Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm grumpy

grumpy I've been grumpy again lately and I hate it!  Every now and then, I seem to get into these ruts where I have to really watch what I say and even then I am sure that I come off harsher than I would like.  Yes, I could excuse it on my health.  But I know that it's more than that.  Yes, it's part of my personality.  But that's not a good enough excuse. And yes, I am probably being harder on myself than I need to do be.  Now, that's a part of my personality!

I wish I could be like some of my friends and colleagues; more even tempered, patient and thoughtful. I yearn to be more like Christ but sometimes forget that He was impatient from time to time too.  This is no excuse for sinful behaviour, but perhaps it's time to give myself a bit of a break and stop flagellating myself so much.  Not all grumpiness is out of order.  I also tend to be preoccupied with trying to put on a front that really isn't me.  I tend to be obsessed when I think someone might be irritated with me. 

"Lord, help me to know the difference; to be quick confess when necessary and to stop worrying about what others think when it is appropriate."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Health update

As hinted at in an earlier blog, the past 2 weeks have been really busy at work and I has been feeling more and more unwell.  Very tired, short of breath and unable to do much of anything.... Yesterday, we found out why. My hemoglobin has taken a dive meaning that I am anemic.  The doctor told us that my white cell count is in the normal range which means the cancer seems to be under control at the moment. And that's certainly something to be grateful for since we were a bit concerned because the lymph nodes in my neck are growing again (here comes the bullfrog look again!). 

Anyway, I was supposed to get a couple units of blood today at Princess Maragret this morning. Alas, they messed up the order and nothing was ready when we arrived today and so we wasted a few hours and a trip to downtown (why is it that when the hospital makes a mistake, the patient usually ends up paying for it??).  So, back we go again tomorrow (and we are expecting 10-15 cm of snow tonight!).  Hopefully, I'll be feeling a bit better after the "top up" tomorrow.  The doctor wants to see me again in a couple of weeks to check my blood just to keep his eye on the hemoglobin levels.  So, after a nice break from having to go the hospital, now we are making more regular trips again (at least for a while). 

Thanks for your continued prayers.  They are much appreciated.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The trouble with Internet rumours

Over the past 11+ years that I have been on the Internet, I have continually been amazed and disappointed by tendency of intelligent people to believe the most outlandish things simply because a friend emailed it to them.  Take for example the continuing myth that Madalyn Murray O'Hair is still trying to get Christian broadcasting off the air and that James Dobson (or someone else) needs your helping in fighting her and so you should call or write the FCC to protest. This would be quite a feat since O'Hair disappeared in 1995 and her remains were discovered in 2001. I'd say that if she could still be trying to stop Christian broadcasting from the grave, we have much more serious problems than we think!

I just got another one sent to me this weekend about a young boy from Iran who was apparently punished for stealing bread by having a truck drive over his arm (complete with grimacing pictures of the lad).  Sorry, not true; simply a common magician's stunt. But it really upset one of our supporters who thought that it was yet another example of the horrors of sharia law. From my work with The Voice of the Martyrs, I would say that sharia law is bad enough without fabrications like this one.  In short, the truth is never enhanced by such fear mongering, only diminished. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if an email warning of a serious computer virus was true.  As my brother who owns a computer company says, Microsoft (or CNN, or Norton, or AOL, etc.) has never "announced yesterday" about any virus to anyone anywhere warning that it is "worst virus ever" that will wipe out your computer's hard drive.  These messages are far from harmless in that they keep people from paying attention to real virus problems.  As one source put it, "hoax warnings are typically scare alerts started by malicious people - and passed on by innocent dohusers who think they are helping the community by spreading the warning."  But they are not. So please don't forward them to all of your friends "just in case"!  I have even seen email "virus warnings" that instruct you to look for a specific file on your computer and to delete it, claiming that it is a virus.  Needless to say, some unfortunates have ended up deleting actual, legitimate operating files.  As Homer Simpson would be prone to say "D'oh!"  

We were recently forwarded some humorous (and apparently true) headline bloopers like "Kids Make Nutritious Snacks" and "Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers."  Unfortunately, lists of these bogus headlines have been reprinted over and over again claiming to be factual since at least 1987. Sure, they are harmless, but I was amazed to see some journalists actually publish them as late as last December as being actually true.

So, the next time you get some email from a friend that has been forwarded by a friend that has been forwarded by a friend and which 1) is warning you of some danger, encouraging you to take action and/or to forward the email to all of your friends, or 2) tells some story that seems a little "off" but claims to be factual (but which the government or a company "doesn't want you to know"), or 3) seems too good or funny to believe, may I encourage to do three things:

1. Check one or more than one of the following sites: 

2. If the story is found to be a hoax, please let the person who sent it to you know, urging them to inform all those whom they sent the email the actual truth, and to please check their facts before sending you such emails again.

3. Delete the email and pat yourself on the back for being a responsible Internet user.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Religious belief and war

This morning as I was reading the newspaper (as is my regular practice) I came across yet another letter to the editor spouting off how religion is the root cause of most, if not all, wars and international conflicts.  This seems to be a common refrain lately from atheists, in particular, and it is beginning to get annoying.

That wars have been fought (and continue to be fought) with religious motivation or in the name of God is unquestionable.  But to assert that religion is the root cause of the majority of violent conflict is less certain, to my mind. One need only go back to the last century for examples. 

I would suggest that the 20th century is going to be remembered by two major ideologies; fascism and communism. 

Fascism's religious roots were tenuous at best. Yes, Hitler's version, is particular, targeted a specific religiously identifiable group but his hatred of them went far beyond religion.  Jews were targeted regardless of their personal religious beliefs (even those who had converted to Christianity or had no faith at all). His hatred was racial more then religious in orientation. 

Communism had no religious roots at all.  Indeed, communism seemed determined, at least in its earlier manifestations, to pull out all religious roots of any kind.  No other ideology caused more deaths in the 20th century.  Even fascism cannot claim as many victims.

Yes, there were some wars that had religious roots in the last 100 years. But a quick look at history might conclude that atheism caused far more wars and claimed far more victims in the 20th century than religion did.  This is not excuse those who use God to justify their bloody deeds.  But I would urge atheists to be more intellectually honest about the consequences of religious belief and tone down the rhetoric. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009


An update on my health.  In one word...tired.  I am really struggling with fatigue right now.  I am glad that I have an appointment with my oncologist on Monday so that I can get my blood tested.  I am really hoping that nothing is wrong, but won't be surprised if there is.  Denita says that I have been pale for the past few days and I really find it hard to drag myself around the home and office.  I actually decided to work at home today, which was probably a good idea.  I would appreciate your prayers.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Business, Calvin's style

calvinbusinessHard to believe that this cartoon was drawn 15 years ago. It could have been drawn in the past few weeks, with its insightful comment on the number of businesses looking for a handout in today's economy.  Click on the cartoon to see it full-sized.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How dare Canada vote according to principle!

So... the Toronto Star is whining that Canada was the lone opposing vote on a lopsided, inflammatory resolution at the UN Human Rights Council accusing Israel of grave violation of human rights in the recent conflict in Gaza.  Such an action, they suggest, means that Canada has abandoned "a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel."  At the very least, I suppose, they would rather that Canada take the position of several European countries and abstain.   But no, they complain, Canada had to vote according to principle and vote against such human rights giants as Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, and Russia.  No, no, this will never do, they cry.  Canada should not stand alone!  Better that we sit on the fence!

Frankly, I have rarely been more proud to be a Canadian.  Finally, we are starting to act like a real country with the courage to have an opinion of our own, rather than letting our country of origin dictate what our political opinion will be.    Bravo!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More antibiotics

Well, ended up going to a walk in clinic at my doctor's office to have someone look at my gums.  Yup, it's infected and so the doc gave me some antibiotics and instructions to get to the dentist on Monday.  Hurts like a son-of-a-gun.  Hopefully, it'll start to clear up now, though. Hate to see it get worse.

No more heperin shots for now

Back in July, I was referred to the Thrombosis Clinic at Toronto General Hospital because of a clot in my Hepatic vein in my liver.  The treatment was a Heperin shot twice a day for at least 6 months. Heperin is a blood thinner and is more effective than taking Warfarin pills especially when receiving chemo treatments.

Well, I am glad to report that I finished with the shots yesterday and we'll keep an eye on it to see if the clots continue to be a problem. But for now, no more injections!  I am so glad as my stomach is black, blue and lumpy from the shots.

I would appreciate prayer though.  I think I have a gum infection.  It's another side effect of the drugs I have been taking over the past few years and my continuing use of prednisone.  I suspect that I have an infection on the right, lower side that I will need to have looked at by my dentist.  I woke up early this morning with pain in my lower jaw. so I guess it is time to see if I can get this looked after.  Always something, isn't it??

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Imagine the following scenario.  A father (let's call him "Hamas") decides to take his family out for a Sunday afternoon drive.  He bundles his wife (let's call her "Hezbollah") and their little children into the car and forbids them to put seatbelts on.  He take off like a rocket down the road, headed directly for a brick wall.  Without slowing down, he crashes into the wall.  He and his wife survive but their little children are killed.  In rage, Hamas and Hezbollah cry out that it is the wall's fault for killing their innocent little babies.

My friends, if you deliberately and recklessly drive your family car into a wall, don't be surprised if someone gets killed.  And don't have the audacity to blame the wall.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Looking ahead to 2009

As I look ahead to 2009, I do with a degree of apprehension in the face of great opportunity.  I have a number of teaching opportunities opening up that really excite me.  The first is a week in Camrose at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute in March. Then we have a 3-day seminar in early June at the mission headquarters in Mississauga. These two I think I can handle.  But I also have the opportunity to participate at a theological consultation in Germany in September.  And then I have been asked to teach for a week in Seoul, South Korea in October.  A few years ago, these would have been no problem at all.  But facing life as I do now, knowing that my health is likely going to continue to deteriorate, I hesitate.  Is it wise?  Is it God's calling or my own love of teaching that compels me?   I do ask for your prayers.