Monday, October 17, 2005

Velvet Elvis

Reading a new book by Rob Bell called Velvet Elvis.  I’d put the link to amazon.com down, but I found it for really cheap at our local Christian Bookstore.  One of those, “We’ll print millions of copies, the first week will go for $20.00.  Next week its already old news – $10.00”.

Rob is a pastor in the States, with Old Testament studies under his belt.  He is the “star” of Nooma videos, a great set of short 10-12 minute clips on basic biblical principles.  So I expected this would be a good read.

And it is!  I’m into the third chapter.  He’s already covered the place of doctrine (what we believe and how flexible it should be) and hermeneutics (the matter of interpreting the Bible).  And never once mentioned that polysyllabic words.

He’s a great writer.  If you want an approach to the “emerging church”, here is a good explanation.  Of course, because emerging church is a new term no one really knows what it means.  The definition is still emerging.  Rob Bell’s approach will definitely give some good thoughts to chew on, from a biblical scholar who delights in context, the visual and the twist of a phrase.

Need some new bed time reading?  Have I got a deal for you!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Unplugged!

Cable is gone – for the moment.

My wife is at her neice’s wedding.  I’m batching, and I haven’t missed a meal yet!  Of course, she (Jill) left enough food to feed an army, and I just brought ham and buns from our church potluck.

I’m finding that when you are by yourself, the easiest thing is to do the easiest thing!  So, after hours of TV watching yesterday (my day off), I unplugged my cable connection.

I’m enjoying it!

A few years ago there was an “Unplugged” movement in the music world.  Something about getting back to the simple things of life – like just a guitar and a voice! 

I’m ready to push us into “Unplugged 2”. 

Get rid of TV “broadcasting” (we must almost be up to 1,000 channels by now!!) and move to “narrowcasting” (just a few stations).  Since I live in rural Saskatchewan, I think I’ll call it  “farmer vision”!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The real thing!

There really is a SPLATTER team!

Yesterday night I went to the “changing of the name” ceremony for our local cadets branch.  The cadets stood on parade for over an hour.  Literally stood – with two sit-down/stand-up breaks of about 15 seconds each.  As the evening progressed they began to look weary.  Some wavered!

And then, from just outside the edge of the squadron, two parents wandered into the ranks. They checked on a cadet.  Just to make sure they were alright.

Their mission?   “We are the splatter patrol – we keep them from splattering all over the floor!”

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Around the table!

Two pastors joined me for coffee this morning.  OK, so they had coffee and I had my tea.   We talked of fixing houses, prayer and fasting, cruises and Christ.

Someone once said fellowship is a discipline of the spirit.  I’m inclined to agree.  I have to put myself out.  Out where vulnerabiltiy, honesty and integrity are all tested.

At the same time, there is a benefit!  I need other people around the table with me.  Somehow others re-in-spire (put breath back into me).  And in a society where life can creep away from you faster than a prairie breeze, you sometimes need to catch a breath of fresh air from someone else!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The SPLAT team

All stages of spiritual growth have their potholes. 

I just want to be prepared for them before they appear! 

Maybe we need a Spiritual Pothole Loss Apprehension Team (SPLAT)!  They would go around making sure they inform us of upcoming potholes.  The team would have Prophets, Apostles, Leaders and Spiritual directors (PALS) to help us out.  Decision Enhancement Nobles Of Magnitudinally Immense Nobility And Totally Intense Organizational Nature (DENOMINATION) would oversee the project.

Anything else we need to add???

Contemplating Contemplation

In the 1970’s Richard Foster’s Celebration Of Discipline was all the rage in Christian Education circles – especially at the undergraduate level. 

This book was a first for many evangelicals – an attempt to expose people to spiritual disciplines.  At the time, many critics called this type of approach a “works” salvation –  “Do all these things and you will come to know God.”  They saw the emphasis was on the doing – and not much on God’s part – his grace – in all this.  Too bad many of the critics did not read Foster’s book well.  For an even better explanation of the relation of spiritual disciplines to salvation by grace, a more recent tome called “The Spirit of the Disciplines” by Dallas Willard is open for examination.

Tucked in this text was an approach to prayer and spirituality that was “contemplative”.  I could picutre myself like the statue of the thinker, sitting with elbow on knee and head propped on our hand.  Totally engrossed in the thinking process, trying to call up something out of the nothingness in my head!

“You’re opening yourself to the devil!”  was the cry of the critics.  “If you empty yourselves, what fills the space.” 

A very valid criticism.  For years I have sought to fill my mind with the mind of Christ by reading scripture.  By seeking to understand the scriptures.  By asking others about the Scriptures.  By seeking for the Holy Spirit to interpret and apply the scriptures. 

Now, when I come to the question of contemplative prayer and spirituality, I do not fear an empty mind.  I fear more that I will have decided beforehand an answer to a pryaer request, or what God should be talking to me about.  I fear that I will become self-absorbed in prayer and not be open to a “still, small voice”.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Marrying and burying, and birthing

Our trips this year have revovled around family.  This week Jill, my wife, flies to Bellevile, Ontario, for our niece’s wedding.  In the past few months we have been out to British Columbia as my brother’s cancer worsened and he finally died.  In a few weeks we expect to venture up to Prince Albert for the birth of our first grandchild.

All this gets me thinking.  Miles (kilometers for those imperially challenged) tend to be easy to cover.  We may not like the price of gas, the blur of scenery, or even the need for those “potty” breaks along the way.  But arrival means the opportunity to continue to gel family relationships. 

I appreciate those who have turned life into a journey.  And I love the road trip!  But perhaps we need to get back to the destination.  Is there not a reason we are on our road trips??

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Day Off

Slow to rise!

Off to the back yard to pick up leaves.  Here, we compost and recycle as much as possible.  So in the bottom of the leaf bag is broccoli – a week past good – gently resting on left over lettuce leaves and marinated in a sweet perfume of decay.  My stomach is crying for . . .

An afternoon nap and then a phone call to invite people to a Sunday Thanksgiving dinner.  We’ll surround our table with around 10 people.  Sunday is also our anniversary.  29 years — and many more to come, God willing!

Life is good!

Friday, October 7, 2005

In your dreams!!

                                                         

So, in my dreams, I’m pretending I’m Bobby Fisher (former world chess champion!).

I start with some classic moves.  A pawn here, the knight, followed by a pawn.

The game goes on.  The dark side is advancing.  As I watch the black pieces converge, I’m confident!  I can win this.  I’ve got the best mind available to me.  I’ve got the best computer program as my backup.

No problem!

Well, only one.  The  game’s reason has been left off the board!  

I’m playing without a king. 

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Some can, and some split!

Coming soon – to a blog near you!!

I’ve come to the conclusion that some writers can combine theology and personal interactions well.  Randall Friesen and Jordon Cooper keep me going.  They make me laugh and cry, see theology in the most mundane and the most sacred, and do it all in literary fashion to boot!

Me, I tend to get way too abstract when I try to theologize (even my wife struggles to follow me!).  So, for those venturesome souls, I’m beginning a separate blog in the next while which will be my meanderings in theology, church and the like.  This current blog will remain open for meanderings related to my personal life – a way to keep up on what I’m about.

Some can, and some split!

 

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