Sunday, December 20, 2009

December Update

I forgot to post this a few weeks back. Enjoy the read!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Songs For Christmas!

Dear Friends of DSL,
Every so often I manage to find an output for the creativity that so thoroughly runs through my mind each day. For some reason, I have fallen in love with writing seasonal songs. There were cheesy Valentine's songs in high school, followed by a sporadic smattering of Christmas songs ever since. I love writing seasonal songs because A) I lack an overwhelming confidence in my musical and vocal abilities, and B) because the sentiments of the season overrule point A. This year my friend Aaron invited me to record a Christmas track (or three!), and they're now online, along with some old treasures (I use that term loosely). Please feel free to check them out at these links:

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Che: The Argentine

Again, I'm settled into a living room at a friends house, some wine has been poured, and Che Part One: The Argentine begins to play. Many years have passed since I had last seen Che in film. Then, the film had ended with him deciding that he would not continue on his journey with Alberto. His heart had been changed at the sight of injustice throughout South America, as the indigenous and the peasantry were exploited by the empires of colonialism, and the rich, corrupt landowners in each country. It seemed that borders did not isolate the problem within certain nations. This film begins in conversation with a young Fidel Castro about the need to overthrow Batista in Cuba.

There will be critics in hindsight who will say that the regime that the Castro Brothers and Guevera ushered in has oppressed the island of Cuba, and I think that argument is for another conversation. In this conversation, the oppressiveness of the American empire on a island nation at that time is fair game. When the richest nation in the world is getting richer on your behalf, and your poor descend into new levels of poverty, something should change. It was in this climate that Che steps into his revolutionary shoes, seeking to right an injustice.

While working with revolutionary forces, there's are many scenes in which Che offers those who have tagged along the opportunity to leave, go home, and not be involved with the armed conflict. He says they will have to live with the shame of not fighting for their own sovereignty, but that there will be no consequence otherwise. Many break ranks and return home to their families and livelihoods. Each time as they live, he declares that while some leave now, others will feel compelled to join and fill their vacancy. Not just that, but their community of revolutionaries will grow.

If you read this blog lately, you might notice the scripture that was jumping into my head while these scenes were taking place. The parable of the great dinner kept coming to mind as some reject the initial invitation to join the rebels and liberate the island. They had said yes, and now said no. Such were the guests who the master invited. They were once "Yes"s and when the slave was sent to get them, they were "No"s. So others were compelled and brought in by the slave, and those originally invited were unable to share in the great feast that was prepared. Likewise, I'm sure the people who left were unable to share in the victory of the revolutionaries, whereas the new recruits - those compelled by a cause to join - could celebrate freely.

Che... What's the deal? You're living out these kingdom of God parables, and showing the consequence of invitation and rejection. You're closer to portraying it than most of the church is.

We (the church) rarely invite people to something good, like sharing table in the kingdom of God; what's more is how often we come up with excuses to reject the invitation to be with Jesus:

"Sorry, I can't come. I know I said yes, but it's past dark, on the other side of town, and I don't like riding the TTC"

"Sure I said I would support the church, but with Christmas shopping and credit card debt, I don't think I can do it anymore."

"You're right. I did say I would be hospitable and welcoming to those out-of-towners, but midterms are kicking my butt, and I can't afford to host a meal when the biggest test is next week."

"My partner and I don't get much time together, so Sunday mornings is our date time at Starbucks - a cup of coffee while we both read the paper."

Do we actually believe that the kingdom of God is good? Would we be willing to invite someone else to try it out? Is it good enough to sacrifice our time, money, energy, etc., to just show up and see what the "big meal" is going to be like?

Sure Che is involved in the killing of many people (change through violence) - something that is truly inconsistent with the peaceful teachings of God's kingdom; but he truly believes that he's inviting people to something that is good for him, good for them, and good for others off the island. That's more than many can say.

Again, the enigma that is Che and the kingdom.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Che: The Motorcycle Diaries

I watched the Steven Soderbergh Che films on the weekend, and was enthralled by the story of Ernesto 'Che' Guevera. I am so intrigued by how the Che I've seen in film* seems to get many parts of 'the kingdom', and yet at some point rejects it thoroughly. Why? I wonder aloud. The next couple of posts surround my fascination with Che and, more importantly, the kingdom.


I can still remember the moment. It's third year at Mac. I'm in the living room of a student house with a bunch of friends and we're watching The Motorcycle Diaries. The movie ends, the credits run, and the DVD title screen loops for about 5 minutes before someone utters a word.

"Wow... That was good."

Most of us wanted to drop out of school, buy motorcycles, and travel around South America after seeing the film. Some developed mad crushes on Ernesto. Either way, most people had been unsettled by the film because of how foreign, and yet how close, it was to our experience living in Hamilton. We were students in programs we didn't necessarily love, and we wanted more out of life than academia offered. We wanted adventure, and we wanted to see change in the world.

It was in this context that I saw what is hands down my favourite scene in film. While on the way to visit a leper colony separated by a mighty river from the healthy medical staff, Che and his friend Alberto refuse to wear gloves to protect them from contact with the lepers. They reject the rules of the nuns, knowing full well leprosy doesn't spread through touch. Once they arrive, Che is welcomed by Papa Carlito, a leper excited to see newcomers. When Che extends his exposed hand as a gesture of friendship, Papa Carlito is shocked and apprehensive - is this a joke? After being assured otherwise, the two shake hands, and in this moment the unclean and the clean meet; the divide between healthy and sick falls; Papa Carlito experiences the sweet sensation of an identity beginning to be redeemed.

Shortly after seeing this film, I found myself studying scripture and following the story of Jesus. Over and over again Jesus is the one stepping into unclean places and making them clean - all the while shirking the social and religious taboos of the day. Che does the same, and as such shares in the gospel in this moment. Yep, he does. The guy who doesn't believe lives out the good news right there. Thus began the enigma of Che and the kingdom for me.

Some might say the more moving scene in the film is when Che swims across the alligator and piranha infested river to spend the evening with the lepers rather than the medical professionals. For me it is the look on Papa Carlito's face when he holds the hand of a healthy person who has deemed him important enough to extend friendship and touch.

*Yes, I am merely referring to the film portrayals of Che, and not the Che found in biographies and history textbooks. Those books tell stories, as does film. Both are important, but only one shows up here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Aesthetic

I felt like the blog needed a shake up. This is that shake up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

pause. read. pause. think. act.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.


Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.


One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" Then Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything is ready now'. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets'. Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets'. Another said, 'I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come'."


"So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to the slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame'. And the slave said, 'Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room'. Then the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

finding inspiration

Recently I've been working on some poetry that has seemingly arrived out of nowhere, landing on the tips of my tongue and fingers. I am no poet-extraordinaire, but it has been refreshing to explore this approach to creative writing again. There have been times when I have forced myself to attempt poetry, and it's been so contrived and banal that I would never imagine letting eyes see the short pages of journal space it occupies - yet it is an attempt, and I find solace in that notion.

Some recent poetry has been influenced by moments when the ear catches something that sends it on a journey. The sound of a singer that brings up connotations that connect to memories that connect to a general aesthetic wrapped around said sound/voice/accent. The sound of a foreign language that invites the "what-if" dreams of immersion in another culture, and what one's story would look like in another life. The sound of the divine incarnating these sounds, and joining them at once to each other as a portrait of humanness, and courting that portrait with the intent of marrying the human to the divine. It may sound all abstract and aery-faery, but it is a dance of theology that I have sorely missed for a long time.

These poems that I am writing are pregnant with desire - desire for a kingdom that embraces, renews, and recreates human desire. This is as unabashed as my writing has been. It is new, and it is fascinating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

cabin fever

Thursday: The first couple of coughs at night

Friday: Coughs, sore throat, run through a pack of halls in three hours, crash when I get home.

Saturday: Bed-ridden (missing the pub night celebration for my friend Greg who just got engaged). To say I had the symptoms of utter misery would be an understatement

Sunday: Bed-ridden with a few brief forays to the living room to watch TV. I am caught up on FlashForward (a decent show, but it has nothing on LOST).

Monday: Finally realize that my symptoms match the dreaded piggy flu. Spend part of the day watching TV (I hate it). The other part trying to sleep it off. The house is empty and the extrovert in me wants to hang out with someone

Tuesday: House is empty, I'm more alert but get a ton of cold sweats. Sleep a bit, but otherwise am stir-crazy and wanting to hang out with someone.

Wednesday: House is empty, feel alert and back to normal self (minus the cough - which I'm told will be around for a while). The extrovert in me is going insane. I want to hang out with people, but fear I'm a liability. I can't phone or email someone asking them to come over. Self-quarantine sucks.

Seven days (the lifespan of this possible illness) and I'm ready to return to the real world. Ontario Health says I shouldn't be contagious anymore. I feel physically fine now, but man is my mental/social well being at a loss.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why You Should Listen To The Swell Season

This wasn't even the best song of the night. But bloody brilliant it still is.

Now this... this was the best part of the concert. Standing ovation mid-concert.

And another one for you...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Strictest of Joys

I'm closing out the final hours of the weekend listening to the new Swell Season EP "Strict Joy" in preparation for the concert Tuesday night. It's aptly titled to say the least. It's a really enjoyable listen, and probably the best break up album I've heard. Too bad I'm not in the mood for a break up album. This guy wants a heart-laid-out-on-the-guitar-strings-and-piano-keys album full of simple joys like enjoying love, or at least the hard earned joys that come with working love out. Man this is one of the best albums I don't want to listen to right now.

And this is not what I really want to be posting about at this juncture. I had a great weekend at a camp reunion - with the best costume I've ever created - and am still thinking about everything I learned/heard/experienced there. Funny, I feel like one of the best ways to describe the weekend is "strict joy," but that delves into a greater story that will no doubt be explored on here and involves, of all things, international intrigue.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a few more hours

a few more hours - one of the reasons i write poetry, short stories, and the odd song. upper-case songwriting in a lower-case teenage-angst-kind-of-way. once fronted by one andrew foote, and accompanied by a few friends (one brandon dodds here), afmh was borne of brantford, ontario, creativity, a shared north park collegiate experience, and penchant for big-world observations on small-town happenings. afmh's one and only release is hard to find, but a gem to those who have a copy, and the epitome of high school lo-fi. davey von stone's first public perfomance, a duet cover of travis' "the humpty dumpty love song" at the age of eighteen, would have never come to fruition had it not been for the spearheading of foote. that was over seven years ago, and to this day i still think afmh's "on about" is one of the best songs i have ever heard.

who says you need to make a buck on creative output? output for output's sake is what an eighteen year old afmh might have said.

"i wanna buy you an electric guitar / we could both be rockstars"

oh how i love finding old music that brings me right back to the creatively fertile days of high school.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Album Wish List

If I had more spare change lying around, I would purchase the following albums:

1. Jonsi & Alex - Riceboy Sleeps
2. Dead Man's Bones - self titled
3. Doves - Some Cities
4. Doves - Kingdom of Rust
5. Doves - Lost Souls
6. Ohbijou - Beacons
7. The Swell Season - Strict Joy

If anyone feels the desire to purchase these for me, that person will not be denied.

Also, I would purchase a new record player, because my record collection has unfortunately gone silent for years now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Anxieties Involving Our Culture

I have been blessed recently in being able to read some incredible books that have had a profound impact on me - much of which I have spoken of previously on this blog. I broke out the Dietrich Bonhoeffer this past week, and today while reading "Life Together" I had another one of those profound moments. Interestingly enough, it had very little to do with the themes and messages Bonhoeffer was trying to get across, but more with his character being revealed. This guy really loves praying the psalms and reading scripture. There is this simple love and joy conveyed in each word he speaks about it, and I won't lie - I am envious of that simplicity.

And what, might you ask, does that have to do with my anxieties? Well, he talks about praying the psalms and reading scripture in morning (not my favourite time of day), emphasizing that, "For Christi
ans the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day's work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it." The new dawn bore significance because God had stayed the darkness (Remember, the darkness was frightening before we had streetlights), fulfilling his promise. Ah, what rich metaphor!

I'm not sure about you, but my morning usually consists of stumbling out of bed, grumpy because I'm having to get out of bed, and hoping my house mate Susan is gone to work so I can go downstairs in my boxers to check my email and watch SportsCentre on TSN. Before I have time to catch my breath for the day, I'm rushing a shower, grabbing a granola bar, answering emails from staff and students, and running late. This is progress.

Earlier today, I was reading an article in one of the school newspapers at U of T that was discussing the future of education in the next 30 years. There was talk of Sony's application for a patent involving sending information straight to one's brain, effectively eliminating the need to listen to a lecture. This is progress.

So here's the truth. When I look at how obsessed our culture, our humanity, seems to be with progess I feel a little sick, a little anxious, and my heart gets a little rattled (literally). It makes me want to be a Luddite, though I don't hate technology. It's not that technology is bad, but the places it takes us haunt me. And yes, I realize I am a bit of a hypocrite blogging about this on my MacBook.

I really want to have a simplistic relationship with this world, so that I can gather in and appreciate the grand gestures of a creator that sustains it (and us). It's difficult in an era of instant-messaging-satellite-television-web-surfing to keep it simple, or get back to the slower paced things in life. This is why I absolutely love using my typewriter and writing letters to people. There is this element of long-suffering and patient longing as you wait for the post office to send your letter to its recipient, and for a reply-letter to be sent. The same goes for the warm embrace between friends who have shared words in ink, and have waited for the moment when they can have fellowship together in person. There is joy unspeakable in that wait, that anticipation, that our age does not know. When I write a letter, whether by pen or typewritten, it is an expression of my love and care for the person I'm sending it to. I want them to know that they are worth every long moment invested into the creation of that letter; it has not been an email sent quickly with little thought, but the exact opposite. I guess, essentially, I'm wanting to imitate a creator that desires relationship with a humanity that often can't see him past the glow of the neon gods they're [we're] worshipping: Our progress.

I am really anxious about our culture not because technology is evil, but because it feels like we lose God, and each other, the more we let it run our lives, and buy into its false promises of progress. Sounds more like regression to me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Did you know that October is my favourite month? For real. I'm not sure what it is, but I've always found October to be a great month. Even during times when October has been terrible, I've chosen to believe it to be a great month - the greatest month - year after year after year. I think my love for October started when I was a teenager, listening to the U2 Best of 1980-1990 album, and hearing the 'secret song' come on. That was when I first fell in love with October. So, even if it's a tough month, I always choose to love October. We're twelve days in, and I'm choosing to love October.

and the trees are stripped bare
of all they wear.
Why do I care?

and kingdoms rise,
and kingdoms fall,
but you go on,
and on.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grace + Dinner

If you've been following this blog for the last while, you might be one of those folks who have followed the "Letter of Grace" serial of sorts. If you're one of those people you might have wondered what ever happened to it. Well here's the scoop.

The piece was half finished when I first started posting, and I was finishing it as I went along. I have a few more pages beyond my last posting, but the last two pages or so still need to be completed. I had my mind set on finishing them near the end of September/beginning of October; however, sometimes things enter into a writer's life that swallow his or her ability to continue a story, as if that ability was a morsel that gives a story sustenance. I have encountered a devourer. As such, my plate has been wiped clean before I was able to finish the meal.

I have not gotten up from the table, but know that it may be a few weeks before a fresh meal arrives on my plate, and my ability to sit down and write the final pages returns. So I'll be patient. I know how the story ends. At some point you will know how the story ends. The image of grace hasn't changed - the image yet to be revealed in its fullness - but these fingers are unable to type on an empty stomach... for the time being. Thanks for your patience.

This is what happens when you talk about writing after Thanksgiving dinner.

Side note: I started reading John Donne again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oct 1,2,3,4,5,6

I have not slept well in days.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy 5 Year Anniversary!

Five years ago today, everyone's favourite Scotsman took a little bit too long to do his job of punching numbers into a computer. Who would've thought the resulting disaster would bring us such great drama and mystery?

I'm a nerd. Brother. But I also wish I had a cake like this to celebrate today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Special Note

A voice of care and reason emailed me this evening regarding the story being posted page by page here. This person was concerned that, given that this story is out in the wide open plains of cyberspace, and containing 'some' biographical information, it might be read by the wrong people, or offend certain people. In light of those concerns, I have adjusted certain elements in my postings. However, I am convinced that if the whole is read as, well just that, a whole, all will still be well in the end.

This whole story experiment will be over soon. For those who have stuck with it, I hope you enjoy the conclusion (whenever that finds its way on here).


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Brief Newsletter Interlude

In the midst this letter-writing-extravaganza, I thought I'd throw in my latest IVCF newsletter.

Enjoy the read!

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Letter of Grace: Part Two

Pages three and four (click to enlarge)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Letter of Grace: Part One

As promised, I've completed a part of a new piece of writing that I said I would post here. I'm going to be posting parts of the letter/story here as a serial of sorts. I've got the two first pages here, and will be posting the rest of the story, two pages at a time. Most of it is sitting here in rough draft - though as you will see this effort isn't exactly in finished form.

Enjoy Part One!

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Culture and Grief

I've been grieving for my culture this week for a couple of reasons.

1. I watched a profound film from 1976 called Network. It made me never want to watch television again. It's sad and unnerving to know that a film made 33 years ago speaks so well into today's television-crazed culture.

It's sad when a Jon & Kate plus 8 book is sold in our gospel book stores, and people buy it because they choose into that reality. What good news is this? What truth is this?

2. I saw something on Facebook that I never should have seen, and never ever want to see again. We've all seen dating relationships spark and then fizzle over Facebook, all with the changing of one's relationship status. This week, however, I witnessed the brokenness of a faltering marriage crumble, all in the public forum. My heart broke for both people involved, as it breaks when someone you love suffers. I wanted to delete my account and remove any and all connections with that damned internet-reality because of what it has done to our methods of interaction, communication, and reconciliation. A status update and a comment section have become our marriage counsellors. Mediated communication becomes our main course of communication. I myself have performed the same atrocities of beginning or ending a relationship via an email, rather than person to person.

And yet, despite this chorus of shattering clay pots that I have witnessed, I am meant to be a beacon of restoration, redemption, and renewal for my culture, and so I abide.

Some days are easier than others though.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I've been pounding away on my typewriter over the past couple of days. The back porch seems to be the best place to work thus far - save for the motion-sensor lights that don't sense my movement at the patio table, but I digress.

I'm thinking about posting a letter/story that reminds me of an Augustinian confession. I'm working on the rough draft right now, but once it starts coming together in a polished form I think I'm going to post parts of it on here for everyone's delight and enlightenment on my musings these days.

There's some Augustine. There's some Paul. There's some Dostoevsky.
There's some Toronto. There's some Gros Morne. There's some Napaneee.
There's some mysticism. There's some insight. There's a lot of reflection.

All on typewritten pages!

Keep checking back for more updates.

Finally, a word of congratulations goes out to my friend Andrew, who is a frequent visitor to thedavestonelimited. He became a new father recently! Way to go Andrew, Shary, and newcomer Logan!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


But the whole scene, which had turned so ugly, was stopped in a most unexpected manner. The elder suddenly rose from his place. Alyosha, who had almost completely lost his head from fear for him and for all of them, had just time enough to support his arm. The elder stepped towards Dmitri Fyodorovich and, having come close to him, knelt before him. Alyosha thought for a moment that he had fallen from weakness, but it was something else. Kneeling in front of Dmitri Fyodorovich, the elder bowed down at his feet with a full, distinct, conscious bow, and even touched the floor with his forehead. Alyosha was so amazed that he failed to support him as he got to his feet. A weak smile barely glimmered on his lips.
"Forgive me! Forgive me, all of you!" he said, bowing on all sides to his guests.

I shared this anecdote from Karamazov with a friend of mine the other day. He felt touched by the story of Zosima, who in the face of utter brokenness, humbled himself beyond reason, and shocked everyone. Zosima's heart broke for the ruin that was both present and laid in waiting for his guests. There are many times when I wish I could imitate his humility.

I seriously cannot explain how profound of an experience reading Dostoevsky has been this summer. So much of what he writes hits me on some deep level, and I feel like I either need to apply it, or it's already happening to me. This has only happened on a surface level with Fitzgerald's writings, and on a life changing level with the gospels. Fyodor falls closer to the latter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where have you been all my life? Part 2

Me and some of the 2008 crew!

So after my Newfoundland adventure, I made my way to Ontario Pioneer Camp (OPC).

(Note: you will be asked for a financial gift later on – be prepared)

(Also, I forgot to take pictures, so I can only share stories)

OPC has been a home away from home to me for the past four summers, though this summer was a bit different. Instead of going up in an official capacity, I was helping with the Leaders In Training program in a behind-the-scenes way. I helped set up rooms in the evenings for the interactive “Faithfully Improvising the Christian Story” teaching sessions in the mornings, and helped run audio/video on some mornings (I was working with my new supervisor Nicky who was one of the teachers); I filled in for small group leaders on their days off by sitting in on small group discussions and room groups before the LITs went to bed; I ran a couple sessions on understanding World Religions and a crash course in Church history and our Christian family tree; as well, there were a plethora of errands to do in town, and I often went.

I absolutely love serving the staff and campers of this program, especially because I believe so much in what’s taking place. Teenagers are seeing their understandings of faith stretched and grown as many people give up their summers to care for and mentor them. Many who have never heard of the Kingdom of God get their first glimpse and are transformed. Some LITs began to wonder what it would look like for a divided body of Christ to one day be restored. Others began to see new dreams form around what it means to care for people in their high schools - wondering aloud where their gifts and their communities needs intersect.

An unfortunate tendency amidst the busyness of life is that many dreams that I feel God has laid on my heart get lost in the clutter, so I was excited to see some of my own Kingdom dreams rekindled while at OPC. Some of them are directly tied to Inter-Varsity’s goal of graduating Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders – many of whom I interacted with at LIT. Others were around developing intentional living environments in which life together is celebrated, and the gospel can be lived out amongst those who cherish it and those who have never known it. I’m glad I got a chance to introduce teenagers to faithful improvisers life Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier, and that those introductions were a catalyst for much inside of me.

So here’s where I am after reflecting upon my time at camp:

I was unable to commit to an actual position at camp this summer because my own funding is not fully in place, which would free me up to partner more with camp (I’ve raised well over half of my budget, but was still short). It was sort of a fluke that I was able to go for a week. Though I am incredibly grateful for that week, it was difficult not being able to be around for more time, and though I enjoyed filling in where needed, I really missed being able to connect more with LITs in ways that official roles allow. This is not a sob story. Instead, I feel more dedicated than ever to develop my support base so that I can commit more time to developing kingdom leaders on campus throughout the year, and at camp in the summers. This excites me, especially because this work/calling/vocation/desire is so closely linked with who I feel God has made me to be!

So don’t be surprised if you hear from me in the upcoming weeks and months about partnering with this ministry! Or if this post compels you, you can donate here!

God is good. Oh so good.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where have you been all my life? Part 1

And by that, I mean...

You might be wondering about where I've been recently. July has been a quiet month on the blog front; however, the month has been extremely busy and exciting!

I spent close to a week in Newfoundland at a friend's wedding, and the spent a couple of days travelling around the island. Great province!

I flew in and got my hotel room at 2am on a Friday morning, and within 7 hours was on my way up Gros Morne Mountain. I have now climbed 2 mountains in my life: Grouse Mountain in B.C., and Gros Morne Mountain in Newfoundland. The wedding the next day was fun to film (my weekend occupation), and the week after was filled with tons of sight seeing around the province.

Some of the highlights:

Having the captain of the whale/iceberg sighting ship get scared by the humpback whale that surfaced beside us.

Getting my picture taken with an iceberg that looks like it's flipping the bird.

Exploring my Viking side.

Exploring modes of Viking communication.

Finding the small town where I'm going to hide one day and write my great Canadian novel.

All in all, it was a fantastic-though-brief vacation, and I can only hope I get to go back and explore the province even more some day soon. I flew home to Toronto and was in my home at 10:30pm Wednesday night, started laundry, went to sleep at midnight, woke up at 7am, had a breakfast meeting at 8am, then finished laundry and packed my bags and left for Ontario Pioneer Camp at 10:30am.

Stay tuned for the second part of my update!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fault One: Not Knowing The Official Four Square Rules

Fault two: not liking Four Square...

You're Out!

Alright, seriously, check out this website.  This man featured below is a World Champion.  Four Square is pretty much the greatest sport invented.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take a Break...

...and watch this in full screen mode.

I love birds.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

JCVD (bad dubbing meets art cinema)

When our house signed up for phone/internet/cable recently, we received some free "on demand" rentals - one of which we used last night to watch JCVD. I'm not sure we would have gone out of our way to rent it, but at least with a free rental you can take a risk. I won't lie though, I have not-so-secretly wanted to watch this film since I first saw the trailer, and I heard it got good reviews at TIFF.

So we watched, and to my surprise I only had one major complaint: our on demand provider only offered a dubbed version. I will say this once and for all:

To me, there is nothing I hate more in the cinematic world than a dubbed film. Give me subtitles or give me nothing.

It wasn't the best film I've seen (it wasn't supposed to be), but it was more than expected. When you thought it would be stunts and action, it was quiet introspection on the ugly side of international fame and glory. When you thought it was quiet and morose, it sandwiches you with offbeat and inglorious action. I will give Van Damme credit - he managed to poke fun at his entire canon, spoof himself, and pull off his greatest acting effort in... well... ever.

Amidst the slow moving chaos of the film, Van Damme is elevated above set - out of scene and in front of the camera - and gives a fantastic monologue on all the roads his life has taken, and the different realms of brokenness each led to. He acknowledges that this is a film, and the reason we're watching is because of his former stardom, and his crash and burn. For a moment I thought I was watching Liv Ullman's Alma in Bergman's Vargtimmen - speaking beyond the scope of the camera.

Here's something I never thought I would write: Van Damme was moving and poignant as he spoke about how he became addicted to drugs (because he loved a woman who did them), and how much he's lost to women and multiple marriages (each one took a different part of him). I'll let others decide if he's waxing biographical or hamming it up for the lens.

I think the following people would enjoy this film:
1. Andrew Chambers, Lars Janssen, and Mark Wierzbicki (ol' Central folk).
2. Jeff Biggs
3. Anyone who enjoys film for film's sake.

Here's something else I never thought I would write: a blog post about Jean Claude Van Damme.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wim Wenders on God

"I have been away from God for a large part of my life, so I remember his absence. No, that’s the wrong way to say it. He wasn’t absent, I was. I had gone into exile of my own free will. I meandered through all sorts of philosophies, surrogate enlightenments, adventures of the mind, socialism, existentialism, psychoanalysis (another ersatz religion). Some of these I won’t deny or badmouth. I’m happy to have been there—and back."
Check out his fantastic article on belief here.

Exodus sounds way cooler than "These Are The Names…"

On to book two of the summer challenge: Exodus. Here are some reflections.

Much like many of the scenes in Genesis, I think the whole escape/deliverance from Egypt would make for a spectacular film (Prince of Egypt = watered down for kids; The Ten Commandments = admittedly more of an anti-communist/pro-American agenda than an accurate one). Interacting with all the murdering, slaughtering, and pestilence makes me openly wonder if we get this right by watering it down for children. Should we not let kids read it until they’re older, or tell them what the text is really saying? That will be a conversation I’ll save until I’m a papa I guess.

Alright, so I’m sucked into the story at the beginning because it’s all being masterfully told when lined up with Genesis. Joseph does some great things while in Egypt, but his consolidation of all the land for Pharaoh sets up some power struggles generations later (slavery). It’s bad times for the Hebrews, even though they keep growing and growing and growing in size, like the stars in the sky (cough cough, Abe). By the time they leave, I’m thinking this is some pretty epic story telling.

THEN I get to the laws. The ten commandments serve as a good refresher, but then I start reading into some of the later laws and man I was getting angry, frustrated, and down right irritated. Slaves are still allowed, and have little rights. Women have little rights and are often used as vessels for growing a man’s family/workforce. Gross. Patriarchy is reigning supreme, and it’s unsettling. Once again, does anyone remember the beginning of Genesis? Also, the way the law is dictated, it sometimes seems like the line between God and human commanding gets blurred. It’s unsettling because this stuff is pretty foundational to many people’s beliefs, and I’m not enjoying the read.

BUT, I remind myself, I need to look at these laws through the lens of what the rest of the world was like. In a polytheistic world where innumerable gods means innumerable views of ethics, morality, justice, a law is being set up that – though many parts make 21st century Dave cringe, it probably would have been freeing to Hebrews hearing it. One God is laying it down in ways that show up the other nations and their god-kings.

So while there is slavery still, freedom is granted after six years penalty free. So while there is patriarchy still, a man can’t forsake his wife of old for the next desirable wife he takes on (On this note, while polygamy seems permitted here, there has yet to be an example of a polygamous context that sees healthy relationship [Is there ever?]. One man + one woman = one flesh; one man + many women = hatred, resentment, deceit, jealousy, etc.). So while putting people to death is allowed, a measure of justice is produced that introduces consequences into society. It’s not the ideal, but lets remember that we keep choosing out of the ideal, so this seems to be the band aid solution until something brings the ideal back to the forefront.

Perhaps 21st century B.C.E. Dave would love this law (is it 21st B.C.E.? I don’t know), but I’m uneasy if it remained as is.

If you are an engineer, you might enjoy the final part of book with all the instructions on what to build. For me, it was tedious and undesirable to read. Except the narrative gem in chapter 35 on vision, willingness, and generosity.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. While Moses got the tablets on the mountain, the people made a golden calf (reverting back to their polytheistic ways again), and Moses leads a group of people on a slaughtering purge of the unfaithful. Brothers kill brothers. Lots of blood. Thousands die.

But seriously, things are looking better…

Monday, June 22, 2009

In the beginning, there was Genesis

I've just begun a journey into the depths of Hebrew scriptures today, as I endeavour to read the entire Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/whatever you may want to call it, this summer. Today I started and finished Genesis. I've studied parts of Genesis before, but today's reading was more to soak in the bigger story rather than glean all the intricacies (for that in itself could take an entire summer). Now I'm not going to commit to writing a blog for every book that I read, but I thought today's reading was worthy of reflection for the following reason: Anyone who thinks the bible isn't scandalous is ridiculous, and really should give this a read before you jump to such conclusions. Here were some interesting things I read about that would make the critical theorists cringe, the bible-thumpers ponder, and the puritans blush:

1. The beginning of the story, with multiple creation stories, sets the scene for created intent; a created intent that does not praise patriarchy or male headship, but equality. Yes, I'm saying that the foundation of Judeo-Christian belief is in equality being inherent to a good creation as it is intended to be. It actually seems like a really good setup.
2. God is first introduced as a plurality, made manifest singularly.
3. God promises a lot to people, and very rarely do they believe at first. It usually takes entire life times to fully believe.
4. Murder seems to be everyone's third favourite past time (casualties include Abel; the guy that ticked off Lamech; Hamor, Shechem, and all strong men with them who were recently weakened after being circumcised; Joseph - though this was faked)
5. Deception and trickery seems to be everyone's second favourite past time (everything about Jacob's life; Lot's daughters; all Jacob's son's; Tamar; Joseph's scheme)
6. Sex, sex, and more sex seems to top the priority list - and often not in the best scenarios (familial relationships don't seem to provide boundaries; prostitutes/in-laws/cousins/strangers to town/concubines/servants/multiple wives [oh how they departed from equality quickly]).
7. Similarly, there's a story about a guy who dies because he lets his semen hit the ground rather than fulfill his family duty to conceive with his dead brother's wife.
8. It's amazing how much damage that those two emissaries from God wrought on Sodom and Gomorrah. That would be quite the interesting story to film.
9. Funny how there's a promise for nations to multiply early on, then barrenness sets in for periods and everyone tries to reason their way around it, and lo and behold, the reasoning never works out well and multiplication takes place regardless. Point God...
10. "Reuben... don't you think for a minute that Dad was clueless about you laying with Bilhal. He wasn't impressed then, and he isn't impressed now."

In summary, the story begins with a really really nice setup scene, and then tons and tons of bad sex/violence/deception/conflict enters the picture. And yet, through it all, God still cares for the people, and seems to be trying to teach them something about dependency and belief. I can only imagine how many Christians would be offended with what they saw if a literal interpretation of this was conveyed on film, and how many non-Christians would be intrigued by the story that is far more scandalous and involving than first perceived.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the loose!

Isn't this a nice picture? It's me, in all my academic delight, back in fourth year university with my trusted porcelain dog named Dog. What a good dog Dog is.

Some people might find it odd to have a porcelain dog named Dog. Some might laugh or have disdain toward our camaraderie over the years. Some might even think that his presence where ever I live is the lingering result of childhood sentimentalism, in line with the framed picture of ALF that hangs in my hallway today (and was my first garage sale purchase as a child). This last bunch is the closest to the truth.

There is an interesting story behind Dog's appearance in my life. Dog was not a flea market, garage sale, or Value Village purchase that I've kept by my side as an ongoing, long-winded, joke. No, Dog's origin is far more significant.
Dog came into my life as one of the only remaining memories of my great-grandmother after she died. As awkward and peculiar as Dog might look, Dog is a tie
that links me to the part of my family that came from Waterford, Ontario. Dog may be small and frail, but Dog also has a perma-snarl. If anyone knew my great-grandmother, they'd realize why Dog would be a great link to my fading memories of the small, frail, perma-snarly "Great-Grammy Hyde" before she died.

So why am I telling the story of Dog? Well, the night before I left for a mini-vacation last Saturday morning, someone took Dog. Someone thought Dog needed a vacation. That same someone made a blog about Dog's adventures. I miss Dog, and am eagerly awaiting Dog's return - but in the meantime I will be tracking Dog's moves online.

Please visit, and demand Dog's return!


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Lament of Alyosha

A couple of days ago I finished reading the part in Karamazov where Alyosha's family has shamed him in front of Zosima, and he is in a state of shock, embarrassment, and utter brokenness. Going in frightened, but with the hope that Zosima will help bring peace and resolution to the family, Alyosha silently watches things unravel and we get the sense that he is devasted. While I read this, I was overwhelmed with sadness for his character.

A few days later I found myself in a heated exchange that was less about me than it was about the brokenness that inhabits our world (side note: I'm so very glad that the gospel trumps patriarchy, though the process of that truth being lived out often seems arduous). In the context the discussion took place, so many of the elements and reactions paralleled the Karamazov's descent into futher brokenness, and I ended up finding myself playing Alyosha. Silently I listened to heated words echoing a dining room, and descended lower and lower into the sadness that marked each opinion. I was being attentive (see earlier post), and the story I kept hearing was heartwrenching. The story is steeped in so much pain, and in all honesty, if there was no gospel to cling to then the arduous road would seem pointless. It is at times like these that, though many tune out when I talk of God, or condescendingly balk at my belief in the resurrection of Christ, I am ever greatful for God's love, God's intent, and God's good news - even when it's hard to see.

There are days in which the hope of God and his kingdom is abundant and apparent. There are days where it seems so far off. There are days when Ecclesiastes does not do justice. Then there are days when you read Dostoevsky, and Dostoevsky reads you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Marked by a community.

I had a great time in Hamilton spending time with my church community this weekend! Most of Saturday was spent at a going away party for me and two other friends from the church, and it felt like a fun-filled family reunion of sorts. The youth that I worked with all year were there and playing football in the afternoon (more on that later), while the adults were BBQ'in and conversing over a variety of cold beverages. Rather than go into a whole speech about how great it was to see Christians enjoying each other's company with a glass of wine or a beer in hand, and it not being taboo, I'll say that glimpses of the kingdom of God, in it's glorious fellowship and relationship, were present that day. Then, of course, the evening ended with another glorious event - the Red Wings win 5-0! - but I won't pour too much salt into that wound for Pens fans.

Sunday started by being chauffered to church (there's a reason for this), enjoying a really nice final service with my church family, followed by an afternoon of bocce ball, and a final small group meeting for the young adults in the evening. All in all it was a fantastic way to end my time at St. John's, and I can't say enough how grateful I am for the people I've met, the hospitality I've felt, and the kingdom experiences I've had there. Transitioning from this community will be extremely difficult, but I feel sent in a very supportive way by them.

Okay, now back to that football game. It was an epic game, the reprecussions of which are still being experienced today. Myself, Jeff (the other male youth leader), and the youth girls decided to take on the youth guys in a game of touch football. The guys came out to an early lead, but I was determined not to let that last too long. On one glorious play, I tracked the eyes of their young quarterback and prepared myself to pick off his faux-Hail-Mary pass. The pass was launched. My eyes never left the ball. I beelined it to the side of the endzone, threw my two hands up in the air, and picked off the football before anyone else had the chance. Immediately I experienced the consequences of running without being aware of the ground around, and collided with a large wooden lawn chair (that had acted as a marker of the endzone). Impact number one took my feet out and propelled me forward. Impact number two was when my face collided with large wooden lawn chair number two. At this point the ball fell helplessly from my hands, and many gasps were heard from the field and from the spectators.

"Wow, that really smarts," I thought as I picked myself up. People came looking to see blood and tears, but I wiped myself off and said I was fine, and returned to play. Then Jeff told me I was bleeding from my mouth, so I decided to rinse my mouth out and then return to the game. While inside the house, I noticed a rather large hole inside my lip where my upper canine tooth very obviously punctured. There was a new, loose, inner lip flap that was sore and bleeding a bit, but it didn't bother me. I returned to play, only to find I had been replaced by a father of one of the youth, so I gladly sat out and allowed my sore body to recover, and for my open wound in my mouth to be 'sterilized' with some red wine (always a good choice).

About 30 minutes later, while chatting with Jeff again over some food, he noticed that there was blood underneath my moustache. It is at this point that we discover that not only did my canine tooth take a chunk of my inner lip out, but it in fact went right through my lip upon impact. Yes, my tooth went right through my lip. The exit wound was luckily small, so it scabbed over and no stitches were needed.

About 15 minutes after that, I mentioned that my feet were starting to get sore. I looked down and saw that my right foot was cut up, and my left foot had ballooned into a purple, swelled-up mass. I had honestly not noticed until that point, and immediately felt the mobility of my left foot rapidly decreasing. Much was made of the injury by all around, with various suggestions on how to treat it. I ended up icing the foot for two hours, and then eventually had it taped up. I would say that the flexibility and mobility of the foot was down to 10% without pain.

About 10 minutes after first noticing the foot, we all realized that I also had cut my forehead in the collision, and so now there is also a minor scab on my forehead near the hairline.

But back to the lip. I became freakshow entertainment for all the youth, as they asked to come see the gaping hole inside my mouth. Many pictures were taken, and many disgusted faces were made.

Again to the foot. I ended up being chauffered to my friends home that evening, and after sleeping that night, woke up with my foot feeling much much better. I would say that flexibility and mobility was back up to 40-50% without pain. After church I was even able to spend the afternoon playing bocce ball, followed by walking around downtown Hamilton, followed by helping my new housemate Fil move his old BBQ down two incredibly long and steep flights of stairs to bring back to Toronto that night. Flexibility went up to about 60% by the end of the night. So I took the tape job off and went to bed.

Right now, I am writing from my bed, with a newly tensored foot after waking up in pain. I think I overexerted myself yesterday and am now paying the consequences. Oh well. It makes for a good story, and tangible proof of the way I've been marked by this Hamilton community I've come to care for so much.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

First Night in Toronto!

Here's what happened a couple of nights ago, on my first night in Toronto.

1. Went to the CN Tower for dinner, despite my intense fear of heights.
2. Watched a thunderstorm pass, and then watched the sunset from the top.
3. Had the Mac staff team offer to buy me Lost Season 5 on DVD if I would lay down on the glass floor face down and look for 5 seconds.
4. Unable to follow through on the offer, but was walked backwards on to the floor by Pete.
5. Went home, changed my pants, and watched Detroit win game one of the Stanley Cup.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Last Night in Hamilton!

Here are the highlights of my last official night in Hamilton:
1. Watching the Blue Jays end their losing streak
2. Watching the 2nd half of the great Stallone flick "Cobra"
3. Watching Walter Gretzky on the Hour
4. Drinking lots of water and trying to beat a cold that keeps trying to get the best of me.

I will miss Hamilton.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dreamfast either:
i) the desire to jam as many dreams as possible into a nap.
ii) a morning meal made out of dreams/visions/nightmares, like something from Waking Life.
iii) a disciplined fast of one's dreaming capabilities.

In my case, the third option is the one I'm speaking out of these days. Let me share with you why.

As many people know, I was helping lead an urban partnership in Hamilton last week, in which students spent a week in urban environments hearing and seeing stories of how the kingdom is being lived out in this context. There was an active element to it as we helped serve meals at a drop in, ran a clothing give away, ran after school programs in low-income neighbourhoods, and so forth.

While many of the students were deeply affected by these experiences, for me the most moving moment was hearing a sermon at one of the churches we partnered with. It was the Mother's Day service at this church, but rather than share a message filled with platitudes and exaltations toward the women in our lives, the pastor at this church spoke out of the story of Moses' mother, as she was forced to give up her beloved son. It was a story of pain and brokenness. At the end of the sermon, the pastor asked everyone to pray for mothers who are forced to give up their children, for mothers who take in others' children, and, here's the controversial part, for the Children's Aid Society workers who are often vilified in this community. It was a stunning comment in that community

Afterwards, when chatting with the pastor, he told me he had been crying while prepping the sermon and fighting back tears while speaking, because in that last week there had been a mother in the community who had had her children taken from her for the final time; they were being put up for adoption. This was the wind-knocked-out-of-you-moment of the week for me. What I came to realize is that this man knew his community, and knew them well. In love he stepped down into their pain, and then invited them into something greater, something freeing: forgiveness and love.

I am still unpacking the significance of this interaction, but its applicability became abundantly apparent to me a bit later on. For those who know me, they know I spend the majority of my time dreaming and thinking about big ideas. Unfortunately, I have noticed that because my mind switches into dream-mode at a word's notice, I can often zone out in conversation with someone, and miss out on the experience that is taking place right in front of me. It's rude and offensive to the person who is being vulnerable and open in front of me. What's more unfortunate is that I'm pretty sure this dynamic has shaped the majority of my stay in Hamilton.

Twin this experience with a large measure of anxiety I've had recently in not being able to know what is going to happen next as I move to Toronto. I've found myself dreaming about what it might be like, but this always seems fruitless because those dreams have nothing to root themselves in. I'm not in Toronto yet. The place is still a mystery to me.

So, I've decided to fast from dreaming for a while. I'm going to stop letting my mind run loose, and I'm going to open my ears so I can listen to what's happening in Toronto, what's happening in people's lives, and get to know the city and people who will become a part of my new home. I am going to be attentive. Perhaps when I start to actually know the people and the city, I'll be able to love them in their brokenness, and love them into something greater. I can only hope that others will get to know me and extend the same. Once I know the story, then the dreaming will return, and I hope and believe that those dreams will far surpass the ones I'm laying down.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sermonizing and Reading List

During the short break that I have while doing laundry this week, I thought I'd update.
Here's the scoop thus far for the Urban Partnership:
-great experiences in very different contexts.
-I love Hamilton and all the hope and promise that is hidden only to be revealed (if you go looking for it).
-Heard one of the most moving sermon's of my life on Sunday morning, and I'll most definitely be referencing it as a part of my sermon this upcoming Sunday.

And now for something COMPLETELY different.

Here's my current reading list for the upcoming spring/summer season:
- finish Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
- The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (it's about time)
- The Crack Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald (his notebooks on writing - just picked it up 2 weeks ago!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Unclean! Unclean!

It's midway through the week at city/script, and I'm using a small chunk of time off in the afternoon to write a little update. I have a small chunk of time off because I have gotten really sick over the past day and a half, and I took the afternoon off to rest so I could be ready to teach again tonight. My teaching times have gone really well so far, and I dryly told the group that I was glad I got sick at this point in time because we've just finished studying the part where Jesus heals the leper and the paralytic, so now I know what to do. Both of these stories have come to life in my sickness, as I have openly come to God expressing my desire to be healed, and submitting that "If he wills, I can be clean", and in having the faith of many people take me to Jesus in prayer, expecting him to heal me. Though this may sound completely strange, while I was in the washroom waiting to purge myself of uncleanliness (use your imagination), I had multiple people in the washroom praying for me. Very weird experience, but also very incredible and moving.

So here's where I am now. I never did throw up, though I spent two hours in front of a toilet bowl thinking I would. I've determined that I've got a pretty bad chest cold, with a lot of phlegm in my heavy chest. BUT, as gross as it may sound, things are moving, and the dark heavy stuff is coming out. I think this is incredible because usually it takes days or a week to get to that stuff. My mom always told me once you start getting the dark stuff out, you know you're nearing the end. So perhaps I am getting healed, and prayer is working. Medicine rarely has a strong effect on me, so I'm chalking it up to God's faithfulness to heal that is allowing me to be clear headed right now as I write this. I believe God has been faithful because I went to him believing he could heal me, and I had a pretty rad community of people who felt compelled out of love, and their experience with scripture this week, to lift me up in prayer. Good things are happening.

Alright, tonight we're studying Jesus calming the sea, and the his encounter with Legion. Should be fun! Please pray that I continue to have enough energy to lead the study!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May I Please Have Strength to Get Through May

The blog might be a bit quieter over the next few weeks, for numerous reasons. First off, I'm leaving in roughly 30 minutes for IVCF's annual city/script week long event! This year I get the opportunity to co-teach the first half of the Gospel of Mark, and I'm ridiculously excited to do this. Ever since my first city/script experience, Mark has been one of my favourite, if not the favourite, gospel of choice. Not that the other ones are lesser, but Mark resonates in ways others haven't. This was the place in which I saw parts of my life transformed, and one of the main reasons I am doing what I'm doing today on campuses. It'll be interesting to see how a new bunch of students responds this time around...

Secondly, mere hours after city/script is over, I will be co-leading the first annual Urban Partnership in Hamilton! I'm excited that my final involvement with the McMaster community will be this week long mission. This has been a dream in the works since before I was involved at McMaster, and the growing excitement of how great it would be to get students to apply what their learning in scripture in an urban context is finally coming to fruition.

Thirdly, when I return from the Urban Partnership I will be preaching at my church for most likely the final time before I move to Toronto. I've got my sermon half done (that half being ideas in my head), so there will be a fair amount of work to do once these two weeks are up and I find myself with 24 hours left before I speak.

Fourthly, the Tuesday after I am helping organize a bachelor party for my good friend Dan.

Fifthly, I am in Dan's wedding the following weekend.

Sixthly, I am going to be in Brantford speaking to my old World Religions class in high school.

Now I must run. See you all later on in the month.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Acts 2:45

...and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need...
In trying to align myself with the sharing=caring tendencies of the early church (and because I'm moving out and don't need it anymore), I'm giving away my 20" TV to whoever wants it and is willing to swing by to pick it up before Thursday.

In Peace,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This one makes the list

My friend Deb (at left) wrote recently about a moving experience while listening to a certain song in her car (much like Bob moved me earlier this week). Today, while I was reflecting and writing about all the "love-talk" in 1 John, I was listening to the ol' iPod and found myself moved not only by music I was listening to, but the words I was reading and writing about. I was being bombarded by beauty.

If I compiled a list of some of the most beautiful music in the world, this would be near the top, and I'm really thankful that it came over my headphone speakers this afternoon.

I'm curious to know what songs move other people in the same way.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jesus is an Elephant!

Click here to watch Bart Ehrman vs. Stephen Colbert, Part 2. I always love when Ehrman is on the show, because Colbert always seems to reveal something profound about faith. This time around he sums up the synoptic problem by likening Jesus to an elephant. It's actually quite genius.

I never forget to blog... most of the time.

If you ever get the chance to talk to my friend Chris, your conversation will very likely involve one of the following:
a) discussion on the desert fathers
b) discussion of Trey Anastasio or Bob Dylan
c) news reports from his side of the kingdom

I always enjoy a good chat with Chris, and this past summer I remember one particular conversation in which he shared with me the awesomeness that was Bob Dylan's "Most Of The Time". I listened to what Chris had to say, thought, "Ok Chris, I believe you that the song is probably very good", and unfortunately never checked it out myself.

That all changed yesterday. While listening to CBC Radio 2 in the car, Most Of The Time came on, and soundtracked my slow drive down King St. W. It was awesome. I shared my experience with Chris, and his emailed response was like so:

..."Most of the Time" is an amazing song. I love how he makes all those absolute statements, and then admits at the end of each string, that they are only true most of the time....
This is some fan made video on youtube. The video is lame, so I suggest pressing play, and then minimizing the window so you can just listen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This thing is a tapestry; a work of art.

I've been trying unsuccessfully to put some thoughts into words right now, and it's not going well. I can't find the right way to word it, so I'll just try to organize my verbal vomit here:

-I went to the church of my childhood this morning. It was a strangely foreign and familiar place to me.
-I'm so used to 15 minute homilies that the 7 point sermon using 6 different translations was a little hard to swallow.
-I really love that the body of Christ NEEDS crazy charismatics, timid liturgy lovers, devout monks and nuns, and people who struggle to actually believe in Christ in order to actually exist.
-I get a little frustrated when people quit church because of all its problems. There are lots and lots of problems, and lots and lots of idiots, but shouldn't we embrace the Emilio-Estevez-in-mighty-ducks-mantra, "quitters never win, winners never quit"? Also, it's good to remember that we're often the problem and we're also often the idiots.

-I think the body of Christ is like a giant tapestry or mural with all it's contributing parts. With out all the elements in use it fails as a piece of art. Think Sistine Chapel, but with half of it whitewashed.
-Too many people view church as a commodity that can be consumed. "I try to go somewhere where I can be fed." Grow up, grow a pair, and get involved. It is sad how much I feel like I resemble a grade 9 guidance counsellor here (No offence Mr. O'Connor - you were wise beyond your years).
-This body of Christ we get to be a part of is mighty interesting. Thinking of death and resurrection this weekend makes me wonder what the resurrected body will look like. Fascinating.
-Finally, we're so bogged down by bad news these days that we don't know how to receive good news. Sure resurrection sounds far fetched, but it's good news. Is it not the least bit weird that we'd rather not believe in some good news like the resurrection than accept it as the gift that it is?