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Showing posts from May, 2011

out of the box

Last night we returned from a 4-day road trip to the East coast. We took in the annual gathering of Vineyard churches from the Atlantic region of Canada and managed to squeeze in a short stop at Bangor, Maine on the way there and a night overlooking the water in St. Andrews by the Sea on the way back. The break with Dean was a welcome one, though the conference was rather busy. Not only was I taking care of the registration for the event, I was also speaking at one of the sessions. It was no surprise that I fell asleep in the car on the way home as Dean drove through Maine.

The topic that I was asked to speak on was "Out of the Box," especially in relation to how we live life as followers of Jesus. It was such a privilege and treat to interact with a group of people who were up for exploring the risky venture that we know as transformation, and who were not afraid to engage in a slightly different format from what they were used to encountering in a church setting. It i…

out of order

What do you do when certain things are not working in your life? You can't really call a repair man (or lady) to fix it because life doesn't have an 800-number to call in situations like this. For the last few days I have been experiencing general fatigue. I seem to always be tired, appetite is low (lower than usual), and I don't have a lot of grace for others. Perhaps I just need a vacation (yes, definitely!). Perhaps I have a bit of a sinus infection or something. Or perhaps I have run out of my own strength once again.

Being weak and vulnerable is always such an undesirable position to be in, and I find myself there at least a few times a year. It is when the capable and smart and funny and loveable me has left the building, and all that is left is the tired, drained, uncreative, complaining, and selfish me. Ideally, I would like to hole up in a monastic retreat until I recoup my composure and refresh my spiritual and physical self. Alas, this is rarely the case…

ironic

Perhaps you remember AlanisMorissette's song from the mid-90s called, "Ironic." Many of the situations she mentions in the song could not really be classified as ironic (how ironic is that?) because irony, by definition, does not merely refer to coincidental or improbable events. Irony speaks to the incongruity and poignant nature of a situation. To quote one of the free online dictionaries: "Something is ironic if the result is the opposite of what was intended; an ironic event is an incongruous event, one at odds with what might have been expected."

In mid-April we delivered our spare futon and frame to some friends so that they would have a comfy bed for visiting family members to sleep on. We let them know that if they liked it, they could keep it. We have been considering re-purposing our spare bedroom, which does not really get a lot of guest traffic these days, into an office for me so that I can study in peace while Dean makes a lot of noise in the …

certitude

A week ago I took a mini road trip to Syracuse, New York to attend the American Academy of Religion Eastern International Regional meeting. Basically, it was a bunch of religion scholars from New York, Ontario, and Quebec together presenting ideas, exchanging information, eating finger food, and drinking wine. Very nice, actually. The SUNY campus is lovely and I spent what little spare time I had wandering around a bit of it and taking pictures.

Two of the talks I attended that sparked quite a bit of discussion were ones that dealt with certitude, doubt, and struggle. It seems that in some circles, 'doubt' is the new 'faith.' One of the men presenting a paper plainly stated that certitude is our enemy. And he seemed quite certain about that! (just pointing that out). While I understand that he is reacting to a tendency to offer simplistic, pat answers which indeed are unhelpful for the most part, in my opinion he pretty much substituted one pat answer for anothe…

book review: Revise Us Again

I recently ordered a book by Frank Viola called Revise Us Again: Living From a Renewed Christian Script. The agreement was that I would get a free copy in return for reviewing it here on my blog (thanks to Speak Easy bloggers). Good deal, right? I had read bits and pieces of Viola's writing before - most of it I found to be prodding and often provocative rhetoric that sought to point the church in a more authentic and biblical direction. There were several glowing endorsements of the book in the email that notified me of the book's availability for review, so I took the bait.

What follows are my candid and honest opinions. You need not agree with my assessments and thoughts, but I offer them here for your consideration. First, let me say that Viola is by all indications a lover of Jesus dedicated to the purity and authenticity of the Church. That's a good thing. He hits his stride in a few places on this theme of revision: in chapter 6 he uses personal experience and numero…

how to live to be 100

I watched a talk on longevity a few days ago given by a researcher/explorer who, along with a team of scientists, studies pockets of people who live significantly longer (10+ years) than the average life expectancy. And keep in mind that he is talking about vigourous, disability-free life, not bed-ridden, incapacitated elderly folks.

We probably have ideas about what would promote longevity (don't smoke, don't work too hard, don't eat fatty foods, don't live a dangerous lifestyle, take health supplements, exercise regularly, think happy thoughts, etc.), but surprisingly, none of those appeared as decisive factors in the case studies. Considering that only 10% of longevity is genetic and 90% is behavioural, the findings are in some way applicable to all of us.
Here are a few of the points he made that I found significant:
1. How we treat older people impacts how long we live and how healthy our younger generations are. In a society where old age was equated with equity (v…

displaced disgust

I read one of those troublesome parts of the bible last week. You know, one of those parts where God (through Moses) commands the nation of Israel to attack a foreign city and kill the people. Sometimes, like in Deuteronomy 20:13-14, the Israelites could take the women, children, and livestock as plunder. Other times, like in Deuteronomy 20:16-18, they had to kill every living creature in the city when they attacked it. Brutal.

I had someone ask me about these stories the other week, and I answered that the point is not the killing of another nation, but loyalty to God. She listened politely, but said that these parts of the bible still bothered her. I had to admit that my answer did sound a bit weak and pat, though I believe it was true.

A few days ago, I saw something in the bible that I had not noticed before. Nay, four things! Taking into account that we are reading a story from another time and place when tribal warfare was common and life was much more brutal, there are a few thin…