Friday, June 29, 2007

Not bad for a church blog

Online Dating

* porn (3x)
* anal (1x)

(This ought to get me a few extra hits)

via psychols

UPDATE: My SERMON blog has been rated thusly:

Online Dating

* death (5x)
* porn (3x)
* drugs (1x)

A proud moment, to be sure.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kevin Little on "Keeping it simple in the 'burbs'"

Kevin and Lucy coming from the library (Kevin, what's with all the gray hair?)

I live in the suburbs. I never thought it would happen. After all, isn't that the place where gated backyards are bigger than front ones, where forests are plowed under, and streets ironically named for the hardwoods that were removed, where people drive to get the mail across the street? It is.

But living in a six-year-old house in a modern subdivision has benefits I had not anticipated.

Because our home is so new it has many of the environmentally-friendly applications that older ones don't.

And unlike our former neighbourhoods in Ottawa and Toronto, here there are children, potential playmates for our daughter.

Growing up downtown

I grew up in a rough part of Halifax. I remember police coming to our school regularly, the regular vandalism of the wading pool, tennis court and playground. The proximity of poverty to our middle-class family taught me many lessons in how I viewed wealth and possessions.

On my first day of school, my classmates came with
...(the whole article here)

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Tale of Two Churches

Both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC) met in convention this past week. Each elected a national bishop (or “primate” as the ACC calls it) and each voted on the blessing of same-sex unions. The motion was defeated in both denominations.

But not by much.


Yes: 181
No: 200


Laity - 78 aye / 59 nay
Clergy - 63 aye / 53 nay
Bishops - 19 aye / 21 nay

So, if one bishop’s mind was changed, there would have been a tie. And a crisis.

It’s clear that this issue if not going away. But I find the whole debate discouraging. Personally, I don’t think that authority pf scripture hinges on this one issue like many other church folks.

30 years ago many of the same people said that the ordination of women contradicted the bible, yet here we are with almost half our clergy and three of our bishops being women.

50 years ago, divorce would get you kicked out of the church. Today, in direct opposition to Mark 10 and Matthew 19, we perform weddings for divorced people wanting to be re-married. Yet no one threatens to leave the church over this, or cries that we’ve sullied biblical purity.

So it makes me wonder what the real issue is.

What I think we need is God’s Spirit of peace to hover over us. The division in our wider church is a terrible witness to the gospel of reconciliation.

Even if some of us believe that blessing same-sex unions is contrary to scripture, so is creating a spirit of disunity within the body of Christ. None of us can claim biblical purity. And our common impurity must be our starting point for any discussion we have over this issue.

Friday, June 22, 2007

ELCIC has a new National Bishop

It took six ballots but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has a new National Bishop. Rev. Susan Johnson, assistant to Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse has been declared the winner in this slugfest.

While Susan and I have our differences, I know that she is a faithful pastor and hard worker for Christ’s church.

God’s blessing and wisdom be with you, Bishop-elect Susan!

Here's the news release:

Winnipeg, 22 June 2007--Delegates at the Eleventh Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have elected Rev. Susan Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop of the Eastern Synod, as the new National Bishop of the ELCIC. The election occurred on the sixth and final ballot for Bishop.

Bishop-elect Johnson will succeed National Bishop Raymond Schultz who announced in January of this year that he will retire as of September 1, 2007. Bishop Schultz has been serving as National Bishop for six years. He was elected for a four-year term at the 2005 Convention but announced his retirement half-way through the term due to personal and health reasons.

Bishop-elect Johnson is not new to the work of the National Office, from 2001-2005, she served as Vice-President of the ELCIC. In addition to her role as Assistant to the Bishop of the Eastern Synod (which she has served since 1994), Bishop-elect Johnson has served as an advisor to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council since 1998, as a member of the North American Regional Committee for LWF since 2005, on the Leadership Development Task Force from 2005-2006 and on a variety of boards and committees both at the national and synodical level.

Delegates have been deliberating on the election of the National Bishop for most of Friday; business sessions on other matters, such as the introduction of a new Stewardship of Creation Initiative (an environmental action plan for the church) and greetings from a number of international partners and guests have been interspersed between ballots.

"I'm just overwhelmed and honoured by this incredible honour," said Bishop-elect Johnson upon the announcement. "I promise to be all that I can to help us together to be In Mission for Others."

Bp. Fred Hiltz Elected Anglican Primate

I knew Bishop Hiltz when I was serving Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Halifax. He is a wonderful bishop and will serve this office with dignity, compassion, integrity, and grace.

Congratulations to my sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church of the Canada!

News release here

UPDATE: The Anglican Journal has a good write-up on Archbishop-elect Hiltz.

Our new church ad campaign


Bringing Plato to the Homeless

In 2003, a number of Halifax community advocates formed a non-profit society dedicated to enriching the lives of those living in material poverty through education. In partnership with the universities in the metro area, local community groups, and the Halifax Public Library, the Saint George's Friends of Clemente Society, chaired by the Reverend Canon Dr. Gary Thorne, launched a pilot project based on a hugely successful North American model called the Clemente Course in the Humanities...(read about it here)

Interesting. It's so crazy it just might work!

Thanks to "Cleetus" for sending this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kevin Little on his gradual journey to the simple life

From the Halifax Daily News

It's funny how some children of alcoholics grow up drawn to the demon drink and others get sick at even the thought. The same is true of packrats. Like most of my generation, I grew up valued, affirmed, and spoiled. My parents were both the first children in their families to go to university. Although they were born in 1939, they lived by values espoused by their parents. An economic depression could happen again, and you had to ensure that nothing was thrown away for fear of being without it in a moment of need.

And because it was the '60s, when incomes were on the rise, and because my parents had grown up with so little, we three boys were lavished with toys. Our grandmother, president of the local church temperance society, would arrive in her trademark Santa suit, slightly in the bag, to dispense more gifts than "Carter has pills." (I have no idea what that means, but it was my mum's favourite expression).

But despite the material possessions and the love and affection, there was something missing. Through high school and university, I struggled with boredom, laziness and underachievement. I think many people my age have had struggles like this. Everything was handed to us on a plate; we received compliments even when no achievement had been realized. I look back at that period and see that I was happy at home, but never at school.

At home, I was given space to march to the beat of my own drummer by my eccentric father, and given more encouragement and applause than anyone should get by my mother.

I remember hearing the story of Francis of Assisi in seminary. Although he was of the elite and I was middle-class, I somehow related to his epiphany that his privileges were masking his true identity. And so one day, he walked down a busy street in his hometown, naked. He was vulnerable to all. Francis went on to be transformed into a friend of nature, who preached and lived simplicity.

As he removed the distractions from his life, he found enlightenment, love of the other. The other was not necessarily his immediate family (he renounced his wealth). It could as easily have been a wounded animal, or a hurting fellow human being.

My journey to clarity of self was a gradual one. At first, I tried to hold on to my things, my excuses, and my illusion of being "special." But as I moved from Halifax to Saskatoon to northern Manitoba to southern rural Georgia, the packing and re-packing focused my attention on what was truly important, both materially and emotionally.

Moving does that. So does putting yourself in different situations, contexts, with different people.

In 1988, I travelled to northern Manitoba, to work with Frontier College as an adult literacy teacher and labourer. This was followed by a move south to Americus, Georgia, where I worked with Habitat for Humanity at its headquarters in the public relations department.

While there, I cycled the 16 kilometres from the headquarters to Koinonia Farm, a demonstration plot of Christianity started by Clarence Jordan, the only man I know who had a Phd in agriculture and Greek. His racially integrated, pacifist message didn't go over well in the deep south in the '40s, but by 1988, the farm was largely accepted by town folk, and the collection of disciples who lived there fascinated me.

It was during my time with Habitat for Humanity that I found my inspiration. There, I encountered someone who was living Francis's simple lifestyle. His name was Millard Fuller. Fuller had his own Francis moment when, at the age of 29, he became a millionaire. His lifestyle and greed so disillusioned his wife Linda that she asked him to choose between the wealth and her. He gave everything away and drove his family, on his pastor's recommendation, to meet Clarence Jordan.

Where Jordan was a purist, prickly and a prophet, Fuller was an entrepreneur, hard-charging and ambitious.

When Fuller met Jordan, he decided to put his energy to a different use, the cause of building decent, affordable housing. Fuller built the new organization, Habitat for Humanity, into a worldwide movement.

Until recently, Fuller's salary was the same as the secretaries at the headquarters, his home did not have air-conditioning and he walked around the community picking up any litter he saw.

This twinning of all-out effort for a cause with a basic or simple lifestyle has remained with me to this day. During my moves, I gave things away. I saved more than I spent. With my vocation, I hardly ever took a holiday. With causes, I worked to use the power of speech and pen to change minds and hearts.

I now have a daughter. I live in the suburbs. We are a one-income family. Next week, I will tackle how this simplicity of lifestyle runs up against the reality of my context.

Kevin Little is an ordained minister who lives in HRM.

Father's Day Gifts from my kids

1. A Spiderman coffee cup.
2. A Spiderman keychain
3. Homer Simpson underwear.
4. A nasty bug that had me hovering over a toilet most of the night.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

For my wife ;)

She has been looking to change careers. (I'm glad she doesn't read my blog, or I'd be singing soprano, and I don't mean Tony)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sermon: Pentecost 3 - Year C’s one thing to say that “yes, Jesus loves sinners. After all, everyone’s a sinner. Everyone fails in God’s eyes.”

It’s another thing to name the sin, to put flesh on it.

The website Triple X Church dot com sells a T-shirt that announces that “Jesus loves porn stars.” Swish that around in your mouth for awhile. What does it taste like?

What if I came to see you in the hospital wearing a badge that said “Jesus loves pedophiles”? Would you throw me out?

How about a baseball cap that read “Jesus loves Paul Bernardo?”

I don’t know about you but that makes me squirm in my shorts.

When we say that Jesus loved porn stars do we mean that Jesus loves porn?...(the whole thing here)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Prince and the Pourer

So, apparently, Prince Harry made out with a hot bartender at a club in Calgary. Not just any bartender, but the 3rd hottest bartender in Canada in 2006.

I don’t know if I’m morally outraged or secretly envious.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Jesus Joke

And Jesus said unto them, "And whom do you say that I am?"

They replied,

"You are the totaliter aliter, the vestigious trinitatum who speaks to us in the modality of Christo-monism.”

" You are the impossible possibility who brings to us, your children of light and children of darkness, the overwhelming roughness’ in the midst of our fraught condition of estrangement and brokenness in the contiguity and existential anxieties of our ontological relationships.

"You are he who heals our ambiguities and overcomes the split of angst and existential estrangement; you are he who speaks of the theonomous viewpoint of the analogia entis, the analogy of our being and the ground of all possibilities.

"You are my Oppressed One, my soul's shalom, the One who was, who is, and who shall be, who has never left us alone in the struggle, the event of liberation in the lives of the oppressed struggling for freedom, and whose blackness is both literal and symbolic.”

And Jesus replied, "Huh?"

via Maggie

Monday, June 11, 2007

Merton Reflection: For Dave

The Merton Reflection for the Week of June 11, 2007

"Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 45.

The Richest People in America

Not what you think - via.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Heart Troubles

I went to the hospital visit a fellow from the church. He had some heart troubles but seemed fine. I saw him a few nights prior and he seemed fine and anxious to get home.

I rang the buzzer at the ICU and told the nurse I was the pastor here to see C. She paused. Then said solemnly, “Come in.”

When I arrived at the desk a nurse approached me.

“Did the wife call you?” she asked.

“No,” I replied.

“Well, we’re just wrapping him up now,” she said.

“Wrapping him up for what?”

The nurses looked at each other. “He doesn’t know,” the one said to the other.

“He passed away this afternoon,” she told me.


The nurses looked at their shoes.


“Oh, I thought you were here to see someone else. The fellow you’re looking for was sent to Calgary,” she replied, smiling.

“Better than the morgue,” I replied, kick starting my heart again.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Over sexualization of culture - a great back and forth argument

This is the kind of argument that the mainstream media should be doing. But instead Boston Legal has to do it.

Brian McLaren on the "worship industry"


Sermon: Trinity Sunday

I have a friend who was stringing two women along – one of them his finance - and rather than weigh his options, read the bible, draw on the sage advice of his elders, take a break and get some exercise, eat properly, and get a decent night’s sleep, - or even pay attention to common sense, he tried to puzzle his way out by looking for supernatural signs from God.

He thought God would let him know what to do by pointing him in the right direction, not through Wisdom, but through signs. And while the sign from God hadn't yet appeared to let him know what to do about his big dilemma – which of two women he was stringing along should be with – he believed that if he submitted himself to God's will in the small things, eventually God would speak to him about the big things. It got to the point where he'd be earnestly praying about which way he should walk to school – this path, or another? What socks did God want him to wear? Did the Almighty desire that he wear blue or white underwear?

Then again, how did he know...(whole thing here)