Friday, September 29, 2006

Calling all hot women of the Lord!!!

Hat tip to MarkO

Date to Save:

who knows if this is the real deal or not. no lack of irony for me personally given some of my recent adventures in pastoring...

"Not only can we date hot guys (as only hot Christian girls could do), but hopefully we can lead them to God and help them get saved them from the burning fires of Hell."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The dirty deed...

So as many of you already know…
I have submitted my resignation to the church. Wednesday night I read the letter to council and gave a brief description of my reasons for leaving. Sunday morning I read an announcement at the end of the service letting the rest of the church know. The end date is June 2007. That likely seems like a long ways away for some of you who have done this resigning thing before. I thought that would leave an opportunity to bring some natural closure to the youth ministry.
It’s true I would have liked to stay longer and the reasons for leaving are complicated. There are things about how this all went down that brings me a great deal of disappointment. But Char and I are convinced that this is the right move for us. We have had that confirmed in many ways.
I look back on 13 years of ministry with a fondness and pride. I have been privileged to see God work in the lives of so many students. A number of students have pursued vocational ministry of one form or another – that should possibly stand as badge or something. But really the most rewarding thing has been to see people changed by God.
It’s tough to think that I may not be able to do what I love along side my buddy Mark. I kinda think he is sorta ticked at me for going through with this. Sorry Mark!
As far as future plans…
Pretty much wide open. One thing that we have thought of is me completing my Masters Degree at BibleCrest. We really don’t want to move so we are starting to scheme for ways to be able to stay and do the modular education from Coaldale. But if you guys out in blogger land have any suggestions for our future please feel free to fire them this way.
These are pretty gloomy days for me. I can’t help feeling a huge of guilt over leaving these youth. Maybe I shoulda been able to suck it up and deal with the ‘stuff’ for their sakes. It is also incredibly hard to think about creating a separation in something that has become so much a part of my life.
Anyways enough depressing talk. We have a lot getting on with it…
Thanks to all of you who have been a sounding board and a support in these last few months and weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

repaint repaint and thin no more...

apparently, the debate btwn these two paint brands is substantial. My hope is that it will soon be resolved. A paint choosing party is planned for early October sometime...
stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

color me green...

So in my post-operative-quasi-vegetative state my wife decides to check on my cognitive faculties by attempting to have me allocate approval for color choices for the interior walls of our house. So she spreads the color sample on the tile floor which to my best evaluation constitutes the most critical existing color with which the paint must be harmonized. Barely having set these in place she whirls around demanding a verdict on the color that I think matches best. I am to choose (as you can see) between greens. No wait – Emerald forest, glossy pine, Isle of pines, or deep-freaking-old-growth-pine tree. Oh yeah and it is supposed to go with the something-or-other port she picked for the other wall.

Women, can I send a simple plea?
Most of us males are pretty much oblivious to the nuances of color selection. I have come to realize that this pursuit of finding the right color can easily preoccupy so much of your thinking that you might even refuse your husband’s romantic advances. And knowing that we are basically the most romantically irresistible thing in your lives we find it hard to imagine the power that this activity has over your cognitive discretion. We know there are shades of green but we have never stopped to think to give them a name. Please do not interpret the vacant look on our faces as disregard for those things you find most valuable to spend your concentrated energies on. That vacant look reflects three things that are happening simultaneously in our brain. We are calculating: how much the paint will cost, when you will consider our involvement in this ordeal to done, and how much of the sports section of the news cast we’ve already missed. That’s a lot of math…

Here might be an answer to all those 20 somethings that seem to be leaving the church

"In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians,
bellwether mega-church Faith Community of Winston-Salem has asked
"non-participating members" to stop attending."

(be sure not to miss the slightly nuanced difference between the hearing impaired version of the article and the version that caters to eunochs)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just Wondering: Life Stages and Spiritual Interest

Just Wondering: Life Stages and Spiritual Interest
read this. Then whether it's on Gil's blog or mine tell us why you think there is a spiritual disconnect happening amoung 20 somethings (that is if you agree that it is happeningin the first place). You can see my take on this on his post if you are interested. You can probably find a few ways to poke some holes in my take on the subject...

mary and suzy

this is mostly for naomi

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Call me a one track pony but here is part of the Door’s interview with Hauerwas:
Door: I’ve encountered some individuals who interpret your writing about the role of the Church to mean that Christians ought not involve themselves in politics or secular movements for social justice. Um, are we missing something?
Hauerwas: They’re missing something. I think that’s absolutely crazy. They have a long-schooled stereo type…that we represent a sectarian position, which means you must withdraw from the world. But the original Anabaptists didn’t withdraw from the world. They were forced to withdraw when the main stream said, “Hey, if you’re not willing to kill somebody, you’re not going to get to play in our game.” We want to participate in every way we think possible. If I’ve withdrawn, why the hell are you so mad at me?
Door: Um Mr. Hauerwas, this is a family magazine. OK, it’s a weird family, but nonetheless… A lot of us seem to prefer living in anxiety to trusting God. Your writing expresses a foundational trust in God. How can we practice trusting God?
Hauerwas: I’m not very good at this. I’ve never trusted my own subjectivity. What I try to do is put myself in positions where I don’t have any alternative but to trust God. I never trust my own ability to trust. I hope that others will keep me faithful to what I know is true, and as a result I’ll learn to trust in God.


I want you to read these two quotes in light of the recent tragedy Mr. Gill chose to unleash at Dawson College:
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” – Benjamin Franklin
“The right local questions and answers will be the right global ones.” Wendell Berry - Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community.

Cowardice – to all those who choose to respond to this horror and tragedy through the detached strategies of public policy and institutional reform. Cowards are those who think that these ‘situations’ can be addressed by stricter gun control or fortressing public institutions.
This is not meant to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger…
It is time that we all learn to live with danger as our neighbour. It is time that our neighbour ceased to be dangerous to us.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

take 3 - roll cameras

I do not mean to cheapen the reality of horror that must no doubt be the experience of the thousands of students at Dawson today. However, the line that stuck out to me today was from one eyewitness on the radio who said, “It was like something out of a movie.” So life imitates art or art imitates life and could it be perhaps that our perception of reality has slipped effortlessly over the threshold of sincere actual meaning into a fictionalized version of itself so as to be avoided.

See if you can follow this:

First of all last night I watched V for Vendetta. I had finished reading this article on Brian McLaren that I was tipped off to by MarkO. This quote from that article stood out to me…
“McLaren, 50, offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He contends that people can follow Jesus’ way without becoming Christian. In the latest of his eight books, "The Secret Message of Jesus," which has sold 55,000 copies since its April release, he argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just "Kingdom of God" on earth than about getting into heaven.”
And then after watching the movie, an adapted screen play of a graphic novel, I was reminded to go and reread MarkO take on the similarities between the fear based tactics of the Nazi’s and the right wing agenda. This is a quote from his take…
“Here’s the thought that kept jumping in front of me, even when i tried, repeatedly, to dodge it: there are so many awkward similarities between the Nazi party’s tactics and the Christian religious right’s tactics in current-day America.”
Now a couple of things: a) the movie is good. It is graphically violent (no real nudity to speak of, but a few choice f-bombs thrown in) so it’s hard to recommend it but.... b) I think the movie makes a valuable point about how fear is the tool of evil and interestingly enough even though it is far from direct the movie reinforces the Biblical idea that love drives out fear.
So then this:
It is time that Christians lived without fear. In fact, it may be that the essence of the Christian experience is fearlessness. It’s time to stop being scared that homosexuals will ruin our marriages or those of our children. It’s time to stop being alarmed about easy access our teenagers have to drugs and sex. We need to stop being worried about terrorists blowing up our favorite GAP store. We especially need to stop being worried about questions. Questions about faith that challenge our conventional perspectives. Are we really interested in a set of doctrines or a theology that can not stand up to legitimate questions? (Does it seem strange to anyone else that the whole furor around the DaVinci Code seemed like such a challenge to so many faithful long time Christians?)
I think it is time that Christians ‘lay hold’ of the power of love – sing it Huey! (uhm sorry)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

what would happen if we weren't afraid of hell...

Bart Campolo (son of Tony) caught my attention in the latest issue of The Journal of Student Ministries. What would happen if we weren’t afraid of Hell. In the article Campolo discusses several angles in the article entitled “The Limits of God’s Grace”
His basic premise seems to be belief in universal salvation. I personally have not spent much time evaluating the merits of the this theological position but Campolo makes a few strong arguments.
At the outset Campolo reveals a dynamic I have been noticing in youth culture. The fear of Hell is not a motivating factor in helping people to follow Christ. In fact he suggests and I would agree that in many ways we negate the ‘hell’ that people go through right here and now by how we have come to understand the concept of hell especially in our Evangelical contexts.
He moves to presenting four basic options on what reasonable spiritual possibilities exist. Listen:

this is an audio post - click to play

Later on in the article he says,” Please, don’t get me wrong. I am well aware that I don’t get to decide who God is. What I do get to decide, however, is to whom I pledge my allegiance. I am a free agent, after all, and I have standards for my God, the first of which is this: I will not worship any God who is not at least as compassionate as I am.”

This is where the hinge pin of Campolo’s thinking lies in his belief in universal salvation. You would think that someone who believes in universal salvation would be have a weak impetus for evangelism. I find Campolo quite the opposite. Listen to this:

this is an audio post - click to play

I think the place where I wrestle with Campolo’s ideas is the perspective from which he comes. That being: that recognizing our own subjective perspective on live and truth we have some authority to decide the nature of who God is. I think that logically I have a problem with a concept of God that has the potential to be that inconsistent – from one person to another.
I have to say this article and well the whole issue has really challenged my thinking I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy.


This is how Coca Cola describes it’s latest invention:
"Coca-Cola BlaK is a sophisticated, premium blend of Coca-Cola, natural flavors and coffee essence. The effervescence and rich flavor of Coca-Cola BlaK provide the perfect pick-me-up for people looking for new ways to stay refreshed any time of the day or night. "Coca-Cola BlaK is a uniquely invigorating beverage that is full-bodied in flavor and as refreshing as you expect Coca-Cola to be," said Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Coca-Cola Brands, Coca-Cola North America. "There is no other beverage available today quite like Coca-Cola BlaK. Imagine the refreshing taste of an ice-cold Coca-Cola that finishes with a rich essence of coffee. Only Coca-Cola can deliver that distinct combination of flavors."

Here’s the thing. It would be fabulous for my coffee purist sensibilities if this drink tasted horrible. It does not. The best way I could describe it is to say that someone must have spilt a half bottle of coke into their caramel macchiato one day and thought it was good enough to put on the market. There is not way I can endorse this product although clearly I was not repulsed by the flavour. A few extra troubling things is that the product contains aspartame and aseculfame potassium (a very unfortunate yet altogether appropriate reference to the rear end). $2.09 for just under 500 mls of beverage means someone is getting a hose job.
Try it at your own risk.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Here's a Challenge...

for those of you who regularly read this blog...
I am calling you out to a challenge. Here it is:
You are confronted by a non-follower of Christ. In three sentences or less answer this question:
Who is God?

I know many of you are going to pitch and real (as I did) at the question and i can't wait to see what you come up with.

this has not made the conversion to MP3

this is for Paul . Although really this awesome session could be beneficial for most of you out there...

Monday, September 4, 2006


I caught the tail end of an intriguing interview on The Current this morning. Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed DR. INGRID MATTSON who was elected as leader of the Islamic Society of North America. Now if that doesn’t make you sit up and take note – check out the fact that she is a convert to Islam from Catholicism. (read more about her here…) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The first half of the interview, Tremonti dug around to see how Mattson could wade through the quagmire of gender equality issues that face Muslims around the world but more importantly in NA. Mattson danced quietly through some tricky spots even in the face of being labelled as not progressive enough. (Imagine that: a woman leader of a prominent Islamic organization who has not been codified from birth as a Muslim is being accused of not being progressive enough – huh!)
In the middle of the interview Tremonti shifted ever so effortlessly to questions about radical factions and reactions within Muslim expressions of faith. Here’s where a few things really jumped out at me:
Mattson has been quoted as calling on Muslims to denounce radical violent factions and terrorist organizations citing that misinterpretation of the Qur’an is the root cause of these problems.
I think that is interesting because I have thought for a long time that our own interpretation of the Bible is one of the most important tasks of our day and that much damage has been caused by our mishandling of it.
Mattson went on to say that when that misinterpretation is combined with a cultish social context that encourages the exclusion of moderating perspectives, the seeds of destructive radical movements have fertile soil. She said that the way these organizations work is to isolate themselves from other movements denouncing them along with secular NA society as selling out. This leads to brain washing. She suggested that especially young Muslims need to be taught how to question and allow the competition of ideas to help solidify their beliefs. Otherwise their beliefs are insulated from an accurate perspective on the Islamic Scriptures.
Interesting! I mean I guess to a greater or lesser degree I think that Evangelicals have been eager to cultivate certainty in their young people. So then literal interpretations of Scripture are paramount; as they give neat and tidy answers to the big questions in life. Parents want to make sure that their children have the answers nailed down to all the big questions in life. Yet disturbingly we are finding that these same kids are walking away from ‘the faith’ in droves. So maybe they are not joining a radical militant group but our kids are doing equally disturbing things (at least to our preconceived sensibilities). They are coming home after university and other pursuits having engaged in sex outside marriage, drinking and smoking, and horror of horrors --- GAY. They certainly are having almost nothing to do with church.
I would say that the root cause is not that different than what Mattson was describing.
But not only is the issue of misinterpretation a problem. Mattson also said that one of the key issues was that of disconnectedness between parents and their children (esp. teenagers). She said that in NA society Muslims are just as eager as anyone else to establish successful careers and ‘provide’ for their families. But in their busyness they are losing touch with their kids. Unaware of the ‘trouble’ they are getting into. She said that in many cases family members were unaware of their relative’s involvement in radical terrorist organizations. She called for parents to reconnect with their kids and give them a deep sense of belonging and worth within the family setting. She saw this as an answer.
You know what? That book has already been written. Chap Clark in his book Hurt or Patricia Hersch in A Tribe Apart or Ron Taffel in The Second Family all point to abandonment as the key ingredient in the degeneration of adolescent culture. But here is what came through so clearly as I processed this interview. There is a connection, a deadly one I fear. And this is the equation of that connection:
Misinterpretation of Scripture
(based in reductionism)
Social Superiority and Isolation
Parental Abandonment
I don’t know if that makes sense for any of you out there but here is a link to the broadcast of that interview. See if you come out at the same point I do…

Sunday, September 3, 2006

On Notice:

Reasons: (in order)
Bringing shame upon the 80's
Leading the Bruins astray
Leading coffee drinkers astray
For believing they rule the world
For causing the end of the 80's
For causing me hours of oral torture
For that sinking feeling that everyone gets
For being so high off the ground

Anyone of these items can be removed by placing a sincere apology in the comment section of this post.


the ephemeral telegraph
to my nose is more than my myelin can
keep from jumping
at – twitching with desire that paints
the dark caffeine mural
on my bones
promising the tiny freedom to careless thought
hoping to escape the light of pain
into the deep black obscurity of anonymous peace
to hide inside the cup for a flash
and rise to the subversive employ
of survival of the every
day – this is the pleasure of steam…
Sorry to have to expose you all to my crappy poetry - I got my inspiration from Jesse's amazing photography check it out!