Sunday, August 26, 2007

Maybe we should know about Francis Collins...

This afternoon I listened to an interesting interview on Tapestry on CBC Radio. Follow this link to listen to the program on line. He is one of the scientists who helped to catalogue the human genome project. He is also a former aethist turned evangelical Christian. In this interview he talks about his most recent conversation with Richard Dawkins (a hard core athiest). Collins believes in evolution.
Here is Francis Collins being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. Listen for this amusing line, "Evolution is God's way of giving upgrades."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

here's some

satire for a Thursday


is good. Even if it is not comfortable.

Apology Accepted?

I tracked this post by Folmsbee which made me stop and think. As such I am not opposed to apologizing for areas where we have failed collectively or individually. I think the stuff Chris apologizes for is sincere and accurate not just for him but for, i assume, many of us.
Here's the thing: I wonder what the point of apologizing is. In our house we have mantra that we repeat as often as we have conflict - this is it: "Sorry is not good enough - you need to make it up with the person you have offended". So we ask our boys to ask each other - "what can I do to make it up to you?"

I guess the issue for me is what exactly does apologizing do if it is not met with the repentant behaviour change that the apologiy suggests. I have found that we often use apology to absolve oursleves from guilt and responsibility for the crummy behaviour we have displayed. So it become a cover up and essentially a dishonest thing.

I have also noticed a tendency to use apology as a self depricating tool. You've the kind of person who is perpetually apologizing so as to assume the role of the pitiable bumbling idiot. Sometimes I sorta get the idea that perhaps that attitude is creepying in around the corners of Christian identity. There are many things that have been done in the name of Christianity that we should be ashamed of but we need to be careful not to compromise the core nature of Christian identity in the process. What I mean is that an apology can go too far in not just asking for pardon for the problem but actually asking for pardon for the individual's very existence (in some cases). Woe to those of us who choose to follow Christ and apologize for Jesus (his real essence) at the same time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Driver Dumps Druggie

Crack user scams FoodBank hamper to sell for next hit. Read what happens next when the Vigilante Taxi Cab shows up...

actually if you follow the comments on this post - an interesting scruples problem emerges. You be the judge!

I was asked...

...what advice I would give to someone who was going to speak at a youth retreat. I thought I might post some of my ideas on the subject here.
1. I think one of the most important things about any speaking assignment is to realize that unless you are talking to people the you know fairly intimately - the first hurdle you have to cross is TRUST. Youth (anyone for that matter) has to actually trust what you are saying before they are interested in WHAT you have to say. What it takes to gain that trust is changing a lot. It used to be that you sorta automatically had people's trust by virtue of the fact that you climbed up into the podium. It was a status thing. I think especially kids these days are alot more suspicious of people upfront - so the task of gaining trust is tougher. Using stories, humor, etc can help but somehow you need to be believable - real. It's tough to do and different for each person. Transperancy is essential to gaining trust but the risk is in being to revealing and getting lost in your crap - as it were.
2. I think the other thing that is essential is that you have to deal honestly with people's pain. I was up at camp this last week and I doubt there was one single cabin where the kids were not dealing with painful stuff. Divorce, step brothers, dads, pressures to perform at school, sports, etc, jobs, addictions, dating relationships, sex, death - and this is junior high. I think if you don't deal with that stuff honestly you might as well pee into the wind. Kids need to have their realities acknowledged even if we can't identify with all that they are going through. And it's pretty important not only to reopen the wounds of the past without giving kids the tools with which they can learn to cope in a more healthy manner. I think this is critical. So if you are going to pull out one of those tear jerker talks you need to think about giving it enough space sot hat you can build in some teaching time afterward. And for the sake of everything good please don't tag some cheesy-commitment onto this talk - I mean the kids are vulnerable enough as is - give them time to respond but don not tack some quick and easy commitment prayer on the end of that just to get responses.
3. Be very careful what you ask kids to commit to and how. After you have gained their trust - you would be foolish to break it by asking them to do something embarrassing. Challenge kids to make commitments in one on one situations instead of en mass. And give clear direct instructions so that there is not confusion (i always have to keep working on this).
4. Whether you are speaking topically or textually - NEVER NEVER NEVER abuse, manipulate, twist or yank around with Scripture. Read big chunks instead of little ones. Give plenty of background but try not to over analyze the text so that it leaves the kids with the impression that the whole thing is figured out. Make them curious to go and find the meanings for themselves and give them the framework to be responsible with the texts you give them. We don't need anymore kids running around out there spouting off snippets of Scripture that 'speakers' have quoted to them to prove some point of theirs.
On the technical side:
- I try to think of boiling down my talk to one point or sentence that I want to get across. Then approach the same idea from a bunch of different angles. A former colleague of mine challenged me to do this and I have found it very helpful.
- Find your own system. If you need to read from a manuscript - fine. If you can memorize your talk - fine. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to use one method or another.
- Find a place to practice what you say so that you never surprise yourself.
- Take a few shots of brandy before you speak. (kidding) What I mean is that I find it helpful to do something mindless or distracting. Take care to prepare well but give yourself the space to breath before you get up there. This seems to give me perspective and the much needed connection to the audience.
Just a couple things I have learned. Maybe some of the rest of you have learned a few tips that you could contribute as well - that would be cool...


Wow = it's hard to be this honest...
This will have to change in a few weeks when I start classes.
87%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Song for Twelve degrees in August

There was no one who
Brought you to your knees
Boot to the head
Like you’re out for revenge
You pesky rat
Like it wasn’t enough for you to chase the sun
To make the white dark
There was no one who
Danced on your grave
Taunted you like a defeated fat old school yard bully
Smiled at your sudden demise
For your make-believe oppression thru the sun break
To make the red skin
Back off winter
Inhabit those deep dark places
Where your icy schemes conceived antidotes like
And what happens between the duvet and the posturepedic
Go back there
Till the dusk stretched sun has made us all to inebriated to remember
Your frigid handshake at the door

Thursday, August 9, 2007

secrets and humanity...

WARNING: the contents of this post might push a few boundaries that you may not be prepared to cross.
Tonight, I watched this interview here highlighting Frank Warren's website and subsequent books called POSTSECRET which can be found here.
Frank has invited people to send him thier deepest, darkest, wildest, secrets on a postcard. He recieves a thousand or so each week and posts only 20 on his blog site. If you go there you will see this...

or this...

and even this..

but like I said - there is stuff on his sight that you might find disturbing. And I suppose I have to admit here to at least some level of voyeristic inclination into other people's thoughts and realities. But I am far more intrigued and motivated by what this sight has to say about the human condition. The premise of having a place where the things you choose or dare not say are openly displayed but not quite revealed makes this idea something unique in the its approach to human social, emotional, and mental well being.
A post card is a very small place to encapsulate any idea and as is suggested in the interview it often, I suppose, leaves much more uncovered than it reveals.
Tomorrow, morning I will chew on this as I go for my walk. I'll be thinking about confession, trust, privacy vs. transperancy, and a whole lot more I suspect...

Based on today's headlines...

this might be something to pay attention to...


Mexican Custapec

This is like your basic "get to work" coffee - only there is nothing basic about it. There is little that is nuanced, subtle or complicated about this dark roast. It is full and ready. It is the kind of coffee that if it catches you in the mall says, "What the heck are you doing here?"It's not busy but not frantic. It sits down in your mouth like a full meal deal. It's veteran chocolate taste with slightest paunch in the dark department. You can blend this coffee with almost any other coffee and count on it to provide that stable deep sweet taste. It won't hide - it won't run - except maybe for office. I mean it may have collected E.I. once or twice in the mid-eighties but these days it pays its own mortgage on the house at the end of Splendid Coffee Lane. It's all business - and its business is pleasure!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just do it...

some thoughts from Gil's summer ramblings
"For a while I thought that maybe I was missing something. Maybe God did things for and said things to other people in more direct ways. Maybe there was some defect in my practice of the Christian faith that accounted for this gap, some lack of faith or fundamental misunderstanding of how the whole thing was supposed to work. But gradually it became obvious that we were all in the same boat, interpreting (for the most part) ambiguous events and circumstances in light of our faith that God was, in fact, active and present within them."
What is interesting about this is that the degree to which we seem to attribute circumstances to God's action is directly proportional to our need to both absolve our own (human) responsibility for the action and our need to favorably reinforce our belief in God. Pretty self serving - I guess. It may be that the distorted view of God that we and others have may stem from this flaw...

Hate to say I told you so…

I know when you read this post it will sound cryptic, vague and mildly prophetic. And so it was intended. You see gazing into the grounds at the bottom of my cup I could foretell that people who entertained the use of Edible Oil Products would no doubt risk many calamities including (but not exclusive to) trouble navigating washroom functions (note the live: “I (still) wipe my bottom with paper”). Well lo and behold – my dear friend is beginning to show signs of said calamities. Yes my friend Ryan, despite my frequent prompting surrendered his body to the abuse of E.O.P’s. And yes if you read here you will see evidence that the poor man has begun the malevolent descent into, as I said before, calamity. We should all, as Nacho Libre put it, “Pray for hees salbation and stuff!”