Thursday, 23 April 2015
I've seen many examples of this. One of the first was at a school for the blind which I was forced to attend. One supervisor loved ordering us boys to do things for her. Instead of picking up the telephone, she sent one of us, usually me, to relay messages for her. We also were commandeered to carry laundry to and from the basement of the administration building. One afternoon, I was stopped while returning to the dorm by a rain shower for about ten minutes. I sheltered in a doorway until the downpour passed. Instead of being praised for saving the laundry from a soaking, she bawled me out for being tardy.
Another nasty woman gave me plenty of grief as a young adult. She didn't like my long hair, bell-bottom jeans, and love of rock music. She criticized me for buying a radio which could pick up the audio from TV channels and then bought a colour TV two years later. She said her personal angel said it was all right to do that. This woman had a church in the basement of her house and ran it as if she was queen. It was her condemning my personal tastes from the pulpit which made me quit that sick little congregation.
I still run into bossy people today. They assume that everything has to be done their way or it's wrong. A certain county bus driver became pouty a few summers ago when the seniors she drove to Edmonton wanted to be let off at the casino first rather than at the mall. In similar ways, she got angry with me and others when we suggested she change her route. She, like all control freaks, hates last-minute changes to her plans.
What people like the ones I've mentioned need is boundaries. If they don't have them, they run roughshod over every one as they set up their own limits. Since I hadn't been taught how to politely but firmly object to those who crossed my boundaries, I suffered many trying situations. Now I know it's right to have personal boundaries of my own.
The theme of people crossing my personal boundaries is strong in all three of my memoirs. Read about the first two paperbacks at the Bruce Atchison's Books page. My most recent memoir is for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
One part of the course, which delighted me, was experimental films. By snapping one frame at a time and moving objects ever so slightly, the resulting film appeared to be of objects moving by themselves. The film I made used pop bottle caps.
Another part of the course dealt with drawing directly on the film with felt pens. After visiting a local TV station, I managed to mooch some sixteen millimeter film. Then I bleached all the emulsion off of it. Frame by frame, I drew dots and lines which merged and divided. The result of my experiment looked like quivering drops of coloured water moving about on the screen.
We also viewed many interesting art films. I enjoyed that part, though some films were quite weird. But it wasn't free entertainment for us. We had to write reports on the films shown in class. Even so, I enjoyed the challenge and learned much about the various aspects of the craft.
Then the final exam came, All through class, one guy kept scoffing that I wouldn't do well. He was shocked when I received a mark of eighty percent on the test. He stopped bugging me after that.
A lot has changed since the autumn of 1973. Technology allows anybody to make a video and edit it. Even more exciting, YouTube gives anybody the opportunity to show their work to the entire world. What used to require careful cutting and splicing of film now can be done with ease at any PC. Better yet, mistakes can be undone. There wasn't much one could do with botched footage forty years ago but now it's a snap to delete or crop video portions.
I've recently made videos for my electronic music tunes with Windows Movie Maker. Some are made of still pictures while others are made from video from my Video 8 camcorder and PXL2000 Fisher Price camcorder. I even made a documentary of a live on-air electronic music performance which I took part in. Please check out my creations on my VE6XTC channel.
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Astrology was popular back then but not with me. When people asked what my sign was, I told them that I believed in Christ. His cross was my sign. I endured plenty of scoffing remarks and insults as a result of my stand for the Lord.
Though I listened to rock music, I objected to songs with raunchy lyrics or those blaspheming God. Rather than listen to them, I turned the radio off. In addition, I made up Christian lyrics to sing along with my favourite tunes.
My fellow Christians also caused me grief. They claimed that I was listening to worldly music which would pull me away from Christ. Some even worried that I'd be possessed by a demon if I kept listening to that "terrible music." Obviously, nothing happened.
In that era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, I never fornicated, took drugs, or drank myself legless. The only alcohol I imbibed was during the Sunday communion and at a party which a church friend took me to. It never became a habit with me. Neither did I smoke, unlike three of the congregants of the house church I attended back then.
Gambling was not an option for me either. I learned my lesson at age five when my dad placed a bet for me at the exhibition Roulette game and it lost. I resolved from then on not to bother with such a foolish sort of game.
So how did I resist all those traps which catch most Christian and non-Christian teens? It was only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me that kept me faithful. In spite of worried adults and nagging peers, I never bothered with messing around. Neither do I regret any so-called fun that I supposedly missed.
Better still, I had a great time during high school. Being a loner, I entertained myself with my shortwave radio and open reel tape recorder. As I listened to my music, my imagination took me far from the mundane trials of high school life. I had my church friends and a few kids at school which I hung out with as well.
I chronicled my journey from a cultic house church to a proper understanding of God's sovereignty in How I Was Razed. Read more about this amazing act of love from the heavenly Father at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Young children certainly make the most of the warm weather and I was no exception. One windy afternoon, I raced up and down the sidewalk in front of my house. No matter how fast I ran, the cloud shadows always caught up and passed me. My mom was highly amused later at my question regarding why the clouds were faster than I was.
The wind used to make a whining noise in the TV antenna above our house. The sound mesmerized me. I begged to go outside on windy afternoons just so I could hear it.
The scents of the new plant life thrilled me as well. I often visited a creek near my home and explored it. The scent of the poplars was one I loved and still cherish each spring.
When I was sent to a school for the blind in Vancouver, spring came a month earlier than in my home province. Even so, I loved to feel the pussy willow buds and smell the scents of the trees as sap rose through them. The high-pitched frog voices at night also thrilled me. Our grade two teacher often read us animal stories and I imagined how nice that would be if those frogs could talk to me as well.
As a teenager, I discovered the wonders of Edmonton's river valley and ravines. Being there was like leaving the city and its noise far behind me. The time between the melting snow and when the mosquitos started to fly was, and still is, my favourite part of spring.
All three of my books mention my love of God's awakening creation. Read about the first two at the Bruce Atchison's books page. My most recent paperback is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.
Thursday, 9 April 2015
I've come to appreciate having a steady flow of current from my electrical outlets since moving to the hamlet of Radway in 2000. When I lived in Edmonton, I rarely was without electricity. Whenever the power failed, service was swiftly restored. Even in my childhood town of Fort Saskatchewan, there was only one time when the power was out for about four hours. That happened during a snow storm in October of 1970. Our neighbours from across the sidewalk actually had to come over to our home and cook their dinner on our gas stove as their electric range was rendered useless by the blackout. Since moving to Radway, I've found that power failures happen on an average of several times per year.
After the wind storm of October 25th, 2008, I made up my mind about the purchase of a gas range and heater. During that day, I was without electricity for eleven and a half hours. My electric range was useless and the furnace wouldn't run because it requires power for the fan. I called a friend who is an appliance repair man after the outage and asked him about acquiring a gas range and heater. He drove me to Edmonton where we purchased the appliances and a local gas fitter connected them up.
I had a chance to use both the range and the heater a few weeks after they were installed. Another wind storm knocked out the power at about nine o'clock that evening. While I waited for the service to be restored, I turned on the heater. It kept the basement warm and the heat rising from the stairwell moderated the temperature of the main floor. I also sat at the kitchen table, sipping a hot cup of Postum, and listening to my dynamo-powered AM/FM/weather radio.
The electricity failed again recently for no apparent reason. After phoning Atco Electric about the failure, using my old rotary dial telephone, I tidied up my house while listening to CDs on a battery-powered portable player. Had the outage lasted longer than two hours, I could have made a hot cup of coffee and relaxed in my warm basement instead of growing colder by the minute.
The reality of blackouts must always be taken into account, particularly for rural residents. I'm glad that I was prepared for emergencies such as last month's power failure. With my LED lanterns, gas appliances, and dynamo-powered radios, waiting for service to be restored isn't the hardship it once was.
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
What do I mean by superstitious nonsense? Many Christians seem to think that if they do or don't do certain things to ward off evil, bad things will happen to them or their loved ones. For example, I remember being told to plead the blood of Jesus over myself or my friends in order to protect them from demons. Some of my former congregants even backed up this superstition by mentioning bad consequences resulting after foregoing this procedure. Nowhere in all of Scripture does it say we should pray to have Christ's blood sprinkled on us to protect us from demons.
If you read the sixth chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesian church, You'll find out the activities and attitudes which actually protect Christians from going astray and sinning against God. Furthermore, putting on the whole Armour of God is a spiritual exercise involving our minds. It isn't declaring, "I Plead the blood of Jesus," on somebody or something.
Using "in Jesus' name" at the end of a prayer doesn't make it more effective either. I was wrongly taught that it gave the prayer more power if I said that. What those misleaders failed to recognize is God's sovereignty over all things. What he lets happen happens for his glory and our spiritual growth. Prayer isn't some sort of magic incantation but our agreeing with the heavenly Father that his will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Perhaps the worst example of superstition is the idea that our words can bring what we say into reality. The idea is that since God spoke and the universe leapt into existence, and that we can become his adopted children through Christ, that we also can wield the same creative power. Some preachers even have blasphemously claimed that we are little gods. They base this on Psalms 82:6. I found out the hard way that this DOESN'T work. Only God has creative power and prerogative.
Having written my testimony of how God corrected the superstitions I learned at a cultic house church, I'm eager to help free others of their bondage to blasphemous notions. Please listen to my testimony and hear why it's so crucial to understand that nothing happens to us that God doesn't know about and that nothing he lets happen is for our eternal harm. Check out my memoir of God's providential leading on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
I was once of this opinion. Because nobody told me otherwise, I assumed that rabbits were lacking in intelligence and affection. How wrong I was. In 1996, I discovered a newsgroup called alt.pets.rabbits. The things I learned about bunnies amazed me.
Thanks to the friendly folks there, I learned that bunnies can be litter-trained and they lived much longer after being spayed or neutered. The most important lesson I learned is that rabbits can live in our homes like cats and dogs.
Why was that so important? When bunnies are allowed space to play and have humans to hang out with, they come out of their shells and become active. Give a rabbit a cardboard box house with two doors in it and he or she will spend hours playing or sleeping in it. Bunnies also enjoy tossing noise-making objects, like plastic keys for babies, around. Additionally, a toilet paper tube stuffed with hay is a toy as well as a snack to them.
Because most caged rabbits lack social interaction and mental stimulation, they sink into deep depression. Even food isn't a cause for excitement for those poor creatures. Since their European ancestors lived in large colonies and burrowed underground, lacking a hiding place and companionship is unnatural for them.
House rabbits, like the many that I've lived with, developed distinct personalities when I treated them like pets instead of possessions. They each had their own little character quirks as well as likes and dislikes. I've also enjoyed interacting with them. Even changing their litter boxes and watching them get all excited when I set the plastic tubs down on the floor for them was always an enjoyable experience.
I wrote a memoir of the first eight years I spent with my long-eared companions in When a Man Loves a Rabbit. I only have a few copies left of this book so e-mail me if you're interested in buying a copy.