Archive for January, 2005

Unionized Wal-Marts!

Unionized Wal-Marts!


The 2nd Wal-Mart in the world has been unionized in Canada!  I’m not prone to pro-union rhetoric, but I can’t think of better company than Wal-Mart to have to deal with one.  Because Wal-Mart has non-union staff they can pay their employees less.  This gives them more leverage to compete with companies with unionized staff.  This has put a lot of pressure on companies, like Safeway, to put keep salaries down which as resulted in a lot of labour strife.  If the Wal-Marts are unionized this evens the playing field. 

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Interpreting the bible in Post-Christendom

Interpreting the bible in Post-Christendom


Len linked to an article on post-Christendom that I found really fascinating.  The article is written from a European perspective.  This is what the author says of the Anabaptists:

“They too rejected two-tier Christianity with different standards and callings for different Christians, but, unlike the Reformers, Anabaptists chose to apply New Testament standards to all Christians. Instead of a two-tier Christendom, they argued that for Christians Jesus was the norm for ethics as well as for salvation. The Old Testament might still be relevant within society, but within believers’ churches the New Testament governed ecclesiology and ethics.

And New Testament teachings were to be obeyed whatever their social implications. Many Anabaptists rejected interpretations of Romans 13 that seemed to require excessive deference to the political authorities and operated not with a hermeneutics of order but with a “hermeneutics of obedience.”

Unlike the Reformers, they were not in a dominant position. Although they were persecuted by others who claimed to be Christians, rather than by an avowedly pagan empire, Anabaptists regarded persecution as incompatible with true Christianity and so saw their experience as analogous to the early Christians: the true church was always liable to such treatment, whatever the lineaments of the persecutors. Their approach to Scripture resembled the approaches of pre- Christendom and persecuted medieval dissident interpreters more than those of the Reformers or most interpreters since Constantine.

A key element in Anabaptist hermeneutics was its enfranchisement of all believers as interpreters and its insistence that the Bible should be interpreted in the local Christian community. Their confident assertion that Scripture was self-interpreting inspired those who had been intimidated by scholarly and ecclesiastical authority and who were struggling to respond to their new freedom in a less hierarchical setting.

As Christendom fades, the approach to biblical interpretation that characterised the Christendom era and was unchallenged by the Reformers has become increasingly problematic, whereas the alternative approach of the Anabaptists and earlier dissident groups may offer helpful perspectives.”

For centuries the Anabaptists have been regarded as the ugly step child of the reformation.  Now there is increasing interest in this faith tradition.  It is unfortunate that most Mennonites have long forgetten the distinctives of their tradition and have been assimiliated by standard evangelicalism. 

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Learning about leadership together

Learning about leadership together


On Sunday our house church worked through a large swatch of scriptures that address leadership. 2Cor 2, 10 & 11, 1Cor 3, 1Tim3, Mark 10, Mat 20 and more. As a church we are exploring a “community hermeneutic” where we try to interpret the scriptures together. I absolutely love it. So far the format has been simple. Each person in the group is given a few paragraphs of scripture on a certain topic. We each read through what we have and make our observations. When we are done we share the observations with the group. Then we discuss, ask questions, and share doubts. Those who have done research on a particular issue try to inform everyone else of what is going on.

At this point I’m still learning about the best way to organize this kind of study. We cut a wide swath through the scriptures and I’m not sure if we such a good job of applying them to our context. At the very least a large group of people are interacting directly with scripture. That always seems to be a positive regardless of how things are structured.

The study revealed to me a few things:

1Tim 3 – There is no short cut around character in ministry.
This is particularly true in a strongly relational context. In a more program centric ministry one can hide their faults, but in a small group they quickly come to the surface. One might look at the list of qualifications Paul wrote Timothy and say “who can live up to all this” but I’m beginning to see how a significant weakness in one of those areas can really destroy a ministry.

2Cor 3 – The character of those we minister to are our best credentials
Paul said that he didn’t need a letter of recommendation, because the Corinthians were his letter of recommendation. I love this. I absolutely love it. This is what matters in church ministry. If the people you minister to are more like Christ after you are gone then you have succeeded in fulfilling your call.

1Cor 3 – Land, money, titles, status, NOTHING
Neither the one who plants or the one who waters counts for anything! Paul did not take his “leadership” to the next level. At times he deliberately said and did things that would have weakened his influence. For him apostleship meant looking like a reject. He suffered, was mistreated, he didn’t charge people for his ministry and he did manual labor. These things would have completely undermined his influence in Greek culture. He had faith that Christ would work through his weakness. For Paul apostleship meant giving up more than just his life, he gave up his reputation and ended up looking like a complete and total loser. Today leadership is about climbing the rungs of status, rank and prestige in order to gain more influence and be more respected by society. I better stop writing, I’m starting to feel convicted. 🙂

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Maybe moving isn't such a bad idea

Maybe moving isn’t such a bad idea


I love my home and I think Saskatoon is a great place to live.  However right now the temperature outside is -34.  With the wind factored it in it feels like -49.  It is days like these I think I’m nuts.  Yesterday, which was a tad warmer I had to fill up one of my tires with air.  It took about 5 times longer than it normally would.  Working with rubber hoses at -30 and below is not easy.  Stuff that just works at -20 just doesn’t want to work at -35.  Oh well in a couple of days it should return to “seasonal” temperatures.

I see the forecast in Melbourne calls for a high of +29.

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Quality response to D.A. Carson

Quality response to D.A. Carson


You can find it here in PDF format.

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I realized something people have been telling me

I realized something people have been telling me


To prepare a message I’ll be speaking in a few weeks I started taking audio notes rather than written notes.  My thoughts flow much easier through speech, and a I remember better by listening than reading.  I put down about 40 minutes of audio last night.  I was lying in bed reviewing what I had recorded.  Maybe it was like hearing a bed time story but I soon became very relaxed.  I suddenly realized what people have probably thought for years…I really do like the sound of my own voice. 🙂

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Come to Liquid

Come to Liquid


You might be wondering why I’m plugging a conference in Australia from Canada.  Because I am crazy enough to to fly over 20 hours to go to this conference and hang out with those people.  I’m sure it will be a great conference.  I think that in many ways the Australian culture is very similar to Canadian culture yet they are ahead of us on the post-Christian curve.  I think it is odd that so many of us are trying to learn how to minister in a postmodern culture from people who live in America, the least postmodern country of the English speaking western nations. 

I also have some alterior motives.  Today I got in my car and thought to myself “gee it is a bit cold today.”  I turn on the radio and find out that it was -41 with the windchill.  Yes, minus 41.  I hear it is summer in Melbourne in February.  There are going to be lots of cool bloggers.  I imagine I will be programmed to seek out and destroy certain Canadian conservatives that comment a lot on specific Aussie blogs.   

Here is a little tip for picking out Canadians in a crowd.  Accuse the whole crowd of being American.  If someone looks really disgusted, they are probably from the Great White North!. 🙂

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Where is Bene?

Where is Bene?


Bene is having domain name issues.  You can find Bene here.  At least it hasn’t been stolen by a cheesy grunge/punk band!

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Canada vrs USA vrs Australia

Canada vrs USA vrs Australia


According to NationMaster.com who is the best?  Notice the strong correlation between church attendance and deaths by lawnmower.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Stat Canada US Australia
Deaths by Lawnmower /million .03 .09 0.05
Go to church 38% 44% 16%
Unhappy people 12% 8% 5%
Amount of life lived in ill health 12.6% 13.5% 11.4%
Scientific Literacy 529 499 528
Taxation % of GDP 35.8% 29.6% 31.5%
Teen Pregnancy 10% 22% 9%
Broadband Net Access /100 (Mid 2001) 6.2 3.2 0.6
Military Spending Per Person $244 $953 $577

Update: The church attendance stats are suspect.  Many Canadians and Americans lie about going to church!  The numbers are more like 20% for the US and 10% for Canada.

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Doctor My Eyes

Doctor My Eyes


“Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

`Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I`ve been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where they will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it`s later than it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if it`s too late for me

Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the PRICE for having learned how not to cry”

Jackson Browne

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