Monday, January 29, 2007

Good Reading

Currently on my reading list is a great book called Child's Play by Silken Laumann. It is about the need to get our children more active, to give them chances to play, in order to give them a chance for full lives. I fully recommend it to anyone who has children, or grandchildren for that matter.

NExt two on my reading list are Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd (I love those historic-epic novels, this one should be a good travel book) and A SOng to Sing, A Life to Live by Don and Emily Saliers. The latter is required reading for the one-credit course I am taking in conjunction with Sing Lustily.

Given all these the concept of reading Neibuhr really doesn't sound all that exciting (see earlier post around Lenten worship services).

Saturday, January 27, 2007


It is now official. At our Presbytery meeting next month, during opening worship on Friday morning, Miriam will be getting "dunked" (well patted wetly anyway, somehow I doubt Sue will dip her in the font...). A chance to celebrate the sacrament of baptism in a different court of the church than normal.

Said Baptism will be done on behalf of the congregation here but it is a chance to celebrate with the people who have been part of our family's life from day one (Patty and I met at a Presbytery meeting).

LEnten Worship PLanning

Well maybe planning is overstating it---musings perhaps?

I am thinking of a 4 sermon series called The Church In the World. Since we have Presbytery the first Sunday of Lent this cover up until Palm/Passion Sunday. No clue what I will do with Palm/Passion but am thinking drama. Mind you it is April 1 this year so there's gotta be a message in that....

Anyway, 4 sermons in a series:
  1. The Church In the World: WonderCafe/Emerging Spirit -- This is the campaign aimed at 30-45 year olds that the UCCan is doing-to some consternation. It is also the theme of our Presbytery meeting.
  2. The Church In the World: Witness/Testimony
  3. The Church In the World: IN But Not OF -- the ongoing struggle to be in the world but not worldly. Some of H. Richard Neibuhr's stuff on Christ and Culture might be helpful here, but then I would have to reread it (ugh)
  4. The Church In the World: Poverty and Wealth--This Sunday is the story of the woman and the perfume and Judas saying "why waste the money"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Five -- Renewal

In this week that looks unlikely to hold a complete day off, I am pondering renewal. List four ways you like to relax or give yourself a break. Then name a fifth, something you've never been able to do, a self-care dream.
  1. Hot Bath, just a nice soak
  2. WAlk the DOg, which reminds me that hasn't happened for a couple of days--after supper
  3. Read something brainless. Actually reading in general but for real refreshment reading that doesn't feel like work.
  4. Play with the kids. In my former job, if I was having a rough day on an Intake shift I would take five minutes on the floor in the playroom and find that much more refreshing than 15 minutes sitting in the staff room.
  5. A massage, never had one, not likely to happen soon either

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What Does It Mean to be Christian Today? (newspaper column)

That is the question which opens Marcus Borg’s book The Heart of Christianity. And it is a question that tends to excite a lot of discussion.

One of the recurring themes in the Discussion Lounge of WonderCafe is whether or not there is one, and only one, “right” way to be a Christian. Some claim that you have to believe what the ancient creeds say, that you have to accept the 5 fundamentals of faith (that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, that Jesus was born of a Virgin, that the Resurrection was a physical and bodily event, the Blood Sacrifice for payment of sins, and that Christ will come again), in order to be a “true” Christian. Others find that the language and imagery of the ancient creeds is nonsensical to them and that there are other ways of expressing Christian faith. Often the latter say that to accept the faith of fundamentalism would mean turning off their intellect and common sense. And of course many of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle between the two extremes.

But really, what does it mean to be Christian in 2007? I strongly believe that it means we respect the faith of those who have gone before but not that we have to copy it. In one of my favourite quotes church historian Jaroslav Pelikan says: Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. The United Church of Canada has, since its formation over 80 years ago, believed that each generation needs to re-state the faith in its own language and imagery. There is room for those who have a more traditional faith. There also needs to be room for those of us who see the faith moving away from traditional language.

In The Heart of Christianity Marcus Borg invites the reader to explore that opening question. He invites us to look at the tradition with new eyes, to look at Christian life from the view of the heart. He writes from the point of view of a person who was raised in a very traditional faith, who rejected that faith as anti-intellectual, and who has come back to faith in a new understanding. Borg describes 2 visions, or paradigms, of Christian faith and challenges the reader to explore what gets to the heart of faithfulness.

Faith is meant to be questioned and explored. Faith grows only when subjected to questioning. In the end, there is room in the Christian family for people at varying points between traditional and “emergent”. But we all have to determine what works for us. Starting Thursday March 1 Riverview will be holding a 12-week study of Marcus Borg’s book. If you are interested in exploring these sorts of questions call Gord at 597-6129 or e-mail the church at All are welcome whether you grew up in the church or have never walked through the door.

And What Does THIS Mean?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milord Sir Lord Gord the Carnivorous of Yockenthwait Walden
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Hat Tip to Songbird

Monday, January 22, 2007

Words of Commissioning

THis SUnday I am preaching a sermon titled "Prophets Without Honour" focussing mainly on the Luke passage (the whole story, we didn't read the first half yesterday) and touching a bit on JEremiah's call/resistance. HEre is the service closing (we will sing Siyahamba after it).

Long ago the Voice of God spoke to young Jeremiah,
and he was afraid to heed the call.
Long ago the Call of God pushed a man from Nazareth to upset the known and the comfortable,
and people got upset
Here today God continues to call us to speak words of truth and challenge,
and we are often afraid that people will get upset.
May we go out into the world as those who have heard God’s call,
may we go out into the world to free captives, end oppression, and bring hope to the despairing.
We do this knowing that the God who calls us walks with us every step of the way.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

If Anyone is Interested

Going through my files this morning in preparation for a devotion I found an old sermon called On Life, and Life After Death, and Mystery. I posted it on the church blog if ayone wants to read it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

MAybe Some Day

Every once in a while I find myself musing about doing some more schooling. For example doing this.

NOt sure how well it would work as distance ed though...

Friday, January 19, 2007

ANyone WAnt to get rid of some pews?

I have learned that some of our brothers and sisters in faith need pews for the church buildign they are rebuilding after a fire. For more information go here

The 5 W's

The questions are simple, the answers unlimited. Go!
  • Who THe five of us, meeting my parents at the other end.
  • What A study leave event at my alma mater -- called "SIng Lustily"
  • When In just under a month. Actually in three weeks we leave, home 4 weeks from tomorrow.
  • Where The City of Bridges
  • Why WHy not? Study leave time is there to be used after all.
  • Bonus: How Driving. Three days out, three day event, three days back.

EXXTRA: When I was in about Grade 5/6 there was a children's news show on CBC taht was called something like the title of this post. Each episode ended with a quiz where each question started with one of the 5 w's. I remember my Grade 6 teacher using taped copies for class discussion about current events (this is around the time of the Iran-Iraq war, or as it was called then the PErsian Gulf War -- a name which has since been re-used)

Missing the Point Again!

Tories to spend $230M on clean energy technology
Federal minister says he is 'keen on' use of nuclear energy in Alberta's oil patch

IS it time we can finally admit that there is no such thing as "clean energy"! THere is only the choice of what form of pollution we prefer.

The biggest lie is that nuclear energy is going to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions -- not. By the time the ore is mined, processed, and shipped the saving at the power plant has been lost, and you still have the slight problem of waste that will be radioactive for THOUSANDS of years.

The only real long-term policy that will make real change in emission levels is to use less energy. YEs that might hurt business as power rates (or green taxes) go up and energy is less available. But in the end it has to happen. Using the aount we are currently using won't be sustainable. HArd truths but they are on the mark.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TIme WAsters Combined

OUr router arrived today! Sitting on the couch typing this.

SO now we can combine web-surfing with TV watching--lots of screen time.

OR check e-mail in bed....

Or blog from the kids toy room....

NOw to find a router compatible with Windows 98 and get approval to get one for the church.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Words of COmmissioning

For next Sunday, to go with the ideas of Nehemiah and praise for the Law:

Ezra read out the Law to the people,
and they wept at hearing it.
We too gather to hear the Scriptures read and discussed,
not that we should weep but to help us plot our path through life.
Go now as those who have heard, as those who have learned.
We go to apply the Word to our lives from day to day.
And go knowing that God: the Speaker, the Spoken, and the Spirit goes with you, always offering words of guidance and hope.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

LAw as Gift

I am starting to work up next Sunday. The focus passage is Nehemiah 8:1-10 (omitting verses 4 and 7 out of kindness to the reader). And it challenges us about how we think of the Law in the Scriptures.

Over and over again we are reminded that the Way of Jesus is not meant to be a legalistic path. Grace has, we are told by Paul, superseded the Law. But then again Jesus is supposed to have said "I come to fulfil the law, not to abolish it". And in this passage we are told that the people wept and celebrated upon hearing the reading (with interpretation) of the Law.

Psalm 19 (also being read this Sunday) says "7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes". This hardly describes something onerous or something that has been imposed.

Jewish Tradition sees Law as God's gift, indeed one of God's greatest gifts. Christian tradition tends to denigrate the Law all the while creating a whole new legalistic structure about who is "right" with God and what is allowed. What would it take for us to see the Law as a gift? How would that change our approach to life?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Procrastinators Unite!

Now this will drive you NUTS!!!!

When all the numbered red squares are visible, try to get rid of them as fast as you can, in numerical order.

You don't have to click them... just touch them with the cursor - your score is given in seconds.

I got 49 seconds on my 2nd try...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New TOy!

Just got a laptop today! Mindyou we need a wireless router (which when we get may go to the church for use anyway) so I have unplugged the desktop network cable to try out the new toy.

Yeah, OK...Whatever

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Found out about this one on WonderCafe

Monday, January 08, 2007

Words Wanted (Addendum)

In reference to the last post, here is what I have come up with. I am not sure I want to use it though...

Here in this place of worship we gather in the name of God the Creator, the Redeemer and Sustainer.
Here we dedicate this sound system equipment to the service of God.
Let us pray:
Creating and Re-Creating God, we give thanks for the gifts of all who have gone before us. We give thanks for all who are here now. We give thanks for the promise of gifts that have yet to be shared. Today we pause to remember all those who have given gifts in memory of loved ones now gone. Today we give thanks that because of those memorials we can enrich the life of this faith community. May this equipment help to offer all who are a part of this faith community a fuller worship experience. And may we be encouraged to raise voices in praise in response to hearing God’s promise, God’s hope, and God’s love. Amen.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Words Wanted

I am having trouble finding words/liturgy.

This fall/winter the congregation bought a new amplifier/mixer, a new headset mic, a CD/cassette player, and a digital voice recorder.

At the last Board meeting it was suggested that since these purchases were made from the memorial fund we should have a dedication for them, as a way of marking the use of gifts given in memory (it is a general fund, the purchases were not bought in memory of Mrs Smith etc.). I think this is a fine idea (in part because it allows the announcing of what we bought--all people can see is the microphone - and in part because it allows naming that services are available on CD now) and am planning on including this in next Sunday's service.

But how to do it?? The suggested liturgy in Celebrate God's Presence is far more ornate than I feel is needed in this circumstance. I am thinking a brief word or two of introduction followed by a short responsive prayer. But what prayers do you say about a sound system?

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Birthday-ish Friday Five

From RGBP:

1. "It's my party and I'll [blank] if I want to..."Favorite way to celebrate your birthday (dinner with family? party with friends? a day in solitude?) Quietly with family and friends I'd say. Although I went to the bar to flirt with the waitress on my 30th--that was less than productive...

2. "You say it's your birthday... it's my birthday too, yeah..." Do you share your birthday with someone famous? (Click here to find out!) A number of the famous and infamous. Kim Campbell (former Canadian Prime Minister--for about 30 seconds), Osama Bin Laden, Prince Edward, Carrie Underwood...

3. "Lordy Lordy look who's forty..."Milestone birthdays:
a) just like any other birthday--they're just numbers, people
b) a good opportunity to look back/take stock
c) enjoy the black balloons--I'll be hiding under a pile of coats until the day is over
d) some combination of the above, or something else entirely.

4. "Happy birthday, dear... Customer..."Have you ever been sung to in a restaurant? Fun or cringe-worthy? A couple times. Sort of fun. One time we were at a dinner theatre and during one of the intermissions we got called up on stage and everything--that was fun.

5. "Take my birthday--please"Tell me one advantage and one disadvantage about your particular birthday (e.g. birthday in the summer--never had to go to school; birthday near Christmas--the dreaded joint presents) This could also simply be something you like/dislike about your birthday (e.g. I like sharing a birthday with my best friend, etc.). With a March birthday the weather was never predictable. It meant that birthday parties when I was growing up could rarely be planned to be an outdoor event--it could be freezing and a foot of snow or warm and a foot of water/mud/slush. But that is hardly a real disadvantage. And I can't see any real advantage to where mine falls. Then again, birthdays can easily be made too big a deal once you are past about 12 (even milestones).