What Are You Worth?

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by Alex Petric

Midterms are a pain. Finals are even worse. You prepare and study and try to get enough sleep so that you’re (more or less) functioning during the exam, and then a third or more of your mark is decided in a few hours in a room. A lot is required, but if you make the effort, you can be rewarded for your work.

I often find that it’s when I’m focused and studying for an exam that I learn the most, and, sometimes, I enjoy the process and find joy in the same material that once put me to sleep. I find there’s something rewarding about learning, and in a wider scope, growing and maturing. Religion often focuses on developing oneself into the best person one can be. There’s always more to learn about the universe, God, oneself, relationships, etc., and the choice to grow is ours.

An interesting parallel among many religions is the notion that our material possessions ultimately have little value. When we die, we cannot take anything with us except ourselves, and so it is pointless, in the end, to have many possessions. What really matters is who we are, and who we are becoming.

On the other hand, our society usually tells us the opposite. Once we finish post-secondary education, that’s usually enough in the eyes of other people. If you want, you can go further academically or physically, travel more, develop spiritually, and grow in many other ways, but as long as you can get a job, you don’t need to. Anything above the status quo is considered a good thing, but not something anyone is really pushed towards. What’s often the focus of society is what we have. Do you have a nice car? A nice house? A big television? An iPod? An iPad? …. an iLife?

It’s a bit of a divergence from our religious principle. While society tells us to be content with who we are but not with what we have, religions tell us to be content with what we have but not with who we are.

Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating you sell everything you own and go live in the forest and seek God there, or that you eschew medicine and technology and indoor plumbing to avoid being vain, but I think the contrast between these general ideas is worth some reflection.

Pick Me

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by JC Girard

I cannot focus; I have trouble following through; I am a hypocrite; I am a sinner; I make mistakes; I fall down; I am human; I am perfect for the job. I may be more flawed than most students my age – and yet, the Lord calls on me to do His work. The fact that I am so inadequate to do anything for my Lord, makes me ideal for the calling!

I am not saying I am bad person; nor am I saying that I sin knowing that what I plan to do or say is wrong (although sometimes I do fall into that trap). What I mean is that because these things come to mind and worry me, I am on the right path – or so I’m told. I always question my abilities and talents and wonder why I lack so much “specialness.” Although I am energetic and usually known for my optimism, there is a side of me that many people fail to see or never try to understand. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that me and God know I’m imperfect and yet, he sends me on these missions. I love and hate the missions all at the same time.

Sometimes I feel like a girl scout with an empty back-pack. God has sent me on this mission deep in the jungle and I have no rope, no food, no knife, definitely no map, no rain gear, no extra underwear, and no chocolate chip-mint cookies!! I need to go through this forest and make my own tracks so that I can lead someone else in the safe direction… maybe. I’m not really sure. I mean, that’s part of my imperfection, I never really know when I’m doing the right thing. Maybe that’s what makes me so great for the mission! I’m just like every other lost soul – except I know the possibilities. Maybe the weak can carry the strong. Maybe I can relate better to all those who have become lost simply because I am lost as well. Maybe we can work on it together and find a way to Salvation. Maybe… maybe… maybe… And that’s why I am not only called, I am begging to be picked. I want to serve. I want to share my mistakes with others and consol them when they make the same mistakes.

A lot of the time I question if God even knows what He’s doing… And then I remember: He wants me to ask that question – that’s my job – which means I must be doing the right thing. So dear Lord, pick me. I’m so inadequate that I’m adequate for the job.

The Forecast Fallacy

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by Matt Visser

Ever before God created us, He knew who we would be, who we would become, and everything we would do. Many people find this concept hard to connect to the belief also held by Christians, that we have free will. People will ask “if God already knows what we will do, then how is it our choice?”, but God’s knowing our choice, before we make it, does not change the significance that we have, in fact, made that choice. God has given us free will, just like when Adam and Eve had a choice, whether to eat from the tree or not to. They made the choice themselves, God did not choose for them to disobey His will, but they did anyways. Though God does not want us to sin, He gave us the choice, and free will to do so. For this reason, humans are not puppets, but are beings who make conscious decisions every day. Many people will continue to hold their belief that  people don’t have free will, because God does know, what they will do. This is not the case, if a person had the ability to see into the future, then their knowledge of the future would not take away anyone else’ free will, it would merely allow them to know what the person would do, before they did it.

Our free will is very real, and we have to make choices every day. Though God could control us, He doesn’t; God’s power is limitless, God could control us all, or He could make everything go away in an instant. God’s power is unfathomable and we can never fully understand it, but we do know this: God has given us free will, we have the choice to do a good thing or a bad thing, or to help someone or not to, we have been given choices and face them every day.

Enjoy Life

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by Nabila Sharieff

Ah finally!! My last midterm was on Saturday and with the assignments completed, the quizzes done and the homework finally finished, I grabbed my friend and together, we went off on a shopping spree to Devonshire Mall. The place was soaked with sales and the trip was a mega success. As we neared home, the sight of the Ambassador Bridge glistening amidst the twilight sky took me by surprise and I sat there thinking, “How come I’ve never noticed the utter beauty of this bridge?”

A lot of my friends say that Windsor is a small city with almost nothing to do. But, I’d bet they hardly visit the riverside. And the ones that do, go there for a run or a walk but never for the serenity of the place.

In the hustle-bustle of the world, we hardly notice the things around us, and how wonderful they are. That short walk from the bus stop to my house was silent. My friend and I, our hands full with shopping bags, and our cameras filled with new memories, walked in utter silence observing the magnificence of the bridge, which looked spectacular against the sunset. Poetic lines flooded my head as the breeze blew through our hair, and the sun sunk into the waters and yellow headlights from the rushing cars filled the streets. Well, this happened for a short time before the engineering part of my brain took over and I started examining the trusses of the bridge. LOL!

Never mind that. But I’d like to ask: how many of you notice that lovely garden you drive past every morning to get to work? And how many of you have thought of those artistic sculptures next to the building where you have classes?

Life is short. We must learn to appreciate the beauty of things around us. We complain that we are bored, or that life is filled with problems. But, give mother nature a chance and she will soothe all your wounds, heal all your pain and paint your life with beauty and joy.

Ciao for now my friends!

Enjoy life while you can!

Unredeemed

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Song Lyrics by Selah

Post by Boile Malunga

A song by Selah called UNREDEEMED captures words that are very true and comforting. The lyrics go like:

 

The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years
Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle the father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years
Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle the father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed
Whatever situation you may be going through currently just surrender to the Lord and break at His feet with the hope that nothing shattered will not be left in that state. Grace falls much more abundantly were sin abounds but this is not our excuse to sin. Let us ever press for the upward mark.

Wishful Thinking

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by Alex Petric

Oftentimes, when I watch movies from the 1960’s or read about those years, they come across as a very optimistic time. It’s understandable, as America was still booming in the aftermath of World War II, and research was yielding advancements in technology some had never dreamed of. The possibilities seemed endless. Understandably, people would be very hopeful about the future.

It’s a bit of a contrast to today, where we hear daily about the threats of global warming, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the political unrest seen recently in the Occupy and Tea Party Movements. Do we still have hope for tomorrow?

Hope was a bit of a puzzle for me when I was growing up. Going to a Catholic school, I was taught that there were four cardinal virtues — prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance — which any person could achieve with practice, and three cardinal virtues — faith, hope, and love — which could only be attained with God’s help. Faith is clearly related to one’s relationship with God. Love is an entire blog post in itself. But as for hope, I was never sure how it depended on God.

Over the years, I’ve given much thought to this. Hope can be defined as “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” When we desire some event, though, are we not in some way placing the outcome in God’s hands and wishing for the result we want? When we hope, we, perhaps unconsciously, assume that someone is taking care of us from above and that things could work out, even against many odds.

Essentially, if there is no God, then what is the point of hoping for an outcome? No matter how deeply we want something to happen, the end result will be the same as it would be if we had no hope. It is only when we assume the existence of a being greater than ourselves that we are able to actually appeal to it.

“We Come from a Common Source”

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On November 14, 2011, about two dozen students gathered in the newly dedicated multi-faith space to pray for peace and tolerance.  This short video provides some of the images from the evening.