Wednesday, January 31, 2007

more mistakes...

Rex Miller again: "The Attractional Church does not properly distinguish between worshipers and musicians. In fact, in this model, only the beautiful ones are allowed to be “on stage.” And, furthermore, they must smile, be peppy, and radiate that everything is “great.” That is the bias of a broadcast-based church model.
This model is about first impressions. In other words, many people who know nothing about Christian reality or culture are sitting out there in the audience. To connect with them, you must present people who are cool and hip.
So, what happens when you have someone with a great heart for God, but not the best voice and not the most attractive appearance? The bias of the model relegates them to the place in the back. Worse, it disdains the real heart of worship." read the rest here
Again, Miller's point touches an important point about leadership. Of course one aspect that must be considered is competency. The more gifts and ability you have in any area of leadership makes you more qualified to be used as a leader. There is no way to guarantee that a gifted person possesses the right 'heart' for the ministry they are called to.
I have witnessed well-intentioned people whose heart is, 'in the right place' cause major upheaval in a congregation due to thier lack of competence. I have also witness extremely gifted people flaunt thier beautiful 'attributes' in ways that alienate people from receiving the 'ministry' they are trying to do.
I have recognized - that I have strong preferences in terms of who I want to work with me in leading music or other ministry.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last year I read and subsequently purchased Rex Miller’s Millennium Matrix for a course I took with Dale Dirksen at Briercrest. The book is helpful in framing a contextual grid for some of the distinctions in pre-modern, modern, and post-modern dynamics in church life. Miller has started a blog recently and I have tracked for the last couple weeks. He’s been posting a series of takes on mistakes that worship leaders make. I think he is identifying some of the core problems with contemporary systems of worship (the order and content of spiritual gathering times). Recently mistakes number 7 and 8 seem to evoke some tension in my mind. (check out these posts in order familiarity, routine, and a response) Let me frame the tension as I see it…
From personal experience I know that when a congregation has settled into a routine, complacency and rigidity that is counter productive to spiritual vitality. As Miller puts it, “That kind of formula actually creates a fear of intimacy which leads to a solid wall of activity and noise. No breathing room. No silences. No room to hear and respond. No room for the Presence.”
But I have also seen where the people who lead and design the ‘service’ have used to much new material and led in too many diverse spontaneous ways so as to alienate the congregation from engaging. Miller: “the ratio of novel to the familiar keeps worshipers off balance in most gatherings of the church.”
So how do you find a balance and what is the trick to being able to do enough familiar stuff to foster intimacy and not let it become crippling routine? How do you do new things in the gathering times without again alienating people?
In our church, we always pray before we receive the offering. Most often it is a pastor who prays and the content of the prayer is usually about the concerns and needs of the church community. One time when it was my turn to do the prayer I suggested that people stand up where they were and pick one of the needs listed in the bulletin and pray for them. This shift caused a stir. Several people appreciated the variety in what is easily a staple part of our gathering time. Others were ‘concerned’ that people might be nervous about getting up or that some people might not be able to hear or worse yet that a pastor might not be the one to pray for their concern. (We wouldn’t want common people to pray for Aunt Agnes now would we…)
So what do you think?

Dance Dance Revolution

If you wondered how I got all those crazy dance moves - I'll let you in on my secret - here it is...

ht: Mike King

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Some friends of mine have been talking...

about how pluralism is affecting our lives - especially as we try to live them out day to day. Here and here.
And I was listening to John Mayer and I am starting to wonder if I am, "lack of coherence or consistency with respect to one’s views about the world." Well not really so much. but check out these lyrics and then if you want to follow the link to watch a video performance of the song...
Is there anyone who
Ever remembers changing there mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time
Everyone believes
In how they think it ought to be
Everyone believes
And they're not going easily
Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water
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
Everyone believes
From emptiness to everything
Everyone believes
And no ones 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
What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand
Belief can
Belief can
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand
Belief can
Belief can

Not sure that I fully grasp what Mayer's point is entirely here but let me suggest a few things.

So much of western culture is cerebral - head based. Think about it. This gets really evident when it comes to popular culture. Societal distinctions are made on the basis of musical tastes, habitual Television viewing experiences (shows you watch regularly), reaction to movies, pundits perspectives on politics, talking points, 'branding' as a marketing strategy (Mac/PC; Nike/RBK; Telus/Bell), choice of sports team selected to win pugalistic ball game (Colts by the way), etc., etc., What these factors all have in common is that they are essentially things that we 'receive' through our senses and interact with in our brain. Even jumping around at a concert, is, at the core, an experiential element. These are not things we actually do. They are essentially things that happen to us...

In my view these are societal distinctions are becoming more and more important strata of identification. This is not how it used to be. Much more importance was put on one's ability to accomplish certain tasks. Vocational roles, gender function roles, financial status roles, etc., Now it's not that these things are no longer important but they are lessening. And things like keeping up with the lastest television show, or having the right brand of clothing are more important.

Problems around pluralism are complicated when they are related to the cognitive aspects of human experience. When one of the main functions of societal identity and one's place in it is the determination of what point of view we are going to take on this or that, we are dealing with pluralism in only one dimension.

As far as Christianity is concerned, for as long as our focus is going to be on trying to convince people to think the right thoughts, we will struggle in our culture. When we decide to be obedient to the truth we know and put into practice the best way to live - I think we will struggle less with how alarming pluralism seems to be in culture.

I think this is what John Mayer is getting at here. Everyone is competing for brain space over what is the right way to think. Yet ironically for all the energy wasted on convincing people's brains our actions seem to tell the most gruesome tale about what we really think. Of course it would be stupid to shut off our brains and stop doing all this wild and wacky theology and ideology. But it might be better for us to remember what kind of pudding we actually taste like...

Friday, January 26, 2007

funk this...

check out this video from Paramedic the hip pop funk brainchild of Jesse Peters who by the way just had a baby. Well actually Jen had it! So congratulations you two (three)!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

the slow goodbye

The parking lot is strangely silent tonight. I am little more present in this moment than I have been for awhile. The van door crunches and I wait a few seconds before the engine comes to life. It’s a deserted space of time.
Tonight was one of the lasts…
Ten years ago I started a tradition. The Pepper Party. The idea for the party sprang out of a convergence of extraordinary fate. My birthday and the end of exams have coincided on the same week each year. I decided this was cause for a party. Since so many other youth events were filled with pizza, hotdogs, and other edible paraphernalia – I thought why not make it a Mexican fiesta. It’s really easy for me to make tex-mex food so away we went.
There have been a few constants in this ten year old tradition:
Each year I make something called: Carne Del Diablo (Devil’s Meat) This is basically the hottest beef stew/chilli that I can make. Usually, I throw half a dozen habanero peppers in with two packages of stew beef or carne asada next comes 6 teaspoons of cayenne, 5 or 6 jalapenos, a tin of tomato paste, vinegar and sugar. Stew this all day. The result is a concoction that really rips you apart both going in and coming out (perfect for all those skiers taking off over their semester break).
Each year Garry Siebert eats too much Carne Del Diablo and pays for it on the can the next day. He always calls me to tell me how grateful he is for the trip to the can.
Each year some kid comes walking up to the counter with the biggest “I-can-eat-the-hottest-thing-on-the-planet” attitude. Each year that kid meets his match about half way through a burrito – of his/her own making I might add.
Each year I throw out some more rare ethnic food (deep fried plantain, ginger rice drink, hand-made tortilla, pinto beans, even pinolillo) along with touchy stuff like guacamole and refried beans.
So this year was no different.
Garry and I musta built about 8 or nine blenders of iced cappuccinos.
We had a giant foosball tourney which me and Michael won. (At one point I had to lift my shirt to reveal my belly in order to distract the other team.)
It was fun.
It was the last one.
The last one I will do here most likely.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t particularly feel nostalgically attached to this to the point of grieving the loss. No such stupid obsession for me.
It is just an uncomfortably odd feeling for this to be one of the lasts.
Next year at this time I may not even remember that this ‘event’ existed habitually during this week for so many years. In fact I am counting on forgetting all about it.
What I will miss are things like: the way Garry and I would giggle with excited glee each time some poor unwitting soul would munch down on one of those, “pieces of Satan” as Garry calls them.
I’ll miss the palpable sense of relief apparent in the room after the kids have survived the pressure of exam week.
I’ll miss being able to love kids this way…

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


things converge if you keep your eyes (and ears) open.
First: Celia Rivenbark--the columnist and author of Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like A Skank, interview in Macleans January 1st issue.
Macleans: I understand Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank began as a newspaper column. What led you to write it in the first place?
Celia: Well, I went shopping with my daughter, and I saw all these tween skank clothes, and one thing led to another. I just went off on the notion that these clothes are inappropriate, these hoochie-mama Las Vegas showgirl clothes marketed to kids who are as young as seven. There were all these sequined, sparkling midriff tops, lots of fishnet, shirts saying things like Jailbait, Made Ya Look or Juicy on the bottoms of the pants. Pretty disgusting.
Macleans: The salesperson seemed to agree with you that these clothes were inappropriate for the age group, but said everyone was buying them anyway.
Celia: Well, yeah, I think that's what's in style. Obviously the stuff sells because the stores are full of it. Parents buy it. They feel a lot of pressure -- particularly parents who work all the time -- to appease the kids by giving them what they want, so I think that's why so many parents just finally give in. They feel like this is a battle they don't want to fight. (Read the rest here...)
ABC News Article Titled: Some Say It's OK for Girls to Go Wild an article that suggests that sexualized portrayal of teenage girls is a normal part of the individuation of the adolescent process: "Every generation thinks that teenagers are going to hell in a hand basket for a variety of reasons," she said. "There isn't any new problem here."
According to Hancock, by dressing provocatively, dancing seductively and posting salacious photos on social networking sites, young women are trying to accomplish a time-honored goal of adolescence: establishing their independence." (Read the rest here...)
ht: Tim S
I am sitting behind a group of university students at a Lethbridge Hurricanes game. I usually try to introduce myself and talk to the people around me but this time I decided to mind my own business. So along with overhearing the usual talk about how drunk they got at this or that function and their obsessing over the expectations of their parents over thier marks - or lack thereof, I hear this conversation:

Girl: You know my mom totally loves that song...
Guy: Really?
Girl: Yeah, I heard her humming it around the house the other day.
Guy: Wierd.
Girl: (to other girl) don't you hate that when they get into like modern stuff.
Other Girl: Yeah that just doesn't seem right.
Girl: Yeah it freaked me out and you know what else.
Guy: huh
Girl: the other day she's singing the "buttons' song by the pussycat dolls and I'm like mom don't you know what those lyrics are all about. And she's like, 'Well, I like the beat - it fun."
Other Girl: Omigosh! "Fun" seriously!

So this promiscuity is it worse than ever or just a normal part of teenage cultural rebellion? And what part if any do/can/should/will parents play in it all?
I just have boys - OH DANG!

History of religion in 90 seconds

ht: Sterling
check this out! very interesting stuff here...

youtube feature made me smile

Monday, January 22, 2007


It’s a soggy wind
Blown round the corner
In the last breaths before midnight
And the road home
Leaving the quivering puddles in the spaces where the road and sidewalk meet
Soon the frost will kiss them to keep them
In place

It’s a deeper wind
Blown down inside
Past the promise of the day
And the road home
Peeling the lacy white gown away from the harlot – snow
And when it’s alone – used up – down to its core
Of dirt

It’s a harder wind
Blown resolutely away
Over the erosion of years
And the winding road home
Wiping out the tracks of yesterday made in the freshness of glittering hope
And the familiar path home is hidden under another morning’s

The wind is not alone
It is only empty
It is what is left behind that is alone
Again as it once was
To eek out the hope of courage against another wind

It’s a roaring wind…

The Examen of Conscience

St. Ignatius of Loyola was an interesting dude.
Inigo de Loyola was born in 1491 in Azpeitia in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa in northern Spain. He was the youngest of thirteen children. At the age of sixteen years he was sent to serve as a page to Juan Velazquez, the treasurer of the kingdom of Castile. As a member of the Velazquez household, he was frequently at court and developed a taste for all it presented, especially the ladies. (one source said he was addicted to the ladies – hmmm there is a euphemism you hardly hear anymore).He was much addicted to gambling, very contentious, and not above engaging in swordplay on occasion. Read more from this source
This guy was some kinda soldier until he got slashed in one leg and a cannon ball in the other. While he was recuperating he read about the life of Jesus. He changed his addictions…
Ignatius although not the originator of the Examen of Conscience was the one who adapted it for the Spiritual Exercises which the Jesuit order (which he founded) used/uses in their personal discipleship routine.
Now I’m not going to lie to you there are a lot of holes for me in these spiritual exercises that include a definite antagonism against Islam. But the Examen of Conscience itself does not bear these marks or tendencies and as reinvented over the years really focuses on becoming aware of our failings instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. As a spiritual discipline it could be a helpful exercise in developing humility and victory over habitual sin. It is something I want to use from time to time…

Here is a proven way to go about it:
First, I thank God our Lord for all God does in and for me and all humankind.

Second, I ask God to enlighten my mind to see my sins, and to help me live without

Third, I ask myself what I have done. What have I said, or left unsaid? What have
I done, or left undone? I examine my day, perhaps with a little system by time
periods, or places, or some such method.

Fourth, I will identify anything that I do not approve of according to my own
conscience, and turn to God asking forgiveness.

Fifth, I will look forward and decide how I will act tomorrow, provided God gives
me that gift.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What is our responsibility to people who choose not to follow or are ignorant of Jesus?

I recently lead a roundtable discussion with youth workers on the issue of ‘reaching non-churched teens’. The discussion was lively. I was struck by a few thoughts from the various perspectives that were represented.
Ideas about how pluralism changes our perspective on ‘reaching’:::
We have been conditioned to see Christianity as something to be defended. We are in defence mode. So our approach with non-followers of Jesus is to convince them of the truth of the gospel while defending it from the places where its exclusive claims come in conflict with other religious perspectives. Apologetics while important as a technique to define and refine doctrine and theology is limited in its ability to provide the vehicle for people to ‘get to Christ’. Instead I would suggest that our defensive attitude has been harmful in exasperating the smorgasbord approach to religion prevalent in North America. This classic approach is played out on front door steps between Christians and Mormons. But when we teach our children that Christianity needs primarily to be defended in the face of other religious perspectives we handcuff our children. Their faith perspective is only maintained as long as they have the resources to know and defend truth. When those run out they are liable not only to stop trying to convince others but to lose their own faith position.
We must realize that truth does not so much need to be defended as to be proved. Through our lives. That is to say that if we believe following Jesus to be the best way to live our lives better prove it. Take marriage for instance: what would societies response be to the church if when they looked at the church they saw that not only were we able to get married and stay married but that we experienced the best marriages on the planet?
That would not only be appealing but would provide a convincing argument about how and why marriage should be the way it is.
Ideas about how moralism affects ‘reaching’…
I feel like so much of our focus in trying to ‘convert’ people is to change their morals. It seems like the primary thing for us. If our primary objective is to change people’s behaviour aren’t we missing the point of the miraculous power of the gospel and reducing it to little more than a glorified self help project or group therapy experience. Time after time we notice how Jesus encounters with people rarely demanded action on their part but that when they encountered his redemptive work in their lives they were compelled to change their behaviour. Behaviour modification seems to be a natural consequence for most people who encountered Jesus. Perhaps when we focus on changing other people’s behaviour we focus on the wrong thing. Plus behaviour modification is often so self serving. We want people to change to be more like us so that we are validated in our own convictions and lifestyle. Perhaps considering our duty or responsibility to serve the people around us should be our primary focus. As mini-Christs we should ask the question: how can I serve this person so that they experience the unmerited redemption of Christ in their lives.

Friday, January 19, 2007

oh be careful little parents what you teach...

This post by Scot McKnight has got me churning. Scot is giving some critique of Dawkins’ God Delusion. He looks at chapter 7 in which Dawkins suggests that indoctrination of our children amounts to abuse – emotional and psychological. (more stuff on the book)
“But, this spills over into the inappropriateness of indoctrinating children into a faith. He enters into sexual abuse and then considers whether or not spiritual abuse is not even more deadly than physical, sexual abuse. Here’s his point: “as horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was [he’s talking about publicized abuse by priests in Ireland], the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place” (317). He writes about Keenan Roberts, in Colorado, and his houses of hell that are designed to scare young kids into conversion.
Dawkins broaches the necessity of the government stepping in: “Children, [he’s quoting Nicholas Humphrey], have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas” and these parents have “no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge” (326). The child has the right and privilege to make up their own mind.” (read the rest here)

It seems nonsensical to even start to think about asking the question out loud: Is it wrong for us to teach our children the ideas of faith?
If you are like me you quickly realize that you don’t have everything worked out in your faith yet we think we have enough to go on to teach it to our kids. But what if what we believe is wrong?
There are some people in my life right now that would suggest that we need to do a better job of indoctrinating our children ‘in the faith’. Give them a good foundation to build their live on.
Let me tell you I will be very disappointed if my children do not choose to honor a life perspective that acknowledges God. I am also very conscious of the fact that my perspectives are going to limit my children’s ability to interact fully with the truth (God). I’d like to believe that I am trying to teach my children how to think spiritually instead of just teaching them spiritual things but even in that I can’t help let my conviction seep through. I’m okay with that but it does make me pause to think that in some way I might be significantly affecting the direction of choice that my children will take in their faith journey.

Ask a Ninja:

in case you are needing suggestions for tuesday...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pointless Jobs/Careers...

Vicky over there sparked an idea - what if we started a list of pointless jobs. You basically, careers that are completely unessential to life. She suggested hockey players - - - so let's see who the first person will be to put them down on the list. I'll start with a few. (Rule: your career stands as pointless until someone challenges you to defend it)

Pointless Careers:
-Stencil Designer
-Tampon Commercial Producer
-The Person Who Tie Straps Every Childrens Toy To the Box
-Snow Shovel Designer
-Any Career involving Cricket
-Tennis Players
-The guys who run at full tilt across the court in Tennis to pick stray balls
-The Person who makes the coffee at Humpty's

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Several years ago on my birthday, my wife surprised me with a Washburn. It quickly became a treasured part of my life. It was a guitar that had circulated through several hands. At first it was Gil’s and the first few concerts we did with More Than a Song were the Washburn’s privilege. Later, Gil sold the guitar to Gayle who wanted to improve her guitar skills. Then it came to me.
When I was a child my father taught me a few simple chords and I used those chords to lead the youth group in which I grew up. Around camp fires my brother and I would play and sing the familiar choruses that drew our youth group into fellowship with God and each other. My brothers very quickly far exceeded my skill on the guitar and a number of other instruments.
For years I was satisfied to use the four or five chords and a capo to plunk my way through most common choruses. When Char gave me the guitar as a gift—I resolved to learn to play it better. I have come to really enjoy the guitar (piano was my first instrument) and leading youth in musical expression of spiritual realities.
Last summer, my guitar suffered irreparable damage due in part to my negligence and an unfortunate accident. Music has become a central part of the youth ministry program so this was a big loss for me both personally and professionally.
In October, I was overwhelmed by an incredibly generous gift that many people put together to help me purchase a new guitar. I now own a Simon and Patrick that tickles and soothes me whenever I play it. As a way to say thank-you I humbly offer a song I wrote for this purpose. Thank-you for the blessing of this instrument. I trust this song blesses you...

This song is really incomplete. I have a mind to rewrite some of the lyrics so that the song focuses more on the profound beauty of a simple faith. I think it needs a bridge or two or something. I inserted the song Faithful One as a bit of a diversion. Faithful One was the song that Char and I sang and played at our candidating weekend almost 14 years ago. It would be fun to see where some of you musical geniuses would take this little ballady thing. (My apologies for how pitchy it is). (By the way if you’re curious: I am cheating with a cut-capo at the fourth fret and a full capo on the second fret)

Many years ago a man taught me to play
Until my fingers ached
And learned the songs hidden in his heart
...songs about Jesus…

And round the firelight, I made the flat top sing
I’d teach my friends the tunes
And we all believed He was coming back soon
As we sang…
...songs about Jesus…

This simple song, I made a gratitude
For what the maker has let fingers play
Wood and steel and words have helped you raise your voice
In song…
...songs about Jesus…

I got these slippers from my aunt who has travelled to Turkmenistan. She is one neat lady. They are made of wool with pointy toes like elf shoes and slippery bottoms on them. so awesome on our tile floors...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dear Mr. McLaren

I know most folks like to just call you Brian like you’re their long time pal or something-but I hope you don’t mind if I don’t pretend. I’ve read a bunch of stuff you wrote (I paid for most of it). It’s pretty good usually although you might want to be a little more colloquial – especially in that New Kind of Christian series (that’s lame sarcasm).
I guess I only really have one question for you when it comes right down to it.

What’s it like to be a lightening rod?

You write down and say a lot things other people would like to say but can’t or won’t. You raise a lot of questions in people’s minds that make them nervous and defensive. You have a way of playing with the ideas around faith in God that reminds me of a cat with a bag of catnip. I think that makes some people nervous because they thought God was all, shirt-and-tie. Actually, I think the things you say and the way you say them makes some people so afraid that they get angry at you.

So I wonder what it must be like to go to bed at night and contemplate the people who might have gotten mad at you. Do you ever wonder about the ones that react to your ideas that you never get to hear about? Because it happens – let me tell you it happens!

And do you ever wonder whether you might have chosen the wrong approach? Because sure there are lots of people wondering the same things you have been wondering. But is it better not to wonder those things out loud? Do you ever wish you would have kept quiet? Probably would have been a quieter lifestyle? Do you ever worry that when people hear your questions they might actually get so turned off from faith that they will never wander down those paths again? Because if I were you, I would wonder all that and more.

See I know that you’ve got some awesome people that have your back: Grenz and Hauerwas and McKnight and Oestreicher and Jones and Wright and Campolo and Wallis. So that’s gotta feel good – you know more confident. So maybe when you have all those people to bank on then it’s easier to be provocative and stuff…

Now I don’t chase down all the rabbits from every trail that you have ever raised a question about. I don’t agree with some of the conclusions you come to. (Sometimes I even get bored with your style of writing – sorry.) But when I read “A New Kind of Christian” several years ago something happened. I felt like somebody finally understood me and that all the whacked out ideas and questions I had about my own faith and my own ministry were somehow legitimate. It sorta felt like what I imagined redemption must feel like – legitimate.

I have gotten myself into some pretty nasty pickles because I tend to question what seem like sure/certain things (I guess I am not the only one). Some people even have said that I question people just for the heck of it – you know Devil’s Advocate. And too often I have waded in over my head on a topic and found myself defending a stupid point of view. I think I have probably made some people frustrated with me at times. I have probably developed the reputation for being the one who is always taking the other side and that is not an easy thing to get rid of. But personally I have always hoped that people who were genuinely interested in find the truth would want to investigate and prod and poke around the edge to figure things out better. I have learned that some people are really not that comfortable with prodding and poking and they end up thinking that I’ve lost it – you know – gone liberal, soft, even heretical. Has that ever happened to you?

Anyhow, it happened again. Someone quoted you and suggested that you were off the deep end. Basically, that always seems to suggest that the rest of us who might like the questions you raise are sinking as well. It’s too bad. It makes for a deep sense of sadness inside me. I really think it distracts us from getting on with being the people we were meant to be.

Thank you for being willing,


Friday, January 12, 2007

The kids are getting into it too

As you might have guessed the topic of music is talked about a lot. Char doesn’t always share all of my views and is at times worried that the secular garbage will be too strong and influence on our children or on me (I’ll let her defend the rest of her views).
Enter Jared our oldest (half way to 14 years old) and the following conversation:
Me: Jared, you should check out Michael Manring since you want to learn how to play the bass.
Char: What kind of music is that?
Me: (antic√≠pating) It’s solo instrumental bass. No lyrics. So it’s okay!
Char: Oh
Jared: (snide) Yeah no problems with it. You know I could just sing a song about spaghetti and that would be fine. There’s nothing wrong with that it’s just about spaghetti.
Char: Well yeah but doesn’t the Bible say that no unwholesome or meaningless talk should come out of your mouth.
Jared: Yeah but it’s just spaghetti – I love spaghetti.
Char: Well maybe if you were complimenting Dad about how good a spaghetti he made it would have some meaning.
Jared: (making up lyrics on the spot to a new song) I looooove the spaghetti that my mom makes. It is so good. I loooove it.
Jared: (ramping up the chorus to the tune of The Badgers song) Jesus Jesus, Love Love, God God, Cross Cross. (still singing) Now this is a song that my thinks is good because of the chorus.
Dale and Jared: Jesus Jesus, Love Love, God God, Cross Cross.
(he is one funny kid - even char couldn't help but smile)

"they've got gospel in the air..."

Shaun Groves is a musician, a follower of Jesus and someone I have grown to respect. He made an interesting remark in a recent article in Christianity Today. The article is the first in a series of articles on the state of Christian radio.
"The bulk of the listeners are Christians," says Groves, "and this is music by Christians and for Christians. The trouble is, Christian radio tells stories to make you feel like they're evangelistic, but they're not. Say what you are. Don't lie to me and tell me I'm saving teenagers."
(click here to read the rest of the article)
This first article features a brief history and some insightful evaluation of the 'industry'. Although the piece is from an American perspective it’s not too hard to make some important connections to the same issues in Canada.
Shaun's comment and the article raise some interesting thoughts for me. One of the main rationales for the Christian music industry’s existence is the idea that by marketing the music commercially – evangelism will happen (that is people will get ‘saved’). What Shaun is drawing out is the reality of dynamics at play in the industry. Commercially it could be argued that Christian music could not thrive the way it has without a publicly accessible venue such as Christian radio. But the reality is that Christian radio is only marginally evangelistic at best in terms of who it market is reaching. So Shaun is asking marketing execs to tell the truth and reveal what more than few of us have believed for a while. This is primarily that:
Christian radio is a lucrative financial enterprise. It capitalizes on a niche market that is relatively easy to serve because of its general propensity to settle for lower quality music. And it uses the pretence of being an evangelistic tool further bolster support when in actuality Christian radio mostly, ‘preaches to the choir.’
I thought it was incredibly revealing to note Michael Card’s comments which suggested that had the church embraced the musicians of the early Jesus movement we might not even have such a thing as an ‘industry’ to talk about. Now that is likely an over statement but…
There are a few things about the concept of Christian-radio-as-witnessing-tool that are give pause. How did anyone get to thinking that a ‘searching’ person was going to make the choice to listen to a Christian radio station? Isn’t it arrogant to think that people who are looking for truth and redemption will naturally turn to a Christian radio station (or even TV station) for the answers to their quest? Who is comfortable feeding/supporting a growing chasm between the people who purport to hold the truth and the ones that seem to need it? Is it right to make profit off of music intended to please and glorify God? Does the music glorify God?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Guitar Music

thanks to my brother MO I fell into this record label that is very facinating indeed...
My Favs: Antione Dufour
Andy McKee
Don Ross
Michael Manring
Tony Emmanuel
Robert Taylor
If you are cheap like me you might even like the radio option on the website which features the stable of artists that the label hosts.
There is also a great link to the label page on YouTube.
Here's a video to whet your appetite...

you need to know this

Everett(e) is an accountant - he has made these calculations.
he is so brilliant
the question?
Is it worth your while to stop a pick up a stray coin on the sidewalk?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

more on music

"It is weird to me, as when you flip through radio stations you can almost instantly tell that a song is a Christian song when you get a quick sound byte. It seems for some reason that in so many Christian pop songs, with male singers they use this sort of whispery and hushed voice. I am not sure why the whispery hushed male voices are popular, but they certainly seem to be more the norm in so much of Christian pop." - Dan Kimball
read the rest here
So over Christmas I got into a 'friendly' over the issue of music. One of things we discussed was how predictable Xian music is I think Dan says it well here...
Here's a link to another discussion on the same post by Kimball on the Shlog

Shane Claiborne on the hanging of Saddam Hussein

Here are some of his thoughts concerning the execution of Saddam Hussein...
"What do you think of that man?" the old guy asked in a raspy voice as I settled in next to him on the plane. He pointed to the face of Saddam Hussein on the front of his newspaper with a headline story of the looming execution. I gathered myself, and prepared for what could turn out to be a rather chatty plane ride. I replied gently, "I think that man needs some love." And the rather boisterous gentleman sat still, perhaps not exactly the response he predicted. Then he said pensively, "Hmmmm. I think you're right..." And finally, he whispered in a forlorn tone, "And it is hard to communicate love through a noose."
Sometimes we just need permission to say, "It's not okay to kill someone to show everyone how much we hate killing." As Christian artist Derek Webb sings, " Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication. It's like saying murder is wrong and showing them by way of execution."

read the rest here

Look, by rights everyone of us should hang. There but for the GRACE of God go I.

Hot sauce crisis

Okay I'll admit this doesn't seem to be as big a deal as Pat Robertson's prediction for 2007. (here's the same vid on youtube) BUT...
Those of you who have attended the annual Pepper Party in late January know it's legendary status as the highlight of each young year. For the rest of you...
Each year after my birthday in January, I put on a mexican food feast. It is splendid in large part becuase the senior highs who attend are collectively brething a sigh of relief after their exams which happen to coincide. This thursday also happens to coincide with thier term break which is critical timing for the party as well.
The idea for this party come out of my sheer love to cook up a mexican storm. In years past, I have made homemade tortillas right on the grill. and every year I make my famous carne del diablo (devil's meat). The recipe calls for no less than 10 habanero (you can use scotch bonnet peppers, 2 lbs of stewing beef, an onion chopped, and a tin of tomato paste (well and of course seasoning) It's a mini volcano in your mouth.
I also cook up a pile of meat for burritos and all the fixins. I usually set out my vast array of hot sauces (This spring Char wittled them down to 15) I arrange them in order of heat and let the kids create their own party on thier tongue. It is always fun to watch the kids experiment with the hot sauces - especially the macho snowboarder types. (You know they will be skiing the next day and it is always fun to hear about how the burning set in as they were half way up the quad chair - tee hee)
This is where the crisis comes in...
We got home from our trip this last week to find our fridge dead. the compressor is gone. The food we found was rotting in our hot fridge. Thanks to Char's courage we got the thing cleaned out but unfortunately that meant that all my hot sauces went down the tubes as well.
I had some dandies too.
I had collected a beautiful arrangement of sauces with names like:Dave's Insanity, The Mother Of All Hot Sauces, Pain is Good, and a bunch of sauces that came stright for the country of origin where they were made.
I need hot sauces for the Pepper Party - its part of the mystique! Can you help me? Is there a favorite sauce that you enjoy - and that you can easily put your hands on - I would love to have a bottle of it. I will gladly pay for it

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

great politcal poetry none too reverent...

john allemang: poetic justice
a short excerpt;
Osama's Christmas Letter
The season's best to all of you
(unless you're a Christian, Kurd, or Jew);
It's been a hectic time, I know
For all who hate the foreign foe
But here in hidden border caves
The past year's made us terror's slaves
And while the mountain air's a perk
Next year for sure, I'm quitting work
To spend time with the wife and kids
And sell my memoirs - any bids?
thanks again trudy perfect Christmas gift

Killer Bunnies

My brother Mo taught us a game that is worth checking out.
Check out the website: all the guys in this household are addicted

Monday, January 8, 2007

the road trip

so a few pics from our seriously too long road trip. we started out on the 23rd and made it to caronport for a night with pat and trudy but not before i did the front brakes on the astro. the next day we made it out to Steinbach the automobile city to catch the Christmas eve service in Mo (my other brother's church) then we high tailed it off back to winkler for night. there we found the traditional christmas eve homemade pizza waiting for us at mom and dads house. the next morning it was presents and stocking and bird and all that jazz. very cool!
here are all the cousins playing a card game that Jared is cheerleading them to play.
and here of course is the present exchange and broo haha
My mom (who has lost over a 100 lbs by now) with her finely decorated Christmas tree
Mom and dad decided to take the whole family skiing as the christmas present this year. they went skiing for the first time as well. It is so awesome that mom has gotten the right treatment for her sleep apnia... really something to be thankful for...
all of us except for char doing what we do best kicking back after a meal to just shoot the breeze
Next we headed out to the Friesen gathering (extended family dealy) back in steinbach - good times catching up with people i haven't seen for years and years.
Then it was off to Regina and then on to Ponoka for Char's side of the family Christmas
here is the whole family posing for a pic in mom and dad's loft
char's mom and dad in said loft
me and char - one of those rare times you get to see my hot wife in a picture on this blog - just cuase i know most of you are jealous...
char's sister and her husband - we spent the week after New years with them skiing in playing in the east kootenays - very fun. they even invited us out for their news eve bash in the shop. I won $60 in poker that night.
Char's sister rachel, jared, char's dad, me, and jesse - learning and playing killer bunnies

Jared's first shave. i thought I would be there for it but char caught it on camera. I guess grandpa's electric shaver was too tempting not to try
the mele at the enns residence when all the cousins go at the presents that char's mom works so hard to get. I dont know how she does it but she finds deals on stuff the rest of us can hardly get our hands on. she is really good at that.
more mele and mayhem
char explaining to levi something important about his gift
We plugged the astro with ove $700 worth of fuel for this trip and got some pretty cool experiences out of the deal. i really missed seeing all our friends around here over Christmas this year but alas this was good too