Monday, January 30, 2006

Putting Matthew 6 and 25 together...

When you pray to a God that is invisible – that prayer takes on a certain color. It’s a little easier to put off the awkwardness you normally would feel when you just keep begging and pestering somebody for stuff all the time. You turn into the kind of person who never stops running to Dad to bail him out for this or that, asks for money or tools – rarely returns them and then just keeps asking for more. Nobody likes that kind of person. But because God seems invisible maybe it’s just a bit easier to keep asking him for stuff. You ask - you get - It’s kinda like magic – and come on who doesn’t like magic – making something appear out of nothing. And gosh it’s sure not hard to get more than a little bummed out when he doesn’t seem to come through for you. And to an invisible God prayer comes out more like bargains and deals than real conversations. And even though you kind feel cheap way down inside you’re confident you’ve laid down just the right amount of faith to close the deal. Its an equation. I mean after all – it’s like used car sales – you know that the original price could never be what it actually costs. And if the currency for all your spiritual catalogue of items is faith then why pay too much. You’ll look foolish. So you’re sensible in your ‘deals’ with God because just like the used car salesman – you’re never gonna see him again – He’s invisible.
But then he’s not invisible – he never was. There she (and by she I mean God – even though I know you just have to debate my stand on the feminity of God which is totally not my point) stands with a $2 rock and a baby on her hip. (Matt 25.) And you turn around and you see him staring at you from out of the corner of your recently divorced friend's eyes. And you shiver a little when his wrinkled old hand refuses to let go of yours desperate for another touch.
What kinda deals you gonna make with that God? How long will it take for you to stop pestering the crack addict God? How long will it be before you hightail it off to your closet in embarrassment at your egotistical selfish consumeristic self? How much faith will you muster when that same divorced God happens to be your son? How long will you believe that prayer can ever be some kind of formula?
here's a little more for Mo and others...
what i was trying to get at in this passage was that i am thinking through some stuff on prayer recently. It is amazing to me how often we approach prayer with formulas and consumeristic expectations. When you read Matthew 6 Jesus has some bizarre things to say about prayer (closets, chanting and even what looks like a template for prayer). But if what Jesus says is true in Matt 25 about him actually being present in homeless or imprisoned, or lonely , or sick people then how does that change the way we look at prayer. Could prayer be actually less about asking God for stuff and more about allowing him to open/change our eyes/heart to see him wherever he really is. So i started thinking how our prayers might change if instead of making up these prayers infront of religious people in our nice churches we had to pray in front of (and in a wierd way to) these disadvantaged people. I don't probably just dumb thinking...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Case Study...

Respond to this case study: A couple has begun to come to the “emergent”
church where you are a pastor. They were recently married under a new Canadian
law. They have expressed interest in becoming members of your church. However,
the married couple is two women. What is your pastoral response? Briefly defend
your response? Remember, as an emergent church, your mission is to reach out to
emergent people groups.

So this is one of the questions we have to respond to in our class on Emerging Church Issues. Duecks please swallow your aversion for coloquiallisms (i can just see you grating your teeth at emerging/emergent) But screw the emergent perspective. How do you think this question should be answered? How do youthink your answer would go over in your local church?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

God's Wake Up Service

“To be honest, though, I don’t know how much I like the idea of my spirituality being relational. I suppose I believe this is true, but formulas seem much better than God because the formulas offer control; and God, well, He is like a person, and people, as we all know, are complicated. The trouble with people is they do not always do what you tell them to do. Try it with your kids or your spouse or strangers at the grocery store, and you will see what I mean. The formulas propose that if you do this and this and this, God will respond.” – Donald Miller Searching for God Knows What

So I come across this situation recently: Somebody I know screwed up. Some people would say this person sinned. That might be fair to say but hey we all do it all the time. So then another person who was their friend noticed that there had been this mistake and wanted to go and talk to this person who had screwed up. Being nervous and scared to mention anything to this person the friend asked God for a sign to know if they should go and talk to this person about how things were. This friend asked god to wake them up at 2:22 am as sign that they should go and talk to this person. Know what happened? God woke this friend up at 2:22 am. Pretty amazing right!
But the whole thing got me to thinking, not about whether or not God can do tricky stuff like that – cause I know he can. What I wondered was why this friend had to ask God for a sign to do something that they pretty much shoulda figured out was their job to do in the first place. I wonder if God isn’t kinda insulted when He has to perform magic tricks in order to convince us that he means what he says. Maybe he even gets mad. Maybe he just get so darn bummed out at us that he does what we ask him to do just because we’re so friggin pathetic.
I mean no insult to the person who got the personalized wake up call. I can totally understand being scared in that situation – I just wonder what it says about who we think God is…
I know that when my Dad asked me to clean up my room – I never bothered to ask him for sign that he really meant it. Gosh, if I woulda, he probably woulda pulled out his belt. That would have been his sign…
I guess this reminded me again how mixed up my idea of God might be. And it made get my head back into the obedience game.

On another note…

Hey just a big thanks to the guys who did BP’s on Monday night with me after youth. I missed a few of you there last night. I have to say it is quite something to have a group of friends like you all – I’m pretty fortunate. So 37 I guess it is now and it looks like my blood pressure is slowly starting to come down. Mind you when that sexy wife of mine walks in the room its all over the place. Peace out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


hey if you need some advice on what ails you
or you just want to check up on my gorgeous wife
also a soon to be Bachelor of Nursing (JUNE)
just click

Monday, January 23, 2006

splits, plants, and other excuses...

During our class this past fall (Emerging Church Issues) we had the opportunity to watch a documentary that showcased some post-modern churches. Something bothered me as I watched it. Many of the leaders interviewed for this doc. were extremely zealous in declaring their distance or separation from existing churches. I think it was Erwin McManus who said something like,”we try to create something that doesn’t feel like church at all.” Many of the other presenters intoned similar ideas belying this prevailing curse that has plagued churches for years. Here’s how it usually works…(I kinda like Erwin McManus so it's not like I'm picking on him or anything...)
Identify a significant problem inside the existing church, come up with something new, and then start a new church or even a denomination to support the ideas that this new way of thinking supports. Since the reformation we have gotten really good at this.
Now here is my tension, I pretty unashamedly align myself with much of the post-modern thinking about church. I think it brings an important corrective to the church in many areas. I can resonate with the frustration that many of these post-modern leaders intone. I also live inside a typically rigid church for whom change comes almost as quickly as the final report of the Gomery commission. There have been and are many times when the temptation to start something new has been overwhelming.
Is this the best way to bring about change in church? Does an increasingly fragmented church achieve the goals of Christ’s intention in establishing the church? Is there point where rigidity forces people to separate themselves from the existing church and create something new?
If you use Christ’s ministry as an example – it would be hard to prove anything but his work as distinctly different and against the established religious norm.
This really bothers me…

Oh yeah one more sort of unrelated quote from the class:
“evangelicals venerate music just like orthodox kiss idols.”-Dale Dirksen

Friday, January 13, 2006

Miller and the Art of renouncing god

‘I tell you all this only to say I came back to God. All the complexity about life was begging for an explanation; and me actually being god wasn’t answering very many questions And so in a way I left the old god of easy answers, the god who was always wanting me to be rich or wanting my country to be better that other countries or, for that matter, for me to be better than you. I left that god the preachers talk about on television and the politicians mention in their prayers (like a trump card). But I left room for another God, a god who might explain my existence, explain the complexity of my hand and feet and feelings and the very strange and mysterious fact even as I type this I am breathing.
I confess, I fell there is a God who is very big and who understands everything.’
- Donald Miller Searching for God knows what

In the margin a few pages earlier I wrote this:
“Your God is a crutch if all He’s good for is answers and tricks. In that case those people who say your religion is a crutch, they’re right! That kind of god we have to stop believing in. renounce our faith in the Santa Clause god.”

Besides recommending this book, I nervously identify with Miller in rejecting the God propped up by an over inflated notion of certainty in our expression of faith. The formula god is a dead god and the formula god rises out of the ashes of our quest for certainty. But that is no wonder really when you consider how arrogant we all are.
So along with the New Year’s resolution to lose some of my girth – I am also committing myself to carve off a few pound of arrogance at the same time…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I hate to wade into this topic on my blog here cause pretty much if you want to keep your freinds you should not talk about politics. But I've been known to throw caution to the wind before...

Rick Mercer is a political comedian that I enjoy - he makes me laugh. He gets paid to make lots of people laugh. He uses politics as his platform. Having been a fairly ardent Liberal supporter in the past I have winced at his often cutting expose of the errors of the Liberal arrogance. I have come to acknowledge it may very well be time to turf the Liberals from office. And yes I guess Rick's show and his comments have helped ease the sting of rejecting my long standing allegiance to the party. I say all this becuase I want to make it clear - Rick Mercer's agenda is to make us laugh - I think. Just so we can get that out of the way. He loves to use sarcasm and irony to highlight the humor is some pretty ugly spectacles in our politcal realm. that said...

I went to his blog today and read the following posting from him. (click on the highlighted words to read it).

So as I read that I was disturbed!

Now before you criticize my penchant for being disturbed at this let me once again acknowledge a few things.
1. You can cut and paste quotes to fit your ironic sense of humor if you want to.
2. The guy is trying to get laugh out of it all.
3. There are likely equally bothersome quotes and charateristics about candidates for the other parties
4. It is your right to dismiss all these comments because of the previous three reasons.

What bothered me was a sense of embarrasment at the idea of Christianity was being affixed to some rather bigotted comments. It made me sad really. Now rick may have some personal vendetta against Christians but my gut tells me it really wasn't that hard for him to come up with comments like these to affix these candidates.

I know this might seem like I am trying to disuade you from voting for the Conservatives and I can see how you might take this in that way but then let me say this...

There are a number of policies inlcuding the 4 year term of office and the tax cuts that I could really endorse from my point of view. So the Conservatives may not be a bad choice for responsible people to make.

Vote as you will. But please vote!

Okay you can rip me to shreds now if you like...


I cannot ggive myself a Christmas present this year (picking a new hockey team to cheer for) I realized that picking a new team takes time. There may be some defining moments that need to transpire. So I am throwing all the Canadian teams back into the mix (except for Toronto). Who knows how long it will take? I hope it is soon. I can only guess that this no mans land of hockey fandom might be have some allegorical lesson for me. Whatever... So be on your best behaviour cause I'll be watching how each of the fans of these teams fares.