Sunday, May 30, 2010

things i heard during worship today

it was Trinity Sunday and our homily spoke of mystery. i don't understand the Trinity and i'm ok with the mystery that is.

my heart soared during a couple of the songs.

We are on the rock, the rock at last.
We are on the rock at last.
Our souls have found a resting place.
We are on the rock at last.

and after the homily we heard

Behold what you are
Become what you receive
Take up the bread and wine
Embrace the mystery

go to this link, and listen to a sample of "Embrace the Mystery" on the left of the link.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

grace flows

i live in a gentrified community. every house in my section of the city is close to 100 years old (my house was built in 1907 or something) and we have elm trees every 50 feet down every street in every direction across this city. if you were to go to a high vantage point in Winnipeg and you looked down at the city, you would mostly see green. trees outnumber the houses and they dwarf them too.

trees mean debris when its windy (like it was earlier this week) and debris means clogged sewer drains when its rainy (like it was over the last 2 days). i woke this morning to find a lake across the street in front of my house, and it even encroached over the curb so that part of the front yard and all of the sidewalk was under water.

in the spring i have to go out and make sure that the sewer drain in front of my house is clear of ice and snow so that everything that melts can get down the drain. that way the laundry room in my basement doesn't flood from water backing up on the street, the sidewalk and the front yard. when there's debris in front of the sewer i have to guard against this very same thing.

i got a soaker this morning as i waded out (ok, i only got my shoes wet) to release the debris that would've made my yard a bayou. if i had gone right up to the sewer drain i would've been up to my knees in elm seeds, twigs, leaves, mud and ugly brown water ... so i grabbed a stick and i got my feet wet as i stood at arm's length and dug to release the blockage.

i tell you all this because of the wave of joy as i heard and saw the blockage release and water WHOOOOSHED down into the sewer drain. it made me feel joyful to be rid of what held me back. it was a moment of grace and all the crud of my life whooshed away to leave what i needed for my life.

Grace is real. Grace flows. Grace washes things clean and makes things new again. the crud of life washes out and i am made clean.

redemption is a story. my story. and my story is one of needed grace. grace that flows.

Friday, May 28, 2010

i blame Brian McLaren ... and i kind of credit him too

i've come a long way baby.

i'm a child of an evangelical circle, a fundamentalist mindset ... but i'm seeing things less and less the same way as time goes along.
what is the gospel? for all my life it has been about believing so that i can go to heaven when i die but more and more it's becoming about a redemptive story that plays itself out daily as i take part in the Kingdom story of God. Jesus preached a gospel that the Kingdom was near, not the Kingdom is your reward when you die and i'm still processing my need to be saved ... daily.

the Kingdom is at hand. God help us to live out peace and justice. God help me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.

yes i am saved, don't hear me wrongly but i'm also BEING saved everyday.


h/t to Weary Pilgrim

Brian McLaren is the bald older guy with glasses in that video. he's just a guy that's helping me understand my own faith journey. i blame him for engaging me in conversation and i also credit him for helping me in the conversation. thank you brother.

World Cup's coming!

i just saw this and was blown away!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

i took Wendy to the Hospital

it's heart wrenching. i'm an introvert but in general my life goes in the crapper when Wendy's not around. so far i'm ok but i'm anxious and worried for my love.

i've taken her to the hospital in the past. it tears me apart. i can't stand the place. years ago she had a cyst on an ovary and i sat alongside while she writhed. there were times where the depression was too much to bear, times where the pain from migraines required her to seek relief from pharmaceutical solutions you could only get while admitted to the hospital.

then there's this time. this issue. this isn't the first time that this issue has caused problems for her.

Wendy has struggled with chronic pain for most of the time that i've known her ... 20 years or so now. one of the treatments to deal with this has been to exercise. exercise will release endorphins and that'll help with her pain issues. Wendy is compulsive, strong, honest and when she commits to something she's all in.

so Wendy exercised. a lot.

i know you have a picture of what a lot is but let me tell you, you're not thinking of enough of "a lot". so the treatment for chronic pain caused a lot of exercise, that wrought havoc on the size of my love's body and that in turn triggered an old eating disorder.

so now she's in the hospital to treat an eating disorder.

i love her. i trust her. i believe in her. i support her best i know how.

i also have not got a clue how to help.

Better than a Hallelujah

i've been here before ...

i'm here again.

this is ok here, because i'm heard.

Monday, May 24, 2010

what am i supposed to watch now?

seriously. i don't know.

LOST finale ran on Sunday night and then 24 closed its doors on Monday night. they already cancelled Heroes.

what am i supposed to watch now? i doubt that Wendy is going to let me watch the baseball game or the hockey game on every night of the week.


what a ride though. both series had fantastic finales. i particularly enjoyed Jack Bauer and 24 but i've been much more invested in that show.

i doubt that i'll be able to stand it to read more, this is SHALLOWfrozenwater after all.

so i ask you again, what am i supposed to watch now?

Friday, May 21, 2010

immigration, profiling, 9/11 and families that don't see eye to eye

you will find below a forwarded email sent to me by a family member. it really riled me up and i reacted pretty strongly to it. i replied back to my family member and explained as best i could the problems i had with the mindset laid out below and i hope to continue to have a good relationship with this person. they're family so they kinda HAVE to continue to love me, even if we disagree on this one.
i've italicized the forwarded email and i'll go back to my font with my own response later.


This pilot 'hit the nail' right on the head in his open letter.

The paper stated that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane

The following is a letter from a pilot. This well spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully....

Read, absorb and pass this on.

'YOU WORRY ME!' By American Airlines Pilot - Captain John Maniscalco
I've been trying to say this since 911, but you worry me. I wish you didn't. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don't blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me.

I notice you because I can't help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don't fully understand their grievances and hate, but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks.

On September 11, ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children's mothers.
The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world. So, I notice you now. I don't want to be worried. I don't want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that has destroyed the soul of these terrorists But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist.

How do I differentiate between the true Arab/Muslim Americans and the Arab/Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?

The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me.
I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know, whether or not you love America. Do you pledge allegiance to its flag? Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation, that He will protect and prosper it? Or do you pray that Allah with destroy it in one of your Jihad's? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by also paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America ? If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME now about it.

Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America. Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy. I am only interested in action. What will you do for America - our great country - at this time of crisis, at this time of war?

I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting 'Allah Bless America ' I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole.

The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize right now in Muslim communities. You know them.
You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals.

The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing 'leaders' like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat.

If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people, then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good, and pure, and true, when your 'leaders' are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance? It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if huge numbers of the world's Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam.

We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world. I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family.
I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American. But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance, and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand. Until then.


Canadians should agree with this sentiment and forget all about the 'political correctness' mandate we've had rammed down our throats, and see if this doesn't ring true in your heart and mind. For Canada, with all the multiculturism we've been told is so important....why should we not, as Canadians, expect that the millions of new people immigrating to our country will show their love for our country, their allegiance to our country, their willingness to obey the laws of our country, and acceptance that we are a Christian country? Just because they are able to enjoy exercising their own religion, they should not expect us to be ashamed of ours. They knew Canada was a Christian country when they came here. Why are we erasing Christianity because immigrants who are unwilling to adopt our way of life expect us to? There is just too much insanity in the world, and we have to start taking a stand.

I hope you will forward, so others will feel they are not alone if they are starting to feel the same.

i read this and then decided that to be silent would only give assent to a perspective that i don't agree with. here's what i sent to my family member in response to this email and the request to forward it on to others.

I won't be passing this along. I reacted pretty strongly to these statements because it was full of assumptions that many don't hold to. I'm not protecting terrorists, I just want peace.
This TALKS of peace but it only talks about peace on their terms. He talks about protecting innocent lives but how many innocent lives have been torn apart in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan as the West tries to support foreign policies whose only goals are their own interests.
Wars start and continue as a convenient reaction to 911 but really the reasons appear to be insular, xenophobic and ethnocentric. The USA goes into Iraq to find WMD's that never existed and then it became about removing a dictator. If that were the case why refuse to follow the direction of the UN at every turn? Do Americans really believe that they cannot and will not take direction from a world body whose only job is to do exactly what they claim they want to do? What agenda is being followed because the US needs to be a global cop?
I understand that people are worried. They don't want 911 to happen ever again. I get that, and I don't want it to happen again either. How does profiling and harassment ensure this? Do people realize the atrocities that people need to live through everyday in the West Bank? Does having your home bulldozed because your neighbourhood was annexed to Israel qualify as an atrocity? I say it does. How about being told to move out of your family home because you are a Muslim so that another family can take over your life? This happens every day in some parts of the Middle East. I'm not trying to sound anti-Semite here either. I just want peace.
When a person emigrates they do have swear oaths of allegiances. Many Muslims have troubles with this idea, like many Christians do too, because swearing an oath is sinful in several religions. That's one reason why affirming is provided as an option so that many people can conscienably align themselves with their new adoptive land.
It's things like this that just stirs up the waters and we end up with more xenophobic opinion like the stuff coming out of Arizona and Alabama recently. Please don't also say that I'm all for opening up borders so that anyone can get in but we do live in privelege and I'd actually prefer that immigration be MORE of an option in the West as we endeavour to help more and more people with zero options in their present situation.
All I'm trying to say is that we CANNOT be so insular. We CANNOT be so untrusting and we CANNOT survive in a world where we question the motives of anyone who looks differently than we do.
One day the tables may turn and we may not be in a position of privelege like we have seen in the West for the last couple centuries. If the tables do turn then I don't see many on the global scene coming to our aid.
I'm sorry if I have offended you in any way with this diatribe but that's just some of what I think and feel at this moment.

I do love you, even if we don't agree on this one.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

they cancelled Heroes

they're primed for a movie as a sequel but nevertheless, i'm bummed.

Lost will be done in a matter of days too.

24 only has a movie coming out and then it's done also.

what's going on here?

Monday, May 17, 2010

if you really knew me

this kid's half my age and already twice as self aware

h/t to Man of Depravity

wait through the end of the credits

i went and saw Iron Man 2 yesterday and i quite enjoyed it. buddy Bob liked it more than the first one but i'm not sure i'd go as far as to say that. as much as i like Don Cheadle i just don't think they made use of a guy with his acting chops the way they could've. Mickey Roarke made for an excellent bad guy too and Sam Rockwell brings his money hungry, slightly nerdy bad guy approach to another blockbuster (you may recall him as a bad guy in one of the Charlie's Angels movies and i think that may be his niche). Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow are just plain beautiful women that are given great parts where they get to show that women can be beautiful and strong. very cool.

the credits rolled and the place emptied. BIG MISTAKE.

i first remember a clip at the end of the credits after Ferris Bueller's Day Off. everthing went silent and then Ferris comes on the screen to look at you and say "what? you're still here? it's over. go home." that was a great little kick in the pants back in the day.

will people never learn? more and more movies are providing clips and foreshadowing of future flicks at the end of their credits. at the end of this one they focused on a crater in New Mexico where they found what looked like it might be Thor's Hammer. how's that for a spoiler?

the MARVEL franchise is going on strong. i love me my MARVEL.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

baseball and stress levels

my stress levels have gotten too high of late. i actually called my umpire assignor and asked to be moved down to lower levels of baseball so that i had less people griping at me over every decision. when you're an amateur umpire you have 50% of the people around you mad at you every 15 seconds. that's a reality. i asked for no games with 18 yr olds or older because they're more likely to be too smart-mouthed for my taste. now i just have to adjust to the parents and coaches who regularly forget that they're adults and behave too badly in public.

i'm very much ok with that decision. Wendy understood why i was doing it. my buddy Tom checked with me to be sure i was ok after i made that decision too. he's a good man.

so last night i was moved to a game of 12 yr olds. man those guys are short. an umpire has to squat 200 times in a 2 hr span and these old knees don't like how much squatting is required so that i see a strike zone for a 4 foot something kid. no worries though, i prefer this actually.

we'll have our seed group meeting tonight, that'll be good. generally i try to be out for baseball every night i can get a game with the exception of Wednesday nights so that i can go to seed group or member's meetings at our community. the baseball season is short so i only have to be busy with baseball into July (if i include playoffs). anyway, tonight should be a nice night off.

Wendy has been taking it easy on me. she sees my anxiety with parts of my life and she has been noticeably trying not to burden me with stuff. when i think of the fact that she's had to deal with migraine crap, mood stuff, diet stuff, and life stuff on top of the fact that her husband can be a bit of a basketcase sometimes then i'm all that much more grateful that i have her and that she finds her way to loving me like she does. i was at a ballgame til 10pm last night and wasn't able to do the dishes. Wendy didn't say boo about it though (the dishes are MY job) and didn't mention how that must've inconvenienced her a great deal. i'll make sure to get that done tonight hon.

believe it or not, baseball is good for me. it pushes my buttons and stretches my boundaries. stress ain't fun though. i'm just glad that i'm loved and that i can do the things i love to do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

a 12 yr old with Asperger's interviews his mom

my nephew has Asperger's and i can just hear conversations like this one happening in my sister's house. i love you Alex (i also love the rest of the fam but this isn't about them).

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

h/t to 22 words

i love you Mom

i have a ballgame this afternoon and you're already at church by now so maybe i'll be able to call this evening.

at any rate, Happy Mom's Day and i love you muchly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Luther on music

"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits... A person who gives this some though, and does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses.."

-Martin Luther.

h/t to holy heteroclete

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Middle Ages Tech Support

nothing like a little chuckle to lighten the day

h/t to holy heteroclete

flooding in Nashville

there are 24 dead in Nashville after record rains flooded the river into the streets and neighbourhoods around it. why aren't we hearing more about this?

i found some pics that you can check out.

i live in a flood plain and i worked as an emergency social worker during our last flood a couple years back (really all i did was sit at a table and cut cheques so that people with no other option got some short term help) but it's still awful to see stuff like this.

go check out those pics.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

what i love about TV

yes it's true, i love tv. probably too much. i'm not about to leave my wife to cozy up to a large screen plasma or something but sometimes i do think that she's going to chuck this whole marriage thing because i get totally absorbed in the life of Jack Bauer or Shawn Marcum's curveball.

so let me break down the things that i like for you.

1) Heroes. this show absolutely OWNED for the first season that it was on. it then went a bit downhill for a couple seasons but i still didnt give up hope that it would continue to rock my world. i have a deep ingrained desire to be a hero and i have thought in the past how cool it would be to have a superpower ... and not any of those lame superpowers like the Spleen or the Shoveller from Mystery Men either. Peter Petrelli and Hiro Nakamura are fab and it's even looking like Sylar is turning a corner toward becoming someone that could actually be liked.

2) 24. i've watched from the beginning and i've managed to ignore some of the inconsistencies in the storyline so that i could just enjoy some angst for awhile. President David Palmer has got to have been my favourite character (outside of Jack that is) although i suspect that there's a storyline that is going to flow out of the Freddie Prinze Jr character (Cole) before all's said and done.

3) sports. you either love it or you hate it. count me amongst the lovers and count my wife amongst the haters (that's ok, i still love you honey). Wendy doesn't even like the SOUND of a game going on and if we're both watching tv then we're going to be watching something we can both enjoy (i figure that's a fair argument). unfortunately that means that i can watch less sports than i want to but also when i get the opportunity ... i'm watching the game.

4) The Mentalist. Wendy says Patrick Jane is so dreamy (yes she actually has said that). it's a good thing that i know she loves me. at any rate, that character is really lovable. really lovable. ok, i'll admit that i've thought Patrick Jane is dreamy too.

5) Dr Who. the best science fiction franchise EVER. it's been running for decades and still going strong. i miss the Space channel and i know that they air it. we dropped to basic cable so that we could sponsor another child at World Vision so there's no way to justify taking food out of Mohammed's mouth so that i can watch the Doctor run. i'll figure another way.


h/t to Of Wool and Water

7) Saturday morning cartoons. it's true that i have no kids but still, i regularly find myself up early on a Saturday morning so i can watch sports hi-lites and then tune into some toons. i used to be hooked on Yu-Gi-Oh (yes it's true and Wendy mocked me mercilessly) but i've moved on to other things. no it doesn't matter that you think it's lame, i'm still doing it.

8) How I Met Your Mother. it's just LEGEND .... wait for it ... DARY!

9) Big Bang Theory. let's play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock. Sheldon Cooper will geek your world.

10) The Top Ten List on Letterman. it's usually on as i doze off at night (Wendy puts it on snooze so that the tube's not on all night) but i also usually can't knock off until i've groaned along with the list.

Monday, May 3, 2010

time out for an apology

i remember mocking my little sis when i was much younger because she liked country music. as i grow older i realize there's a lot more reality mixed in there then the typical ooo-baby-baby music you hear in pop. i still prefer the new country style to the old time twang but nevertheless, Tammy you were right. i'm sorry for mocking you.

i particularly like Paul Brandt, Terri Clarke, and a good deal of country bands. oh well, on to other things.

there's just so much pain out there

if you've read this blog for long you know that i'm a welfare worker ... so i guess i see my own share of pain. it's stressful. pain goes deep.

Christian marriages bust apart in messy ways.
mental health issues lock people into their own worries and worlds.
a child dies.
a longtime friend is sick far beyond what TLC can cure.
people go into the hospital and its not known when or if they'll come out.
a young single mother gets robbed of her groceries and cash coming home to 2 hungry kids.

some of those things are actually happening around me right now. so much pain and so much powerlessness other than to comfort and pray.

someone said to one i love recently, "thank you for loving me just the way i am". that is pure gold. i sat in a party this weekend making small talk about music and life while others were going deep into relationship just by asking "How are you?" and then paying attention for a real answer. it's tough to engage like that. it's tough to live honestly and openly and to allow others the space they need to choose to do the same.
i suspect we all hide our pain and it only comes out best in open relationship.

i once had a Bible college prof say that he had stopped asking people how they were, because in a community setting like a Bible College campus people actually told him how they were. he was finding he didn't have time to hear the answer. that's just sad don't you think?

give words to your pain and show your wounds to those you love around you. part of healing is asking for the support of those who are your support.

Thank you for loving me just the way i am.