Tuesday, July 31, 2007

something I never thought about in this way before...

A comment in one of Ryan's recent posts makes a very convincing point.
"It’s hard to see how, in principle, the view that human beings are just a peculiar species that happened to evolve brains too sophisticated for their own good, could be used to argue against treating the world as nothing more than the means to satisfy whatever ends we deem desirable or necessary. Why not just exult in our good fortune in developing this capacity and go about the business of exploiting the world however we see fit? There’s nothing built into the worldview itself that could prevent this whereas I would argue that the Christian worldview does give us good moral reasons to resist unethical environmental behaviour."
Basically the idea that we should treat the environment in a certain way so as to protect it - for its own sake - is not a natural outcome of the idea of evolution. Why not just work toward getting all the best advantages for ourselves?

Monday, July 30, 2007

suffering: reprise

understanding suffering
why is there suffering - That's what we want to know right?
suffering is not just a few bad things happening to us - even if they pile up in a row.
suffering is a deep hole of pain or difficulty that seems to have no exit strategy. Really I have not suffered much at all in my life. And I don't even have to compare my life to anyone else to deduce that. Recently God has put a few people into my path who have or are suffering.
And I have been challenged to consider how I view suffering.
My starting point is with some of the thoughts that I put down in this article about sacrifice. From there let me expand a little...
I think suffering is a vehicle for beauty. We tend to consider suffering as horrible and hideous - unbearable. So why are people in the misery of Africa smiling? How can the person dying of cancer find the resources to encourage other people? Are they simply so much more ignorant of how good life could be that they find pleasure in the simplest of improvements over their former condition? In part perhaps. But I wonder if they are not living in an understanding of beauty in suffering. They see a way to transcend the horror of their lives and choose to redeem their plight with deep acts of kindness and compassion. I doubt they live with an overinflated idea of hope - I think they see life for what it is and understand that comfort is far less desirable than love.
When people suffer toward beauty they need not compromise on justice or truth. In fact, the power of courage to live redemptively inside our suffering may well be the catalyst to true justice - not just a self=vindication that we so often pursue.
And I am not suggesting that we deny the passions and gifts that God has placed in our lives. That we should, in effect, chase after suffering as a holier state of spiritual condition.
I think we all can recognize places in our lives where we have or are suffering even if we admit that we don't suffer like some do. Suffering is not optional. It may be within our power to prevent strokes, cancer, job loss, death, depression, poverty, or addiction. But in suffering there are always things that are out of our control - inevitabilities that can sucker punch our best intentions.
Learning to suffer toward beauty takes a supernatural determination. I am grateful for the places where I have gotten to see that modeled for me in the last few weeks and months.
Here's an update: just check Ryan's blog and discovered his excellent thoughts on the same topic...

wow this takes me back to the future almost

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Here's an Idea that might make a few of you cringe in

the recesses of your imagination...
Recently, I have been tackling some renovations to our upstairs bathroom. During the mudding and taping part of this project it occurred to me that I was soiling a number of sets of clothing best used for presenting myself in public. So I took them off...
...all of them!
See I told you - that your imaginations were going to cause you trouble here.
I thought to myself, "Shoot every time I am finished sanding I am covered in dust in every conceivable crevice of my body so then why deal with the encumbrance of clothing and save myself some money on laundry." I also thought, "This idea could likely be a successful TV show idea - not a necessarily good one but successful nonetheless."
The sick thing is Char snapped pictures....
(no I will not post them)

the next family rock band

look out american idol these guys are hot new rockers

gig bookings made through your truly

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jesus was sinless right?

Sermon on Sunday made me think…
It’s interesting that we always talk about Jesus being the sinless atonement for our sins. I’m just wondering how we measure that statement. Sometimes it feels like we have to do a bunch of wiggling to make that idea true. Lets’ look at a couple ideas…
According to whose standards is/was Jesus sinless:
Measured against the religious laws of the day as up held by the Pharisees Jesus could not have been sinless. We often look at Jesus’ trail as evidence that the Pharisees did not have anything on Jesus. Truth is they had a lot on Jesus – otherwise Jesus would not have been a threat to them. Jesus broke the rules of cleanliness, working on the Sabbath. He contravened the prescriptions against association with women and other undesirables. He allow a harlot to perform an intrinsically provocative act. What the Pharisees did not have on Jesus was something to put him to death.
Now of course we easily dismiss the Pharisaic laws because of their own hypocrisy. But we should not dismiss them so easily. After all, their laws were the laws of the religious context that Jesus lived in. And let’s not forget that many of those same laws have been upheld over the years in the church. Working on Sunday, rules about association have al been a part of the church’s historical perspective. So why does Jesus get to break the rules and still be called sinless. None of the rest of us could get away with it. Is it because the fact that he was God that he gets to operate by his own set of laws or regulations? If that is true then how are we supposed know which laws are supposed to be followed?
But then there is that time at the temple. Did Jesus have a good reason for being angry? You bet! But the fact was that he was angry. And his anger affected other people.
He makes wine and drinks it also –
So how do we account for all that?
Jesus needs to be sinless in order for his death and resurrection to mean anything at all. But Jesus would not have and been considered sinless back in his day – shoot he wouldn’t get a clean grade in our more ‘enlightened’ age. So how does he do it?
I think that the deal is that Jesus is living a principled life. It’s not that he chose a new set of standards to live by. He made his actions match the principles that guided the intention of the laws. So in places where the laws matched his principles he followed them. Where they did not he chose other actions which seemingly broke the convention.
This makes me think that it is important to continually evaluate things we call sin to see if they match the principles that God has set up for human life…

Monday, July 9, 2007


Lots of people have been posting, ranting and rave about this new iPhone from Apple. So I collected a bunch of them and well here they are for your enjoyment:
here is a post about the iBible
here is a commercial in a similar vein
an SNL bit
more iJobs
from a good friend who says:
“I confess that, aside from my philosophical objections to the ways in which we are conditioned by the technology we use, I still fail to understand what’s so special about these iPhones.” Read more here
here “Our social fabric is in danger of being ripped to shreds”
iTraffic Report
Michael Krahn gets some shameless iTraffic here and cites a few more iOpinions
iTalk Show
A little Craig Ferguson here
And here

Now back to work?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

more scandrette

To go with my comments over here about decision making here is what I read from Scandrette this morning:
“Are we apprentices of Jesus when we say we are, or when we begin to do the things he taught? Are we willing to take Jesus seriously as the kind of teacher he intended to be? Hearing the message of Jesus in a way that can be good news for us in the here and now begins with an appreciation for the fact that he spoke with authority. Very simply, Jesus expected to be obeyed. He did not present an esoteric theory of God or the afterlife merely to stimulate the intellect. He believed he held the words of eternal life and that people would ignore his teachings at their own peril.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Just Worship

Ok so before I go on please remember that:
I have been, am, and will be a ‘worship leader’ (shiver shiver)
I think music is hard core great stuff and important for our spiritual lives.
music is a gift.

I found this post on Think Christian the basic gist of both was: stop b$%^&ing about lousy ‘worship’ music. SUCK IT UP – And just worship!
Quote: “I think what we need to do is just worship.”
So that’s it eh? Just give yourself an intellectual spanking for being so critical and do some worship. Sorry that just does not work for me on almost every level. I understand that having a default attitude of criticism is wrong but…
I just think it is crucial to sing, write, perform, ask other people to sing songs that are theologically honest. On top of that – while I don’t think arrogant perfection and showmanship is an admirable quality in a ‘worship’ leader, we do need to recognize that leading people to sing something together requires certain skills. And on top of all that – the spiritual maturity to lead songs that most people will feel good about participating in is immense. Given the diversity of musical tastes in most congregations – I would suggest that this is nearly impossible even with most skilled leader.
I think the only answer is to make music a special feature of our gathering times and not so much of a staple in our ‘worship’ diet. The other place for group singing is where the group is more homogeneous in musical tastes and singing preferences.

Some quotes and thoughts

On Scandrette’s Soul Graphitti which I am just getting around to completing beside the pool this week.
“As I think about it now, there is more than a little irony in the fact that we sat passively in a regal sanctuary listening to messages based on the adventures of a homeless bearded prophet who wondered the cities and countryside caring for the poor and healing the sick and inviting people to follow his example.”
Next he compares a sentimental approach to faith and cynical one:
Sentimental ‘folk’ religion: Jesus often functions as a ghost or lucky charm.
“In some Christian traditions, children are hurried along to embrace Jesus as personal saviour without the space for genuine curiosity... People raised in such practices are often robbed of a genuine inquisitiveness about Jesus-because they know too much too soon.”
A cynical approach to religion: Jesus is the “warmongering Christmas tree icon of America, a fairytale god only believed in by the simple, uneducated, or politically conservative.”
“Although they prided themselves on being open minded, my classmates were nevertheless blinded by the intolerance of inbred cynicism.”
Lots to chew on here: hurrying kids in ‘personal salvation’ and out of a genuine wonder is something I see us still doing in some ways (even with programs like VBS – gulp!).
Default cynicism can be equally as preventive in discovering the real essence of the Gospel.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Do some Christians want to be hated?

Dan Kimball over here lays out some very good smack on this 'they will hate us" rhetoric.
I think sometimes it seems that for some Christians it is important to make faith so:
- -confusing
- -obnoxiously confrontive
- -idiotically simplistic
- -naively promising
- -methodically 'step by step' dull
- -hypocritcally judgemental
- -religiously conformist
that people can't help but HATE it all.
And instead of becoming (or refining into) something distinct and true. We have become repulsive and stained the beauty of the gospel...

to go with the previous post

Monday, July 2, 2007

things to do this week...

-change oil on both vehicles
-get them both booked in for repairs
-finish Briercrest courses
-rent a transit to get started on 'front of the house' deck and walkway
-Get record of employment stuff sorted out
-apply for EI
-get VBS float ready for the parade
-VBS band practice
-get dog groomed
-get started on bathroom reno
-pack away books from office
-cut and stack firewood (borrow chainsaw)
-take boys to swimming lessons
-marriage prep. session
-book tickets for U-20 World cup game in Edmonton on Sunday
-prep Mom and Dad's 40th Wedding Anniversary party
-confirm speaking engagement for July 21st
-help Jared prep for Learners...
-figure out more VBS songs for Jesse on the sax
-get costumes for VBS mascots and stuff...
-make espresso till I get it right