Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Breathe

i've had periods of time where i've struggled with an anxiety disorder. i once went through a period of time where i was off work for a couple months and i hid in my basement waiting for life to get light outside. those were dark times but i got some help and i was loved back into life.

this is exactly what i mean. i loved this.

bless you on your journey Laura.
this is community. this is family. this is the church. this is what i mean.

via Randall Friesen

Monday, April 26, 2010

things i heard during worship

i had a great seat, i was doing sound so i got to control the volume. i was also partially responsible for the feedback that happened at the end of the service though.

Marcus led worship. i love that guy. he's so ecumenical and so inclusive. i heard someone say how much they'll miss his wife when the move to the farm community they've started but i personally will mis Marcus a ton.

"We do not own God, rather if we look at today's gospel reading we see that it's actually the opposite that is true. I'm pleased to see in the missal for the prayers of the people that we pray for all believers of all faiths."

The Gospel reading is taken from John Chapter 10.

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

how often we are adament that we are in control, that we know how things are, that we are right and everyone else is wrong. this much i do know, the Good Shepherd owns this sheep and i know his voice.
who am i to say that you're not hearing that same voice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

we ask the wrong questions

i've just finished reading "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren. he wrote it over a decade ago and in fact his most recent book is "A New Kind of Christianity" is next on my reading hit list. i think it has affected me profoundly already, particularly regarding the discussion we've been having in our church community regarding communion and the place of the other within the Christian church. if you want to read more about this then go ahead and read this.

i got into a brief discussion last night about the issue of communion as i walked with 2 beautiful women of God on our way home from a meeting. we discussed our recent communion discussion in our community and i quickly came to realize that i stood at a polar opposite position from one of these 2 women. she stated that we should remain true to the idea that communion is linked directly to baptism in our community because she believes they are linked. she stated that Jesus shared the communion circle with those who were closest to him for a reason and communion should be reserved for believers. she went so far as to say that we should create a new ritual involving everyone during worship and then we should return the eucharist celebration to our member's only gatherings.

i couldn't disagree more. i resisted the urge to argue because that is not the spirit that i want to portray in our community discussion since we work within a consensus model. instead, i listened but still, i disagreed with her position.

why is it that we concern ourselves with who's in and who's out? why ask the question? why wonder where a person stands in their relationship with Christ? is that any of our business? we don't decide in any way where a person's soul ends up so what's the point of putting all of these parameters on people in order to cubbyhole them as People of God or seeker or sinner or all of the above. by the way, the answer to the question, regardless of who is being cubbyholed is "ALL OF THE ABOVE". i don't care if it's a bishop or a prostitute standing in front of me asking for the grace of Christ present in communion. here my friend, have some grace. be at peace, be loved by Christ.

i won't ask; where do you stand brother? what's your relationship with Jesus sister? have you declared yourself as a disciple?

by asking for the elements you take a step of faith. by taking part you declare and if you're only looking for a piece of bread because you're hungry, then that's what you'll get. if you're looking for more ... because your spirit hungers ... then that's what you'll get.

so what of the connection to baptism? well, who connected it to baptism? the church did. not Jesus. i'm not saying there's anything wrong with that but if it causes someone to stumble in their attempt to get to God then i say get it out of the way.

what about the fact that Jesus shared the first eucharist with his friends? well, he also shared it with Judas so how do we exclude the stranger?

the more i think about the ministry of Jesus the more i see the importance of the relationship with the other, the seeker. Jesus pushed the boundaries of what was accepted for the sake of relationship. he continually played the role of the Good Shepherd and he left the 99 so that he could go out and find the 1 that was lost. he knocked down spiritual walls so that he could reach out and offer grace.

that's what i want to be doing too.

so you see, we ask the wrong questions. we're locked in our little cubbyhole and we can't see that grace should be available to all as they act in faith. the eucharist can be transforming if we let it so the questions we should be asking are no questions at all. the step of faith required is in the asking for the elements. i don't need to know where a person is on their spiritual journey, i only need to offer grace as it is present in the elements. let that act change lives instead of trying to force our cubbyhole on lives.

be blessed my friends. because you are.

Friday, April 16, 2010

my life right now

i'm batching it right now ... and i'm a lousy cook. i eat so poorly when Wendy's not around, i haven't had lettuce in a week and so far it has been pizza and hot dogs for suppers since i've walked in the door from my vacation.

vacation was wonderful. Victoria is insanely beautiful and hanging out there with Wendy, her sis and sis's fiance was a lot of fun. i went golfing like 8 times and didn't have to use my driver much since i have the worst slice since the invention of pie.

i tried to call Wendy last night and i kept getting an auto message that the call couldn't go through because the cell phone wasn't turned on. i actually didn't know i was calling sis's cell but apparently i was. i then called a number that i found listed on one of the plethora of address books we have laying around the house and i got this conversation.


Hey, hi B*****, how's it going?

Fine. Who's this?

It's Ian.


Is this B***** A*****?

Uh no actually, it's B***** A*********. You have the wrong number.

Wow, ok. Sorry about that B*****.

No worries mate.

interesting that i had a wrong number but i had the right name on the other end eh? i emailed Wendy and asked her to call me since apparently i don't have her sis's phone number. but hey, apparently i've made a new friend.

i spent every free moment at work with my headphones on listening to David Francey music. i'm learning a couple Francey tunes on the guitar and i'm really enjoying it overall. the link above actually talks about a different tune than the one he sings (and i'm learning). he plays it a lot faster than i do but it's still fun.

i got home from work and the entire house smelled like dog ... which makes sense because we have a dog living there. she was cute and really excited when i got home from vacation and we both hugged when i got home (well ok, i hugged her tightly). anyway, the place smelled like dog so i opened up the doors, created a bit of a crosswind and attempted to air the place out a bit. it was a balmy day in the teens (Celsius for my American readers) but it was a bit windy. Maddie (that's the dog) had spent a half hour playing with the neighbour dog in the backyard and she had even managed to steal a bone from the neighbour pup and munched on that for awhile, she was in her glory. again, so i aired the place out and the pup was happy after playing and munching so i sat in the living room with the guiar and played and sang.

it was a LOT of fun. i mean a LOT of fun. my fingers ache today but it's all related to spending a day listening to music so much that i wanted to play my own. i'm still not monstrous with the guitar by any means but it's to a place that i have fun as i play the few tunes that i have music for that i can actually get through. i'm still a bit giddy by how much fun that was.

then of course the hockey playoffs are on so i had to spend some time on that. there was also some sweeping up to do and i had to choke down my own cooking before an early night.

i miss Wendy but ... life is good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

just for fun

a mashup of 2 of my fave tunes, courtesy of John Mayer and U2. enjoy, i know i did.

h/t to The Thinklings

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wendy's Words of Wisdom

"one of the things i really love about you is that you make me laugh ... and sometimes it's not even AT you."

Wendy's still on vacation and i'm "batching" it at home since i had to return to work. i miss her ... she's worth my time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the Internet Monk has passed to better things

he's one of my links and i have ongoing interest in things that have occurred at Internet Monk so i'm sorry to advise of his passing. i never met the man but he spoke long and hard to many many people who needed it. he passed away at home amongst his family after a struggle with an illness.

blessings on your journey.

Michael Spencer 1956-2010

this isn't the valley i'm used to

i grew up on the St. Lawrence Seaway so i've been around water all my life. i used to see black squirrels in the park in the Ottawa Valley all the time and now that i've moved from there i NEVER see a black squirrel. i see red and grey squirrels everywhere but whatever happened to black squirrels anyway?
that's not the reason i'm writing today. i'm writing about seagulls. they're rats with wings, they're scavengers that can be pretty annoying. they're pretty much pigeons that hang out by the water instead of tall buildings in downtown Winnipeg. i've seen more than my share of seagulls in my time.

i think i just saw Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

this was the grandfather of all seagulls. they grow they BIG out here on the Pacific. this bird was the size of a Swan instead of the normal pigeon like size that i'm acquainted with.

that's all i have to say.

oh wait, i also saw 2 bald eagles and 4 seals. pretty cool eh?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

a Tennabrae Good Friday of sorts

it was Good Friday and i had done nothing to take notice of that fact all day. i'm not home so all of my usual paths in my life to do the things i need and want to do were not available to me. normally my Good Friday schedule would mean that i take part in the Prayer Vigil early in the morning then i'd go to the Good Friday service. i'd then spend my day with Wendy, it'd be quiet and somber most likely.

but i'm not at home on this Good Friday.

i decided that i'd go meet with Al and Ron and check out the stuff that they do. i was introduced to a program they take part in every Friday called CARTS and you can see a little info about it here and here. it was freaking amazing!

i never shook the feeling that Jesus came here to serve as i stood in the rain and watched as these new friends gave out sandwiches, hot chocolate, easter eggs, a banana, pastry, and bottles of water before they started to hand out socks, blankets, a sleeping bag, underwear, dog food to the guy with his rottweiler on a chain next to his shopping cart. i was blown away. it's hard to be warm in the rain and i was just spending an hour out there before i returned to a change of clothes, a hot meal and my comfortable life. i never shook the metaphor in my head that Jesus came here to serve as he wrapped a towel around himself and he bent down to wash the feet of those around him. then he took that further and he broke bread and further to lay down his own life for those who would follow him. Jesus came to serve and i thought long and hard about how i really should be doing more of this stuff from day to day. we all serve in our own ways but there was something very tangible about handing a pair of warm wool socks to a woman who may have to sleep in a doorway tonight or a sleeping bag or rain poncho to a guy walking the streets with his shopping cart and the treasures of his life that he can find from day to day.

i'm thankful to Al and Ron for helping to open up this door to their lives. it was also nice to meet Lynn, Bob, Sister Janice, and Sam (i hope i got all the names right). may the blessings of Christ truly be present to them all as they serve in their own Tennabrae version of service. grace, peace and hope to you my friends and more importantly may the people you serve be blessed and see the hands of Christ as you hand them a sandwich.