Archive for June, 2016

On leaking water lines

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Well, my plumbing days are numbered.  And the number keeps getting higher because the leaks keep occurring.

Usually I’ve been able to find a leak and fix it.  Copper pipes were easy.  PEX is easy to install as well, provided your crimper works well, the pipe is not compromised and you don’t end up routing things in such a way that you can’t reach the offending area.

I might have hit on all three things in this past project.

Not to say that I won’t do plumbing again – and not to say that I won’t finish off this current project (perhaps with a professional’s help??).  But for the moment a rest, with no dripping water, would be great!!

When an argument is not about what its about

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Have you ever started to make a point in a discussion, and soon you feel like you missed it.  “It” being whatever you really wanted to say.

Yesterday I was discussing “Limited Atonement”.

Now, this is not a common topic!  The general idea is that Jesus died to take away sin – and that taking away of sin is only for a limited few.

Of course, theologians for centuries have debated this idea.  The alternative is “Universal Atonement” which says that Jesus takes away the sin of all people.

In this case, our discussion ended up centering on the effect of believing the doctrine of “Limited Atonement”.  Prayer for sinners is negated and missions is futile.  At least in the extreme form of the doctrine.

In reflecting, I think the discussion was supposed to be about the actual doctrine – the reference points in the Bible, the logic of the idea, the truthfulness of the concept.

Two men, a few centuries ago (Calvin and Arminius) took on that task.  In the end neither of them agreed, even though they used the same Bible and worked with the same principles of logic.  For the following centuries we have been trying to figure out what they said and to trying to figure out what we believe.

I’m convinced that the words to the answer bring us somewhere in the middle.  That makes sense to me.

What do you think?

Persistent, Passive and Pagan

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Passing on our passions is difficult.  We have an instruction system called school.   We have a personal system called mentoring.  We even have a memorization system called indoctrination. 

These are all good options to pass on what an individual feels is important.

Religion is one of the best examples I can think of. 

A first generation person encounters God.  They persist in knowing God.  Unfailingly they will talk to God, seek out more information about God, find others who know God.

The second generation sees the benefits but often lives shadow lives.  They talk to God in emergencies, seek out God when there is a benefit for them, and don’t see the need to find others who are passionate about God.

The third generation has been inoculated.  The passion for God has not been a visible, constant concern to them.  They don’t see a need to talk to God (in fact, they often call themselves atheists), they don’t need information about God (as an atheist, information about God is irrelevant), and they don’t want to be offended by being with people who persist in knowing God.

For a first generation person, wanting the generations that follow to catch the passion, we must teach and model our passion.  But we must also call the next generation to own the passion.  Not just to adopt the system and science of your passion, but to embrace the heart and the art of the passion.

On measuring life

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Our bathroom is in renovation stage.

All of us have stages in life.  This is the – been there, done that, time to change to a new look!

We have a second  bathroom which was renovated the last few months.  Now we can approach this renovation by gutting the entire washroom (which feels like walking into a small room with nothing other than a window.

Next comes the restoration.  When we decided to gut the bathroom we did some preliminary preparation (a number of months ago).  Put in the rough ins for plumbing and a ceiling fan, along with some new wiring.

Now we have reinsulated and are about to put in a new door, fixtures and drywalling.  Then on to painting and a whole new look.

The old bathroom was quite functional.  This one will also be functional but with a tub that isn’t scarred, a toilet that only uses a few liters of water and a sink that has drawers.  Nice to walk into in the morning and to exit last thing in the evening.

Sometimes our lives are able to function as is.  When the opportunity arises, and the resources are available, we can change.  Not for the sake of functionality but for the sake of a new landscape.  Either choice is acceptable.  In this case, we chose the invitation to use our washroom with eyes wide open. 

The tools of the trade

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

This morning I was out cleaning off a wooden sign.  This is our identifier for our house – proclaiming that the Bakers live here!

Baker sign

Now, for years I have played with the eternal dispute of sandpaper versus blade.  My original mentoring in woodwork was with a purist.  Use only blades – sandpaper and electrical tools when you must.  No chemicals and only oil finishes.

Lately I have encountered the need to consider sandpaper.  When a dilapidated furniture piece is best finished with paint, then an electric sander is economical and fast.

This morning I returned to a paint scraper – an instrument with which I am comfortable and have extensive experience.  Holding it in my hand, I felt confident in the work to be done.  The final result was quite acceptable.  And I had fun.

I grew up playing par 3 golf at a local course.  My driver, five iron and putter became the staples of the game.  Later in life I was exposed to, and used the full range of golf clubs.  I still love to return to a full course, with only three clubs, and see if I can beat my opponents (which I still seem to be able to do). 

The tools of the trade are honed for a general approach to a situation.  Taking into account the general population, the instruments should work best for most people. 

Then there are those who are genuinely artists in their trade.  Their instruments may be those the marketplace offers as best practise.  Or they may be antiquated tools, or ones that no one has ever seen. 

The matter at hand is not whether a person is using the tools that our society expects them to use (or even demands that they should use).  The question is more along the lines of whether the craftsman is an artist with their tools.

Let me add that an true artist is teachable and strives for perfection.  They will pick up the latest tool that can help them to perfect their art.  But they will not be bound by society’s perceptions of what tools are the best!

When your FB page seems to be developing cancer

Friday, June 17th, 2016

I wandered down my FB friends’ postings today. 

I know this is my age, but cancer appears more than baby announcements. 

I like the baby announcements.  You wish them well and prepare gifts to give. 

Cancer announcements are not much different.  You wish them well and prepare gifts to give.

The real difference is in the earthly life expectancy.  At birth the days can be expected to number around 22,000.  At death the days stop being numbered.

Now, one of my great achievements when I was in grade school was to be able to count to 100 – in rapid succession with as few breaths as possible. 

I wonder if I could have done that 220 times in a row?

If so, when I got there, would I be ready to stop?  Or would I want to keep going?  Or would I want to find a place of peace and rest where I could just sit back and breathe without wondering whether I would need to take my next breath?

Maybe the idea of heaven isn’t such a bad idea after all!!

The Mountain–on work and joy!

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

One day a journey person headed towards the west.  The day was won as he skimmed across prairie and encountered the foothills.  The travel was light, his mind was filled with great adventures, and the scenery was inviting.

As he travelled, he encountered hamlets and villages along the way.  Small towns of unlikely inhabitants.  The restaurants were filled with dreamers and rushing business people.  The fill up station was inhabited with curious eyes and trusting helpers.  Everyday life filled the air.

Crossing the line from hills to mountains was indiscernible.  The elevation rose, but not much else.  Greenery changed shades and sizes. 

Until he reached the Mountain.  The towering rock did not embolden him to scale the heights.  Rather, to return to the lowlands and live a peaceable life.

A journey person does not gain their reputation without facing fears and accepting challenges.  But sometimes all they do is journey – they never scale the heights.  Those who do gain a new appreciation for the landscape and are never the same.  They have mastered their craft, floated to the top of the waves and returned with the knowledge of something far beyond the normal and acceptable.

Congratulations to those apprentices who work to master their craft.  May you have greater joy as you scale the heights of your vocation!!

What God knows and what I know

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

I ran across a great quote from a Facebook friend, Garth Leno

When the enemy somehow tricks you into squeezing the size of your life to the size of your personal dreams, wants, and needs, he has got you right where he wants you.

I’ve been watching the great preponderance (that just means, there is a lot) of articles, videos and other media that purport (that just means, they figure they are right) to tell us about our visions for life.  We are told to have a purpose, to have plans and strategies. 

All well and good.

If we go to God first to figure out what we are about.

Our usual first place to go is to ourselves.  With pie charts and planning boards we figure out the pros and cons of life.  There are myriad (that just means, more than one or a thousand) ways to delve within ourselves and try to dredge up the truth about ourselves.

Meanwhile, God gets a sideline seat.  I’m sure he watches with amusement.  And he invites us over.  All he wants to do is put the playbook in our hands.

Simple – Yes!  Easy to do – No!  Our minds tend to like the small and controlled world we create for ourselves.  I wonder if we are ready to find out how big our lives could be?

When it rains on your parade–or is that your yard!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Yesterday was a great day to be outside – while wearing some type of protection from the sun.  The weather forecast is for this to continue for the week.

Which forecast I appreciate. 

Of course, slipped in the midst of the forecast was the minor offering of a thunderstorm.  A possibility.  This does happen when the weather is warm.  But not always.  I went to bed awaiting a rainless day.  I forgot to consider a rain-filled overnight!

The rototiller was prepared, the yard was ready to be plowed.

And then it rained.  Some people missed it until they awoke this morning to a few puddles.

I awoke to the sunshine, and wet soil that would clog a rototiller without mercy.

So here I am, writing a blog.  Enjoying the sunshine.  And missing the sunburn from a day of rototilling.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow – perhaps tomorrow the soil will be tilled and the potatoes planted – or not!