Monday, October 30, 2006

How many saw the W5 segment this weekend about the Dominion Christian Centre?

See the write up here

I was just flippin' through the channels at my parents when I caught the last five minutes or so. We don't have cable--no TV channels actually, and mom and dad have been without TV for so long because of the renovation, that now that they have it set up again, we all sit around like idiots watching hour after hour....well, ok, I sit around like an idiot. Aw, cut me some slack, I didn't feel so hot yesterday....

So I've enjoyed W5 in the past, although I never watch it regularly. It was because of one of their shows that I learned all about the Steven Trusscott case (the guy who at 14 years old was convicted of raping and killing a young girl in Clinton, ON, back in the 60's. A more ridiculous miscarriage of justice I've never seen).

Mom and dad have a TV where you can press a button at every channel and it gives you all this info about the show that's on. (Call me technologically naive, but I think that's really cool). I was totally floored when I stopped at the W5 show and hit the info button and it said that it was about a suspected cult in Hamilton. Right here in Hamilton!
I watched the rest and only heard about a particular girl, who's parents are heartbroken over her deserting the family. Not just deserting, but completely cutting herself off from them.

Then on Sunday, my brother called. He'd seen the whole thing, and had also managed to stumble upon a blog written by a girl who's got a sister involved with them. You can read her blog here.

My brother Ryan is in the middle of obtaining his PhD in New Testament studies. He went out to Briercrest in SK for his undergrad and Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston for his masters. He's just finishing up his comprehensives and will start his thesis work sometime next year. My husband and I both graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. (I should really get a link up on my sidebar). So theological debates are nothing new around our family. Specially since Ryan decided to leave the church we grew up in and become a member of the Anglican church. It was a difficult thing for my parents and me for a while to understand, but he explains himself well. One thing I have come to understand better through Ryan's involvement with the Anglican church is the sense of history we have in Christianity.

As evangelicals, we often strive for the newest and most trendy, catchy way of bringing people into the church. Cathedrals turned into business-like, comfy lounge-style buildings with 'all-purpose' rooms. Over the last 50 years, our music departed from hymns and gospel songs to early praise and worship, now slightly more sophisticated P&W (depending on what church you attend. Of course, some churches still do hymns, or cranked up versions, or a blend of hymns and P&W). And for the longest time (probably still is in some places) there was a huge debate about 'Christian Rock'. I remember when Petra came on the scene. And then Amy Grant. (Man, she was tame stuff back then). But it was a huge deal in evangelical churches: was it right to use 'rock' music to appeal to the non-churched? Or for the evangelical youth to enjoy? I'm not going to get into that right now, my point was the history.

Ryan's turn to the Anglican church made me want to see what he found appealing in it. After practicing in Christ Church Cathedral every Wednesday with the Hamilton Children's Choir since I was 10, and sometimes being involved in an Anglican service, I was at first pretty shocked that my brother wanted to be a part of that. But he was looking for something I hadn't ever thought about. And considering my penchant for viewing many things of the past as inherently superior to most modern ways, I'm surprised I didn't.

It's just humbling to realize that most of the theological, doctrinal, personal spiritual and even social issues that I deal with, were already dealt with (often more than once) sometime in the history of the church. Over and over, I'm fascinated by how many 'modern' problems were experienced hundreds of years ago. Ryan has often commented that there's no new ideas out there (or rarely any). Especially when it comes to the Bible. Think you've discovered some huge theological problem? Right. It's already been discovered---and solved--- 500 years ago.
So in otherwords, if you 'discover' some 'new' interpretation, rest assured that you've not discovered anything. And there's something to be said for the dozens, maybe even hundreds of scholars much more brilliant than you, that have researched that issue, interpreted the greek, found the earliest manuscript and come to the answer--an answer accepted and embraced by the historical church. I'm not saying that the old adage "When 1000 people believe a stupid idea, it's still a stupid idea" isn't right. But there's a reason why the Lord established a church--and not a building somewhere, and not just some denomination. We need trusted brothers and sisters, elders and friends from different walks of life; because iron sharpens iron. And as humble servants, servant leaders, we should never hold ourselves up as the ultimate authority on any issue--or the ultimate interpreter of an issue.

As I'm right in the middle of Randy Alcorn's "Deadline", and have media bias on the brain, let me stop for a quick disclaimer:

"If the W5 broadcast was accurate and truthful to what's really happening at the DCC...."

The Dominion Christian Centre may not fall neatly into the parameters of a cult. But it has many apects that fall dangerously close. I'm horrified that there's a group like this in my very city. As christians, we have enough trouble doing battle with those who completely oppose our beliefs; now we have to deal with some of 'our own' doing just as much damage to the cause of Christ as any abortionist or evolutionist. Grrr.

"In his sermon at the D.C.C., Pastor Rigo says, "For the most part, Church is just a nice outhouse. You simply go once a week, move your conscience bowels, get a little relief and go back out and eat like a pig for another seven days. That's why churches mainly stink." "--W5

When I was earning my degree, I worked part time at the Moody Bookstore. I really enjoyed it, mostly because I love books. You can imagine all the different kinds of people I met in the middle of downtown Chicago. Once, when I was working at the customer service desk--answering phones and doing returns and such, a man came in for a reason I completely can't remember. Somehow, we got into a discussion about Mother Teresa. You see, this man had had a bad experience with the Catholic church. He was utterly convinced that there was no way that Mother Teresa could be in heaven because....she was Catholic. Because of his experience, he had come to believe that there were no true believers in the Catholic church.

If there's one important lesson I've learned in my few years of growing up so far, it's that there's idiots in every group. In otherwords, in every church, in every denomination, in every territory of every denomination, there will be those who follow the Lord truly and with all their hearts.....and there will be those that are faking it. There will be those who love the Lord with all their hearts, souls and minds.....and those that are just hoping to be considered good people.

And that's why Christianity isn't based on the church. If it was, it would have crumbled to dust at the first committee meeting to decided the colour of the carpet. We base our faith on Jesus Christ, the only one worthy for us to focus our attentions on. So many people only see the hypocrites and decide that Christianity isn't for them. Or another denomination must be better. The harsh reality is that it's a rare church that doesn't have statistically the same amount of 'fakers' as any other.

I wish I knew what it would take to put 'Pastor Rigo' in his place. I hope this W5 segment starts the process. My more impetuous side sees the 70 people who showed up for the open meeting storming the DCC at every service, holding a silent--or perhaps not silent vigil for their loved ones still ensnared. Like a huge intervention. But I think the Lord likely has something much more effective and refined than that.

For all you nosy parkers....(!)

Monday, October 23, 2006

So now that most everyone knows....but most importantly those who would be offended to find out via the grapvine (grandmas, grandpas, etc.), I can now officially announce:

We're having another baby.


Commonly asked questions:

Q: Are you serious?
A: Um, yeah.

Q:When are you due?
A: April 17th, 2007. This means I'm just about 15 weeks along, which is a few weeks past what's considered 'safe' to tell. Although I strangely paid no attention to this rule for my first two babies. Guess I'm getting more timid the more kids I have....

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Just fine, no different from my other pregnancies. I'm really blessed that way; no real morning sickness or any other weird symptoms. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself that I am pregnant! However, I've had one visit with my midwife and we heard the heartbeat (ever so quietly, but still there!) so now I doubt less. I can still get away without wearing maternity clothes, although it's hard because nothing really fits me.

Q: Will you homebirth this time?
A: If all is well with this baby. I'll have an ultrasound sometime in the next couple months to determine if this baby shows any of the same signs that Jairus did. Having had two healthy babies since him though, I'm fairly confident that everything will be fine. But also, I don't like to say for sure, since homebirthing is always contingent on the labour process progressing normally. We won't know until labour starts if everything is ok. I think it's a strong possibility though.

Q: Do you want a boy or a girl?
A: Well, I have a son and two I'm kinda hoping for a boy. I like the balance, it'll be easier to have Jairus and another boy share, rather than three girls in one room. I was concerned about having a boy earlier than this, because I didn't want a little brother quickly catching up to, and overtaking Jairus. Jairus will be 6 when this baby comes, so I think that's a big enough gap now.

Q: Do you have any names picked out?
A: I'm really stuck here. I had Jairus and Honour chosen for a long time, and then my brother discovered Verity which I had to warm to but now I love. I've really liked the name Caleb for a long time, but I feel strongly that I need to pick a name as unique as my other three. Can't have the fourth child feel left out. Caleb is lovely, but fairly well known and becoming much more common. The only girl names I've thought of were ones I decided against during Verity's pregnancy: Hosannah and Hadassah. I like both, but I'm not brave enough to use either. So any suggestions are welcome! My criteria: Very unique, but not strange. Noble meaning and history. No made up names.

And the most commonly asked question:

A: Uhhh, is anything really planned?

Really though, I've had a funny feeling we'd have four, ever since Verity was born. I had been thinking it might be a few years down the road, but this will make my kids all roughly two years apart and I think that's a good thing.

So, I'm sure you'll all hear the odd update. I see my midwife tomorrow, looking forward to that. If you have one, we'd appreciate being added to your prayer list. As much as I think positively that this baby will be healthy, I do have my moments of concern, and to be honest, I believe there is a slightly higher chance of having another baby with PRS. We should know pretty much for sure after the ultrasound (not scheduled yet).


Virtual Friends?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've come to a conclusion about blogging, and the internet in general. Sure, it's great and it's made millions of people's lives easier (somehow), but, it's deceiving. People think they're connecting with each other and making friends and developing relationships, but when it comes down to it, all you've done is spent more time ALONE, sitting at your computer.

I'd like to tell myself that I don't spend that much time on the internet. I'm not even going to bother trying to figure out how much I do spend, because it's probably more than I'd like to think. And yet....there's seems to be such a lonely gap in my life.

Saturday was a rotten day. It started on Friday night. For reasons I won't get into right now, we're looking for another mini-van. (Really, we're not so vehicle-fickle as it might seem. It really is a darn good reason--trust me) It's not an earnest thing, we don't need it right away, nor even in the next few weeks. But I don't want to see the new year arrive without some progress on this issue. So where do I go? Of course, the

And of course, I'm looking for an Odyssey. BUT, not even red this time. I don't really care what colour it is (although I wrinkle my nose at beige). We haven't been able to sell the accord, so it sits in driveway. We have to do something about that soon, before it's completely toast.

So the last time I did a search on autotrader, I got 0. Nothing, nada, bupkiss. I couldn't figure that one out. Last summer when I went searching (and found our current van) there were tonnes. This was a few weeks ago, and I chalked it up to the market being down or something. I got thinking about it again on Friday and I did a search Friday afternoon. Tonnes! How exciting. (I later discovered some glich on the site---if you check off all the possible listings: private, dealer, multi-listing, price change, you get NO returns. If you leave only the ones auto checked by the site: private and dealer, you get tonnes! Very weird)

I emailed a few possibles and when I didn't hear anything back by the next morning (well, one place called Friday night) I started calling them. What started out as a somewhat encouraging endeavour quickly turned completely demoralizing.

All we want to do, is find an early Odyssey ('95-98) and trade in ours. Seeing that ours is a '95, I was assuming that we'd have to pay out a little if we found one younger, or a '95 in better condition--less km's, that sort of thing. Somewhere along the line, James suggested we try to include the Accord in any trade in. I thought that sounded ideal. I really don't want to send that car to the scrapheap.
At first, the numbers looked OK. The Honda dealership in Whitby said they'd give us around 4g's for both. Unfortunately, they only had some later '90's Odysseys going for about double that. A little dealer here in Hamilton said they'd take both for 4-4.5 g's. That was even better--and a heck of alot closer. They had a '98 going for $5900. A number of other Toronto area places were open to trading in, also selling Odyssey's in our age and price range, but we weren't up to driving to TO on Saturday, plus, I really don't know if the Accord could make it that far!

SO excitedly, we stopped by this Hamilton dealer on our 'way' to my parents. (Ok, totally out of the way, but no biggy). It was called Lovely Auto on Barton and it was just a little fenced in number. We pulled in and spotted the Odyssey close to the front. It was dark green (very good!). Half the kids were asleep (how possible you ask, with 3 children?) so James just stayed in the van while I got out to investigate. It was nice and clean with only a few small scratches on the bumpers. Tiny bit of rust forming above the back wheels which is a Honda's lot in life (at least, the age of the Honda's we buy!) CD player. Four Captains chairs (a big detail we're after). The only thing that puzzled me was that the sign in the window said $6900.

At this point, the guy had come out and greeted me. I told him I had called and spoken to someone there that morning; he told me it was his partner. He didn't offer the partners whereabouts, so I assumed he was gone. I questioned the guy on the price, since the autotrader ad had said $5900 (I actually thought $5500). He took me inside and checked the ad he had on a clipboard, and confirmed $5900. Guess it's been there a bit and the price has gone done. Hmmm. Just thought of that. Anyway...
I continued to talk to him about our trade-in plans. He asked how much we wanted for ours, and I started at 4.5, since that's what his partner had said on the phone. He shook his head. I told him we wouldn't go lower than 4g's and he STILL shook his head. He asked about the Accord and when he heard that it has more than 500, 000kms, he shook his head some more. Didn't want it. Too many kms. He would give us....2.5g's for the Odyssey.
I just looked at him. Riiiiiight.
High kms, he said. Ours has 243k. His 1998 had 250. I said real slow like to him, to show how ridiculous I thought this was, "So ours has 'alot' of kms, and yours is younger but has more?"
He didn't bite. So I left. James and I wondered afterwards if he would have responded better to James going in. This man was of the cultural background not terribly well known for their respect for women.

I was quite discouraged coming away from that. As we kept along Barton, going towards Winona, I thought about the Hamilton Honda dealer, Image Honda, where we've taken the Accord many, many times. They're good people there. I asked James if he wanted to stop by and see what they had. So we did.

As it turned out, they didn' t have any early Odysseys. I think the oldest was a 2000 going for $20, 000. Way-hay-hay out of our range. But I sat down with a salesguy (kids still sleeping, James stayed out in the van) and told him our plan. He tried to talk me into going for a younger, more expensive model and just 'doing payments'. I told him we didn't want that. We could probably scrape together a couple thousand to pay the difference on an old Odyssey, but that's all. I was very honest with him, telling him that we'd just moved to Hamilton and probably wouldn't be approved for more debt anyway.
The worse news was that he gave me the same number for a trade in. 2-2.5thousand for BOTH vehicles. I was just stunned. We paid twice that last year for the Odyssey! Maybe I just don't understand car markets. I know they want to make a profit on reselling it, but.....sigh.

So I left my name and info with him. He'll contact us if an older, cheaper van comes in, which he was confident would happen in the not-too-distant future.

We left and by the time we got to mom's, I was bordering on teary. Good thing I had my sunglasses on.

So I was pretty bummed for the rest of the day. It lasted until we got home and crawled into bed. These days, I'm usually so zonked by midnight that insomnia is a thing of the very distant past. But Saturday night I tossed and turned. Uncomfortable. Mind troubled. Do you ever find that when something has gone wrong or bad, once you dwell on it, all the other little bad things in your life jump on board too? Soon it seems like NOTHING is going right for you.

And so I return to the loneliness factor. We've been going back to our church in Brantford every Sunday. It's a really great church. Great people, great music, great teachers in the Sunday school. We really like it.
But, as I lay there wide awake and troubled on Saturday night, I realized how disconnected I feel. We made some nice friends there, but we didn't ever make the kind of close friends("bosom friends" as Anne of GG would say) we'd hoped too, and I think that's because we weren't able to get out to their small group gatherings. And now that we're 25 minutes away, the friendship gap has grown considerably wider. It's a lonely feeling.
So finally I sat up in bed and told James (who I think must be a light sleeper because he always answers when I say his name) that I thought we should try out another church in the morning. I told him why, and in his half conscious state, he agreed.

By morning he still felt the same, and so did I, and I already had an idea of where to go. Our real estate agents had invited us to their church when we were buying our new house. It's only a street over and a few blocks down. So there we went. I won't get into what it was all like, because this post is quite long enough, thank you. But our agents, Craig and Colleen were there and SO happy to see us (how good does it make you feel when someone is excited to see you!). There were many very friendly people, and even another young mom with 3 kids who started up a conversation with me--I think just because our son's both wore glasses! Overall, it was a positive experience.

Blogging is fun, and reading other people's blogs is nice for a 'snapshot' into their lives, but it just can't hold a candle to looking into a friendly face and chatting for an afternoon while our kiddies race around. Here's to 'real live' friends.

Back now

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I purposefully have not blogged in a good while, to keep Tatums post at the top. But, I think by now, all friends and family who are going to read it, have, and so I think it's time to move on.

First let me say a little about how the 'campaign' is progressing. I heard from between 5-10 people, who passed along anywhere between 1 and 4 contacts. I'm trying to keep a spreadsheet on the links and it's been moderately encouraging to see the web enlarge. I heard back from some of the contacts, and not from others. I'm not sure if I should keep 'bugging' some, or take the hint and move on.

I've also started 'cold-emailing' churches in BC from a directory I found online. I've had no responses from them so far.

On the Tatum front, we did hear from her again since I last posted. She had left that crack house and was moving in with another friend, an older woman who has been the only stable force in her life out in BC. This is in Sardis. This friend is apparently strongly encouraging rehab. We've heard this before though. I'm not going to hold my breath. And, that was a couple weeks ago. She could be in downtown Vancouver by now. I'll update this info to the Tatum blog as well, as soon as I can figure out how to do that so it keeps the important stuff at the top (I know it's possible somehow....)

So now onto my usually blog topics....

It's snowing. It's October 12th and it's snowing in Hamilton, Ontario. I have no idea where all the winter coats are!!

Even though this belongs on the Jairus blog, or the Kentkids blog, I'm just so disappointed about this that I have to blog it here.

Jairus was supposed to start a specialty speech school in Burlington a couple weeks ago. Just one morning a week. A few days before he was to start, I suddenly realized that I hadn't discussed his non-toilet-trained status with the director. So I sent off an email and got the worst response.
Their 'policy' is to only accept students who are toilet trained. Jairus' registration would have to be postponed until he can be trained. You may be able to understand what a blow this was to me, might be able to understand my hopelessness.

Jairus is five and just had a speech assessment that puts him at 22 months. He just had a psych-ed assessment (that will determine his overall developmental progress) and I dread to see the results. I watched him fail test after test for it. And I'm supposed to toilet train him.
I just don't understand how they could make this policy when they are working with delayed children. Isn't it obvious that a delay in one area could mean delays in others? Large sigh.

My three year old has discovered Anne of Green Gables. Ah, a romantic after my own heart.

Guess I should get up and pay attention to my wreck of a house. Not quite recovered after hosting Thanksgiving. And spending so much time away, over at my moms helping with the reno. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it...