Sunday, 24 February 2019


Who is the Big Guy?

I remember much of my life from my very early childhood. I always could be enticed to talk to someone if they mentioned God. I don’t know why God never ceased to fascinate me, and I also had a real physical fear of the devil.

My father did not talk about God. He witnessed a lot of suffering during the second-word war and didn’t want to talk about it. He would say, “yes, I believe in God,” and change the subject. I grew up in Israel and was taught the old testament in school. We had our lessons and tests, but I was fascinated with the Bible, so I read much of what was not part of the school curriculum, on my own.

By the time I was in grade four I was able to understand, and my childhood faith was shaken. I read about a God who was so mean that I was horrified. He told his people to drag their enemies over spikes and rip them apart, to use the sword to kill babies in pregnant women’s wombs and he punished his own people in most horrific ways if they didn’t obey his messengers. God instructed people to borrow gold and things from the punished Egyptians and leave without paying back, and he used magic to destroy people who had no way to defend themselves against his power.

This was the God that later I discovered was the father of the Messiah that my parents and I believed in. We were told that we must love God above all else, but he was more concerned with making people fear him than making them love him.

I was in my late teens, and a declared atheist when I was exposed to Christian teachings, which I hungrily gulped. Here was a different message about a God who was born human and was teaching another message. Faith was all about love, promoting equality, caring for the community and telling the followers to give up material things and follow him all the way to what he calls “The Kingdom Of The Father.” This added to my confusion since the Father was a mean God, but not all the time.

It was later on that I discovered that the early Christians had a flourishing community of Gnostic Christians who believed that the God of the old testament was not always the same God. I knew a lot of Jews and Muslims who were very good people and believed that the true God is a kind, loving person, and at the same time I know many Christians who are willing to cause much suffering, often for their personal enjoyment and profit. Could the biblical God be different persons?

 

I like to have coffee in some of our wonderful coffee places on Main Street in Blairmore. Last week I was sitting with some authors at the Stone’s Throws Caffe. That seems to be where authors, artists, and intellectuals gather. Steve, a newcomer to the Pass, brought me his book about God, and it begins with asking me to define who is God.

My approach is to define who is not God. We think that man was made in God’s image, yet we are not permitted to make an image of God or try to imagine what he is. He told Moses that his name is “I am.” and he is a “father” in heaven. Our most repeated prayer begins with “Our Father” not his father or God or anything else. Some of us believe that the Bible descended from God, while others say that if I worship the book, I am worshipping another form of an idol. An idea that is abstract could be a human constructed idol. I am left with the question of who is God.

Back to the beginning, I go, again using the Bible. On my wall, there is a quote from (Mark 3.31 – 35) he said, “here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brothers and sisters and mother.” If he is the son of God and I am his brother than what.

I gather my thoughts. If you really have faith you don’t need belief. A fanatic of any faith has no faith at all. They force people to believe, and the people never do. God doesn’t need the law and ways to enforce it. God can’t be detected by human senses. We meet folks who say things like Jesus told me to do this or that. I think that they refer to their intuition directed by their consciousness. People who say they hear God, while others around them see no sign of it, display a symptom which can be treated. There are however a few recorded and verifiable cases of folks who witnessed apparitions of heavenly entities who imparted information. Those are often associated with (faith) healing and been tested vigorously. I am thinking about Lourdes in France which millions of people visited and been puzzling us for over 150 years.

I look again at Steves book, full of beautiful pictures quotations and questions, the first, “who is God?”

The answer is: faith in God is letting go. The highest knowledge of God is by unknowing and accepting. The question should be, not who is God, but who am I. I am all there is. Without “I am,” there is nothing.

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Modern Love.

Being an older guy now, I find myself answering questions from young people who are curious about my opinion. After all, I have been around for a long time and seen the most significant changes that humankind endured. I am still around which makes younger people wonder if I have some secret knowledge.

A letter from a young person came over asking questions about love. Here it is with names changed to protect identities. The young man was married, had kids and been separated for about three years.

“That girl I told you about many months ago is still in my life — the one who I am always struggling to get to agree to see me. Not too much has changed, though it is getting easier and easier to get her to want to see me. I think I am slowly winning her over. She still will not agree to be my girlfriend, but she has agreed not to sleep with anyone else so I guess that is a start. I do worry that you are right, I am setting it up for history to repeat itself. Getting a really pretty girl who I am super into to marry me, only to have her be luke-warm to it when it actually happens. I also think it would be smarter of me to find someone more so in my situation, like a single mom or at least a girl who is divorced or closer in age. This girl has never been married, no kids, and she is only 26. But, the heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart is set on trying to win her over.

I am starting to think it might happen. I am falling in love with this girl, which is weird because I am also still in love with Dana. It turns out you can be in love with two girls at once. I keep thinking my feelings for Dana will fade a bit as I fall for this girl more, but that does not seem to happen. The feelings for Baily grow, but the feelings for Dana stay the same. I would marry either of them if I had the chance....isn't that weird? I talk to Baily pretty much every day by text. I see her about once per week these days.”

It has been a long time since I was involved in courting, marrying and even longer since the days of girlfriends. I never considered myself an expert about romantic love, but I do have some philosophical opinions about love. Being a Christian, Love is a central aspect of my theory of human existence and its chances of survival. I view selfishness as the domain of Satan and Love the main ingredient of my faith. To be honest, it is not just my faith. I lived with Muslims and with Jewish people, and I find them all to be on the same page. I don’t know about the religious leaders, but the ordinary people have similar ideas.

Here is my reply to the young man.

You don’t understand what love is, so wonder if it's possible to love two. Ouch. A girl is not a possession and restricting her sexuality when she is not married to you is showing her that you wish to possess her. When we LOVE someone, we don’t want to give the most intimate act, sex, to others. That is what WE offer. A girl is not a prize that you WIN either. You can’t win her, only her body and then she is your slave which she would never agree to be if she had a choice.

Every person can have a best friend, and the best of the best is one of the opposite sex who completes us. The biggest sexual organ is the brain, like it or not. When the two minds agree that the other one is the one best for them, you have what we call love. Infatuation, desire, jealousy, coveting, competing, winning and many more, are NOT LOVE. “My Babe” is a wrong term that I wish people would not repeat around teenage boys condemning them to repeat the mistakes of their fathers.

 

MY WIFE is a gift I received from the creator, a person that I gave myself to.

Love is giving, not receiving. The receiver must be able to TRUST the giver based on past performance and NEVER on promises that are not worth a penny. This is very scientific. People who are business oriented are known to make false promises, and one is a fool to believe them. You know the saying, fool me once you win, fool me twice, etc. Baily is a smart and beautiful person and when she wishes she may choose one of three and a half billion people to mate with. She will carefully assess what is available and determine the one who is her BEST friend. I think her parents told her what I am telling you now. If it is in her nature, she will be kind to all people but cautious about whom she chooses to vow to love and cherish, in sickness and in health and all the rest. Most of us do not wish to lie and when we do we call it a business decision.

My parental “lecture” is finished!

I feel that our society built itself a language which works for business, but is not suitable for feelings and understanding of the human soul. Consequently, we manage to keep a growing economy, but we are losing our humanity.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

They stole our name, but we are the true Conservatives.


They stole our name, but we are the true Conservatives.

I wasn’t going to write about politics, but someone chastised me for not being a Conservative while supposedly I owe a lot to the Conservative party. I have been a Progressive Conservative Albertan since 1968 when I was sold on the Peter Lougheed message. He started the party from nothing and became the Premier in 1971 if my memory serves me right. He set us up so well that his party remained in power for 44 years until it was changed beyond recognition. A true leader, he was, concerned with the people of Alberta and proud of being a Canadian.

Lougheed was born and raised in Alberta, an athletic,  Harvard graduate and above all a privileged guy who shared his good luck with others for the good of all. His educated vision was for Alberta to use the temporary prosperity from oil and build a prosperous clean, attractive province for future generations. Investments in education, health care, and other social ventures are paying off to this day. Oil boomed, but oil corporations knew he was the boss. Hospitals and universities sprung up, Alberta Energy company insured that we prosper and Alberta became a destination for people seeking a good future.

After a brief change over, Peter was replaced by Ralph Klein who was the opposite. A not very athletic, high school dropout, Ralph sold the goose for a few golden eggs. My Conservative party now dismantled the legacy of Lougheed, sold the assets, spent the savings, and allowed us to become a one big company town owned by private corporations.

Move forward to 2019, when the contest is wedged between champions of the two theories. On the right side is Jason Kenney an Ontario born Saskatchewan raised, man who dropped out of a US Jesuit University, was active in the Young Liberals and moved to Alberta to be elected as a Conservative. He and another Albertan Stephen Harper led the Federal government for ten years never completing even one of our pipelines that we have going east which would have guaranteed Canada energy independence. A pipeline east now would have provided a market for the oil which Peter Lougheed invested so much of our tax dollars to develop.

On the left side of the rink, we have a small but smart Alberta woman who grew up seeing the Lougheed advantage and under another banner decided to revive the Alberta Advantage. Just like Lougheed, she believes that investing in the people, infrastructure and diversifying the economy is the answer. The only main difference is, she is doing it while the province is suffering greatly from low world oil prices and from mistakes made before her time. Most of Alberta’s advantage has been sold, and those who bought it are trying to squeeze the last few pennies out, often at the expanse of Albertans.

Not surprisingly the fight between “left” and “right” is most noticeable in countries and provinces where there is oil. The people who own the oil, since it is on their lands, often are pushing “left” since they wish to benefit from their resources. We have all known for years that oil will come to an end since we recorded Lougheed saying it. The question has always been, who will get the money and what will they do with it. Peter wanted to make the future bright for all Albertans, and those who followed him chose to give it to outside companies and friends in exchange for staying in power.

My Alberta which I invested a lifetime of work to make better for my children and their children is not going the way I thought it would. The lady Premier is investing in children, elders, public education, transportation, diversified economy, families and health facilities, just as, Lougheed did. Her efforts are challenged by a New party that stole the name Conservatives doing what I consider damage to those of us who built the place.

A party, supported by some rural Canadians and a lot of new immigrants is threatening to reverse the good work that she is doing. A political force that wants us to work for less, reduce taxes for those who are taking our resources, privatize our health care, charge us to use our roads, reduce money for our schools giving it to private schools and fighting against our efforts to reduce pollution, is gaining in the polls. They do it by spending vast amounts of money on marketing as I see on expensive electronic billboards.

I am truly afraid that The Conservatives of my generation, and probably the parents of most of you, are losing the fight to outside “investors”  who don’t have our province’ best interest in mind. They will skim the cream off the top and leave us to fight the floods and fires on our own. They will not worry about how we will afford to clean up after them and find ways to feed ourselves after the need for oil is gone. All those who came here in the boom times will go, and all of Alberta will be like a coal mining town after coal was no longer needed.

I have the fortune of remembering the last fifty years in Alberta and the ability to assess what I saw and pass it on to younger generations. I will not be affected much by what is taking place, but I care about my children and the future of this province and the world around it. I also care about the investment that a lot of people that are now gone made in this place.

I am a Progressive Conservative, as were most people who worked with me to make this a great place for our future generations. No one with a fake interest in what we were doing is going to say that I am not. This is my opinion anyway.

Here is a link to my blog: https://thesimpleravenspost.blogspot.ca/  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

The man who invented modern Alberta, and the woman who made it possible.

 7225136[1] From Montreal Gazette Published in the Calgary Herald 2012.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Choose Love or Greed?




Choose Love or Greed?

I opened my email. It is much faster than how mail used to be during my youth and so easy to open. I no longer use my old trusty letter opener which I had for fifty years. Thank goodness for modern conveniences, but just wait a minute. The first letter was addressed to me but not signed by anyone I know. The unknown person is telling me that he has pictures of me watching porn sites and if I don’t send him 400 BitCoins (whatever they are), he will send all my friends those pictures. I printed and delivered a copy of the letter to the local RCMP, but they can’t do a thing about it. They have lots of those letters. I am glad that I am 100% sure that no-one could possibly have the pictures they have mentioned.

The phone rang, and I answered. A mature female voice told me that a lawsuit is being filed against me… and I hung up. The variety of threats made over the phone is nothing less than amusing. Sometimes I wonder if we weren’t better of when we had no telephone, received letters in the mail and borrowed books from the library.

What we have now is the results of the culmination of policies which we allowed to take place over a long time. It didn’t happen overnight. At one time we lived in communities where we knew the people around us, helped each other and faced problems together. When things went wrong, all of us demanded changes and got them.

Now it is a different world. As the years past, we glorified any and all actions that make money and lost any sense of decency. Business became holy and what used to be revered became trivial. Family relationship, faith in God, pride in being honest, honor, personal integrity and many other qualities that we believed in, went out the window. Now people devise ways to hurt each other and extort money, mostly from the poor, and receive accolades. People arrest power by openly lying and use the power to intimidate others, force sexual and other favors out of defenseless individuals, and get away with it. Even wars based on false accusations are fought and only criticized for not profiting the powerful.

I remember older people complaining and lamenting about the loss of the good old times, and I don’t want to sound like them. Perhaps I am only another old person who became a chronic complainer, but I don’t think so. I see a noticeable number of people much younger than I being very uncomfortable with the state of society.

We used to regulate ourselves by choosing governments that provided needed services and controlled misbehavior. I witnessed the striking down of laws that were good in favor of giving freedom to businesses claiming that they can regulate themselves and that the “market” will take care of all problems. It didn’t happen. President Reagan stood in front of cheering crowds saying that the government is not solving problems but is the problem and we agreed. Elected officials abandoned any attempts to do their jobs properly and applied themselves to raising funds to market themselves to win elections. The system became broken.

We used to have laws forcing the news media to investigate and report all sides of issues. The media was held to account if they knowingly misrepresented facts. I remember the government providing inspections and protecting consumers. Police officers were a part of the community and provided a good example. Now the police organization is under investigation for systemic harassment of some of their own. I am scared of what the future may bring if we don’t take action very soon.

The movement of the far right which is demanding less or no government has gone off the rails. We can’t live in a society that is regulated by greed alone, where no-one can be trusted. We can’t have all government services privatized, and there will be no protections for anyone who is not well enough to protect themselves. We used to have governments responsible for public services and accountable to the electorate, but we let them go. Some want the government only to provide an army to defend their property, but I disagree with them full heartedly.

I watch movies like Star Wars where the last remnants of decent humans are rebelling against an evil empire, and I think, let us not become such a world. I see political organizations building platforms based on hate for taxes, and I wonder. Are we ready to give up all the good things that made our society what it is? Are we going to trust business to take care of the world and all the people in it just because they are good-natured caring people?

I look across our border at one example. We had public healthcare now for close to fifty years, and they didn’t. If a person walks into a health facility in either country, we find the service and care on par. Yet, many millions of their people suffer and die miserable deaths for lack of money for treatment, and high insurance rates, while here they don’t. Very credible institutions examined the costs and found out that the expense per capita for healthcare in Canada is only slightly more than half of what it is over the border.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of having to fight all the time to protect myself from those who take advantage and extort money. I want a good government that will do it and will look for ways to make our society great again. It will not happen by letting foxes guard the hen house.

I have my computer, and I write. I have my vote, and I choose to elect people who will govern to protect me and build an economy good for average people, not on unregulated business. Most of my acquaintances who are business people agree.

Here is a link to my blog: https://thesimpleravenspost.blogspot.ca/  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Another bloody D Day could happen, or worst.

Another bloody D Day could happen, or worst. I grew up with those who fought and survived the last “Great” war. The only people I kne...