Free Speech Trumps Hate, Intolerance And Our Personal Biases And Beliefs


freedom-of-speech-rally-afpYou look around the Western democracies over the last decade, and you will see free speech under attack, be it in the European nations, or the former Soviet Union, China, India, the dominions of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and yes, in the United States of America.  Freedom of speech is under attack.

00berkeleyThe culmination of outrage and protest that ended up denying the free speech of others at UC Berkeley in California  a couple of weeks ago, ended up erupting in violence and managed to stop the evening presentation by a controversial speaker from the political right. The leftist anarchists restored to violence, intimidation and verbal and physical assault in order to stifle and deny free speech on the university campus, who legacy in defending free speech went up in the very flames of this violent anti free speech protest. Oh, the irony of it all.  These leftists did not have the desire for public debate, and as such did all they could including the use of force and violence to shut down the right to free and open debate. There is something quite wrong in a democracy when the right to free speech is so blatantly denied by those who protest that is ignited and fueled by hate and anger and leaves no room for face to face dialogue about the issues. Instead they resort to mass riot and violence to tune out the voices that dissent and want to have a dialogue and debate.  The rights of one group of people should not quash or restrict the views and the right of expression of those views who are from the other side. This is supposedly a democracy, except when you oppose their views.

00gettyimages-625288940The three worst scenarios in recent memory (at least since June of 2016) are found in the United Kingdom and the  Brexit referendum and its aftermath that sent shock waves across the globe, and resulted in the vote to leave the EU.

teamclinton-vs-teamtrump-election2016-1-638In the United States, it was the meltdown and fallout from the Democrats being outflanked and outmaneuvered by Donald Trump and the GOP, where the Republicans gained not only the White House, but the House of Representatives and the Senate, essentially wiping out the Democrats. The response of angry Democrats and their supporters resulted in violent protest as the new President moved into the White House at the end of January.  The left wing political agitators and protesters and the social activists seemed to lose their voices of protest and seemed to not know how to intellectually respond to the Right taking over the government of the nation. They could not speak. There was only outrage, riots, vandalism, destruction of public and private property and physical attacks, and especially the verbal attacks in trying to shut down all the free speech of those who do not see the world through their lens, only underscores the reality that “free speech” is under attack.

00quebeccityIn Canada, it is the most recent reactions to the murder of six Muslim men in Quebec City while in attendance at a mosque, and the resulting reactions by provincial and federal politicians, including our very own Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that has made the greatest threat to our right to free speech in Canada.  Their incoherent outrage and ramblings about Islamophobia, which has not been proven, are causing or right to free speech to be under threat. The politicians of the land seem to forget the foundation of country is based on this fundamental right to free speech enshrined in our  our Charter Rights and Freedoms. The Liberal MP who tabled the controversial Motion 103, which includes the inflammatory word “Islamophobia”, refuses to drop the word.  As such our country is divided over language and meaning. The debate unfolding not legally binding, but is up for debate on the floor of the Commons and it is already polarizing the country inciting anxiety, anger and outrage from all sectors of our Canadian multicultural community. Of course those right of centre are opposed to the motion as it threatens the very existence of free speech. The motion centres on Islamophobia and their narrative that it was Islamophobia that drove the gunman to murder six men at a mosque/community centre in Quebec City.  It has galvanized the Muslim community as well as outrage against the violence.  But that doesn’t mean we censure public debate, or that we redefine free speech and give special status to Muslim Canadians. The Charter of Rights applies to all Canadians equally or not at all!

Free speech is all free or not at all

free-speech-card-2I oppose any restriction, change to, or removal of, or redefining of “free speech” as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and our Constitution. I am for the free and open debate on the public square, in print, on digital media, broadcasting, of all and any views, be they considered “hate speech” by those who would otherwise want to control or stop the discussion of any subject of thing that may offend the sensibilities of offended Canadian citizens.

All persons in Canada have a protected right to free speech and to be challenged for their views

freedom_of_speech-300x232I defend the rights of all persons to not only hold but publicly debate, any and all speech on matters they deem important or infantile or what I may consider deplorable.
I defend the right of all Canadians to speak it out their views freely without legal attack or restriction

e3a413605c34e75eb80b4209a23485e3I also will speak out in opposition to those views I deem which are not right, or may even cause others harm. I will stand for the freedom to speak, and I would ask that all Canadians stand for the rights of all people in Canada to speak freely, with good conscience and passion about things that matter to them.

The government should encourage this kind of exchange, and not seek to restrict it in any way, shape of form, or demonize those who speak things they deem to be offensive or “un-Canadian.”

charter
This is what it means to live in a free and open democracy where all citizen’s rights are equally protected in law

talking-philosophy-largeWhen voices rise in the nation that create fear, anger, suspicion, racial, religious, or ethnic disharmony, you don’t shut down those voices. You confront them in a fee and open debate on the public square and you deal with the issues and the emotions around them, and you work toward understanding and resolutions of the conflict.

You do not shut down “free speech” or try to redefine it! Demonizing the free speech of others only empowers it all the more

charterofrights

I defend your right to speak freely about your opinions, even if I don’t agree with them.

Welcome to democracy!

freedom-of-speechI have a right to speak out my disagreement of you and your opinions, or to speak my views on all matters of belief and conscience. I defend your right to do the same.  We do so in a Western democracy, in an atmosphere of mutual respect & accommodation of diverse views and opinions as well as vigorous debate is good for a growing and flourishing democracy.

Long live freedom & the free exchange of ideas!

~ Samuel M. Buick

freedom-of-speech-megaphone2-e1432124492804

#FreeSpeech #CharterofRights #CanadianConstitution

 

LINKS:

Charter of Rights & Freedoms

UN Declaration of Human Rights

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/02/15/motion-103-iqra-khalid-melanie-joly-liberals-tories_n_14776116.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/m103-islamophobia-joly-khalid-1.3983911

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/02/14/islamophobia-motion-will-target-moderate-muslims

 

 

 

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Sorry Seems The Hardest Word: Repenting from Delusion, Deception and Making Things Right


247901afb52039bdcd4070344c940aa9Over a span of a couple of months I have yearned and ached for a right sense of standing with God, my Lord Jesus of Nazareth. Over the last several years, while I have remained in the faith, resilient and persevering to what I believe the faith to be, I have been more weak than strong.
img_6844I have allowed my hurts and disappointments to cloud my mind and my understanding. I have wavered in things that have open doors to deception and made me vulnerable to errors of belief. I have let pain and rejection affect me in ways that have removed me from the safety of a deep relationship with God and a knowing that I am secure in Him alone.
quote-separation-to-god-separation-from-the-world-is-the-first-principle-of-christian-living-watchman-nee-77-32-65
aaeaaqaaaaaaaalqaaaajdlloteyzjcwltjkmtctngnmns05zmfiltc4otc5odi4yjnmoqI have allowed my disappointments and hurts from the Body of Christ, to shut and slam the door on the very community I needed to be a part of. Isolation is no answer. Separation from fellow believers cures no ills, it only creates more pain and self-inflicted sorrow.

prodigalTwo months ago I began a “journey home” reconciling myself to the reality that a Christian needs to belong to a group of believers who are on the same life journey with God. Being in community is more than a theory or Bible doctrine. Being grafted into God, regenerated by the Spirit, connects us to other believers. There is nothing more challenging than living life in community with other people, and all the relational and belief and practice issues that surround being a community of faith. Our own internal “stuff” more often than not get in the way, and many of us would rather “cut and run” rather than deal with our own self-interests, insecurities, and fear issues, than remain connected to our faith community.

unity-liberty-charity-001-720x380

hankhanegraffI began the “journey home” at that time by recognizing my own failures and inadequacies when it came to remaining in Christian community. I realized that I needed to be connected to people of faith, even if what they believed and practiced was not what I believed. As long as Jesus of Nazareth was central, and the atonement of Christ, and salvation in Christ alone, as well as the authority of the Scriptures for faith and practice, then I could agree to disagree on the “non-essentials.” I decided that it was time that I put into practice one of the maxims of one of my favorite theologians, Augustine of Hippo, who said: “In essentials unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity.”

timetowakeupI write this with conviction in my heart, and the weighty responsibility that comes with posting things on social media. I have never been shy about posting what I think, sometimes to my own detriment. I first want to apologize to my wife and family and say that I am sorry that I have not been the kind of husband and father I ought to have been.

 My slippery path was slow, seductive and produced results

 

new-age-bgI allowed false beliefs to emerge and pull me in into a whirlpool and cesspool of flawed and erroneous beliefs that have nothing to do with New Testament faith or historic Christianity. These things range from hyper-charismatic mysticism, to new age practices that have and continue to infiltrate the Evangelical church and in particular the charismatic movement, through the most experiential based sub movements, from Bethel Church (Redding, California), to IHOP in Kansas City, Morningstar, to Catch the Fire (formerly TACF) in Toronto.

falseprophets

Gnosticism is alive and well within these movements as is the quest for union with God through mystical encounters, which include many Zen Buddhist meditation and mind altering experiences. The upcoming film, The Shack, is just another example of this mystical trap that is there to ensnare Christians and pull them into the full orbit and control of the New Age Movement.  I was sucked in over the last 15 years in doing and participating in things that I simply justified. I was not a good Berean, checking to ensure that the practices I was engaged in were even remotely biblical.

amos-roots2Many of the practices were rooted in Roman Catholicism and what it borrowed from the East and incorporated in their own practices. This continues to be the case for Evangelicals who embrace centering prayer, meditation, alternative consciousness, and entering the heavenly realms. All that stuff has nothing to do with practicing a biblical faith, and opens doors for deception, demon oppression and even demon possession. There are no such things as “Christian Yoga,” or “Christian massage therapy.” All these things are deceptions.
There is so little discernment today.
faith_newage

The whole “wellness” movement is New Age and is filled with Eastern mysticism and occult practices. No matter the physical aspects and positive elements to them, they are essentially at their core religious practices which are anti-Christian. There is nothing beneficial to the Christian engaging in these practices and we should be distancing ourselves from them and their influence on us and our families, friends and churches.

 

The seduction of Christianity
The Evangelical is being seduced by the spirit of anti-Christ through this New Age mysticism, especially in Charismatic churches and leaders.  I have awakened from a seduced delusional sleep and it is startling to see things with new biblical eyes rather than mystical eyes.
So if I have challenged you to water down the authority of Scripture, forgive me for I have sinned against you and against God.
If I have watered down what you consider essentials to faith, I am sorry, forgive me for I have sinned against you and against God.
If I have judged you or criticized you for your sincere beliefs in Jesus and the Gospel of grace, please forgive me, for I have sinned against you and against God.
If I have been critical of the Body of Christ and how people “do church” and I have offended you by my words and statements, I am sorry, please forgive me, for I have sinned against you and against God.

5b6acf24d2d1badd0e8223570e112268For those “teachers” and “preachers” and “proponents” of “progressive Christianity” I forgive you and I pray for you. The responsibility upon those who hold authority and influence over people is much to bear, and I pray the Lord will be compassionate toward you and guide you to Himself. I am not casting stones. I merely stating that it was an easy slide to embrace the “emerging church” and its proponents and their dogmas and theologies, and embrace a more palatable and easy believism which has no cost to bearing and living. I was wrong, totally wrong to embrace it for myself, and I caution all others tempted by:
• Easy believism with little to no substance and no cost to living it out in this society
• Easy discipleship that does not require transformed character and service to God and to others
• The rejection of traditional beliefs as if they are outdated or not tenable in bearing witness in our post-modern culture and substituting a narrative and belief system that leaves out what is costly grace
• Walking away from all people who disagree with you, which violates the oneness there in and through Christ Jesus, leaving ourselves vulnerable and a prey to anything that sounds vaguely Christian and spiritual but is a denial of the historic faith
• Advocating mystical experience and encounter over and against being rooted and grounded in the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures
My sincere and deepest apologies to all who claim to be a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth
augustine-quote

“Sorry” is a difficult word to say, and so small to try to convey the grief and sorrow I feel at this time. But I am sorry, if I have misled you into an adventure of the spiritual which has little to nothing to do with biblical and historical Christianity. I am sorry. I have been less than an authentic disciple of Jesus. Please forgive me.

051eff89-4662-4e9e-af5f-17358409015b_zpsytunktwjI soldier on and I move forward, not looking backward but forward. I will persevere as God preserves me in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.  God is not finished with any of us yet. He forgives and restores and enables us to move in grace by His Spirit. So I will not wallow in self-pity. I will acknowledge my failings and my wrongs. I will continue to repent of those things the Lord Jesus convicts me off. I will make right what can be rectified. I will live by Scripture alone, put my trust in salvation in Jesus of Nazareth alone, the finished work of the cross of Christ.  Jesus Christ is building His Church, and the gates and doctrines of hell will not prevail against Jesus or His Church. Many are being deceived but God will do what is necessary to preserve His elect.   I will continue to be motivated to live in Christ, and to walk with Christ, especially in the midst of all this New Age deception that has infiltrated the church, the body of Christ in not only our nation, but the nations of the earth.

Be at peace with God by making peace with God in Jesus Christ, for He loves and cherishes you.
So much so, He continues to rescue people like you and I.
One of the rescued,
In Christ alone,
Samuel M. Buick

* Sorry Seems The Hardest Word are words from a song by the same title by English musician Elton John

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Silence Is Not Something To Be Silent About: We All Have A Context For Living As We Do


silencefb-e1484334060497

silence-scorsese-movie-image-liam-neesonLast night I went to the movies with Lori-Anne and our daughter, Caitlin, who is a big Martin Scorcese fan. She really wanted to see it, as did her fiancé Stephen. Unfortunately Stephen who currently resides in Tennessee is unable to see the film as it is not playing in his city.  So the three of us went out for a movie night. I had looked forward to seeing this film, as I had studied the spread of Christianity in several of my courses of study for my theology degree.

silence_novelI had read Endo’s book way back in those days, over 32 years ago, while a student taking a missiology course.  I am the son of missionary parents. We even came to Canada from another “mission field” as missionaries to the province of Quebec.  I have always loved missionary stories.  I loved church history for that reason, the spreading of the message of the Gospel of Christ, by people who forsook all, to spread the message of love, grace and truth to those who had not yet heard of it.

silencecover-1The spread of the faith through the Jesuit Francis Xavier to Goa, and then Japan was an area of interest I had, as I had studied the writings of the Reformation and Counter Reformation and  how the Jesuits became a fervent ambassador of the Roman Catholic faith and the “purity” of that faith in the nations where Catholicism had been proclaimed, persecuted and in some cases almost extinguished. I was fascinated back then, and to some extent even now with what defines authentic “Christian faith,” and what “denies the faith” or how do we define what “apostasy” is  or “true religion” or even “right doctrine.” Are we saved by “what” we “believe” and “practice” and “confess”? Or are we saved by Who we worship in our hearts and minds and thoughts? Does belief even require outwards acts that are construed as “declarations of faith,” such as the “sign of the cross” or the speaking of particular “theological statements” such as “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” or in provoking the name of God or of Saints?

silenceThis film SILENCE (2016) adapted to the screen by Martin Scorsese, raises issues and questions on so many levels about the nature of faith, belief, and the practice of that faith in a foreign land, the joy and delight of seeing faith come alive in others, then seeing the anguish of persecution and apostasy, and then resilience and fortitude to the end.

silencecoverThe film is a solid adaptation of the book by the same name. Just as the book raises these questions, so does the film for the viewers. Is it apostasy to recant your faith in a public act, if it is to save the lives of people you love?  This film is a great vehicle to explore the nature of belief and about finding God in the silence, even if in that silence God is there, but you cannot feel him or sense him. Can you hold to true faith in silence, without any kind of public expression, or act or sign?  There are so many themes and thoughts to be explored by the viewer and especially so if that viewer is a seeker of truth. There is an incredible scene in he film where the main character Rodrigues is in dialog with the Shogun about what is “truth.” Incredible scene that is riveting and passionate all at once.

silence5The power of love and love as a motive for life and living and intrinsic value is explored in the narrative of the characters in this story. Do you betray God if in your own suffering you deny God in a public act to save the ones who suffering for their faith? I loved the film. Both the book and film highlight how faith is experienced and expressed in the our lives and in the world in which we live, and how important it is to contextualize faith to the very ethnic community and people and in their own language.

A context for our own time

silence-shusaku-endo-william-johnstonThat is the problem I have had with both Roman Catholicism and Islam. Both are wedded to their own historical setting and evolution, including customs, rites, rituals and customs and language. All you have to do is look at the Western democracies that have embraced people from the Middle East, Arab nations and other Muslim dominated nations, who immigrate to our nations.  The people who come to our countries, many have a difficult time assimilating and becoming like the rest of us. They retain their language, customs, rites and rituals, often isolating themselves to their religious sites, communities, apart from the rest of us, and as they do so, by being immersed in their Arabic culture and customs, it makes it difficult to interact and build trust and dialog and understanding. I could not but help to see and understand this problem for both Westerners and those people of Islamic faith who come to live in our nations. It has to be such a big challenge for them as it is for us. The fundamentalism that becomes radicalized through ideology and the use of “sacred violence” to justify both the protection and also the spread of the ideology can be seen and understood even more so through the lens of this film.

My own problem with identity and context

silence-movie-image-andrew-garfieldAs a Protestant Evangelical, a son of missionaries who left the comfort of their own country to go to a foreign culture, and who was raised as an indigenous person within the new ethnic community I can appreciate the sacrifice to leave and to embrace a new people and language.  My parents assimilated so that I could identify with the culture in which they ministered.  Unlike other missionary families who sent their children away to mission schools, my family for financial and practical reasons could not do so, and nor did they want their children raised in a mission school.  It was against their beliefs of what missionary families should be doing in living with and serving the people and community. In that process my father and mother made the decision to deny me and my siblings our own own heritage, culture and language for the sake of the indigenous community.  I became more fully aware of what we sacrificed when we left France for Canada, and left French Canada (Quebec) for Ontario. When I learned at age 10 that I was born a Brit and I was not French, it sent my whole world into a tailspin. Just before entering my teens I was conflicted with identity issues, belonging and community. It has take me decades to get over that. So I get it. I understand it. I understand very well the issue of context in bringing the Gospel of Christ to another culture and the sacrifice that it is to those who forsake their own cultural and ethnic identity to love and serve another cultural community.

I was immersed as an outsider into a Roman Catholic subculture within a rising secular awakening in Quebec

silence-scorsese-movie-trailer-images-61-600x249Roman Catholicism still mystifies me and I  view it with suspicion.  In fact, in the past I viewed it with scorn and hostility. Being Protestant and Northern Irish, I have my own ethnic baggage and historical reasons for being skeptical about Roman Catholicism and what I viewed with great scorn as a pseudo-faith expression of Christianity. The use of what I viewed as graven images in worship as a form of idolatry, the rites and rituals done in Latin, and the power of celibate clergy, and the influence of the See of Rome on Catholics the world over, all this and more just reinforced my distain and suspicion of all things and all people who adhered to the Catholic Confession of faith.  I only let most of that go after getting to know and befriending Catholics and discovering their deep devotion to Christ and to the Gospel. But that took time and engagement at all kinds of levels, including theological discourse and exploration of church history and the context in which the Christian faith evolved in the West. It took my personal investment, holding back my own historical biases and hostilities, in order for me to better understand.

In watching Silence, I also came to understand these same issues through the lens of the Japanese people and culture

2016_12_10_18_00_21_silence_official_trailer_1_2017_andrew_garfield_movie_youtubeI can well appreciate not only the Japanese culture but very much so the peoples’ hesitation, hostility and rejection of Christianity for it was parcelled together with the European empires and their conquest of “pagan” countries. The empires sent out the missionaries first, and then the soldiers and traders and commerce came after to finish off the conquest.

I understand suffering as we experienced it in varied forms

silence-1024x397I grew up as a kid of Protestant missionaries to predominantly Catholic communities in France and Quebec, my family suffered for doing so.  In both France and Quebec in the 1960’s it was cultural suicide to convert from Roman Catholicism to Protestant faith.  It was viewed as an act of treason to God and to your ethnic cultural community.  In the most secularized parts of France and Quebec, your faith was reduced to something practiced in private.  As long as it was private, it did not offend the status quo.

When families converted, they were ostracized by their community

silence_2016_filmThey could not even buy goods and services from certain merchants. When one family had all converted, all nine people were getting baptized at the church on a Sunday evening, the Roman Catholic priest led the people of the community to the home of the family and burned it to the ground. The mayor and city hall did nothing to prosecute the perpetrators. This was in 1964. In 1967 a family converted in Drummondville, Quebec, and their kids were kicked out of school and were forced to go to a Protestant school because they had recanted from the Catholic faith. The family was ostracized from their community and completely disenfranchised, all because of converting to a Protestant expression of faith. I understand what this does to families and children within those families.  To this very day, I know some of those children as adults who have become French separatists and are strongly “anti-English” and yet it was their own community that ostracized them and kicked them out. This is the fallout when communities view those who are different as a threat.

Silence as a film as well as the book challenges us to examine our faith and how it is expressed in our lives and in our culture

silence-1Is our faith a threat to the status quo in the larger context of our society? If not why not? If so, how so? Are any of us fit to judge another who has been persecuted for their faith, and has been viewed as an apostate? Are we fit to be critical or judgmental of those who believe differently than we do?  Are we fit to castigate and discard and ostracize those who do not believe or practice their Christian faith as we do? What of our common humanity? What of the core DNA of our Christian belief expressed through the love and service to another? I have personally experienced more of the love of Christ from people whom my more “orthodox Evangelical friends” would totally write off as being either “unsaved” or “not orthodox” than I have from the rigid and dogmatically inclined “Christian exclusivists.”  Perhaps this is why to me, Silence is a timely film.  Our faith and understanding of our Christian faith, evolves within a historical framework and context.  Some of our beliefs evolve with time and get retuned or finely tuned as it is lived out in community and service. I have learned this truth that continues to wield chaos and upheaval in my life, and it is the agent of ongoing change and transformation.  God is not as concerned with theological precision and accuracy and purity as we think He is.  Those categories have been created by men as a means of conveying our understanding of God and His dealings with humanity.

3a2728afc3ab84f83c7fbe09b95705feGod is concerned with the heart and what we do for others in His name and love and service to others, alleviating suffering with compassionate care and humility and dignity. Suffering in silence and being silent in our serving does not deny our faith. Our actions toward others and how we do so, only serve to confirm the true nature of our God transformed hearts and minds.  What looks like apostasy to some, may only be a means and a door for the greater good, the deeper love, to manifest and bless another life.

As I said, Silence is a great film. It is now my new favourite Scorcese film.

Peace & grace.

~ Samuel M. Buick

LINKS

Silence is beautiful, unsettling, and one of the finest religious movies ever made

Silence (novel)

Silence (film 2016)

Andrew Garfield (actor)

Adam Driver (actor)

Ciarán Hinds (actor)

Liam Neeson (actor)

Tadanobu Asano

 

Posted in Film Review, History, Kingdom of God, Missional, Mystical, Personal, Society, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment