Tuesday, July 25, 2006

this is no Haagen-Dazs...

check this out...

VBS is over...

So it's over for another year. Somehow in my original job description - helping out with Vacation Bible School - was written in. I have usually enjoyed VBS, typically my responsibilites lie with the music end of things. This year was especially fun cause the theme was FIESTA! In the band we got to cover a couple of Salvador tunes. I had a bit of a struggle this year cause some people have such a crappy concept of volunteering. It kinda feels like we have all lost the original intention of this event which is to build relationships with kids and thier families. We have such a huge opportunity to interact with our community with this event - but often it seems that some people just want to get away with doing as little as possible. There are those who volunteer gladly every year and you know you can count on. But of course as usual these are the ones who volunteer for everything and you know they are over taxed.
It was fun this year working with my oldest boy as one of the 'mascots' for the VBS time. He and a few of his friends formed the three or more amigos. The kids loved them. they had to preform gross out tricks that Mark Dyck set up for them. Mark was the Gross Out Gaucho. The boys had to drink tooth brush rinse water, drink a slurpee out of the mouth of one of their friends, eat refried beans, catch wet tortillas with thier sombreros and eat a smokin hot burrito.
I have some serioius fun setting up all this stuff.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the poll

Here are the results from my latest extra scientific poll…

Slurpee 26%
Coffee 22%
Vente caramel macchiato - extra shot - extra hot 17%
Chocolate milk 13%
Tim Horton's Raspberry Ice Cap 9%
Vanilla Milkshake 9%
Cheese Sauce 4%
Tomato juice, Lemonade, Blue Kool-Aid, Chamomile Tea 0%

Now on the surface a poll like this seems to indicate that Slurpees are actually the preferred beverage of choice when marauding bandits threaten to cut out your tongue and give you one final drink. However, that would be a very rudimentary and an altogether simplistic view of the truth behind this survey. Notice if you will that almost 50% of the respondents chose a beverage with coffee in it. No other single ingredient factors so prominently in any of the beverage choices. Now I understand that the Slurpees made and alliance with the vanilla milkshakes but even so there is a wide gap between the two sides.
As one can clearly see our pluralistic society has made significant inroads in the coffee preferences which only serves to highlight the need for those of us true proud coffee drinkers to bear witness to those who do not drink the stuff and allow them to see the light.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Heaven and Hell - Right now!

“Jesus was Jewish. (No he wasn’t a Christian…)” – Brian McLaren The Secret Message of Jesus.
Of course, you say, Christianity was a religion that began well after Jesus died. And though Christianity was based on Jesus’ teaching and example, it clearly was not what Jesus was. Jesus identity was based in the Jewish cultural context. I think we all too conveniently extract Jesus from his cultural context. This is not hard to do. Jesus is God after all so he had to transcend his culture. Right? Well certainly there is a sense that Jesus teachings and exemplary life even his sacrificial death go far beyond the limitations of his own era. They can and do have meaning for us today. But we make his words impotent if we don’t consider the complexity of the context in which they are spoken. To me this is most clear in how we treat not only Jesus words but most of scripture.
We have a tendency to extract concepts from their cultural context and then translate them directly into our cultural context. McLaren in the early chapters of this book does an excellent job of showing us how that kind of translation has occurred with our concept of eternal life.
When someone says eternal life we think – heaven. We think of what will start after we are dead. But that may not be the best way of understanding the original words that Jesus was reported to have said. Listen to how m buddy Brian puts it…
“The Greek phrase John (the gospel of) uses for “eternal life” literally means “life of the ages,” as opposed…to, “life as people are living it these days.” So John’s related phrases – eternal life, life to the full (John 10:10), and simply life - give us a unique angle on what Jesus meant by “kingdom of God”; a life that is radically different from the way people are living these days, a life that is full and overflowing, a higher life that is centered in an interactive relationship with God and with Jesus.”
To think that eternal life begins now and that it refers to a QUALITY of life rather than a period of time – now that’s a different way to think about concepts like heaven or even hell. We don’t have to wait like children at Christmas juiced up on chocolate to “open” our gift of eternal life. We can start right now. Sort of…
But the heaven that has to wait until we die fits perfectly into our nice tidy little “salvation” box. You see if you make a decision (usually some sort of prayer or other such magic) – WE get to count you. You are in. Saved.
What’s our job? Sell you the salvation package.
How do we close the deal? Get you to say a prayer.
What is the benefit to the seller? You get counted. You get labelled. You get to be judged.
What is the benefit to the buyer? You get heaven.
When? Later. Much later.
And guess what that lets the seller off the hook. The biggest benefit to the deal is saved for something no one has ever come back to tell us about – CLEARLY. And on top of all that the seller gets to scare you. Yup if you don’t buy the product you go to HELL.
The seller has no commitment to prove that the product is actually what he says it is cause it only happens after you die.
Is it any wonder that hypocrisy lives a rampant virus in the ‘followers of Christ’? Is it any wonder that we don’t give a $%&^# about this world? Is it any wonder that we are so impressed by fancy coercion tactics that twist people into buying this almost fairy tale product?
Does the emperor have no clothes?
It’s too convenient to delay the treasure of ‘heaven’ for the afterlife? But to say that I could or might possibly get to live in the kingdom reality right now? Well that changes everything…
And oh yeah about hell. Sure I suppose hell might be a place and it might be hot and I probably won’t like it there. But what about the hell that people are living through right now. Basically because of our perspective we have reduced people’s pain and suffering to being inconsequential. Who cares about saving people from the hell to come when we die. We hardly know how to save them from the hell they are in right now.
Now I know it might seem that I am a long way from where I started but I hope you can see the connection.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

A blurb from Eddie Gibbs

"Modern culture presents challenges to the dynamics of creativity. Creativity could not be more different from the McDonaldized context that characterizes so much of modernity. McDonaldization is the process by which the principles of the fast-food industry influence other realms of society. Those principles are efficiency, calculability, predictablility and control. George Ritzer asserts that McDonaldization is the most powerful sociala process in the world and that no culture will remain untouched be its influence.

Outside the economic realm it does not take much imagination to see McDonaldization in health care, education, and even in church. McDonaldization is evident in American appropriations of church growth principles. It is also apparent in the seeker and purpose driven types of churches, although many older churches have caught the bug as well. Some churches have literally sent their staffs to McDonalds University for training.

The transformation of secular space communicates that the earth is the Lord's and that material reality, the part we see, holds out the possibility of redemption."

The church franchized into reproducible commodified store fronts is hardly good for the church. But do we hear the wailing of the older generation bemoaning the loss of denominational identity? Or the suspicion over the loss of accountability between churches of similar doctrinal positions? Are these complaints legitimate? Sure. But how can we ever expect to develop continuity and accountability if all we have to offer is the stale toast of factory cut out ideas about church?


I should mention this comes from the book EMERGING CHURCHES


Manfred Boller
brand new blogger whose first post is a pretty cool quote out of future faith churches.
Welcome to the blogger world Manny

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Let’s talk about graduation for a bit…

Every year for the past 15 I’ve been going to graduation ceremonies, parties and soirees. Some interesting phenomena have appeared over time.
First let’s talk about apparel. What is the right thing to wear to Grad? Many considerations need to be taken into account:
A] If you won the fashion and design award and made your own grad dress, in order to get said award you must wear your dress to grad – regardless of whether or not it was finished. Note: it is obligatory for the fashion and design teacher to compliment you on your lovely dress once you are up on stage.
B] It is always necessary for one male to wear a kilt and full formal Scottish piping band regalia. Unless said male is the winner of the fashion and design award. It matters little if you actually have any Scottish blood in your veins – apparently you only need to be able to drink like one.
C] Apparently, if you are a girl, your goal is to reveal as much skin as your parents will let you get away with. On the other hand it will seem like you are revealing more skin if:
-you are a larger person
-you haven’t spent the last 5 months tanning for this event and are white as a ghost.
-you are an exceptionally skinny person
D] Guys: sure it’s cool to rent a tux but you have no idea that the insides of those things become your own personal swimming pool after you’ve sweated all your body fluids into them during the 2½ hour ceremony in the sauna they call a church. After about half an hour you will start thinking about what a lucky nut the kilt dude is.
E] If you buy your own suit for the occasion you will only sweat a little less and joy of joys you get to keep it after its all said and done. Have fun with that!
Second let’s talk every thing else:
a) One student will receive the lion’s share of the awards. Invariably this person will be a female and will be sitting in the middle of a row at the furthest back part of the church. She will not receive her awards in one lump sum but nicely spread out over the entire ceremony. (There was a slight exception this year: Vicki Reimer won 14 awards – she got six of them at once and by a miracle was sitting in the aisle seat – congratulations Vicki)
b) 2 or 3 students will be hammered before they get to the ceremony. Usually guys. Dead give away: They are stumbling through the processional. Ironically the girls with the crinolined-taffeta dresses will do just fine even though everyone will hold their breath each they go up to get an award.
c) Somebody always shows up in a limousine. The bigger the limo the more likely the passengers will qualify for item b)
Once again Mark and I made it to grad this year and scammed a couple seat up front close to the action (it pays to know the staff at the school). And once again we managed to have a reason to exit early. But not before we got our annual fix of youth dancing with adulthood. There are always a few opportunities for laughter and some shared wide-eyed expressions between us. And every year we kick ourselves for wearing as hot clothing as we have.
Mark said something on the way home that has made me stop and think. Grad really feels like a time when we let go of the kids. To me there is always a lot of sadness when I realize that I have to let go of my role in their lives. I also look forward to it in some ways. Grads flounce around pretending adulthood for a day. Many of them won’t touch formal wear again unless they get married. But after a year out of high school, my relationship will change with these kids. They will know life in a different way and I can count on having discussions and conversations and a new kind of relationship with them. In fact most of my good friends are former youth group people. People I now relate to more like peers. I love that part of my job. But there is always some sadness. I realize that some students will not make the successful jump to adulthood. And at grad you can kind of see it slipping away a bit. It is disappointing to see the kids heading out to the binge party they call “SAFE GRAD” after you’ve poured your life into them. But not only that you get the distinct feeling that some of them are not ready to handle the challenges of the world they are about to meet. You wish you could be there for them. It’s an intense enough emotion that like Mark sometimes you weigh the ‘success’ of your ministry in this balance.
So congratulations to all the grads! I wish you God’s richest blessings! I will pray for you! And should the need arise I am still here firmly planted in the windy soil of Coaldale.

for pics of this years grads from our youth group visit here