Archive for May, 2005

Secrets on postcards

Secrets on postcards


A very interesting site where people anonymously bear their secrets.

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A little too much change

A little too much change


Two of my best friends won’t be as close as I’d like them to be. Scotty D has just moved out of 315.com (our nickname for our house) and is moving closer to the U of S. My buddy Mark is going to get married and live in Central America. I’m excited about the great things happening in my life but there is part of this whole situation that just sucks. Two of my all time best friends aren’t going to be as close as they were before and it just sucks.

With the exception of about 6 months of perpetual anxiety during my Internship year the last 6 years of my life have been my best.  The best part of living with all my roomates is that we all knew how to laugh and have a great time.  Our house was the house of laughter, especially when Scott is around.  I’ve watched more than one roomate go through some difficult times but in the midst of all that we always knew we had a place to come to where we could be ourselves.  It was our home.

Perhaps part of the reason I get so upset when people start dissing the single life is that it feels like a shot at my friends. 

Change happens and sometimes parts of that change are really hard.  Unfortunately you can’t hold on to a good thing forever.  The more tightly we hold to things the more they slip away.  I’m moving on from something great and I have the opportunity to build upon something that is already great.   

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Another EmergentNoNo

 Another EmergentNoNo


Yesterday was a crazy day and I didn’t have everything quite prepared for church.  At the last moment I looked for some music that would go well with a Jesuit meditation.  I asked Carol what she had that was instrumental.  She said she had some stuff.  Upon Scott‘s advice we tried the soundtrack from “The Man from Snowy River.”

The music was a little too up tempo for a meditation and as soon as it started people had visions of horses running around.  The whole group erupted in laughter.  That was the end of the meditation.

Scott lead a great study and we all had a little practice finding a Chiasm in selected sections of scripture.  You can find an explanation here.  It is a useful thing to look for because it can help you find the authors main point. 

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EmergentNo: The Emerging Church is a trojan horse

EmergentNo: The Emerging Church is a trojan horse


It seems the comedy doesn’t end at EmergentNo. These people are so focused on what they don’t like that it has skewed their understanding of the whole movement.

emerging church movement, which is just a disguised Trojan horse for contemplative prayer with a close connection to Richard Foster, Rick Warren and other contemplatives. Remove the contemplative, mystical element from the emerging church and you have nothing more than couches and candles.

In all my experience with the EC I’ve never, ever encountered any prayer that lead anyone to empty their mind and pursue another state of consciousness.   I read more Richard Foster in bible college than I have anywhere else.  Most followers of Rick Warren are far more concerned about rounding the bases than spiritual contemplation.

EmergentNo reminds of the anti-Mormon heresy hunters who found the most damaging quotes they could from 100 year old sermons and then would argue with the LDS about what they really believed. Quite the surreal experience for your average Mormon.   Here we have a bunch of heresy hunters looking for the nastiest thing they can find and they paint the whole movement with it. 

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Canada steps up in Darfur!

Canada steps up in Darfur!


I’m really happy that Canada is taking a lead role in this.

International donors, led by Canada, yesterday pledged an additional $200 million US to fund the African Union peacekeeping operation in Darfur. The Canadian pledge, by far the largest at a conference to raise money to stop the violence in western Sudan, promised the equivalent of $134 million US. The added donation, originally announced by Prime Minister Paul Martin this month, is on top of a previous Canadian commitment of about $71 million to promote peace in Sudan, taking Canada’s overall pledge to some $205 million.

I wish we would have acted sooner but I am so glad we have acted in a substantial manner. I’d hate to think that I’d ever become a one issue voter but Canada’s role in the world is a huge issue for me. After reading Shake Hands with the Devil and watching Hotel Rwanda I’ve been deeply impacted by the need for western countries to support life even when we receive no benefit.  I hope that more Americans, Brits, Aussies and Kiwis will take up this cause and pressure their governments to make a contribution. 

Thank you David Kilgour for making this an issue in our parliament.  I have no idea whether this latest package is an attempt to buy you back in to the Liberal fold and I really don’t care.  Thank you Canada for doing the right thing.

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Studying the bible together

 House Church tip: Study  the bible together


One of the things our house
church does well is study the bible together.  Over the last
several months we’ve tried all sorts minor adjustments to bring the
best combination of text, observation, discussion and application. We
apply what Mennonites/Anabaptists call a community hermeneutic and I
think it is a very useful and powerful way to honor the scriptures that
is well suited for our culture.  Philosphically we believe that we
understand the scriptures better together this way.  We believe
that the Holy Spirit works through individuals as members of a greater
body much more effectively than in solitary individuals.  One way
to ensure that any given study offers a little something for everyone
is to include everyone in the process of the study.  By starting
with the text together we honor and uphold the text as the main
authority rather than any one person’s interpretation. 

Engaging in the process is usually very simple.  What I like to do
when I lead the dicussions is find a minimum 2 different bible texts on
a subject.  I copy the text in to a word processor and double
space the text and print them out.  So far I think the best
combination is to have about two or three texts.  Think up a
couple of questions that will force us to think through an
application.  One simple question to ask is “how does this compare
with your experience.”

During the study time have people spend time with a pen and the
text.  Have one half or one third of the group look at each
text.  They can write notes, circle, underline, write questions,
draw lines connecting things.  This is an important stage. 
Some people learn best from solitary study and some from discussion and
debate.  By providing both kinds of environments you ensure a
wider range of people will come away having learned something. 
When people are done they share their observations and that is usually
enough by itself to spawn a great discussion.  It it can be
amazing how much life a group of eyes can bring to a text. 

It is also important to for people to have the freedom to be
different.  You may encounter some really strange theology
sometimes but through this process the people learn how to discern and
interpret. It is important that people feel comfortable and they are
not in “church mode.”  We eat together almost every meeting. 
Eating together has a very positive impact as it puts people at ease
and people seem more able to be themselves. 

After encountering this for the last several months it has become a
little more difficult to sit through a traditional sermon.  It
really does seem odd that we get one person to study the bible,
interpet,  apply and share these observations with a large group
of people who can neither question or respond in any way.  After
expericing an alternative this seems like a very poor way to
communicate biblical truth and challenge. 

I won’t deny that Jesus Came Preaching he also came to join the party, tell stories,
share, discuss, debate, model and demonstrate His love and power in
visible tangible ways.  There is a time and a place for people to
command the attention of an entire group and proclaim.  However by
making the sermon the center piece of every gathering we elevate one or
a few people above the rest impeding the natural function of the Spirit
working through the body.  More and more I’m becoming convinced
that Paul was right when he wrote in 1Cor 12 that the Spirit works
through the entire body and all are needed and valued. 

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Embracing the new, mourning the old

Embracing the new, mourning the old


I must apologize for all the political posts.  Canada just went through some stunning political drama.  I’ve decided to move my Canadian political commentary to vote.bridgecity.net, a new blog that I share with a former member of the Canadian Alliance, Jordon Cooper.

I’ve been working on something a little more worthwhile.  I started writing about what I thought about how we disciple people and the effectiveness of colleges and seminaries.  So far it is getting a little long and I’m not sure when I’ll be done. 

I’m moving steadily towards marriage.  Living right next door to my soon-to-be family has some advantages.  I am slowly more and more integrated with that life.  It is going to be a challenge.  The oldest son presents some unique challenges that can be incredibly discouraging at times.  Last night was brutal.  Overall things are going well though.  I love my fiance very deeply.  I love being a part-time dad.  There is a lot to be proud of with the two boys. 

I think one of the things that has been the hardest has been the reaction of some married friends.  Some make you feel like your life is about to begin now that you are married.  One person told me he felt empty inside until he got married.  That certainly hasn’t been the case for me.  I understand the reaction of my single friends the best.  They are happy for me but seem sad at the same time.  For many the single life is something you can’t just discard, it is mourned. 

315 is our house number and has come to symbolize much more than a house.  It is a web of relationships and roomate connections that goes back to the mid-nineties for some of us.  I joined in later on.  We’ve had so much fun over the years.  I’ve lived with some terrific people and it always sad when they move out.  The weekend I get married concludes the final chapter of 315.  Scotty moves out at the end of this month which is sad all in itself.  It shows me that we can’t cling too tightly to the status quo because life is constantly changing. 

Right now I’m embracing my new life and beginning to mourn my old life.

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Who caught who?

 Who caught who?


Quiz for Canadian politican junkies

Who first discovered the problems with the sponsorship program?

1) The Media
2) The Auditor General Sheila Fraser
3) The Opposition
4) The Liberal Government

And the answer is….drum roll please…Don Boudria Liberal cabinet minister for Public Works!

The government was expecting a report from Group Action worth $550
000.  It seemed that the study was lost.  Eventually they did
find it.  It was almost exactly like another very expensive report
right down to the spelling mistakes.

Don Boudria called for an audit.  Sheila Fraser did her thing and that was the beginning of the sponsorship scandal.

You can read all about it here.

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Is Harper Toast?

Is Harper Toast?


“Dump Harper” bid on the rise
Bumbling Harper not ready for primetime
Harper Urged to Soften Image
Harper and Martin both on sufferance
Harper’s big gamble turns up snake eyes

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For Belinda it wasn't just ambition

 For Belinda it wasn’t just ambition


I believe that Harper is partly responsible for the immense failure
that was the last budget vote. No one can deny Belinda’s ambition but
Harper made a strategic political mistake that was a major factor in
Belinda’s decision.

From the Globe and Mail.

That coalition was
one of the reasons Ms. Stronach cited for her departure. But those
close to her also say that Mr. Harper’s treatment of her played a
larger role.

Ms. Stronach, and the many followers who helped her to a second-place
showing at the party’s leadership convention last year, felt frozen out
of decision-making. It is a complaint that many others in the party,
including some Ontario Tories, also express.
“This is all of his making. He, from the outset, treated her with
absolute disdain,” said a friend of Ms. Stronach. “Keep your friends
close and your enemies closer. And it wasn’t just her: It was everybody
around her.”

Some Tories note that the most successful Conservative leader in the
recent past, Brian Mulroney, made a religion out of keeping his MPs
happy. Former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien also managed, at some cost,
to keep Paul Martin in his cabinet for a decade despite the enmity
between the two camps.

One Tory said Mr. Harper was probably right about Ms. Stronach’s
ambitions. But he failed to cajole her enough to keep her happy.
“He doesn’t even try to jolly her along and make her feel important,
because he ultimately sees she’s not going to be with him any way.”

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