Archive for April, 2011

Next Steps

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

A friend of mine has asked what next steps would be for people on the discipleship path.  Not that you can use a cookie-cutter approach.  But are their general directions, perhaps ways of testing the current state and projecting forward towards the next step?

The thought intrigued me most of the afternoon.  The first question is one of perceiving what a person knows – or more rightly what is known that can help in taking a next step. 

As I pondered this I asked myself whether there is a foundational basis.  Emerging church literature implies that a relational basis is the one to start with, not some sense of propositional statements or foundations. 

I struggle with excluding foundations – I believe that the Scriptures are the basis for faith and practice.  So I do have a foundation.  The question in approaching a next step in the discipleship path is where to focus in regards to the myriad nuggets of wisdom found in the Scriptures.  And perhaps that is where relationship flourishes – for a mentor or spiritual director or counselor can help to point towards those nuggets that will lead to the next step.

Well, that was the beginning of my thinking.  Hopefully over this next while I can expand some of my thoughts and see where they end.  So, somewhere in the midst of my daily blog meanderings I hope you will join me in some philosophical thoughts every once in a while!

Back home!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

These past few days were spent in a small town called Birch Hills, just outside of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  This is the home of our daughter, Allison, and her family.

Lasts night was a long walk with the grandkids.  Both kept going – not stopping once!  That amazes me, that small feet that swing back and forth two or three times more than me, can keep going.  They tire a bit, but as the home stretch was approaching – they began to chatter and walk, and walk and chatter, and smile and step thing up.  That’s just plain fun.

As well, we visited the field of dreams.  My son-in-law owns, technically, a small acreage.  He and his father have all sorts of parts and pieces and full cars – some worth thousands of dollars.  They all just need a bit of work.  But when that will get done is all part of the dream.  I loved wandering the yard and seeing the dream.  At the same time, I sense the disappointment of not having enough time to complete all that they would like.  Perhaps in a few years??  By then, these antiques (I can hardly believe a 1970’s car is antique) will truly be fossils.  And perhaps invaluable!

Good times had by all.  Back by 5:00 for a meeting and back into life!

Back to the wood

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

What fun!  I brought home a stool that needed a slight repair.  Two small pieces of shaped wood had broken on the underside of the stool’s seat.

All I needed to do was duplicate them.

Which requires the right tools.  A table saw, drill, screwdrivers and hex keys.  Some were stored in our basement.  Others needed to be fit with the right part.  Instead of a jig that would have taken a few minutes took an hour or more, I free lanced! 

In the end, the stool is sturdy.  The parts are in place.  And I’m happy.

A little woodworking makes the day go round!!

Stanley Cup fever?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

We jumped channels tonight.  Montreal lost in overtime.  And now, into the second period Vancouver can’t see it’s way past five goals scored by the opposition. 

Not sure what kind of fever that brings on?  Maybe something to do with being ill and unable to move at rocket speed?

Why you stay

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I’m watching some events that are turning out.  I think for the good.

They have roots in previous years.  And now you reap – what you sow.  If I had left when the rough waters beat upon the boat, the harbor would never have been in sight.

Who knows what the end may bring but may God prosper and bring a new perspective – long live life in one place!

Talking about God

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Had a great time today!  A young adult wanted to talk about God.  After other niceties, he just wanted to talk.  He realized this wasn’t an everyday thing.  In fact, his eagerness surprised me.  What a great time!   It’s taken a year or more to get here.  But well worth it.

But I wonder?  Maybe there are more of these times just around the corner.  I’m hoping and praying so!

What a week!

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

We begin what is called “Holy Week” with Palm Sunday.  Today we had children bring forward palm branches in commemoration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  In the background was the cross – a memory that Jesus had vividly in mind as He entered Jerusalem.

In our calendar this is one of the latest celebrations of Palm Sunday for some years.  Usually we would expect to have warm weather.  Instead snow was falling.  Even as I write this in late afternoon more flakes are appearing.

I suppose there is something ironic to a triumphal day on which frozen flakes appear to dampen the mood.  As the week progresses that mood does switch from high excitement to such a blast of cold ending in a cruel cross.

I don’t know what next Sunday will hold.  Perhaps rays of sunlight rising victorious.  As I think of Easter that’s exactly the picture I have in mind.  Let’s see what a week holds!

The fog on the path

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

In my years of study I have found a truth about process. 

If you really want to make it to the other side of an issue, to understand a particular theme, you need to persevere.

I remember the first papers I wrote in college.  In three pages and with a few references I had figured out life changing issues.  Then, a few years later, I would encounter the same question.  This time I had more references and more pages.  And now, I try to be practical.  If I were to write all that informs my thoughts I would have to open a library.  Thankfully I have a computer so I don’t have to take up pages of paper.  No wonder a 90 year old can be enticed to speak for hours on a topic (although many say very little because they know how little they know even though they know more that I know!).

But, whether a few pages or a stream that doesn’t want to stop, I still find the process requires me to live in the fog for a while.  There is still the clear line that defines the path but often the incoming mist is distracting.  And then, one day it seems like the cloud lifts and things are clear.

Right now I have been working through a discipleship path for our church.  The more I read, the more I talk to people, the more I am bombarded with a myriad of words in a cloud of knowing. 

I’ve tried putting the words over top of each other.  A few get away and stand on their own.  But mostly they fall into four or five categories.  I’m starting to see the light.

So, here is a start – discipleship for a Christian is what happens to get you to your goal of being like your master, Jesus – to be Godly.  This involves a starting point, and a gradual lift towards a perfection achieved only after our death or when Jesus returns.  In some historical times this meant living life modeled after a rabbi, other times whole systems were provided by like minded Christians.

Which is most applicable in North America today?  Let’s be even more specific.  What is most applicable for yourself?  What is most applicable for the person next to you?  What can be achieved best by a group and what requires individual discipline?  How do you determine this?

All good questions that I’m working on right now.  Maybe a little foggy but there is a definite line that I’m following.  From experience I know I’ll get through the fog. 

I’ll keep your posted as I go.

Until the end

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The good news that is found in Jesus goes until the end.  True restoration of a world that God created is never done until Jesus returns.  But in the meanwhile, we pray that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.  And we note that Jesus talked about the kingdom is near, and is among us.

What does that mean?  Certainly a spiritual appearing.  Something that affects us intrinsically (I’m loving that word more and more – those in this community agree that we must change intrinsically – by which they mean working from the inside out – they just don’t agree on the starting point for the inside and who does the changing!).  Spiritual change can have an ethereal sense.  No material change, no tangible results.

Unless we agree that an inside change has fruit.  In which case the kingdom come on earth will mean a holiness in our community.  Civility?  Perhaps that is a good word.  Good?  I wonder if Toronto the Good had something to do with God (if you trace this term you will find it does go back to a Christian revival in Toronto).  Living by a higher standard?  Perhaps that’s why we use a phrase – God keep our land.

Committed to the community.  As Christians we are probably the most committed to our community.  Now – and in the end when all the nations of the earth gather around Jesus – this is about restoration.  Jesus restoring his kingdom – completely at a later date and in seed form now.

Shabbating it!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Well, with a new understanding, I’m taking Monday’s off.

The idea is to intentionally take a sabbath (shabbat).  Spend the day with God in mind, worry out the door and a day without having to feel like you need to spend time, money and anxiety on the things of this world.

So, I awoke to rake a section of the front lawn which had been trampled by the snow of winter.  Swept out the garage, repaired a wooden chair and cleaned the entrance to our side door.

Then to an afternoon reading.  A book by Benjamin Perrin called “Invisible Chains:  Canada’s underground world of human trafficking.”  Not a pretty picture as I dug into the first few chapters.  Our denomination is setting out to address this problem with a program called “Defend Dignity.”

Then, off to supper with friends who are singing at our senior’s XYZ meeting tomorrow.  Afterwards we did a sound check.  AND – the fun of singing an acappella  quartet spontaneously!  That to me is refreshment at it’s best!

Now, after watching the TV show, “Castle”, Jill and I are sitting at the computer checking Facebook, listening to music and writing my blog.

A great day of rest!