Friday, 30 April 2010


Citizen's Band radio, commonly known by its initials CB, reached the hight of its popularity by the spring of 1977. Being passionate about long distance communication, I soon became enamoured with that hobby. One of the aspects of CB was that a person used a handle, a self-chosen nickname, on the air. I thought Cosmic Christian would be suitable since it would prompt people to ask what it meant. That would steer the conversation toward eternal matters. Additionally, I would be readily identifiable to Christians as a believer.

Sister R was aghast one Sunday lunch time in April when I told her that I had purchased a transceiver and was talking to other CBers. "You can't possibly want to waste your time like that!" She gasped.

"It's not a waste of time. I've already talked to some people about Jesus and my handle's Cosmic Christian."

"But it's such an ungodly organization."

"No it isn't. There's some folks on there that are Christians. There's even a Christian CB club. Besides that, Jesus told us to go out into the world and preach the gospel, didn't he?"

"Well, I guess so. Don't let those ungodly people sway you and make you lose your faith."

"I won't lose my faith or anything. Who knows, maybe somebody will get saved because of me talking to them on the CB."

"All right then, but advertise him well."

It wasn't always easy to be a good advertisement for Christ on the air. No matter how polite I was, my handle often offended people. Some even swore at me and transmitted music while I tried to make new friends. I did my best to turn the other cheek to these "turkeys," as we called such rude CBers. Even so, my circle of on-air acquaintances grew.

One tradition common to Cbers and amateur radio operators is to send QSL cards. Since I knew that Sister R had a Gestetner spirit duplicator, I asked her after one Sunday service about printing some. "Why do you need those cards for?" she stared hard at me. "We Cbers use them to confirm to each other that we spoke on the air. They're sort of like postcards."

"I don't like using the church equipment to print something secular."

"These won't be sinful. In fact it'll be my way of advertising Jesus through my radio hobby like you said."

"All right, but I can only print a few. We don't have much in the way of card stock for those."

"Thanks so much! I can hardly wait to send those out."

After Sister E drew a pair of praying hands holding an antenna and wrote my handle in capital letters on the front, Sister R printed and cut the cards to the required size. At every coffee break, a gathering of Cbers at a restaurant, I handed them out to the folks who I had spoken to. Though I envied the nice full-colour QSLs that CBers like Caffeine Addict and Big Spender had, The Gestetner cards were better than nothing.

The preceding paragraphs came from my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir. E-mail me for further information about it and my previous books, Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) and When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) The InScribe writers group page also has information about these memoirs.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Remember tracts?

Forty years ago, Christians used slips of paper with short messages printed on them to spread the gospel. These were called tracts. This practice has largely died out, though some persistent believers still hand these to people on the street. From my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, here is how I became involved with this evangelical fad.


Though Thee Church wasn't overtly evangelical, some members encouraged me to share my faith and hand out tracts. Linda and I rode the bus downtown late one January afternoon. "Here's some tracts. Just walk down the street and hand people one," she instructed. "I'll be close by if you need any help with questions."

"I've never done this before. Is that all I have to do?"

"Sure. If the spirit lays something on your heart, say whatever he tells you. Don't be afraid. Remember that Christ promised never to forsake us." Most people I approached ignored my proffered slip of paper. When I held up one with the words "NOT TOO SHORT" on it, One sour-voiced old man said, "Not too short of money I'll bet." That stung since I was all too aware of people's misjudgment of us Christians. By the time I thought of a civil reply, the man was gone.

being insulted was not the only cost of handing out tracts. Sister E took me to a Bible supply store one winter evening. As I inspected the various packets of handbills, I felt shocked at their high prices. "I didn't know these things cost so much," I confided to her. "Well, it does cost money to print these messages. You can't expect to get them all for free, you know."

"But, they're such little pieces of paper."

"If you don't want to buy them, then don't. Just make up your mind and get what you can afford."

A tug of war raged in my mind as I pondered the colourful stacks of messages on the shelves. Because of my poor vision, I attended a junior high school in Edmonton that had counsellors tasked with reading book assignments onto tape and assisting us with test papers. The pittance Dad gave me to live on was not much better than a child's allowance. I had to choose between buying the occasional chocolate bar or tracts. I compromised and bought the least expensive bundle of handbills.

Not knowing any better, I decided that the Greyhound bus depot would be a good place to "witness." On one of the Saturdays when I stayed at Jay and Linda's, instead of going home, I thought I'd evangelize the passengers. I walked up to several people and held out a handbill but none of them took it. "Would you like to read this?" I asked an elderly lady. "Don't take it," a middle-aged woman with black hair ordered. "Don't take it?" the grey-haired woman asked, sounding baffled. "It's just some religious stuff," her minder snapped. "What's this you're handing out?" a man in a green uniform demanded as he stood behind me. I mutely handed him a tract. After skimming through the front paragraphs and glancing at the back, he returned it. "You're not allowed to hand these out here. It's against the rules." I left the depot feeling dejected. "Lord Jesus," I prayed under my breath as I walked down the sunlit streets to my bus stop, "I'm just trying to do my best for you. Please help me find somebody who I can save."


Each Friday, I publish excerpts from my books on this blog as well as on WordPress. Please also visit the InScribe writers group page and check out When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) as well as Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). Have a nice weekend.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Various media outlets have carried stories about paedophile priests and perverted teachers in recent years. While blatant sexual abuse is a hideous crime, some people are beginning to interpret any sort of physical contact as harassment. In fact, the hysteria has built to the point that even innocent gestures can be misinterpreted as sexual harassment. Bob Layton's blog post of April 12, 2010 is a good example of this hyper-sensitivity. It tells of a seven-year-old boy whose fingers touched a girl's waist band after she pushed him. Instead of chalking it up to horseplay, the parents of the girl sued the boy's parents. The judge ruled that it was mere roughhousing and awarded the boy's family $180,000 in damages.

The trouble with sexual molestation is that mild forms of it are hard for uninvolved bystanders to judge. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here is an example where the border between sexual abuse and play was ambiguous.


Another staff change was the departure of our gym teacher. Everyone liked Mr. Heidelberger, though his thick Polish accent made him hard to understand. He was a jovial instructor who took an interest in our daily lives. Mr. Heidelberger used to play a game with us which we, being very innocent, enjoyed. He would hold us up by our feet. Then we curled our bodies between his legs and paddled his buttocks like bongo drums. We laughed at the absurdity of being able to spank an adult and get away with it.

"Let's play that game again," I suggested one sunlit afternoon outside the gym. Mr. Heidelberger obliged and soon each of us took a turn paddling his bottom. Someone in the Administration Building happened to glance out a window, saw what was happening, and reported Mr. Heidelberger to the superintendent. We learned a few weeks later that our gym teacher was fired. We felt dismayed and shocked. It seemed like only a game he was playing. None of us pre-teens knew about perversion at that tender age. Of course, it might have been mere innocent fun after all. We certainly did not feel molested. I still am unable to decide either way about the matter.


Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback, containing 6 black and white photos, sells for $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped InScribe writers group website. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal but still wish to place an order.

Friday, 9 April 2010


If only somebody had warned my mom about what would happen, I'm sure she never would have fallen for the wiggly-nosed little fur ball she bought for us kids in April of 1968. Sadly, millions of parents buy a bunny with the same tragic consequences. In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I related just how the sad chain of events started in my family's home.


Diane sat watching television as we arrived home. I carried our new bunny into the living room and set the box gently on the coffee table.

"We have a surprise for you, Diane," Mom announced. "Go on. Open it," she added. Diane unfolded the flaps on the top of the box and peered at the bunny. When the animal moved her ear, my sister let out a squeal of delight. "It's a real rabbit!" Diane stroked the wiggly nose and long ears before picking the bunny out of her makeshift travel carrier.

We had difficulty naming this new addition to our family. In fact, none of us were sure which sex she was. Because knowledge of house rabbits was difficult to find, we had no idea how to tell the difference. I wanted to call her Spock after the Star Trek science officer while Diane wanted to name her Samantha after the character on Bewitched. We compromised and called her Samantha Spock. After a while we dropped the second name and assumed our bunny was female.

Mom made a makeshift pen in the room which was supposed to become the downstairs bathroom. Diane and I took our new bunny out of it to explore our beds a few times. We stopped doing that when she wet on one of them. We also carried her upstairs to play in the living room. Diane and I discovered that Samantha would kick her feet wildly when she was laid on her back while in our laps. We howled with laughter as she struggled to right herself. What we thought of as funny was a serious matter to Samantha. Rabbits are prey animals and they fear being attacked. She instinctively panicked when she felt vulnerable.

Watching Samantha explore and do other bunny activities was entertaining. She looked extremely cute whenever she washed her face and pulled down one blond and pink ear at a time. Even watching her nose wiggle made us smile.

One day I searched for Samantha in the storeroom. The whole family was looking for her since she escaped her pen again. Suddenly I felt movement against my right foot. I glanced down and saw Samantha, licking my foot, acting completely innocent. "There you are. We've been looking all over for you," I said as I picked her up. She panicked, as rabbits will when improperly handled, and I nearly lost my hold on her. Fortunately, Samantha did not break her back or claw my skin to shreds as I placed her as gently as I could in her pen.

Inevitably, Mom was left to take care of Samantha's mess. We were too concerned with our own pleasures to think about looking after our rabbit. Samantha rapidly became less and less important to us as she faded into the background. Diane and I still played with her occasionally but the novelty rapidly wore off.


Three months later, our once-beloved Samantha died. I'll post about it in July, as close as possible to the 42th anniversary of that tragic event. It was partly due to that trauma that I wrote When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), a memoir of how I learned to properly care for house rabbits. I wrote it as an object lesson for others and as a companion book to the many "how to" bunny care manuals on the market. To read more about my writing and on how to purchase my books, Click here. To learn all you need to know about house rabbits, visit the House Rabbit Society website.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The meaning of Easter

To the general public, Easter is a time when chocolate eggs and bunnies appear on the store shelves. While children participate in Easter egg hunts, adults prepare hams for Sunday lunch. Relatives come to visit, taking advantage of the three or four days off from work. Parents foolishly buy children live bunnies that invariably wind up in animal shelters or backyard hutches once the novelty wears off and the rabbits become an irksome chore. Churches traditionally observe Lent as well as Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Through over-familiarity with these activities, the real message of Easter is obscured.

In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I recorded my feelings and experiences of being five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. During two of the three Easters that I was able to be home with my family, I cared little for the resurrection of Christ. It was just a tale that the supervisors and Sunday school teachers ordered me to believe. Being away from the concentration camp, as I thought of that institution, was the best thing about the holiday. When I gave my life to Christ at a Vacation Bible School in August of 1969, all those stories about Jesus gained a whole new dimension for me. Here's an excerpt from my memoir of how the truth of Easter changed my perspective on this holy day.


Diane and I attended the Church Of the Nazarene's Easter Sunday service. Mom stayed home with Linda, saying that she did not feel like going. Roy was at Red Deer so at least I had a break from his juvenile questions. Now that I was a born-again Christian, the Easter message held special relevance. In years past, it was merely a story like all the others in the Bible. Now I understood the tremendous price Christ paid for purchasing our forgiveness as well as why he needed to die and rise again the third day. I believed in previous years that Pontius Pilate defeated him. Now I understood that Jesus died voluntarily for everybody and rose victoriously on the third day.


Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback, containing 6 black and white photos, sells for $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped InScribe writers group website. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal but still wish to place an order.