Prison Break

I’m afraid this post is going to be heavy. Want to know what I have been musing about this week? Prison. Yeah. Lockdown. Behind bars. Chained up and the key thrown away. I’m not sure why this strange idea has been mulling around in my brain — but there ya have it. Perhaps because our city is back in lockdown again. Perhaps because our dog is struggling to be crated. Perhaps vegan promotional videos keep popping up on my feeds about animal torture. Perhaps because I’ve been looking at Daniel passages. Whatever the reason, prison has been on my mind.

Lock down.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015–2016 there were a total of 40,147 adult offenders incarcerated in Canadian federal and provincial prisons on an average day for an incarceration rate of 139 per 100,000 population.[1] That’s a large number of people behind bars. Plus the folks under age, on house arrest, and serving their “time” in some other capacity. I don’t know about you, but it makes me sad. And question. Why? How? Did they all have a fair trial? Where were their mothers? How did life take such a wrong turn?I’m really not politically minded enough to delve into the justice system and all the ins and outs of how incarceration works… or if it works. Yet, it strikes me how sin natured the world is … and how violent or corrupt we can be when left to our own devices.

We’ve watched a few documentaries recently on ways people are gathering evidence about the African slave trade and links to the slave ships that have sunk to the bottom of the ocean… leaving their precious cargo to their unfortunate fates. I wonder how God feels when He sees what we do to each other. He was there when Nero orchestrated feeding the early Christians to the lions for sport. He was there when the slave ships were packed so tight there was inches between humans. He was there with Noah when the world was so bad He felt the need to start over and wipe the slate clean. And He’s here now in the middle of a virus that is killing people around the world. Now, I am not naive enough to think that our world is more “civilized” than in Noah’s day. We haven’t changed all that much. Human trafficking, kidnap, torture. It’s still out there. It may be buried behind closed doors or under the veil of the dollar amounts or hidden in cyberspace, but it’s there. And I am sure it still makes Heaven sad.

Photo by Szabu00f3 Viktor on

Now we can debate about free will, justice, judges and inequities, but opinions run high and frankly, I’m not equipped with enough knowledge to engage in those debates. Nonetheless, I am disappointed when the North American church claims persecution when our “rights” are infringed upon. I’m pretty sure we have no idea what real persecution is. Yes, my beliefs will be challenged, the Bible says so. Yes, I should be prepared to give an account for my faith. Yes, I should research and be aware of government rules and systems that go against my fundamental thinking and belief system. Yes, I should be willing to take a stand. Yet I am called to know my place in society and under the authority of my leaders who were placed there under God’s will. The devil is much more subtle in his ways here, and it is certainly no cause for complacency. But, for the moment, I can share in peace and relative comfort, compared to other believers in other parts of the world.

It’s been a heavy journey through this post. I’m not usually one for such topics, but sometimes you have to be in the darkness to see the light. And I’m sure many a survivor will attest to the fact that God is faithful… and fully just. Holiness is not always a bed of roses. Holiness and being “set apart” often comes with consequences. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are in the midst of the darkness because of their faith, today. Others who are lost in a system of hurt and wrong doings. God is good. And one day (soon!) our faith shall be made sight. Be blessed, my friends!

Be Prepared!

As I write that title, renditions of the enemy Scar’s battle cry from Disney’s Lion King rings in my head, but it is not really where I want this post to go. I first started thinking about this topic when I was out the other day, walking the puppy, when I came upon two fully blooming dandelion flowers. Now, one must remember it is the middle of a Canadian November… and dandelions arrive in the spring! Not to mention it shouldn’t be warm enough for the yellow weeds to be flourishing in the sidewalk cracks of my neighbour’s yard. But there they were in all their yellow glory! So, it had me musing about how God gave these little guys such resistant powers. Born to be survivors. A reminder to me of how we are to be used at just the right time… even if it doesn’t seem like the right time!

Those thoughts grew and morphed as I began to think about “preparedness”. I’d like to think I am prepared for things… I pack lunches the night before, make lists, set dates in the calendar, trip planning (remember that?!). Truth is, I am terrible at packing. I either bring everything… or try and survive on one pair of shoes. I find packing hard… I can book appointments though. So maybe it all balances out in the end. Preparing is like that, maybe. Perhaps we all pool our strengths together and “prepare” together. Yeah, work together, that’s it…

Christmas will be here soon. I know some of you are gung ho for the holidays and have the tree and lights up already and have been playing caroles since November first. We wait a little longer here at the Mitton house before pulling out the ornament boxes. Nonetheless, my thoughts are going forward as I wonder what 2020 Christmas will look like. The pandemic has forced us to stall preparations for concerts, potlucks and any sort of gatherings. Will we all be baking more and indulging in our own freezer filled collection of goodies because we have no one to share it with? Or will we prepare less, knowing Christmas may be a little quieter this year? Will gifts require more thought and preparation because we have to order them online versus braving the malls? Will we ever remember to make sure we have masks on and in the car? (How many times have you had to run back ? Come on, Be honest.)

I follow a few families on Instagram who still practice “preparation day” where they prepare for a day of rest and Sabbath the day before. Meals are cooked, chores done and clothes are laid out. It’s probably a good discipline, and I am not often as mindful of God’s day of rest as I should be. All too often my days all blend together and very little gets “set aside” for God and God alone. There always seems something more to do, or more to catch up on. But we have been called to be a light, to show the way, and to be prepared for His coming again:

76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:76-79 KJV

So, as Scar sings about “the death of the King”, we should be looking forward to the “birth of the King” as we go into the holiday season, and the “coming of the King” as that day draws ever so near!! Perhaps it will look a little different this year… out of the ordinary. Yet, maybe those little November dandelions will inspire us all to bloom in the midst of challenges, to be strong when the cold winds blow… and to be prepared for whatever 2020 throws at us!

Facebook Mom

In case you didn’t know, people lie on the internet. Social media is full of half truths, doctored statements and photoshopped images. Just in case you didn’t know, your mom is the only one who will honestly tell the truth about you. I’ve also become quite proficient at “creeping out” potential suitors for my teenagers. So be warned, my beloveds. (If you don’t know what that means…nevermind). And since my mom is not on social media, I can say that, without the consequences falling down on me. It won’t be long, though. Grandmas have had the highest percentage of growth in social media over the last four years — tripling their usage during that time. Heaven knows I admit to watching a few of those viral grandma TikToks. So much for the mom warnings of “too much screens”.

I’m going to blame it on this crazy 2020 year of global pandemics and killer viruses. Streaming has become the only “safe” thing to do. Throw out the notions of fresh air, hands-on learning and human connection, our brains must now process only through flashed images, text and emojis. No longer do we benefit from multigenerational gatherings and mentoring from the generation before. Parenting groups and “Friends” dominate our feeds… 75% of young parents use social media and turn to it for parenting advice. We Google before we call our mother. No longer can we worship corporately or pray at the altars. Please email your requests, or use the appropriate hashtag: #churchonline

Obviously, you can see what I’ve been musing about this week. Like many of you, I’m getting tired of online school, Zoom meetings and “nothing to do” but watch Netflix. Not that Netflix is complaining… their users have admitted to watching 80% more during this year than pre-Covid. It’s a new world and heaven help you if you can’t keep up. The hubby shared some interesting stats with me this week from today’s marketers:

  • the world wide population in December 2019 is pegged at 7.8 billion people; the internet has 4.54 billion users
  • on average, a person has almost 8 social media accounts
  • we spend an average of 142 minutes a day on those accounts
  • 78% of people who complain about a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour
  • Google processes an average of 40 000 queries every second! 15% of those have never been asked before
  • there are an estimated 270 million fake Facebook accounts
  • people now watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day
  • the most liked Instagram picture is of an egg (whoo hoo…see… chickens are lit)
world record breaking egg via PetaPixel

Those are staggering statistics. No wonder I hardly have any followers… they are all looking at pretty eggs and YouTube… or maybe grandmas on TikTock. Who wants to read about me and my faith journey? Or are Jesus followers lagging behind? I suspect this 2011 stat has changed drastically since March of 2020, but back then, only 60% of protestant churches in the US were using any forms of social media networks for the “promotion” of church. True, there is a lot of bad stuff out there. A lot. But how will the light shine through the darkness if we are hiding it under the proverbial bushel basket?

I get it. Technology is hard. It changes fast. And there is some sort of balance we need to reach between filling our minds with good and pure things… and just filling our minds. Admittedly, there is not much Bible based stuff out there… comparatively speaking… and what is out there is lacking. Yet, the trends are changing. The newer, younger generation is gifted and used to life via the almighty screen. I’m encouraged by scripture posts and media streaming filled with “good” content. Perhaps God has given us a pandemic to kick start us into finding new ways to share the Gospel. Businesses have had to adapt their “marketing”… why shouldn’t the church?

Photo by Pixabay on

I say these things, but I will be the first to admit that I’m terrible at technology. I’d love to learn how to create new Instagram Reels or YouTube instructional videos… but that takes time. And I struggle with my time already getting sucked into social media. I’m just as guilty of scrolling away my downtime as anyone else. Like any other discipline, though, I suppose learning new technology could be worthy of that time. Should I eat my own words? Am I part of the problem? Will my introvert self overcome my own fears for the sake of pressing the church into the 21st century? Okay. Maybe not.

I guess, like all parts of this faith journey, technology and the use of it will be another small step. I want to see more … I want to use it more for God’s Glory, but it’s one of those grey areas that can so easily entrap. 4.54 billion Internet users though…. What do you think? Share with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter

Thanks to and Facts&Trends for the stats in this week’s post!