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.
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  • 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

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