Thursday, June 29, 2006

this is the fourth day...

in a row that I have had toasted tomato sandwiches like this for breakfast...
I know it's common to have pizza occasionally for breakfast but are there other foods you like to eat first thing in the morning that usually get eaten later in the day?

I know it's summer but please watch the teeth...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Numbers and stuff

"Each month, the Harper's Index provides a statistical snapshot of the world's economic, political, and cultural climate."
I thought it interesting how some of these items tied in with recent posting topics of mine...

Topic: Questions about prisons
-Number of U.S. counties where more than a fifth of “residents” are prison inmates: 21
-Number of these that are in Texas: 10
-Portion of New York Senate districts that would not meet the minimum population level without their inmates: 1/9

Topic: Rights, Oppression, and Poverty
-Percentage of African-American families that have zero or negative net worth: 31
-Chance that the family of an African-American child is too poor to qualify for the full U.S. child tax credit: 1 in 2

Topic: Marriage
-Percentage change in the amount of housework done by women after they marry for the first time: +17
-Percentage change in the amount done by men: -33

Topic: Youth Sexuality
-Rank of 2004 among years when the most U.S. babies were born out of wedlock: 1

Topic: World Cup Weirdness
-Miles from Berlin’s World Cup stadium that a four-story brothel has recently opened: 2

Topic: War and Peace
-Number of weapons that have been turned into tools for African farmers by a British nonprofit since 2001: 2,200
-Number of farm implements that a rocket launcher yields: 5

read the rest of it here.

One of the best reasons to be a dad!

Attention all weekend warriors...

ht to Corny Braun

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I don't have to share...

I just found this on Mark Oestreicher's blog...
then, today in the grocery store produce department, i saw a stack of little watermelons, each about 6″ or 8″ in diameter. and then i noticed the sign for them:
personal watermelons. i’m not sure why this both cracked me up and distrubed me. i guess it seemed (i know i’m slightly stretching it here, but that’s what metaphors do, right?) like a metaphor for the over-individuation of our world, especially our u.s. culture. watermelon is the ONE fruit (it is a fruit, isn’t it?) that, by its very design, is communal. watermelons are meant to be shared, to be sliced up into hunks for everyone at a party. watermelons belong in parks and poolside and at the beach. to engineer a “personal watermelon” seems oxomoronic at best, and reflective of our “it’s all about me” mentality at worst. couldn’t they at least have called them “small watermelons” or something other than “personal watermelons”?
what’s next, personal church? personal marriage? personal buffets? i think i’ll go outside to my large pool behind my privacy fence, and swim by myself while i think about this.

much ado about righteousness...

Are grace, forgiveness and redemptive action ever trumped by a defense of righteousness?
I mean do we, the church, have a mandate to up hold a standard of truth and right living, that can at some point deny people access to the redemptive power of Christ’s love in action?

this is for all my half mowed friends and family

ht: Bruno Toews

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TRUNK MONKEY: parental security in vehicle accessories...

My oldest just turned 13 - Char will probably ask for one of these any day now.

ht to Nathan

find five other Trunk Monkey commercials by searching for Trunk Monkey on YouTUBE


Oh my this I went with Vicky and Tyler to the late show. I can't remember when I have laughed this much. Great show! You gotta see this. This is easily as classically good asany comedy I have seen in the last 20 years.

I'm taking my family when it comes to the cheap theatre and I will accompany any of you from my youth group who would like to go.

By the way - so long to Vicky who is up to Camp Evergreen to work there for the summer again!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The new faces of 'worship' music...

Tom DeLonge, former Blink 182 vocalist, says, “We’re on a different intensity level with this record…” So I wonder if the leader of the new Angels and Airwaves has thought about creating some intense ‘worship’ music. I mean there might need to be a few minor adjustments in his character to get invited to the next Hillsong or Worship Together convention. He would have to lose his preoccupation for UFO’s and stop making as many jokes about the male reproductive organ but one thing he would not have to change much is his writing technique or content.
His latest ‘hit’ is getting a lot of public radio airplay. So check it out, here is a part of the first verse…

I wanna have the same last dream again
The one where I wake up and I'm alive
Just as the four walls close me within
My eyes are open up with pure sunlight
I'm the first to know
My dearest friends
Even if your hope has burned with time
Anything that is dead shall be re-grown
And your vicious pain, your warning sign
You will be fine

Hey oh here I am
And here we go
Life’s waiting to begin

The chorus is rich (even in it’s simplicity :o). Perfect for the next time you wanna drive home the theme of utter dependence on God, Jesus, or your girlfriend…

I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me.

What’s really wacky is how many times he repeats the chorus. Almost as many times as most 'worship' teams repeat the chorus to…

This is the air I breath…

And would you look at that some of the lyrics are so similar. I mean Tom, buddy, you should think about cranking out a couple 'worship' tunes. You could have a whole new career when you are done with this side project.
Oh yeah, and did anybody else notice that the melody for the chorus to Delonge’s song is almost identical to the melody that carries sway in that other ‘hit’ that George Handel wrote a few years back. Check it out. Sing the melody to “For Unto Us a Child is Born.” Then play Tom’s song and see if you can pick it out.
We could totally use somebody who writes great material like this. With lyrics that are distinctively in line with so much of mainstream 'worship' music and the ability to borrow from classical Christian melodies, why hasn’t Thank-you Music signed this guy yet?

They cheered their pants off...

Clearly Football (soccer) is a far more classy sport than oh let's say any of the rest of them.

See you on White Ave. Tonight:
Oilers 4-3

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Welcome to my experiment!

Recently, I have been challenged to address a very undisciplined part of my life. Food and how I consume it. Of course my wife will tell you that there are countless areas that I need to make adjustments in. However, the big revelation for me is that I find myself eating food out of habit – almost subconsciously. So out of sense of loss of control and a personal slap up side the head I realize that I need to discipline myself. I want to get to the place where I intentionally, with full awareness choose what enters my body. This means that to start with WHAT I eat probably will not change much – I suspect. My first goal is to change WHEN I eat. My biggest problem is eating at night just before bed. Apparently it is bad for a person to eat at that time of day but that really is less of a concern than how I find myself rooting around the fridge at night in search of something that can top up my tummy.
So here is step one: No eating after 7:00 pm. This will be a temporary moratorium on eating in the evening. I understand that it take btwn 14-21 days to break/create a habit so I will update you all on my progress after that. The moratorium will last all summer.

I figure if this guy can do this, I can exercise this tiny amount of discipline.
Understand my goals are almost exclusively for personal discipline. If any other advantages occur – weight loss, more romantic evenings, more concern for world hunger – I will be grateful. But they will be secondary.
As most of you know – I am overweight – and most of you will also know that I have tried to address my overweightedness several times with apparent failure. So let’s be clear. I am not trying to lose weight!
For those of you around here feel free to ask me how it’s going. Also if you want to enter this journey with me feel free to let me know how you are taking control back of your eating.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why Get Married?

You could end up like this!

At lunch today a couple of the guys had a hard time grasping how awesome marriage really is. I mean sure there is a lot to be confused about these days - with as much weird stuff as is going on around this issue but...
I'm betting that for those of you out there who are married, you probably never would have said you needed a wife or husband but now that you have one...
You realize that you really did NEED one!

Christian Music...

WARNING: this may bother some of you!
I’ve been choked about the Christian Music scene for awhile. Oh apparently it’s an industry. Great word. I love how that word is used in connection with Christian music as if it somehow legitimizes the stuff. Plehfhh! Quite frankly most of it is straight cheese - - -.
Even the good Christian radio :)stations mostly “zuigt”. Most of the contemporary ‘worship’ stuff portrays an over-simplified, and theologically barren faith. Worn out chord patterns and predictable U2 rip-offs and substitute-your-girlfriend-for-Jesus songs – that’s what is getting dished. And on top of that these songs are asking people to sing along with lyrics that basically force them to lie. “One way Jesus, you’re the only one that I could live for!” Really, the only one you could live for?
The performance stuff is weak and thin and mostly about mimicking what is ‘out-there’ in the secular scene. It’s embarrassing!
Imagine my surprise at listening to the latest offering from Downhere
here's some lyrics from "Real Jesus"
Jesus on the radio,
Jesus on a late night show
Jesus in a dream, looking all serene
Jesus on a steeple,
Jesus in the Gallup poll
Jesus has His very own brand of rock and roll

Watched Him on the silver screen
Bought the action figurine
But Jesus is the only name that makes you flinch

Another dude to check out is, former Caedmon’s Call front man for
Derek Webb

Check out “Wedding Dress” or “King and Kingdom”
He’ll knock you between the eyes with his indictment of current expression of ‘our’ faith….

Saturday, June 10, 2006

For all my skater pals

Mark O. posted this picture and is looking for the best caption to go with it.


This Adbusters article made me wonder
What are prisons for? More precisely, what should they be for? Should they be about punishing the perpetrator for wrong doing? Should they be about reforming criminally inclined individuals? Or should they kinda be like a grown up version of the time out chair? Are the sentences we impose supposed to act as a deterrent to crime? If so are the penalties stiff enough? On the other hand is prison really enough of a punishment anyway? Any ideas?

Downtown Coaldale Yesterday!

Friday, June 9, 2006

Go-carts with the boys

Jared, Jesse, Lukas and some of Jared's friends celebrate Jared's brithday at the go-carttrack at Evergreen Golf Center

"People aren't a field trip."

Hey just thought I'd bring this topic back to the top. Ger, who is one of our volunteer staff in senior high posted a good response and a bit of a call out on our practice of doing Random acts of senseless kindness...
RASKS have become a popular way for youth groups to expose thier kids to the reality of life outside peaceful suburbia (or in our case rural Coaldalia). You know I think she is right in many ways. In my/our own defense on the project I will say:
I have kinda seen the RASK trip as more of a launching point or a reason to be 'out there'. Last year when we did it one of our volunteers led a group of boys to a shelter where they spent the night helping the shelter wash dishes and chatted with the residents. To me this residual 'ministry' is more legit than just giving people stuff because we claim to love them in Jesus name. But I think Ger's right in calling RASKS a form of bigotry.
Wow that's a hard charge to swallow. But probably important.
I have ranted to some of you about how I feel about soup kitchens. It seems like these are really convenient ways for us to appease our consciences. And actually - I kinda think soup kitchens are part of the problem of poverty and addictive behaviour. There is not a homeless person in Canada, I am guessing, who doesn't have access to food somewhere somehow. I'm not saying we should deny homeless people food or shelter but that is really the least of their problems. Seriously, if we care about the poor and addicted as much as we brag we do. why don't we set aside a room in our houses to board one of these souls?

Mags or Rags...

Two new magazines that I have just subscribed to:
Sojourners,, is a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.
In response to this call, we offer a vision for faith in public life by:
Sojourners magazine, SojoMail and other resources that address issues of faith, politics, and culture from a biblical perspective;
preaching, teaching, organizing, and public witness;
nurturing community by
bringing together people from the various traditions and streams of the church;
hosting an annual
program of voluntary service for education, ministry, and discipleship.
In our lives and in our work, we seek to be guided by the biblical principles of justice, mercy, and humility.

Scroll Down to the Bottom of the home page and check out a couple of awesome interviews with Philip Yancey and Wendell Berry - Both excellent material.

The Wittenburg Door
this is the mag started by Mike Yaconelli and has always been great pointing out where we as Christians tend to take ourselves too seriously. The Magazine was almost disallowed in my Bible College years ago. So naturally....
I was curious and have been warmly rewarded ever since.

Duh World Cup

Most of my 'local' (and some of my far away) friends have written me off as a non soccer person. Probably cause I am fat. You know I'm not invited to any of the soccer parties or whatever.
I realize that as in much of the rest of life I am no expert. But let it be known...
I am cheering for all the Latino's
Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador, y Costa Rica
I've been to Costa Rica
I hope they slaughter Germany.
I know it is unlikely
But hey
Vive el Latino Libre!
World Cup Website

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Pavel posted an interesting quote here at What the dirty...:
"The first impulse toward a sense of justice may be pity for someone, but ultimately the feeling of justice is love for the truth. In life's difficult cases, however, a person who dispenses with pity may become so confused in the search for a formula to attain the good that he reaches the most ruthless and unjust conclusions." - Fazil Iskander (from: Remaking Russia: Voices From Within)
Some of you may remember my thoughts on the capitalism vs. socialism debate. I like what sarah gingrich said in her comments on this post. I like the term, "small obediences." I wonder if we would all give away half of each of our own loaves of bread whether we could solve the hunger in the world - literally and figuratively...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

What are you so excited about...

I’ve been thinking about something Tony Campolo said recently,
“At the same time, I am frightened by the way (youth work) is being understood these days. I find there is a kind of dumbing down of intellectual content and an expansion of a kind of “rah-rah” emotional enthusiasm, it can lead to superficiality.” - YouthWorker Journal (May/June 2006)
It sorta crystallized some thoughts I’ve had about revival movements. There is no question that there is something exciting about how Christ changes people. Only problem is that we have focused so much on the point of decision that we have forgotten about what change really looks like. Our human capacity for obedience is progressive and always incomplete. Instead we have celebrated the point of decision where the only thing that changes is the attitude or condition of the heart. Not that the heart is immaterial to the grand scheme of things, in fact the heart is integral to real change.
The way Scripture frames real conversion goes well beyond the intention of the heart to the actual confession – TO OTHERS of the reality of how Christ’s life principles change us. And when I read the word confession here I hear more than a simple to go and blab my ‘story’ to someone. To me the word sounds more like the idea of representative honour. We are ambassadors of Christ – closest reasonable facsimile of his kingdom. That requires extraordinary obedience. A changed life!
Too often I have heard of impending revival set to sweep the nation, city, church, etc. Rallied by a confidence that God is going to release some special manifestation of his power due to certain circumstances, I have even participated in whipping up emotional responses. This is not helpful because like Campolo says we may very well be spreading superficiality. Why?
Because the very act of rallying people to these spiritual revivals denies some very important elements of the Christian call. We tend to avoid talking about the hard things. Sure maybe we don’t do it intentionally. Imagine with me some of the slogans for revival movements were we to highlight the harder things of the life of faith:
“Come follow Christ and have your wife raped and kids slaughtered!”
“Come and starve for days on end.”
“Come and be quiet.”
“Let’s preach the gospel in this town and expect no results!”
I’m sure you can think of some more…
There is a certain definition of success that most evangelicals have attached to ministry. Success means decisions. This morning on 100 Huntley Street, Mr. Ron Mainse said he figured that the recent arrests of the terrorists were a direct result of the national day of prayer he participated in. That statement reveals a certain definition of success.
Should we get excited when people decide that following Christ is there intention? Yes! But not nearly as excited as when they begin to confess/obey/honour Christ in their actions….

Bylaws, butts, and a blessing...

There is a short little Greek who runs a pizza place here in Coaldale – his name is Nic. His diminutive frame holds a complete contrast to his boisterous, agitated character. But what is normally a short little spitfire of a man is suddenly a scolded puppy in the presence of his wife – Zia. Zia is a gem. Her accent is thicker than Nic’s but that has never stopped her from speaking more and louder than she does.
Dilo’s, the little spot that they run carved out into the second floor of a three story stylized rooming house, used to be filled with smoke. A few years ago the town decided to go smoke free in all public buildings. If they had been perfectly honest, the town councillors would have had to admit that this was targeted legislation against Nic and Zia. No worries.
Zia started up a petition.
I have personal weakness for the cheese toast that Nic makes me without hardly even asking. I probably don’t qualify as a regular but I might be close. I am, “da Pries”-a term Nic probably uses for any and all clergy.
One day I walked in to find Zia particularly agitated.
She asked me if I was going to sign the petition.
No that’s not true. Zia culled me from the group of buddies who I had roped into going to Dilo’s for a late night snack. She culled me with her large left arm and dragged me to the counter where she pointed to the yellow and yellowing paper taped to the counter. Tapping it she asked me if I could sign it. Apparently, to her the signature of a ‘pries’ would be an asset.
I declined trying to wriggle away from her firm grip on my shoulder.
Now as some of you are aware, I have had occasion to suck on tobacco products from time to time. But on principle, habitual smoking is both personally dangerous and dishonouring of the body I have been given by God. So I told her I could not sign it. I said, “Zia, how would that look if I were to sign the petition so people could keep smoking here and then would try to help youth to stop the habit of smoking?”
By this time everyone in the restaurant is engaged in the conversation.
Zia: “Bah!” she says flapping her hands at me.
“Eef a keeds uh gunna smok
Da keeds uh gunna smok”

I thought of that this past weekend. We took a bunch of senior high guys up to SABC to race stripped down trucks on a dirt track. Kids are gonna be kids. Boys will be boys. So of course the weekend was replete with testosterone induced mayhem. Moonings, playing poker in your boxers and motorbike boots… know – guys stuff.
Which makes me think that my oldest boy is thirteen now.
Jared makes me proud. He has a keenly sharp wit – used predominantly for annoying teasing of his brothers. He has a big heart – compassionate. In many ways he is fearless. He jumped onto the bike we helped buy him for his birthday and with a few hours wandered in with ‘road rash’. Most of all Jared is a keen spiritual learner.
I came to a realization yesterday. I have entered a new phase in may relationship with him. One where I will spend less time imposing rules and regulations on him and way more time helping him working through the struggles he will face. It’s hard to trust the teaching that I hope we have done in these past few years. And though the teaching will not stop, Jared will participate in that learning with far more volition. The scriptures teach us to trust the teaching done in childhood. Congratulations Jared on growing into a young man, I am very proud to call my son. I know some of the struggles you will face. I know you will screw up and make mistakes. That will never change my love for you. I know too that you will chart your life with integrity. I will walk with you down the Road of Christ.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Template Woes

This is especially for Paul who loved the latest template so much. I'll stick with this one till they can fix thier problems over at Blogger Templates