Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda

Today is REformation Day, the day when many people pause to remember MArtin Luther and the Wittenburg church door and the beginning of the Reformation.  (OK,many churchfolk actually mark the day on the Sunday before Oct 31 but bear with me).  Reformation Day is a time to remember that there are times in the life of the church when the church cries out to be changed.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day.  All Saints is a day to give thanks for all those who are part of the great communion who have gone before us.  It is a day to remember our ancestors -- both genetic and theological.

As a part of a grand family we have inherited much from out ancestors.  As part of a grand family we need to decide what we want to pass on to our children.  WE are part of a church that is reformed and yet is always reforming.

So what is on the horizon?  It is my conviction that the more important question is what do we want to pass on to our descendants in the faith.  What of our inheritance, our traditions still gives life?  What of our inheritance has become irrelevant or worse?  How do we honour both our ancestors and our descendants?  (You will note that I do. not believe that, in the end, it is about US)

OF course the irony is that, as a generalization, great reform movements gather under the banner of returning to some past form of purity or some great golden age.  That is not the reform that is called for in any aspect of society in the 21st century.  We move forward by moving forward, not by trying to go back.

And the ancestor-descendant question?  I personally am guided by the JAroslav Pelikan quote (taken from Wikipedia)
Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.

We need to be people of tradition, not traditionalists.  WE also have to remember that new traditions are always being born.

2 Jack-O- LAnterns

Halloween Costumes

Princess as a Vampire

Scalliwag as a PRincess

Monkey as Barney the Dinosaur

Happy HAlloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Fun

Want an online way to celebrate Halloween?

Want to work out any passive-aggresive feelings about felines?

Try Cat Bowling!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Things kids say

Last week I was washing the dishes while the girls were (supposedly) getting ready for bed.   Monkey came into the kitchen and this discussion ensued:

Me:  Have you brushed your teeth?
Monkey:  Nope
Me: Well go do it then
Monkey: I can't reach my toothbrush
Me:  well use the stool
Monkey:  No, you arms are in the way
Me: What?
Monkey: your arms are in the way, I can't reach!

So I head down to the bathroom, muttering about the fact tht this made no sense.  I was in another room, my arms aren't in the way, possibly a couple comments about delaying tactics.

I open the cabinet and see------the deodorant container in front of the cup with the toothbrushes in it.

SO of course Daddy's arms were in the way, to a three-year-old mind it made sense I am sure.

Here is your answer...

COnfused about faith in a multi-faith world?

Well check this out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We Need More TEstimonies Like This

On BOTH sides of the 49th parallel


Just found out about this story:
President Obama on Wednesday signed a law that makes it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
And all I can say is that this is a good thing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is a Keeper!

At a meeting this morning I found this quote from Winston Churchill:
When one door closes another opens.
But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us.

That should come in handy when I want to talk about visioning.

EDIT: got the quote slightly wrong, fixed it

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Advent Planning

Advent 2009
Birth Means…

1st Sunday November 29 Birth Means Tearing Down the Old
  • Jeremiah 18:1-6
  • Psalm 25 (VU p.752)
  • Luke 21:25-36

2nd Sunday December 3Birth Means Re-Evaluating Priorities
  • Malachi 3:1-4
  • Luke 1:68-79 (VU p.900)
  • Luke 3:1-18
3rd Sunday December 13 Birth Means New Beginnings (Pageant/White Gifts)

4th Sunday December 20 Birth Means Future Promises
  • Micah 5:2-5a
  • Psalm 146 (VU p.868)
  • Luke 1:39-55
Christmas EveBirth Means Celebration
  • John 1:1-5, 14
  • Isaiah 9:2-7
  • Luke 2:1-20 (in sections)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

For the Girls....

A favourite song for each of the girls:
For the Princess:

For the Scalliwag:

For the Monkey:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

THis MAkes CHristians....

look ever so idiotic.

CANTON, N.C. - A North Carolina pastor says his church plans to burn Bibles and books by Christian authors on Halloween to light a fire under true believers.

Mind you he also thinks the the KJV is the only acceptable Bible so what can you do?

Story here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I never like these stories

PRayers go out to our sisters and brothers in faith in Wetaskiwin whose church building was destroyed by fire today.

Story here

Old Scam, New Twist

So I was checking my e-mail this morning and saw one claiming to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  I was tempted to simply report it as spam and move one but just for the heck of it decided to open it.

The first paragraph stated that through their intelligence monitoring network the FBI had determine I was eligible for a $7.5 million over-due inheritnce payment.  Furthermore, the FBI and the Department of Homeland SEcurity had investigated and approved the transaction.  Then the next paragraph launched into, you guessed it, the standard Nigerian inheritance scam.  Then to top it off the letter was signed by NAME, SPecial Agent cc: Robert MEuller (FBI Director).

DO people still buy in to this scam?  This one claimed that to receive my millions I just had to send $380 to them first.  DO people still do this?  But I must admit, it is rather ingenious to add the FBI name to the scam, gives it a bit more "credibility" (unless you realize that the FBI isn't remotely in this sort of business).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday Five on Saturday...

I am pre-posting this because Friday I will be at my new Independent Catholic church's yearly Synod, being welcomed and conditionally re-consecrated to episcopal ministry for this jurisdiction. I leave in a few hours and am spending the morning packing and making last preparations for my preaching, presiding, and teaching during the week. ....This has me thinking of the special rites of passage in our lives which we participate for ourselves or in which we support and bless others: baptism, confirmation, marriage, ordination, graduation, funerals, etc. Such important days, so exciting and joyous, but also sometimes anxiety provoking or deeply painful....So, this week, please share five memories of such sacred moments with God and her holy people from your life and the lives of those you love.

  1.  Palm Sunday 1984 -- the day I was confirmed.  The confirmation class had a retreat on Saturday and Sunday morning I woke early and went out walking in the playground beside the clubhouse where we were staying.  The fog was thick that morning and I had a lovely prayerful walk in the fog around these big concrete tunnels.
  2. August 31 2002 -- wedding day.  OK the day didn't get off to a great start (fight with the UCW about how to set up the hall for the tea -- don't ask) and the pictures were challenging due to a high wind, but at 7pm we gathered in the sanctuary of beloved's childhood church for the service.  The choir sang, the bell choir played, Beloved's childhood clergyperson preached, a hymn (I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry) was sung, we recessed to You Shall Go Out With Joy.  A great cap to the day.
  3. October 2001 -- my covenanting service with this congregation and this Presbytery, the really official beginning to a ministry that had begun back in July.
  4. MAy 2003, 2004, 2006 -- the births of the girls.  'nuff said.
  5. May 2001 -- my ordination service (and no Conference AGM to attend before hand!!!!)
And so so many more.....the girls baptisms, grandparents funerals, walks by the lake, campfires.......

Friday, October 09, 2009


That is all I can say after reading this story

Jumping the, um, Gun?

Probalby the story of the day, or even the whole Nobel season:
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is deeply humbled by the Norwegian Nobel committee for selecting him as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and will accept it as a "call to action."

Now I am a supporter of President Obama. I share many of his ideals. If I were a USan I a 99.9% sure I would have voted for him last year. But I have to think that this prize is inappropriate. REally he has given people hope for change but what exactly has he made happen? (And to be fair how much should we expect him to have accomplished given that he was only sworn in 9 months ago and given the nature of politics as the art of the possible and the US balance of powers).

It is too early. A great honour, a vote of confidence but too early. It is almost as if the Nobel committee go caught up in Obama-mania. At least IMO. (and in the opinion of others as I read this story)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Giving Thanks, No Worries -- A Column

From the hand of Matthew the Gospel writer come these words of challenge and encouragement:
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things (Matthew 6:31-32)

Is Jesus kidding? Don't worry? Just trust that what you need will show up? That can't be right! That just isn't realistic.

Well, no, from a strictly practical point of view it isn't realistic. Food and drink and clothing and shelter and heat don't just fall from the sky when we need them. But then again there is a great deal of wisdom in Jesus' words.

In the end what does worry accomplish? Other than making us uneasy and anxious that is. A couple sentences earlier Jesus asked “Can any of you by worrying add a single day to the span of your life?”. Does worrying bring us food? Does worry pay the rent? All worry does is cause us discomfort and make us feel bad.

Well that isn't quite true. Worrying can do one more thing. It can change how we see life. When we are worrying about things we start to see the world through eyes of scarcity, we start to believe that what we need for life is scarce. And then we worry more. And, more importantly, we start to believe that if things are scarce then we need to hold tightly to what we have.

But there is an alternative. Even in the face of conditions that lead us to worry we can choose to follow the advice Bing Crosby gave Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas:
When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep...I fall asleep, counting my blessings.
In the face of worry and anxiety we can count our blessings. And then a funny then might happen.

If worrying leads us to see the scarcity in the world, what does counting our blessings lead to? Why it leads us to see the abundance in the world! And when we see the world as a place of abundance we often become happier, more at ease. And then we start to feel like we have enough to share with others.

This Thanksgiving season we have a choice. We can fret and worry about the economy and the job market and the future. Or we can set those things aside for the moment and focus on why we are blessed. Counting our blessings won't add a single dollar to our bank account or a single crumb of food to our table. But it can change our outlook on life. And besides, if we really miss the worry and anxiety we can always go back to them!

What choice will you make?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


No not the luncheon "meat".

No not the Monty Python sketch (a classic).

The e-mail kind.  This week I noticed that my e-mail was having issues.  More precisely, my work e-mail wasn't getting through to 2 lists I am on or to the church.  I tested by sending a message to myself and it popped up as suspected spam. 

So I called my ISP (shaw) and we did some testing over the phone.  Turns out their system has suddenly decided that it dislikes my signature block.  More precisely it doesn't like the fact that I had 2 blog addresses in it. Further trials determined that while it didn't mind the church blog it was flagging my blog of worship resources as spam.  I forwarded a message to the people who could supposedly fix this but haven't had a response yet.

Still, what does it mean to have a link to a blog of worship resources flagged as spam?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Music, It Fills the Soul

We have in this house musical children.  Now it is my belief that ALL children are musical chidren.  I firmly believe that all of us have a musical side.  Not necessarily talent but a part of our soul resonates with music.  ANd this is most evident when we are children.  Unfortunately something about life seems to push us to restrain this musicality in our beings.

For instance, all 3 year-olds can sing.  By the time they are 15 few of them will sing in public.  I'm not talking about solos or performances, I am talking about singing at campfire or along with the radio.  Then of course there are some of us adults who still sing freely--whether we should or not.

Our girls still have that tendency to sing and move to whatever music is around without even knowing it.  Especially the SCalliwag -- on Sunday morning she simply can not sit still during hymsn, she has to dance.  This afternoon we were at coffee and she was sitting beside me colouring when suddenly we realized she was quietly singing along with the background music and her head was bouncing away (and we didn't even know she had heard the song enough to know the words).

Oh if only we could always keep the music of our souls alive!

Do You Feel Appreciated?

Were you aware that October is Clergy Appreciation Month???

I wasn't until I opened my mail this afternoon.  In it was a package addressed to me so I opened the envelope and found a card and a letter and a poster from a group called CLergy United.  The odd thing was that the letter itself was addressed to the congregation, not to me.  And the text of the letter stated that it was being sent to churches throughout Ontario.  SO why send it to me by name?  Do they expect the clergy person to pass on a letter asking that the congregation mark Clergy Appreciation Month?  That would be a little self-serving after all.  (NEver mind that I have never heard of Clergy Appreciation Month and suspect it is a new creation, and never mind that I am not a supporter of the group that sent the package and never mind that I feel quite appreciated as it is)

So anybody else heard of Clergy Appreciation Month?