Thinking Out Loud

April 30, 2008

Ontario Government Could Force Christian Horizons to Drop Its Christian Emphasis or Even Close

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 5:59 pm

Here’s the first part of the story from LifeSite News

TORONTO, April 29, 2008 ( – The ruling by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal to force a Christian ministry to the disabled to stop requiring staff to live up to Christian moral standards as a condition of employment threatens the existence of all faith-based charities in Canada. (For more coverage, see: In light of the recent decision, spoke with the provincial government ministry in charge of such matters and found they showed little willingness or desire to accommodate sincere Christianity in the public sphere.

Raj Dihr, the prosecutor for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in the case, explained to that the Christian ministry in question – Christian Horizons – was not permitted an exemption under the human rights code which would permit it to hire only Christian staff who were willing to live according to fundamental Christian moral precepts. The reason, he explained, was two-fold. First, he said, the organization was serving the general public, and not restricting its services to Evangelical Christians, and secondly, in the opinion of the Tribunal (a single adjudicator by the name of Michael Gottheil) adherence to the tenets of Christianity as set out by the Evangelical group was not seen as necessary in fulfilling their services to the public.

Of course, from the perspective of the ministry their whole raison d’être was ministering to the disabled as Christians. Christian Horizons (CH) describes itself as “an evangelical ministry seeking to reach out with Christian love to people with disabilities.” Forbidding them to require staff to be Christian would thus effectively end their ministry.

Since CH is the largest provider of community living services in the province, providing care and residential services to 1,400 developmentally disabled individuals with over 180 residential homes across Ontario, (not to mention emplyoing 2,300 individuals) the ending of its ministry would present no small problem for the provincial government, which provides $75 million annually to CH for its services. That reality, however, seems not to have dawned on the provincial government.


Here’s an editorial from Canada’s National Newspaper, The National Post.

original source page

Lorne Gunter on Christian Horizons and Ontario’s thought police

Posted: April 28, 2008, 7:55 AM

Christian Horizons is an evangelical organization with a mission to people with developmental disabilities. It is also the largest operator of special-needs residential homes in Ontario. Under a $75-million annual contract with the provincial government, it runs 180 group homes for 1,400 residents and employs 2,500 staff.

Now Christian Horizons (CH) has also run afoul of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).

In a ruling, released last week, that once again proves rights tribunals are little more than politically correct thought police, the OHRC declared CH was wrong to make its employees sign a morality pledge as a condition of employment.

The ruling stems from a complaint brought by Connie Heintz. Ms. Heintz willingly signed CH’s employee code when she joined the organization. She then worked for CH for several years before discovering she was a lesbian. Since homosexuality was one of the proscribed behaviours, CH forced her out when it found out about her new orientation in 2000.

The organization’s morality pledge did not single out gays and lesbians. It made all employees promise to refrain from a host of sexual and personal behaviours CH believes are prohibited for Christians, including “homosexual relationships,” “extra-marital sexual relationships (adultery),” “pre-marital sexual relationships (fornication),” “viewing or reading pornographic material,” “endorsing” alcohol or cigarettes and “lying.”

Boasting that its ruling “has a significant impact for faith-based organizations that provide services to the general public,” the OHRC ordered Horizons to pay Ms. Heintz two years’ wages and benefits, plus $23,000 in compensatory damages.

Further, the commission gave CH six months to “develop and adopt an anti-discrimination and an anti-harassment policy” that complies with Ontario’s human rights legislation. Under supervision by the commission, the group must conduct a “review of its employment policies” and demonstrate to the OHRC’s satisfaction that its hiring practices comply with Ontario’s human rights code.

In short, the OHRC ruled that the state’s morality code must trump CH’s.

Worse yet, all CH managers and employees must undergo a “human rights training program,” which, of course, is a euphemism for government-approved, state indoctrination aimed at re-educating unacceptable beliefs out of employees’ heads.

To some extent, I accept that when Christian or other belief-driven organizations become subcontractors for government policy, they cannot object to the state imposing its morality on their operation. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissioner of the OHRC, is not entirely wrong, then, when she says “when faith-based and other organizations move beyond serving the interests of their particular community to serving the general public, the rights of others, including employees, must be respected.”

It’s insulting to suggest CH does not respect rights when it is operating within its private sphere, but point taken: When CH became an agent of state policy it lost its ability to resist state morality.

It’s clear, though, from the commission-ordered sensitivity training that goes along with the employment ruling that the OHRC is interested in far more than merely assuring an Ontario government contractee is in compliance with provincial government employment standards. It also wants to stamp out political views at variance with those favoured by the Commission.

And that’s dangerous, very dangerous.

The Ontario government may make Christian Horizons operate its group homes as it wishes, after all, the government is paying the freight. What it may not do, ever, is demand that CH and its employees think as the government wishes.

Yet I have no doubt the OHRC’s ruling would have been exactly the same if CH had been running its residential homes completely privately having raised its entire annual budget without any help from taxpayers. After all, in 1999 the OHRC forced Toronto Christian printer Scott Brockie to do print jobs for gay and lesbian customers even though his print business was private and not under any contract with Queen’s Park to provide print services.

H.L. Mencken once said “The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think.” Modern human rights commissions — the neo-Puritans — desire both, that we think as they do and do as they think.


The Sons of Israel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 5:13 pm

Do you ever have one of those sleepless nights where you’re lying in bed trying to remember the complete genealogy of Israel and find yourself short a name or two?  I know I do.   So you can imagine my surprise when today I came across a song to help me remember all of them, courtesy of the people at Team Tom In The Box News Network

What ya wanna do here is follow the lyrics either here on the above link, and then open the song in a new window so you can listen and follow the words at the same time.

Reuben, Levi, Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Benjamin, Gad, Asher, Naphtali.
Onan, Shelah, Perez, Er and, Zerah, Hezron, Hamul, Ram and, Carmi, Achar, Calcol, Dara, Ethan, Chelubai.
Shimea, Salma, Zeruiah, Joab, Ozem, Abinadab, Asahel, David, Raddai
Caleb, Uri, Je-sher, Uri, Hur and Bezalel, Hezron, Machir, Kenath, Aram, Jerahmeel and Onam.

These are the Sons of Israel, no we didn’t write ’em and we can’t recite ’em.
These are the Sons of Israel, you can try to count ‘em but you can’t pronounce ‘em.

Bunna, Oren, Jamin, Ram, Jerahmeel and Abishur, Ahban, Molin, Nadab, Ishi, Sheshan, Eker,
Jada, Appaim, Azariah, Peleth, Jarha, Shallum, Elesah, Sismai
Helez, Ahalai, Elishama, Jerahmeel, Hebron, Korah, Tappuah, Shema, Raham, Jorkeam,
Shammai, Ephrathah, Shobal, Regem, Jotham, Solom, Abijah, Elishama, Joram


Japhia, Shenazzar, Malchiram and Pedaiah, Ohel, Neariah, Manasseh and Josiah,
Jezreel, Penuel, Zedekiah, Akkub, Koz, Anum, Zobebah, Families of Aharhel
Chelub, Shuhah, Mehir, Eshton, Tehinnah, Jephunneh, Iru, Tirih and Mered,
Jamin, Hammuel, Mishma, Mibsam, Ezem, Ziklag, Hormah, Jamlech, Joshah, Amaziah


Jaakobah, Ziza, Jeshohaiah, Bilhah, Ishi, Joel, Mishobab and Etam
Pelatiah, Meariah, Hezekiah, Nemuel, Carmi, Janai, Meshulam, Abdiel
Ahi, Michael, Ahitub, Seraiah, Gershom, Haggiah, What else do I have to say?


Merari, Shimei, Samuel and Elkanah, Assir, Tahath, Ebishap, Kohath
Toah, Heman, Eliel, Elkanah and Mahath, Zerahiah, Amzi, Zuph, Ethni, Zerah, Hilkiah,
Libnah, Aaron, Zebulun, Hashabiah, Merari, Zadok, and, Bukki, and Mu-shi, Hilen,
Ashan, Geba, Anathoth, Kohath, Ram and Bileam….
Something…something…Something…something…I can’t take it anymore!!!!


The song: Click normal to listen; right click to save — link is broken and has been removed; trying to find another recording of the song online.   Upper link to the TBNN works, but its link to the song is also broken.

Recent Update to Church Floor Collapse at Starfield Concert

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 8:13 am

This is from the April 29 Globe and Mail and updates info you may have heard of earlier. To finish this story go here:

Vibrations from dancing may have collapsed church floor

JEREMY NUTTALL Special to The Globe and Mail

April 29, 2008

The collapse of an Abbotsford church’s floor during a Friday night concert could have been triggered by vibrations from dancing concertgoers, a structural engineering expert says.

Around 9:15 p.m. a seven-metre-square hole opened up, dumping dozens of people five metres into the church basement and sending more than 40 to hospital.

“It [the floor] likely wasn’t built for dancing,” said Steve Taylor, a structural engineering instructor at the University of British Columbia.

Young people were attending a concert by the Christian rock band, Starfield, at the church when the floor gave way under the 70 people dancing in front of the stage. Furniture fell on top of some of the victims and they were drenched by water from burst pipes. Most suffered minor injuries. A 41-year-old woman is still in hospital after undergoing surgery for head and spinal injuries. She is listed in stable condition. [see our postscript below]
According to the National Building Code, a hall used for events at which people would be dancing requires the floor to hold twice the weight of the building, Mr. Taylor said. The code says a floor constructed for dancing needs to be able to support 489 kilograms of force per square metre. One with fixed seating, such as bolted down pews, can hold 244 kilograms of force per square metre if the seating covers 80 per cent of the floor.

Pastor Chris Douglas from the Central Heights Church said the bolts securing the pews to the floor had been undone.

“It’s so we can pick them up and move them,” he said. He has also said an engineer investigating the incident told him one joist may have initially failed, causing the rest to give way.


It doesn’t seem however that it’s the case that there were no injuries. A 41 year old woman was put into a medically induced coma following spinal surgery. See that story here.

Denominational Map of the United States

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 7:10 am

Check out this map which shows which denominations dominate certain regions of the United States.
(Note: Click on the map itself to see the northeast section if it isn’t showing on your screen.You may need to click twice.)
You might enjoy looking around the rest of strangemaps.wordpress, too.

April 28, 2008

A Dose of Yancey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 7:20 am

Philip Yancey is my favourite Christian author. I especially like those paragraphs where the ideas and images seem to fire out of his brain like a machine gun. Here’s a sample…

“The more I studied Jesus, the more difficult it became to pigeonhole him. He said little about the Roman occupation, the main topic of conversation among his countrymen; and yet he took up a whip to drive petty profiteers from the Jewish temple. He urged obedience to the Mosaic law while acquiring the reputation of a lawbreaker. He could be stabbed by sympathy for a stranger, yet turn on his best friend with the flinty rebuke, “Get behind me, Satan!” He had compromising views on rich men and loose women, yet both types enjoyed his company. “One day miracles seem to flow out of Jesus the next day his power was blocked by people’s lack of faith. One day he talked in detail of the Second Coming; another, he knew neither the day nor hour. He fled from arrest at one point and marched inexorably toward it at another. He spoke eloquently about peacemaking, then told his disciples to procure swords. His extravagant claims about himself kept him at the center of controversy, but when he he did something truly miraculous he tended to hush it up. As Walter Wink has said, if Jesus had never lived, we would not have been able to invent him.” ~~ Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan 1995) p.23 I

April 27, 2008

Christian Pick Up Lines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 3:11 pm

Two posts today and neither one can be taken seriously.   (Up until this year, we had a kind of computer sabbath on Sundays, so I wouldn’t want to be caught really “working” at the computer today, would I?)  Anyway,  Rowena from Australia blogs as  Small Steps to Glory and reports that there’s a group on Facebook for the appreciation of Christian Pick-up lines. Here’s some samples she chose:

“i didnt believe in predestination until tonight.”

“i believe one of my ribs belongs to you.”

“hey.. i would work 7 years for your sister.. but i would work 7 more years for you.”

“your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead”

“you put the ‘cute’ back in persecution…”

“feel free to meet me at the threshing floor.”

“you’re totally depraved but i’d still like to go out with you…”

“im interested in full time ministry, and not only that… i also play the guitar.”

“look, you’re nearly 22. most christians are 3 years into marriage by now… just settle for me.”

“have you died before? because that looks like a resurrection body to me..”

“i would have asked you out to dinner, but i just put all my money in the offering basket.”

“Hi, I’m Calvin. You were meant to choose me.”

“all im looking for is a Godly woman. i don’t care that you’re not attractive.” (that will go down well for sure)

“can I buy you a non-alcoholic beverage?”

“my favourite species of vegetation is the church plant.”

“i have many sponsor children. one in each developing nation.”

“who’s your favorite apostle?”

“the word says ‘Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry’; how about dinner?”

“i have familiarised myself with all 5 love languages, in fact, i invented 4 of them.”

[check the person’s shirt tag] “just as i thought… made in heaven.”

“for you i would slay two Goliaths”

Laughing At Ourselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 2:05 pm
The book is called “A Field Guide To Evangelicals” by Joel Kilpatrick and it’s meant to be funny. The problem is that the manager of the bookstore wasn’t laughing. She had removed the book from the shelves and announced she was sending it back.

Despite the popularity of Christian comedy — it’s the #1 growth category in the Christian DVD market — if evangelicals lack anything it’s a sense of humour. Nobody knows this more than I. In my own writing, there are many sentences that get cut because we’re afraid of the backlash.

However, in the interest of boldly going where most are afraid to go, we thought we’d share with you some websites of this genre. Remember, nothing is sacred here, the humour is somewhat infantile and repetitive at times; but it’s guaranteed to be topical, current and make you think.

Again, remember that these are often highly irreverent. There’s also the question of why someone would take this on as a particular calling, though The Wittenburg Door is part of something called The Trinity Foundation which seeks to expose corruption in ministry, and is somewhat linked to the current investigation in the U.S. of six prominent evangelists. These websites remind us not only how the world sees us, but how we see ourselves in our more cynical moments.

Where I and many of you draw the line is when people make jokes out of scriptural content itself, or use the Bible as an object of the humour. But for others, Christian humour is a reflection of conscience, or of things we wish we had the nerve to say ourselves.

The Holy Observer –
Lark News –
Wittenburg Door – (Note: The scary thing here is some of their stories are actually true!)
Ship of Fools –

April 26, 2008

Wanting To Get Credit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 5:28 pm

It’s Saturday night, and as usual we’re listening to A Prairie Home Companion on U.S. public radio. We enjoy the skits, and especially the monologue with its references to rural church life in mythical Lake Wobegon. There’s probably a sizable chunk of the audience that doesn’t go to church, but the show causes them think about God, faith and values.


An article I read about the show noted that unless a guest does it inadvertently, or you’re listening in Europe, Garrison Keillor is never mentioned during the program. Wikipedia confirms that “Keillor receives no billing or credit (except “written by Sarah Bellum”, a joking reference to his own brain); his name is not mentioned unless a guest addresses him by his first name or the initials, G. K.”

What a contrast to the North American evangelical world where everyone wants to be known. As a kid growing up, The Toronto Star church pages were full of pictures of the pastors of the Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. In a large denominational Bible College, undergraduate students writing an academic exam were required to iterate the names of the individuals currently occupying spots on the denominational hierarchy. To this day, that denomination is all about personalities and networking. (Just think; Margaret Watson got her B.Th for knowing that Evelyn Drysdale is the special assistant to the director of Missions; and now, just ten years later, she was the answer to a question on that same exam!)

A couple of years back I attended a one-day seminar put on by that denomination where the instructor encouraged us to e-mail him for an interpretation of a particularly difficult passage. When I emailed him he didn’t recognize the name, so he wrote back “Who are you?” I asked if it mattered. He wrote again, “Then figure out the passage for yourself.” His whole world is based on the principle of people wanting to be known.

I much prefer Garrison Keillor’s humility. Here’s a closing thought on this that I first heard from Dennis Anderson (not that I’m name-dropping, especially in context of this article) regional minister for the Evangelical Missionary Church in Canada (sorry I don’t know the original source):

“There is no limit on what can be done for God, as long as it doesn’t matter who is getting the earthly credit.”

Those Who Can, Do…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 7:05 am

W. H. Auden on poets:

“It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by  practicing it” -W.H. Auden.

Does this apply to professional clergy, too? Does it apply to Sunday School teachers? Blog writers? Blog readers?

ASBO Jesus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 6:59 am

I referred to Jon Birch’s website in a post on April 6th. Some of his cartoons are quite provocative, which results in lots of comments that are worth reading, too. (ASBO stands for Anti Social Behavior Order!)


The caption reads, “An easy mistake to make.”

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