Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Random Musings’ Category

Respect the Right to Be Different

A few months ago the kids each came home from school with one of these lovely yellow T-shirts as a part of their school’s Anti-Bullying Day.”  Of course their cynical father’s mind instantly began to wander down all kinds of philosophical and theological rabbit-trails (the intellectual problems of pluralism, the political challenges of multiculturalism, etc), but on the less arcane level of how people actually treat those who think/look/act differently than them, I of course happily affirmed the T-shirt’s message! Read more

Writing: We Claim What We Have Lived

During my first year as a pastor, a wise friend told me to make a habit of journaling through and about the many and varied experiences and people that I encountered in my daily work.  I’ve not been as regular with this as I should, but I have found that when I do make a practice of writing about experiences and how they affect me, it invariably brings a measure of clarity and, often, newfound resolve to whatever situation happens to be looming large, whether positive or negative. Read more

A New Network and a New(ish) Look

Sometimes I (somewhat hypocritically) lament the limitations of the blogging world, the kind of discourse it does/does not promote, the nastiness and/or triviality that can creep in, etc, but there are many good things about blogging as well!  And one of these good things is discovering thoughtful and intelligent writers and thinkers out there whose reflections are all brought together into blog networks (I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the CC Blog Network, for example). Read more


I’ve had the opportunity to travel back to my hometown in southern Alberta twice over the last month or so, once for a late Christmas and once for a funeral. A small town on the prairies was home for virtually all of my first thirty years until we left four and a half years ago to begin graduate studies in Vancouver. Going back always feels good and often leads to interesting times of reflection. Read more

To Become a See-er

One of the blogs I have come to deeply appreciate over the last little while is that of Winnipeg singer/songwriter Steve Bell.  Steve is an enormously talented human being whose music I have admired for some time and who I have gone to see in concert whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself (most recently, I saw him perform at Regent College last September).  I began following Steve’s blog last year and have discovered that his talents are many and diverse!  Not surprisingly—he is, after all, a songwriter—Steve has a way with words and his posts often leave me with much to ponder. Read more

Paying Attention

A New Year is upon us and it seems like as good a time as any to take a step back and think about any goals, hopes, expectations I might have for 2010.  I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions, but if I could isolate one thing that I would like to characterize the coming year to a greater extent than it has any of my previous years it would be this: I would like to pay better attention. Read more

A Christmas Story

Tuesdays are usually a bit different than other days for me. My wife works from 2-9 pm so I pick the kids up from school and work from home. Or at least I try to. Of course, there are inevitably numerous distractions, minor crises and irritants to put up with, as well as such essential tasks as dinner preparation, help with homework, the circus of bedtime, and any number of other things to deal with. Suffice to say, that Tuesday afternoon/evening is not typically the most productive time of my week. Read more

A (Mini) Milestone

A few months ago, I came across this picture on Gil’s blog and had a good chuckle.  There is much that is true about this caption.  Blogs are a dime a dozen, and most vastly overestimate both the scope of their influence and the significance of their content.  I printed the picture off and it hangs beside my desk as an omnipresent reminder of the perils of blogging. Read more

On Fish Wars and a “Drive-By Culture”

Vancouver Island is not a place known for being a hotbed of some of the “culture wars” that take place south of the border. As far as I’ve been able to tell in one year, it is a very post-Christian environment with a whole bunch of eclectic spiritualities from quasi-paganism to charismatic Christianity to the garden variety unreflective secularism that you see anywhere else in the modern west. Having said all that, I’ve been surprised to notice that the “fish wars” seem to have a small but noticeable presence over here. Read more

It’s 1989 All Over Again!

From the “it’s about time” file comes today’s news that my beloved Calgary Flames have decided to rewind the clock and wear retro jerseys from the 1980’s for five home games this year in order to commemorate their 30th anniversary.  These jerseys will always have a special place in my heart.  The Flames wore these the night they became the only visiting team ever to hoist the Stanley Cup in the hallowed Montreal Forum (and made a 14 year old boy very happy!).  The return of the jerseys are just the first step.  I can see it all now… The glory of 1989 is returning! Read more

Hockey Heaven

Well, we’re nicely into July now so I figured it was high time for a post about… hockey? What can I say—I’m as Canadian as they come. Like many kids growing up on the prairies, I was obsessed with hockey as a child. I played on ice, on grass, and on concrete. I played table hockey and video game hockey. I watched hockey religiously every Saturday night (we didn’t have a TV for part of my childhood so every Saturday night my brother and I would race across the yard to my grandparents’ house to watch Hockey Night in Canada on their black and white television). I collected hockey cards and my brother and I would spend hours arranging them according to every conceivable category, memorizing endless numbers of players and their statistics along the way. Read more

Freedom, Decency, and the MMVA’s

A few weeks ago I discovered that one of the many useless channels that I am now privileged to have access to as a cable television subscriber is a channel called Much Music (I wasn’t aware that my TV went above channel 100… or what combination of buttons on my remote would lead me to this uncharted territory; for most of my life, I’ve made do with five channels or less).  I used to sneak a peak at MM whenever I could as a teenager because I rarely got to see music videos and was strangely fascinated by this brave new (at least to me) world of music and entertainment. Read more

The Magniloquent David Bentley Hart

I remember a friend from graduate school remarking last year about the experience of reading David Bentley Hart and the challenge to one’s vocabulary this presented.  While I have not read Hart’s magum opus (The Beauty of the Infinite), I did enjoy The Doors of the Sea and am currently making my way (slowly) through his recent collection of essays entitled In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments.  Let’s just say that the online dictionary is getting a workout… Read more

God Loves Women Too, Right?

Of the many things that Jesus might have been getting at when he urged his followers to become “like little children,” I think near the top of my list would be the flat-out curiosity and forthrightness that I see so often in my own kids. I have found conversations with a couple of seven year-olds to be about as interesting (and reliable) a source of theological insight as any books on my shelf or sermons I hear (or deliver!). Read more

An Inspired Outburst

A wise man (and a good friend) once told me that the main job of a pastor is to look for God in the ordinary, everyday events of life and to help others find him there too. This has easily been the most rewarding part of the seven months I have now spent wearing the “pastor” hat. I have met a lot of people in a lot of different situations and I have almost always come away with a renewed sense of admiration for how God speaks in the various contexts his people find themselves in. Read more

If You Believe…

As I’m trying to get the kids lunches packed, homework in backpacks, shoes, jackets, gloves, toques, and who knows what else ready to go by 8:35 this morning, I noticed one of my daughter’s math worksheets lying on the kitchen counter.  Normally, my eyes are not particularly drawn to anything math-related (I think my kids are already pretty much bumping up against the ceiling of their father’s mathematical competence in grade two!), but for some reason I spied the following question and answer: Read more

Santa is the Man

Well, the city is blanketed in an unusual amount of snow, and Christmas is certainly in the air. This morning I was off to see the always interesting children’s school Christmas concert. I tend to approach these events with a high degree of curiosity—especially in our post-Christian context. What organizational gymnastics, I wonder, will the organizers have to go through to present a non-offensive, politically correct program for the many and varied attendees that will be present yet at the same time say something remotely significant that honours the season? I genuinely feel for those who have to organize these things. It can’t be easy. Read more


I stopped chewing my fingernails a few months ago.  This might sound like a rather unremarkable detail to be broadcasting into cyberspace but those who have known me for a while will know how significant this is.  I’ve been chewing my nails for pretty much as long as I can remember. Read more