Archive for May, 2006

I think we've hit a new low with the Jesus Pan

I think we’ve hit a new low with the Jesus Pan


My music collection speaks

My music collection speaks

Mark Trew conducted an interesting experment. He has a list of questions and cycled through his Ipod to find the answers to some deep questions. I used my Yahoo Launchcast customizable radio station. This is a little trickier because launchcast tends to suggest new songs you haven’t rated yet. Anyways this is how it turned out. I’m a little concerned about how my life will turn out!

How am I feeling today?

Heartbreaker – Grand Funk Railroad

Will I get far in life?

Detroit Rock City – KISS

How do my friends see me?

White Room – Cream

When will I get Married?

Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf

What’s my best friend’s theme song?

Who are you – The Who

What is the story of my life?

Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel

What is/was highschool like?

Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

How can I get ahead in life?

Layla – Derek & The Dominoes

What is the best thing about me?

Cobwebs & Dust – Gordon Lightfoot

How is today going to be?

Someting in the way she moves – James Taylor

What is in store for this weekend?

I just Got Married – Ron White

What song describes my parents?

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

What song descirbes my grandparents?

Freeze-Frame – The J. Geils Band

How is my life going?

Pinch Me – Barenaked Ladies

What song will they play at my funeral?

Freak Out – Avril Lavigne

How does the world see me?

Ventura Highway – America

Will I have a happy life?

The Fields of the Pelennor – Howard Shore (LOTR)

What song describes my relationships with my friends?

High Hopes – Pink Floyd

What song describes my romantic status?

Women Want to Talk – Jeff Foxworthy


What does the church need?

What does the church need?

My buddy Dave is asking a question that came up in a recent meeting at the college. What does the church need? Head over and give him your thoughts.

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Battlestar Galactica on the brain

Battlestar Galactica on the brain

In the last few weeks I gorged myself on Battlestar Galactica. Two seasons is a lot to cover and I probably watched too much too fast. The word “frak” has found its way in to my vocabulary. If I start calling radio wireless I’ll know I’m too far gone.

BSG is deeply engaging with very authentic characters all revealing the flaws in humanity. In the story the cylons, a race of machines created by humanity returns to exterminate their former masters because they are flawed. In a sense they are trying to succeed humanity and go further. Some of these cylons are completely biological and nearly identical to humans. Despite the similarities they are considered nothing more than toasters and are sometimes treated as such.

The show makes me think about the flaws of humanity. I think about how our true nature comes out when we are removed from the social conventions that steer us toward more ethical behavior. How many of us would voluntarily act ethically if there were no incentive to do so? How do we know when we have truly changed or that social pressure finally brought about conformity?

Even though I enjoy the show thoroughly it puts me in a melancholy mood. The show is dominated by tragedy with thin slivers of hope. The season 2 finale was particularly disturbing.

It is has been an enjoyable break. I probably should get back to reading, thinking and planning for the fall.

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There is an ebb and flow to blogging

There is an ebb and flow to blogging

Here I am staring at my blog realizing it has been yet another week since I posted. I used to have so much time and energy to invest in to my blog. I spent two days at home sick fighting off a cold. I’m not one of those people who will work regardless of the condition they are in. I stay home, take cold medication, and sleep it off.

I’ve been watching the new Battlestar Galactica with Carol. We started renting the DVDs last week. I enjoy the show. It grapples with human weakness.

I think it is funny that Christians have reacted so strongly to the Da Vinci Code movie and critics are saying the movie is a dud.

It has been unusually warm in April and May. 🙂

I have too many projects on the go at the same time.

I’ve been working with PHP on one of those projects. I can’t say I understand why it is so popular.

Children can be interesting. I sent my oldest downstairs to clean up his mess. It would have taken him 20-25 minutes tops if he worked really fast. He spent the first 1/2 hour complaining and then crying. It took an odd turn when he started pleading for death. I hadn’t heard that part before. I went downstairs and forced him to start cleaning up one section. He was done after a 1/2 hour of work.

We had our spring planning meetings at the college yesterday.


Unproductive Criticism

Unproductive Criticism

This might be a little bit of a rant but I’ve grown tired of the unproductive criticism of the Emerging Church. There are a couple of ways in which most of the criticism falls short.

Most of negative stuff in the Emerging Church is just as true of evangelicalism as a whole.

To illustrate this point I’m going to use Dash’s list. I’m not implying that Dash’s criticism was unproductive. I just need a list and I don’t think he would mind. Dash posted the following list of weaknesses in the EC: Angst, poor doctrine, imbalanced Gospel, fear of tackling difficult issues and weak at critiquing culture. I think what he says is true but it is also applicable to evangelicalism as a whole.

How many evangelicals live in some constant anger over the liberal media, liberal judges or what is on TV? Doctrine? Anyone read the Prayer of Jabez or Left Behind? The gospel? How is that coming to faith in Christ used to have something about becoming a new creation and now it is almost entirely about avoiding eternal BBQ ? Fear of Tackling difficult issues? How often do we hear sermons on eternal judgment or sin in general? Critiquing culture? Hasn’t the evangelical church adopted the values of capitalism and consumerism?

I don’t think it is unfair to point some of these things out but let us be honest. Most of the problems in the Emerging Church didn’t start there. Perhaps a lot of the criticism of the EC is just a convenient deflection away from the serious issues that impact us all.

Criticism that is fair of one section of the EC is not true of another.

I’ve been to Australia, I’ve been to an “Emergent” conference and I’m part of Resonate. There are some huge differences out there. Sooner or later I’m going to encounter someone who is steadfastly opposed to my church planting efforts because they think I don’t believe in any objective truth, ignore the bible, swear a lot and do yoga in my spare time. What the critics don’t realize is that by making sweeping generalizations you condemn perfectly legitimate expressions of the kingdom of God. It is like doing brain surgery with a chain saw!

If someone has issues with McLaren they have issues with McLaren. Why can’t people leave it at that? I have seen some criticism that starts out acknowledging the diversity in the EC but then completely focus on the voices they find objectionable.

The Emerging Church is just a label and it is just about as useful as the evangelical label.

When you have people like Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Rick Warren and Tony Campolo all fitting under the same banner what exactly does that banner mean? Would it be fair to criticize all of evangelicalism based on the actions of Pat Robertson?

I really wonder what productive criticism would look like.


I haven’t been myself

I haven’t been myself

Last night I was reading through some resources on personality types and I realized that I haven’t been myself. I’m usually in a constant state of learning knew things, analyzing them, looking for ways to better understand things. Being married has brought my attention to some very important and urgent things to think about at home. I’ve also been slowly recovering from a really difficult time. Some time ago I made some mistakes and came away terribly hurt. This has sapped a lot of my confidence and optimism about things.

Instead of chasing some grand dream I’ve begun to focus on little victories, small opportunities to make a difference and invest more in local relationships. When I look at the big picture of what is going in the church “emerging” or whatever it is such a mixed bag. Some stuff I read about makes me wonder what I’ve got myself in to. I think I just about fell off my chair when I read about someone using gambling to fund their ministry. Yet there are signs of maturity. New voices are coming on stream that move us beyond the McLarenesque mode of perpetual fuzziness.

It is fun to deconstruct and I did that for a long time. Now that I’m in a position to test out some of my theories the observations come slower but with more assurance. I’ve learned that we really do need to make a bigger deal about sin because it is things like pride, fear, laziness hold us back more than outdated church models and irrelevant programs. What I’m learning is not new nor is it profound. I really do wish I could blog something a little deeper or inspirational but that just isn’t where I’m at.

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Maurice Vellacott shines again

Maurice Vellacott shines again

“Is Maurice Vellacott the best conservative to represent Saskatoon-Wanuskewin?” Today our local radio morning talk show host John Gormley asked this question to more than one caller. Based on the way he used words “stupid” and “embarrassment” in reference to Mr. Vellacott and his recent actions there is no doubt where John is on the issue.

John is a former Tory MP and if the results of his phone in polls are any indication the majority of his listeners are on the conservative side of the spectrum. In a phone in poll this morning most people said Vellacott should be turfed from the leadership of the Aboriginal affairs committee. It seems as though more and more Conservatives see Vellacott as a liability.

What is the furor about? Check out this snippet from the Toronto Star

Vellacott observed it is not the role of judges “whether left or right or conservative or whatever stripe (he or she) happens to be — to actually figure to play the position of God, and somehow when they take those robes on, that they’re in a position to know better than anybody else. Because they’re basically there to carefully interpret the law as it was written and apply the law. That’s my view. I don’t want those individuals to be on the left, on the right. Their role is to interpret the law as it was written by legislators — Parliament in this case.”

Asked by reporter Christina Lawand if his opinion was that judges are playing God right now, Vellacott replied that was the view of the chief justice.

“Beverley McLachlin herself said actually when they step into this role that suddenly there’s some mystical kind of power that comes over them by which everything that they’ve ever decreed and is not to be questioned. They actually have the discerning and almost prophetic ability to plumb and know the mind of the public.

“They take on almost those God-like powers. She said that herself. I didn’t say that. That’s what she’s reported as having said so.

What was our Prime Minister’s response? The comments of the member from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin don’t represent those of the government!

There is a legitimate debate to be had about judicial activism. Vellacott’s defenders whom called in to the radio talk show pointed this out. However there is no excuse for Vellacott’s comments. They don’t further the legitimate debate and serve only to embarrass the people of our fine city. After too many years of Jim Pankiw “representing” Saskatoon now we have another MP embarrassing us all over again.


Dark Side of the Moon: 1,500 weeks on the charts!

Dark Side of the Moon: 1,500 weeks on the charts!

Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ reached another impressive landmark last week.

The seminal 1973 record achieved an amazing 1,500 weeks on the American Billboard charts since its release.

When it was originally released it achieved a whopping 736 consecutive weeks on the chart until it dropped out in 1988.

Following another brief five week run, it has since dotted in and out of the top 200 for a further 759 non-consecutive weeks.


Fear that binds us

Fear that binds us

Last night I watched North Country. It is the story of a Josey Aimes who goes to work in a mine with a predominately male workforce. The small number of women in the mine were continually sexually harassed and had learned to tolerate it. If they complained too much it just got worse. They just came to accept their treatment.

When Josey started making noise about the criminal mistreatment things became much worse. So much so the other female workers turned on her. Eventually it came to court. The other women were so intimidated by men and the thought of losing their high paying jobs that they refused to support Josey.

It always frustrates me when people are unwilling to risk their security for a principle they believe in. It would always drive me nuts when people would talk about something needing to change but when it came time to risk anything they shrunk back and changed their tune. More than I once I’ve stood by my principles alone because people were to chicken to agree with me.

I think there is something to picking your battles and fighting effectively though. No sense picking fights you can’t win or complaining so often you devalue your own words. There are people who fight courageously in ways that are utterly futile. Change is created by understanding the best path towards change or attacking things at the right level. Sometimes that involves timing things correctly and being patient. Josey tried escalating the conflict at the mine and didn’t get satisfaction until she took legal action. There is no sense complaining to the union if they aren’t going to do anything.

Fear is probably the greatest enemy of change. Fear keeps us locked in boxes hoping that positive change can happen incrementally and painlessly. We can be afraid of losing our job, reputation, failure, facing reality etc… Fear is a great sin that should be repented of like any other.

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