Thursday, August 31, 2006

I am in love

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. Last night we watched our wedding video. It was really cool to see so many people from our past. It made both of us wonder where some of those people are. We also realized that we had really good music at our wedding. I had forgotten how awesome some of the songs were.
The great highlight of being married for 10 years is that I feel like I am just getting to know Cindy. My wife is the most amazing person I have met. She is so complicated, beautiful and smart. She continues to surprise, stun and amaze me. I love her more and more every year.
Well there is only another 70 years to go until we reach our 80th wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wrongful love

The other night I watched V for Vendetta. It was an interesting movie. The part that fascinated me was that the bad guys were conservative Christians. I sat and I wondered is this how the world sees us? In the movie Christians had taken over the state and were suppressing freedom. One of the things the Christians were doing were throwing people into jail because they were gay. I felt bad that Christians were getting such a bad rap in the movie. However then I read an article online called Wrongful Love. In the article it mentions how a Christian school kicked someone out because their mother was gay. What a stupid thing for anyone to do. We are called to love. Instead Christians throw someone out because they are associated with someone who does not live as we expect them to. It is important to note that the student was not doing anything wrong. They were expelled because of their mother. This made me think. Sometimes Christians do get a bad wrap in the media. However too often it seems that we deserve that treatment. I know that there are many good Christians doing many good things - and I wish these would be highlighted more in the media. But the reality is that sometimes people who call themselves Christians are really stupid, unloving, hateful, arrogant losers. Makes a person wonder why God still loves and uses us.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I was just listening to Ray Vander Laan. He is a historian, focused on the culture of the bible. He runs a website called follow the Rabbi (you should really check this site out it). Anyway I was listening to him talk about what it meant to be a disciple. It was really interesting. One thing really struck as he talked. He told a story about when he was taking a class from a Jewish professor. The professor was saying that a disciple is consumed with a passion to be like their master. He then looked right at Ray and said that Christians claim to be disciples of Jesus. However unless they read the gospels every week then they are not really his disciples.
That is right. Reading the gospels every week. And he means reading the whole gospels not just part of them. My first response is that he has to be crazy. But another part of me asks do I want to be like Jesus? How badly do I want to be like Jesus? Enough to read the gospels every week?
My prayer is that my desire to want to be like Jesus will increase.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Well it seems like a day to talk about terrorism. A couple of my friends talked about it on their blogs - Nathan and Jack. I also just started to read Simply Christianity by N T Wright. In the first chapter he talks about justice. So since I am thinking about it.

Terrorism is a very loaded word, especially since 9/11. People seem to use this word about anyone who works against them. It seems to often be used to get a emotional response instead of a rational response. If someone is a terrorist then we have the right to use "whatever means necessary" to stop them. This includes bombing civilians, kidnapping, torture, ect.
One of the problem is that the definitions that are used to describe terrorism seem very vague. Wikipedia states "Terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change." And "The United States Department of State defines terrorism as "Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents" ( The first definition would seem to include the use of any military force in any country to bring about change. This would include the invasion of Iraq by the US, the invasion of Afghanistan by the UN, and the invasion of Germany by the allied armies in WWII. It seems to be me that there is a difference between a military operation and terrorism. Though the more I think about the issue the closer the two seem to be. The second definition does not really help that much more. Since we are often willing to bend the rules for groups who fight against "bad" governments. The definition also removes the state from being able to commit terrorist actions. Though I think many would consider the Chinese response to Tiananmen Square to be terrorism. So we are left with a loaded word that we cannot really give a good definition to.
Despite this draw back people continue to use the word to try and polarize the issues - we are totally right and the other guy is totally wrong. I see this so much in the Israel/Hezbollah conflict. Israel and their supporters state that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and must be crushed. Hezbollah states that the acts of Israel are acts of terrorism. Who is right? I would say both of them.
In the end what I would like is for us to stop calling everyone a terrorist and state exactly what actions we do not agree with. Once the action is defined to then discover why the person/organization/state felt the need to this action.

Friday, August 18, 2006

mid life

Someone told me today that our church is in a mid life crisis. The church is over 50 years old now. I wondered what does it mean for a church (or a person for that matter) to be in a mid life crisis.
Well, it seems to me that a person in a mid life crisis is often examining their life. They often look back with great longing to their youth. In fact many try and reclaim their youth. Which is why men buy sports cars and pick up young women. A teacher of mine stated that mid life crisis is a time when a person looks over their life to see if what they had committed their life to was worth it. So often people despair in this time because what they committed to is not really worth their life. The other dynamic is that in mid life people start to realize that they are going to die and things are going have to change. They come to conclusion that they are not going to be young forever. This is another reason that they try and reclaim their youth - well they still can.
But what does all this mean for a church stuck in mid life crisis? Well it means that it is examining itself. It could be struggling with what it will become like in the future. Will it try and reclaim the past like a 50 year old man acting like a teenager? Or will it move into the future? Also both people and the church are really facing death. People physical death, for the church it could be death of programs. The one big difference is that if the church does not embrace the future (including death and change) then it will really die. If a person does not embrace the future they will just look silly until they die.
It should be interesting seeing where Jesus is going to lead the church. It will also be interesting to see if we are willing to follow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Last night I went to folklorama with some friends. It was really good. We went to the African and Caribbean pavilions. The performances at both places mainly consisted of dancing. Though at the Caribbean one there was the limbo and steel drums. Dance and culture appear to be mixed together. In fact as I looked through the book the two things that were common at every place were dancing and food (with the exception of the Belgian pavilion - they were all about beer and food). Food and culture going together makes sense because we need to eat to live. And food would become linked with culture because different cultures eat different food due to their location. However dancing and culture? It is almost as if human beings have an intrinsic need to dance. Like we need to express ourselves in some way and the only way that we can do that is by dancing. Since we are expressing ourselves and we are products of our culture dance and culture mix. If this is true (we need to dance) - which I think is true - then a couple of thoughts come to my mind. Why do Mennonites have no dance? Possibly because we love to suppress all emotion? Second thought is what kind of dance will Canada have? Canadian culture is just beginning to emerge and is not defined. If it does emerge what will our dance look like? Or will we just bring together different dances from different parts of the world?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Searching for God Knows What

I just finished reading Donald Miller's book Searching God Knows What. Through out the book Donald explains that we were created to live in relationship with God and allow him to define who we are. However Christianity has often made our relationship with God to really be a formula. Instead of living within relationship we do three steps to make God happy or to be happy ourselves. The problem with the formula is that it removes us from living with God to having a god that we control.
Now as I thought about this - us using a formula to relate to God - I realized that this is how I was taught to preach. My teachers drilled into my head that I needed to have three steps or points in every sermon. As a result this is often the way that I preach. I give them three steps to experience joy instead of inviting them to relate to Jesus. And the reality is that relationships are messy and cannot be contained in three little points.
Of course this creates a problem for me. I am not sure how to preach outside of the formula.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I am back from holidays. They were great. It was really nice to see the mountains, ocean and of course my family. We did a lot of things with our family in the two weeks that I was there: flying, hanging out, going to the beach, hiking, making a waterside, rafting down a river, playing games, building a house ...
One of the neat things that happened on this holiday was meeting family that I did not really know or had never really meet (I do not consider having meet someone if I was only three the last time I saw them).
My uncle who lives out east was also out visiting at the same time. Now I had meet my uncle a couple of times but do not really know him. We got into a couple of very good conversations. He explained that he was beginning to follow Jesus. He told me that he did not want to be pious. In other words he did not want to act more holy than he is. He believes that God accepts him as he is so he has given everything to God and God has to lead him to change. It seems that he does not want to get bogged down with rules but has a willingness to be totally surrendered to God. This is totally awesome.
I also meet my great aunt (actually I meet a couple of them). My aunt had lived in Africa for 48 years as a missionary. She had stories to tell about how God had worked in her life. Two stories that she told me really stuck. One was just before she headed out onto the mission field. She was praying wondering if God would help when through an open window flew a sparrow. The sparrow dropped dead at he feet. She was reminded that Jesus said that God knows every sparrow who dies and we are more important than them so do not worry. She then went to Africa. The second story that she told was when she went to the mission field the last time - when she was 72 (or perhaps older). The field asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to live in a grass hut and tell a certain people group about Jesus. That is amazing commitment and dedication.
It was neat to see one on the beginning of the journey and another who has been so faithful in the journey.