Monday, December 25, 2006
I'm up and at the window;
a most precious gift I see!
The sun is sitting
behind clouds aflame
on Mount Baker's shoulder.
I think how infrequent it is
that I can see the sun --
the spherical body of fire --
'less it is slightly veiled.
And even then I can't look long
'less I sacrifice sight of everything else!
Ah! Christmas veil;
glory e'er forsaken.
He became something we can see,
something to behold...
Christ, my love,
my eyes are robbed
of sight for any other.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
But now! Now I love it! And I think I'll stay loving it. I had my tree up on December 1, and have it lit up whenever I'm at home. And it's not even a cliche anymore... I don't say Christmas is about family, like many nice people say. Family is a byproduct of Christmas -- we just so happen to get together to celebrate the real reason.
Christmas (to me) is a celebration of Christ's birth; therefore a celebration of everything my life has become because of Christ's birth. And really, there is no area of my life He has not impacted, so it is a celebration and reflection on my entire existence... Christmas. Who'd've thought?!
Monday, December 04, 2006
normally unseen -
we know by its effects,
hitting hard that which doesn't yield,
bending that which does:
its power and ferocity
its howling sovereignty;
it is gentle and embracing
it is nature's necessity;
yet unseen, a ghost,
'less it picks up the dust,
then we see its swirling power.
Would that I were the dust
that made visible the wind
Yes, carry this dust
as a body for the ghost.
Bait-and-switch is the marketing campaign used by the promoters of this film. You think you’re going to see something cute with a good story for kids, but you end up emotionally attached to a political issue and, if you’re a Christian, insulted. Maybe actually assaulted.
There is a very specific agenda behind the film: stop marine harvesting. Fine. Good. Whatever. BUT it goes much further than that and actually seems to blame Christians for hurting the environment. The logic is as follows: Republicans typically aren’t in favour of environmentally-conscious agendas; Republicans equal Christians; Christians are to blame for the diminishing quality of the environment.
Now, politics aside, I don’t care what they think about the environmental problems and who’s to blame. I don’t have an opinion either way. My problem is with the spiteful message they are sending to kids, to my 3-year-old nephew who accompanied me.
The colony of penguins in this movie is ruled by one who doubles as the religious leader. The entire dialogue from the establishment is stolen from Christian language; a lot of “thees” and “thous”, some “backsliders”, and even a “the [name of Penguin god] giveth, and the [name of Penguin god] taketh away!”
When Happy Feet finds the source of their diminishing food supply, it’s in the form of a fishing village, and the very first thing he sees is a church on the hilltop, cross front and centre, with dark and alarming music playing (like this was the villain).
In the end, the religious leadership is debunked and abandons their faith.
Fine, make a children’s movie with content like this, but don’t draw in the masses without letting them know what they might be in for. There is absolutely NO HINT of this side of the content in ANY of the marketing. This is a very effective campaign tool, not to mention very dubious and underhanded.
But the right has their movies too! Absolutely, but you know it’s a right-piece before you walk in! Who ever saw The Prince of Egypt, or The Nativity, or The Chronicles of Narnia, or The Passion of the Christ without knowing what they were about to see?
Bait-and-Switch (which is actually illegal with bigger-ticket items) Happy Feet: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
What to do when you’re in a Christian meeting and someone says something like this: “Perfect peace casts out all fear”. It is a trait of my personality to notice imperfections and inconsistencies (I’m an analyst!), and this is obviously a misquotation of scripture. In this case, what he was quoting was 1 John 4:18 where it says “perfect love casts out all fear”.
After hearing this, I got to thinking about how necessary it is for leaders and teachers to be correct 100% of the time. Is it so necessary? Is it even possible? I do not want to be a stickler or a disrupter of peace, nor do I want to be one who lets anything slide, and ignores even gentle manipulation.
So I got to thinking about motives, because I think that is really the key here. When there is something said to a group that is absolutely incorrect (I’m not talking about perception of truth here), one of these must be true:
> They are wilfully and knowledgeably lying (to whatever end)
> They are sincere and ignorant, for lack of a better word, and have good intentions.
> They are sincere and ignorant, but with a wrong motivation.
In which cases do we, who can see error, try to correct? How do we go about correcting? Do we even have this authority, as laypeople? On the flipside, do we have the obligation?
Maybe there’s a time to correct, and a time to leave it alone. That may depend on its severity; a simple misquotation versus an assault of fundamental doctrine.
Knowing some of the folk who frequent my blog, I’m sure there are some opinions out there on the subject. So comment away! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Take a look: Amazing Grace Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
the thief of life,
limiter of love,
end of what is good.
cohort deceit to keep its hold -
disbelief its strength.
the sting of death
in truth and faith
is converted to
the joy of death,
if death at all.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I think this testifies to the fact that the very grace this church operates by is itself an assault on the rational mind. It is this God who chooses the weak to shame the strong, who can convert a life in a single moment and have it changed forever, and who seems keen on using the very opposite of a human's rational expectation to carry his valuable message. His message is grace and that is why he sends those who have experienced grace the most - they are a sign, a testimony. They are imperfect.
People stay away from churches which are full of hypocrites; and that's their reason. Absolutely, the church is teeming with people who say one thing and do another; whose spiritual fathers can be quoted as writing "that which I hate I do". We are those who agonize over our imperfections, and whose perfection is full knowledge of our loved imperfection. (see 1 John 4:18)
The church without hypocrites is an empty one. The church that only accepts perfect people would be the one that is equally as criticized as those which are criticized for being full of hypocrites. It seems the actual fact is, people are looking for a way to disbelieve, looking for loopholes in the church or the faith. But the rational mind will eventually be assaulted by the lack of excuses.
Let's welcome even more hypocrites into the church, and let's bring them in every Sunday morning and teach them, so that we can all grow together, and become perfect in Love. Let's ask the imperfect to fill our pews, and tell them that they're not the only ones. Let's stop pretending and admit our failures, and give voice to the testimony of grace. And most of all, on both sides of the fence, let's stop judging each other. There is no one on this earth who has enough insight into the big picture and each individuals' own journey to make a judgment of any kind.
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.
Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30 : 1 - 5
This is like the theme verse of my life (thus far!); very meaningful to me.
Monday, November 20, 2006
And most of it has to do with the fact that I think I have found a church - at last! I absolutely love it - Global Harvest Centre. In case you're in the Abby area, it's the one on McCallum Road across from CIBC. They don't hold services there anymore though; they've outgrown it. So they're meeting across from the Dragon Fort restuarant in the banquet centre there.
It's funny, I was just reminded of something yesterday morning as I was getting ready to go to the service. The last time I had been there was maybe 1.5 - 2 years ago, and at that time I felt that their chapter of the church would grow and expand and would have to move across the street. I kept it to myself then, but it has become true! I am so encouraged in the gifts!
I met 'Mother Hastings' at the service yesterday. Well, that's what the homeless people and other workers down on Hastings in Vancouver call her. She's a servant to the poor who is spending her retirement feeding the homeless. It was an honour to meet her, and others there at GHC. Worship was amazing (Michael Larson is the leader!), and the preaching was so engaging!
One of the ideas I have had is actually a dream I've had for quite a long time. Don't laugh. It's to sing on 100 Huntley Street, the Christian talk show here in Canada, hosted by the Mainse family. So I called them up to ask what it would take to get on the show, and I landed in a studio last night putting down a few songs as a demo. A studio! It was so exciting for me - that's what I love!! It was great. The end-product isn't my best; my voice is so tired. You all know how little I use my voice to speak, well I've been speaking for 8 hours a day recently at work (on the phone), so my voice is SOOO tired, and you can hear it in the recording. Oh well, I guess we'll see if this bears any fruit!
Also, congrats to my sister and her husband, who are expecting their third child. I'm very excited!!!
Life is exciting...!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
God led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. God said, "You have seen Hell."
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, "I don't understand."
"It is simple" said God, "it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves."
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
"He took up our infirmities
and carried our diseases."
Matthew 8 : 14-17 niv
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Since the death of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago 43,000,000 Christians have become martyrs.
Over 50% of these were in the last centure alone.
More than 200 million Christians face persecution each day - 60% are children.
Every day over 300 are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Every 3.5 minutes, a Christian dies for their faith. Every 3.5 minutes in 2006! Not AD70, not 733, 1550, not 1788, not 1890! 2006!
As you go about your life today, please take a moment to remember those whose faith is much more expensive than ours, and ask God to give them the strength to endure their persecution.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
"...the number of Indians living in extreme poverty approaches 300 million." http://uk.oneworld.net/
I don't know that I need to say much else to express my disagreement with India's decision to flex its spatial muscles, or to at least get in the game. I admit I don’t have all the facts, nor the sentiment of those 300 million living in "extreme poverty" in that country regarding the endeavor. Nor do I know the benefit on the economy of becoming a member of the 100-mile-high club; could be great or small, could be none at all. But at first glance, this seeming-vain expenditure seems like a snub to their poor, actually more like a slap in the face.
Monday, November 06, 2006
"Kirkwood says he hopes the change will eliminate any confusion in the market and help build on Holy Spirit's double-digit growth in assets and profit over the last three years."
Please click here to read the article.
Take a look: For the fashionista who has everything, EBay now selling 'African orphans'
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This may be a long-shot observation, for some of the reason of the questions may be genuine interest (it is for me sometimes), or maybe even something else I haven't noticed. But it seems the questions come out of a genuine belief that "you are what you do". It's a sizing up. They could easily replace the question with: "how cool are you?", and get the same sort of answer - something about what they do.
I have to laugh at myself for letting this misbelief linger. I find myself answering such questions with an inflated choice of words. For the weekend question, as an example, I often answer "oh, I kept it pretty low-key this weekend", which, of course, translates: "I didn't get up to much this weekend, but that is NOT NORMAL; you should hear what I normally get up to!"
It's not evil that we do this - ask and answer each other - just foolery. They that measure their existence on a yard stick of activities will only be fulfilled in seasons of busyness (which I find distracting). I am slowly becoming conscious of the meaning to my existence being found more in who I am, rather than what I do.
I've watched To End All Wars several times now, including once this week. The first time I saw it was the most impacting, of course, and it may have had something to do with my then emotional state, but I have never been so profoundly touched and shocked by a film as I have by this one.
The Story is a true one. It's of a Scottish regiment held as POWs in Thailand by the Japanese in the second world war to end all wars. In brutal violation of the Geneva Convention these soldiers are kept in worse condition than animals, and are put to work building a railroad for the Emperor of Japan.
To help them find meaning in their extreme suffering, the men begin a 'Jungle University' and learn from the works of Plato and Jesus, to name two. The content of their learning then is called into action in their daily lives.
If you can stand a little brutality and a little swearing, I would very highly recommend this film. As I said, no other has affected me near as much.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
I don't know why I was excited to see this film. It's not that I really hate Bush, nor do I like him. I hated Bush... maybe I forgot that I don't really care anymore.
In any case, I sat through 1 hour and 45 minutes of bogus interviews collaged in a mock-up documentary that fanticizes the death of President George W Bush. I must say it was in poor taste and without a valuable point. I feel slightly like an attempt was made to woo me, to propogate me, to pull me left a little, but to no avail. I'm firmly indifferent.
In the film, George W Bush is assassinated and Dick Cheney assumes the throne, which, as we all know, will make absolutely no difference in how the world is run - Cheney was President all along.
It seems that any point the movie tried to make was this: those in power will choose a verdict that suits their purposes and will fill in the blanks, as it were, so everyone else believes the verdict too, only to use it as fuel to push their agenda. In this case, the Patriot Act III. Nothing new.
I'm disappointed. For a film that knew it would receive a lot of hype for its title alone, they didn't capitalize on such foresight. It was like being at a dinner party, mingling amongst the crowd, when one guy stands up on a chair clinking his glass with a dessert spoon. "Excuse me!" he says, "Can I get everyone's attention please!". With every conversation paused and every eye on him, there's silence. Finally, he clears his throat - the anticipation felt - and says, "just thought I'd say hello!" and stands back down.
Monday, October 23, 2006
having a glass of blessings standing by,
"Let us," said He, "pour on him all we can:
let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
contract into a span."
So strength first made a way;
then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honor, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
percieving that, alone of all His treasure,
rest in the bottom lay.
"For if I should," said He,
"bestow this jewel also on my creature,
he would adore my gifts instead of me,
and rest in Nature, not in the God of Nature;
so both should losers be.
"Yet let him keep the rest,
but keep them with repining restlessness.
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
if goodness lead him not, yet weariness
may toss him to my breast."
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8 : 35
As I did, with every move I made, there was an accusation to match it. I'm talking things like "you pig, how could you eat so much rice when there are starving people all over the place?" and similar, ridiculous accusations. Whatever.
I was doing well, having quite the time with the Holy Spirit, when I finally told the thing to leave, with force. It replied "but I've been sent to kill you". A bit of a wrestle ensued, and some more accusations (of course), but before I went to bed, it left. Thank goodness, I'm glad to have got an undisturbed sleep.
Was it actually sent to kill me? Or was it just trying to scare me? If yes to either, why? I have no idea.
In the opposite spirit (a threat of death), I decided that the best thing to do would be to give life. The best I could come up with was food, so I bought some gift certificates from Tim Hortons and gave them to a homeless person downtown.
This is so strange for me. I have never before experienced a direct and vocal battle with such a thing. I'm trying to find it's source.
Oh well, it's gone for now! Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I then heard a voice in my head whisper "I'm going to kill you" very sternly. Within 1 minute, my alarm sounded to wake me up for the day.
Now, I'm not one for this sort of thing -- the whole "spiritual warfare" scene. I'm always a bit skeptical of things like this when I hear about them. I also tend to believe they leave me alone for the most part. I more have to struggle with my own self and flesh. So for such an outright threat to occur is very unusual. (I must be doing something to anger them! Woohoo!)
I replied to whatever it was while I was getting ready for the day, basically sluffing off the threat, because really, it's not very threatening. To die is gain, and I don't mean that to sound like a cliche. And besides, it's not really up to a spirit or demon or whatever else to decide such a fate. My life is held elsewhere. That is not meant as a cliche either.
So, I'm writing this to get some creative suggestions. What do you think I should do to move in the opposite spirit and maybe cause a bit of damage to whoever made this threat? Apart from all the usual stuff we do to counteract things like this, how can we get creative? I want to use the threat as an opportunity to make something good out of it. How devastating for the threat-maker when he finds out what he caused?! Yeah, that's what I want!
Anyway, comment away! I'm all ears!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers -
the moon and the stars you have set in place -
what are mortals that you should think of us,
mere humans that you should care for us?
For you made us only a little lower than God,
and you crowned us with glory and honour.
Ps. 8:3-5 (NLT)
Monday, October 16, 2006
praise the work of our afflictions,
praise the help of our suffering
in bringing us to life.
O, praise the condition we're found in,
put in, or taken out of;
praise the One who finds us,
puts us, or takes us from where we are.
O, praise sadness and madness,
praise happiness and nothingness.
Praise You who makes all things good
for all things are made good.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
After years of tossing and turning,
seeking and finding,
living and dying,
restless all the while,
I came across my Lord,
sitting there alone.
Never met Him in person before,
but I sat there alongside Him,
and just had to know:
“Do you love me?” I asked, as innocently as I could.
“Yes,” He simply said.
“Really?” I dared to say.
“Yes,” He quickly replied.
Determined still, I spoke: “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” He replied in the very same tone.
I sighed, still slightly concerned
and one last time muttered: “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” His sound beginning before the end of mine,
gazing down at His own Hands, unperturbed.
I paused again, to compute.
“Then no more evil, no more good –
that You love me is life to me, it really is.
I can rest now, here, in love.”
The air so thick and warm with easiness,
I lay my head there on His shoulder, all cares ceased.
“And one more thing,” His voice with passion whispered,“I love you.”
And with that I could sleep.
I was gently brought to correction by a great lesson learned, and that is this:
The secret to loving people is to understand them. However, as it is impossible to fully understand even one person, it is easier to understand that all people are understandable.
I have often been puzzled by love, especially by the fact that love was assumed for certain types of relationships. Then I realized that love comes from simply knowing, and the whole "love process" is one of getting to know eachother until we are fully known (Isaac "knew" his wife, if you know what I mean).
Even the seeming worst of our race have someone who loves them. Those who must pay for their crimes by death invariably have someone crying outside the killing room.
All people are lovable, and that fact alone makes loving all people possible.
Monday, October 09, 2006
So, to avoid the concern of friends and family, let me just be sure that you know I'm ok. It's all good!
It's Thanksgiving today! The leaves are turning different colours and are falling to the ground; it's sunny and crisp out, which excites me to no end. I am blogging away at my parents house - they've gone to the States for the weekend. I've been welcomed generously to the Lawrence's house for a Thanksgiving feast this evening, which will be quite an ordeal, because those Lawrence folks can create quite the sensational dinners.
By the way, I failed to mention in my football post yesterday that I actually had fun doing it. Though I wouldn't choose it as an activity on my own per se, I still quite enjoyed running around and falling down in the dirt, whether or not I was running the right way, or falling for the right reasons ;)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
or when a teaser's sent to play,
give me one good reason
to turn the other way.
When I'm angry at your perspective
and it's more than I can bear,
give me one good reason
to maintain my solemn swear.
A million thoughts colliding,
there's chaos in my mind.
Nothing is true that was true
fifteen minutes behind.
Finally it boils down
when all truth is negated,
and "did He really say...?"
is what's left to be debated.
I recall in an instant
the first of man's rebellion;
the very same words convinced
the pair by that old hellion.
And in seeing such a parallel
I'm wondrously empowered;
the fruit remains there dangling,
but "no" makes me a tower.
Give me one good reason
to distrust my loved Creator;
to indulge is sweet and wonderful,
but His love is so much greater.
like one of nails,
the weight of every want of mine even,
repelling them which probe.
Dare not toss or turn,
dare not curl up on my side
(though I want to),
I am on my back
and arguing in myself.
One who lies on a bed like this
does it not to rest,
but I am on it to find rest.
I am attached to these wants
as my head is to my body;
which one should I press down?
which part of me is useless?
I am stretched out on a bed of confusion
like one of nails.
or without distracting busyness
for I will invariably wander.
I'll find the forest
where darkness will blanket me
and owls will sing me to sleep.
It's always the same,
when pre-occupation fades,
that you will find me there.
Don't leave me alone
or without distracting busyness
for I will invariably wander.
when beautiful eyes
on a beautiful face
on a beautiful body
aren't asking me if I'm interested too.
Abstinence is easy
when kissable lips
on a kissable face
on a kissable body
aren't begging to know me better.
Abstinence is easy
until every reason in me
is turned into a question,
and I'm left wondering
why abstinence at all.
Abstinence is easy
until my right mind
is bent to hounding hormones
excited by the sight of one who'll do.
Anyone would do.
In a city of the gathering
of those "who'll do",
and of lips and eyes of torture,
I must keep telling myself:
abstinence is easy.
Abstinence is easy.
I think I see the truth revealed
as awakened from a trance.
But as I journey back to joy
it's knowing I'd forgotten that
which is higher in the truth.
Even so, at all times, I
am beaten with grave knowledge:
my life is ever limited;
my wants can't co-exist.
And so I must accept this cap
on how my days will fill me.
I know I can't have everything.
we're only close in the dark
and I'm tired of being afraid.
Dark is a hiding place
where sinners to their sinning
and no one walks on backstreets
where thieves take in their winnings.
Why are we among them
who need the darkness to hide?
I am not a criminal
who stole, or raped, or lied!
take my hand on Main Street
I'll kiss you for the sun,
'cause I'm tired of being afraid.
I had a mind of eagerness and watchfulness this time though, trying to get the gist of just what was going on; why this guy was doing this, why that guy was doing that, which way we were running, etc. Quite hilarious actually. When propositioned for the afternoon game, I told my invitee that I wasn't a football player, but decided to go anyway, remembering a line from 'As Good As It Gets' (Simon to Melvin), "the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself...". Yes, I decided to play football this afternoon because of a line from 'As Good As It Gets'. (As this is an initial post, you're getting a good picture of just what sort of blog this is going to be, or rather, just what type of person I am).
So, with the willingness to humiliate myself in the name of killing time in the sunshine and trying to be accepted as "one of the guys" I played football. I'm laughing, it's just too funny. I showed up, pretended I knew what I was doing; I asked what the heck was going on several times, mostly to one who was a teenager, and one who was a senior; you know, so I wouldn't look bad asking a stupid question to one of my peers. And we played, and I tripped a couple times (like when there wasn't another guy within 8 feet of me... lol... TWICE!) I did what they told me to do, and... AND... the very last play, I touch-tackled the QB just before he threw the ball to a receiver in the end zone, who caught it and finished off the game. BUT alas, in order not to make a scene, and since nobody saw (except the QB who asked, "you got me didn't you?"), I let it go, and we finished the game... thank God. If I had spoken up, we'd have played longer.
Cheers to football. RIP.