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Posts from the ‘Random Musings’ Category

Who is My Neighbour?

Today I went out for a “pastoral visit” to an elderly couple who came to church this past Sunday.  They hadn’t darkened the door of a church in at least a decade, and came now mostly, I think, because they are just really lonely people who don’t have a lot of human contact.  They have no children, no living siblings, no nieces and nephews that they are in contact with, no friends at the senior’s centre, no… anything.  There were no pictures of family on their walls, no mementos, no heirlooms, nothing.  Just two old, frail, lonely people existing in the same space without anyone to care about them in any way. Read more

Running among the Dead

One of the things I miss about Vancouver is, perhaps surprisingly, living close to a graveyard.  During our time at Regent I made sporadic attempts at regular jogging. The life of a student was, obviously, a fairly sedentary one at times and going for a run was one way to break the monotony of hours spent reading, writing, editing, etc. I didn’t run for very long, mind you, but I did try to get out a couple of times a week to maintain some modicum of fitness. Read more

Six Random Things

I’m still a little new to the whole online “meme,” thing, but I’ve been tagged by Ken so why not have a little fun on a Friday night.  Here’s the rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6).
  3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
  4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. Read more

The Christian Bookstore: A Reintroduction

I spent an hour in a Christian bookstore yesterday.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, and it was an eye-opening experience.  Not only has it been a long time since I’ve been in a Christian bookstore, it’s the first time my reason for being in one was to check out potential “resources” for people in a church where I am a pastor (still feels a little odd to say that…). Read more

Why Wouldn’t I Forgive You?

Moving to and setting up in a new place can be a stressful time. There is lots of assembling things, moving them around, running around buying this or that miscellaneous item, returning said item when it doesn’t fit or work as you expected it to, etc. Several consecutive days of this can leave one feeling a bit tired and, well, short-tempered. When you combine parents who are preoccupied with setting up a house with kids who are getting less attention than they are normally accustomed to, you have a recipe for frustration. Read more


Goodbyes are never easy. We’re being reminded of this as we begin the process of moving (again) to start a new phase of our lives. We just returned from a wonderful evening spent with a great group of friends from our church family. The drive home was a quiet one. Just as it was three years ago, it’s hard to think about picking up and leaving friends and family again, and starting over somewhere new. Every get-together with friends now carries with it a tinge of regret – the knowledge that this may be the last time we get together this way with this group of people for this reason. There is a sense of loss that comes with goodbyes, a sense that something good is slipping away. Read more

Something New Under the Sun

Over the last couple of days the daily readings from the lectionary I’m following have been from the first three chapters of Ecclesiastes. This morning’s reading was the famous “a time for everything” passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, popularized by The Byrds, and no doubt resonant with the experience of many. The seasons come and go, and life looks pretty much the same. Ecclesiastes is, I suppose, considered to be a bit of a bleak book (although I’ve always rather liked it), one that gives expression to how the world is experienced by human beings. We’re born, we struggle, we seize what fleeting pleasures are on offer, we die, and around and around it goes. Nothing new. Read more

What’s in a Name?

Every Saturday night over the last year or so, from 10:45-12:00, I play hockey with a group of guys I connected with through one of the dads at the kids’ school. After the game last night, amidst the usual mélange of sweat, beer, colourful language, and conversation about what this or that guy has “under the hood,” one guy came over to me and said (loudly) “So, I hear you’re leaving us in a month.” “That’s right,” I said. He continued, “and I hear that you’re a minister?” Hmmm, well how to respond to that. “Well, I will be,” I said. “What denomination?” came the reply. Hmmm…. Read more

The World According to lululemon

Like the dutiful Vancouver husband/father that I am, I marched off to lululemon on Saturday to see if I could find my wife a gift worthy of both her maternal skills and her status as an emerging distance runner. lululemon is a Vancouver company famous mainly (I think) for its yoga-wear (although I couldn’t help but notice that their tags say “designed in Vancouver, made in Cambodia”). At any rate, it is, apparently, where all the cool moms get their workout gear so off I went to see what I could find. Read more

A Circuitous Path to Environmentalism

When I was a kid I distinctly remember feeling, at times, somewhat resentful of my “Mennonite-ness.” It wasn’t anything distinctly theological (although like many kids, I suppose, there were moments when I didn’t like being “the Christian” amongst a group of friends who mostly were not) or cultural (I don’t recall particularly liking borscht at the time, but ours was not a family that clung to any of the typical cultural identifiers of German “Mennonite-ness” too fiercely). I knew enough Christians to mitigate the unpleasantness produced by my status as a “cognitive minority,” and there were enough sweet German pastries to offset those Mennonite dishes that happened to offend my palate. No, the source of my resentment lay elsewhere. Read more

Writing Space

A while back I came across this interesting pictorial feature on the spaces where writers write. Perhaps it is just the myopia and delusions of self-importance produced by spending days on end in an office trying to bang out a thesis which leads me to believe that others might be interested in such a thing, but I needed a diversion, and snapped a few pictures of the space where I spend a good part of my days. Not quite as inspiring as some of the photographs from The Guardian (Hilary Mantel’s is among my favourites), but a place that I have grown rather attached to… Read more

I Wish Jesus Didn’t Have to Die

Last Thursday I took my kids with me to our church’s Maundy Thursday service. I wasn’t really sure how they would react.  It is, after all, a fairly somber and dark service, whose purpose is to lead its participants through the fearful events of Jesus’ final days. I had some reservations about even exposing a couple of impressionable six-year-olds to the full weight of the Easter story, but my apprehension intensified when they informed me, after watching a steady stream of volunteers moving to the front to read the selected Scripture readings, that they wanted to read one too. Read more

Signs of Life

Anyone who is a parent of small children will have first-hand experience of the sheer volume of clutter that can be accumulated by the simple presence of little people in the house. With each passing day, the mountain of “stuff” seems to get bigger and bigger and when you’re living in a limited amount of space this stuff can get, well, pretty annoying. Half-finished drawings, completed and uncompleted assignments from school, innumerable stuffed animals, little cars, hockey sticks, crayons, gum and candy wrappers, jewelry, dolls, music papers, books… on and on the list goes. And as exhausting as it is to catalogue this endless collection of items that somehow find their way into our house, it’s even more frustrating to be faced with it at the end of a long day when the kids are finally in bed. Read more

Love and Knowledge

Near the end of Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great, tucked away in a chapter entitled “The Resistance of the Rational,” is the following definition of an educated person, approvingly attributed to Socrates: “All he really “knew,” he said, was the extent of his own ignorance.” Read more

Two Ways of Waiting

Lent is a time of waiting—something we are all, in various ways and to varying degrees, familiar with. During Lent our waiting is oriented towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the high points of the Christian calendar. But “waiting” is a theme that extends far beyond the period of Lent. Read more

The Alphabet of Grace

I’ve slowly been acquainting myself with the work of Frederick Buechner over the last couple of weeks. This is partly because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and partly because my dad had a book of his sermons and meditations lying around and I started reading it as I desperately searched for inspiration prior to speaking at my wife’s grandfather’s funeral back in Alberta this week. My brief exposure to him thus far has proven immensely rewarding (I read a lengthy passage from A Room Called Remember at the funeral) so today I went out and picked up a couple of his books. Read more

The Real Thing

I’m rather loathe to hop on two horses that have been ridden as promiscuously and enthusiastically within some Christian circles as U2 and C.S. Lewis, but coming across both in the same week is bound to be at least somewhat thought-provoking, right? I’ve been a U2 fan for quite a while now—at least since The Joshua Tree was immortalized as my first “secular” music purchase in 1987 (by “secular music purchase” I mean the first cassette tape (!) that was not selected from among the six meager offerings at the local Christian bookstore). While I’m not one of these rabid fans who think that life as we know it began with U2, or that Bono is going to save the world, I do enjoy their music immensely (and I’m not quite as cynical as some re: the perceived endless moralizing of Bono). Read more

New Possibilities

Well, the combination of a bout with the Christmas flu, a trip back to Alberta for the holidays, and a general lack of reading and reflection over the past couple of weeks have conspired to make this a rather barren forum lately. We’ve just arrived back in Vancouver over the weekend and are slowly settling back into our regular routines. For me, this means writing. A lot of writing. I aim to finish my thesis by April at which time we will begin the process of discerning what comes next for us as a family. Read more