Thursday, June 30, 2011


A song from the last C&C of the season. Here's deliriou5? performing Majesty.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Again

No context, just Red's newest video.  I like how they mix traditional stringed instruments with more modern sounds.  I suppose Metallica started it all by doing a concert backed by an orchestra years ago, but Red actually uses them as part of the song, not just a single concert.

And there's fire.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introverts in the Church

I recently came across a book called Introverts in the Church.  Wow.  After briefly skimming through the first couple chapters I was amazed.  Someone was saying exactly what I felt growing up in the church as an introvert, and to some extent, what I still feel a little to this day.

Although I know I am not the only one, it is still nice to occasionally hear a similar voice saying, "I like to be alone.  I don't like crowds.  I'm not a socialite.  I'd rather hide in the bathroom than have to shake 50 people's hands and make small talk before the church service begins."

Here's an excerpt from the book:
I relished times of solitude, reflection and personal study.  I enjoyed people and found satisfaction in depth of relationship and conversation, but even when I spent time with people I liked, I looked forward to moments of privacy.  I found crowds draining.  I could stand up in front of hundreds of people and preach a sermon without nervousness, but I often stumbled through the greeting time afterward because my energy reserves were dry.  Though I did not know this eight years ago, there is a label for this personality feature that I once thought crippled my potential for ministry: introversion.  But more than my introverted temperament was involved in producing such agonizing results.  Partly to blame was the one dimensional image of leadership that I had constructed.  There was an irresolvable conflict between the artificial image and the temperamental characteristics of introverts...  I tried to beat and squeeze myself into a mold of leadership instead of becoming the leader God had created me to be.
My struggles to be an introverted pastor are representative of the struggles many introverts face when navigating the waters of Christian community, which can be unintentionally, or intentionally, biased toward extroversion...  It is my experience that evangelical Churches can be difficult places for introverts to thrive, both for theological and cultural reasons.  Just as I have had a difficult time squaring my own temperament with common roles and expression of the pastoral ministry, so also many introverted Christians struggle with how to find a balance between their own natural tendencies and evangelical perspectives on evangelism and community.  A subtle but insidious message can permeate these communities, a message that says God is most pleased with extroversion.

I have always said the purpose of this blog is to give people a chance to get to know me a little better, despite my introversion.  So, if you are an extrovert trying to understand this introvert or introverts in general click on the link below.  Click on the Google Preview button on the page that opens and you can read the book online.  

Introverts in the Church | Contents- InterVarsity Press

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Dear Diary,

Things are going good.  That's always a good thing.
Work is good.  I've been busy but I'm learning to deal with it.  I didn't get a promotion I wanted, but I'm ok with that.
I've been praying for people and things.  Some prayers have been answered with a yes, and some have been answered with a no.  And some, I'm not sure about yet.
My friend Ken is at it again.  Arg.  It frustrates me because I actually care about Ken's well being.
I went to Declare and Surrender last week.  It was good.  I'm glad I made the effort.
I didn't go to C&C this week.  That was a tough decision.  I was so tired from work and had an early start to my next day.  I think I needed that time to rest.
Last night I went bowling with friends.  Then we went out to Montana's Restaurant.  They surprised me with a little birthday platter and a moose hat.  I guess that's how we do it in the big city.  It was good.
And today was a me day.  I ate a steak.  I'm still in my PJ's, and I'm almost ready to go to bed.  I needed a day like today.
Tomorrow at church we are saying good bye to a lady who is moving away.  She is quite involved in the church and I will be sad to see her go.  Nine months ago I didn't even know her name.  Tomorrow I will miss her.  That is progress for me.

I think I'm feeling content.  Hello?  Is that you contentedness?  Is this what you feel like?

Thanks Lord for your goodness.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rules

 I don't understand the things I do. I don't do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate.  (Romans 7:15)

Ya, I understand that Paul.  There have been many timesI have tried very hard to live a righteous, godly, good life.  And I have always failed.  Frustrating.  That's not to say my life is a cesspool of sin, but it's not where it should be either.  There's an external moral law I think we are all vaguely aware of.  Within the context of religion there are expressed rules to be obeyed.  That's what religion is; rules to be obeyed to earn our way to God or Nirvana or righteousness or a higher life form.  That, however, is where Christianity differs.  It is not about us working our way to God, it is about God making his way to us.  So where did all the rules come from?  Well, like I said religion is our way of working ourselves back to God.  Within different cultures and times people have tried to codify their morality to make this holiness measurable and achievable.  Within the realms of Judeo/Christian heritage I believe there was a time where we needed rules and God set out guidelines for us to follow.  We didn't know any better and Jesus had yet to pay the price for our sins.  The Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to all believers.  The rules kept us protected.  The rules helped us live this holy life.  We all have a sense that we need to be holy just like God is holy. I think we all try to live by some type of moral rules, whether biblical or from some other origin.  They are hard to obey.  Impossible in fact.  We simply can't do it on our own.  That's how we know we're hopeless without an external saviour.  Jesus is that saviour.  But if God made a way, what becomes of the rules?  Those rules are now obsolete and useless.  Does that mean I'm free to do whatever I want?  No.  It means there's a new rule in town.  Love God with all your heart and soul and mind.  That's it.  All the old rules did was show us that under our own effort we can't be holy. It's exhausting.  If we truly loved God with every fiber of our being that holy life would be natural.  It is no longer us striving to be holy, it is now the Holy Spirit living in us that makes us holy.  Not through our own effort, but God's grace can we live this holy life.

The early Christians were struggling with the rules things as well.  Here's what Paul told them.

We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.  Listen, I Paul tell you that if you go back to the law by being circumcised, Christ does you no good.  I'm warning you if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you must follow all the law.  If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over -- you have left God's grace.  But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope.  When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith -- the kind of faith that works through love. You were running a good race. Who stopped you from following the true way? This change did not come from the One who chose you. Be careful! "Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise."  But I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Whoever is confusing you with such ideas will be punished. My brothers and sisters, I do not teach that a man must be circumcised. I wish the people who are bothering you would go all the way and castrate themselves! My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. Live by following the Spirit. Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. If the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law. The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do.  We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit.

I know I don't always do the things I want to do, and what I don't want to do I sometimes do.  However, the effort I spend trying to do and not do these things is pointless.  My entire effort should be to live by the Spirit.  That's it.  I am no longer striving to be holy, I am striving to allow the Holy Spirit to live through me.

Friday, June 3, 2011