Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is anyone else bothered by this...

This year due to lazy parenting we allowed two of our kids to go Trick or Treating. Usually we try to pick something fun to do as a family that is not Halloween related. Now I realize some people think that participating in a Pagan/Satanic Holiday pastime is wrong. Fine. Honestly, that is why we want to avoid drawing attention to the day or its celebrations. Two of our boys stayed home and two went out.
Straight up here's the thing the boys went out for a singular reason: CANDY!
and that is what bothers me. I checked it out on the scale and figured that between the two boys they collected well over 10lbs of candy. My math is crappy but the way i figured it people spent well over $30.00 just to supply my two boys with candy. That's one month to compassion or World Vision...

Homemade Jam...

When I first came to Coaldale M.B. Church, I was told that one of my assets was a group of older ladies (widows, missionary singles, and regular singles) who were committed to praying for my ministry. Not only has this proven to be true but I have recieved countless wonderful surprizes from this group of ladies. Cinnamon rings, and meat buns and preserves and all kinds of fabulous goodies. Many of these dear ladies have made it their business to watch out for me. Their prayers, I am sure, have sustained me in this ministry. Sometimes the finer nuances of youth ministry escape their paradigms and the story that follows is evidence of that. I mean no disrespect to them or their concern for me.
Anywho here is the first installment of Confessions of a Mennonite Youth Pastor...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Survey says...

Since I am also using the National Youth Workers Convention as a part of the requirements for my course work at Briercrest, I am required to do a little 'extra' work. One of the things that I need to do is conduct a survey. So I am throwing it out there to ya. Is there anything about youth ministry/youth pastors you would like to know. Here are soem of the questions I have worked on:
What five fashion trends are typical of youth workers?
How would you catagorize your physical fitness?
How does body 'shape' affect youth ministry?
One day when all the politically correctionistas have stripped youth ministry of all it fun (wedgies, chubby bunny, and boxer runs to name a few), what methods will you use to release all of your pent up frustration and aggression?
any more?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

more on church music

For the first time in almost three years I led congregational music/singing in our church. It was quite enjoyable actually. I got to play with almost the entire original Fliesch 92fm band (Vicky, Garry, Andrew (Joel and Henry were missing!)). It’s really enjoyable to play with a group of musicians who not only are skilled musicians but have the uncanny ability to anticipate how to shape a song (arrangement). Basically, I viewed my role as filling what was required/expected of a music leader in our church – but if I would have followed my convictions about music in the church I would not have led in the same way. I likely would have played almost no music at all and encouraged people not to sing.

I am wondering if a comment I made at the beginning of the service was really understood. I expressed my hope that people would enjoy the music that was presented, even if some of it was not the type that gave them the freedom or comfort to sing along. That idea of ‘enjoying’ music seems to be a foreign concept. Enjoying seems too banal almost too carnal a word to describe what ‘should’ happen musically in church. At least that is the impression we work with right? Well, maybe not all of us. But there does seem to be this actual attempt on the part of most ‘worship’ leaders to extract their ego and pride from the equation. This is a good thing. But it is almost to the point where we are so self effacing (or intending to be so) that we don’t want to take pride in producing high quality music. There is this mentality that the worship leader is performing a sacrificial service for the church in leading music.

This idea is bunk. I’m not sure of one music leader out there who finds leading music a burden or a struggle let alone that it costs them something of significance. Truth be told most ‘worship’ leaders deeply (yet secretly) enjoy what they do. But I digress…

Church music has some unspoken assumptions attached. It must be theologically accurate. It should in most cases meet as broad of a preference style as possible with those that are gathered. There is something about singing together as a congregation which we understand to be a unique and important spiritual exercise. Actually, in most churches I would suggest singing together as a congregation is considered a requirement.

What we get out of this experience is not insignificant. We get a shared experience which is similar to almost everyone gathered. This arguably can foster unity. We also get the opportunity to teach and affirm spiritual truth. With the power that music has on memory, it can be an effective tool for teaching and storing truth.

As an art form music is one of the most varied mediums of communication. It ranges in style, lyrical content, instrumentation, and arrangement. It even has some natural compensation for the anticipated audience. Music is also one of the most powerful venues for emotional expression.

The difficulty arises when we reduce music only to the role of leading the congregation in this shared experience. It is no wonder that there is so much complaining/arguing about music in the church. In an increasingly individualistic culture our own preferences and tastes dominate our evaluation of music. So enjoyment of music becomes conditional. And when we add the stigma of this being a requirement for the spiritual gathering of God’s people – we can see where frustration can spiral out of control.

Some ways of using music in a spiritual context might be:

Background to other stuff that is going on

Personal testimony

Commissioned pieces that follow thematic directions


Intentional teaching tools (instead of unintentional one’s like they are now)

Grand Works of Art or Showcases

I know that congregational singing will and should have a place in congregational life but I would suggest that it should take much less prominent one than what it holds currently. People in a congregation who sacrifice their own musical preferences for those of others should be praised as modeling sacrificial living. But we should also be concerned that these same people are viewing this as such a sacrifice.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pumpkin Carving Contest!

The Fine Folks over at United Waffle Eaters (now under a new girlfriendized name) have thrown down the gauntlet. Now I'm not one for celebrating Halloween but a carving contest is one I cannot possibly lose. So here is the challenge:
Carve a pumpkin by the 31st of October and send me a pic. If yours is better than mine i will knit you a touque and I might throw in some coffee.
So away you go all you wanna be carvers...
Send pics mdaele@hotmail.com as attachments
Oh and if you wanna up the ante feel free...

Aethist stuff

a rather long review of Richard Dawkins latest book, the god delusion. Dawkins is in most minds a professional atheist and as such has set out to prove religious thought as rubbish. This is a really good article...

And on the lighter side watch Steven Colbert tackle Dawkins on his show.

Kudos and questions...

Briercrest's Youth Quake is taking a turn...

Check this out from the event organizer:

"As soon as I booked our “big band,” I was uneasy. In the days leading up to their confirmation, God had convicted me of a practical idolatry that we were exercising in terms of the bands. We look to bands to save YQ, to bring kids to our event. The “need” for a band had skewed our priorities and we were offering increasingly costly sacrifices to appease our gods and win their favour. God called me on this and called me back to him."

Read the rest of it here.

Briercrest always puts on a great show. Last year in our Youth Min courses we discussed the YQ phenom at length. This announcement has reopened the whole issue in my mind - as if there was any room in my tiny brain for another opening...


Imressive hockey moves...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

certainty and faith...

Recently, I entertained a discussion with my brothers on the topic of certainty and faith. It’s hard not to get lost in the semantic similarities between confidence and certainty. In the end the two of us were likely closer to each other than either of us care to admit. Regardless, it is in discussions like these that I have found significance in my approach to faith and certainty. Although my I would typify my spiritual upbringing to be deeply rooted in traditional evangelical perspectives, I am distinctly privileged to have had family and friends who were willing to entertain some of the questions I posed about faith issues. I know that as I watched my own parents model grace that I was clearly taught the beauty of humble faith before mysterious and often confusing God.

I read Gil’s latest post and followed to read the Time article that followed. Here’s a quote to whet you appetite:

“In that type of faith, doubt is not a threat. If we have never doubted, how can we say we have really believed? True belief is not about blind submission. It is about open-eyed acceptance, and acceptance requires persistent distance from the truth, and that distance is doubt. Doubt, in other words, can feed faith, rather than destroy it. And it forces us, even while believing, to recognize our fundamental duty with respect to God's truth: humility. We do not know. Which is why we believe.”

Another good article to read on the subject: MB HERALD

Again like Gil said, I doubt Sullivan has captured the complexities of diplomatic intricacies. But in our increasingly polarized world, I find refreshment in a perspective that embraces the same kind of humble faith that I was taught to observe.

I am finding myself at an increasingly vulnerable place. The directions of my vocational aspirations are unclear. Yet I find myself with a deep sense of peace. And I know that in the months and years ahead my faith in God’s provision in my life will be tested. Frankly, bring it on! That is not to say that I will not wonder from time to time into the ditches of despair and confusion. In fact I hope to wander there more often. But this is the mysterious God I am chasing, hunting, exploring. I never expect to ‘bag’ him.

My Lord and my God,

May you ever prove to be beyond my grasp. And though your the fingers of your love will guide me through the fog, help me never to be satisfied with just your touch. Make me lust and crave more than I can ever comprehend. Never let my foolish pride pretend to capture you and stash you away like an RRSP plan. Give me humility to hear you in the voices of others. And forgive me were my arrogant provocations block you out of the conversation.


Monday, October 23, 2006

i wish I would have thought of this then...

Years ago when I was a part of the now infamous More Than a Song Band, we played a tune that Martin Smith wrote called, Find Me In The River. I also remember that at one point we sang the song in some context on a Sunday morning (probably and offertory or special music). Well, I remember being challenged as to the suitability of that song in the context of congregational singing. The challenge focused on the theological accuracy of the lyrics and the usefulness of said song in the congregational ‘worship’. I think at the time questions were raised about the often obscure lyrics of the then burgeoning group Jars of Clay. At the time I was flustered by the challenge and I think that cowered to a much more succinct and definitive perspective on the topic. Today, I would respond differently.

I would say:

Music speaks on so many levels. So often Christians focus on the lyrical content of the song and quite frankly they often redact the words of songs in much the same way we ‘expound’ the mysteries of the Biblical narrative. Its really a process that music was never intended to be filtered through. Music was not meant to be reduced to its theological treatise and doctrinal teaching potential.

When we look at the words that so much contemporary music employs we instantly become aware of two distinctly different dynamics in which music connects with the individual. The first what the words are actually saying. And the second is the imagery that the words are intended to evoke. Sometimes these are very similar concepts but I would suggest that in some of the most well crafted songs the nuanced meaning that arises from the marriage of these two perspectives is exquisite.

Take for instance a song we did no Sunday morning (that’s right folks I lead worship on a Sunday morning our church): The song: Your Love Is Extravagant by Casting Crowns.

Consider this line: “Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin” What does a line like that mean? Or this line: “Your fragrance is intoxicating in the secret place”? What these lines are doing is conjuring up an image that is more profound than the words themselves can elicit if analyzed by themselves. The first line suggests the image of Christ’s outstretched hands as also being a type of embrace. And who knows what we think of when we sing that other line.

I guess the gist of it is that I think we have totally eviscerated spiritual music. Because of our propensity to analyze and reduce everything to its theological veracity we have missed out on the power that music can be helping us develop awe and real reverence for God. It sure doesn’t help that we have deified music itself in our expression of church life.

the gibb brothers are back??

here's a little greasy number to trip you out on a Monday...

For those of you out there interested in this kind of stuff. We spent a good deal of time in our Threat assessment course on internet sites. So much of the school violence has been linked to various websites that allow people to wander around in some pretty sick fantasies, sexual harassment, and even cyber bullying.

We talked about some popular cites that kids are using to play around with different identities. I think this stuff is huge. I can see how sites like these can validate fantasies and other weird character experimentation. Of course this is typical of the adolescent experience but without the context of real live interaction with people there can be some dangerous consequences. Anyways check these out: But be forewarned depression might follow – I found a number of students I know on these cites…

Nexopia – use the user search on the left had side to find the kids you care about.

Gaia – this one is seriously weird

Xanga – you gotta set up your own profile before you can hunt around on others

Maybe you’ve run into other stuff that you wouldn’t mind sharing…

Fincas de Chiapas

Usually, Starbucks meets with a lot of scepticism in my books. I find that they tend to over roast their coffees. It's a technique that can hind alot blemishes in the quality of the coffee. Even their lighter coffees are would typically be more like a dark roast. But I would say that Starbucks is a pretty big step up from Tim Ho's and miles away from what 7-eleven brews. Yikes. Anyhow, I tasted this coffee a week ago and loved it. It is full bodied and complex and seems to bring out all the best parts of the latin american bean. And it's fairly traded. See what you think...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

connecting the dots

I attended a Level 1 Risk and Threat Assessment Training Seminar on Thursday and Friday of this last week. One of the possible avenues that I am interested in, after June when my time at the church expires, is to work as a family school liaison counselor. It’s a long shot to be sure but if things would work out I would be so excited to work in this field. Anyways part of attending was an attempt to bolster my credentials in being considered for any opportunities that might arise. But really more than that this was an area that I have been very interested/concerned about.

The whole course focused on assessing kids for potentially violent actions. There is a strong team based approached that has been developed in the wake of the Taber school shooting which took place several years ago. The protocol and assessment tools are simple but clearly a very responsible way to address the complexity of potential threats to school safety. Of course with recent North American events it is all the more poignant to address this issue. I could not help being overwhelmed with a deep sadness. Fear was palpable in so many conversations and discussion around these issues yet I was warmly reassured as I sensed the care that these professionals held for the children in their care.

A couple of interesting thoughts came out of the time there:

I guess there are some places in the U.S. where it is being suggested that teachers be armed with hand guns as a way of defense in these violent episodes. Several teachers were joking around at the break about what a handy tool that would be during recess. “A couple of warning shots fired over Johnny’s head would teach him to go down feet first on the slide.” It was funny and sick all at the same time.

I couldn’t help noticing the place where certain strategies that were discussed seemed to deal directly with issues of social engineering. I’m not sure why it surprised me really?! I wonder if sometimes we as Christians think we have the corner on behaviour modification or social adjustments. I realized that here were a bunch of people who working toward some of the same goals that I have been in their ‘secular’ context. It was refreshing in some ways. I think that a lot of us religious people worry about the social engineering that might be taking place. We think that unless the people who are doing the manipulation are not Christians their efforts are suspect. Of course we can cite acceptance of homosexuality in sex ed. and other similar issues but…

In some ways I think these professionals are proactively moving toward some pretty Biblical principles in regards to respect, bullying, and other similar issues.

The media bears such a huge culpability in the exacerbation of school violence. The sensationalist news media need to own the way their coverage affects the psyche of the adolescent culture. Personally I think that the media needs to be held to account. Where are the stories of success where school counselors and intervention teams have averted possible conflict? Where are the stories about how proactive policies are making a difference? They are very rare. That failure should haunt these reporting agencies.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


so yeah the kids get a rubber band around their face. It starts on the tip of their nose and across the middle of their ears. The deal is to get the rubber band down around their neck. Sit back and watch the faces and weird gestures begin. In this case all the wiggling got a little bit more than just the rubber band moving...
those of you junior high workers will easily recognize this substance as...
Shoot where else could you get paid for the chance to run a game like this.
HT: PAT for the idea for the game

With Great Distinction...

So the silly girl decides not to tell anyone that she is going to grad with great distinction.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I am faced with a personal dilemma.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting in the balcony with my wife and two youngest kids. About 5 minutes into the message/sermon, the din of the junior highs two rows back became loud enough for me to notice. My oldest two sons happened to be sitting in those rows. So I got up out of my seat and when to sit with them. I tapped a few of them on the shoulder and for the next three minutes or so the noise was less. It was then that a wave of guilt washed over me.
What kind of message did I send to those junior highs by doing what I did?
I have heard far too many people complain about the noise level in the balcony on Sunday mornings. My response, though rarely vocalized, was to suggest that those people who had a problem with the noise should move down to the main level. Honestly my concern in going to sit with the JHers was that I was hoping to help others who might be distracted by their noise. The thinking there is that those boys and girls should respect other people even if they don’t get much out of the service itself.
That’s where the problem lies.
I think that what I did likely communicated the wrong message to these kids. And although they may not fully comprehend it, in effect I told them that there were certain expectations that we had of their behaviour when they were in church. They need to conform to a paradigm that is quite during the sermon. But in a larger way it also suggests to them that conformity itself is an essential paradigm to identification in the church. I’m not sure that we have spent too much focus on making our gathering times junior high accessible. The thought strikes me that maybe if we did we’d all be a bit more engaged. Like I have said in other posts, I am not interested in catering to one specific demographic and there reinforcing the notion that we should approach church selfishly but…
I wonder if I have contributed to the impression that these kids will develop all too readily that the church requires conformity instead of authenticity. Or on the other hand have I showed them the importance of disciplining their own desires to make room for the desires of others. Any thoughts…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

evangelism linebacker

HT: Mo (my brother)

This is my new guitar...

As some of you know already my washburn (in all likelyhood) got sat on. That is sorta what happens when your own guitar becomes the church guitar, I guess. Mostly, it probably suggests that I did not clean it up and pack it away as I 'should' have. It's sad really that washburn was a very special gift from Char for my birthday one year. (I'll tell you the whole story sometime)
So now I have this new one from Simon and Patrick. Cedar top - low sheen finish. Beautiful deep rich clean sound. Even a hacker like me couldn't make it sound bad. Now if only I could play as well as my brother Pat or Mo.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Poem...

I heard Mr. Mitchell read his recent rewrite of this poem (He substituted the word Vietnam for Iraq) on The Current. There nothing quite like the voice of the author and his voice is deep and rich. If poetry is your thing check out an iPoems -where you can download this poem read by Mitchell.

To Whom It May Concern

I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I've walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Heard the alarm clock screaming with pain,
Couldn't find myself so I went back to sleep again
So fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Every time I shut my eyes all I see is flames.
Made a marble phone book and I carved out all the names
So coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
So stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Where were you at the time of the crime?
Down by the Cenotaph drinking slime
So chain my tongue with whisky
Stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out,
You take the human being and you twist it all about
So scrub my skin with women
Chain my tongue with whisky
Stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.
-- Adrian Mitchell

anniversary celebration

we celebrated early this year...
we got tickets to Delirium (Cirque du Soleil)
It was amazing...
we also saw Nitza who opened the show
She was amazing!
It was a fabulous night....

New Flavor..

I've tried them and they are good...

War on the prairies

So as the older brother it was once again important to establish who was the dominant one in the pack. My brother PAT is 2 and 1/2 years younger than me. The weapon of choice this time around was airsoft. Here's the blow by blow account.

Here is Pat wait to get hit by about a dozen shots.
Here is Pat after getting hit by the same dozen shots.
Here is Pat trying to escape the terror reigning down upon him.
And here are the perpetrators of said terror (his nephews!) Okay fine so I surrendered to my kid brother after taking about 5 shots off my nose. but you have to admit that my positioning is subperb. this is what menno pastors do in their spare time?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

what is the best sport in the world...

played professionally or otherwise...

fear based parenting

I have witnessed families explode too often to allow it to be alarming anymore. Explosions I find typically occur around the employ of fear as the primary parenting tool. It is best displayed in exclusionary conventions that teach children to be afraid of participating in certain behaviours. It starts with, “don’t touch the stove!” The child is warned to avoid touching the stove because there is a possibility of touching something that will burn their fingers horribly. Sounds good on the surface but the fact that the stove is only occasionally hot enough to burn them cannot be communicated with this approach. But is there a way to teach a 3 year old the difference between a hot stove and one that is reasonable to touch. Well it may be difficult but not impossible. Interestingly one day the child will touch the stove and find out that it is not hot all the time and discover that the revelation and perception of truth had somehow become compromised. Too bad that the kids starts thinking that his/her parents are liars. So we justify compromised truth and more importantly how our kids discover truth – we also compromise our own relationship to our kids – why because we want to save their fingers. It’s their fingers we want to save. So why don’t we start with their fingers.
You see our kids start to think that the way to discover truth is to be suspicious of authority. Fear based parenting in effect basically teaches kids to fear authority so much that they are suspicious of the world around them. The best parents can hope for is that their kids won’t discover that the truth about the world around them is even slightly different than what they describe. And for sure they hope that they won’t discover that the best way to interact with the world around them is not the way they have described in their parenting.
Otherwise kids end up ‘finding out’ that:

-I like the taste of beer (it does not taste like horse urine and i should have suspected that my mom and dad never really tasted horse pee) and contrary to my parents teaching it does not force me to sleep with loose women.

-Secular music often speaks more truth than Christian music and it does not compel me to take drugs.

-One cigar is not going to make me addicted to nicotine. In fact there is a lot of disgusting puking and hacking that goes on before I am going to get close to being addicted.

-Sex is not horrible disgusting, terrible, and gross. I don’t grow hair on my palm and my kids are not retarded if I masturbate. And my parents have repressed sexual tension evidenced in the fact they show hardly any physical affection in any public context.

-The internet has a lot of enjoyable, clean, wholesome content on it.

-Owning a gun does not make me a killer.

-Catholics want to follow Jesus too…

You get the picture.
Start with the fingers. Stop telling lies about the stove. The stove is mad. And so are your children…

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Exclusionary ethics

So let’s say you wanna buy some clothes…
As a hip, frugal person with limited funds you want to buy the best quality item, reflecting the most fashion sense, for the best price. But you have morals that prevent you from buy just any old place. So let’s look at the options available to you:
Department Stores: - if you can get past the child/slave labour that most of these chains use to produce their clothes you won’t get past their alliances with immoral segments of society. (Attention: Homophobes do not shop at Wal-Mart!) So I guess that put them out.
Salvation Army or MCC Thrift Store: -Well the stores certainly meet the frugal intentions and they seem to support some fine causes. But a few moral dilemmas start to emerge. Is it right for me to buy clothing that I can easily afford and in essence deny others who are poorer from doing the same? Is it right to only direct my resources to only those organizations that follow my religious or sectarian beliefs? What about quality? Is used clothing really the best possible way I can spend money on clothes?
Wait for a sale at the Gap, Randy River, LeChateau: Okay fine maybe you’ve solved some quality issues here and maybe some of these companies are trying to address global social inequities but are you really ready to support the stores that encouraged teeny boppers to wear handkerchiefs as tops a mere three years ago? I mean this is a case of supporting increasing sexualized and degrading styles, isn’t it?
Value Village – ah yes that bastion of bible college dorm wear. Let’s see. Quality - - uhhh OK. Charitable responsibility – check. Recycling – check. Cool funky smell when you walk into the store – check. Looks pretty good! Oh crap wait a second all the clothes are second hand or left over stock from all these other stores that we have just listed so…
Buy some yarn at Michaels and make your own clothes…well you might get shot!

I’ve decided to go naked.
I don’t know when our focus is on exclusion and avoidance of evil, we miss the opportunity that the power of redemption has. Sometimes they may look similar but often our actions will look very different when we become redeemers instead of accusers…

Check out Char's Take on WalMart...

So Walmart has come out of the closet!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

At the Bakery today...

...ordered my croisant with cream cheese (first time in about three months)
Bonnie told me one of the workers had called in sick - said they had fallen out of bed.
All I'm saying is that if I had fallen out of bed there would be almost no way I would tell anyone that that happened.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

This is a melancholy day. Outside – it’s like the slow silent tears of an old woman beside the casket. Maybe Fall is Spring’s grief.
Cold Play – Parachutes
Phil Collins – Testify
Pedro the Lion (see side bar)
Sarah MacLachlan – Afterglow
John Mayer – Continuum

So the music matches the mood (except KLF is poised in my Itunes player and on YouTube…)

But I digress…
Now before you all start chiming in with those ego boosting comments just hang on…
I have been convinced that we need to do more teaching on the Kingdom of God. So that topic is what we are pushing all throughout fall. Now how do you talk about the Kingdom realities without reverting to the all too convenient use of the war imagery? So yesterday I caved in and talked about agents/soldiers of redemption. I really wanna impress on the kids that following Jesus is not a save-your-own-butt strategy. I want to inspire them to think about taking up the biggest challenges of their lives. Last night I told them God was calling them to be redeemers (a term we have usually reserved for Jesus).
Anyways after some of the difficulties of the last few months I guess there was a fair bit of self doubt that sat around the corners of my consciousness. I didn’t even realize it was there until last night. I guess I had wondered if I still had it. You know the ability to take the ideas and thoughts I have been processing and convert them into digestible bits for youth to consume and connect with. To see the Holy Spirit open their hearts and somehow transform my jumbled ramblings into something that changes hearts. And Monday nights is Junior High no less.
I was pretty amazing to see the kids actually interacting with the concepts and actually giving thoughtful responses. Small group discussion did not degenerate into drivel. Shoot I cried all the way home…stupid I know but yeah there it is…
And after youth I was webcamming on MSN with Mark so we talked about the recent school shootings. I just commented that it seems like the staff at the schools seem really on edge and I wondered if it was cause of the suspicion that these incidents raise. And it does not help that media is all up in the freak out fear mongering with stories about increased need for security, peripheral lock downs, and other freak out freak crap. It really makes me mad. Check out any of these stories on the CBC and you find just how awesomely sickening it is to glorify the horror and the depth of grief for the media.
After talking together we figured out that we are going to write a letter to the schools. We want to thank them for allowing us onto the campuses of our local community. Not more than three years ago we had out own incident where a kid stormed out of KA and shot himself at home in town here. Taber is only a half hour away. You get the picture. Ironically when all this stuff went down we got calls from the school principals asking us to spend more time at the schools. We have a pretty sweet set up here. The last few days when I have been on campus I have felt weirded out from the looks that especially some of the new staff give me as I am hanging out at the school. And I realize that I can’t take this privilege for granted at all. It makes me sad to see the fear in the eyes of the teachers and staff at the school.
Well, its time to get off my arse and walk the dog – maybe the clouds will pause long enough to do that…

Monday, October 2, 2006

Evy turned me on to The Fire Theft
Uncle Mountain the first cut has this line

I want love if love wants me
I want god if god wants me
I just can’t hold on to what I believe

Far from being a quagmire of despondent doubt these lyrics are warmly hopeful and full-bodied honest. The fire theft makes deeply narrative music. Narrative in the same early YES is except there is no real genre comparison. Check out a Celtic well whiskeyed tune called Oceans Apart.
This stuff has been getting me through….
New album that was given to me as a gift…
John Mayer Continuum – home grown Canadian boy breaks out with a bluesy funk record that delves into some deeper and more haunting themes. The R&B saturated grooves are hypnotizing and ‘clever’. Here’s a lyric I have not quite got my head around yet but I am sure it has something to do with a statement about how religion gets saddled with the global conflicts we see…

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you're trying for
some need the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it's the chemical weapon
for the war that's raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one's going quietly

we're never gonna win the world
we're never gonna stop the war
we're never gonna beat this
if belief is what we're fighting for