Tuesday, December 20, 2005

bye bye boston

for those of you who have followed my ardent support of this hapless team - you will know that i have perservered through many dismal seasons and some pathetic play. Ironically Boston has thrown a jersey over many a star hockey player (and then summarily taken it off thier backs again). All along I have believed in the might B's and even to my shame at times.

But here as of the writing of these words:

I hereby renounce my alliegance to the Boston Bruins.

I'm giving myself a Christmas present. A whole new hockey team. And I'm letting you in on the action. For Cristmas this year I want to pick a new hockey team to cheer for. I am opening this up for you to make your bid for my allegiance. Now such as it is my loyalty may not seem like much - admittedly I am not the keenest hockey mind in the world but I do think I have a corner on my cul de sac (and probably my office as well). anyway as you can plainly see for me the criteria for choosing a new team is not entirely based on thier ability to win. So let me out line a few criteria for you to consider in making your bid:

1. I have a strong preference for hard working under dogs

2. I prefer teams who were playing in the 80's - to go along with my musical preferences (expansion teams after the 80's will have a tougher time earning my allegiance)

3. No Toronto, or Montreal. There will be a Christmas miracle for me to choose any of those two.

4. The rest of the Canadian teams have a natural draw for me.

5. The management/ownership of the team must not have it's cerebral cortex implanted in the fecal excrement of it's own body. (Honestly the Thorton trade was the last straw. I can stand the Bruins not taking the cup year after year - but i can't stand stupid management moves that make not sense at all)

So there you go I look forward to your solicitations and advice.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Sarcastic Little Christmas Everyone

hey it's that time of year again
the time when you pay more attention to when



instead of when your local

might be

(check out this cool article on some great churches closing at just the right time)

yeah probably going to spend more time relating to people in line at

then we will with the good folks in

and that's okay after all we're gonna need some extra
to figure out our
And I mean come on we've got
all figured out.

Of course given the looming

one thing is for sure.

We gotta make sure that these guys

are definately not

So let's stick to figuring out Aunt Betsy's recipe for
cause we've all got sewn up in a nice little package (tighter than CSI)

And you know we don't like no
in our religion. We have a hard enough time deciding between
and we got some Kyoto freak yelling at us about putting up our
cause it might affect
and we've got heck of time explaining how
gets in through

to think about any kind of mystery associated with God Incarnate.

So pull on a cup of

and bite off the leg of a
Why you might even put up a holiday

remember it's HOLIDAY not Christmas

wouldn't want to offend the

or the

and take a gander under the yuletide bush and count the number of
with your name on them. And low is that the festive
you smell. Don't worry these
can't smell it

They won't be waddling up to your family table begging for your
I don't want you to think me a
with this sarcastic little tome. My point is that there is probably just as much wood in
as there is in

and they probably kinda need to go together...



Thursday, December 15, 2005

hockey church

here's my plan:
This next year I am proposing to go to the local hockey rink maybe once a month on Sunday mornings instead of going to our church. Many of the people my age have kids in hockey and though their faith in God is strong they don't attend our church during the winter months. Unfortunately many of them have gotten a pretty bad rep cause they don't attend. So I am going to approach the various local hockey teams and volunteer my services as a driver, towel washer, equipment fixer, or hey maybe i could work with some goalies and see if I could pass along some of my extensive knowledge (tee hee). Any who I thought about floating this past the powers that be at the church and see what they think. But first I wonder what you think...
UPDATE...(Monday, December 19th)
so yeah i was talking to one of the coaches and he was saying that he might need a goalie coach. so i might have a natural in. The way i figure it if one of the parents/kids/coaches invites me to be there it might just be more legit in the eyes of 'the man.' so keep crossin them toes for me...
More...(Wednesday, December 21st)
so yeah i floated the idea with the other two pastors here. This brought about an intense discussion. I brought the topic up as a way to defend what I feel is the disturbing priority we have placed on attendance on our ideas of ecclesiology. I suggested that the very reason the idea of missing a Sunday or two each month (or even every other month) would not fly points to our focus on getting the sheep counted. Lorne suggested that maybe if after the game I was to meet with some of these parents and families and maybe do a Bible study it could be more legitimate. His idea might be good one but to me that still is counting the sheep. I'm not sure if we should totally get away from counting the sheep but I think it may have become a too important in determining our ecclesiology. To me the hockey on Sunday thing would obviously be more than just on Sundays it would likely mean that i would need to involve myself in more than just Sunday otherwise there woudl be no authenticity in my missional approach to being at the rink on Sunday. And that is just it- for me this is a question of being missional I think. I'll be the first to admit that i am not sure that I am totally thinking this one out properly or not but... Really i don't just wanna do this to stir the fecal matter either so on tip toes we tread... Any insight?

I'm outting you Jesse

yeah my good friend Jesse Nikkel is up and running on the blogging scene check out his good takes @ http://southerncanuck.blogspot.com/
He's got some cool photography as well to check it out

a poem about adulthood?!

Yeah so i asked this older single woman in our church about the whole adulthood thing and how she saw things as she was growing up and after a great conversation she sent me this poem:
"Iused to think that growing old was reckoned just in years,
But who can name the very date when weariness appears?
I find no stated time when man, obedient to a law,
Must settle in an easy chair and from the world withdraw,
Old age is rather curious, or so it seems to me.
I know old men at forty and young men at seventy-three.
Some men keep all their freindships warm, and welcome friendships new.
They have no time to sit and mourn the things they used to do...

Athe bottom of the slip of paper she wrote:
Does this answer your questions?

Some of you know who Helen Toews is. She is the one who fondly refers to me as "REV" and I in turn call her, "sister" We laugh and she sends me poems.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005

post-course post from the postmodern class

Just a little bit of follow up to the course mostly from Friday’s class:
Typical comment from a younger person: “Church is like taking medicine – it’s good for you but why should you enjoy it.”

The Enlightenment and subsequent modernity meant that the only God that was left after all of our rational postulation was a personal God – there is no room for a mysterious terrifying God. God is a manageable God.

Here’s a great quote to get you chewing, D. A. Carson in Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: “True tolerance must begin with disagreement. If there is agreement, there is no need for tolerance. ”

Oh yeah we talked about making decisions in the postmodern church. We identified that the modern method of voting is damaging to the church and that it promotes the entrenchment of consumer mentality. In Dirksen’s church people have to sign a document with their name. For instance when they choose their leaders they not only sign their name to endorse these people as leaders they also sign to support the church with their resources and energy. I think this is interesting. Recently I witnessed in our church a staff member being hired with a relatively large % of the vote – done by secret ballot. Of course when two or three months after he arrives he is not being supported then we wonder where those 80-90% of the people are to support this guys through his life and ministry. Well my take is that they were never there in the first place. I think if I ever go somewhere else to take a position I will ask them to do it the way Dirksen’s church has done. I can totally see how this contributes to the consumer mentality.

We also talked about the tendency in our churches to ‘share’ things in the past tense. Once we have dealt with issues or once they are safely in the past we can share things. I cannot remember the last time anyone shared a struggle they were currently dealing with.

Simulacra – a copy without an original (this may be much of our religious traditions

For any of you who have read McLaren’s Generous Orthodoxy I would like to see what you think about the question of whether or not he displaying Universalistic theology or if it is just an adjusted orthodoxy like he claims


Friday, December 9, 2005


As you know these postings when I am away are usually pretty long and I have to say that while it sure is interesting to hear your take and I value it greatly these postings really come out of my desire to reformulate many of the thoughts that I have been processing through the week. (It is also cool to see some of my class mates have stumbled onto my blog site and welcome.

1. Back to the entry point of faith for a bit: Dale reminded us that for years as kids we were told that if our lives were a train then emotions were supposed to be the caboose of that train. Probably if I remember some of the Bible College teaching I received the engine was belief or reason. Good people kept their emotions in the background and certainly under control. Is there another way to think that in propositional truth? I don’t think I would be misinterpreting Ryan to say to say, No. and I would agree. This means that even our emotions are propositional in nature. This one is probably not as commonly held but I haven’t closed the book on that discussion. What I do want to say is that a more wholeistic view of interacting with faith does not see emotions as following reason or belief or belonging but that these three things can have different roles in coming to faith and different prominence. The other thing is that I am pretty sure the emotions are pretty different than thoughts. Whatever more grist for the mill?

2. It is interesting that no matter how open we say we are there are always qualifiers for who belongs in community with us. Is being a welcoming community in conflict with being a moral community? Yup you bet. My suspicion is that Jesus pretty much focused on the welcoming… I don’t know. Dirksen said at his church they often say, “we accept you the way you are but we expect that you won’t stay the same way as you are.” I like that.

3. Any body out there wanna tackle a theology of time. I think we need one. We have for a long time judged people on their attendance of our Christian events but we have not really understood well the amount of time it takes to establish meaningful consistent honest community.

4. Dave Guretski joined us for part of a session. He told us about locked and open churches. He said that john Calvin locked his churches so that people would realize that prayer could happen at home and that only when people gathered together did the church actually meet (the space became sacred). The Catholics on the other hand left the churches open because the sanctuary was the sacred PLACE so people needed access to it at all times. Interestingly enough, Calvin’s model may have led to isolating the church from the people and whereas the Catholic model preserves the access people have to the church. Both are protective in their own ways but lead to different outcomes. Today we lock churches for slightly different reasons. To preserve contents and protect from vandalism. Something unthinkable in Calvins day… Paul Johnson do you have any insight on this at all… (in 100 words or less - - kidding)

5. Dirksen had a part in the chapel service today. He commented on the affront that the wise men from the east (astrologers) would have had to Hebrew sensibilities regarding the announcement of the Messiah. Obviously for the messiah to be announced by anyone other than the reliable sources of Hebraic culture would have been seen to be almost blasphemous. Dirksen said that homosexuals and psychics might be good contemporary models of what the magi represented. He mused out loud at what we would think people like that making significant pronouncements of faith in our context. He was being provocative and I have to say I was loving it.

6. We watched a video and one of the things that stood out for me was a statement that almost every one in the video said. The video was a sort of documentary on “emergent” churches like mosaic and marshill etc. this was the comment:
“It doesn’t even seem like church!”
I winced when I heard that cause to me it seems like this statement is causing a pretend alienation from the church. It seems to further honor our deeply consumeristic approach to church as well. Give me what I want. And as long as it doesn’t look anything like the church I am used to then fine. You see it’s all about fulfilling selfish desires. YIKES! And the ultimate consumer gets to go to heaven and when that is not enough give me some abundant life on top of that. So then these essentially consumer churches tout themselves as some new form of something and they attract a whole bunch of consumers and whammo we have success – worth following??! I know that is cynical. But these leaders were touting the fact that their membership was an average of 22.5 or something like that. That means it is not multi generational. Sure there is a whole gigantic group people in the 22.5 range that remain essentially out of touch with the church but is the answer to throw a whole new church at them. One that consists only of themselves. Please tell me this is not the only way otherwise what am I doing in Coaldale for these last 12 years.

7. We talked about how we hold family as such a high value and how it conflicts with church. Interestingly enough people will miss church gatherings to attend family functions we say this is good. But has this become a form of idolatry where we elevate family before our identification with God’s people. This seems like a no brainer for a guy whose extended family lives at least 4 hours away and family natural takes a back seat to ministry – partially cause it’s my job. But I certainly would not want to compromise my family’s health for church ministry. Or would i? Lots of stuff to chew on there…

8. Erwin McManus quote: “voraciously hedonistic in our worship.”

9. Dirksen suggested that accurate reading of the Bible should help us see that worship is pausing from our daily routine to do something different. He agrees that worship is not just music. He says we need to stop. This matches the Biblical concept of Sabbath. Now I would say yes we need to stop. But Sabbath seemed to be more about rest and community building then giving cudos to God. These massive praise sessions were more extra special events and festivals. Worship still seems to be mostly about obedience and service in the Biblical context.

Okay I am done
Thanks for all who prayed for me and my family this week and a special thank you to john and sarah doerksen who as always were very gracious. Thank you mo for joining me on this trip and Char I cannot wait to see you.
Bless you all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Wanna see how post modern you are?

here are a couple of surveys that might get your brain tickled
What social tribe do you belong to
this one will tell you who you might have some affinity with...

this next one is more about the whole po-mo thing (This one inlcudes Americans as well)

I would be really curious where you would fit

Me I am....

Potpourri Faith or just mumbo jumbo

So okay I know Char is going to get all weirded out by this (maybe mom and mom –in-law too) We had a very refreshing/stimulating talk about rediscovering the sacraments for evangelicals. Having grown up in a Latin American country where sacraments were almost like voodoo this is a place of stretching for me. (check out the book by Vander Zee on this) We talked about baptism and communion as begin a window to the mystery of God. Dirksen said that in their church they baptize infants and that when they do they have the rest of the people in the congregation touch the water to reacquaint themselves with the mystery and power of baptism. I know that as a hard core Anabaptist there is the whole problem of believers baptism but really it has become behavers baptism in most of our contexts. The orthodox practice of kissing the icons is really no that different than the hand raising, kneeling, dancing and other stuff that we ‘practice’ during worship. Do physical objects have a place in our gathering times well I certainly think that if we can avoid some of the excesses of superstition that often comes with that – then maybe even crossing yourself can be a really meaningful thing. I’m losing you Char I know it! Get this we even talked about praying to the dead/saints. Dirksen reminded us that people talk to the dead all the time at funerals. We don’t stop them and say they are heretics for doing that, (“Grandma wherever you are…”) Why should we stop talking to them once they are gone. Obviously they our relationship with them has to change but… Okay now I’ve gone too far…
Other stuff
We spent most of the day though talking about how essentially we in CANADA are more emergent than US and yes Gil I have a problem with the word emerging. Anyways out of the discussion and the stats surveys we come a few comments:
-Tolerance doesn’t let me get rid of the bad guy – local Sask politician in conversation with Dirksen hmmmmm
-There is a strong conviction that the church needs to fight for the approval of government in Canada (in the US not so much cause it probably is the government) but we should be nervous about fighting for government approval. The church has often been the strongest when the government did not approve of it. Yet we fight for things like the definition of marriage and losing our charitable status and see big problems with not having things go our way. So are we deluding ourselves into thinking we are living in a Christian country (wow Christmas north of Red Deer could be fun)? The whole Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s political activism has been shaped by this kind of a view. Hmmmm
-Question of these three entry points to faith which is best? Which is more lasting? Which is happening now? And in the future? BELONG BELIEF BEHAVE. Do we ask people to belong first then believe and behave or behave first then belong and believe (probably more fundamentalist)? We can certainly see that we are moving away from the believe first then belong and behave? Much to the chagrin, I am sure, of the Christian education centers and Ryan Dueck? (sorry buddy my tongue was emerging through my cheek for a minute there) I don’t know where I stand on this. I’m not sure I know if there is a right way or not. Now given the debate that has gone on on Gil site this question is not about truth it’s about praxis – the appropriate ENTRY point for people outside of faith. Should they believe all the right stuff first? Should they act right first? Or should the relate to right first? I hope that distinction is clear.
Mo and I built a good old Mennonite sausage meal last night and it was good
We have talked extensively and really my mind is fried so I wonder if we might just go see a movie tonight
Love you char
I still love Jesus like crazy and you’re not that bad either.
Now get back to your paper
God please save your servants in Iraq please if a miracle is up your sleeve this might be a good time to use it – I know I would give you props…

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Am I emerging? Monday's post...

Gosh you woulda thought by the size of my belly that–yup something shoulda been emerging outta me by now but…
Class with Dale Dirksen on Emerging Church issues (essentially post modern effects on the church)
First of all it already has been a blast being together with Mo my brother. We form an army of two in the class. We’re not totally sure our enemies are yet but you gotta know that two two hundred pounders are gonna take on any acid dropping po-mo’s or even the annoying guy who grunts at everything the prof says. It’s funny cause we totally got jammed into the front row of the class within spitting distance of the prof and his regalia of techno gadgets – so if you can catch “emergent” like the flu you gotta know that mo an me are gonna come outta here inoculated or infected…
Actually the class has been good so far. Kinda laying down the basics of the where we are at in the context of philosophy. So history and comparison and all that jazz. You know the basics but we were able to wander down a few rabbit trails that I think were intriguing. Of course there were those who obviously were rocked out of their chairs when Dirksen said stuff like: “the Bible and the Word are not eh same thing.”
There was a moment of clarity that brought me back to two summers ago when I read Brian mcLaren for the first time. Basically it was this: when the church functions in community not avoiding conflict but living through it (not ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t exist) then it is the most powerful gospel for humanity. It is so hard in all this pomo discussion to not criticize what has come before and I find myself gravitating to that (criticism). But we need to acknowledge that the ideas, methods and ideologies that preceded us were struggled through with the intention of coming up with the best possible stuff for their time. We need to do the same. Building on the strengths of the past and avoiding its destructive excesses.
Of course I am going to have to keep working through the whole truth question. So Ryan wind up your fingers…
Here is something Dirksen said, Post Modernity sees truth as ahistoric. I don’t know what I think about that. In some ways you have to see how truth is bound to historical context (flat earth etc). Maybe the question is if reason can transcend the historical boundaries.
It was a good day.
I miss my family a lot
Char, I hope today was productive for you.
Tomorrow it looks like we might get into music. Yup yup can you see me cheer!
Gil, Ryan, and Mark I wish you boys were here with me. We are gonna have to set things up to attend a class together some time. Maybe a few other of you would like to come along.
Peace out children
Mo has bad gas and I must go beat him up…


Hey mo and I had a stimulating discussion about the contents of music
We talked about how narrow a theology has been transmitted to us through the songs we sing together. Mo is a good guy to talk to about this cause he is pretty committed and gifted in the whole worship/music thing. - thats his job.
dirksen told us that music makes our theology. Not even just the words of the music but the sounds themselves. Soft chords for contemplation and response. Loud for declaration and praise and joy. hmmm
I think he's right and I am scared that the theology we have created through our music is REALLY thin.

am i emerging more

So yeah this morning was pretty good
We basically decontructed fundamentalism/revivalism, charismatics, and seeker sensitive church
all have their weakness and excesses but acouple of things stand out.
The whole anonymity of church that the seeker church embraces at the investigation level makes the consumerism in churches more prevalent. I really believe that the way in which churches can be counter cultural is to require deep intimate identification with community. I find people are starving for this.
Another thing that has really challenged me is this: Dale (prof) has mentioned a few times a commitment to a local context for LIFE. I have to say in my private thoughts I have wondered about this... Could it be that most of us are called to a specific context for life. I think there is alot that makes sense about this in some ways. Even though most fo teh population is very transient. there is something important about the commitment that says I choose to live and love inside this community for the long haul. If that's the case I can't look at 12 years of minsitry as some badge of honor but rather a fly speck (hopefully) on this journey in this commmunity. I have to ask my self do i have that much love. love neough for lifetime?
behind our head table at our wedding read a chinese proverb: choose who to love and love the one you have chosen. this statement really is the most beautiful thing about the gospel. When the gospel gets naked and wakes into the bedroom of my mind I can see this dysfunctional community of people who are eeking out a living in messy relationships that somehow work becuase of Christ.
hey hope everything is well with you
more to come tonight
i posted yesterday on Mo's computer but we were not connected so I'll try to get it on later

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Off Again

To Bible Crest
this time for a course call Emerging Church Issues
I'll try to blog through it again like last time
I'll be hanging with my bro so yeah we'll see how much time i have for blogging
here's hoping them old sask. roads are in a fair to middlin shape...