Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I watched a news story (watch the video in the sidebar) last night about a ring of media pirates who were copying movies (some that had not even yet been released on DVD) and were selling them. I guess this was a pretty big operation that the police took down but here is what was interesting to me. It was not a bad enough crime in itself – the police and copyright officials, had to talk about the potential for this type of operation to be used to launder money or help provide funds for organized crime. There was also the fear that it might cost Canadians jobs.
Let me play my violin!
Isn't it cool that PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN is one of the movies mentioned in this piece.
To be honest, I don’t have much sympathy for these large media conglomerates who (in my humble take) tend to formulize much artistic expression into far too predictable and ultimately meaningless movies and songs. And all the time making astounding profits. And I know that there are ‘struggling artists’ out there who, no doubt, are enraged by the thought of their hard work being copied illegally. So let’s call it what it is: piracy is a crime in our world.
Watching the news story you get the sense that everybody knows that, even when the officials complain that piracy steals billions of dollars away from their industry, there is little public sympathy for an industry that flaunts its lavish lifestyle so openly.
I guess its weird how my mind works but…
I started to wonder about faith piracy. You know how maybe piracy is an illustration of how Christianity is developing…
…I need to think about it some more but maybe you guys have some thoughts on that…

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Will you miss Mark?

Stupid question:
Things that will not happen when Mark is gone:
-Random body parts will not be punched, grabbed, poked or lit on fire.
The hair on my face (including beard, moustache, eyebrow, etc.) will not be removed when they exceed their appropriate length.
-Youth in our community will go without the daily/weekly jabs, hugs and other bodily assaults. They will also go without the names. Now there is hardly a person in this community (myself included) who is not referred to by some other nickname by Mark – so we will all return to using our regular names. Sick.
-I will not hop into a car or van and drive to Lethbridge to debrief the latest events in ministry over a pan scrambler with a man who not only do I respect but I know loves me and shares my passion for youth in this community.
-There will be fewer conversations about kids who are giving us goose bumps as they mature spiritually. And fewer conversations about the ones that break our hearts.
I will have less of those wickedly hilarious moments of conniving fun as we both think up the next stupid gross game we are going to spring on the kids.
-There will be less laughter altogether.
--But there most of all I will have less opportunity to see the powerful way God works through my brother as he serves this community and these kids.
Like I said stupid question!
The cool thing is that he/they are coming back which only means a return to the wacky normalcy that I have gotten so used to in these last few years.
It also means that I have a few short months to prepare my body for the onslaught that will no doubt erupt when he returns.
Mark, I hope you will have an awesome year studying. I know you will be challenged and refreshed. Anyways enough sappy crap! Get your rear end in gear and get your papers done you slacker!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Footprints revisited...

check this out!

And I gripe, “But I thought you were the nice guy that would never make me struggle if I didn’t want to!”

ht: MarkO

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Decency and Christian Agendas...

“It is awfully easy for Christians to blame our community’s sexual sins on the mores of post-sexual revolution America – to criticize Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, to natter on about how Grey’s Anatomy portrays sexual behavior that doesn’t square with Christianity. But perhaps it’s more important that we reconsider how we talk about sex in the church. For although the church devotes an immense amount of energy to teaching about sexuality – just go to the Christian inspiration section of your nearest Barnes & Noble and compare the number of books about chastity to books that challenge, say, consumerism – many Christians still ‘struggle with’ (in that euphemistic evangelical phrase) premarital sex, adultery, and pornography."
Lauren F. Winner, author of Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity.

I hope this is getting through - I mean - why is sexuality supposed to be the most important sin issue for Christians to deal with. And of course if you suggest that it might not the most terrible thing that Christians should guard against - somebody is going to look at you cross-eyed as if you are some kind of pervert. I thought John Stewart had an interesting interview with Fredrick Lane about his latest book...

The Decency Wars

Conservative 'Christian' values are interested in fighting this war against perversion - to the exclusion of other (in my humble opinion) more dire issues of consequence to humanity. How much of Jesus' words were bent on trying to restore decency to the moral decay around him?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dentists, and guitars...

As some of you already know - I have been fighting with my teeth lately. I have one tooth that is absessed and usually quite painful. My wisdom teeth need to be extracted as well as they are causing damage to other teeth. So I went to see a dental surgeon yesterday. The long and short of it is: $830.00; local anesthetic; on my day off...(on Sept 19th).

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Also I go away for my holidays and come back to find my guitar on the stage in the youth room...
broken. That's right the neck separated nicely from the body of the guitar. I guess it serves me right for making it available for people to play. Oh well...
...I know it sounds like I am whining but I can't help but getto feeling kinda the craps for how things have gone lately...
I'm sure there is a lesson to learn - and complaining about it does not score high on the rubric
Tonight I get to play poker with some of my buds - that always puts me in a better mood.

The new old way of making coffee...

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I picked up this little number for under $20.00. The reason? I had been asked to make 'moroccan coffee' for a missions night we had recently. The recipe calls for cardamom and cinamon in with your coffee grounds. This stove top model works slick - you simply fill with espresso ground coffee and in this case the above mentioned spices and let it cook. I quite like the taste. Always a bit of a challenge to see if you are making the authenitc thing when you have never been to the country in question. I asked the missionary dude about my recipe and he seemed quite clueless as to whether the spices were actually a cultural norm but as in most countries of that part of the world the coffee is always thick...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Entertaining Eugene

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Eugene Peterson).' - Matthew 25:40
I guess when you ‘write’ the Bible – the personal pronouns refer to you…
this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Morgan is on NOTICE!

Paul Morgan is on notice for making rude and essentially evil remarks about the nature of the 80's music culture:
Direct quote: "but come on think about it, are those pink clogs really you, or are you stuck in a bad 80's music video and are going to be kicking yourself, when your kids and grand kids look at the pictures and ask was grandpa in the circus?"
Seriously, you can see how this kind of insidious remark goes a long way in breaking down the truth about the 80's as a pinnacle of music history.
Paul you will make a full and complete apology on your site and mine before I will take you off notice...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Is it just me or is a healthy work ethic subtly being questioned? Check out this quote from Mark Yaconelli’s new book – Contemplative Youth Ministry – “In contrast to our lives of spinning isolation is Jesus' life of relationship and presence. Jesus presence, his capacity to love and be with people, is transformative. (good so far) You can see it in the way he listens, shares food, spends time, weeps, walks touches, responds, and cares for others. (yup so far so good) He enjoys being with God. his ministry doesn't come from a preplanned formula but instead arises in response to the real situations and relationships he encounters. (really - so the Son of God has no real agenda?)...Jesus is generous, patient, kind… Contemplative Youth Ministry is an invitation to slow down...”
Now don't get me wrong I know what Mark is getting at. Some times we are too busy to notice the real needs around us.
I find it hard to maintain a view of Christ as a slow dude. You know latte at ten – get dressed at noon – nap – do lunch at 2 - - - -
I have no trouble at all supporting a very busy – Jesus. He did a lot of stuff. The disciples lost weight on his day timer.
So stop already with the lolli-gagging Jesus who wanders around all patient. Stop with the moaning and groaning about how technology is making us too busy pay attention to God. We get the point already. Sure patience is a virtue but that is not the same as sloth.
Youth workers are far too often criticized for what basically amounts to laziness. "What do you do all day?" We also have this penchant for running around like headless chickens with little clue of what we are trying to accomplish.
I like Mark's book because it gets at some areas of youth ministry that often go untouched. But I am not impressed with suggesting that Jesus was a slow dude as a way to support this notion.
Back at it...

Clause for youth worker’s pre-nuptial agreement

The spouse shall acknowledge that the youth worker’s apparent lack of use of the word, “NO” in regards to ministry responsibilities is not grounds for divorce, does not mean that he/she does not love them anymore, or is not an indication of lack of principles. Instead the spouse will recognize that the word, “NO” will be used more and more as the youth worker is established in his/her ministry.

Thanks for understanding this concept Char and for keeping me accountable to the use of the word.

Dobson on Environmental Stewardship

“According to Dobson, Christians should not let environmental “doomsday theories” distract them from abortion and same-sex marriage. Stewardship, while crucial, doesn’t require any particular action on global warming.” – Steve Thorngate –Sojourners
So ol’ Jimbo here figures, “that Genesis mandate (does not) justify “pillaging the earth” but insists that environmental concerns should always be secondary to “basic human welfare.”
But environmental issues affect people not just some idea of “the earth”.
Round, round we go

On Dinosaurs

I don’t have to buy the ten billion year old earth or whatever.
And I don’t have to buy that we all evolved from protozoa but…
It is inescapable to acknowledge that these distinctively different beasts used to live on our planet and that they do not live here anymore.
And I also have to admit that save some very extremely bizarre and obscure references the Bible is silent on the existence of these beasts…

Fear Church

I am tired of fear tactics used to manipulate people towards “faith”. Barking about pluralism, moral degradation, impending persecution (or get this the suggestion that we are already facing persecution in our stand on same-sex marriage or whatever) is blatant fear mongering. No wonder we are labelled as crutch walkers. That is what the Christian faith has become glorified escapism. What happened to being shrewd of crafty in our evaluation of our culture? What happened to the power of wisdom to out run the folly of our day? What do we have to offer people if it is nothing more than a reaction and an escape from the world around us?

I’m tired of preaching that resorts to fear mongering. Why can’t we say something from the pulpit that is not somehow couched in ramping up our fears?

Monday, August 14, 2006

holiday pics to go with Char's post

Here’s some pics to go along with Char’s great description of our holidays
Tiger behind cage kinda like asking a D-8 Cat to run on water...
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WartHog - I think i see a mullet...
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The absolute coolest animal in the zoo. Kinda surprized me actually. I thought I would like the lions and monkeys but...
(Hey, what's your favorite animal at the zoo)
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This dinosaur - known as the Xharlenobytabutikus almost lived up to it's name. Funny how Char did not include that in her report.
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West Edmonton Mall
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Saturday, August 5, 2006

It's been almost a year...

this is an audio post - click to play

Camping Injuries

that's right - camping took it's toll on me this time.
First of all I got a finger rammed into my cornea by one Jared Clark. It was freak accident but it still hurts like a bugger. (oooh a little Irish there - - see last post)Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
But even before that I suffered deep humilation at the hands of Mark when he lit my nipple with his lighter. This is not the first time he has lit parts of my body. My arm succumbed to this trial by fire some time ago. Usually, I'm on my guard when he has a lighter in his hand but ihave to admit he really got me this time.
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I know most of you really did not want to see that - but as you can see there was significant damage sustained by this incident. Anyway, Mark and Bonnie and Char had to look at this all week long so I thought a brief peek would do you well. As you can tell the big old belly really shines after a few days in the sun.
Oh yeah and by the way once we get back from this road trip - I will be booked for 5 dental extractions. Yup my wisdom teeth plus one are coming out. I'm still debating about whether I will go under for that or just get them yanked. We'll see...

Friday, August 4, 2006

camping 2006

As in other years, we coerce our friends to go camping with us at least for a few days. Last year we had the added bonus of camping with my brother and his wife. The way it worked out this year only Mark and Bonnie and Ben could join us. So we packed up our brand new utility trailer - gracias to fatter-in-law - and away we went to...
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Milk River (aka: Writing On Stone). This has to be one of the coolest places to camp. The sandstone hoodoos are amazing and the boys love the challenge of climbing all over them.
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Even Ben, once he saw the other boys ripping up these rock faces tried his luck. It was really interesting to see how he so much wanted to do what the other boys were doing. The boys were tickled to keep him entertained. They put him through his paces as well constantly asking him what noises different animals and machines made. We had some killer weather - even the Dueck boys couldn't have found much to complain about. Here's a shot of Ben 'helping with the dishes.
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It was sad to see Mark and Bonnie leave on Wednesday and the boys almost melted down with 'nothing to do' on the edge of thier tongues. So Char and I reclined to the Nicaraguan hammock that Dad brought back last year to contemplate our options. (actually we were just looking for an excuse to...
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As you can see though we had a great time. It was so relaxing and just plain fun. It seemed like the perfect way to wind down after the zoo that is VBS...
Interestingly, apparently right where this next shot was taken an adult rattle snake was captured. We got a chance to see it up close ait was almost as thick as a pop can. The guide told us these things can swallow rabbits! after we saw it the boys were ever so much more careful about where they put their hands...
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Of course, Mark kept us laughing. He was constantly telling everyone (especially Char), "That'll do!" I think what Mark is trying to do here is to try on his new thining hat for college this fall. Apparently, this thing will increase his brain capacity 10 times. Whatever, we are sure going to miss these guys this year. Mark and I have been doing minsitry together for so long that I am almost going to feel lost without him. Mark has been such a great partner in ministry - I will sincerely miss having him to talk to this year.
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I really love our family camping trips - it seems to bring out another special aspect of my family that I hadn't noticed or had overlooked for some time. I am so proud of these guys - each one - unique. Watching Ben this past week reminded me of when we were going through that stage. Of course Jared or even Levi is a far cry from the diapers and the rest of it. But it really amazed me how each one of them had matured and developed over time. I have been blessed to have such an awesome family. we aren't the most photogenic family on the block but I might just keep this shot - if only for the amount of 'skin' Char is showing. Charchanged her clothes more often than a Barbie at a slumber party. At night it was seventeen layers of clothing to keep the cold out. At breakfast she would add a blanket or something. Then at 11 she would emerge from the tent in a tank top and by 12:30 she was in her swim suit. By super the hoodie was back over the swimsuit and around the campfire she would have been more comfortable if the fire had been built in her lap.
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On Wednesday some people from Calgary showed up and we became fast friends. Thier kids (3) were exactly the same age as ours. Eamon and Anne Groome were originally from Ireland and thier accent was still noticeable. Well after Eamon had finished setting up the gear I offered him a drink and it went down hill after that. It really was cool. We made plans to visit them in Calgary and we plan on getting together with them when they are in Lethbridge for Eamon's work. We were kinda nervous about who might pull in after Mark and Bonnie left but we sure lucked out with that.
Well we are off again on Sunday to Drumheller to see the dinosaurs (can you believe there are people in my church who actually believe that they never existed...).
After that we head out on our road trip...