Archive for April, 2009

Old wounds

My wife opened up an old wound for me today.  She showed Lynae clips of Romper Room this morning on YouTube.  I recalled with great sadness that the host didn’t ever see me through the magic mirror.

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Len reflects on the Mennonite Brethren

That began a long and winding journey through the Vineyard, out of church entirely (at least, the organized system) and now back among MBs. It feels a little like coming home – but of course you can never really go home. You are different, and so is the “home” you return to. It saddens me that Mennonites have lost so much. I know.. for every loss there is some kind of gain.. but I don’t believe Mennonites are better off having become much like the evangelical mainstream.

Read the rest at NextReformation.com

There are similarities in our journeys.  My tribe is the Mennonite Brethren as well, although the Saskatchewan flavour is a little different from the British Columbia one (and especially the lower mainland).  I am something of an import to the predominately Dutch-German-Russian refugees that settled around my home city.  When I came to faith I just happened to be in a Christian high school group made up mostly of Mennonites.  I came to appreciate their faith tradition but increasingly saddened by the uncritical adoption of almost everything evangelical. 

Recently there has been some theological controversy over the issue of atonement.  As I surveyed both sides I started to wonder why so many Mennonite Brethren held so passionately to the views of the atonement that stem from the leaders of the Reformation.  The same leaders so intent on sending their distant forefathers to their 3rd and final baptism hundreds of years ago.

We sit in an post-Christendom age where the lessons learned by Anabaptists are a valuable commodity.  I say lessons learned because they bear the scars and mistakes of trying to be a radical reformation.  Anabaptists have made plenty of mistakes and have acknowledged many of them.  It is one of the reasons people are actually looking towards them. 

I feel as though many of the accommodations to garden variety evangelicalism have watered down some of the best aspects of the tradition and perhaps even resurrected some of the worst.  From my vantage point the undercurrent of accommodation has begun steering the movement so far off its traditional trajectory that isn’t far from being Anabaptist in name only. 

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So many thoughts, some are hard to share

I’ve had an eventful year and I’ve been involved in several situations that I’m just not comfortable going public with. I can tell you as one who once gave up on organized Christianity my fledgling hope that the centre will move gets tested a lot. Some people I know and respect are making the right noises. Others are so wrapped up in survival or religious performance they can’t see the forest for the trees. I read a few books on spiritual abuse over the last year. One of them, Toxic Faith, had an interesting theory on what makes someone an abusive authoritarian church leader. The authors believe the dysfunction in these leaders stems from a religious addiction. Some people are so bent on religious performance that actually begin crave the next ministry success much like an alcoholic wants their next drink.  People are ultimately just obstacles or avenues to the next fix.  If you’ve ever felt dehumanized by a church leader, it was probably because you got in the way of their next fix.

I’ve seen the temptation in my life.  Raising one of my step-children is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  He is the one person I can make the biggest difference for but I flirt with the temptation to pursue other “ministry” and just ignore the opportunities I have at home.  I recognized this and decided to home school, and now that the school year is almost over I regret not committing more and elbowing more time out of my schedule.  I think I’ve done ok, some things I’ve done really well.  Others, not so much.  In my life I became very used to succeeding at what I put my heart in to, this year I’ve struggled to accept myself in the face of failure. 

Maybe one of the reasons I haven’t been able to write anything terribly profound is because I’m having a hard enough time with the basics.  This year has been a lot of listening, loving and accepting.  I’ve learned that God loves the abused and the abusers.  Recently we just planted a new simple church from our first one.  Now we are two house churches (my book and conference tour are pending) in our little network.  For all the talk of being missional I’ve discovered that if we are faithful and loving then there seems to be no end of opportunity to share God’s grace with people. 

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If this is evangelicalism I think I want off

It gets better, this Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!

K&K Mime

 
ICCM

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My 2008 in a cartoon

Dilbert.com

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Alberta to post the biggest deficit in its history

Alberta expects to post a $4.7-billion deficit this year – the largest in provincial history – as the former darling of the Canadian economy sinks into the red over four consecutive years. The resource-rich province has been brought to its knees by collapsing energy prices, a slumping stock market and declining corporate investment.

Read the rest at the Globe and Mail

Reminds me of something an Albertan once told me : “Any monkey can balance the budget at $100 / barrel, that doesn’t mean we have the right ape at the wheel.”

Alberta has relied on oil to grease the wheels of government programs for years effectively giving the people a pass on their taxes.  Will reality set in?  Will Albertans be willing to give up a meaningful level of their actual income to fund all those big social programs implemented by “conservatives.”

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William K. Black on rampant fraud and deception in America’s banking system

 

The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout.

Click here to watch the video

What did I take away from it?  Many things but one of them is “meet the new boss, same as the old boss!”

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The Wilbur concert was great

See if you can find a special someone busting some moves with Tamil Nadu Superstar Wilbur.

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The New Christianity: What the Mainstream Media Has Missed

In May 2008, Bruce Wilson, co-founder of the blog Talk2Action, made a short video featuring a recording of Pastor John Hagee preaching about how God had sent Hitler to hunt the Jews and force them to Israel. The video went viral and McCain was forced to disassociate himself and repudiate Hagee’s endorsement. Hagee slunk off the national stage.

Flash forward to September of last year. McCain (now the GOP’s presidential candidate) chooses a relatively obscure political figure, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as his running mate. When a CNN reporter asked a GOP campaign spokesperson about Palin’s religious beliefs, she would only say that “the Republican vice presidential candidate has ‘deep religious convictions.’”

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Leave the one for the ninety-nine

I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to a lot of people who have been thrown under the bus. I know that a number of them read this blog, if you think you are one of them you might be surprised how many people I’m actually talking about. One person could be classified as the least of the “least of these” and has suffered a lot of rejection. Others have lost their jobs. Some others still were maligned just because they spoke up about their own victimization. After listening to this time and again I start to wonder, where are the people who will leave the ninety-nine for the one?

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