Sunday, December 30, 2007

Whatever happened to this thing 'The Gospel'

So I walked into my home to discover my brothers were watching 'Jesus Camp', luckily for me the movie was half done at that point. I sat down to join them in watching this film and I basically want to vomit over all of America. And so, as I sit here watching this film on Christianity in America (and I would argue not simply a few radicals) I ask myself, "What has happened to the Gospel? Where is it?"

They have this guy 'preaching' at these kids about abortion. Encouraging to scream out to God and 'plead by the blood of Christ' that abortion would be ended. Here is a suggestion, how about instead of looking to have laws changed and hope for an immediate miraculous healing of all social ills why don't we as Christians care for these women and men who seek abortions. Why don't we care for teenage mothers, for women with addictions, and for the other people who seek out abortions. There is far more to the gospel than simply demanding morality being legislated.

These kids are brainwashed with warfare language. They are regurgitating this language about being God's warriors who are waging war on the Devil. It is scary when Jr. Highs are talking about how they desire to be martyrs and how God it when people are willing to be martyrs. This glorification of martyrdom is disgusting. Do these white, suburbanite, Americans know many people who have lived through persecution, people who face death because of their faith? Do they even know people who come from countries where wars have happened, where they are happening?

Lets start reading the Bible again, free of political agendas. Let us start actually reading the Bible. Lets admit that America is not God's chosen nation. Lets admit that we are not the deliverers of salvation, that we are not the people who bring about the grace of God.

I wish that Dietrich Bonhoeffer were here today. I think he would seriously have some ball busting words for people.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Simply out of Duty

I feel I should 'blog' because its been awhile but I do not really want to blog right now. I have like three papers due on Wednesday, and I didn't end up doing any work on them this last week. That is ok though because I spent time with family and skied.

The best part of my time in good old PA was definitely making a quinzhee and sleeping away my Christmas Eve night outside. It was warm and wonderful. Nothing like snuggling up with two other guys and waking up on Christmas morning outside. It should probably become a tradition.

I am very happy to be back in Winnipeg though. I missed by beloved city.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Due to a very interesting small group get together a few weeks ago I have been thinking about conversion and wanting to put my thoughts on the subject together in writing. So what follows is my 2 cents on the topic of conversion.

I dislike this idea of personal salvation, that you convert in order to get yourself to heaven. Whether people know it or not what they are really saying is that conversion is something you do to avoid hell. These messages that we hear about our need to repent of our sins to avoid hell rub me the wrong way. Why? Well, allow me to continue by saying that I think God has a will.

Now this notion of the will of God is not new, but I think it is central to our understanding of conversion and salvation. You see I believe that God desires to be our God, that God longs to be in a relationship with humans. The book of Exodus is one place in scripture where we are shown this will of God. God wants to be the God of Israel and he wants for them to be his people. While there are individuals involved in this it is not about individuals. It is about something greater than me or anyone else for it is about God's people, not God's person. And so, at the heart of my understanding of conversion is the belief that God desires to be in a specific relationship with humans.

In scripture we are taught that there is this thing called sin which has greatly affected our ability to be in relationship with God. Through the grace of God though we are once again called into His presence. Those that are unworthy are called by the Holy One to enter into a relationship. In Genesis God fashions proper clothing for Adam and Eve, replacing the clothing they had fashioned out of fig leaves. Fig leaves are probably not the best leaf to use if you want to cover your naked self. Since the beginning God has continually been of grace, bringing people into relationship with himself and the Old Testament is full of stories of God bringing people back to himself despite the sins that they commit. Ultimately we are lead to the death and resurrection of Christ. To this sacrifice that was made.

I have problems when people use the death of Christ as a means of escaping from the consequences for their own actions, escaping the claws of hell. I believe strongly that it is through this grace of God that we are justified but I believe that we have come to forget that this justification exists because of the will of God. The crucifixion of Christ happened because of God's will to be in relationship with humans, with men and women, with children and adults.

Basically I see conversion as the casting away of the old self to follow Christ, to be in relationship with God and to find the new self. It is not an escape plan, it is a movement to God, and in this movement God reveals himself and through God we learn who we are. We learn that we are sinful but that we are loved by our heavenly father. Conversion is a part of something much bigger than repenting and an avoidance of hell. For God has plans for the world, not just for individuals, and I believe that we must think of conversion and salvation in terms of this. It is a kingdom thing, not a individual thing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I have been thinking about baptism lately. The result is many questions.

What does it mean that there are people who have been in the church for years, people who read scripture, pray, who serve but do not feel a need for baptism? What does it mean that some people do not feel called to baptism? Is this attitude to baptism simply a result of poor understanding and communication of what baptism really is, what role it plays in the life of a believer?

What are you saying to Christ if you turn down an invitation to baptism?

Is the church called to continue walking with these people? To continue in proclaiming God's truths found in scripture? To continue offering opportunities as we walk with people?

In ways I feel offended by peoples rejection of baptism. I find I must remind myself that I cannot be offended by this, it is not an attack on me, and is it even an attack on Christ? Love and patience seems to be critical when dealing with people. Baptism is good and we need to walk with each other.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I am currently reading through "Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, formerly known as "The Cost of Discipleship."

I love Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He currently just kicked my ass in regards to baptism and how I think of it. It was good but very heavy.

So insightful Mr. Bonhoeffer.

A Power Bomb

"How will our preaching of the passion of Jesus Christ become visible and credible to the world if the disciples avoid this passion for themselves, if they despise it in their own bodies?"
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some more NT Wright

I finished reading NT Wright's book "Simply Christian" today. I really enjoyed it reading it. My enjoyment came from the fact that not only was it written well but I think it has some very good things to say about/to Christianity.

Part of what I really found to be good was his reminder that Christianity is not simply about getting into heaven, in fact that is a false understanding. He speaks of the idea that Christianity is about the 'interlocking' of heaven and earth. Looking at the promises of God to bring about a new earth.

I was lead to think about this attitude that Christianity, faith in Christ, and church are all simply to avoid hell. To get into heaven. It seems like such a self-centered view of religion; making the death of Christ to be something to serve you. There seems to be such a removal from being involved in the body Christ.

One of the big problems in the church, in Christianity, these currently is a lack of commitment to the church. It seems to be something where too many people come and go as they please, as it is convenient for them. Maybe this has always been a problem. This isn't to say that you have to attend church every week and attend all church events. What I am saying is that we are called to be a part of this body even when it is inconvenient for us, even when we are not 'benefiting.' It is costly to follow God. Sometimes we appear foolish in the eyes of people. Sometimes are forced to sacrifice time and money. Sometimes it means letting someone sleep on your couch and raid your fridge.

Church is not about the individual, about the individual avoiding hell. It is about people being in relationship with and those people working together to do kingdom work.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Simply Christian

I am currently reading a book by N.T. Wright called "Simply Christian" and in this book Wright talks about the desire of justice that exists in humans. He suggests that this desire for justice exists because we are created by God and that justice is really only achieved through God.

Justice. Do I ever long for her. Justice is so desirable. It is so easy for me to think, to fall into memories of people I have met, people I know, and hope for that justice. I think of a women I met in the Congo who's husband abandoned her and their children because she was found to be infected by a disease. I think of a guy I work with who feels like white people look down on him because he is native. I think of kids from camp who have seen far too much violence for having grown up in 'peaceful' North America. So many faces.

I think of these people and I realize that we as humans have something wrong with us. We long for this thing called justice but we are never able to grasp it. I believe that God is the one who will bring justice to earth, justice that is full of love. I hope the Church is listening to what God is calling it to. There are far too many broken lives for the church to be worried about things like carpet color.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I just got back from watching my niece dance with her little dance class. When I say little I mean they are all little people, all children. There is something funny about little children attempting maneuvers that required coordination.

It was kind of like watching David Rae trying to dance.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


My work forces me to step into the role of a 'ball-buster.' For those of you who do not know what a ball-buster allow me to define: one who calls people on their crap. A total straight shooter.

I had to call my clients on some stuff this morning. It was slightly awkward but a good exercise in maturity.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I work for MCC, working with adults with FASD. CBC, on Sounds Like Canada, did a bit on FASD. In it they interviewed one of the clients we at MCC work with.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Church

I get the feeling that many Christians are ashamed of the church. People, who on things like face book, label their religious views as 'love' or 'follower of the Bible'. Why do people not want to be associated with Christianity, with the church? I am not doubting that these people love God and that these people want to be in a relationship with God. Nor do I think it is bad that love and scripture are central to peoples religious lives.

I do think though that people are called to be apart of the community of believers, the church, the collection of believers called Christians. On some levels I understand why people do not want to be associated with Christianity, for there have been horrible acts committed in the name of Christianity. As I read scripture, as I am attempt to be a member of the church, and as I read writings of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer I realize that the church, the body of Christ is something good and something extremely important to the lives of Christians. Despite popular attempts by many current Christians to make a separation between spirituality and religion (the institutionalization of spirituality) I think we need to return to a proper understanding of church. An understanding of church where people matter, where justice matters, where love matters, where God is central, and being in relationship with God is important.

I want to see the church move from the mentality where people need to simply get in the door and be 'saved'. Let us continually seek God, let us serve each other (those who are a part of the church and those who are not). I desire for the sacraments to be taken seriously again, where baptism is something that is important not just an after thought. Let us learn to pray and to read scripture. Let us remember what being the body of Christ looks like.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


So my niece generally seems to be against napping and sleeping if it is going to interfere with what she is doing but once people get older it seems to be the opposite. I would gladly stop working or studying if someone told me that I had to take a nap. I would not say no if I were her. I guess that is what happens when you are three and your work is playing. If I were in that situation I could become a workaholic too.

I can't believe my niece is a workaholic.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Thanksgiving was good. Good friends, family, food. Good times.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

St. Paul and the Gospel

I am currently watching a show about St. Paul and the world that he lived in. They looked into the city of Ephesus, talking about the impact of religion in the city and how it was a city basically funded by religion. Ephesus housed one of the largest temples in the world at that time and through many different ways that temple funded the city of Ephesus. Enter Paul

When Paul brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the city of Ephesus he began to preach. He would preach to large crowds. Possibly as many as 25, 000 people at the theatre in Ephesus. As people turned to Christianity people complained because of the insult it was to the temple in Ephesus and the economic damage that resulted. This controversy resulted in Paul being sent to prison. The incredible thing is that it is assumed that Ephesus as a city failed, it died, because of the economic changes that came about when people turned to Christianity. As the temple, the economy failed, and people left Ephesus.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Gospel

What is the power of the gospel? The older I get, the more I experience, the more I think that the gospel is something powerful. I believe that an encounter with Jesus Christ causes one to change. I do not understand why there are so many people in the church that seem to be unchanged. I often think that we, the church, have failed at being a community that views spiritual growth as a priority. I feel like the church has been in such a large drought in the area of discipleship.

As the church we should probably hold in higher regard our calling to faith.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have been reading, and rereading, a writing of Martin Luther entitled The Freedom of a Christian. While Martin Luther is by no means a perfect human he had a lot of things to say to a church dealing with corruption, to a church that had forgotten seems to have forgotten what role faith plays in the life of a Christian. I would like to share one of the parts of this writing that struck with me:

"Here we have a most pleasing vision not only of communion but of a blessed struggle and victory and salvation and redemption. Christ is God and man in one person. He has neither sinned nor died, and is not condemned, and he cannot sin, die, or be condemned; his righteousness, life, and salvation are unconquerable, eternal, omnipotent. By the wedding ring of faith he shares in the sins, death, and pains of hell which are his bride's. As a matter of fact, he makes them his own and acts as if they were his own and as if he himself had sinned; he suffered, died, and descended into hell that he might overcome them all. Now since it was such a one who did all this, and death and hell could not swallow him up, these were necessarily swallowed up by him in a mighty duel; for his righteousness is greater than the sins of men, his life stronger than death, his salvation more invincible than hell. Thus the believing soul by means of the pledge of its faith is free in Christ, its bridegroom, free from all sins, secure against death and hell, and is endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of Christ its bridegroom."

Monday, September 10, 2007


"Jesus was crucified on a dollar sign" I just said these words in response to money and the church. It sometimes seems like many Christians in our country of Canada are more focused on counting beans rather than on Christ. "Take up your dollar sign and follow me." I am pretty sure that Jesus did not utter these words but if he did I am sure he would really me something like this. "You are dead to money, it is not your tool anymore, it belongs to the kingdom."

I am not one to promote irresponsibility in the world of finances but I do believe that often the spending of a church or individual attempting to walk on the narrow path will often look irresponsible.

Money is money, let us not make it the Lord's gospel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Daily Bread

In the Lord's prayer we are instructed to pray for our daily bread, for our food today. As I sat today in a coffee shop, a coffee shop located in the area of Winnipeg referred to as "Hell's Kitchen" being named after the neighborhood in New York City, I thought of this. This is a coffee shop that was started by a church that calls this area of Winnipeg its home. I sat there before work, enjoying a cup of coffee and trying to focus my mind on work instead of on the current difficulties of my life. These current difficulties are the difficulties of owning an old vehicle, a vehicle that has recently broken down eight hours outside of Winnipeg causing me to miss work on Monday and suffer many stressful moments in the last few days.

As I sat and pondered this idea of daily bread I began to feel guilty for my recent hopes and prayers in regards to my crippled vehicle. Not that the worries, hopes, and prayers for things like crippled vehicles that belong to me or others are wrong but I think that there is a difference between these worries and this instruction to pray for daily bread. Maybe I should not be praying for the extras of life with such strength while I neglect praying for this daily bread. I look at people who I have met in my life and at people who I work with now; these people who are struggling with addictions, people who have lived through civil wars, people who have seen their children die. These people who deal day to day with things at a level of intensity that I doubt I have ever known, and I cannot help but feel these people have a much better understanding of daily bread than I do. So I come to think that this daily bread that Christ teaches us to pray for must be something that is far less shallow than prayers about vehicles, assignments for school or work, and other things of this manner. It seems to be something basic, something that is so basic that we, the 'unpoverished' of the world, seem to often forget about it because we are so distracted with extras of life.

I wonder if Jesus when teaching how to pray really was speaking of bread, or if he was speaking of something else that is so basic and fundamental to our existence that it only makes sense to compare it to such a simple food? Or maybe he was just talking about bread, or maybe Christ was meaning more than one thing when he taught this prayer.