Archive for June, 2009

Summer Psalms

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

As I head into preaching for the summer, I’m looking at taking some of the common Psalms and speaking on them.  Many of us know the 23rd Psalm (Shepherd Psalm), or the 51st Psalm (where David pours out his anguish over his immorality and murder).

As I’ve been researching, I find it interesting that the Psalms are divided into 5 parts, the same as the Torah (first five books of the Bible called the books of the law).

There is every reason to believe that when the first Psalm talks of those who meditate on the law of God, this refers to the Torah but also in some way to the Psalms themselves, which are structured the same as the Torah.

As one writer says, “Regardless of the fact that the Psalms originated as the response of faithful persons to God, they are now to be understood also as God’s Word to the faithful.”

With that in mind (and just starting to germinated in my mind!), I look forward to this summer adventure.

Our daughter is here!

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Yesterday our daughter arrived, with her two children.  Her husband is in the northern reaches of Manitoba working on railway mechanics. 

Grandchildren are a real blessing.  Ours are three months and three years.  One is learning to smile.  The other has “no” down quite well.

They will stay for a while.  That will depend on how long our son-in-law is in the wild and wooly north!  But until they leave, may this be a great  time together!

An expiry date?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Yesterday I heard some of you could not find my blog on the internet.

I zipped of a message to my service provider.  He calmly replied by email that my domain name had expired.

Amazing what a mere broken electronic link can do!  I was placed into internet ether space — far from your browser and unable to transcend the strictures of time and space to make it to your place.

Now the link is back, for a mere pittance of money placed in the coffers of those who register domain names such as www.ronbaker.ca

So, I’m back and have not expired, although my next possible expiry date is two years from now.  At which point I will probably, once again, forget to renew my domain name — until someone points out to me that I’m no longer there!

But until then, read on.

BTW:  Facebook is now advertising that you can restrict who you talk to on Facebook.  Or at least they are letting you know that you can send messages/create a wall that only a select few of your friends are able to access.  My question is whether people will take advantage of this option — or if they even think that any conversation needs to be restricted.

Back again

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’ve been off to our Senior Pastor’s Network for the last day or so!  We are a group of six at the moment, with two more joining us in the fall.

Our discussion centered on our own lives, with prayer and concerns leading us to expect God to work in our lives.  As well, we talked about what spiritual community is.  A lot of good thoughts that are still mulling around in my head.

SPN June 23 - 24, 2009

Wireless Power?

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

For years I’ve wanted to find a way to power a small battery (particularly for a heart pacemaker) without having to change the battery or to plug in.

It appears that Nokia is coming close to doing just that with some of their cell phones.  If it works, this would be a great breakthrough (and I can stop dreaming about being that great inventor who saves the world!!).  Check out this website for a news story on this step forward:  http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/143945

Let it rain

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Last night one of our young parishioners prayed for rain.  When you are in a drought, prayer is welcomed. 

Today we woke to rain.  Then a bit of dry time.  And then extended rain for hours.  Our rain gauge showed 1.1 inches of rain.  Not a flood, but more than we have had in months.

So, even though the sky is overcast and grey, hearts are happy.  The crop will love the moisture.  Our grass will turn green.  And we will happily accept more showers of blessing!

Our kids live in two worlds

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I’ve been studying Facebook comments lately.  Mostly of teens and young adults.  Often times over the top comments, or “way too much” thoughts.

I come from a generation that, when we published our thoughts, they came out in limited editions – in a journal that only a few friends saw, or print books that were accessible or available only in limited numbers.

Our kids seemed to have caught the ethos that whatever they say will only go as far as the friends they want to reach with their thoughts, much like we did with our journals or print books.  Except, the media has changed.  They write on Facebook, or Twitter, or blog.

When I began at library school in the mid 80’s the internet was just beginning.  Librarians were on the leading edge of information dissemination.  We saw this internet in its infancy.  Little did we fully realize what we were experiencing would become so widespread.  And interestingly, one of the greatest fuels for the spread was the desire to allow illicit material free rein (ask if the “Playboys” of the old days would have such wide coverage as they have in their many forms today, if they had not financed ways to make the illicit easily available and accessible — programming that has benefitted the disbursement of the good as well!).

One thing I realized early on — publishing would no longer be restricted to a few authors or readers.  My blog is available around the world, anytime, anywhere for all time (there are archives on the internet where you can find snippets of information that you hoped had disappeared — even Facebook has its archives of everything that is posted!).  And anything you write can be cut and pasted (by friends or enemies), and then emailed and forwarded around the world.

Youth and young adults will soon begin to rein in their enthusiasm for social networks.  They may like the world, but the world will not always like them.  And they will want to restrict who sees what, when and where.  Facebook recognized this early on, but not all subscribers take advantage of restricted access — they still figure “friendship” means total exposure.  But “friends” are deep and shallow.  If we comment and speak to the “deep”, the “shallow” are either stunned or use the information improperly.

And so, I predict that in the next few years this internet generation will become more rule bound than their older counterparts.  Just when the baby boomers are trying to reconnect through social networks, the younger generations will be working to make these social networks more restrictive.

What do you think?

Bike Rally done

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Hot dogs and ice cream and pop.  Enough junk food to start a riot!  Add pedal bikes and see if you can do instruction on riding bikes.

Actually the kids were great – ages 6-13.  They learned the lessons of bike riding – right turns, left turns, stops, straight lines, the ABC’s of bike checks and all in a fun atmosphere.  With our fearless CanBike Instructor, Brian Kehrer!!

Bike rally 2009

Technology in an age of the shallow

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Here is the question I ran across today in my reading.  I’m not going to blog a lot on this.  Nor am I going to elaborate.  This is about technology that blogs and Twitters and Facebooks and Flickrs and finds “friends, followers and fans.”

Here is the question:  Are we perfecting the art of artificial relationships and losing the craft of cultivating deep friendships?

Webs in webs

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

My early morning readings have been taking me through the story of Jacob in the Bible book of Genesis (basically 25 – 35).

While I know that Jacob (his name means “deceiver”) ends up on the good end of the scale, the rest seems a little off-kilter.  I’ve heard these stories since I was a kid. 

This time I’m trying to let the story flow.  In the story, I’m up to Jacob leaving his father-in-law behind, after 20 years of working for him.  In most government cases this would give you a good pension.  

And so Jacob had gained just that!  He had flocks – gained by deception some would say.  He had wives given to him through his father-in-law’s deception.  He was living with his father-in-law because he had deceived his brother.  His mother had put him up to the deception.  Jacob’s wife now deceives her father about valuable idols she has stolen from him.  The father-in-law, Laban, felt he owned the wealth and wives of Jacob,even though he was the deceiver.

At the place of reckoning – where Jacob and Laban met with deadly intentions in the air – the two sit down and compromise.

Just reading the story, once again for the very first time, I wonder what each man was trying to gain.  No war, of course.  Unwritten acceptance that Jacob had his rights and that Laban would have to release  his children and wealth.

Now, I know the rest of the story!  But if I didn’t, I think I would want to read on.  Jacob is fleeing from his in-laws.  He’s headed back to where he was an outlaw 20 years ago – with his own family.  Everything he does is built on deception.  At this point in the story, the only way forward is down.  On his own he’s about to end up either dead, or second class.

And maybe that’s the point?  On his own, he’s in trouble.  But is there another way?

That’s what I like about the Bible.  There’s always another way – maybe not what we want – but the better option, nonetheless!

Let’s see where this goes.