Monday, May 29, 2006

Transformation

THis Sunday is Pentecost. I am going to talk about transformation. BUt I have one big question.

Do we really want to be transformed?

AS I was writing my opening thoughts this afternoon it struck me that this is the big question about transformation. In fact it is the big question about allowing the Spirit to be active in our faith lives and communities. Are we willing to let the Spirit blow as it will or do we want to shape and channel it into "appropriate" forms.

My plan (at this point, it is only Monday after all) is to talk about Ezekiel and transformation in the places we dont' expect to find life, much less abundant life. But still I wonder, are we really even looking for transformation or does it just sound like a good idea?

Friday, May 26, 2006

These things I believe

This week's Friday Five is simple. Name five things you believe--these don't have to be long statements--short sentences, both serious and frivolous.

I BELIEVE...
  1. the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way actually not a big fan of the song, but I do believe this line)
  2. that people are, generally speaking, good.
  3. that God is eternally hoping that we will live out the promise of #2.
  4. that chocolate is a basic requirement for life, maybe not for basic survival but certainly for life.
  5. that most of the time we keep score on the wrong scorecard.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MAybe Advance Planning isn't My forte

THis coming weekend is our Annual Conference meeting. I had never planned to go this year (for obvious reasons). BUt since it was a weekend when I wouldn't be around otherwise I thought I would take a week of study leave to get some planning and reading done. It was a great plan, a nice quiet week before baby was born and a chance to get ready for the summer.

Well even before Miriam upset the whole planning system the quiet week started to come apart. As Legion padre I was asked to take part in a special service this Saturday. Then I was asked to represent the congregation at a Guide banquet on THursday. THen yesterday I get a phone call and have a funeral on Friday. WHat was it that Robert Burns said about the best laid plans of Mice and Men?

ANyway, the book I am working on is Douglas John Hall's The Cross in Our Context:Jesus and the Suffering WOrldand I am getting some hymn selection work started. Looks like most of the summer I will preach from the Epistle readings this year. Durng the summer I like to follow one set of readings through (especially the Jewish Scriptures since the summer passages follow a main story). This year I thought I would challenge myself and do the Epistles. I am generally not a fan of Paul so this could be interesting.

THey're Here!

THe Ordinary Time books have arrived! Feels somewhat wierd to see one's writing in print in a book one has bought. And still I have this huch that the other devotions will be SO much better than the ones I wrote (no I don't have a self-esteem issue why do you ask? Well maybe a little bit...)

In other news. Yesterday I was asked, and agreed, to review a book for Touchstone. Just a little project to fill out over the next year or so (deadline was next April). The book in question is Free of Charge: Giving and Receiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace by Miroslav Volf. A copy is being sent to me for reading.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Well this isn't quite right

As seen at Phantom Scribbler

You Are Bobby Brainy

Ultra competitive, you will do almost anything to win. From pull ups to pool sharking, you're very talented.
And while everyone is aware of your victories, they still (affectionately) consider you to be a little brat!

Ultra-competitive? No thanks. ANd the very talented is in severe doubt. The brattiness? Depends who you ask.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

ANd another one

WE learned that we could indeed bring siblings into NICU. THis is when the sisters all met for the first time

Picture TIme!

Here is Miriam all ready to come home from the hospital

Friday, May 19, 2006

ITs a Girl!!!

Sorry but this is the first chance to get to a machine since Monday AM.

Miriam Hope was born at 2:14 Monday PM. 6lb 8.5oz, 19.5". Spent the week in NICU, just gort out today (silly girl keeps falling asleep instead of eating). Hopefully being discharged tomorrow. I'll post a pic once they are off the camera.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Plans??? WHat Plans???

PAtty woke up at 5am to find that her water had broken (for sure this time). We are busily heading in to the city for delivery. More info to follow!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Farewell Mr. President

Just watched the series finale of The West Wing. THey did a nice job of tying things up. I always figured that the series hjad a set life span, never could see that they would have been able to transition into a new President (although if ratings were still high I am sure they would have tried).

THe real treat was the reprise of the series pilot first. That was a really well written show, funny yet serious all in one. THe show has slipped lately, last season I often didn't wathc. In fact I often didn't watch this year either, partly because the other TV watcher in the house was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, partly because West Wing failed to grab me as much. BUt they did have a presidential race to be envied--would that all political debates were as honest and real as the one between Arnold Vinick and Matt Santos.

I say farewell to the Bartlett administration with this question: If Jed Bartlett had been one the ballot with Bush, Gore and Nader, who would have won? OR Bush and Kerry and Bartlett? Who would we wanted to have won?

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Friday 5

1. Describe a memorable conference, retreat, workshop or convention you've attended. LAst June Patty and I went to Halifax for Worship Matters, an annual symposium on issues related to, well, worship. I did stuff on sermons and on music, Patty did Children's ministry and music. The conference itself was great, but we had most of a day to see the sites of Halifax before it started. (This year's event is in Vancouver, we aren't going for some reason.
2. Tell us about a memorable speaker or preacher you've heard. At the Banff Men's Conference I have heard former Moderator the Very Rev. Stan McKay, always well worth it. Last year in Halifax Don Saliers was one of the keynote speakers.
3. Do you attend all of the scheduled events, or play hooky? If the latter, what do you do with your free time? At educational-typ events I usually attend most of the scheduled things. AT church-court mettings well, lets just say I need to move around from time to time. Oh and there needs to be some point when the Book Display gets visited.
4. Do you like having a roommate or would you rather have a room to yourself? Generally I need time to replenish so time to myself is good.
5. What's the most exotic location you've conferenced or retreated? A tie between Banff and Halifax.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's the Birthday Girl!

Here she is, the now-2-year-old in her birthday present. Happy Birthday Devyn!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If Cats Can Do It...



THen so can Dogs. Here are Sheba's answers to this meme (seen on Reluctant Prophet)

Q: What is your favorite food? Whatever the little ones are eating. THey walk around and it is so easy to share.
Q: What is your favorite toy? THose young humans have some really interesting things. THe little one likes to put them in my mouth from time to time. BUt then they tell me not to chew on them -- is that fair??? Oh, you mean my toys. well then the ball at Grandma's house is pretty good.
Q: What is your best trick? What tricks? I am supposed to do things?
Q: What is your favorite human trick? I have them well trained. Whenever I want attention I just wind my chain around something and they come to play with me. Works great.
Q: What human rule do you break most often? THey have this strange idea that I am not supposed to come up and jump on their heads in the morning. How else am I supposed to let them know it is time to get up and let me out?
Q: What do you wish your human knew about you? When I see people on MY street I need to let them know. Stop dragging me inside just because I am warning them to behave.
Q: What are you glad that your human doesn't know about you? THey don't seem to realize that I can sleep just fine on the floor. Helps me move towards taking over the bed eventually.

Clear Sailing!

Went to the Dr. today, figures that last week's "fun" was nothing to worry about. Everything looks fine (although all signs point to a big baby). 3 weeks to go!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Funeral Seminar

Last weekend I led a seminar on the leading of funerals. ANd have been meaning to reflect on it here since Sunday.

Overall I think it went well. WE had enough time to talk about the items on the agenda and still allow the discussion to wander a bit, but not so much that it felt like needing to fill up empty space. With a larger group it would be more difficult to cover all the same material (although of course a different process would be needed).

There were 8 participants and myself. This is a good size for whole group discussion, and was big enough that we could break in to 2 groups for the role play activity (around meeting with the family). Said role play activity appeared to have been a hit as one group really got into playing their parts.

If doing it again I would try to devise more ways to have people "test out" parts. Really most of the time was discussion with the family visit being the only really "hands on" part of the weekend. And there is the possibility of doing it again. ONe person from neighbouring city on the lake had to cancel and expressed a willingness to arrange for me to do the same weekend in that city sometime, also the event was apparently discussed at the last Conference Executive meeting as the sort of thing Conference could/should maybe help happen in variuos places (pay for travel etc. to get leadership moving around). TIme will tell. BUt I think it was a good event to try, and a good weekend to experience.

Besides, it won't look half-bad on a resume someday.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Book! A Book!



Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.



On Sale now for $18.99

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

ANd I was privileged to write some of the devotions! A book I am in!

Side note: I have been published elsewhere too! THe latest issue of Gathering (United Church Worship resource) has a communion prayer I wrote for WorldWide Communion last year

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Kids Say the...

#1) This morning I had an open Tulip and an almost open tulip for children's time. WE were talking about flowers coming from bulbs and how a tulip is actually planted in the fall and comes up in early spring when everything else looks dead. Then we sang Natalie Sleeth's In the Bulb there is a flower. While the kids come up, Sarah looks at the flower and announces "Eww, bug". Then looks at it again and "Eww bug, spider" (granted, the inside of a tulip looks a little bit like a spider but still). Then we talk about flowers and I ask if they want to smell it and she holds her nose and says "yucky". Our small congregation could all hear her, definitely they could all see her. Gotta love the PK.

#2) The girls have really been into watching for birdies lately so we decided to fill an put out our bird-feeder (that we didn't quite get out during the winter). The girls excitedly helped put the peanuts into it. And then as it was full and I stood up to hang it Devyn starts calling "OK birdies, birdies". Later we were in the house and they looked out the window to see the feeder and together called "Birdies! Birdies!"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I think this is an addiction...

Got home from the funeral seminar (which went quite well) about 3:40 this afternoon to find that the cable was out.

Now we have internet service through the cable company so no cable not only means limited (one fuzzy channel) TV but no blogs, no e-mail, no mind wasting games. Service wasn't restored until about 9:15. WE had nothing to do! It was boring! Well not quite true, we had to tag team trying everything we knew (cajoling, ordering, asking) to get the girls to go to and stay in bed.

Seriously, they go to bed at 7ish. When I got home last night (9:15) the youngest was still awake. Tonight they were still trying to run laps in the bedroom at 8:30. Mom and I were getting a little frustrated. ANy hints on getting kids to settle down and go to sleep? Our next rick will be to put them in separate rooms and then move one back to bed after she is asleep--we nap them in separate roms already.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Updated Status

HAd the ultrasound this AM. All appeared normal, lots of fluid, baby measures out to 35 weeks, placenta fine. BUt this is a bigger baby. #1 was 6lb13oz at full term. #2 was 7lb2oz at 38 wks. Ultrasound machine calculates this one at 6lb8oz at 35 weeks. TEchnincian was going to call the Dr. with results and then (I assume) the Dr. will call Patty.

Thanks all for the thoughts and prayers. AMazing things these virtual communities. I average around 20 visits a day on SIte Meter, already today it reads 49. Yesterday was over 70 (the 100 visits on record only go until 8EDT last night). THanks all.

Update: (2:55 CDT)
AS I arrived home from a funeral Dr. was on the phone. NO real concerns other than size of baby (weight doesn't match gestational age). A message has been left with our OB for when he returns to town. BUt no prescription of bedrest as yet. Possible that OB will want to explore further...

RGBP Friday 5 -- Birthdays

I have way too much to do today to be doing this. But it seems to be a nice diversion:
  • 1. Favorite birthday cake/ice cream/dessert: Black Forest Cake.
  • 2. Surprise Parties: have you ever given or received one? Not for a Birthday. But Patty was thrown a surprise Wedding Shower that worked beautifully. I was coming to town and was going to meet her after her club meeting, but the club was organizing a shower. She was all worried that she wouldn't be home when I called when I walked down the stairs. It was priceless.
  • 3. Favorite birthday present: Truly not sure. although not really a birthday present we were engaged 6 days after my birthday. Truly, I am having trouble naming any birthday presents...
  • 4. What do you think of those candles that won't blow out?: Never been in their presence. But the concept seems a little lame to me. Except maybe for those kids who absolutely LOVE blowing out candles and make you relight them over and over again.
  • 5. Best. birthday. ever.: My 25th I think. I was in seminary and our practice was to have a class gathering on or about everybody's birthday.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Prayers Please

I am on my way to the hospital to await the Dr. who is coming to see Patty. IT seems she may get taken in to the city for early birth. More details will come as I can post.

Prayers as we wait for medical advice/plan and then workd out practical plans to accomodate.

Update:
Dr. prescribed bedrest for the night and an ultrasound tomorrow. SO we are home for the night now.

SO Much for Responsible Television

LSAt night I saw a comercial for ABC's ratings grabber Fatal COntact. NOw lets get some things straight:
  1. avian influenza is spreading across the world -- in birds
  2. said flu has many strains, on ly one is the one that poses a big risk in the scientific mind
  3. said strain does not easily pass from bird to human (not in casual contact anyway)
  4. said strain does not yet pass readily from human to human
Yes it is possible, and expected, that H5N1 will become a public health threat. Yes we are not prepared (although I am not sure we ever would be) for what will happen. But to make a movie out of the possibility serves no purpose other than scaremongering. Oh that and makng a ratings grab during May sweeps. It simply is not responsible television.

GIven that fact that it took a small comment a while back to have people panic-buying plastic sheeting and duct tape; or the response to a single cow infected with BSE; or the rabid anti-ARab movement after 9/11; do we honestly think that people won't panic and overreact to this sort of a movie? One of the articles found in a Google search reminds us that ABC is also the network that brought us The Day After 20some years ago. THat was a borderline irresponsible move too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

4 Weeks and Counting

In today's mail we got confirmation of our surgery date (although only one of us is going to be cut but you know what I mean). 4 weeks from today the baby arrives.

Procrastinators Beware!

You may not want to read any farther but I have found a new toy!

ESCAPA!

THe FOrum post where I found the link was titled "HOw Long Can You Survive in the Church?"

I have yet to break the 15 second barrier...very addictive...must not keep playing....

Budget Day in Canada

Budget promises will be kept, Flaherty vows
Last Updated Tue, 02 May 2006 04:51:36 EDT
CBC News
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will present his government's first budget on Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa – one that is set to cut the GST, as well as taxes for corporations and small business.

As I look forward to this budget I am worried that the government will actually keep its promises, promises that are not (IMHO) based on sound economic theory. THis government promises to scrap a national child-care program that had serious potential to create hundreds of affordable, quality child-care spaces. IN exchange they will pay parents $1200 a year (likely taxable, likely to be clawed back from those on welfare) for each child under 6 and trust that this flow of money will lead to more child-care spaces being developed.

ALso they will cut the GST by 1%, claiming that this will benefit all Canadians equally. BUt of course it won't. Richer Canadians spend more, therefore they save more when a consumption tax is cut. If the government were serious about helping the bottom 25% of Canadian earners they would raise basic tax exemptions, cut tax rates for those earners, and transfer the tax burden on to those who can best afford to pay.

ALso this government has already taken steps (in the name of savng money) to cut spending around the Kyoto accord. And is expected to renege (at least in part) on an agreeement the former government signed with Aboriginal peoples.

Well, we shall see, we shall see.

Monday, May 01, 2006

ESchatology

You scored as Moltmannian Eschatology. J├╝rgen Moltmann is one of the key eschatological thinkers of the 20th Century. Eschatology is not only about heaven and hell, but God's plan to make all things new. This should spur us on to political and social action in the present.

Moltmannian Eschatology

90%

Amillenialist

75%

Preterist

55%

Dispensationalist

30%

Postmillenialist

15%

Premillenialist

5%

Left Behind

0%

What's your eschatology?
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HArdly a Surprise here

As Seen on Connexions