Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Vacation Time!

I'm in the office wrapping up some loose ends and will be soon off for a couple days.

I wish everyone who reads or stumbles upon this blog a Merry Christmas, and peaceful and joyful new year!

Smell ya in 2007!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sermon: Christmas Day

Where are you in the story? That’s a hard question when you think about it. I know that I don’t have a clue where I fit in to this story.

I don’t see myself as one of those shepherds, that’s for sure. I don’t like staying up late at night. I’m not all that outdoorsy, and if I saw a choir of angels singing in the sky I might be more inclined to think it was bad shrimp rather than a divine announcement.

I don’t think I’m one of the Magi – or three wise men. I’m no star gazer. I don’t look to the sky to find out what’s going on in the world. I get my news from the Internet. I dabble in RESPs for my kids, not in gold; frankincense irritates my sinuses; and I prefer myrrh to be locked away at the funeral home instead of nestling in my backpack.

I’m certainly not Mary. It would be physically impossible for me to play her role. But then again, it was for her as well. And while I’m told I look good in blue, my bald head and beard might just make the story a little too creepy.

So, perhaps I’m a sheep, just like I was in a Sunday School play a thousand and one years ago. It could be my job to add scenery, atmosphere, mood. Instead of woolly garments I wear fancy robes to add an environment of sacredness to our Christmas celebrations. But then I realize that you’d be here even if I wasn’t. Plus my vanity won’t allow me to see myself as mere background in God’s saving story.

So maybe I’m a Roman – Caesar even. Strong enough to conquer the world and proclaim myself as God. I love that image of myself! Who wouldn’t? There are days when my head won’t fit inside my hat; but Rebekah has a way of deflating my over-indulged ego.

Maybe I’m the guy that Luke was...(read the whole thing here)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Sermon 2006

What would you do if you had to clean up the mess we human beings have made? How would you deal with war, violence, anger, corruption? How would you deal with fear of the future, destroyed relationships, or ravaging diseases? How would you deal with terrorism, fanaticism, or fundamentalism?

Would you send in the tanks? Would you break out the big guns? Would you launch the missiles?

Would you stage a protest demanding the government adopt your agenda? Would you picket outside of Wal-Mart insisting they take on your faith language? Would you rally the troops, get out the vote; make sure your voice is heard?

Would you send a...(read whole thing here)

Sermon: Advent 4 - Year C

...I’m sure that Joseph didn’t plan to be step-dad to the Almighty. He probably had his own career plans. He may have had his goals mapped out how he was going to build his carpentry business into the biggest in all Nazareth. However the future looked to him, I’m sure that being a surrogate father figure to God’s own Son wasn’t part of his five-year plan.

But isn’t that they way life works out most of the time? Our best laid plans get interrupted by life’s plans for us: sudden illness and surprise babies, the break down of relationships and the presentation of new opportunities. Dreams diminished and hope renewed.

Maybe. At least some of the time.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us happy endings. Often, there is no satisfactory resolution at the end of some of our stories. The spot on the lung spreads to the bones, the divorce papers arrive in the mail, or the flowers delivered to the church are for a funeral instead of a wedding.

But it would be nice to know how it all works out beforehand, wouldn’t it? It would be nice to plan for things like that. It would be easier to go through life with a navigation map so we’d...(the whole thing here)

Friday, December 15, 2006

What the Hell Happened to Christianity!?

CNN asks Jay Bakker:

So when did the focus of Christianity shift from the unconditional love and acceptance preached by Christ to the hate and condemnation spewed forth by certain groups today? Some say it was during the rise of Conservative Christianity in the early 1980s with political action groups like the Moral Majority. Others say it goes way back to the 300s, when Rome's Christian Emperor Constantine initiated a set of laws limiting the rights of Roman non-Christians. Regardless of the origin, one thing is crystal clear: It's not what Jesus stood for.

His parables and lessons were focused on love and forgiveness, a message of "come as you are, not as you should be." The bulk of his time was spent preaching about helping the poor and those who are unable to help themselves. At the very least, Christians should be counted on to lend a helping hand to the poor and others in need. (article here)

Bakker does a great job in challenging the fundamentalism of his youth, and the values that ultimately ripped his family apart. But I was left wondering if he protests too much.

Maybe in the politically charged American church he needs to be louded, and even more in your face than he would if he were in, say, Toronto or Calgary, to heck, even Lethbridge. Canadian Christians, for the most part, simply don't carry the same political baggage as some of our American friends.

But I LOVE the fact that he's trying a new way to be the church, to let Jesus' teachings guide his ministry as he ministers in one of the toughest mission fields in the world.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just When I'd Given Up on Pop Music

An Advent Thought

“We are all meant to be mothers of God,” wrote Meister Eckhart, a medieval mystic and theologian. “What is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.” (quoted in Barbara Brown Taylor’s Mother’s of God)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blow 'em away in the name of the Lord!

NEW YORK (AP) - Targeted largely at conservative Christians, it's a violent video game with a difference: Combatants on one side pause for prayer, and their favoured interjection is "Praise the Lord."

Critics say "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" glorifies religious violence against non-Christians...(whole thing here)

I'm speechless.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I was wondering why my pants fit looser.

It's because the tofu I eat is shrinking my nether regions and turning me gay. Or so say this guy. Yup, Tofu is a devil's food that shrinks the penis and turns men into homosexuals.

I eat tofu. Have eaten it for years. Yet I still find my wife hot. Go figure.

Also see here.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sermon: Advent 2 - Year C

Advent has been compared to the anticipation of a child’s birth. But I know from experience that such a wait is not all joy and hope, it’s also fear and trembling. Will the child be healthy? If she’s not, will I be able to deal with the challenges she will face? Will I be a good parent? What will the world be like that she will inherit? Or even more fundamentally, will she like me?

There are two sides to the Advent story. The first is, yes, a saviour is coming, and that’s good news. The flip side is that we need a saviour in the first place, and that’s the bad news.

I think that’s what the prophet Malachi was trying to get at. He sounds angry in today’s passage, doesn’t he? You almost need to dodge the fire spitting from his mouth. It’s the kind of stuff you expect an old time prophet to say. And you can certainly hear where John the Baptist drew his inspiration from.

It was the same old story with the prophet preaching the same old message. God’s people have broken their agreement with the Almighty. They’ve done awful things to each other. They’ve forgotten their God.

So, there’s a sobering side to this season of getting ready. In just two weeks we will....(The whole thing here)

Monday, December 04, 2006


The other day I was parked in front of the Office Depot, when some jerk in a half-ton pulled in front of the store and parked in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Handicapped parking spots. He parked right on top of where all four parking spots met. It’s worth noting that this “person” didn’t have a handicapped parking sticker on his truck.

Maybe it’s me, or have people gotten more selfish and lazy?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sermon: Advent 1 - Year C

When you hear the word “gospel” what pops into your head?

In my final year of seminary we were asked to define the word “gospel” in one sentence, for our respective theses. Being little too full of both myself and Jurgen Moltmann’s major theological writings, I made 8 revisions. But when I thought I finally had it down in perfect theological prose, my thesis advisor, usually a cross between a teddy bear and Santa Claus, pulled out his red marker, scratched out my wonderful words, and bellowed, “Make is simpler!”

The assignment was harder then you might think. After all, the word “gospel” has become to mean anything that people want it to mean. It’s become...(read the whole thing here)

Mercer on Dion

Rick Mercer sums up the Liberal Leadership Convention:

At the end of the day though, watching Dion on stage, I couldn’t help but be amazed at his physical presence. The Liberals went into this convention with a host of choices. They could have gone with a battle-tested politician, a former athlete, a world famous academic or a food bank founder from the West; at the end of the day they choose the nerd.

That’s pretty Canadian.