Friday, March 4, 2011


Montreal! The word that comes to mind is “brash.” Street signs unashamedly French, roads potholed and cracked, traffic that gives no quarter, and rotting infrastructure. Yet few seem to mind until an overpass collapses and people are killed.

But, in the city at least, most appear bilingual and respond to the language you speak, which, providing you don’t get killed on the roads, makes life tolerable. Shopping is easy, plenty of choice, but gas is the most expensive in Canada; today $1.33 a litre.

But, of course, we didn’t come here for the ambience, but to visit with family. Luciano, our remaining grandchild of tender years is delightful at four years, and in true boyhood fashion, a handful. While at times we’d like to take him home in our luggage, I doubt it would work out long term.

You probably noticed that I’m a day late. Finding a place to access the internet proved elusive, until I discovered two ways to connect. The first was Kirkland Public Library which has free wi-fi. Some MacDonald’s also have access, but it’s erratic.

Then I found a user in Tim Horton’s happily working away without wi-fi—he was “tethered” to his iPhone. By downloading iTunes to my computer, access by USB through our daughter Alexandra’s iPhone becomes a convenient gateway into the ether.

So, if we can safely navigate the roads without French and synchronize blogging time with web access, we’ll report the latest Luciano shenanigans soon. Watch this space.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech

I’m not much of a film goer, but I did see The King's Speech a couple of nights ago, and It deservedly won big at the Oscars. According to a short documentary on CBC’s National recently, the film’s major events are historical, but of course with expected detail dramatization.

The film interested Ann and me on two fronts. Ann had a major stammer as an adolescent. Few of you who know her now would believe it; a badly dysfunctional home caused the condition. Avoiding words that began with a difficult consonant was typical, and, although not shown on the film, the script of the final king’s speech showed similar changes.

Secondly, the film portrayed history we were personally acquainted with, having grown up as children during the Second World War. Pathe News (Broadcast at the cinemas—there was no TV yet) showed us King George VI and Elizabeth his wife frequently walking among the rubble of bombed buildings talking to the survivors and injured.

When the war started, Britain stood alone against the Nazi darkness and terror that covered Europe. It was mostly the identification of this king with his people in their struggle, together with that British Bulldog, Winston Churchill, that inspired the Brits to face down Hitler and survive the devastation of their country with a fighting spirit.

The abdication of his playboy brother Edward provided England with a compassionate King and Queen when desperately needed. The fall of Britain would have left The USA alone in a darkening world, but Britain’s obstinacy, eventually with American help, turned the tide.

Today, Europe and Asia to the Chinese border enjoy a measure of freedom unknown for much of the world’s history. It is a continuation of that historical change from despotism to democratic freedoms that is characterizing today’s sweeping changes in the Arab world

Yet the events of that tragic World War and the current changes in North Africa and the Middle East are under God’s control, reminiscent of Old Testament passages of God’s management of history.

For Christians, world events, while often seeming haphazard, are leading to the time when Christ’s return will terminate freedom of choice. While that freedom provides opportunity for reconciliation with God, it also racks the world with torment. And in returning, Christ will bring justice and equity to the world.

Your personal freedom of belief and action has its roots in the days of The King's Speech. Is that God of history the God of your life?