Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)
TITLE: God's Frozen People
By Karen Gross
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Greetings from Canada! I was born, raised, and have always lived in the province of Manitoba, right smack dab in the middle of Canada. In fact, the town in which I currently reside is very close to the geographic center of North America.
We have four seasons – often all in the same day! They say that if you don’t like the weather in Canada, just wait ten minutes – it will change. I have some friends who moved from here to Albuquerque, New Mexico. They had to relearn how to make small talk. In Canada, whenever a conversation needs a quick topic, we discuss the weather. We say ridiculous things like: “So… is it hot enough for you?” in the summer, and in the winter, naturally, we say: “So…is it cold enough for you?” In the spring and fall, we often run our air conditioners during the afternoon, but have to turn the heat on at night.
I’ve heard it said that a Canadian is like an unarmed American with healthcare. We also have Tim Horton’s coffee, and according to American comedian Jon Stewart, our chief export is jokes for which we are the punch lines. We share a continent with the United States, and most of our TV shows come from the U.S., so our pop culture is similar. Our population is made up mostly of people who have come from somewhere else, like the American population. One outstanding difference between our two cultures is that while the Americans think of themselves as a melting pot, we see our population as a mosaic. We celebrate our differences. In Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba, we have an annual festival called Folklorama, where pavilions are set up in various locations in the city to feature the cultures represented by the heritage of our people. Visitors to this festival are given Folklorama passports in which they can collect stamps from each pavilion that they visit.
With citizens from such diverse heritage and religion, tolerance is considered to be an admirable trait for a Canadian. This has positive and negative ramifications. Living in harmony with our neighbours requires a respect for their way of life. Diversity can enrich the human experience. For Christians, however, living out the Great Commission means that we share the gospel with our neighbours. Christianity is often seen as intolerant. In our public schools, our political arenas, our places of business, and our justice system, we have seen a deliberate movement to eradicate any vestiges of Christianity. Politicians who declare themselves to be Evangelical Christians are suspected of having hidden agendas, especially in moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Christmas is being replaced by the generic term holiday. In fact, there have been activists lobbying our municipalities to refer to public decorations as holiday lights and holiday trees. In public schools, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer is banned unless a majority of parents vote otherwise, and even then, the students who wish to take part must go out into the hallway to pray, even if only one student abstains and remains in the classroom.
Our diversity can mean increased opportunity for us to share the gospel with the world. Most immigrants to Canada retain ties to their countries of origin, so converts to Christianity may go back as witnesses to Christ in places that are closed to western missionaries.
Canada remains one of the best countries in the world to live in. Our public healthcare system, social safety nets, education, and even cleanliness makes it an ideal place to live and to raise a family. We are also very friendly and polite. Canada is also one of the most beautiful places to visit, with vast open areas and breathtaking scenery. I may be biased, but this is God’s country. And we have Tim Horton’s coffee.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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