Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coffee, chocolate and Canada

If you have my kind of luck with Tim Hortons Roll-up-the-Rim, you might be happy to find out that Country Style will give you a free coffee for your “Please Play Again” rim tab. But only for this week. And only a medium coffee. Only one per day.sorry-try-again-country-style And only at participating locations. It’s actually a brilliant marketing strategy because they can actually get Timmies customers like me into their coffee shop instead. I’m going to look for one on my way to work tonight. But they are totally undermining the campaign with all the stupid conditions. Why only for one week? Why only a medium? Why only one per day? They could not afford to pay for the buzz that would be generated if they just got the word out that you can redeem your Timmies “Play Again” for a free coffee. If they had kept it simple they would’ve gotten a great response. Instead they’ve taken a good idea and pretty much ruined it. Sure, I’m going to try it out today because I’m a cheapskate.

You’ll want to think twice before having a chocolate donut or chocolate bar with your coffee. You won’t believe what I’ve been finding out about the dark side of chocolate. 15,000 slaves work in the cocoa jungles of Ivory Coast.Mars Caramel These are child slaves trafficked from other countries, especially poverty-stricken Burkino Faso.  They are part of the 200,000 children who work in cocoa production in Ivory Coast. They work with dangerous tools, for long hours and without pay. Most of these children will never go to school. Without their labour, we couldn’t enjoy our Mars, Snickers and Kit Kats. I think it’s time for Christians to stand up to the chocolate companies and call for reform, now. Please check out my blog posts or at least the video documentary I’ve included.
Giving up chocolate for Lent, maybe for life by Ken Symes
How should we respond to the bitter truth about chocolate? by Ken Symes

Finally, it’s a crazy mixed up week in Canadian politics. It looks as though the House of Commons is going to find the government to be in contempt of Parliament. Serious breach of protocol and it would be the first time it’s ever happened. Plus the budget. Plus all the election speculation. Baird sick with anger One thing is certain: House Leader John Baird is the perfect illustration for Ezekiel Bulver and Bulverism. If you’ve never read C.S. Lewis describing Ezekiel Bulver and Bulverism, you’ll want to check out the readings this week at Mere C.S. Lewis. Basically, Ezekiel Bulver does not really engage in true constructive argument or debate. In fact, he ruins debate. Instead of countering your points, Bulver attacks your personally, makes fun of you, tries to show everyone why YOU must be wrong. But Bulver never actually refutes your ideas. Lewis is concerned that Bulver represents the end of public discourse. A while ago I chose John Baird to be a poster representation of Ezekiel Bulver. And has he ever been true to form ever since I chose him! Yesterday as Michael Ignatieff calls the government to account for its contempt of Parliament, Bulver’s response, I mean, Baird’s response was to question how Ignatieff could know what he was talking about since he lived outside of the country?!? No courage. No counterpoint. No attempt to prove his opponent wrong, just plain character assassination. 1 for Bulver, 0 for Canada. Check out: Why Ezekiel Bulver assumes you’re wrong by C.S. Lewis.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day: Shake and Pray

mcdonalds-shamrock-shake Happy St. Patrick’s Day! How do you celebrate? My ancestry is Scottish, but this won’t stop me from wearing some green and enjoying Shamrock shakes with my sons today! I was in a McDonalds yesterday where the manager was taking down all the signs advertising the Shamrock shake. When I protested that it was only March 16 and he couldn’t do that, he explained they were all out of the mix. I protested all the more! How scandalous is that! Hopefully the luck of the Irish is with us today as we try to select a more worthy, a more loyally Irish McDonalds!

From the legacy of St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland, we have received a great prayer.

Prayer of St. Patrick

shamrockI arise today 
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
Carlingford Lough I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
ireland Rostrevor cross I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. shamrock
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.



The Church of Ireland breaks the fast and sombre mood of Lent in order to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick This year, I gave up chocolate for Lent, but for a reason that might surprise you. Last Easter, I discovered that 200,000 children labour in the cocoa jungle of Côte d'Ivoire to produce the Kit Kats, Hersheys and Mars bars we enjoy so much. And 12,000 of those children have been trafficked from other West African countries into slavery. During Lent this year, I want to work through a Christian response to this bitter truth about chocolate. I’m looking for help, for Christians who would think, pray, discuss and discern with me what we should do to act redemptively. Want to join the discussion?

Giving up chocolate for Lent, maybe for life by Ken Symes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The King’s Speech: some personal reaction

I was very happy to see The King’s Speech win four Oscars on Sunday night—well deserved. This movie was unique in its plot and character development. I very much enjoyed seeing it in the theatre; a welcome contrast to the action movies I typically view with my friends. The King’s Speech told an important story, was historically accurate and showed one man’s journey to deal with a serious stuttering problem and improve himself.

To a lesser degree, I too grew up with a stuttering problem. I know that experience of getting hung up and unable to continue or just bouncing on one sound. Perhaps growing up as an only child helped as I don’t recall very much ridicule. Thankfully, I largely grew out of the problem. Though as I say that, I wonder if it’s true. I’ve done a lot of public speaking, but I always prepare my speeches orally—I only put down on paper what ’m already comfortable speaking. And I think through my words carefully before speaking even in one-on-one conversation. If I get ahead my mental preparation sometimes I stutter a bit and sometimes I feel myself getting locked up, totally stuck. In any case, I’m so used to living with it today that it’s not really an impediment to me. [Hmm, just realized I would rephrase that last clause if this were a speech—too many ‘m’ sounds at the end.]

I’m sure many other people personally identified with The King’s Speech. One of them is Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly. Global did a great job of profiling Kelly and the Nova Scotia version of the movie, what could be called “The Mayor’s Speech.” Thankfully somehow uploaded this report to youtube and I was able to find it. Very cool story.

If you are questioning the historically accuracy of The King’s Speech, CBC did an excellent mini-documentary showing it’s accuracy: “When the King Spoke.”

And CBC also did a report on “The King’s Other Speech,” an international Commonwealth address that King George VI made from Winnipeg, three months before the speech that climaxed the movie and engaged the Commonwealth to stop Nazi Germany.

To see more of what Ken Symes is doing on the Internet, check out Ken Symes Google Profile.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wayne Gretzky, still great for blogging

Gretzky-OlympicDuring the pre-race show before last Sunday’s Daytona 500, I was surprised to see Wayne Gretzky among the accomplished athletes who were praising Jimmie Johnson for his accomplishment – he’s won the NASCAR Championship for five years in a row, thus totally dominating his sport. Wayne Gretzky said that Jimmy Johnson is “truly The Great One.”!

And then this week Wayne Gretzky showed up to surprise one of his more famous fans, Justin Bieber, and they played air hockey! You won’t believe the final score, definitely not what you would expect from The Great One.

I’m glad he’s out there, helping to promote the recent blog post I wrote about him ;)  Gretzky recently turned 50 and I used that occasion to consider whether we spend more time looking back at the good ole days or if we hope that the best is yet to come – a true Biblical principle. You can check it out at my Samaritan XP blog – Ken Symes on Wayne Gretzky’s birthday and the best is yet to come! Or if you’d prefer, here’s the video footage of Gretzky surprising Justin Bieber.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snopes on Symes: Is this really Ken Symes?

googling Google Ken Symes and you’ll find many websites, blogs and articles, but how many of these Ken Symes links actually have anything to do with me? Let’s find out, starting with “Rev. Ken Symes.” [Doing “snopes” on my doppelgangers was so interesting I launched a website to explore them: Snopes on Ken Symes]
Are those links for Rev. Ken Symes or Pastor Kenneth Symes related to me?

“Rev. Ken Symes shares Biblical proof that true Christians do not go through ANY of the great tribulation as described in the Book of Revelation,”