Archive for June, 2008

Charismatic Christianity : Two steps forward and three steps back

I had a meaningful conversation with Len recently.  There are some common threads between us. One of them is a significant involvement in the charismatic realm.  As the conversation unfolded we spoke of how the charismatic movement added something to the lives of many mature grounded Christians who came from other church backgrounds.  For these people the emphasis’ of the charismatic movement were a welcome addition to their faith.  Those who know only the charismatic realm are missing solid biblical and theological grounding and are much more prone to fall for the distortions and aberrations of the charismatic movement today.  The anti-theological and anti-intellectual attitude so prevalent in the charismatic movement has severely handicapped the movement ability to stay faithful to a pure, simple devotion to Christ.  Discernment no longer resembles mapping things according to the guideposts of scripture.  The criteria now is more about a sense of anointing  or whether the name of Jesus is used. 

Now the worst extremes of authoritarian theology, the prosperity gospel and revivalism have infected much of a movement that brought real benefit to me and many others.  My feelings span the spectrum from saddened to sickened.  Sometimes I’m even more disheartened at the reaction of those on the outside who recognize how bad things have become.  On one side we have those who really don’t want to do anything.  On the other we have critics that are so vitriolic any solid point they make is easily dismissed by those they might be able to correct. 

I think the charismatic renewal is warning for other would be renewal movements like the missional church movement or simple church movement.  If we discard too much from the historical church we may not realize that we are missing essential elements of church life until it is too late.  As pioneers in these new movements we bring strengths of conventional church with us.   For example the first generation of simple churches may stay faithful to Christian orthodoxy because so many simple church pioneers come with abundant theological education.  If the second generation of house church leaders doesn’t have the same grounding it could easily go sideways. 

If we aren’t faithful and thoughtful we may end up making the same mistakes over again.


Coming to the Okanagan, Vancouver and Victoria

Hi all.  We are just about all packed.  We have a house sitter lined up and juiced up the net connection my blackberry.  I’m ready to go.  My family are about to depart on a trip.  I’ll be spending a couple of days in and around Penticton (June 27-29), Vancouver (July 1) and Victoria (July 2-3).  If any of you out there are interested in getting together email me at

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Dr. McVety I presume

It turns out that Canada’s version of the Christian Caped Crusader may not be as academically accomplished as his title makes him out to be.  He claims to have a D.Min from California State Christian University.

Here is a picture of it.


Bene and Bill and have been doing some nice work on this. 

I think I’ll be starting up Saskatoon State Christian College and Seminary.  Anyone need a degree?  Anyone?

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Harper is either lying or clueless

Stephen Harper was in the press today responding to solid Liberal policy proposals with empty and inflammatory rhetoric.  The Liberals have proposed shifting taxes from income to carbon.  Harper’s response?  It will "screw everybody" and "recklessly harm the economy."  It will turn Saskatchewan back in to a "have-not" province!

Did we just enter the twilight zone?  Has Harper been smoking a special Karl Rove brand of the sweet herb? 

Shifting taxes from income to consumption is bad for the economy?  Shifting taxes to consumption of resources that are steadily becoming more scarce is a bad thing?  No Stephen, you are right lets keep our entire economy completely dependent oil and natural gas that way we can all pay more and more each year to the non-renewable energy companies and get nothing back for it.

The Liberal plan will have the cost of diesel go up 11 cents a litre in 4 years.  11….cents….a….litre.  Horror of horrors it will bankrupt us all!  Funny I thought we just saw the price diesel go up oh about 4 times that in the last year.  Are we getting any of that back as a tax break?  Actually in Alberta and Saskatchewan we are but most of Canada is pretty much screwed. Harper’s National Energy UnProgram is perfectly designed to continue siphoning oil revenue from most of Canada and pump it in to the provinces that pull it out of the ground. 

Raising taxes on carbon will push down demand and provide an incentive to live more efficiently.  A carbon tax might be tough medicine but in the end it will help cure the disease.  If it motivates someone to switch from an SUV to a car they will be ahead.  If it motivates someone to upgrade their furnace and add insulation, they will be ahead.  It will provide more incentive to build houses to better standards their owners will be ahead.   Canada is a cold country and the longer we wait to shift towards conservation and efficiency the harder it will be.

I’m so disappointed with the obviously disingenuous rhetoric coming out of the Conservative party.  How else can you say that a plan to cut taxes isn’t really a plan to cut taxes?   Does he really believe that Liberals are incapable of cutting taxes?

The end of the oil and gas economy is now on the horizon.  Shall we wait until escalating energy prices kill our economy and make it that much more difficult to transition?


Blessed be the name of the Lord

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessings come and people go

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Walking through darkness yet guided by light

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Pain surrounds but healing abounds

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Dreams will vanish yet hope springs forth

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Pain blinds but the Spirit guides

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Feeling the heartache yet harvest what love makes

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Seeing shadows but living faith knows

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Swept by tides but suffer in kind

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Convicted of lies yet forged in truth

Blessed be the name of the Lord

The Lord Gives, the Lord takes away

Blessed be the name of the Lord

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The Green Shift

The Liberals have unveiled their Carbon Tax proposal.  It is revenue neutral which means any increase in taxes on coal, natural gas and petroleum will be offset by lower income taxes and financial support for those who make so little they pay no tax.  There is an existing federal tax on gasoline so there would be no additional taxes on gas.  The tax they propose is fairly modest increasing $10 per tonne per year for 4 years.  After 4 years it means a 7 cents a litre increase on diesel.  In the Liberal plan the price increase on natural gas is more substantial at $2 a gigajoule. 

Now that gasoline is $1.40 a litre we are finally seeing people change their habits.  I’m not sure how much an additional 7 or 12 cents a litre on fuel is going to add to the change but it is a step in the right direction. 

The Conservative plan for reducing green house gas emissions will increase the cost of fuel and electricity but without any mechanism to return any of that money back to the Canadian people. 

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Energy Policy and Peak Oil

This week GW Bush called for a lift on the ban on certain kinds of oil drilling.  The drilling is likely inevitable.  The tension between oil supply and oil demand is only going to get stronger.  The price at the pump will steadily increase until we see a fundamental shift in the way we approach energy and oil.  That shift involves a massive investment in public transportation, new renewable power generation, electric or plug-in electric vehicles, and a relocalized economy.  Soon we will face an unrelenting decline in oil prices.  Until we change the price at the pump will continue to increase.  I believe the pressure to drill anywhere and everywhere will overcome any environmental concerns.

Bush blamed the lack of drilling for the high oil prices.  The world uses 85 million barrels of oil a day and Bush claims expanded drilling would net 18 billion barrels of oil.  That would supply a little more than half the market for a year.  It would take years for the production to start and it did it would only offset a fraction of the decline in mature oil fields like those in Mexico and the North Sea.  In the end such drilling would only help a little bit for a little while. 

It is a radical thought but the best government policy would be to raise gasoline taxes and take that money and invest heavily in the transition to what will eventually become a post-oil economy.  The scope of such a transition is massive and the longer we wait the harder it will get.  Unfortunately the idea would be political suicide.   It is too bad really.  Either government policy can drive down demand and spur innovation or the lack of supply will.  In the first scenario the American government gets the cash in the other foreign governments get the cash.  If there is a silver lining the lack of a coherent American energy policy it really benefits Canada.  Right now the average American driver is doing a great job of subsidizing the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

Keep driving your truck Mike, I need another tax break so I can get a new HD TV! 😉

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As if sales could ever beat I.T.

I.T. Rules!

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The parable of the honest employees

A wealthy investor started a department store.  He hired some managers to the run store and went away on a long trip.  While the investor was away the store became very large and they hired many workers.  At first the work culture was good but as time wore departments started to resent each other.  Employees started stabbing each other in the back to climb the corporate ladder.  Workers became lazy as coffee breaks and lunch breaks started getting longer and longer.  Poor service started irritating customers.  Managers forced employees to endure unproductive corporate training.

Some managers were honest enough to acknowledge the dysfunction and make the best of the situation.  They rarely bucked the system because they found the task of challenging the system too daunting.  The dysfunction of the company started to impact the profitability of the company.  Managers spent company money on endless seminars, consultants and motivational speakers.    Different promotions brought in new sales but they spent so much on perks, benefits, and extra vacation days there was rarely, if any profit. 

Lots of people complained.  Most complained about how dysfunctional things were and how they weren’t fulfilled in their careers.  Some people moved from department to department thinking the next move would leave them more satisfied with their job. 

There were some in the company that started to wonder whether it was morally correct to take so much company money and spend it on themselves.  If the owner ever came back heads would roll.  They started asking poignant questions about how much money the company was really making.  Some managers  and other employees felt threatened by the questions.  Some others entertained the questions but never got around to answering them.  The honest employees sat in limbo as changes were promised but never seemed to materialize. 

Eventually it became an ethical issue for some of the managers and employees.  They began to wonder how long they could be complicit with system that was cheating the owner and so completely disconnected with the purpose of the store.  Management seemed overly concerned with sales while disregarding the truest measure of success: profit.  When they asked management if they could change a few things they were told that the owner hired the managers and they were plan a, there was no plan b.  Some stayed in the company making the best of the situation but many left the company because they could no longer pretend anymore. 


Somebody spray painted our little car last night

I think I know who did it but I don’t have proof.  Probably the same person who put a dent in the other car a few days earlier.  I called the police and they made a report.  Without a witness there isn’t much that can be done. 

I spent a number of hours in the back with a non-abrasive scrubber and can of WD-40 thinking "do not repay evil for evil, overcome evil with good."  I guess that rules out the Round-Up bombs on the lawn. 

Ooooooh, but that would be fun.