Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Stories on the Way’ Category

You Are All One

Yesterday was another one of those interesting days for one new to the pastoral guild.  In the morning I was down in Victoria preaching and leading a discipleship class at a church in Victoria.  It is a very interesting church comprised, I was told, mainly of well educated white-collar types.  The worship service was formal and highly-structured; there was a strong sense of reverence and propriety.  There was beautiful artwork throughout the sanctuary and a high degree of musical skill evident in the singing time. Read more

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

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

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

Religion and Violence: An Interesting Conversation

Some friends are visiting from Alberta and we spent part of yesterday over at a market in North Vancouver. After a bit of shopping our friends’ kids were getting a little restless so we camped out in the play area for a while and let them run off some steam with the other kids. As we were sitting around watching the kids play, we struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was there taking care of his granddaughter. After a bit of pleasant small-talk, the conversation turned, as it inevitably does, to where everyone’s from and what they do. 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

A Necessary Lesson

It’s funny the kinds of situations that produce “teachable moments.” I spent a good chunk of today fruitlessly banging my head against the wall, trying to come up with a workable structure for the class that I will be co-teaching this fall at Columbia Bible College. It was a very frustrating day, and on the trip home my mind was filled with misgivings and anxiety about my ability to do the things that are required of me over the next couple of months. Read more

Fear, Zen Neighbours, and the Nature of Faith

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear over the last couple of days. A couple of conversations and an article contribute to what follows. First, I had a discussion last night with someone who is struggling to navigate the tension that is arising in a church which is becoming polarized over the issue of whether or not the “Emergent Church” is a phenomenon that ought to be embraced or rejected. Not surprisingly, there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but at least as troubling as the division this is causing is the role that fear is playing in the discussion. I am certainly no cheerleader for the Emergent Church (in fact, I wish whatever it is that this term designates would just emerge already…), but I am troubled by the attempts of some to convince others that the ideas of this movement are “dangerous” and that we have to be “careful” that they don’t lead our children woefully astray. This seems to be nothing more than fear-mongering to me, and it does not portray the beliefs one is attempting to “protect” in a very positive light. Read more

Lessons in Transit

This morning was a fairly ordinary morning on the bus.

Riding the bus has taken some getting used to for a prairie boy accustomed to wide open spaces, and driving everywhere and anywhere at the drop of a hat. I am not used to having to wait to get anywhere I want to go, and I am certainly not used to being squeezed like cattle into a bus or standing less than a foot away from a total stranger for forty minutes, both of us desperately pretending to look anywhere but at each other. I am not used to standing in the rain on a cold Vancouver morning while three buses blow by because they are full, and I am not used to taking three hours to warm up after the process described above. Read more