Thursday, June 27, 2013

Should churches do state weddings?

Found this interesting article on Jesus Creed - (originally here).
By Robin Dugall:

Ok - this is bound to be a bit "controversial" for some of you.  For others, it will be a no-brainer.  I believe it is time to separate the civil and "religious" ceremonies of marriage.  In light of the conversations, issues of civil rights and cultural discourse that has surrounded the issue of marriage for "centuries" (believe me, for you students of history, we are not the only people who have struggled with what marriage means - monogamous, man/woman, polygamy, etc. throughout history), it is time to revisit what some countries already practice - first, have EVERY couple seek a marriage license and a state marriage validation through the civil processes.  Get the Justices of the Peace busy with every wedding sought by people within whatever civil definition prevails.  Secondly, for those couples who would like to have a marriage "blessing" from the church (note that I used the small "c" because there is not even unanimity in opinions about the definition of marriage even among relgious communities), have them seek that wedding blessing from within the definition and faith/belief system to which they adhere.  That way, for those faith communities who believe that marriage IS defined by one woman/one man, these communities can continue to abide by their faith/doctrinal systems and embrace their definition of marraige from within the protection of religious liberty.  In this way, NO MORALITY is imposed on the culture in any manner.  In this way, faith communities can continue to practice what many of us feel is an issue that is non-negotiable, that being, a biblical worldview perspective, a biblical narrative/story perspective on the institution of marriage.  For some of my pals this might be seen as a bit dualistic.  I'm NOT trying to imply a separation of the spiritual and material realms.  I still believe we live in a God-soaked world in which there is NO separtion between the secular and sacred.  God's presence in reality as Ultimate reality implies that there is NO SUCH THING as secular space or pure secular living.  What this DOES DO  is give followers of Jesus an opportunity to practice our faith and celebrate our "culture's" adherance, commitments and obedience to our hermeneutic and application of the biblical story (in regards to human relationships, our understanding of family, marriage, etc.).  I don't think there was EVER an expectation within the biblical story that the faith community would be in agreement with cultural norms.  In fact, there are very clear perspectives throughout holy writ that imply that there WILL BE a differentiation with culture.  So, I think it is time to do this with marriage.  In actuality, I think I'm going to begin some discussions with my friends, faith community and fellow scholars about how this idea may take shape in creative action in the days to come.  In this way as well people of faith can support civil rights and NOT get bogged down by accusations of bigotry or hatred due to the legality of ONE issue.  I have compassion and humility with this issue...I also have strong feelings and long-held beliefs about what Christ followers are supposed to uphold when it comes to sexual and relational ethics.  By splitting the two "realities," we live in the best of both worlds.  So, push back anyone?  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Water tower?

I picture God’s love like a giant water tower.  It is full of love towards me.

However when I fail it is like I open up a tap and let out some of the water out.  Small failures is a sink faucet.  Large failures is a fire hose.

There is a lot of love.  So I don’t have worry about running out.  Right?

But the whole tower seems to have a lot of taps that are leaking (or spraying).  And the water (love) is getting lower and lower.

But possibly God’s love is not like a giant water tower, vast but still limited and slowly getting less and less.
Could his love be a river?
Vast and unlimited.
Always flowing and running.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Late night with the dog

My dog kept me up from 2:30-4:00 am.  Why?  He just wanted to play.

At 3:00 in the morning I took him for a walk hoping that this would calm him down and then he would sleep the rest of the night.

I was not pleased.  I enjoy my sleep.

Why on earth do I have a dog?  My kids finally sleep through the night and I go get a dog.  Am I stupid?  (No need to answer that)

Walking down the street I began to imagine tying my dog up in one of my neighbour’s yards.  A gift.  Very tempting.  But my dog is distinctive so my neighbours would figure out he was mine.  Then I would have to explain.  And still have my dog.

It was at this point that I realized I had a choice.

The night was beautiful.  It was calm.  The town silent.  No cars.  No people.  Just me and my dog.  And the stars.  The stars were breathtaking.  It is only in the dead of the night that the stars truly shine.

A choice.  Continue to whine and complain in my head.  Or enjoy the night.

Can’t do both.  I tried.  Which meant I whined and complained and failed to enjoy the night.

Friday, June 21, 2013


We hear many things.  Are we listening?
Juilian Treasure – 5 ways to listen better

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Week 6 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 6 update:
This week I have spent a lot of time planning for Sunday School and also planning a skit to perform along with George Constant and his wife, Janice. The promotional visit to the Cormorant Lake School went very well. There were many kids that came and we had a very good reception. All the kids had lots of fun and they took brochures home; hopefully they will come back and we can send some kids to camp!!

The Bible study at the Umperville church is going very well. It has directly spoken to me recently and we are growing in our walk with the Lord and learning about the Holy Spirit together. I am enjoying the small church community!

I have spent a large chunk of time this week preparing a sermon. Preaching is part of missionary work and I am learning about tailoring a sermon to where the audience is specifically at. My message is on Luke 8:26-39 and could potentially be a touchy subject for someone who believes in traditional religion. That is not where I want to tread but I want to be an encourager to the Umperville Church through sharing the Word.

I would appreciate prayer for one youth in our church, Phil. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes, which was a shock to the family. Hopefully he will adjust well with the necessary lifestyle changes and walk more closely with God through this experience.

Recently I have been learning about faithfulness; the rubber has met the road. There are times when I just want to stay home and not go out into the community. However, that is simply the task to which I have been called. If I am going to have any connection with folks here, staying the task is crucial. Dennis has faithfully lived here for forty years, I can continue to give.

Growing up in the south close to a reserve, the tendency is to focus on the differences between myself and my native friends. Amanda mentioned yesterday that focusing on what we have in common and see them not as native but as friends, does wonders for building relationships with others. She was absolutely right because that is how I used to live.

I still tend to lead as a white man, in a very direct way, the same way that I would lead while at school. This works well for me but the north is spontaneous. I am still learning about how to lead this way. Preparation is still important but things are just far more relaxed here. I suppose I am learning a more relaxed style of leadership.

-Travis Harms

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Listen to the Bible

The majority of Christians have been illiterate for most of history.
They could not read the bible.  They had to listen to someone read it.

The bible was probably written with the assumption that it would be primarily listened to, not read.
So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Deuteronomy 31:9-13
Listening to the bible is not less spiritual then reading it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Week 5 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 5 update:
Just a very short update for this week: The camp registration for Cormorant will hopefully be taking off soon. A fellow George and I are doing a presentation tomorrow in the school that should get kids thinking about camp and hopefully there will be a good handful of kids coming from Cormorant. So far the reception at the school has been good and so I am praying that tomorrow goes well.

George is also concerned for the youth of OCN and he is starting up a basketball night on Saturday at one of the schools here for the youth and I will also be there. George really hopes to make an impact amongst his family and the reserve as a whole through leading a basketball night.

There is also still some tension amongst some of the young believers concerning the prosperity gospel. Some folks are making great progress in rethinking their theologies but some others are very hesitant to change. I have become very thankful for the good theology that I was raised to know. People tend to change as little as possible and in this case the change could really hurt some people here; so pray that the changes go well!!

-Travis Harms

Friday, June 07, 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Week 4 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 4 update:
This last Tuesday I was able to visit Cormorant and I visited the usual circle of folks that I know there. These folks are Barney and Annie Ducharme and Barry and Lynette and Lynette and they have connection to our church.. I have gotten to know a few other folks in the community through the school and Steeprock registration and in that area God is opening doors. Next Friday I am scheduled to go into the school to do a presentation for camp and it will be an effective way to get the word out. However, I have found through word of mouth that not many folks in Cormorant have the resources to send their kids to camp. I just pray that parents in Cormorant will see this as useful and want to send their kids.

However, native folks are friendly and courteous but I really feel like a complete outsider when I visit. To many people I am a visitor, Native people have aloofness about strangers, and they wave but do not go out of their way. But I have found Native folks open up more with complete strangers than the average white man. I have found folks will share their story with a fellow that will listen. However, that said, the reality of time to build trust and to become a member of a community has become a reality to me.

Recently a friend Peter Constant has been introducing friends to a video series that shows the faults of the Word of Faith movement by Justin Peters Ministries. The dangerous thing is that as in my previous post, there are some that have different views of the Holy Spirit but there are also some health and wealth and traces of Word of Faith doctrines amongst believers in The Pas. Peter has been trying to help some of his friends that have been caught up in such, as he also once was. So far the reception has proved well. Pray that it continues to do so as it is shared with more folks in town.

I am learning to see the people that I visit and meet with dignity. I have noticed that folks in Cormorant and reserves in general, do not spend as much on their houses as on their truck, quad, snowmobile and boat. Folk’s houses are just average, some are very nice but most are average. However, many people have nice trucks, quads and boats. How does this apply to dignity? Well it’s just different than what I do. I would probably spend the other way around; but it is not wrong what they do here, just different.

I am learning to ask questions personally about what each person’s story is. I know an older fellow who drinks a lot. Why? What might he have experienced that I know nothing of? What might a residential school or otherwise have done to cause him to drink? There are others that have gone through the same and have healed. Some folks here seem very well off, emotionally, spiritually, financially; how did they grow up, good or bad and how might they have dealt with pain? I know some need to talk about it, some go to traditional religion, some find the Lord. And I pray that people here will find their healing in the Lord.
-Travis Harms