which people receive for worshipping God on Sunday instead of Saturday. The errant teacher at a house church I attended for fifteen years claimed it was a tattoo visible only under ultraviolet light.
Hanegraaff's Apocalypse Code book clears up the muddle of ideas by noting that the books of the Bible were written to the people of the times when it was written. Though we learn much from these writings, they weren't written directly to us. Therefore, we must keep the customs and history of each book's readers in mind when reading scriptures.
Because I wasn't taught discernment skills when I gave my life over to Christ in 1969, I believed many errant and blasphemous doctrines. I wrote about how God led me to his marvelous truth in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers to read more about this glorious testimony of God's faithfulness.
Friday, 12 July 2013
According to Brother Herald's fanciful story, he visited the Canadian province of Ontario. God showed him a cave where the bones of Joseph were hidden. Even stranger, our lay minister said he walked on the water to a chartered boat that had left him behind.
According to what Brother Herald claimed, he made flesh grow around the bones of Joseph and raised him from the dead. This supposed miracle happened so that Joseph could raise up an army of believers to fight the antichrist. Having naively placed our trust in this charismatic teacher, we believed the whole tail without question.
This resurrection supposedly occurred in July of 1975. In the thirty-eight years since then, no antichrist has risen up to control the entire world. No army of believers has been organized to fight this biblical character and his minions either. Such an army couldn't remain hidden for long. News organizations would become aware of it long before today.
How can we tell that a prophet is false? Deuteronomy 18:20-22 says, "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." Therefore, I'm confident that Brother Herald was a fraudulent prophet.
I wrote extensively about that lying minister in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Mobility, the skill of navigating city streets, is valuable to blind people. With increasing opportunities for employment, knowing how to catch busses and other forms of transit is vital for living independently.
Though I now live in a tiny hamlet, I still use mobility skills whenever somebody drives me to the city. What I learned in Calgary, Alberta during a two-week-long course at the CNIB still helps me find addresses and bus routes.
Sight-impaired people such as myself have difficulty when it comes to asking for directions. The fear many of us have is that some fully-sighted person will take advantage of us. I've found that practically every person is more than willing to lend a hand. Each legally-blind person, myself included, needs to set pride aside and ask for assistance when we need it.
But people such as myself haven't always been encouraged to travel independently and ask for help when we need direction. At Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, where I spent six lonely years, mobility was rarely taught and even when it was, only totally blind kids were given lessons. Nobody taught us how to cross busy streets, with or without a white cane. Neither were we permitted to go to the nearby store alone. Everybody went in a group with a supervisor like prisoners on a day pass.
Little wonder then that I had a rough time when I was mainstreamed into the regular public school. I had no idea how to catch a bus or cross a busy street. Nobody taught me how to call the transit number for directions on which bus to take and at which times it came. Thanks in part to that course in Calgary, I grew bold about going to new places on the busses.
I wrote about my time at the blind school in Deliverance from Jericho Read more about this memoir of life in a government-run institution at my books link. It's at the top left hand corner of this page.
I also have a new book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.\
Friday, 5 July 2013
So who was this Brother Herald? He founded his own church and led a tiny congregation which met in the basement of a house in Edmonton. Our lay minister claimed to be a prophet and often made predictions of disaster at his Wednesday evening Bible studies.
During the summer of 1974, he claimed to have dreamt that he held a copy of The Edmonton Journal with the headline, "VANCOUVER ISLAND SUNK" in bold type. He tried to read the date but all he could make out was "June 30." The year was unreadable, according to him.
As a result of his subjective experience, Brother Herald warned us not to live on the west coast. I felt nervous when I went on a student exchange trip to Victoria and Vancouver as a result of his prediction. My prayers seemed to be answered when I arrived safely in Edmonton. This had the unfortunate effect of strengthening my belief in this false prophet's prophecies.
Vancouver Island is still exactly where it was when Brother Herald made his ridiculous prediction and I feel confident that it'll still be there for years to come. My assurance is based on the fact that this pseudo-prophet's predictions have consistently failed to materialize. Even the one about Pope John Paul II visiting Edmonton wasn't real since I heard about the planned trip on the news.
I wrote about Brother Herald and his preposterous predictions in my new book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers to read more about this amazing story of God's marvelous providence.
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Zechariah 9:10 (KJV) And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
Psalm 72:8 (KJV)He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Brother Herald, as I called him, believed that Canada fit the "sea to sea" description. He taught us that the Saint Lawrence River was the one mentioned in both scriptures and the "ends of the earth" meant the north coast. Not knowing any better, I believed him.
Now that I know how to read the Bible for all it's worth, and all its worth, I realize how ridiculous Brother Herald's claim was. The key to understanding any passage in Scripture is context. For example, Zechariah 9:9 says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." It obviously refers to Christ coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The verse Brother Herald thought proved Canada was the Lord's dominion actually spoke of the Messiah's reign.
Likewise, Psalm 72 is about the Messiah and has no relationship to Canada. When it's read with the understanding that King David wrote it to his people and not to gentiles thousands of years in the future, the verses make perfect sense.
Had I known this key to biblical exegesis, I'd never have fallen for the absurd teachings of that lay minister. Since I now know the technique of reading the scriptures in context, I want everybody else to learn what I learned. I Wrote How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity for the purpose of showing how deceived I once was and how God freed me from Brother Herald's cultic ideas with God's help.
Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble<//a>, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers to read more about this compelling testimony of God's loving providence.