Sunday, November 27, 2011

Modern Day Good Samaritan

The words of the Lord Ben Chung:

And it came to pass, that the Lord Ben Chung was questioned and loathed by many many Prairians: some are strong supporters, while others are the silent prayer warriors.   They sent forth an Accuser to see whether the Lord Ben Chung would incite a riot and thus lose his mind.   The Accuser came forward and asked, "Doctor, I know thou art trained at the Prairie High School, and hast been for so many many years an eager supporter and even awarded as a Board member, why wouldest thou give all that up and trust in the words of unreliable online gossip by a particular sinner named Linda Fossen?" The Accuser furthered, "Doctor, you have a great family life and esteemed respect from both our community and yours, why ruin it at the hands of our despised sister Cathy?"
To which the Lord Ben Chung answered, "Is it not right to do justice and believe a day shalt come where the light of justice and mercy shall open the eyes of many many Prairians and hold them in such esteemed, loving positions?" Then Accuser became agitated, and furthered, "But Oh Lord, thou hast made some damaging remarks on our esteemed PBI, and its followers, and hast been known as an agitator, wouldest thou not repent and seek the blessings of our Fr. Mark, our school's Abbot?" 
The Lord Ben Chung sighed deeply, and answered, "My son, I love thee, for thou art mine, but there are many many silent child[ren] crying out in the dark for help, and their tears, I have seen and felt. Art thou not supposed to walk in the love, mercy and justice before thy Lord Ben Chung? Wherefore art thou oh Abbot Maxwell, and thy humility for the poor, and beaten neighbours? Is it not the commandment to love thy neighbour almost as thyself?" The Accuser, to justify himself, ejected immediately, "But Lord, there are no neighbours here, they are all in the hiding." 
The Lord held forth his hand and blessed him and said unto him, "My son, there was a certain child, who was sent to live in the blessed and hot Ivory Coast, and her folks most eagerly gave her up to a small Mission school called Mamou Christian Academy. This child of mine, the beautiful apple of thy Lord's eye, was mercilessly assaulted, beaten and laid on the ground by the bandits of St Johns group. They took her belongings and her sense of  worth, and her Most High GOD, and as she laid there, crying and asking for help, lo behold, a certain group of Prairie bible teachers came through, but because of their busy schedule to teach the Holy Bible and recruit more missionaries, they ignored her plea, and went on their way, and then passed the career missionaries, and they as a group also were too busy hiking and trying to find money in order to support their causes.   They, too, ignored her plea and went on their blessed way.  And lo behold, a dejected Navaho, the one who was left from their massive genocide that which was committed in the name of our Loving Christ, he took pity on her and clothed her with the love of his tribe, bestowed upon her with the same sufferings he endured at the hands of these missions and missionaries of their cultural genocide, took her and put proper medicine in her mouth and send her on her way in peace.  Now my Child is strengthened, realized that she too is a child of the blessed God, and she too as a true human, thus she is able to speak for the first time."
The Lord Ben Chung then ask the Accuser, "Doest thou see here, or should I use the words of another agitator named Ishu, for he taught, "They shall see but not see, hear but not hear, lest they see and believe such a damsel as Carmen Wesley, or Mrs. Lioness with her book written in blood and tears, and hear the pleas of one who was beaten savagely and daily with a rebar, and the angry swearing of our John Doe, and so they would turn and be accounted for." To this the Accuser sighed deeply and left, for he has many commitment to evangelize the whole world.

For the mouth of the Lord Ben Chung has spoken.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

For the love of God Part II

  1. Bill
    2:28 PM
    To Benjamin – First and foremost I must tell you how sorry I am that you feel that way. The problem with Jon Ohlhauser must have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back as far as your faith was concerned. The issue you have with the God of the Christian faith is not new and many have abandoned the faith because of the apparent evil in this world. For the Christian,however,God is not some distant creator or impersonable “Ground of Being” but a loving Father who hurts with us and who enters our pain through Christ on the cross; Jesus endured suffering beyond comprehension. When we comprehend his suffering, it put the problem of evil in a different perspective. The problem is not how can God justify himself to us rather the problem is how can we be justified before God. Even though we might not fully understand the problem of evil, ultimately God is the only solution to the problem of evil. If God does not exist we would be locked in a world of pain and unredeemed suffering. He redeems us from evil and invites us into a fellowship with him.
  2. Benjamin Chung
    3:12 PM
    I must take the time to thank Bill and Donna. It is evident these are people with integrity and sincerely believe in an Evangelical God/god. I am trained the same way, and the answers you have given here, are the ones I am familiar with, with one different note, it is no longer intellectually tenable anymore for me. What I would say is that, we thank god/God for good people with integrity, but we each must be responsible and courageous enough to stand in the face of evil, such as child/wife abuses that people suffered through at this place, or have the courage enough to say, enough with this, God/god or no god. Do the right thing by facing up to a suffering humanity, and do so with such grace and dignity that people out of your faith will wonder what type of a god you worship. So far, with the rescue of Prairie, there is a lot to be done, but the answers that I see comes from a community of people not in a belief in a God/god. That is irrelevant to me. The god talk no longer has any significance, but the love for the earth, animals, and the people whom we live with as neighbours. And if the belief in a personal god causes one to be abused as a child, I see that belief negated, and should be thrown out, as the words of Jesus, by their fruits you shalt know them. These are the fruits of bitterness, I am not sure the tree is worthwhile saving. For me, this fundamentalist approach is nothing other than an anachronistic way of life in the face of modernity. God/god, I hope will transcend all this and survive, not in the memory of the past, but as the scriptures says, he is not God of the dead, but of the living. The sacred words of Scriptures are dead to the dead, but the spirit is alive and brings life. In this mystery I still profess, but I no longer believe in this Evangelical God of Prairie. I see the inactivities of God but I seek no more of his personal side so many of you profess. But as I said before, I place my faith in the human relations and communities, and in the earth and the animals we share this place with. The evangelical zeal has died with me, but a new form to appreciate others has been reborn, of gays, sinners, and molesters. While the last ones should be put away, but the first two categories are fine with me as they were with Jesus.

For the love of God

Hi Linda:

We have never met but my time at Prairie was idealized during 1984=1985 with the High School.  Beyond my years at Prairie we continue to support the school financially until I was asked to be on the Board by Ohlhauser in 2003, which I joined the Board and quit in 2005 after the General Ed was closed.  Your letters to the past and present president of Prairie are carefully read and appreciated and although I have no such experiences  with Prairie, I thought the best is to continue to encourage you and be brave enough to do the right thing.  Bringing things to light and to allow these people to have a voice, it is not with intentionto destroy an institution such as Prairie, but rather as you have said, to allow victims to speak and to get closure.
I must say that after the Board experience, it too was deeply troubling and traumatizing because working with Ohlhauser was no more conducive than what you are trying to do with Ted Rendall.  Almost all fundamentalists have a trait of dead hard hearts to science or truths.  All they want to hear, in my opinion, is their voice.  Drowning out others, silencing others, and most all, ignoring is a trait.  Ohlhuaser did it to many others, and he is a prime example for me to finally quit the school thing altogether, no longer give money to this school.  My ideas about God has undergone tremendous evolution, and if you read the Calgaryswerve about my respsonses, it would not to an understatement.
Past victims such as your group, and many others, I do seriously wonder where is this 'god' of love  when all these atrocities were carried out and covered up.  All this done in his name, and god has not responded.  I think I understand why many left after abuses they suffered in the belief that God/god is love.  I think I am better off putting my trust in a human community.  This is where we all belong, and into this community we each play a role and finally, if there is a God (must it be so?), it is about the human relations we each cherish.  God for me transcends all these, and is in capable to deal with such until we take the helm and boldly go with our inner guiding light.
Thanks once again, and save another child, prevent this from occurring to anyone we know.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Face up to our humanity

what I would add is that our institutionalised churches face a greater challenge, as this society in the North America. Our society functions and operates with 'greed' as the underlying operating principle. Unchecked Capitalism, with unchecked self interest and greed, that is a combination for disaster. Consumerism has crept into churches for sometimes now, and they cannot shake this off, for the fear of the lesser income (see the Faith Blog on the last taboo). When Jesus mentions economic activities, he rebukes more often than he affirms, Perhaps he also has grown uncomfortable about the future he sees in the churches. That is why the irony of it all, is that at the end, itis not about profession of faith (quite a heresy here!), but about what you do with it, not about eternally secured salvation but exactly what you have done with your faith. Maybe Calvin is dead wrong about this. It is about feeding the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. Maybe we got this all wrong. It is not about trying to achieve a personalistic salvation only, at the cost of society or others, but to disregard one's own theology, critically reflect on the fact that our own deity is insufficient to meet our daily needs, unable to stop the perpetrators and abusers, and we have to affirm our humanity by taking things into our own it was said by the Internationale of the socialists, there are never deities that save us, we must save ourselves.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Mark of Beast


Name Mark Francisco
Title Lead Pastor
Bio Hi, my name is Mark Francisco. I am happily married to my wife Diane and in our over 30 years of marriage we have been blessed with 4 great kids. Our children have been equally blessed, as they are either married or soon to be married. My family and I have been living in Coquitlam for over ten years.

Prior to CAC I pastored in Alliance churches in Sherwood Park and St. Albert, Alberta. I have a Bachelors degree from Brandon University in Manitoba, and a Masters from the Canadian Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate from Bethel Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. I have also been chaplain for the RCMP, the Simon Fraser University Football Team and served on numerous boards. After personally experiencing Rabbinic training, my passion for training Biblical leaders inspired co-founding Fifth Gospel Encounters; a ministry that connects western Christians to our Jewish roots through Rabbinic teaching at ancient sites in Israel. The response to these trips has been amazing in terms of personal and professional development in those who come with us.
My responsibility as Lead Pastor at CAC includes establishing and implementing the mission and vision of our church. As the primary speaker, I lead this church in a team approach with our elders and staff. Prayer, raising up new leaders, and working with the elders and staff is my focus. My primary concern is balancing the outreach and spiritual growth of those God places near us and expanding our kingdom vision for our church community both locally and internationally.
My personal interests revolve around my wife Diane, my kids, some great friends, my life-long passion for sports and working alongside my dedicated Church staff. I also really enjoy a good cup of coffee, great food, and living in BC.
« Go Back
  • Benjamin Chung I would also add "the Mark of Beast" from Revelation I had during the years 2003-2004, the time of great tribulation.
    Yesterday at 7:39am ·
  • Becky Scott I don't understand your comment, but that's ok.
    Yesterday at 10:06am ·
  • Benjamin Chung well, here is the scoop. Mark was the henchman (sp?) for our Ohlhauser, and an Alliance boy. They are different from us. He has been known to carry an attitude, like not just "Better than Thou" but also "Hollier than Thou." He was instrumental to dismiss people and to make them feel small. In reality, he is just a Kings Jester, a Joke. I called him mistakenly when Charlotte Kinvigg was being removal by a scheme, (The Grand Ohlhuaser told her to work as a Chair for Maxwell Center, and proceeded to reduce and removal her role), I called Mark after received a letter in distress from her, and I got this cold, calculated response from Mark, and he perhaps called Ohlhauser thereafter informing him this letter, which he also received. Charlotted was the sacrificial lamb, duped into Ohlhuaser's scheme, so they could shut down the Grad school in orderly fashion, and removed all its endowment for college use without informing the donor. Maxwell Center (Grad school) was reduced to Maxwell Chair (undergrad), all because of Grand Ohlhauser, and Mark to me is the beast.......literally. So in the tradition of the fundamentalist teaching, I cited Christian sacred text to back up my claim: Mark is the Beast, who has received the mark of the beast, and it is recorded in the Book of Revelation, which I also had a revelation, and his time there during the Board of 2003-2004 was my traumatizing experience, so it is call the Great Tribulation, according to Christian Sacred Scriptures? Kap'eech? Uncle Ben
    Yesterday at 10:23am ·
  • Benjamin Chung and as Jesus of Mark, it is not for those outside of our circle to know this, this is for the insiders only. For those others, I would use only parables, for you it is to know the kingdom and its secrets. :)
    Yesterday at 10:27am ·
  • Becky Scott Ok, I hadn't gotten the connection to your link, hence my question. I don't know all the details (and don't want to), so I will miss things. If you want me to understand in the future, you'll have to explain :).
    Yesterday at 10:34am ·
  • Benjamin Chung You're the best, :)
    21 hours ago ·

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In responds to this article

Prairie - 17
The Prairie Bible Institute has fallen on hard times since the death of its charismatic founder, L.E. Maxwell. Enrolment is down, money is tight and the place is showing its age. Now Maxwell’s grandson—a money man, not a man of the cloth—is trying to lead the institute out of the darkness.
In his powerful tenor, the man at the pulpit speaks in clipped, staccato sentences, stretching the odd word to make his point. “All his loooong life, Moses was a man of faith.” As always, the preacher has command of the room. He tells of how Moses abandoned comfort and freedom to suffer with God’s people, leading them out of Egypt. By faith, Moses endured. “Never faded. Never faltered. Never failed. Never flinched. My oh my! God, give us a faith like that, that laughs at the impossibilities and cries, ‘It shall be done.’”
At times, the preacher almost sings his words. “Only faith can carry us through, only faith can carry us through.”
I press stop on the tape deck. I am at the Prairie Bible Institute (PBI) in Three Hills, a farm town (population 3,322) about 90 minutes northeast of Calgary. The preacher on the tape is L. E. Maxwell, PBI’s charismatic co-founder. At one time, Prairie was one of the biggest Bible schools in the world, a thriving outpost of American Christian fundamentalism that churned out thousands upon thousands of missionaries and pastors in its heyday.
Though I’d never heard L.E.’s voice before, I know this place well. For three years I lived on this campus, graduating in 2001 from Prairie High School, at the time part of PBI (the grade school is now separate). Much has changed in the decade since. The tabernacle, a dreary church that sat 4,000-plus and had straw for insulation against the biting winter winds, has been demolished. The dormitory where I lived, also stuffed with flammable insulation, is gone. In the middle of the campus stands a gleaming new $5-million building, plopped atop what I remember as open, green space.
There are more changes here, most of them invisible. Bible college enrolment has dwindled from 500 to fewer than 300 students, and PBI is recovering from bitter infighting that prompted an exodus of staff in recent years. In May, the school revealed that its savings accounts were empty, and it might not make its July payroll. This place has dirty laundry, says Mark Maxwell, Prairie’s president and L.E. Maxwell’s grandson. “Do we want to hang it out?” he wonders aloud. “Well, maybe that’s the only way to get it cleaned up.”
Mark, a 53-year-old financial analyst, uprooted his family and left behind a successful career to come here last year. In Toronto, he ran management companies with billions of dollars in assets. In many ways he’s an odd fit for PBI. “For me to imagine that I would have good answers for a Bible school is a fool’s paradise,” he says. “I don’t have the schooling, I don’t have the training, I don’t have the experience.” But God led him to Three Hills, he says, and so he followed.
He grabs a walking stick leaning against the bookcase in his office to illustrate his circumstance. In the Old Testament story, God, speaking through a burning bush, told Moses to throw down his staff. Moses did so, and it turned into a snake, a sign of God’s power. After Moses picked up the snake by the tail, it became a rod again. Moses then carried that staff into the courts of Pharaoh, through the Red Sea, across the desert. Some speculate that he passed it to his brother Aaron, whose staff budded inside the Ark of the Covenant. “God gave it life,” says Mark. “It wasn’t anything to do with Moses. Which, of course, was the point.” He likens PBI’s recent struggles to that rod. “We have an amazing stick, and we’re still wrecking it. Why? Because we’re trying too hard. Our duty is not to wield the stick really well. Our duty is to give it to God.”

Leslie Earl Maxwell had no designs for a Bible college when he arrived in Three Hills by train in September 1922. A 27-year-old Kansan with coal-black hair, L.E. had been invited by J. Fergus Kirk, a Presbyterian homesteader. When he came to meet L.E. at the Three Hills train station, Kirk was dressed in greasy overalls (he’d been threshing a poor crop to little avail) and apologetic about his circumstance. Kirk had little to offer the American newcomer, just a class of eight farm kids and an abandoned farmhouse north of town.
As a boy in Kansas, L.E. had gone to a Sunday school class in which a hellfire preacher repeatedly threw herself on her face to illustrate sinners descending into eternal flame. The disturbing theatrics made a deep impression on L.E., but a devout aunt had a greater influence on his decision to commit his life to God. After serving in France toward the end of the First World War, L.E. enrolled at a tiny Kansas City school called the Midland Bible Institute.
Meanwhile, up in Three Hills, Kirk worried over the souls of local kids. He’d heard of the Midland Bible Institute’s founder, W.C. Stevens, and wrote asking for help. Liberal teaching is entering the church, Kirk warned in his letter. Can you send a Bible teacher our way? L.E. agreed to go join Kirk in the middle of nowhere.
L.E. quickly set the Prairies alight with his teaching and preaching. When he spoke, people listened, whether he was in a classroom or on the radio (in the 1930s, building on the success of William Aberhart’s Back to the Bible Hour, Calgary stations started broadcasting PBI services). “The Spirit of God was so evidently present in what he was saying that you just said, ‘Wow. Yeah,’” says L.E.’s son, Paul. “God was in him.” Alberta got swept up in Social Credit populism, which didn’t hurt either. From 1935 to 1971, Alberta was governed by three fundamentalist Christian premiers: Aberhart, Ernest Manning and Harry Strom, whose brother Clarence was a pastor at the Prairie tabernacle. In Western Canada, L.E. had found fertile soil for his gospel message.
In summers, L.E. travelled throughout North America, preaching and promoting the school. The first time Ruth Dearing heard L.E. preach, he was acting out the Genesis story of Jacob and Esau at a Bible camp in Washington State, speaking from one side of the pulpit for Jacob’s lines and jumping to the other side for Esau’s. Back and forth he hopped. “It was quite strange,” Dearing recalled in an interview she gave to PBI alumnus Don Richardson before her death. She came to Prairie and became one of the institute’s best teachers, preachers and administrators. Many more came because of L.E.’s passion, and enrolment shot up exponentially year after year. By 1940, PBI had 500 students. Fiercely isolationist, PBI refused to affiliate itself with any one denomination.
Prairie was always a shoestring operation, a world away from the moneyed mega-churches of today. In winter of the school’s first year, the families could barely afford a box of apples. But after a bumper crop the following summer, they gave $3,000 to missionaries. L.E. took to heart words from the gospel of Luke: “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again…” It became a motto for L.E.: hoping for nothing. “I was to commit myself to planned poverty from that day forward,” he later said.
Austerity was the norm at Prairie, a fact reflected to this day in the campus’s Spartan (and now deteriorating) architecture. After the Prairie families bought two lots at the edge of Three Hills in the mid-’20s, they gave time and supplies to erect a crude two-storey building covered in shiplap siding. Self-sacrifice was an expectation, and people at Prairie still reminisce about seeing L.E. shovel snow as if he was part of the maintenance crew. He got paid the same as a labourer, as staff weren’t paid salaries but stipends, an arrangement that lasted until the ’90s. “Economically, Prairie in its early days was pure socialism at its best,” says Tim Callaway, a pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church in Airdrie. Callaway grew up at Prairie and recently completed his doctoral thesis on the influence of American fundamentalism in PBI’s early years. “Everything went into a general pot and was divided up equally according to need,” he says. Prairie was largely self-sufficient, hauling its own water, raising its food and heating its buildings via a labyrinth of steam tunnels that is still in use. The school followed a strict no-debt policy.
While American religious fundamentalism is today associated with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the religious right, the young L.E. had no use for politics. Winning souls for Christ was of utmost importance. In 1929, when the governing United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) asked to use the Prairie tabernacle for a speech on economics by Aberhart (whose Social Credit movement would supplant the UFA), the school said no. The tabernacle was for the gospel, not politics. L.E. disliked how Aberhart let politics creep into his radio sermons. “Worldly,” he called it.
Not that L.E. was silent on the issues of the day. Starting in the late 1920s, PBI published a monthly, the Prairie Pastor, in which L.E. railed against modernism (“utterly destructive of faith in God’s Word”), higher education (“the devil’s wisdom”) and Bolshevism (“a direct working of the devil”). He regularly employed the language of war: “We need militancy in our faith before we shall get anywhere fighting the forces arrayed against us in these days.” In many ways L.E.’s movement was like a military institution, with dorms that resembled barracks and draconian social regulations separating men and women, forbidding them from even speaking to each other. “Let no intending student expect a ‘flowery bed of ease’ upon coming to this Institute,” he warned in the Prairie Pastor. “We are looking only for those students who will embrace a rugged-cross life and follow Christ fully in the face of a soft, godless, pleasure-loving generation.”
Today, it seems incomprehensible that more than a handful of teenagers would sign up for such a program. But the post-war boom of the 1940s shot the Bible-college population to 900, its all-time peak. Maclean’s writer James H. Grey mused in 1947 that in certain parts of India, Africa or China, Three Hills might be the best-known place in Canada thanks to its missionary output. He observed: “PBI is a sensationally uncollegiate college whose campus knows no dating, whose boarders know no jukeboxes, soda bars or movies, whose teachers draw no salary, and whose students go to bed at 10 o’clock and believe that the fish did swallow Jonah, just as it says in the Book.”

Paul Maxwell, the sixth of L.E.’s seven children, lives in a small white house a few blocks west of the only stoplight in Three Hills. When I ring his doorbell unannounced, he answers the door impeccably dressed: black shirt, dress pants, thin grey hair neatly combed back. He invites me into his kitchen and takes a seat between his Whirlpool stove and a desk piled with books and CDs.
When L.E. stepped down from the presidency in 1977, the PBI board was split on who should take over. L.E. backed Ted Rendall, a brilliant Scot who arrived at Prairie in the ’50s, studied at the Bible college and became PBI’s vice-president at age 27. Then there was Paul, who served as a missionary in South America before returning to PBI to teach. “I had one more vote than [Rendall],” Paul says. “They wanted his brains and experience, and they wanted my personality and name.”
L.E. had been all Prairie, all the time. He disliked administrative duties and had no head for finances, so he left that to others (he didn’t become PBI’s president until 1965), focusing on teaching and preaching. By the time Paul took over from his dad, the administration had shifted from a committee model to more of a chain of command, making the president more like a CEO. “Daddy said to me—not disparagingly—he said, ‘Paul, I’m afraid it may kill you,’” Paul recalls. “And he was right.” Paul’s health deteriorated from the demands of the job. Leaving the presidency in 1986, Paul spent a few years in Arizona and California to recover, and Rendall took over. Under Rendall, PBI launched a graduate school (it lasted 15 years before closing in 2003) and an aviation school to train pilots for mission work, but enrolment continued to dwindle. “In other words, Ted is brilliant, but none of us are my dad,” says Paul.
Prairie’s next president, Paul Ferris, a Hebrew scholar from South Carolina, steered PBI toward the liberal arts in the ’90s, a shift that riled Prairie lifers who remembered L.E. denouncing philosophy as “foolosophy.” The old guard was also upset when, after L.E.’s death in 1984, leaders in the ’80s and ’90s made cuts to parts of PBI that originally helped keep costs low (a staff grocery store, campus bakery, the Prairie farm) but were no longer economical. “No tree likes a pruner,” says Rosalie Garwood, who was on staff at Prairie for almost 20 years and is now retired in Red Deer. “It hurts.” But the cuts made good sense, she says. “Prairie needed to change.”
Opinionated alumni and donors have long scolded PBI leaders for deviating even slightly from the status quo. Even L.E. got flak. After spending 19 years as a missionary in Japan, a Prairie grad named Marvin L. Fieldhouse returned to PBI, disliked what he saw and wrote a fiery undated pamphlet titled “Whither Bound” (described on its stark black cover as “a shocking analysis of current trends at Prairie Bible Institute”). Inside, he recalled seeing Ernest Manning, then Alberta’s premier, on the platform at PBI’s 40th anniversary in 1962, a scene that would have been incomprehensible in the institute’s early days. L.E. had warmed to politics over the years and especially liked Manning, admiring that he kept his radio broadcasts free from politics (“a wiser man than Aberhart,” he once wrote). Fieldhouse was nevertheless incensed. “I honestly wanted to vomit right where I sat in the tabernacle,” he wrote.
L.E. got sheaves of letters from similarly disgruntled American fundamentalists. A Minneapolis woman who’d heard that her niece was using hair rollers at Prairie wrote in 1966, “No wonder that in the picture which she sent home that she looked so worldly—much more so than when she left home. What is happening to your standards up there anyway??” Other letters carried a more menacing tone. After a PBI quartet visited his church in 1977, Pastor George C. Bergland of Le Roy, Minnesota wrote saying he was distressed by the singers’ appearance. “For example, last night, some of the young fellows badly needed a haircut. One of them had a moustache.” Bergland was further offended by “pictures of girls in slacks playing tennis” in a PBI publication. Then came his threat: “I am writing to say that if the trend towards worldly dress and haircuts continues I am sure that it won’t be long before our support will be discontinued. I am sure that the same will be true of many fundamental churches.”
L.E. responded generously even to the kooks. To Bergland, he wrote, “we appreciate folk who hold standards in this day—when the whole world has pretty well gone down the drain.” Yet he reminded his correspondent that “there are greater things that unite us” than moustaches and hairstyles. Still, change came slowly at PBI. L.E. himself resisted faculty efforts to relax rules forbidding male-female interaction, and TVs were forbidden in staff homes until the mid-’80s, after L.E. had died.
Always the question lingered: what would happen in the post-L.E. era? In his raging treatise, Fieldhouse weighed in on that as well: “Eternity will surely reveal that a good percentage of Brother Maxwell’s reputed Divine power was actually nothing but towering human magnetism—sparkling personality.”
Fieldhouse may have been over the top, but sure enough, PBI struggled to pin down its identity. Was Prairie a Bible college for would-be missionaries? A liberal arts college for academics? An aviation school? A grade school? A graduate school? All of the above? As L.E.’s successors wrestled with these questions while struggling to balance a changing culture with PBI’s infamous rigidity, they had no shortage of critics. “I’ve said to people that Maxwell’s personality and presence were such that I’m not sure that even Jesus himself, if he had been appointed, would have been received well by all,” says Callaway, the Airdrie pastor.

I meet Callaway at a Denny’s in northeast Calgary where we spend four hours reminiscing about PBI over toast and coffee. By the time I arrived at Prairie in 1998, the campus tabernacle, once packed to the rafters at annual missionary conferences, was never full and felt dead as a stump. But when Callaway was a kid, L.E. was still preaching. He remembers L.E. railing against communism and relaying a rumour about Pierre Trudeau, at the time about to become prime minister, rowing from Miami to Cuba to visit Fidel Castro. “The only thing I knew about communism was that they put Christians in jail, in work camps,” says Callaway. “Consequently, I’m sitting there in that big ol’ Prairie tabernacle as an 11-year-old kid, scared mmm-less”—that’s what he says, mmm-less—“listening to this. Good night, we’re all going to be in concentration camps by next Friday!” Callaway chuckles at the memory and adds, “It was no secret that you could not vote for Pierre Elliot Trudeau and be a good staff member at Prairie Bible Institute. And consequently, as a kid, I drank the Kool-Aid.”
Callaway and I share a lot of laughs, but not everyone who came out of PBI can do the same. “There were some bizarre things that were part and parcel of that world that have scarred people for life, just as is true of Catholicism or any kind of entity that impacts behaviour,” Callaway says. L.E. was obsessed with renouncing the self, what he called “the crucified life,” and some at Prairie felt beaten down by L.E.’s thundering proclamations against “soft” Christians who didn’t measure up. Some staff and parents took L.E.’s hardline approach too far, harshly enforcing rules and mercilessly berating wayward students. Life at PBI inflicted other wounds, too. One male staffer was fired after some kind of “sexual indiscretion” involving a female student. (The incident is cited in a master’s thesis by James Enns, a history professor at PBI who wrote on Prairie’s early years. “The exact nature of the offence was not indicated” in personnel files, he wrote.)
Callaway remembers being at school in Winnipeg in late 1978 when he heard about the Jonestown Massacre. As he reflected on his upbringing, he thought, “I can see how that happens. When a leader is never questioned and can essentially do no wrong? I understand that.” On campus, L.E. was almost a papal figure, speaking for God. Few dared question him publicly. Those who did often didn’t last long. Callaway describes in his thesis how some faculty in the ’50s wanted PBI to get academic accreditation so its programs could be recognized at other schools. “Those were the visionary types just saying, ‘We need to get with the times,’” Callaway says. “To make a long story short, it wasn’t long before they were sent down the road not necessarily rejoicing, if you know what I mean.” L.E. had no desire to accommodate worldly academic demands. “With the benefit of hindsight,” says Callaway, “there’s reason to say, ‘Was that wise? Was that good for the school?’”
When Jon Ohlhauser became PBI’s president in 2002, Prairie was still struggling to define its identity. Gone was the missionary era of yesteryear when students would flock to Bible colleges. In PBI’s post-war heyday (1946), 67 percent of Canadians attended a weekly religious service, according to Statistics Canada. That figure had plummeted to 20 percent by the time Ohlhauser arrived.
As one former Prairie staffer told me, Ohlhauser was basically given a pile of sand and told, “Here. Hold this.”

Highway 583, the dividing line between Prairie and the bulk of the town, cuts east-west through Three Hills, with a Super 8 at one end and a Kal Tire at the other. For many years, the road was a dividing line between “peebs” and “townies,” an invisible wall some in town refused to cross. “Prairie was Prairie, the town was the town, and never the twain shall meet, so to speak,” says Tim Shearlaw, the town’s mayor and owner of the local newspaper, the Three Hills Capital.
In the Ohlhauser era, that all changed.
Ohlhauser had been a vice-president at a Christian college in Ontario before arriving at PBI to replace Rick Down, whose life and presidency were cut short by cancer (he died in 2002 after three years on the job). “I had inherited an institution that was 85 years old, and it was more or less operating with the same mindset that it did when it was started in the 1920s,” says Ohlhauser. The faculty, however, had been drifting further toward the liberal arts, a direction many Christian post-secondary schools in Canada were taking.
Ohlhauser was wary of following the pack. He had a different idea. “No Bible college had said, ‘Let’s attempt to intersect faith with a technical education,’” says Ohlhauser. The board endorsed the plan, PBI partnered with Bow Valley College and SAIT, and, in 2006, the Prairie College of Applied Arts and Technology began offering programs such as nursing and early-childhood education.
For some, the new school represented an exciting opportunity. But others, especially longtime faculty, were wary of the new direction, feeling the Bible college was being neglected. A rift grew between faculty and administration. “It got very messy,” says Veronica Lewis, who arrived at PBI from Oregon as a college student in the mid-’80s and now runs the college library. The administration quashed the liberal-arts direction in the Bible college, alienating faculty who felt like they finally had a good thing going. “The messy part was that when people disagreed—yeah, they were fired,” says Lewis, recalling it as a “very painful time.”
Myron Penner was among those faced with an ultimatum. A Prairie kid who got his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the Bible college faculty shortly before Ohlhauser arrived. “[Students] were really engaging philosophical theology at a level I was impressed with,” says Penner, now an Anglican priest in Edmonton. Then came the “curveball” of Ohlhauser’s reforms. “I was given a package to teach which was not what I was hired to teach and I wasn’t qualified to teach, or I could take a severance package.” Penner was disappointed but not surprised by how it ended, saying the conflict affected his wife more deeply. “The whole thing was very emotionally traumatic for her. We had to just basically get out of town.”
Ohlhauser says he was carrying out the board’s instructions by asking staff to shift direction. The board hadn’t approved the liberal-arts drift, but had given the green light to the technical school. “Are you able to turn? If you are, let’s try it,” says Ohlhauser. “If you aren’t, this is where we’ve got to part company because the vision and the direction from the board is this way.”
The conflict didn’t end there. It got worse. One of Ohlhauser’s biggest challenges was Prairie’s sprawling footprint. The aging campus, built on the cheap, had fallen into disrepair over the years, and Ohlhauser had less and less tuition revenue to work with. (PBI had just under 500 college students when he started; that number would be cut in half by the end of his tenure in 2009.) “I was paying… in excess of $600,000 a year to operate the campus, because it was old, it was antiquated, it was energy inefficient,” Ohlhauser says. So when he caught wind of a few properties available in Drumheller, including a vacant Catholic school and an empty hospital building, he took the idea to the board, which asked him to do a cost-benefit analysis on a possible relocation.
When the news leaked out it ripped through town like a prairie fire on a windy day. “The next day I had horns and a tail,” says Ohlhauser. Many in Three Hills, including most PBI staff, were outraged. Uproot L.E.’s storied school and move it to a spot many locals call Helldrummer? No way. “It was an incredibly stupid idea,” says David Nadeau, a Prairie professor who also sits on town council, runs the local food bank, and writes for the Capital. The discontent spilled onto the newspaper’s editorial pages. “It would be unconscionable to move Prairie Bible Institute from Three Hills—like ripping part of the heart out of the community,” wrote Mary Roadhouse of Mission, B.C., who had family move to Three Hills in 1964 to “serve God at PBI.” She ended her letter with a loaded postscript: “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”
Shearlaw, who isn’t a churchgoer but considers PBI an invaluable business to the town, spearheaded a Friends of Prairie movement. “Stand up for what’s right,” he wrote in his weekly column. “Keep Prairie at home, in Three Hills.” Religion aside, losing PBI would deal a hard blow to housing prices and local businesses.
The tension culminated in an emotional meeting in the PBI dining hall on Sept. 23, 2009. Between 600 and 800 people showed up (it depends who you ask), including some who had never wanted anything to do with PBI. “There were many walls broken and bridges built,” says Nadeau, who later wrote in the Capital that attendees arrived with “history and hearts in hand, not calculators or viability studies prepared by consultants.” Tears flowed as people described what Prairie meant to them. Shearlaw (who hadn’t yet become mayor) handed members of the PBI board a petition of 1,200 signatures from locals who wanted Prairie to stay. “I got a standing ovation,” he recalls.
A few weeks later, the board quashed the Drumheller possibility and pushed Ohlhauser out the door. Ohlhauser says he doesn’t have any regrets about his time at PBI, but points out that he had the board’s backing to investigate the relocation. “I guess I would have appreciated it had the board stood up and said, ‘Look, folks of the community of Three Hills, Jon was doing what we told him to do. If you’re going to get upset with anybody, get upset with us.’” Ohlhauser is now leading an effort to start a new college in Drumheller.

It’s a chilly, overcast August morning. Mark Maxwell, recovering from knee surgery (skiing injury), hobbles to 8:30 chapel. The room is full of fresh young faces. Chapel opens with a video of Bible verses accompanied by a U2 song. “Take these hands, teach them what to carry,” Bono croons. In the back row, a couple of guys play Tetris on laptops. Prairie Bible Institute’s 89th school year has begun with 290 students, up from 250 last year.
The mood here is upbeat; the poisonous atmosphere that once hung over the campus has dissipated. Mark arrived in Three Hills last year to an “unhappy house,” as he puts it. He’d been chair of the PBI board during the recent tumult, and while some in Three Hills pin all of Prairie’s recent troubles on Ohlhauser, Mark believes the board didn’t provide good governance. “You can blame other people,” he says. “I think we’d rather just own it and say we messed up.” Prairie strayed, he says, by getting away from Bible-focused curriculum, and trying to do too much. “We believed too much in our own hubris, our own abilities, and suddenly we started offering things that were not on mission.”
Like his predecessors, Mark has made changes of his own. When he arrived, PBI had 125 full-time equivalent staff for about 250 students. Donations were being spent to cover payroll. “That’s just really, irritatingly bad business,” he says. Mark cut down to 75 staff and doubled up jobs. When it looked like Prairie might not survive last summer, he asked staff to sacrifice a month’s worth of pay, a request he believes infused people with a sense of urgency and ownership. Mark and his wife Elaine, who works in finance at PBI, took the hit like everybody else. For some staff who couldn’t afford to skip a paycheque, the Maxwells opened their wallet to help them through. But in the end, Prairie didn’t need the whole month’s worth of staff pay to survive. Enrolment for the fall looked promising and donations had tripled, from $1.1 million last year to $3.4 million. Staff call it a miracle.
On campus, people speak highly of Mark. He is by all accounts a demanding leader, but he’s made a point of being accessible. Visitors to his office step over a welcome mat and pass beneath screw holes where a “president’s office” sign once hung. “There’s no sense of fear,” says Lewis. “I’m not afraid of him, but I know that if he didn’t think I was doing something right, he would come over and tell me and make me fix it. But I don’t find myself intimidated by that. I find myself encouraged by that.”
People here keep saying PBI is going back to its roots. That’s the campus buzzword. L.E. always stressed the primacy of Bible study, and the school has introduced more Bible content, integrating it with the technical programs. PBI’s current motto is also a throwback to the past: “To Know Christ and Make Him Known.” When Mark’s administration was trying to clarify its vision for the school, somebody found the phrase in a 1923 document L.E. had written. “That’s what we’re about, so we adopted it,” says Mark. “Why reinvent the wheel that works?”
It worked in the 1920s. But will it work nine decades later? Staff here seem to think so. “We’re getting people from small-town, evangelical, conservative homes and they want the values that Prairie has, because it’s a reflection of what they grew up with,” says Nadeau.
Mark points to the walking stick in his office, the analogy of Moses’ staff. Prairie’s future, he believes, is in God’s hands. “Let’s see what he wants to do with it. If he wants to give it life, good. If he wants to burn the stick, good. No worries.”

Here is my own response:

I have to say that, as a graduate of Prairie High School (class of 1985), and as a former Board member who served during the period 2003-2004 (during the release of General Education – Prairie High School), I would like set the record straight for my own sakes. I cared a lot about this place, and my high school, gave money and time until the High School was dead. As a first time board member, I did notice that many Board members were afraid to speak against the president’s recommendations, primarily, Ohlhauser had things only his way, and not many were able to speak up. We are given a list of ‘recommendations’ by Ohlhauser and the meetings were not about debating the direction of which the school should go, but to simply rubber stamp whatever that was placed before us. For example, the decision to cut off the high school was made before I even got there. I was trying to talk to Ohlhauser about it, but he murmured something about the direction and the vision of the school. In my experience, the Board rarely had the courage or the nerve to oppose such. Not many people are smart enough to see the result of their action. One particular member Mark Francisco, I think a CMA Pastor from Coquitlam, is particular difficult to speak to and haughty. He was probably remembered as someone who served as a extended arm of Ohlhauser to represent the Board. He did not seem to have a conscience or care about the people he was to serve under.
So when you mentioned that the Board should have been behind Ohlhauser, how could they? It was not something that came from the Board, I suspect, but rather a political move by Ohlhauser. He was so sure that he could quickly move this through the board, and I was surprise to see Mark Maxwell had the courage to stand up to this man. And furthermore, I was surprise that the entire town stood up and got rid of this man. Now that is courageous. As for me, I am not longer a supporter of Prairie, nor do I believe in a personal god that could have allowed such a man to ruin the lives of so many with lies and political moves. I am ashamed that god did not do anything about it. It was the community of these folks of the bible school people and the town people who felt their vital interests were offended, stood up and got rid of this none-sense.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jew'ish and Christian

What I did appreciate about Prairie, is the power of faith lived out in the simplest possible way, irregardless of money or other resources. This is the greatest power of faith. What Ohlhauser did was to dismantle that and instate modern consumerism in its place. This perversion, and the following of dismantling my high school, was the final blow to my Evangelical departure. This way is no more different than what other s do, and the sacred cow is dead. BUt I am still working out my biblical faith, as I read these more disturbing thought, one occurred to me, that as our founder had to do, he side stepped many many Mosaic laws, and taunted Jewish in public, which finally received his untimely death. I think what marks the differences , as mcuhas the EV people taught the completeness of the Bible, is that Jewish faith is a tribal narrow faith, focus on their own well being, and money, whereas Christian faith is a universal faith focuses on the welfare of all. Bey sidestepping and disregarding much of the Jewish sacred texts, and kosher practices, and laws where it is no longer relevant to modern society, Christian reading of the Bible is fianlly free from its initial prejudice and hate. This, you may find that if I share that with Becky, she will fall off her chair (literally)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Retranslate Samuel

聖經撒母耳記上十六章七至十三節新篇﹕唐英年與容永祺版 [網絡轉載]

by 沈旭暉 on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 11:28am

曾 蔭權叫范徐麗泰從容永祺面前經過,容永祺說:「中央也不揀選他。」容永祺對曾蔭權說:「你的候選人都在這裡嗎?」他回答說:「還有一個小的,但他弱智。」 容永祺對曾蔭權說:「你打發人去叫他來;他若不來,我們必不坐席。」曾蔭權就打發人去叫了他來。他面如死灰,雙目無神,口齒不清。中央說:「這就是他,你 起來膏他。」




耶 西叫亞比拿達從撒母耳面前經過、撒母耳說、耶和華也不揀選他。……撒母耳對耶西說、你的兒子都在這裡麼.他回答說、還有個小的、現在放羊.撒母耳對耶西 說、你打發人去叫他來、他若不來、我們必不坐席。耶西就打發人去叫了他來.他面色光紅、雙目清秀、容貌俊美.耶和華說、這就是他、你起來膏他。


轉 載自﹕!/notes/alan-lau/%E5%AE%B9%E6%B0%B8 %E7%A5%BA%E6%98%AF%E6%92%92%E6%AF%8D%E8%80%B3%E5%97%8E/10150289648138037

· · Share

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Jim Daly and Re-focus on the family

By Jim Daly:

My Take: Christianity not to blame for anti-gay bullying

Here I do find this comment very helpful to illustrate what I am thinking:

Chris Jones: you are a fool. I know the Bible says I am a fool, but the Bible is wrong. Open your eyes, realize that your religion is based on the dying wishes of the Roman empire that decided it didn't want to die so it assimilated the religions of a few desert shepherds that was growing in the area and turned it into the state religion so they could continue on into the future. Understand that the book you think is flawless is full of contradictions and fallacies. Understand that science has PROVEN beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt that the world is much older than 6,000-8,000 years and that God does not need to be involved in order for the universe to make sense. Religion is what man had in the dark days when he looked up at the world around him and didn't understand it. We understand it now. There is no need for your myths and legends. Your religion has done nothing but destroy the world and keep it in darkness. Give up so the rest of us can move on in peace.
October 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Re-Reading History: heroes of Old Prairie Bible Institute

I found this while googling about Ohlhauser.  This is how he treated these heores of Prairie.

and the admin. response was to ask them all to resign:

After all these years of 'hoping for nothing.  Maybe this god is dead, and does not respond to prayers.

here is what I put on their blog, asking for donations and money:
Benjamin Chung (Reply) on Friday 15, 2011
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Please accept my condolence. My Prairie and my prairie god died a long time ago. I tried back in 2003-2004 to help a bit when I was on the board. The more I think about this, the least I would give to religious causes. I was perhaps one of the few 14 that gave tot he school during the last ten years. I gave more than 10,000 and plus the board meetings that I paid without asking the reimbursement. Can you imaging why I would do such a stupid thing?? I have 5 kids now and I no longer think it is necessary to give to religious causes. I no longer do believe in a personal god that responds to prayers. Just look at you, you believe in a god that is wealthy, but it seems to me he cannot handle the money…..always he lacks something.
I now practice ‘corban method’ whatever you ask me to give, it is already ‘corban’ (dedicated to specific cause. That is, I now buy digital cameras. Nikon D1, D1H, and D1X. And more than 50 old Sony Mavicas. I love to take pictures of my children, and raise a family of five, with chickens, gardening, and driving biodiesel old trucks (made my own fuel). Would someone tell Nelson of my conversion to being a fool for christ, to me, the modern deist???

Monday, July 4, 2011

On James Dobson
Abortion, drugs, violence, and gangs are just a few of the problems frequently found in inner cities. With dashed hopes of a bright future, how do youth growing up in this environment even begin to break out of a downward spiral? Join us today to ... Click "Share" below to spread this message!

and my answer:

why not get rid of TV/video games and go back to nature? something like start a vegetable garden? eat less meat, use less products made by slavery process, avoid walmart slavery driven products, pay proper wages, and love others as ourselves? Mexicans driven out of their homes buy our agricultural policies, and they work like slaves, but without dignities, is this God honouring?? it is not about reading more of scriptures, but to lead a life worthy of it? stay with your mate, and less of other religious activities that require of your time and money? God is everywhere, not just in the church 4-walls. People are so much into bringing up properly their children, that they forgot to have a lot of them. It is not about money, it is about having alot of children as the Scriptures taught. Live a poor and humble life is not a sin! Maybe I might not be able to visit Paris, but heck, who cares, last time my uncle was there he was robbed in broad day light, and no one helped. If you spend the time with your children, every day, have chickens and a workable garden, rid of lawns, expensive vacations (get rid of this type of wastes, don't take a vacation that is based on others sufferings), reads less of the Bible, and do less of bible studies, and pray even less, but do honour God in all that you do, would that not be better than whatever religion or faiths you are trying to promote?? Is capitalism/free enterprise the only workable religion? Is trying to rid of gays and transgenedered people the enemy of our faith? They bothered no one. But in fighting them, more efforts and hatred are shown that drive all of them away from church. Is this what JESUS WOULD DO? OMG!! Last time I checked, he was known as a friend of sinners. He was not into getting rid of pharisees, prostitutes, and publicans (sorry, not republicans). Need I write anymore? Is there no common sense???

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On not paying religious tax.

Benjamin Chung August 9, 2010 at 1:37pm
On not paying religious tax.

Recently I talked with a good friend of mine who has not paid federal income tax for about ten years, and he does not believe in paying taxes that are not constitutional. So he is willing to go to jail on this note. I on the other hand pointed out to him the harm of paying religious tax. Let me elaborate: churches used to levy taxes on the general public when they asked for money to build church building, to help with training of clergy, or the poor. When the Catholic Church tried to tax the poor in order to build St Peter's Cathedral, the Germans rebelled and set off events that led to Reformation. Now I do see that Protestants have continued this tradition, when they began a humble denomination, they keep growing, and growing, soon this unchecked growth leads to taxation on the believers. One notable example recently is the church my sister used to attend. The church was renovating and began to ask for money, I think it was 7 million dollars, or more. My sister with her meager salary was unfairly taxed about 6 thousand dollars, so I asked her to back out of it. She unhappily did so, I was helping her with her mortgage. Religious tax in the form of excessive building projects, elaborate payment to clergy, or religious enterprises may not be biblical or constitutional. Jesus did not required his followers to pay this type of tax, and similar to the rights granted us by the Constitution here in this country, I make the appeal not to pay religious tax where it is illegal or un-constitution. Tithing is Jewish and I am not sure why Christians picked this item but ignored Kosher laws, or circumcision, or bigamy, etc.
I think if I hear another religious tax item, I might join the Christian Tea Party!

On Moral Absolutes

from my Facebook :

Here is the problem of absolutes, it is often used as a weapon to kill others who differed from the faithfuls throughout history, are the moral absolutes ten commandments? Where do you draw the line on one hand, every jot of the sacred text cannot be dismissed, all must be preserved and fulfilled, on the other, total transgressing laws as Jesus knew it, esp. when applied to the adulteress, he did not fulfill the Law which calls for death. What makes him to make such a seemingly mistaken call on the transgressor? He has a higher moral code, not often called for in the Sacred texts, more specifically found in the prophetic writings. But Mosaic laws cannot be dismissed, about sexual and moral conducts. No one ever followed these closely, it is not about dietary laws the St Paul struggled with, and about circumcision, it is about a moral code of conduct that must be absolutes and be kept closely which no one follows. The law does not call for forgiveness, Christ does, but his moral absolutes is not acceptable in the Jewish texts which is about an eye for an eye. So in re-interpreting the sacred texts, which is the moral absolute? Jesus, or Moses? or Saint Paul, because he strictly forbids women to have authority over man, and this moral teaching is based on his interpretation of Genesis, which calls for male dominance since God make man first. Is it purely cultural as some says, but who makes this judgment, you, me or the 21st century mores? Are women properties, or real person according the tenth commandment? They are equated to properties, and if not mistaken, in a society like that, they are properties, but can that be applied to modern society, should they be given rights to own properties, to vote, to speak in the churches? You will not find Christians to agree on this topic. So what I am trying to say, is what is the set of absolutes that we are taught since childhood, when under the examination of modern logic, found difficult or even absurd? I think moral absolutism is a bit shaky since no one can actually make a case so everyone agrees, about when to kill and when not to kill, and what motives we bring about to kill.
And the command not to kill, here you see where my problem is, with the genocide texts. Samuel commanded Saul to kill the entire village, children and animals. You revered these texts since it is the word of God. This command violates the laws of God about not to kill, but since God ordained the killing, I can understand to kill in a battle, soldiers die for things like that, but to take out innocent children and women, and animals? And for failure to follow this correctly Saul is to be replaced with another king, David, whose hands are so filled with blood that he was asked to to make a temple for God. So here is the absolute for not to kill, and life for life sort to speak, but when God says so, it is alright to side step these laws, it is not ok to kill your people, but Cananites, that is alright. It is then OK for God to kill as he sees fit, when by mistake a priest was struck down holding or touching the ark, and the fire from the earth consumed those who disagreed with Moses about his priesthood. The books of the bible is filled with blood, I am not certain you would want your innocent children to read about killings, genocides, incest, and adultery and the practice of using and degrading women as sex slaves (war spoil). I think if God tells you to kill your neighbour, or to go overseas and kill infidels or demonic muslims, where do you draw the line? Why? Can those biblical figures refuse to kill and lay down the arms? That would be Christian, but not Jewish.
As you can tell, not to kill has many situations, but it is the sacred command, we each struggle with. I think frail humans cannot and should not be the standard, perhaps absolutes resides with a God who always is w right, sometimes he shows mercy, other times he kills by tens of thousands (recent earthquakes, the Holocaust). Is this a blood thirsty deity? The duty is to relate this sacred text, with all the exceptions that I see, to relay that in a frail world, not to kill. The buddhists accepted this as their first command, refusing to eat meat because of the killing it implies. Is that Christian teaching? Or a war that kills innocent by stander by George Bush and his friends? Tens of thousands have died so far, and God has sanctioned it.

please see the link to the entire discussion!/?page=4&sk=messages&tid=1670133123999