Archive for December, 2004

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas


Nuff said.

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The hypocrisy of the western world

The hyprocrisy of the western world


I just read an account of the Rwandan genocide here. This tragedy will go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the western world.  Jordon keeps encouraging me to read a book about it and I think I will pick it up this Christmas.  5000 troops could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives but western democracies were too afraid of a few dozen casualities.  The US government actually lobbied to pull UN troops out of Rwanda and refused to jam radio transmissions and save lives.  What is it about western society that makes the public more concerned about a few dozen soldiers than hundreds of thousands of people?  Are we so self absorbed that we care more about the few thousand gay people that want to get married than the thousands dying in the Sudan?  We debate the merits of the Iraq invasion while we ignore problems that would be relatively cheap and easy to remedy in comparison.  Does the western world really care about anyone else?

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I'm coming to the land down under

I’m coming to the land down under


I’m coming to the land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover!

I bought my ticket today!  Thank you Expedia.ca! I’m leaving as an emissary of PrairieFusion and Resonate to share copious amounts of wisdom at this conferencePhil has graciously invited me to hang out with him.  I’m very excited about meeting many of the notorious Australian bloggers and a Canadian blogger that I’ve never met face to face in Canada!  From the sounds of the Forge people I’m going to need some medical insurance.

Some might wonder why I’m travelling all the way to Australia to go to a postmodern/EC kinda of conference when I’ve never gone to one in the US.  There are two answers.  The average daily high in Melbourne in Februrary is above 25C and the average daily high in Saskatoon would be around -12C.  The second answer is even more simple, Australia rules over the US!

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What the heck is self-actualization?

What the heck is self-actualization?


Last night I was up too late talking with my roomies.  Sometime ago we all analyzed each other using Meyers/Briggs Type Indicator.   Scotty and I were sharing with our much younger roommate about the process of self-actualization.  We told him that it is very likely that in the next 3 or 4 years he will go through a process where he will begin to accept who he really is, and let go what he thinks he is.  To be completely fair Jason is already a very sincere and genuine person.  He is further along the process of self-actualization than a lot of people I know.

It was in my mid-twenties that my opinion of myself and my world began to become more accurate.  For me I needed to understand grace.  When I did I began to allow myself to acknowledge the dark side of who I am.  It was very liberating to put aside the self denial and accept things as they are.  I started to realize how selfish and and self-centered I was even when I was doing good things.  I also realized that Jesus did everything that needed to be done to make me right with him, I just needed the faith to trust and the smarts to let Him start working on me from the inside.

Until I came to accept myself I was living in this tension between who I was and who I thought I was.  It takes a lot of effort to live in denial.  I felt like I was always spinning my wheels trying to project who I thought I was to myself and others.  In this there is always the fear that if you stop spinning that the whole system will implode and life will collapse in on itself.  It seems odd but having your life implode can be a marvelous conduit of God’s grace.  Life gets so difficult that there is no energy or desire left to keep spinning.  We reach a point of brokenness that frees us from the desire to mold other people’s perception of us.  The basis of our self image shifts from what others think of us, to what God thinks of us. 

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What you said is not what I heard

What you said is not what I heard


One of the great sources of conflict in our lives comes from a basic break down in communication.  I have a concept I want to communicate.  I put it in to my own words filtered by my bias.  The hearer interprets my words through their filter and arrives at some idea of what I originally intended to say.  There are a number of things that confuse the message.  If we are hurt or carry baggage we tend to be sensitive to anything that might victimize us.  If we are focused or driven we might be completely insensitive to those who complicate our task. 

When we earn the trust of others they give us more grace.  If they understand us, our hearers become better interpreters.  They begin to interpret our words in light of our character.  When we lack character we erode the trust others have placed in us.  This creates an environment ripe for misunderstandings and hurt feelings.  When our character is strong people feel secure with us.  They may not even understand what we say, but they will trust us because we have demonstrated a desire to live by ideals that are above and beyond our own wants, needs, desires and expectations. 

Sometimes I step back from life in general and ponder why it is we don’t extend one another a liberal amount of grace.  Life is difficult, and understanding is often hard to reach.  When we approach one another with fear or anger we have already handicapped our ability to hear and learn. 

 

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Hitting Rock Bottom

Hitting Rock Bottom


People talk about how addicts and alcoholics need to hit “rock bottom”.  We all need to get to that place.  At rock bottom we are ready to give up on all of our personal expectations.  I’ve been there.  The last time it happened to me I flipped through a stack of evaluation forms and found 2 out of three people thought I was awful. 

When our self image is tied to our abilities we put ourselves in a terrible spot.  There will always be dramatically difficult times in our lives that are caused by our own faults and failures.  We can fight it.  We can rationalize and blame.  We can run and ignore reality.  However our best of course of action is to just let it go.  Let go of what we want to do, and who we want to be the eyes of others and accept that we aren’t what we are trying to be. 

Rock bottom is a glorious place though.  Life gets better in a hurry.  For driven people it is sometimes our personal expectations that form the dagger that pierces our hearts.  We get so wrapped up in what we want to do, and who we want to be that when we fail it is devastating.  It is like our entire world implodes.  When we forget about our pride and accept that we are failures called to faithfulness life gets easier.  We are not called to succeed, we are called to faithfulness. 

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I really like house churches

I really like house churches


I’ve been a part of 2 different house churches and I am sold on them more and more.  In Christendom we have books, tapes, seminars, conferences, colleges and seminaries to prepare people for ministry and church leadership.  We have vendors that provide ministry resources, teaching material, church growth helps and easily organized programs that guarantee success.  Yet with all these things there is so little change in the lives of the people. 

I’m in a house church for a couple of months and I see real change.  There is nothing profound or cutting edge about the church.  People get together, interpret and apply scripture together, sometimes we sing, sometimes we pray, sometimes we contemplate.  We ask honest questions and do our best to accept people where they at. 

That doesn’t mean it is always great though.  Remove most of the structure and baggage of regular churches and you are left with people and their personal baggage.  We begin to see the issues that hinder one another because we are listening and watching each other, not just the person up front.   

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Why America needs Canada

Why America needs Canada


Are you American?  Want to travel the world?  Want to avoid nasty political discussions?  Get the “Go Canadian” package and pretend you are the kind of people the whole world loves.  America needs a people group that it can pretend to be.  I don’t think the kit will totally prepare you. 

To pass the ultimate Canadian test you will have to identify the most hated American by Canadians.  It’s not Bush, or Limbaugh, or Jerry Falwell.  It isn’t anyone in the Bush adminstration, a commentor on Fox news, or some olympic athlete that beat a Canadian.    It isn’t anyone most Americans have heard of.  It is Gary Bettman!

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Yes, the Emerging Church is messed up

Yes, the Emerging Church is messed up


It is easy to analyze a movement and faults and weaknesses.  It would be easy to write off evangelicalism if all one looked at was “The Prayer of Jabez”, Jack van Impe, and the Left Behind series.  The Emerging Church has positive and negative elements.  Because so many EC’ers maintain blogs it is pretty easy to pick through the rank file and find some unsavoury things.  Many of these people are hurt, bitter, relativistic, suspicious and anti-institutional. 

In most other church movements or traditions 95% of the public communication is done by leaders.  Leaders that are often very concerned about public perception.  I’ve known a number of people who had their eyes opened to the dark side of church life as soon as they became elders or pastors in a church.  A lot of the nastiness is kept quiet to protect the people involved and to protect the image of the church.  

The relative openess, authenticity and transperency of the EC reveals the real problems that people have. In my local context this has been beneficial.  For the most part people feel very accepted in the house church.  I’ve started to see people change and become more whole. 

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