Archive for August, 2005
Posted by LT in , on August 31, 2005
Rant: Peak Oil, Oil Companies and stupid consumers
No doubt many of you have received the ridiculous email from those trying to organize a one day boycott of all the gas stations. In case you haven’t here are the first couple of paragraphs.
IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT IF EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA DID NOT PURCHASE A DROP OF GASOLINE FOR ONE DAY AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME, THE OIL COMPANIES WOULD CHOKE ON THEIR STOCKPILES.
AT THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HIT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY WITH A NET LOSS OF OVER 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS WHICH AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINES OF THE OIL COMPANIES.
THEREFORE SEPTEMBER 1st HAS BEEN FORMALLY DECLARED "STICK IT UP THEIR BEHIND " DAY AND THE PEOPLE OF THESE TWO NATIONS SHOULD NOT BUY A SINGLE DROP OF GASOLINE THAT DAY.
On multiple occasions the Canadian government investigated allegations of collusion by the oil companies and they have never found any wrong doing. The price of gas and oil is determined by the market. These are influenced by things like world events, production capacity, world consumption, national supplies and refining capacity. Within the next ten years we will reach peak oil. That is when world consumption is higher than our maximum possible production. When we hit that point we will remember with fondness the days we spent $1.05 a litre for gas.
If we want to make the best of our situation we can do a number of things.
- Use public transport
- Walk more
- Car Pool
- Retire your SUV and buy a fuel efficient vehicle
- In Canada get an Energuide evaluation for your home and make it more energy efficient
If you want to blame anyone for the price of gas look for the next consumer or citizen. We consume way too much and public opinion hasn’t forced the politicians to act.
Posted by LT in on August 26, 2005
I’d like give everyone a heads up about a new project I’m working on. It is a blog that will become a published book. The following people will be contributing: Brian McLaren, Mabiala Kenzo, Bruce Ellis Benson, Ellen Haroutunian and Myron Penner. The content of the book will be a blending of the posts and the comments! It is an interesting experiment to say the least.
I got a call a few months ago from Hunter Barnes who had this idea and was looking for a provider that could host a specialized blog. This was the project and I’m very glad to be a part of it.
You can check it out at www.anewkindofconversation.com
God is faithful, but how?
In church we all like to celebrate to fun little stories of how we were immersed in some tragic circumstances something unexpected happens to change things around and we give God praise because he is faithful. Then there are the other times. How about when a young father is struck with a terminal cancer and despite the prayers of hundreds of people he dies in short order. It is in those times we also say God is faithful. My question becomes if God is faithful in the first instance by rescuing people from their tragedy how is He being faithful in the second instance when there is no rescue? How is God faithful?
There are those who see God’s will in everything. If something happened God had a hand in it somehow. I have a problem with this because it a) takes away from the reality that people have at least some sort of free will b) some lives are terribly tragic and I have a hard time seeing God orchestrating such a thing. I have no problem with the idea that God uses the difficult circumstances in our lives to strengthen our relationship with him, make us better people, teach us knew things and equip us to help others through the same grief. I think God is very active but I’m not excited about attributing things to Him which he may not have had a hand in.
I wonder if people ever think about how tragically lonely people interpret the praises of those who were rescued from a minor car accident in which no one would really expect to be injured? Do we celebrate the most minute thing that might be miracle to cover up for the fact that God has done so very little in our lives.
A couple of days a go a good older friend was talking about his life as a steady “long obedience in one direction” without much in the way of dramatic spiritual experiences. I’d be hard pressed to say to this person or anyone like him that their Christian life could have had been much more full of encounters with God. I don’t know. In my life I’ve had an abundance of life altering spiritual experiences and I’m inclined to believe that more people should have them and that I could have much more than I do. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe God gifts certain people with more and others with less. My experiences don’t look much like passing through a car accident without a scratch. They are more like God giving me the right words to say to someone to touch them deeply. It is God divine direction guiding my life and the love of God inhabiting my heart and flowing out to others.
I’m charismatic in that I believe in the grace of God. Charis, the greek word for grace is empowers a more righteous life as well as more divinely powerful ministry. I believe the power of God isn’t best displayed through the tangibly miraculous like the body being rid of cancer after a prayer but in the supernatural transformation of our heart and minds. Miracles abounded in the time of Jesus but those who didn’t want to believe explained away these supernatural acts. It is much more difficult to explain away Christlike character marked love, compassion, humilty, service, freedom, a desire for justice, honesty.
More and more I see God’s faithfulness in divine support, guidance and life transformation rather than would could very well be random circumstances. That all being said I believe in miracles, I’ve seen them, I’ve experienced them. It is my prayer that my friend Jordon would experience one.
Heavenly Father, please heal Jordon of all the sickness and damage to his body. Reveal to him your loving compassion and grace. Reveal to us your power to heal. We really love our friend and it grieves us to watch him walk this difficult road. I don’t know whether you plan to intervene, or when, but I think it would be really great if he was back to normal. If you want Jordon to learn something from this, help him to learn it quickly.
Each time I go to EmergentNo I’m amazed
As one who has participated in Emerging Church gatherings for over 2 years I’d have to say the picture EmergentNo has painted doesn’t match anything I’ve experienced. It is really difficult to learn from criticism when it bears no resemblance to your experience. It isn’t as though there aren’t legitimate things to criticize.
I find myself asking the same question over and over again. Why are these people so sure they are right when their churches are in same shape as those in the rest of the country? I’d ask the same questions to the plethora of “emerging” churches that are similarly confident of their correct approach while they can’t get off financial life support.
I can totally understand why George Barna is frustrated with his apparent lack of progress. It doesn’t matter how many facts and figures he throws at people there is very little response. He has outlined a clear and present decline in everything from biblical knowledge to church attendance and we refuse to change. It is easier if we concern ourselves with our institution’s sustainability while ignoring what goes on outside those walls.
Posted by LT in on August 22, 2005
Is the Emerging Church anabaptist?
LM posted asked the question: “Is the emerging church Anabapist?“ I think the honest answer is no but there are some startling simularities. Both trend towards the peace and non-violent resistance. There are some similar thoughts on how the church should function.
I think the most fascinating similarities are found in the context of each movement. The printing press fueled Luther’s reformation and it made the bible accessible to the common person. Combine this with a church in spiritual decline and you’ve created a recipe for radicals to emerge and challenge the establishment. This sometimes resulted in tragic consquences. Today the church is decline and the Internet has facilitated self-organizing decentralized groups that have risen up to challenge the establishment. Just as the word anabaptist was used to refer to any rag tag group of radicals in the 16th century ”Emerging” or “Emergent” is applied to similarly diverse group of people. Much like the anabaptists the EC is now being broadly labeled and condemned by the actions of a few more radical folk and even they are often misrepresented.
Just like anabaptism the shallower streams in the Emerging flood plain will dry up. I’m biased but I think the financial and demographic realities of the next 20 years will kill many churches “emerging” or not that requires a lot of resources to function. There will be some streams that survive and I placing my bets on the organic/simple church part of the spectrum. I think the coffee/candles set are doomed. I think a lot of the “emerging” churches that exist on old assumptions and financial models will slowly get choked out. There aren’t enough leaders out there willing to fail. There isn’t the same drive for a life of discipleship. We want spirituality but we don’t want to give our lives and follow Jesus. We are still too interested in the prestige of ministry success.
I hope that through all that there will be people in subsets of the broader movement that will be remembered as heroes of the faith 400 years from now.
Posted by LT in on August 17, 2005
I’ve hated going to weddings for most of my life but I enjoyed my own
immensely. It was very warm as we had our pictures done.
When people started pouring in to the church I became really
excited. I saw dozens of my closest friends and relatives join my
wife and I in our special day. It was a relatively small wedding,
it was serious when it needed to be and humerous when it could
be. The reception was outside in a park with bring your own
seating! I loved the whole day and I felt like I fell in love
with my wife over again. I beamed with happiness.
As the reception moved in to its later stages some ominioius clouds
appeared on the horizon. By the time we got to the toasts the
wind had picked up. Carol and I gave our words of thanks because
we werent sure how much time we had left. Then the wind really
picked up. At the end my last words were “run for your lives” and
the whole crowd scattered. A great many people helped us pack up
all the gear.
The honeymoon was awesome. I was anxious but things worked out
really well. I watched a lot of my friends enter in to married
life before me. Their advice and wisdom have served me
well. In one sense I’ve been getting pre-marital counselling for
10 years. Carol and I spent a week and a half alone in cabin up
north. We had lots of adventures hiking through the bush and
bogs. We explored a number of lakes close by and found a great
campsite for the future.
I became really mushy and affectionate. So much so I imagine some
of my single friends would have gagged at the site of me.
Fortunately we were alone so the contamination was contained. The
only friend we visted was Shant Bob. We drove up to Meadow Lake
and surprised him at work. That was great, I really miss Jason.
I’m so in love with Carol and I feel it in the very depths of my
heart. She is truly wonderful. In my relationship with
Carol I was unsure of things for a long time. We almost broke up
last winter. Something changed in me when I finally accepted her
love. Past rejections had made my heart callous and I didn’t feel
like I should. Carol was patient. Eventually her love
seeped in to my heart. I’m so glad she persevered.
The boys love me and have called me “dad” since the engagment.
I’m very proud to be their new father and it feels awesome to have them
adopt me as I have adopted them.
I hope that these last few weeks are not the fairy tale ending that Carol had wished for, but a fairy tale beginning.
Posted by LT in on August 15, 2005
Parable of the messy rooms
There once was a father with two sons. Each son had their own room. Both rooms became very cluttered and messy as children’s rooms tend to become. The Father sat the two boys and commanded them to clean their rooms. The scope of the project was so large that the sons were overwhelmed and didn’t know to start. So the father wrote down some instructions for them. Both took the instructions. The oldest boy cared a great deal about following instructions. He followed the instructions to the letter. The youngest boy was more focused on the goal and loosely interpreted his father’s instructions with the same goal. When oldest boy discovered that the youngest wasn’t following the instructions the same way he did he became very upset. He marched in to his younger brother’s room and started yelling at him. The youngest boy became angry and started yelling back. They started arguing over who followed their father’s instructions. They even debated who the better son was.
When the father returned home he discovered his sons fighting and their rooms were still a mess. The father brought the boys together and asked why. The oldest explained that his younger brother wasn’t following the instructions correctly and had to correct him. The younger brother protested and said that he was following the spirit of the instructions and his older brother should just worry about his own room. The father interjected by saying “I gave both of you a job to do and neither of you did it.” To the oldest son he said “You are right in that your brother didn’t clean his room the way I wanted him to, but you didn’t help him, you just accused him of being wrong. In the end neither your room nor your brothers are clean.” The father then told both sons they will be punished for failing to follow his command.
End of parable
I am a firm believer in good doctrine because poor doctrine can warp our relationship with God. If we think God is an ogre with a hammer ready to punish the slightest disobedience it will make us unnecessarily fear him. If we think all there is to God is a free ticket to heaven we won’t allow his grace to transform us. Doctrine isn’t everything. Dare I say it isn’t the main thing. It is essential, just as much as the body of a car is essential. However the main purpose of a car is not to have a good structure but to get people to where they want to go.
As I reflect upon the theological warfare happening on blogs I can’t help but think we aren’t like to the two boys in the parable above. We are righting over who is more right while we ignore the things that matter the most. I appreciated the EC because it functions as if the status quo is unacceptable. Where some people have gone from that conclusion is a little bit disconcerting but I admire their desire to try. Just as disconcerting are those who stand in judgment over certain leaders while there is nothing in their movement, tribe, local church or denomination is reversing the impotence and irrelevance of the church in our day.