Archive for February, 2004

Hanging with the Vineyard?

Hanging with the Vineyard?

After several months of house church I really didn’t want to go back to a regular church.  I guess I’ve been infected by simple church.  I went to the Saskatoon Vineyard which used to be a much larger congregation.  I don’t have all the details on their history but a number of issues contributed to their eventual decline.  As they became smaller they decided to go the house church route. 

I joined in on their group this afternoon.  I really enjoyed it.  I am a “charismatic” and it was kind of nice being back in that crowd again.  Some of the group are involved in politics but are on the opposite end of the political spectrum than half the people in my old house church.  An ironic twist.  The group displayed a significant concern for issues of social justice.  Perhaps they are progressive and conservative at the same time.  Mmmm…. what a great name for a political party: Progressive Conservative.  Some group will have to pick that up some day.

The church has a blog and Nathan, one of their member’s blogs

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Frightening article on American evangelicalism

Frightening article on American evangelicalism

The following quote is taken from this CBS article which I found through TheLogo.

All four evangelical Christians, however, agree that they feel confident that they won’t be “Left Behind”.

But do evangelicals think they will live to see the Rapture?

“My thinking is I sure hope so. I think it’d be really cool,” says Ice.

Rev. Peter Gomes, a Baptist theologian at Harvard University, is one of this country’s preeminent Christian thinkers. He says that the chief source for such belief is a highly controversial book of the Bible: Revelation.

The chief source for the doctrine of the rapture is the book of Revelation? There is nothing in the book of Revelation that clearly communicates anything like the rapture.  There is one paragraph in 1Thess 4 that stands as the only the only solid support for this doctrine.  Note: Reading the whole article gives me the impression that Gomes is describing evangelicals and not necessarily his own theology.

The description of evangelicals in the US is almost frightening. It talks about evangelicals moving from their cultural defensiveness to “come into possession of what they felt was once rightfully theirs” and seeing America as God’s tool to fight a religious war.

For many the line between secular power and God’s power are blurred.


What is the gospel?

What is the gospel?

One of the questions Darryl and I have been bantering about a bit is “What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ?” It’s been too long since I dug in to the scriptures so I decided to take a stroll through 1John. It seems John wants to answer my question.

1:5a Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you:

Generally letters aren’t systematic theology but I think we can pull a few themes out of John. Strangely absent is anything that looks like the 4 spiritual laws.

1:5b God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.

A couple things here. Having fellowship with him, walking in light and practicing the truth.

1:9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

The old evangelical stand by. Confess our sins, receiving forgiveness and being cleansed of unrighteousness.

2:3 Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. 2:4 The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person.

There must be something incredibly transforming about knowing God. John is believes so strongly in this that he equates knowing God with obedience.

2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 2:16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.

When the love of the father is in us, we won’t love the world.

3:11 For this is the gospel message that you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another

3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.

Pretty straightforward.

3:24 And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.

We know God resides in us by the Spirit he has given us.

4:15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God.

This is the one of the few items where correct belief is touched on. I don’t think we can deny that theology is important. It seems that the important theology is smaller subset of the stuff the stuff we get up in arms about.

5:5b This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.

For a long time I’ve held the suspicion that following Christ is an experience that can only be defined to a certain degree. It is a relationship. It is an experience. Defining our walk with God is like defining what it means to be a good husband or wife. I’m not married. I can read a stack of books and listen endlessly to the advice of my friends but I won’t know it means to be a good husband until I experience marriage. I think John is saying something similar about following Christ. You know you are following Christ when you walk in light, love your brother, walk in faith and the Spirit resides in you. However these things are only indicators of some other less definable state or process. They are symptoms of a transforming inner experience in which God resides in us and purifies us.

This leads me to conclude that the good news being preached by most evangelicals is woefully inadequate. It convinces people that they are following Christ when in fact they are only following a set of principles extracted from Christian theology.


Blogging from Jake's

Blogging from Jake’s

This is so cool.  It’s too bad that we have one of the most net connected cities and the fewest Wifi spots.  Not sure where Jake’s is?  It’s on 21st between 3rd and 4th Ave.  Check the pics below.




My Personal Rules for blogging

Below is a list of the principles that govern me as I blog. They aren’t intended for everyone because some of them are specific to my personality and style. They are subject to change without notice

1. Use consistent fonts and make the font large enough. My font size is 14pt which is a little larger than average. Most people have no problem reading 12 but I find it easier to read it when it just a little bit bigger.

2. Be clear with your points. I’ve confused people on more than one occasion. To do this requires that I reread the text from the point of the reader. Too often I write in order to get my point across without considering how people reading my post would interpret it. This is particularly important in a debate or when the subject matter is volatile.

3. Affirm the Negative

If something is particularly sensitive I will state what I am trying to say and what I’m not trying to say.

4. Handling Misguided commenters

It isn’t uncommon for someone to totally misread me. Very often people will comment affirming strongly in what they believe in opposition to what they think I intended to communicate. Then other people read my words through the lens of the critical commenter. Before long the thread becomes wild and unmanageable and I struggle to be understood. If I sense this is happening I will stop commenting and post something comprehensive which clearly and logically outlines what I actually intended to communicate.

5. Read the entire thread before commenting

All words are given in some kind of context. On the Internet we have the ability to go back and read what has been written before. If I wish to make a comment I should know what has already been said.

6. Understand cultural context

The Internet connects people from a diverse group of communities and subcultures. Even though everyone in my particular community uses English that doesn’t mean we have all the same meanings for the same words. There are things someone can say in their culture and it is perfectly acceptable but it wouldn’t be in mine.

7. There will always be misunderstandings

No matter how clearly one writes they will eventually be misunderstood. It’s important to remember this as a reader as well. Everyone deserves a liberal amount of grace and the benefit of the doubt. Many people are hurt because a reader reacts too quickly without allowing the author to clarify.

8. Avoid labeling and categorizing other people

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Jake's on 21st has Wifi

Jake’s on 21st has Wifi

If you are looking for free Wifi in Saskatoon go to Jake’s on 21st in between 3rd and 4th ave.  Good healthy food and wireless Internet access.  It couldn’t get any better.  I hope they put out some deck chairs in the summer.


Dell Service Sucks

Dell Service Sucks

I ordered another Dell Dimension 2400 for the school.  I went through the entire checkout process and on the last part of the process it failed.  The shopping cart system gave me an error message, and told me to back up and try again.  I backed up one page and the system told me my session had expired.  I tried again from the beginning with the same result.

The offer for the machine expired today so I called in my order. I didn’t want to miss out on this great deal.   Later on I download my email and I see one of the online orders went through.  Another one was cancelled due to a bad credit card. 

In December I ordered a machine for myself.  After 2 weeks the order was cancelled and no reason was given.  It took 6 weeks before I eventually received my machine.

In November I ordered 2 machines for the school.  They sent us one and over billed us.  They did refund our money and send out the other machine.

3 orders and 3 screw ups.  Dell’s service has been extremely poor.  I don’t know what is going on over there but I think their online ordering and billing system is seriously flawed.  They are pretty good about correcting their mistakes so I still trust the company but something is seriously messed up.


Smoke-free zones 'failing the public'

Smoke-free zones ‘failing the public’

Smoke-free zones do little to protect smokers. 

[Update: do little to protect non-smokers…doh!]


Well-Designed Weblogs Version 2

Well-Designed Weblogs Version 2

Go check em out!

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Check out Justin's Conference Notes

Check out Justin’s Conference Notes

It’s just like being there.

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