Boycotting Religion(s) & Dealing w/Genocide

I just finished watching Kevin Anett’s documentary called ‘Unrepentant‘ and I must say – bingo! You want some enlightenment on the Aboriginal condition and history of my people group(s) within Canada – watch this video.

Kevin Anett claims the Canadian Government and 3 church groups (Anglican, United, and Catholic) progressively set up to assimilate Indigenous peoples of Canada. This assimilation occured mainly via the residential school system but also included stripping Indigenous lands, killing Indigenous children, subverting justice for Indigenous people, and a continual process of hushing the whole dirty history of church work within Indigenous communities and letting it continue to this day – a genocide. Each of those churches I, along with many Indian nations in Canada, call for a total boycott of – since they will not deal with their ‘crimes against humanity’. See Kevin’s site for more info on this ‘hidden from history’.

I have not a single qualm about what Kevin has said in this video and my mother was also in Residential School as a child – in which she was severely abused and taught not to ‘love’. Actually watching the documentary – the lady that dies at the end could very well be the testimony of my own mother (and likely is – she refuses to talk about it due to it’s pain). The video is explicit about how this same genocide has also helped to keep the Indigenous population in Canada oppressed and broken – a cycle started since the Indian Act in 1876 – legislation which still exists until this day.

It is absolutely abhorent that a supposed civilized gov’t and religious structure could do this to a whole nation of people – and not care. Fact is most problems within Indigenous communities stems back directly to residential schools and the torture this had upon Indigenous families – which was then continued by several abuses by the Canadian Government (including the AIM program – adopting Indian children away from their homes and a slack justice system which see’s Indian’s get life for vicious crimes and when Indians are victims – people get slapped on the wrist). This inhumanity has to stop.

This is where I come from and where I live – and what I have also had to live through as a Indigenous child of the Cree and Saulteaux (Anishnawbe) nations in Canada – this is part of my history whether I like it or not. I suggest, if you want to find out something about Aboriginal peoples in Canada (or even the USA) – to watch the video…learn something they never teach you in any school.

Hope – The Novel Idea

I was watching some Christian programming the other day when I heard something very interesting about this faith that made me realize something – hope should not die – for no reason whatsoever.

The idea of ‘hope’ was discussed concerning suicide and how the absence of hope is the pre-cursor to taking one’s life. I chewed on that thought for a day or so and I think the program is ‘on the money’ with that idea. I felt a little ashamed also – I notice becoming so realistic and logical that I began functioning outside the idea of possibilities and hopes. My bad to be honest. Somebody slap me!

What is this Christian faith without the idea of ‘hope’? I realize without this notion faith is a failure and useless to all (like salt without taste). In the end of the day, faith should lead to hope – for the now & for the later. I was dealing so in the now that I missed that hope is always possible (now and in the future) – it is the figurative smile of the gospel writings.

Faith without hope is like life without happiness – and this is essentially true. Try live one day in total uncertainty in any area of your life (work, family, faith, sport, etc) and you soon realize none of that is fun – and eventually you just get depressed into apathy. If life is without hope – life soon becomes worth ending – worth not deciding about anymore. Hope is absolutely essential to the gospel – and I think it is the ‘selling point’ – I think it directs humanity to it’s core spirituality and life-blood – ‘things do change’.

Life will be better…times will get easier…struggles will disappear…jobs will come your way…friendships can be made whole again…love can be restored and healed…faith can move mountains…promises do come true…etc…this is hope – we all do this – to stop doing this is to not ‘believe’ anymore – and not believing means you stopped breathing. Humans detoriate without possibility and choice concerning future – so let’s help people see something they sometimes cannot – there is hope. This is good news.

Sicko – Policies and Procedure

I watched Moore’s new movie ‘Sicko’ last night and I think it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen – namely on the universalism of health-care. Here is my take on the movie.

Firstly, universal health care does work and works in a variety of ways in several countries including France, Canada, Britian, and Cuba…and the majority of these countries are not socialist or communist – actually 3 of the 4 have conservative govt’s. I think Moore brings up the idea that we see other countries new consumer goods and we buy them (since they are good ideas) – why can’t we do this with health care? And 2 of these systems flourish in leaps and bounds – Britain only asks you pay $10.00 for all your perscriptions and France even has doctors who make house-calls (for free). I seen those examples and I was shocked – great ideas.

Secondly, universal health care is an idea that works for the poor and rich alike – it’s very Robin Hood-ish indeed – takes from the more wealthy (in taxes) and helps to keep the system going so all can access it – even those without jobs. For me, this is the absolute selling point of the system – no one gets left out of essential care – irregardless of their class status. To me, this is an absolute Christian value and I can’t see why any Christian would ever speak against ‘helping the less fortunate’.

Thirdly, one example of someone losing their loved one for the sake of not getting essential health care in a progressively rich country is one too many. Moore however does not stop at one story – he has a plethora of examples to choose from (about 30 people) – even Americans in other countries weigh in…even 6000+ e-mails of medical horror stories. Now some Americans may not like Cuba but Che’s daughter said some of the most encouraging things I have ever heard – I paraphrase – ‘Cubans can not understand how the richest country can even have problems – shouldn’t everyone be well taken care of’?’ Some examples are: a man having to chose between fingers he cut off in an accident (couldn’t afford both), a ladies daughter not getting antibiotics for her daughter (later died), and some victims of the 9/11 disaster not getting adequate medical care for conditions suffered from their volunteer work. Very sad indeed.

Fourthly, a system of health care and insurers that is run ‘for profit’ is a system in need of serious change. Health care is as essential to the human as the need for food and water is – it is essential to human happiness & life (which I think are mentioned in the constitution). People are getting rich by denying some people the cures to their very ills and this is not only barbaric, it’s straight from the pit of evil (apparently some people can be worth less than a dollar sign). No one single person should be denied the right to ‘live’ – this is an absolute essential to humanity – that to deny it is tantamount to crimes against humanity.

Fifthly, people do not need to fear their government. Ironically, it seems the opposite is what true democracy is – government revering it’s own people and listening. France was an overwhelming example of the people speaking out and being heard – and the government listened – including things like standing up for a 35 hour work week, holidays, and their health care system – and they were heard. They do not fear their government but respect that role it should play – and the government listens. I actually find it much scarier when business is in charge since ethically business is not a ‘person’ nor does it care about people – it’s mission is to make a profit. If business can get away with selling your families drugs that will kill them – they will do just that – or have we forgot about the tobacco industry. Just thought I’d remind ourselves of that.

So for me the movie was a contemplative experience – I thought about what humans will take as they are told what to do – that even sometimes ethics can be cleansed from the human conscience if we are told this ‘is our job’ or ‘this is just how it is’. Collectively we are being taken apart and being individualized – we are losing a grip on our collective strengths as a people. We are a democracy and in a free country – just how much more of this are we going to take? Shouldn’t accountability start with us and not with lobbyists? I am ranting a bit but honestly – if you knew a better way why wouldn’t you ask for it?

"Philosphy Does Not Make Me a Better Person"

The last few weeks I have been having some very deep discussions with a lot of people about aspects of this faith – mainly free will/choice. Funny thing is I learned a lot about myself in the discussion – and who I truly am.

I have noticed (and this needs to be a bumper sticker) ‘philosophy does not make me a better person‘. Wrangling with some very deep issues and looking at something from every logical angle is good to do – but it in no wise makes me a better person. Actually, thinking deep can draw out new emotions and ideas from within we never deal with very often – sometimes making us a worse person for the moment. I find thinking a great exercise but sometimes we need to get back to real life – and love and care for people in the world we live in (so yes – I suck).

My theology is not ‘set in stone’ and is open to change – I am not 100% sure of all the things I say – so discussion is good for me – it opens my mind to new thoughts and interpretations I may have never considered before. Truth is not something stagnant – it is open and we are learning as we go – so ‘no’ I am not a theological expert of any sorts (things are still being shaped). I am alright with that – cause Ninjanun said something that spoke volumnes to me “Doubt is not the opposite of faith, certainty is.”

The way we treat others on the internet is a sign of the way we treat others in real life – since this is an aspect of reality. I find nothing wrong with disagreeing about points in a discussion and then working through those ideals (and maybe never coming to a concensus) – but to start talking someone down is rude (ie: calling names or just disregading them altogether). I know I don’t like it when I am treated this way (disregarded) and I see no reason to do this to others. Maybe there is still a lot to learn about how we treat others on the internet – which I think Dagoods has pointed me towards in a few of his recent posts.

But all in all – I like discussing tough issues about life and how this all works out – since we have to live with our choices and ideologies. I guess I will always be game for a good discussion – about the finer things in life – and I think I could continually use the refining.

SocietyVs on Choice & Faith – an Excerpt

Slapdash and I have been having some good convo’s lately – have made me think about what I believe – this is an excerpt of how I see this faith. I must say – she really is a great person and is asking some awesome questions – thanks!!!

Parents restrict the negative/bad choices of their children when they will clearly hurt themselves or others.” (Slapdash)

Correction – you try to restrict their choices – even as a parent it is impossible to control their minds and choices they will make on a daily basis (ex: run away from you in a supermarket, smoke pot as a 15 year old, go into something even when forbidden, etc). You literally could write a memoir and ask your kids to obey it and demand it of them (of all the things you have taught in your life to them) and they might or might not obey…kinda like this whole choices thing we discuss about God (who also left us some remnant of writings to peruse – I would use Jesus’ myself). Interesting parellel for me – at least – this is the way I see the whole thing.

This is the crux of the matter for me – we act as though for choice to matter, God has to step completely out of the picture” (Slapdash)

I don’t think God is out of the picture – this is a viewpoint we adopt when things don’t work out – but it’s not my perspective. The crisis’ we all spoke of in all of these forums have either ended or will end at some point – yet we have a timeline all our own for them (since we play God in that aspect also). Or am I wrong? Will the problems in the Sudan be everlasting? Even dictators get killed, die, or kill themselves. Evil and good work out their own timelines in grudge matches with one another on this planet it would seem – and this is quite common (I am using black n white terms here for no good reason). But maybe things are that simple? Choices come from voices.

And I still don’t get how you can argue free will til you’re blue in the face and still PRAY TO GOD to intercede in this world in big or small ways.” (Slapdash)

Why not? I am free to make chocies irregardless of what any philosophy says either way – in the present tense.

My example is simple – I want to own a home and their quite a few barriers in the way to that goal. Now I can look at this two ways (both of them choices) – go for it (don’t pay homage to doubts) or give up (pay homage to my weaknesses at this point). Now my view of prayer is that God is acting – but he also requires our action in that endeavor – partners of sorts – for what we need (shelter is a neccesity). If I ask, seek, and knock on doors – guess what happens? I get answers to the questions I am asking and helps in removing the barriers to the problem (I ask around about how to solve credit issues, seek out mortgages and financial help, and knock on doors of which people are willing to work with me on this). Then I develop a plan for my goal – let’s say 9 months (following through on my asking in prayer). This is a real situation. I am currently doing this process – I’ll update on the details and struggles I go through (if need be) – but I believe in the end I will own a house even without the actual means to do so at this point (except I have a job). But that’s how this all works for me and I see that as the clear biblical strategy laid down in Jesus teachings. If you ask and recieve nothing – you never asked for something you saw as possible (which is a belief we all hold dear to).

Of course, you get big kudos, SocVS if you never actually pray for God to intervene in this world…because that would at least be consistent. :)” (Slapdash)

I don’t need to pray as much as I need to believe the words that come out of my mouth. This seems to be the problem with the whole dilemma – this ‘what is possible’ ideal?

100 Posts – Still Losing My Religion…

This is officially my 100th post on this site – although I have authored a few at NorthVU’s site (about 10 or so)…but this is my 100th here…almost 2 years of blogging…what have I learned – a lot!

  • I have read 1/2 the Quran up to this point (and blogged with people working w/Muslims)
  • Discussed many an issue with Atheists – concerning biblical texts, history, and life in general
  • Discussed Mormon issues and pondered them
  • Learned Evangelicalism might not be altogether correct – in fact – it isn’t
  • Talked about First Nations culture and my faith – the inter-twining
  • Met a variety of Christian people with a variety of theologies – most quite nice
  • Blogged with people concerned with the Christian airwaves in Canada
  • Blogged with locals from Saskatchewan about life and faith (and Canada)
  • Learned and questioned a lot of what I once believed about this faith
  • Had an idea abound then levelled it for a future date (ie: Action Group)
  • Made a lot of friends and have discussed all kinds of issues with them
  • I am still Losing My Religion…

I have learned a lot from all the people I have blogged with and I still have a ways to go – which I am thankful for – lots of people have opened my eyes for me. I would like to thank Bruced for all the people I met via his site and the intro to universalism, To Chris (ledge) for his quirky stories and great spirit, Jim/Cinder/JollyBeggar/Hineini/Ken/Tim/URSA/MyGarden – for all the Saskatchewan flavor and what they have shown is around me – and it is good, HIS for all the great posts he put down and the discussions he got rolling, Dagoods for our disagreeances but also for his knowledge, Jefe/Dorsey/SCP – for all the great church questions they got me involved in, Jim Jordan – for being a long time support and getting me to look into some political stuff, John Schuck for his liberal views – really got me thinking and seeing things in new ways, Gracehead for some of the best discussions I have ever had on the internet, Burning Bush for the blogs and our head-banging on ideas, and Heather for her blog and the way she thinks – got me looking into the more Hebraic ideas within this faith. I am grateful.

In the end of the day I am still losing my religion – questioning it and seeing it re-shape before my eyes. Who knows what will change in the next 100 posts – but I do know I like to learn – and the crew I read right now is making that happen – thanks!