Thursday, May 31, 2007

Not soon enough...

I'm wandering through cyberspace and discover that there will be a CD and DVD release of the Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds show from Radio City Music Hall back on Sunday, April 22, 2007.

The last CD these two released was Live at Luther College and it was what officially got me hooked on all things Dave Matthews. This will be good.

Now if only I could see these two live.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Visit Emergence 2007 online

I'm the kind of guy who goes to movies by himself. And no, it's not because I have no friends. But I've been known to sit in the odd movie theater by myself from time to time. And you know's not that bad. It's not like you go to a movie to talk anyways.

But one of the things I've never been good at is doing things on my own. I'm not even attending a youth worker appreciation lunch tomorrow because I don't really know anyone that'll be there. And that's a lame excuse because I have met a few people...anyways, back to the topic.

On Friday I head to Seattle by myself for a day. I'm attending Emergence 2007 which is a conversation about the emerging church. After my wife declined due to childcare issues I tried to arm twist a few people into joining me (actually it was only one, but I don't want that one person to feel bad). But I've now settled on being alone with my thoughts...yeah...scary stuff.

But I'm contemplating taking my dork factor to another factor as I consider purchasing tickets for a Saturday evening concert (bonus points if you can guess who and where). I guess I should probably say "a ticket". Singular. Solitary. Uno.

A concert alone? Is that normal? I am trying to tell myself it's just like going to a movie alone but I don't know if I'm even buying that line of thought.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Funny kid...

My kids have been known to occasionally crack me up. The latest situation saw me driving my son to school after lunch today. I turned on the radio and opted for 89.9FM (The Effect) which is a station that plays "alternative Christian music" (let's try to avoid the conversation on how exactly a music can gain its salvation for another day).

I haven't listened to the station in a while but I guess Monday at noon they play "The Way of the Master" radio program. My common sense cut out and a I left it on for the drive because it's kind of like watching a train wreck. Either way, I'll save my commentary on their specific manner of evangelism for now but if you'd like to see them in action, just do a YouTube search for "way of the master".

Anyways, back to the son listened for a bit and we made some small talk before this came out of his mouth:

"Hey know the guy who is talking? He sounds just like Pa Grape."

Yeah...funny kid. I'll take credit for that.


I doubt that my writing about Shane Claiborne or just quoting portions of his book will be all that inspiring or life-transforming for you, so on this one you'll just have to go out buy the book.

As you read you'll probably be scratching your head while you contemplate selling everything you own and moving out of North America. And yes you'll more than likely be wondering what would happen if we all started living like this...but it'll be a fun little conversation going on inside your head. And that alone is worth the $17.99 CAN.

I'll include some of the random thoughts and reactions I had while thumbing through the pages.
  • "So...are you a hippie, or what?"
  • "Huh?!?!"
  • "Mother Teresa was a smart lady."
  • "You're an idiot."
  • "I'm an idiot."
  • "____________ is an idiot."
  • "Where's my Calcutta?"
  • "What little thing can I do with great love?"
  • "Is this dream even practical?"
I could say more, but it would ruin the book. And it would take me more time to craft the words and I'm not feeling eloquent today.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy birthday...

1977 was a good year, but I'm biased on 2 levels. Today is the 30th birthday of Star Wars. In honour of that, here's a tribute.

Dorkville Population: 1 (that's me!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ritual lament...

Philip Yancey described "ritual lament" at a past NYWC. It's stuck as a bit of a coin phrase in our household. And it's the only phrase that describes my head space for the past week (or maybe weeks). I'm not sure what's going if anyone has a clinical psychology degree, I'd more than welcome your opinions and suggestions.

Until then I'll keep on putting one foot in front of the other while I try to be honest with those closest to me and those random people that read this blog.

Maybe this I'll just blame this all on United losing to Chelsea last Saturday.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Relevant Church...

This book was a collection of short essays written by pastors about what they were doing to create environments where people can passionately pursue Jesus and live out their faith in the midst of others.

If you're familiar with any of the individuals who contributed to the book you will constantly feel like it was all taking place 3-4 years ago. Nonetheless it does a good job of showing a multitude of different ways that church can be lived out.
While I'd like to say "I'd go to some of these churches", I know there is something seriously wrong with that statement. But I think you get the point.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


"We need to stop inviting people to Christian events as our only form of outreach."
(Dustin Bagby, The Relevant Church)

How many times do we see this in churches? We put on an event. We tell everyone to invite their friends. We call it outreach. It begs me to ask, what have we even done to reach out?

I think outreach takes a risk. I think it requires us putting our life on the line more than it requires our pride being put on the line. Really that's all we do when we work as invite-evangelists. We're hoping that someone will come see all the hard work we've done (even if we would never admit it) and we hope that they will be moved and respond accordingly. But what have we risked? Our pride takes a hit when someone says no or says they're busy. But that's all (even though we seem to make it out to be a big deal). We choke it up and vow to try again at the next invite-only event.

But I have a picture of more urgency and more risk when it comes to introducing people to Jesus. If someone fell off the balcony of a 23-story building, we wouldn't just stand by and kindly ask the person to reach out their hand and grab the other railing. The idea of "I hope they don't refuse my advice and then fall to their death" wouldn't even enter the picture. We would hopefully be throwing themselves over the balcony to try and rescue the individual. There's more on the line than just someones's their life.

Yet, how often are we willing to risk our lives when it comes to those around us? How willing are we to risk our time and energy on those that don't know Jesus? How likely are we to just stand by and invite someone and hope that someone else will take the risk?

Most of us don't know how to risk. We don't want to risk rejection. We don't want to risk failing. We don't want to risk the time, the energy, the late night phone calls, the constant questions and the seemingly endless interruptions that come from dealing with messy and hurting lives. Instead, we settle for inviting someone to some event and then we pat ourselves on the back and say we've done our part.

But, isn't outreach about investing in people? And spending time with people? And listening to people...and loving people? Isn't it about being with people? Isn't it all about risk?

I think of Jesus who was with people when they were tired, when they were annoying, when they asked ridiculous questions, when they didn't understand, when they failed, when they made mistakes, when they were messy. He took risks. He invested time. He didn't just stand by and wait for someone else to do something. He did it.

Is invite-evangelism normal?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Expanding my mind...

I've never spent a day just doing some random reading and studying. Normally I'm working on a lesson or planning for an event or meeting. Today I decided to start reading and see what happens. No strings attached. Just taking it where it goes. Here's a sample of what I've covered today:
I'd like to say I'm smarter now than I was at 9 this morning. I don't think it would be true.

Monday, May 14, 2007

More confessions...

But they're not my own because I'm not that authentic. I just finished Mark Driscoll's "Confessions of A Reformission Rev". It's the journey of how his church plant in Seattle called Mars Hill has grown and developed over the years. Each chapter focuses on a specific chapter of their life (ie: 0-45 people, 45-75 people, 350-1000 people, 4000-10000 people, etc...I think you get the point).

In case you don't know much about Mark, he seems to get himself in trouble a lot because he speaks his mind (for an example, you can read this about a little video he made and some of the discussion it has stirred up). But I like his approach. I like the fresh style and the sarcasm. And I like the insights he has to offer.

A few things in particular are spending an extra bit of time floating through my cranium:

1. Mars Hill really calls people to step up to the plate. And there are many times where Mark mentions that they want people to be serving in the church rather than just being consumers. For that reason if someone isn't willing to dive in and get involved, they are told to leave. When was the last time we told someone to leave church because the only thing they've done for the last 10 years was sit in a pew?

2. Mark expanded on an Amway concept to develop 4 phases of organizational decline. In it he describes it as:

Phase 1 - Creative, the dream stage
Phase 2 - Management, the reality stage

Phase 3 - Defensive justification, the failure stage

Phase 4 - Blaming, the death stage

If you want a more detailed explanation, buy the book. But let's just say that I'm finding myself asking lots of questions where the ministries I am involved at would be on this chart. And to be completely honest, it's a scary question to ask. What I am discovering is causing me to shake my head lots and mumble "aarrrgghhh" (and that's not in a pirate type of way). Ask my's true.

3. Attractional or missional? Which describes me, my ministries, and our church? Driscoll's challenge is that churches should be both. They should be drawing people in, but they should also be sending people out. Again he talks about not wanting church to be consumer-minded.


As you can imagine, this is only a small piece of the picture. There's lots of stuff to chew on. And I'm sure this will only serve to continue my ongoing process of "God...what the heck are you up to?"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Glory Glory Man Utd...

It's official...2007 Premier League Champions! The trophy is finally in hand.

My only beef on the day was that I set the DVR to record the game and arrived home after church to find that they actually played the Chelsea-Everton game. Come on! And for those of you who are replying with "check you TV guide next time", let me point out that as of 12:30am last night the United game was supposed to be on. Sheesh...

Anyways, this will be worth a few thousand words...

(HT to Derek)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


We had a pile of our youth leaders over for a BBQ tonight and what a blast that was. I hope my neighbors don't hate us. But a few of the college/university students stayed a little later and we watched some stuff on YouTube. Here's a gem...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Beautiful mess...

I've heard about the Kingdom of God, but I can honestly say I've never done a whole lot of processing about what (or where) it actually is. For the most part I've been part of that camp that sees it as something to come. But what Rick McKinley (author of The Beautiful Mess and pastor of Imago Dei) describes is a Kingdom that is already present, if only we would open our eyes to it.

The book is split into 3 major parts and the third portion focuses on practicing the presence of the Kingdom and I can honestly say he has given me something to chew on. As you may know, I've been on a bit of a journey myself in my faith and I've really been challenged lately with the practical aspects of it. Or maybe I should say the current lacking of the practical aspects of it.

I'm not a nature-freak, but I wonder about my responsibility as a follower of Jesus to look after creation. I've got kids of my own and I work with students, but where do our our churches place value on learning from the younger generations and worshiping with them, rather than entertaining them and ignoring them? And what about the poor and the homeless? What about the broken and wounded people in our community?

Are we actually living out the Kingdom of God or just biding our time in the safety of our pew and completely missing out on the closeness of the Kingdom?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We've got our trophy back...

United beat City yesterday which meant that Chelsea needed to win today in order to keep any hope alive of being able to catch up before the end of the season. They ended up with a draw against Arsenal. So...

We've got our trophy back!
We've got our trophy back!

While we still have 2 games left in the season, we also have an FA Cup final against Chelsea on the 19th. Another glorious opportunity to pour some salt into the wounds of the Blues.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I think I just spent too much time this evening giving this blog a makeover. I don't know if I'm completely satisfied with this one, but it'll do for now. I don't know if I'll ever get it to look like the vision in my head without becoming a dotcom. And I think I've already committed myself to not doing that.

And now I await a 4am game between Manchester United and the Scum (Manchester City). No hiccups tomorrow and we'll be that much closer to clinching the title next week when we play Chelsea.

Dwight highlight 4...

The past couple of weeks haven't been the greatest episodes ever, but there have been some classsic moments like this...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Stupid politicians...

Ask my wife...I can't stand politics or politicians. And this just once again shows why I feel this way. Apparently some people in government have nothing better to do than criticize Hockey Canada's decision to choose Shane Doan as captain of the IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship. Their main beef is that Doan allegedly made comments about French-Canadians (directed at the officials of the match) during a game in Montreal back in 2005. And since they provide funding for Hockey Canada they feel they can dictate how a hockey team is managed.

So instead of doing something productive like raising the age of consent they'll spend their time calling Hockey Canada in to explain why they chose a player like Doan, who is a quality player and a leader on the ice, to be their team captain. Somebody please explain this to me. It can't be normal.