Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Discriminating Coffee Taste

Now, I would say that my tongue, the beautiful instrument that it is, knows good coffee from better coffee. That it dances with pure delight when it samples the delectable flavors of a robust Kenya AA or even better yet the rare Cubita. And yes I scoff at idiots who choose to fornicate their coffee with lurid cream flavors made from edible oil products (EOP) and pretend that that fetid concoction tastes good – or worse insist that this beverage still bears the moniker ‘coffee’. I of course have the right, the freedom, and I might add substantial published credentials to back up my overbearing analysis of other's coffee blunders.
Arrogance you say? Me?
Well, it is definitely not arrogance. My knowledge and more importantly my exquisitely sensitive palate is keenly honed in the classic barista tradition. There may also be some accounting in the fact that instead of being breast fed I was given the berries’ nectar as an infant.
Now as one might assume because of my gorgeously accurate taster, there are strict considerations before any coffee receives even token analysis by my unprotected and unprepared tongue. Considerations of method: temperature of the water 208F, 2mil. course grind of coffee ideal for, French press steeping and, plunging after precisely 4 minutes. Then of course there is the coffee’s origin and appropriate roasting considerations. And there is the reputation of the firm whose skills extract the bountiful flavor under submission to the flames of the roaster.
Now you can imagine my dismay the woman who shall remain nameless save to mention that her personal label begins with “R” and ends with “uth” co-conspired to decieve me. This woman, who every morning offers a sub-grade liquid (She calls coffee) which I shock treat my mouth with each morning in the office, decides to ‘brew’ and I use that term loosely a pot of NABOB poo. Her co-workers challenged her to do this believing that I would not be able to tell the difference.
And in honesty I could not tell the difference much in the same way one cannot tell the difference between male and female or white and black or vegetables and socks.
Many of you will not realize the time and energy it took to rehabilitate my entire mouth after but one sip of that putrid filth. But suffice to say that I am currently on a waiting list for an entire transplant of the lining of my mouth.
Usually, when I attend someone else’s home or drink what other establishments call coffee, I prepare myself not just for the disappointment in flavor but for the assault, engendered by a careless approach to the bean, on the common sensibilities in rational tasting expectations . Thus prepared I am actually able to swallow this liquid and over years I’ve learned to smile and nod and even (gulp) ask for another cup.
But when ambushed as was the case in this instance…
Why the fury and rage that welled up in my breast was unbearable! (and my breasts are larger than most men's)
Yes friends I trust you can see how precious coffee is to me. How the pursuit of the perfect cup is ever on my mind. I trust that you will recognize my deep abhorrence for behavior as I have described above and not insult both your own reputation in my eyes or my sensibilities to not open a can of whoop a… on you.
In other words try that and you will reap the full measure of my unrestrained wrath.
May good coffee come your way today!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It’s time to STOP…

“If all Jesus cared about from his disciples was a “decision for Christ,” they could’ve kept their day jobs. Rather, he asked them to follow him for three years and learn from him how to live a life of abundance in the service of the Kingdom of God.” – Syler Thomas (YouthWorker Journal)
A couple of comments…
First of all, this has got it. In a recent conversation someone mentioned how a student had made decision to follow Christ and that when they came to church on Sunday they were bored out of their tree – and that that was bad. I bit down on my tongue until I could almost taste blood. I’ve used that argument to advocate a change in the format of our Sunday morning services. Well shame on me. And yes that is exactly where this person went with his line of thinking.
Now I have a problem with that. Why do we have this expectation that we should bend our practice of faith in order to accommodate the needs of the individuals who may be very unfamiliar with it? The reason given to me is that we should consider the weaker brother as indicated in Paul’s writings. I’m not sure that should be our motivation for change in practice.
This incident reminded of how our goal in introducing people to a relationship with Christ needs to be a clear understanding of the sacrifices that each will make to enter such a relationship authentically. What we have been ‘selling’ this far is that Jesus solves your problems. What we should ‘sell’ is how a life of sacrifice to Christ’s teachings will give us the tools we need to solve our problems. It’s time to STOP midway games. We are not playing for spiritual teddy bears. It’s not magic we are offering.
Does anyone remember when Christ challenged the rich young ruler? I wonder if anyone of us ministers might have the guts to lay down the gauntlet like that. I have to admit that what I have practiced and witnessed is basically bending over backwards to make accepting Christ the easiest thing possible for our prospective candidate. I see that hand…
So recently I had a review of my ministry performance and as many of you know these things are precursors to thoughts of noose ropes. But hey here is an encouraging marker to aim for. Yup they want see more kids baptized this year. As many as 24 kids if possible…
Can someone explain to me why there seems to be a preoccupation with referring to Christianity in terms of "the kingdom"? I've seen words like worship colloquialized into meaninglessness and my hope would be that the same would not happen to this term of reference. But I am sure there is good reason for this terminology to be popular currently...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Couple of endorsements...

Seth Franco showed up at Camp Evergreen as a 'speaker'. Former member of Harlem Globetrotters - super humble guys that gets it when it comes to authentic spirituality...
visit his site at

Also I picked up Grey's new one - it's good. a fair bit of diversity throughout while some more obviously 'produced' sounds are coming out. Not quite as raw but very good just the same... Check out "The One I Love". spend your money on good music...

here's the Bruins line up for this year. I know it does not seem like the most outstanding line up but once again i believe in it... Bit of a weakness at the netminder position it seems to me.

41 Andrew Alberts D 6'4'' 215 Minneapolis, Minnesota
11 P.J. Axelsson LW 6'1'' 184 Kungalv, Sweden
37 Patrice Bergeron C 6'1'' 190 Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec
26 Brad Boyes C 6'1'' 195 Mississauga, Ontario
44 Nick Boynton D 6'2'' 212 Etobicoke, Ontario
58 Kevin Dallman D 5'11'' 190 Niagara Falls, Ontario
12 Tom Fitzgerald RW 6'0'' 190 Billerica, Mass.
25 Hal Gill D 6'7'' 255 Concord, Massachusetts
46 Jonathan Girard D 5'11'' 192 Rawdon, Quebec
39 Travis Green C 6'2'' 200 Castlegar, British Columbia
16 Andy Hilbert LW 5'11'' 198 Howell, Michigan
36 Ivan Huml LW 6'2'' 200 Kladno, Czech Republic
21 Brad Isbister LW 6'4'' 231 Edmonton, Alberta
68 Milan Jurcina D 6'4'' 235 Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia
Martins Karsums RW 5'9'' 190 Riga, Latvia
41 Zdenek Kutlak D 6'3'' 221 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
48 Jay Leach D 6'4'' 225 Syracuse, New York
22 Brian Leetch D 6'1'' 190 Corpus Christi, Texas
53 Jason MacDonald RW 5'11'' 210 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
17 Shawn McEachern LW 5'11'' 200 Waltham, Massachusetts
18 Ian Moran D 6'0'' 200 Cleveland, Ohio
27 Glen Murray RW 6'3'' 225 Halifax, Nova Scotia
47 Eric Nickulas RW 5'11'' 206 Hyannis, Massachusetts
75 Colton Orr RW 6'3'' 222 Winnipeg, Manitoba
51 Nathan Robinson C 5'9'' 181 Scarborough, Ontario
14 Sergei Samsonov LW 5'8'' 180 Moscow, Russia
43 Martin Samuelsson LW 6'2'' 200 Upplands-Vasby, Sweden
38 Dave Scatchard C 6'2'' 224 Hinton, Alberta
71 Jiri Slegr D 6'1'' 210 Jihlava, Czech Republic
42 Garret Stroshein RW 6'7'' 245 Edmonton, Alberta
45 Mark Stuart D 6'1'' 209 Rochester, Minnesota
19 Joe Thornton C 6'4'' 225 London, Ontario
10 Alex Zhamnov C 6'1'' 201 Moscow, Russia

1 Andrew Raycroft G 6'1'' 185 Belleville, Ontario
30 Tim Thomas G 5'11'' 181 Davison, Michigan
33 Hannu Toivonen G 6'2'' 210 Kalvola, Finland

Friday, September 16, 2005

off the wagon...

So I’m going up to camp like I have for years now. I’m going to lead worship. I’d sworn off that stuff for a long time but I can’t help myself. I’m really tired of ‘worship’ music. I don’t like that I’m tired of it but it’s the truth. I really want Here I am to Worship to connect with my soul. But more and more now almost any kind of worship song leaves me feeling like I’m chewing on dry crackers. Don’t get me wrong I love playing and singing. I just have very little intestinal fortitude for the pretentiousness of it all. I’ve heard people refer to music like lubrication making it easier for ‘the people’ to receive the word. That in itself seems so contrived. And this notion that there is a special connection with God when we sing may very well be true but not in all cases or for all people – but if that becomes the aim – this connection – boy I miss it a lot. Yeah and I bet you are going to say well that’s easy you are not sincere enough or you are closed to the spirit etc etc etc. And I’ll say thanks for the judgment! And there really are so few songs that so beyond God is great and help me God. So yeah there you go! Probably amounts to a crappy attitude and maybe I just need to turn my rebellious heart around. You know what’s weird though is that my faith and discovery of truth has grown exponentially when I’ve tried to stay away from the worship stuff. But that’s just me.
So here I go I’m packing my guitar (and my capo) as we speak…

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

a question...

One of the former students in my youth group emailed me about an assignment she was doing for her religion class in university. This is the question:
What do your religious / irreligious beliefs (or your beliefs about religion) mean for your life?
This was my answer what do the rest of you say?
Basically my religious beliefs are like the lenses on glasses. Putting on my glasses I can see the world in a different way than if I leave them off. A lot of people see religion as a dividing line between people and it's true that people have used religion to bring hate instead of peace. What is ironic about that is that every religion has a goal of finding true peace and happiness. Even those weird sex cults are looking for that. For me Christianity shapes the way I look at the world and how I interact with it. Because of my beliefs I am motivated to help others figure out the crappy stuff in their lives, sort it out and fix it. I believe that God can do that for people so because I believe that I want to help other people. I think Christians have gotten it wrong when they focus only on deciding what is right and wrong. Everybody knows they screwed up (oops did I say that) and yeah people don't take kindly to a bunch of self righteous pricks running around and telling them that they are messed up. Instead for me my religion basically says hey God has helped me figure a few things out for this life and maybe I can help other people with it. In that way religion is a center for me to go back to in a way to kick my pants and get me moving. That's why when people say that my religion is a crutch I say bull poo. Cause for me it really isn't about that - it’s about being responsible with the truth you've been given to help other people. But unfortunately a lot of people are just way too selfish and they misuse religion for their good to get control over people or just do things their own selfish way - and that is stupid no matter what religion or cult or crap anyone is selling you.
Religion gives me hope for the future - you know heaven and all that. But it seems kind of dumb to just tell people to hang on and wait till heaven when all around you crap is happening. So if what you believe in cannot make a difference for right now then why bother. Basically it comes down to this...
The way Jesus taught us how to live (through his words and actions) is the best way to live so I better get busy. Having God show up as a human to give me an example of how it’s done is awesome. I hope this helps you a bit. I am going to put this response up on my blog I won't mention your name but you could go there and see what other people have to say about it... if you want.
Have a good one I hope this is time for you

Thursday, September 8, 2005


while some of the rest of you, youth worker types (Mark, Paul, Bros), are blogging out your own sense of purpose - i just want you to know that this little cartoon actually just came true for me. Well almost...
I've actually been here for almost 12 years and actually instead of faithful service - I will have to admit most of that time I've been a screw up - funny actually how God still chose to use some of the stuff I was doing.
By the way this cartoon comes from the latest issue of YOUTHWORKER MAGAZINE.

Monday, September 5, 2005

..::Isn't This Keane::..

here is a link to a sweet album again these guys are from England. hmmm. makes you wonder why do we listen to those minstrels from the island across the water...

"Excrement is not designed or crafted at all; it is merely emitted, or dumped. It may have a more or less coherent shape, or it may not, but it is in any case certainly not wrought. The notion of carefully wrought bullshit involves, then, a certain inner strain. Thoughtful attention to detail requires discipline and objectivity. It entails accepting standards and limitations that forbid the indulgence of impluse or whim. It is not out of the question at all. The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve amoung the indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept." - Harry G. Frankfurt On Bullshit
Sometimes I wonder if an increased familiarity, on the author's part, with church might cause him to include it as an example of the 'classic paradigms of the concept."
here's to all your inner strains... (on Labor Day of all things)

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Churchill goes to Church?

“Democracy is the worst system of government in the world except for all the rest.” – (I do believe that was) Winston Churchill.

But to what measure could that be said of Christianity. It goes something like this: Christianity is the worst religion in the world except for all the rest. As the new year (as per Mr. Dyck) approaches I invariably try to find some theme or tone to shape the year’s spiritual content around. I started been wondering about these thoughts tucked away in Paul’s ramblings: 1Corinthians 15:12-19 “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” The rest of the passage really digs in on the reality of the resurrection. And it got me wondering why our faith is based on something so fantastic and really – flimsy! And then I started thinking about some of the other shaky/questionable things that run summarily for granted in the religious cacophony we call Christianity. Things like the existence/nature of God, and the veracity/authority of the Bible plus a whole bunch of other things. What occurred to me is that these topics have little space in our teaching strategies. So what the heck why not? Plow into them. And as I have been doing more research – I again recognize how foundational some of these concepts are to the great “TORAH and MISHNAH” of our religious experience and understanding.
So this fall we are starting with this theme: Flimsy, Feeble, Fragile Faith. The idea is to bring these issues back into the student’s consciousness and by doing so help them evaluate the spiritual and religious edifices they have built on top of their assumptions. Then and easily most importantly help them to take to act out on their convictions. So it’s not really apologetics, although that will be a piece of it, but actually more of a re-acquaintance with the tension that is the essence of faith. My hope is that the students will be motivated to take their thoughts captive and submissive to Christ but even more than…
Romans 12: Living sacrifices… I know that I want to spend a lot less time talking about sex and drugs and alcohol - giving prescriptions on morality. Instead I want to believe that if you hold up the standard of holiness for what it truly is namely, obedience and collusion with God’s will, that Students will rise to that challenge less fettered by the whims of fanciful bull poo that the world or the church for that matter tries to fill them with.
As for a theme I am sticking with last year’s “Do what you know” based on James. I would like to see us do an MDS project this summer or Spring with our Senior High kids and I think that might be a good climax to the concepts.
Of course this year will be weird cause I am not going to be around for a good part of it – on Study leave. I guess I feel kinda responsible for these kids and I am quite frankly worried. I’ll leave it at that.
Anyways, Gil tipped me off to what looks like a decent idea so I’ll pass it on to you. Here’s the link to a post-modern (scrape-your-tongue-at-that-word) conversation happening on line on theology and the like.
So yeah here’s the link:
I’m out.