*** PREFACE:I don't buy it when right-wingers go on "the media is just crazy left-wing" tirades nor do I buy it when left-wingers rant about the "crazy right-wing media". Every written thing has a bias. It's OK. It's our job to find the bias and glean the truth through our bias-filters. Eat the meat and spit out the bones***
Tomorrow is Canada Day... and I love my country. I believe it to be strong, free, and growing into something more beautiful every day. National Post commentator Jonathan Kay wrote an excellent commentary yesterday called, "The 'new Canada' same as the old". As I noted above, I'm not a left-wing media conspiracy guy... but in my lifetime, I have seen the picture that has often been painted of Canadian Christianity being progressively uglier and quite unlike the existing... and progressing reality.
He tells a very interesting story about Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla's qualifications as a "New Canadian":
A few years ago, some editors at a rival Toronto newspaper were informally batting around names for a splashy weekend feature about faces of the “New Canada.” The discussion turned to sports, and one of the editors suggested Jarome Iginla.
As the story goes, the room initially lit up with excitement. And why not? Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla isn’t exactly descended from blueblood loyalists. The five-time NHL all-star was the league’s first black team captain, not to mention the Calgary Flames’ all-time goals leader. His father was an immigrant from Nigeria, his mom a Buddhist from the Pacific northwest. How much fashionably “newer” can a Canadian get?
But then, just as quickly, another editor took the air out of the room.
“The guy is a religious, church-going Christian,” he said. “You know that, right?”
Silence followed. Being religious per se doesn’t prevent you from being part of the media-sanctioned “New Canada” — but preference goes to the “newer” faiths. Christianity is so … old-school. Without further ado, the editors moved on. “Uh let’s see … Who else we got?”
The article goes on to talk about the largely unspoken realities of cultural mosaic culture that we grew up learning about the value of in school. Christianity and Judeo-Christian values run HIGH in it! But for some reason, even Christians (who clearly have a poor world perspective) sometimes go off about how it's withering our traditional moral fabric. It's silly of us to be so unaware that Christianity outside of North America and Europe is GIGANTIC! It should be encouraging that we're a part of a massive movement of people who believe in loving our neighbors radically! Why there are still people that ASSUME that people from "wherever they're from" are bringing some kind of voodoo to our land, I do not get.
You want to see a vibrant Canadian church in action? Check out the Korean churches in Toronto. A couple of years ago I made friends with some ordinary, working-professional (not clergy) Ghanaian folks in Brampton who planted a church. Now THAT was a prayer room. Heck... Ghana is 83% Christian! To most... numbers like that are but a pipe dream.
Christianity Today did a story this week about the Ghanaian soccer team called "The Black Stars" who are kicking butt in the World Cup right now called "Ghana: The Team That Prays Together". Check this out:
"We are Christians and we all know how important God is. We all respect God and we pray every time before the game and after the game. ... We praise God, what he has done for us. Then the next day is match-day, so we use that opportunity to give us strength and help us go on into the game."... Captain John Mensah
"We love to sing together, dance together, pray together," Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan told Bradley. "It brings joy to our hearts. This is our team."
At the end it talks about how the entire NATION was called to prayer and fasting for their team! How different from what we perceive to be "new Canada" is that??? But the reality is that these are the folks that are making up the reality of New Canada.
Not to mention that, despite what a minority would have you believe, "The Church" (that's right... the "organized religion" that so many even inside Christianity shortsightedly, seem to despise so much) is rising in the public's perception of value.
According to Church researcher Ed Stetzer's Canadian Church research, among UNchurched young Canadians:
- 75% of younger unchurched Canadians agree that church is generally helpful to society
- 78% agree that God actually exists
- 50% agree that Jesus died and came back to life
- 51% say they would be willing to study the Bible if a friend asked them to
It's strange how discouraged and persecuted-mentality Christians can get. Not that a little persecution here and there is necessarily a bad thing, since where it actually DOES exist the church EXPLODES! But this is not the reality we live with in Canada. This is an era of opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ in a more public way. The progressive, active, passionate Church IS being accepted even more than even a decade ago. And it's in part because of the hard work of visionaries... AND also the immigration of MANY who KNOW what it means to function in a THRIVING, empowered Christian manner.
Find a way to go continue making Canada great tomorrow.
God keep our land glorious and free.