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Showing posts from October, 2009

hand off

Control freak confession #17: Lately I am realising that my style of leadership/friendship is sometimes too heavy-handed. I see things, I know things, I have some life experience and wisdom, of that there is no doubt. But does that give me the right or responsibility to try to steer other people's lives? I am beginning to think not. Trying to actively guide others has felt like the responsible and loving thing to do, but in truth, it primarily satisfies my sense of well-being when we are all going the same direction (MINE) and involved in the same things (WHAT I THINK IS IMPORTANT) and helps me feel successful. God is just not that one-dimensional nor that boring. Unity is not stuffing all the working parts into the same box and dragging them behind me. It is much more beautiful and strange than that.

Control is like my hand grabbing onto someone or something that I love, trying to keep them or it in line with my idea of godliness, and today I feel God prying my fingers off, one at…

I am her

I don't know about the church. I love her. I am frustrated with her. I am her. I have spent so much of my life investing in her, trying to help her find her hidden beauty, coaxing small steps forward out of her, and telling her inspiring, mesmerising, and often bewildering stories. At times, I have to admit, I have given her stern lectures about her disappointing behaviour. But there have been lots of good times, too. We have laughed at life's oddities and joys. We have gone on road trips that have changed us. We have eaten the best meals together, so much more tasty because of the hours spent elbow to elbow in the kitchen. We have strung flowers from ceilings and stripped off our clothes and jumped about foolishly and called it art, or worship, or both.

I am deeply committed to her as a part of me and a part of Jesus. When I am with her the human and divine come crashing together, sometimes painfully, but most times like a symphony being written by a group of gifted children w…

relapse

Someone must have rearranged our bedroom furniture during the night. I got up this morning , it seems, on the proverbial wrong side of the bed. After a month of blessed and undeserved contentment and gratitude in my heart, I felt the old brain start to go in negative patterns again this morning. The sad thing is not that this happened (and will occasionally happen), but that I allowed myself to go down that road, to stay on that track, and ended up saying things to people that I now regret. Yes, apologies have been given, and I have to trust that forgiveness and redemption are bigger than my blunders.

It started when I got irritated and annoyed because one little thing did not happen the way I wanted it to this morning. My prayer as I walked to the bank this afternoon was "God, I am a control freak. Please help me to be a lover instead." It is so hard to remain out of control of my life. I can do okay for a period of time and then WHAM I just get tired of not having a say in…

the zone

We are in an interesting place as a faith community, literally. The lease on the space we currently rent expires at the end of the month, and we are unable to renew it due to zoning issues. We found a new space that was smaller and much better suited to our needs (with our own private bathrooms!) and after we met with the landlord and signed a lease, that space also fell through due to a zoning ruling. The Director of Urban Planning suggested that we rent space from an existing church in order to avoid the zoning problem. Now we would be perfectly happy to share space with another church, but most of the congregations are housed in old, formal, cavernous, pewed buildings not conducive to our casual and interactive worship and teaching style. At Vineyard Montreal, we have couches and sit in a semi-circle and you are free to interrupt the speaker with a question or comment at any time. Plus, where would the drums go? Sadly, meeting as a church in a non-traditional church space seems a b…

bump in the road

It is Thanksgiving Monday. I should be cleaning my house in preparation for a half dozen people coming over to cook and eat and be loud and make it messy again (that's what a family does). Dean is still in China. I miss him, but life is good. God takes care of me and there is nothing to complain about.

Two nights ago I was on my way home from a dinner with friends when I decided to follow the suggestion of the GPS voice and take an alternate road to my house. It said it was shorter, so I decided to try it. I had not taken that particular route in a while and as soon as I did, I realised that I was in trouble. My exit was closed due to construction. Then the next exit put me on a side road with orange pylons and scraped pavement and still the exit I wanted was blocked off! I kept driving, not enjoying the bumpy, excavated driving surface, and too late, saw one of those horrible manholes sticking up a few inches out of the pavement with its sharp edges.
A loud noise came from the bac…

blessed

Dean left for China yesterday. I am at home alone for 10 days but won't be bored. Here is a partial list of things I want to accomplish.

1. Take Jazz to the vet this afternoon and have everyone come out unscathed. This is the first trip to a new vet, so hopefully we can begin with a clean slate and a better attitude (she has a record of violence at the old place).
2. Finish my application for a federal scholarship (SSHRC) which is a pretty intense process that includes writing a research proposal and bibliography. If I get it, it means I would be paid to go to school next year! I received the last important document in the mail today, so I will be handing the whole thing in to my department tomorrow.
3. Dust my house and clean the bathrooms.
4. Pay off all the visa bills.
5. Get together with friends on Thanksgiving and eat pumpkin pie.
6. Enjoy God's blessing in my life every day.
We talked about Matthew 5:1-12 a week ago at home group. It starts out with, "Blessed are the poor…

what am I looking for?

I just returned from our second annual Vineyard retreat in the Laurentians. There were 19 people sharing a 4 bedroom chalet (4 people were camping in the front yard), and I don't remember anyone really complaining about anything during the entire 43 hours we were together. No wait, the children rolled their eyes when it was bedtime and a few people sighed at the thought of going home. Amazing, when you think about it.

The weather was foggy and rainy and cold on Saturday, but we went out on the boat anyway, and others enjoyed books and walks and chats by the fire and everyone was content. We had a talent show on Saturday night which everyone was encouraged to participate in. A few people were reluctant, but that sentiment soon faded when I reassured them that it was by everyone for everyone, and we would love whatever they would do, no matter what it was. And every last person brought something for the rest of us to enjoy, wonder at, laugh with, or applaud.
The theme of the weekend …