Friday, September 30, 2005

Blogs and Conversations

I like the community out there of people who blog about church; particularly the various forms/methods/models of doing 'church'. This goes beyond the typical Sunday morning event, and the weekday meetings. Most often the conversation is about people being authentic, free, and real in their faith and relationship with Christ, and how that impacts their relationships with others. There are many voices in the online conversation, but there's a couple that I pay particular regular attention too, partly because they're Canadian, and partly because I frankly don't have a ton of time to read everything else out there and they both do a fairly good job summing up a lot of the conversation. They are:

Len Hjalmarson at, and
Jordon Cooper at

Today, Jordon linked to a guy named Jason Clark, who is discussing the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the emerging church. He writes an interesting post on "Over Promising" in the church:
How many times do we over-promise on church.

Over the years I have been to gatherings with 10,000 people where revival was promised (it never came), read books that promised me the ultimate marriage, the deepest possible relationship with God, the most superlative whatever. You name it, we've promised it.

I've also got memories of seeing dozens of people over the years being prophesied over, 'I see you changing a generation'. Given that maybe one or two people have that kind of influence historically, there are a lot of disappointed people out there, who that has not come true for. more...

I don't think he's preaching a theology of being mediocre, but I agree with him that we as a church are pretty good at giving false hype, and false promise.
Where were the thousands of new believers filling our church buildings following Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ"? Evangelical Christians made him a ton of money, that was the one guaranteed promise in it all. Whether it's the latest big name speaker coming to town, or the latest and greatest 40 day program for our congregation to go through, or a short prayer by a guy named Jabez, we have this belief that if we just do "________" then our church will be more alive and people will come to know Christ...
So, what is the blank? I'm becoming more and more convinced that the blank is not a program or a book or a speaker or a blog. I don't even think we should be filling in the blank with something that we should be doing.
Often though, the blank is seen as a means to a greater end, real authentic discipleship, real authentic Christ-like people, who are filled, led and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Is there a way to get away from the programs the 'stuff' and get back to the reality of living as a follower of Christ. The early church didn't have mass produced books/videos/DVD's/journals. They simply had faith, the Spirit, and an environment that didn't lend itself to mediocre comfortable living.
I could go on and on, and finish a few of the thoughts that I've started in this post, but I really need to get on with my work day...

This post had the following soundtrack:
Led Zeppelin - The Immigrant Song
Mystery Machine - Time Killer
Social Distortion - Don't Drag me Down
Lamonica - This Quiet House
Money Money - Judy

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Monopoly Follow-up

As a follow-up to my recent Monopoly post, I direct you here.

Lark Update

Lark News is good fun. I love being able to laugh at the things that the church does. As a bass player, this 'article' got a good laugh out of me. Check it out. There's a good one on there for all you 'Prayer of Jabez' fans as well. (Is that a retro book yet?)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

From our good friends at Sojourners:

"A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth."

- Martin Luther King Jr., in his speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence"

Tim Burton

I went and saw 'Corpse Bride' last night at the theatre with some friends. Again, small town stuff happened; we knew half the people in the theatre.
If you're into animated musicals involving both the living and the dead than 'Corpse Bride' is the movie for you. Actually, I was impressed with it. There was the fun attention to detail that always seems to add just that bit of extra humor and enjoyment to the movie. After the film a few of us went to the Old Stone for a pint. That was awesome. I like beer. I like drinking beer while meeting new people. I got to tell my story about when I got shot again last night. Ever since watching "I (heart) Huckabee's" I've had a slight aversion to telling my 'story'. If you've seen the movie you'll know why. If not, then watch the movie. It's good in a lot of other ways. other news... I keep waking up at 5:30AM. It's weird. Stress related??? Well, at least I've been on time for work consistently lately, so that's good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

LOTR Monopoly

Monopoly, the boardgame, has been making a comeback of late in my world. Actually, boardgames in general have become more fun lately. Part of it has to do with perception, part of it has to do with the people who you play the games with. Anyone who's anyone has played some form of Settler's of Catan in recent years. There's the thrill of going with a new strategy and having your numbers get rolled, and the pain of defeat as a barbarian hoard annihilates your cities. Anyway, I played a rousing game of Monopoly last night, the special LOTR edition. Basically, it's the same gameplay as the original version, with the exception that everything has been renamed to match middle earth (Boardwalk=Mount Doom), and there's a ring involved. The ring gradually moves around the board and when it reaches Mount Doom, the game ends. It's nice, in a way, cuz it speeds things up and brings the game to a sensible end. However, last night, when the ring landed on Mount Doom we continued to play. There were two of us left and we decided to duke it out. It could have gone either way, as my worthy opponent had Mount Doom and it's counterpart, both with 'Fortresses', as well as several other properties built up. However, the dice landed in my favour, and by the end of the game I owned Middle Earth, heaps of cash and bragging rights. (Hence this post).
I'm rather high on caffeine right now. It's barely after 9AM and I've already had two large Tim Horton's coffee's.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Pathway(s) of Life

Thanks to Bill Power for the following Thomas Merton quote:

"MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Knowing the will of God is a challenge. There's the obvious stated will of God that we find in His Word (which actually isn't always obvious and clear, depending on the issue...), but what I'm talking about is His will for my life, or your life, specifically. How does that get communicated to us? Through a revelation by His Spirit? By our 'natural' or 'God-given' abilities and desires, as the above quote mentions? But my desires must be in line with His written will, in scripture, right? If I think God is communicating his will for me to do something that I'm really passionate about, if that passion is contrary to his Word, than I'm likely off a bit in what I think His will is for me. That said, I don't think there is any one particular way that God chooses to speak to us. He probably speaks to us in many different ways, in still whispers, in our abilities, desires and passions, through people who know Him and know us, through His Spirit, through open doors, through perseverence. We're often not too good at listening though, so if we even pick up on one of those forms of communication we're doing well. I'm trying to learn how to hear God better, to be more aware of what he's saying, in the small moments of day to day life, but also in the big picture aspect too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Home Opener

Smallish towns are cool. I sometimes consider Peterborough a small town. I drove in to Toronto for a meeting this morning, and was reminded of that fact.

I attended the home opener of the Pete's season last night at the Mem Centre. It was a good game. It started relatively calmly with no score, and no real risks in the first period. Too many rookies not wanting to make mistakes... It opened up soon enough, and at the final whistle it was 5-1 for the good guys. We scored all six goals.

The cool thing about the small town feel is that while walking to the arena I bumped into my old Principal from gradeschool, and one of the other teachers at the school. I see them most weekends at church anyway, but still. We had a really good conversation about church method and practice and U2 and music and Brian Maclaren. Once inside it seemed as if every other person looked familiar or had some connection. My insurance guy was there, the guy that supplies our office with plotter paper, a few other people from church with their kids, the guy from Pizza Pizza...

The best was the family sitting behind my brother and I. A father and his two daughters, who must have been around 5 or 6 each. He was explaining the rules of the game, and teaching them cheers, and things like that. "I'm really enjoying this daddy" I kid you not. That's what she said. And at the end, after the 50-50 draw when most people started leaving early she couldn't figure out why they'd leave early, when the game's not done yet. I can't either, but whatever.

Anyway, thanks to all my friends who have stood up for me and encouraged me these last few days, assuring me that I'm not mental, and that sometimes things happen that I'm not meant to understand fully, and that's ok. My plan is to move on, put this all behind me, and leave the past in the past. Live in the present, with future hopes/goals in mind. God's grace will carry me. Remember that 'rain' post (actually, it was called TV Dinners) a couple weeks ago... Well, that song came on today while driving back from Toronto, and it brought me great comfort. Thanks Billy Corgan. You're a saint.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I feel hungover, but haven't had a drop of alcohol in a few days.

I'm having one of those days. Last night, my world got turned completely upside down again, for the second time in a few weeks, by the same girl. "You're a real sucker for punishment", you say. "I am," I respond. But, I'd like to think that I might have actually learned from this, and that's the last time I'll ever have to have the break-up conversation. It's times like this when the cliche Christian phrases and encouragement, though full of truth, don't really cut it.

Well, not all of life is a swift, well placed kick in the balls. I got into work this morning, and there was a nice email from my boss, stating that effective this past Monday, I get a raise! There is a God!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Round two is nearly set to commence tonight. I'm gonna be making a batch of 'nut-brown ale'. I anticipate good things.
I still have no name for my brewery. I admit that I haven't given it much thought. Even though I want to avoid any references to my last name, it somehow seems inevitable.

Bruuks Brew.

My good friend Dave.T. will be lending a hand and enjoying a share this time around. Two Dave's making brew.
"Double-D Brewery"

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quote of the day

"Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship. Then it moved to Greece and became a philosophy, then it went to Rome and became an institution, and then it went to Europe and became a government. Finally it came to America where we made it an enterprise."

Monday Monday

What a crazy weekend. It consisted of Latin Dancing, Sailing, Breakfast with the boys, Frisbee, Church, Old friends, A corn roast/bonfire, and very very small amounts of sleep. This is the stuff that makes life worth living!

I got to the office this morning at 8AM (I haven't been late for work in a couple of weeks!) and made a pot of coffee (which I nearly drank myself), turned on my computer, and went to check my email, but horror of horrors, the internets was down! No email, no surfin', nothing! I felt so detached. I'm fine all weekend, away from the office (I rarely touch a computer these days outside of my office), but as soon as I get her monday morning I'm in a panic cuz I can't check my email. What if there's something urgent! Anyway, it's obviously been fixed now, hence this post, but it took until 1:30, when a professional finally came in. Apparently I'm not a big enough geek after all.

I've been listening to a couple of Craig Cardiff CD's today, which are excellent. Check him out some time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Coke Pirates

I was alerted to this last night, while enjoying a nice thick juicy steak and a cold mug of brew with my friend Dave.T. It looks as though Coke has ripped off 'The Winking Circle' for a recent Advertisement (Make it Real Anthem).
If you've not seen 'The Winking Circle' movie, I highly recommend redeeming some free time and watching it. It's life changing, if you let it. It's inspiring, authentic, and relevant. It may be the last thing you ever watch on a TV screen, as they advocate unplugging, or even tossing your set onto the street. (I have a mental image this second of taking a TV out to the country, in an old field, in the trunk of my car, where it will make friends with mr. baseball bat, Office Space style.)
I don't know how I'd feel if I was Ben, but if a massive corporation like Coke were to produce a TV Ad so similar to one of my creations I'd be tempted to take Coke to task. I'm sure coke has lawyers that would crush me, and hold me down until I somehow managed to open my mouth against the vice of a boot on one side of my face and a cold concrete floor on the other, to utter the word 'uncle'. But just think of the publicity it would bring for the movie! Maybe Coke will sponsor his next endeavor...

Saw 'the stills' last night. I was too tired to really enjoy them, but they put on a good show. Live music is usually good. The thing I love about Peterborough is that I left the show at 1:30, and was at home, in bed by 1:40. Sleeping by 1:41. I'm tired today... Working on coffee #3, and it's only 9:15.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random Links


Do you find it easier to see God at work in the big things in life, or in the little day to day things?
Is it easier to acknowledge the hand of God in providing a job after weeks (or months) of praying and searching, or in seeing a relative or friend healed of cancer, than, say, a well timed phone call from a friend who happened to say the right combination of words that you needed to hear...
God is the God of big things and small things. Lately, I've been trying to be more aware of Him in the little things in my life. I tend to be aware of a lot more of His grace this way, and that awareness and participation in it is ultimately a form of worship. (A truer one for me than many of the songs I sing/lead/play on Sunday mornings). God receives more glory in my appreciation of the little things, than if I were to just be looking for the big answers, the big 'works of God'. So, it's good for Him, and good for me.
So, It's the week of the concert. I'm going to see 'the stills' tonight. I'm not a super fan, but hey, I'm up for live music.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jackson's Park

I love Jackson's Park. Great hiking, mountain biking, x-country skiing, running, sitting, all that good stuff.
It's literally right in my backyard, yet I rarely make use of it. I used to walk through it during my lunch hour when I worked at my old company, but my new company is landlocked in the concrete and asphalt landscape of downtown.
Parks are refreshing refuges. Sanctuaries in which I can more easily spend time with God, worshiping Him as I admire the works of His hands.
I walked through Jackson's park last night for a different reason, a different purpose, yet God still showed up and displayed His grace, His good works.
He's full of surprises and mystery and fun. He's good that way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


U2 was incredible, as expected.

Personal highlights were the guitar work of The Edge on 'Bullet the Blue Sky', Bono's operatic singing on 'Miss Sarajevo' and the second encore, consisting of 'Yahweh' and '40'. Of course, the rest of the show was up there as well. I can't say I've ever been in a room with as much energy as the ACC last night.

The stage setup and lighting was very cool. Similar to the Elevation tour. Light curtains and lighting within the stage added a unique effect. I had an excellent vantage point. I was in the upper level, looking over the middle of the giant oval stage.

I can't believe it's taken me this long to finally get around to seeing one of the greatest rock shows in the history of Rock Shows.

Monday, September 12, 2005

TV Dinners

I like clever things. If you don't get the above picture then ask me.

So, I said good-bye for another year to one of my best friends in the world yesterday. Chuck is off to asia-land again. He left TO last night a few minutes before midnight, one of the last scheduled flights for September 11th, 2005; he's actually probably still in the air as I write this watching a crazy Korean movie. Chuck is an awesome guy, a great friend, one of those guys who I know that regardless of where the good Lord takes us in life we'll still keep in contact with each other. He lent me his DVD copy of Indecision 2004, the Daily Show's coverage of the last American election. Jon Stewart is a genius.

Ever seen 'Nooma'? They're a series of short video/talks by a pastor guy from Grand Rapids. They're excellent. One of my favorite's from the series is the one called 'Rain'. Esencially Rob tells the story of hiking around a lake by a cabin that he was staying at, carrying his young son in one of those special backpacks. Anyway, about halfway around the lake the sky just opens up, drenching them both. Well, for the last part of the treck home, he took his son out of the pack and held him close to his chest and sheltered him from the storm, whispering into his ear "I love you buddy, we're gonna make it, I love you man." He then draws the obvious parallel to God allowing us to go through 'stormy' times in our lives but carrying us and sheltering us through them. We still get wet, we still get uncomfortable, and the thunder and lighting still frighten us, but he's constantly whispering "I love you, we're gonna make it". We just need be able to hear it. And Rob, as a father, talks about how fantastic that experience was, being able to carry and protect his son like that. It's the same with God our Father. He loves to express his love that way to us.

Everytime I hear the song "Raindrops + Sunshowers" by the Smashing Pumpkins, it reminds me of the Nooma video, but ultimately of God, and brings me to a place of worship. This song just came on my 'random' playlist here at the office. I needed to hear it and have that reminder, as there's been a storm cloud following me for a week or so now.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Going to see my first U2 show, finally, on Monday night. Can't wait.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


There was just a smart car parked outside my office window at the water depot place. It was parked there for about half an hour, while other customers were coming and going. Every single person that walked by it stopped, looked inside it, walked around it, checked it out.
It doesn't really strike me as a solid Canadian vehicle. It's fine for the cities, but don't expect to get too far in half an inch of snow. I guess the fuel economy is the highest selling point, which is certainly attractive these days with $1.33/l gas, and peak oil looming on the horizon.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Renegade Bus

This is awesome! I love it.

Jack Cafferty on CNN, via Daily KOS.

La Cross

White guys "loot/salvage/liberate" items from stores too. (Notice the lack or roof on this convenience store) So, my thinking is that every store in New Orleans is going to be covered by insurance, for the contents and the structure, and so the stores aren't losing anything by having people liberate any remaining food/beverage/consumable from their shelves before it goes bad. It's literally a survival thing for them at this point. However, carting off several boxes of new Nike's and a few racks of Lebron jersey's is probably gonna get your ass arrested or shot at, as those aren't really survival items. I don't recall seeing anything from Nike resembling a hip-wader, which would be rather useful for walking through some of the streets. I doubt a TV and DVD player will do much good in N.O. these days either, since it doesn't look like the power's gonna be on anytime soon. What a mess. I really hope the authorities down there can figure out what's going on and impliment some sort of relief plan before more people are 'taken out' by the hurricane. So, what's the verdict? Evacuate the city, abandon it, and leave it as some morbid landmark reminding future generations to be better prepared and to not build in swamps below sea level? Seriously, even after they fix the levees and eventually drain the giant bowl of a city (which will take a month or two), it will remain as one large toxic waste site due to all the chemicals/gas/oil/waste that is presently floating through the city. Or, they can build it again, and build it bigger and better, otherwise the hurricane will have already won.

...In other news, I attended my first ever lacrosse game last night. It was a good first. Game 7 of a championship final with the home team winning. I admit though, I felt a bit odd with 4 minutes to go when I realized I had zero emotion involved in the game. Sure, I wanted the home team to win, but I hadn't followed the team all year, so I had no clue who any of the players were, or what the team had been through. It was still exciting though, and I really enjoyed it. It's a sport that hasn't been penetrated by the corporate sponsorship world yet, which was refreshing.

KC Lakers collected their second consecutive OLA Major Series championship, and 19th in team history, with a dramatic 11-9 seventh and deciding game victory against Brampton Excelsiors.