Tuesday, 1 September 2015

You think you're going to heaven?

From discussing this topic with friends, I get the impression that most folks assume they'll go to heaven, or an equivalent of it, when they die. They give me reasons such as having done good works, not being totally wicked, that they were Christened at their church, or that they were born into a religion.

I've also been told by atheists that life is all there is and they'll simply stop existing. They believe this because they limit their knowledge to only the natural world. There is no room for the supernatural in their world view so they reject any evidence to the contrary, particularly of intelligent design.

I feel compelled to write a book named after the title of this post. From the point of view of the Bible, everybody is guilty of offending the pure holiness of God and will be punished. Christ came to our planet to live a perfect life and take our punishment on the cross. Those few who surrender to Christ and repent of their sinful ways will be with him whereas those who stubbornly refuse will spend the rest of eternity in hell.

I hope to address the various excuses people make for why God will let them into heaven. I also will address the anti-biblical notions on which they base their suppositions.

Likewise, I hope to address the atheist claim that there is no supernatural being who we will face at death. I'll point out that limiting their understanding of the evidence of intelligent design to only the actions of natural forces is illogical.

And what of other belief systems? I hope to address those as well. Many folks assume that all religions lead to God. That's impossible since each one has contradictory beliefs.

As for the date of publication, it depends on how much work I can get done and how my computers behave. Self-publishing is expensive but I'm sure I can save enough to have my book edited and printed. Watch this space for updates.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

I NEED A HOLIDAY!

Did you know that my first blog post was in July of 2008? Did you also know that I've been blogging regularly since then? As in any activity, a break from it refreshes the soul of whoever practices it.

From 2008 until today, I've blogged for two reasons. One was to bypass editors and reach people with my views, The second reason, important to prove my diligence to Canada Pension Plan, was to promote my books.

Being able to publish one's musings without editorial censorship gives common folks such as myself a platform, small though it is. I've enjoyed being able to present my views to the public without some editor saying they won't print it. I can publish my writing instantly as well. There need be no waiting for somebody to approve what I've written first.

During the seven years I've been blogging, I tried not to blatantly flog my three memoirs. I've published excerpts from them but I've refrained from making wild claims or saying that people will miss out on the most fantastic writing the world has ever known if they don't buy them. I hate it when people play head games with me so I don't do it to others. Neither do I have gimmicks to lure in customers. What you see is what you get when it comes to my paperbacks.

I suppose some folks would say I was foolish for not using high pressure sales tactics. After all, they get results. But doing that also alienates people. I'm sure we've all bought something because a sales person kept saying how much it would help us. Often times, it doesn't do much for us at all.

Though I've tried my best to let my writing sell my books, sales have been dismal. Because of this, I wish to devote the summer to writing short fiction stories and enter them in contests. As of late, all my writing has been done to promote my memoirs. Not having to write and edit my posts will free up my time to create the scenarios which have been floating around in my mind. It might not look like it to some readers but I do make the effort to edit my posts and find links online when I need them.

So I hope all of you readers have a wonderful summer filled with fun, sun, and good times. I plan on using my laptop to write with and to enjoy the fine weather which we occasionally receive here in Alberta. I'll start posting again in September when the weather starts getting cold.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

FORTY-FIVE YEARS OUT OF JERICHO

Have you ever left some place and not realized you'd never return? It can be either a sad or happy memory, depending on how that place was for you. In my case, I wish I'd known I'd be leaving Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind for the final time.

On this day in 1970, my classmates and I felt jubilant that we'd finally be going home. Many of the boys in my dorm lived hundreds of miles away from Vancouver, British Columbia and were anxious to leave that wretched place.

We packed our suitcases and lugged them to the parking lot when the school bus arrived. Apart from some of my things falling out of a shopping bag on the bus, the trip to the airport was uneventful.

For the next two years, I dreaded being sent back to Jericho because some bureaucrat thought I wasn't adjusting well to public school. Labouring under this apprehension, I worked hard to get good grades and prayed often to be spared being exiled to Vancouver again.

When the two years had passed, I suddenly realized that I couldn't be sent back to Jericho. I was registered in high school and was living on my own. Had somebody tried to send me back, I think I'd have refused. Anyway, when I realized the fact that I'd never be sent to Jericho again, I danced a jig in my room. What a relief that was!

I did well enough in high school, though I never went to university. I had been burdened with homework and people told me University was even harder. Tuition also intimidated me since I lacked the money.

My work experience hasn't been noteworthy but I managed to stay off welfare for most of my life. I'm on disability now but I worked hard for my pension. Furthermore, I've written three memoirs and many freelance articles. Read more about my paperbacks at the Bruce Atchison's books page as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

THE PEBBLE-MINI: THREE YEARS AND IT STILL WORKS

I certainly am happy with my purchase of the Pebble-mini. This electronic magnifier is the best vision aid I've ever had. Never would I trade it for any other or go back to old fashioned optical magnifying glasses.

The reasons for my effusive praise for this device are many. First of all, it fits into my shirt pocket like a deck of cards. It also comes with a lanyard to prevent it from falling to the floor.

The Pebble-mini has few controls, making it easy to learn the functions and use them. The buttons are also large. Some electronic gadgets have such small buttons that it's easy to press two or more at once. Not so with the Pebble-mini. It has four function buttons, a scroll wheel, and a power button. Two keys are on the left side of the colour LCD screen and two are on the right hand side. Between the keys is a ridge to prevent confusion or accidental pressing of both keys.

I love the ability of the Pebble-mini to enlarge text and swap out the background colours to those best suited for your vision. It comes with seven colour combinations and three of them can be adjusted further if the defaults are unsuitable for you. Additionally, it can view photos in colour and grey scale. I've found that it helps me understand what's going on in a photo as well as to recognize people in it.

The snapshot function is so handy for when you're looking up a phone number. Instead of holding the magnifier over the phone book while dialing, you just take a freeze frame image. I've found that it saves strain on my back whenever I need to look up a phone number or type in a serial number into the computer when I'm installing software.

The Pebble-mini lets you copy images into the computer as well. That way, you can have a visual reminder of a phone number or capture a small image.

The Pebble-mini sure is light years better than what I had when I was in school. I didn't have a proper magnifying glass until I was seventeen years old. Before that, I used two week glasses held together. It also is far better than the magnifying lenses set into the frame of eye glasses which my parents had made for me.

The only downer about the Pebble-mini is that the battery doesn't last as long as I'd like it to. Other than that, it's a great vision aid to have when at restaurants or reading prescription bottles. A stand comes with the magnifier so reading books is easier. Check out the Enhanced Vision web page for more information on this excellent device.

Deliverance from Jericho shows how difficult it was for me to find a workable solution regarding reading regular print. Check out my paperback at the Bruce Atchison's books page.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

FIFTEEN YEARS OF QUIETUDE

What a blessing quietude is. Being able to sleep at night undisturbed by booming car stereos and flatulent vehicles is becoming a rarity these days. Thanks to the sovereignty of God, I have enjoyed peace in a rural setting for the past fifteen years.

I used to live in Edmonton, the capital city of the province of Alberta. The first twenty-three years weren't too bad but the last seven were miserable. Churlish people moved in next door so after almost three years of their noise, I moved. The condo was even worse so after eight months, I moved to an adult-only high rise. The suites were being converted to condos so there was always the noise of renovations going on. I moved nine months later to the main floor of a house and discovered that the neighbours were running a vehicle towing service out of their home. I endured their idling trucks and parties for almost three years before I moved again.

God providentially answered my prayers in June of 2000. I had received a large pay-out from the government because its clerks had been underpaid. A house in the hamlet of Radway was in the perfect location. As I prayed, it was on the outskirts of town with no close neighbours. At the time, there was a store, a drug store, and the Greyhound bus came through the hamlet daily. By the Lord's providence, everything fell into place.

Apart from those annoying magpies, I've lived in perfect quietude. Though the store and drugstore are gone, I now get rides on the Thorhild County bus with some seniors. The Greyhound bus doesn't come here anymore but I go with the New Horizons Seniors club and the seniors from Newbrook to shop in Londonderry Mall at least once a month. Transportation is still a big problem for me to obtain but I'd rather live out here than back in Edmonton.

Why do I feel this way? Living here is like being on a permanent writing retreat, minus the other writers of course. I can do my work without having my thoughts disturbed by some idiot who figures the entire neighbourhood needs to hear his favourite tunes. Being close to nature also inspires me. Even though the sewage lagoon sometimes stinks up the town when the wind blows from the southeast, I'd rather be here than in Edmonton with its exhaust and barbecue fumes.

I wrote at length about my move to the country in a book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. You can read more about it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

THE VALUE OF PERSISTANCE

I remember well the final two weeks of grade twelve. The mathematics course I took forty years ago drove me crazy. Even though it wasn't the most advance course, I couldn't comprehend how fractions could be multiplied and divided.

"Why can't you get it?" my math teacher would exclaim often when I turned in another test paper filled with mistakes. I didn't know the answer then but I now believe that I wasn't able to visualize what was going on in the equations he taught me.

One Wednesday evening, when a woman I call Sister Eileen drove me home from church, I poured out my complaint to her. "I'm so tempted to drop out of that course and try again in September," I finished.

"Don't drop out," she admonished as she parked in front of the house in which I rented a basement room. "You only have two weeks to go. If you quit now, you'll have to spend three months doing the same course over."

I pondered what she said as we sat in her car. It did make sense that I would have to work longer to get my high school diploma. On the other hand, the course felt like pure torture. How well I identified with Alice Cooper's "School's Out" hit record.

Another song which helped me plow through those final days was "Hold On" by John Lennon. I added my name into the lyrics and sang them to myself whenever I felt like I couldn't take one more humiliating day.

I'm glad I hung in there and finished the course. Though my mark was forty, the teacher felt sorry for me and added five more percent so I wouldn't get an F. Because I continued with that agonizing class, I was able to get my high school diploma at the end of June and have a worry-free summer.

Because I stuck with the class, I was able to attend a job and mobility training course at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Toronto that September. If I hadn't heeded Sister Eileen's advice, I would have had three more months of slogging my way through the same math problems which I couldn't understand.

As for that summer and the subsequent trip to Toronto, I wrote about it in a book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about how God providentially led me to a true understanding of him at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

TRUTH HURTS THE GUILTY

I've heard of a saying that if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one who yelps is the one who it hit. This is true of people. Stating truth hurts the ones guilty of misdeeds, as I found out last month.

The Hindu newspaper featured an article about America's bad report card regarding India's human rights abuses. The comments after the article published on the web site spoke mainly to the issue of Americans butting into the internal affairs of India.

I wrote that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should deal justly with the Hindu fundamentalists who were bullying Christians and other minority faiths. Then the fecal matter hit the fan.

One correspondent accused me of not knowing or understanding what's happening in India. Thanks to Google Alerts, I receive many reports of Indian Christians being persecuted, even from The Hindu and The Times of India. Those are hardly Christian papers.

Another writer accused western Christians of paying Hindus and people of other faiths to convert, thus bribing them to become followers of Christ. This is manifestly untrue. Missionaries give humanitarian aid to anybody, regardless of their response to the gospel. Furthermore, real Christians DON'T bribe people to believe. Repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord is the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore anybody who can be bribed to become a Christian isn't really converted.

One reply concerned the "illegal" changing of India's religious make-up, endangering Hindu Culture. Oh yeah? Less than two percent of Indians are Christians, in spite of all the churches seemingly being built. And maybe Hindu culture needs to be changed. Doing works to improve one's chances for a better reincarnation is basically a selfish act. Doing good works because of the compulsion of the Holy Spirit is selfless and comes from a Christians love of Christ, not to rack up holiness points.

While I can understand the anger of Hindu fundamentalists for being called out regarding the persecution of Christians and other minority faiths , it still doesn't justify the majority taking vigilante justice against perceived wrongs done to their culture. I'm sure that if the same things happening in India to Christians were happening to Hindus in America, those nationalists would be justly angry at vigilantes. Of course that doesn't happen here in the west en mass as it does in India.

Injustice is injustice, no matter who does it to whom. The rule of law should protect everybody equally, not turn a blind eye to injustice committed by radicals. If people would agree to disagree agreeably, this world would be a much better place in which to live.