Archive for May, 2005

Revenge of the Grits

 Revenge of the Grits

Do you think it was fate that a certain Star Wars movie came out the day of the non-confidence vote?

Vader Liberal: “Join us Belinda and we will rule Canada as Father and Daughter!”

Belinda Skywalker: “I won’t sell out to you, unless you make me a cabinet minister.”

Vader Liberal: “All too easy. Now with Skywalker on our side there shall be no one to stop us this time”


Why I'm not a Tory

Why I’m not a Tory

After reading the comments on AndrewCoyne’s blog
I can easily see the distinct difference between myself and your
average Conservative voter. I’d like to hope that what I saw wasn’t a
representative sample and I don’t think it was but even among the more
moderate voices I sense a difference.

I hate the anti-Ontario rhetoric. The entire province of
Ontario is not brainwashed. Perhaps the Conservatives need to realize
that most Canadians don’t feel a desperate need for a tax cut. I
personally care more about post-secondary education funding, the
environment, Aboriginals and foreign aid than I do about tax cuts. The
Conservative party doesn’t speak for the values of this western
Canadian. Last I checked the Liberals were polling around 30% in
Sask/Man. Are they all brainwashed as well?

I’m not really that bothered by Adscam. Most disappointed Liberals
aren’t. All governments have corruption and this particular government
was open about it. I am far more concerned about our unprincipled
visionless leadership. Right now I don’t see anything different coming
out of the Conservative camp.


Belinda sells out to the Liberals!

Belinda sells out to the Liberals!

Belinda crosses the floor to the Liberals! I must admit the Liberals can be evil, but they do it very well.  Will Peter join the dark side as well?  Can a Tory and a Grit be compatible?  There are going to be a lot of very ticked of Conservatives today. 

I love this line from Belinda “The country must come first.” 


Random thoughts about church

Random thoughts about house church

Last night we gathered.  It was a simple affair.  We enjoyed some pasta, singing, sharing, laughing, scripture and discussion.  There is something that happens when a group hits around 8 or 9 people.  The dynamics change and become a little more lively.  Our group loves to laugh and sometimes we’ve joked when we shouldn’t have but we are learning.  The bonds of friendship are genuine and we love having new people. 

I don’t think we are doing everything a church is called to do, but I do get a sense that we are doing what we are called to do right now.  I was taught that a church had to fulfill a handful of major purposes.  Worship, evangelism, discipleship, service and ministry are some commonly used categories.  I see all those points in scripture but I wonder if it wise to discern where people are at and place a primary emphasis on what God wants to do in those people right now. 

My experience has lead me to question why we place so much emphasis on the success of a local church as a group or an organization rather than the “success” of each individual in the group.  Perhaps in a house church it is much more possible to see the church as people first and a group/organization second.  In this context leaders can be much more like shepherds than generals or CEO’s. 

My experience with house church has proven to me that church doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it out to be.   In my experience simple meetings with a simple agenda have proven every bit as fruitful and more than your average large church gathering.  I’m sure there will be some people that say that there are things that only large a church can do and I would agree.  At the same time the opposite is true.  I’ve never seen a large church really fulfill what Paul describes in 1Cor 14:26-33 even with small groups.  I’m not one of those who believe that the New Testament pattern, or this particular New Testament pattern should be exactly duplicated but I do think it speaks loudly to some of Paul’s philosophy of ministry.  If Paul supported this kind of meeting in Corinth it would also mean the church is driven by the ministry of everyone not just a few, the leaders didn’t dominate the communication, and leadership exerted much less direct control over the gatherings.  As I consider these principles  I think they should have profound implications for how we reconstruct church. 

I’ve found that people learn and understand the truth of scripture by interacting with it themselves.  I’ve also found that if you have 5 different people look at a portion of scripture and let them all speak to it you will come out with an incredible range of rich and diverse perspectives.  Some will be more profound than others but that also ensures that people can engage at the level they are at.  We aren’t all the same and the more people you have speaking the more you will speak to everyone.

The more we interpret scripture together as a group the more difficulty we have with the average sermon.  It isn’t that we don’t think one person should be able to capture the entire attention of the group and speak for a long time proclaiming truth.  It is just that we think the people hearing that message should be able to ask questions, discuss and wrestle with what is said.  Jesus came preaching but he was in constant dialogue with the disciples as well. 


The Precious, yes the precious

The Precious, yes the precious

Which Lord of the Rings character does this Liberal organizer remind you of?


Lovers or just friends?

Lovers or just friends?

What do you think they are saying to each other?


Disappointed with the Liberals

 Disappointed with the Liberals

I’m a little disheartened and it
isn’t the scandal.  I believe all governments have corruption, it
is the less dishonest ones that actually call on people to
investigate.  What bothers me is the lack of confidence the
Liberals have and all the parliamentary tricks.  I say let the
government fall if it is the will of the majority of parliament. 

Our two main parties have no real vision.  No one can give me a
compelling reason to vote for Harper.  My highest prioirities are
Aborignals, post-Secondary education and foreign aid/policy.  If I
decided not to vote Liberal I’d probably *gasp* vote NDP. 

By the looks of the latest SES poll
the Libs have almost fully recovered.  I can hardly believe that
Harper and the Cons have squandered all the political captial gained
because of this scandal.  Harper is not going to win the next
election and then he will be replaced.  Cheering for the Cons must
be like cheering for the Leafs.  They start to look like
contenders and then are beaten by the Devils.


Post-Charismatic: The Prophetic

 Post-Charismatic: The Prophetic

What is the prophetic?  There are people who believe that God speaks to them.  Sometimes they pass on these tidbits of divine knowledge or wisdom to other people.  At best it is the body of Christ working as it should.  Often it is unstable and emotionally sensitive Christians getting carried away in their attempts to encourage or admonish.  At worst it is used by insecure and manipulative leaders in an attempt to bolster their authority.  In doing so they cross the line from a spiritual leader to a spiritual abuser.  

I think God speaks to people.  Sometimes God speaks to people through other people.  I don’t agree with the standard evangelical method to get direction from God.   That usually involves people praying that God will open or close “doors.” In other words they expect God to take supernatural control of the universe to rearrange all the circumstances so that the only choice available is God’s choice.  I’ve always been frustrated with this because there is no biblical precedent and I don’t expect God to change the universe just to help me make a decision.  If we can follow God by faith, we can hear by faith.  

I believe wholeheartedly in “a prophetic ministry.”  There have been times where I thought God was leading me to say something to someone.  I say it and it works out well.  I usually never frame the message as if it came from God because that usually causes more problems than it solves.  I also have never been 100% sure of what I shared was from God.  I’ll pray for someone and I’ll know the right words to say and people are blessed.  Most of the time people don’t need to know that  my heart and mind are informed by God’s Spirit because then people start looking to me rather than God.  

Some people avoid accountability by claiming God told them to do something.  When someone comes to you and says “God told me to do this” how do you argue with that?  People in Charismatic churches are often too afraid to challenge people on a particular revelation because they don’t want to “touch the Lord’s anointed” or resist what the Spirit could be doing. The truth is lots of revelations are wrong.  Paul told the Corinthians to test prophetic revelation in a group context.  If someone hears from God then they should share it with people they trust and discern the truth of the message together.   

Unfortunately a lot of people are wrong about whether God really told them something.  This can cause a lot of grief.  This is particularly true when people start to say that someone is demonized or deceived or has some other flaw.  When you receive a critical prophetic word from someone else, it deeply impacts you.  The prophetic message might be a bunch of crap but because you aren’t sure if you are deceived you are left in turmoil.  You end up thinking “Is this message crap or am I just deceived and I’m running from the truth?”  This is a BRUTAL situation to be in.

In many churches people are put in a difficult position when authorities claim prophetic direction for their decisions or theology. In strongly authoritarian churches the leaders tell others that to disagree with them and talk about it is rebellious gossip.    There is little room or freedom to honestly grapple and wrestle with what is said.  This sidetracks a lot of churches.  There is no place for graceful conversation.  There is no collective discernment of prophetic words.  Sadly regular church members fall into the trap of letting the leaders make decisions for them because the leaders are perceived to be higher up on the spiritual food chain and are better able to discern God’s will.  

Many people introduced to quality prophetic ministry are floored at how stunningly accurate some prophetic messages are.  Then they fall into a couple of different traps.  They start seeking God through those gifted at hearing God instead of pursuing God themselves.  They believe that if this person can hear from God about my past he or she must be able to hear God concerning correct teaching.  The latter are a big problem because every prophetic type seems to fall into that trap as well.  So often they disagree on matters of doctrine it is very clear they don’t have a perfect understanding.  

There were two verses that radically changed how I thought about prophetic ministry.

1Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human

There is only one mediator between people and God and that is Jesus.  There is no ladder of divine humans that we need to go through to get to God.  There is no conference we need to attend or oracle we need to consult.  

Gal 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.

Jesus died to make us free.  He did not make us free to put us under the yolk of some prophetic leader.  The head of every person is Christ!  We all have the ability to hear God for ourselves.  We submit to one another in love but not under compulsion, manipulation or fear.


Not Alone Worship Night

 Not Alone Worship Night

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Conversations of Grace

 Conversations of Grace

I think one of the things that
needs to change is how we talk to each other in church.  As I sit
in a large room watching the speaker or the back of people’s heads I’m
struck by how the medium dominates the message in church.  If 90%
of the ministry that happens is from one to many it disempowers the
many.  I don’t know why we elevate leaders only to shoot them

From what I’ve observered pastors are very human and are just as likely
to be as scared and insecure as anyone else.  Despite being in
some sort of authorized position they often make huge leaps when trying
to understand the bible.  Many a bible college grad quickly 
realizes how much crap rolls down from a pulpit on Sunday
morning.  Sometimes they realize why.  They have a speaking
engagement but they put off preparation like they used to put off
homework and cobble something together at the last minute. 
Fortunately you can get away with it by repeating collective buzz words
or ride theological hobbey horses.  Most of your congregation
can’t tell the difference and those that can are so used to this crap
they stopped listening after the first 5 minutes. 

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