Archive for December, 2005
Posted by LT in on December 29, 2005
Christmas has been great so far
I’d like to say I have some profound reflections on Christmas or life in general but I don’t. Christmas is a very busy time when you have kids. They make things a lot of fun too. So far I’ve had a very good time.
One of the hidden gems of this time has been Firefly. The now defunct science fiction TV series that the movie Serinity is based on. We picked it up on DVD with an old wedding gift certificate. This show has been great. If I had to describe it I’d call it a western in space but that doesn’t do it justice. I really like science fiction if it has a plot and I’ve been sorely disappointed in recent years. The main character reminds me of a confederate solidier bitter 5 years after losing the civil war.
The Christmas break has brought relative peace among the blogs. I’m thankful. I like a good honest fight but these days we’ve been tricked to lowering our standards.
I’ve been reflective over the season. I’m sad in some ways. Despite some very wonderful things that happened this year to me some tragic things occured as well. Processing that has been a struggle but it is getting easier. It was hard watching my old life get dismantled piece by piece. First Shantbob moved away. Then ScottyD. Then Mark Trew. Some of the best friends a guy could have. Fortunately they are all still friends just further away than they used to be.
Posted by LT in on December 27, 2005
The year in review
I don’t think I could have anticipated how much my life would change in one year. I watched roomates move on and out of a house we shared for several years. I flew too Australia and had a great time with Phil and Dan. Not long after I got back I was engaged and 4 months later I was married. Now I’m a dad with two great sons who breathe a whole new kind of life in to me. Christmas was fantastic and it hasn’t quite ended yet. I’ve been part of house church for well over a year now and that has been really good.
I’ve changed in some ways. Not that I’m actually involved in an alternative form of church I’ve found that much of church isn’t the method but our heart and our willingness to follow Jesus. I’ve grown significantly distant from the Emerging Church conversation. So much of the talk and the theory bears little relevance to the reality of my experience. I think most of the movement’s critics over generalize and invoke inflammatory language which obscures what is truly valuable in their message.
I’m tired of the fighting. I’m tried of the hypocrisy.
Posted by LT in on December 20, 2005
Forgiveness: A blessed gift
Sometimes when people hurt you it has a way of digging deep in to heart. You don’t know it is there until something else reminds you of the hurt and everything floods back to the surface. In my mind I’d go through all of the things I’d say to so and so. Some people choose the passive aggressive route. They are too afraid to confront directly but behind the scenes they plot and they scheme doing things with just enough plausible deniablity to rationalize and justify their own behavior. Not my style but I see it happen.
Like many others I’ve been hurt over the years but more and more I’m finding a great strategy to overcome such pain. Forgiveness. Anger and bitterness hang like a albatross on our necks sapping our life and love transforming us in to people we would rather not be. For some this bitterness only drives to continue the cycle of hurt and pain as people pay it forward.
Our first internal objection to forgiveness is the need for justice. If I forgive so and so I’m letting them get away with what they have done to me. I disagree with that. God will judge people and that kind of judgement is too much for a victim to bear. It puts us in a place where the memory of our victimization only serves to make us victims once again. We become trapped in it. Eventually this trap begins to change how we see the world and we become oversenstive so that even friendly gestures can be interpreted as another attack.
I ask God to help me forgive. I become to tired to carry the pain and I want to release it and accept God’s comfort and grace. I don’t care if my adversary is properly punished I leave that to God as He has a much better grasp of the situation anyway. I feel the burden lift as the Spirit of God raises my eyes. Thank you God for enabling me to forgive. Help me to let you in deeper to my heart too root out all the bitterness and anger.
Is there a better way of gathering?
Mark Trew writes
As for worship, the important questions in creating a worship formal or a ministry format are:
1. What is the church supposed to accomplish?
2. What is the best way to accoplish that in a community?
I think that it is a worth while question to ask, “Is there a better way of gathering as a community in order to disciple effectively?”
My comment was
I think that the church gathers to prepare and equip itself to accomplish the purposes of God in this world. If Israel existed to be a light to the nations I can probably safely say the church exists in the same role. It seems the church is the natural extension to God’s strategy. God’s purposes in the world are numerous and I probably wouldn’t be able to nail them in a sentence or two. Here are a few broad thoughts. We are called to become agents of reconciliation in the world. Ambassadors of our Lord. Compassionate and loving pursuing justice for the poor and oppressed. Church as it is often done today has become more of an end than a means to God’s purposes. The “missional” focus that is croping up is a correction but I don’t think it captures it all.
The current obsession with worship is an over correction to stale lifeless evangelicalism. Yes we want to have an initimate spiritual relationship but we also need a transformative experience that prepares us for a greater purpose than ourselves.
If we are talking about church forms and methods we need to be honest about how disciples are truly made, how justice is actually delivered, how people are truly transformed.
Watching the debate with friends
The 1993 debate was one of the most memorable in history for me because I watched it at bible school with some great friends. I sought to recapture some of that with last nights debate by inviting a bunch of old and new friends over. To add to the experience I prepared lots of snacks. Popcorn, chips, dip, crackers, cheese, meat, pub style buffalo chicken and dry ribs were all part of the mix. I made sure include some root beer to so we can least pretend we had “beer and popcorn”. Watching a debate with friends who like to make sarcastic remarks adds to the flavour even if we might miss a bit of substance. Watching it with the PVR is even better because I could pause the debate while the group regained composure. I had a great time and it was very good to hang out with my friends. I’m sorry that Becky wasn’t able to make it because she certainly would have added to the mix.
Some people like to name someone the winner and it is usually their favourite person. In my group of friends we have people that lean NDP, Conservative and Liberal. Our impressions of the debate were mixed. Most of us thought Jack Layton did the poorest but one or two did not. Some of us thought Harper did poor and others did not. It seemed we all thought Martin did very well in his rant on Duceppe. Scripted or not he came across with genuine passion for the country.
I don’t know if I could tell that anybody really won. I think it is really hard to judge these things because our bias colours our perception. I find Jack Layton annoying. I find Harper stiff but for him stiff is better than angry so he probably did about as good as he could. When Paul Martin answers questions he tries to cover a lot of ground with a lot of facts and he doesn’t come across clear and sometimes he comes across evasive. It seems like he tries too hard. Duceppe is always entertaining and I find that he is less filtered. He comes across more conversational.
I think some of the questions were dumb. Why do we debate how the federal government can fix health care when it is a provincial responsibility? Legislation to force politicians to keep their promises? There will always be things the opposition will see clearer when they are in government.
I would have liked to see things like the first nations, foreign policy, foreign aid, the environment and the military talked about.
My vision for Canada
One of the best questions I heard in the debate last night was about what Canada would be like in 50 years. I was disappointed by all the answers. Here are some of mine.
- Replace all coal and natural gas power generation with wind and nuclear etc…
- 75% of all vehicles using clean fuel from renewable resources
- A nation of energy efficient homes. Rennovations funded through income tax credits and very low interest loans
- An end to the gap in standard of living between Aboriginals and the rest Canadians
- Have a small but well equiped military that can respond to situations quickly around the world
- A public/private blended health care system
- Elimination of the national debt
- Shift tax income from the federal government to the cities who are better able to address issues of housing, the environment, poverty, public transit etc…
- There would be 4 or 5 African nations that feel the same sort of gratitude towards Canada that the Dutch do because we provided generous, honest and selfless help to build their nations
- I’d like to see a nation that lives in harmony despite religious and cultural diversity
- Our agriculture and forestry industries would have no negative impact on the environment
- Post-Secondary education would be funded well enough that people could earn enough money in a summer of work to pay for tuition
- End the question of Quebec separatism forever
Posted by LT in on December 15, 2005
Just to balance things out
Here is a critical article on Martin. Paul Wells is sarcastic and funny but he is usually pretty fair. Paul points out that Martin will make up stuff just to get through a tough question.
Posted by LT in on December 14, 2005
Harper: Canada a welfare state in the worst sense
Stephen Harper made a speech in 1997 to a group of American conservatives. Some of the stuff he says is um…controversial. Read the full text here.
Here are 3 paragraphs I found particularly enlightening.
First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.
In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don’t feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don’t feel bad about it themselves, as long as they’re receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.
That is beginning to change. There have been some significant changes in our fiscal policies and our social welfare policies in the last three or four years. But nevertheless, they’re still very generous compared to your country.
Posted by LT in on December 11, 2005
The Flames come back in the 3rd period to beat the league leading Senators in overtime! I guess the Sens rolled in to the wrong division if they thought they could pick up some easy points!