Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On(line) Community

As some know, I am a big fan of a MMORPG (Massive-Mulitplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game) entitled RuneScape. (Colin this is close to what you describe here.) It is loosely based on medieval theme, essentially you get to work on one of 23 different skills, and take part in many different quests and adventures. It is based entirely in JAVA, which for the computer challenged essentially means that you can play from virtually ANY computer with an internet connection (even dial up). The trade off is, however it has what some consider to be substandard graphics (read DAVE!) especially when compared to World of WarCraft, which is, to me, it's most significant competition. For me RuneScape is fun, inexpensive and the game is updated almost every week with new content, fun times for me.
So why do I share this with you, my faithful blog readers? Well, I recently joined a online group of players aged 30 and up (as you can imagine many of those who play this game are decidedly under 30). This group provides a network of people to trade items with and to do activities together. The reason I share this with you, is this group (it wasn't my fault, I promise!!) just went through a very significant division. The group had been about 350 or so, and currently it's dropped to about 244, but it also included some of the leadership. This has caused a great deal of stress and it certainly isn't the same as many of those who have stayed are upset about their friends leaving and for how everything was handled.
The fact that I'm a big geek aside, does this not remind anyone of what happens in the church? Needless to say, I don't play video games for that kind of interpersonal drama. If I want drama I'll watch ER (is that show not a little over the top recently?). Yet it was fascinating for me to see this happen outside the church. Although, it was very sad to talk with those who left. As a new member of the group, I was very much surprised at all this and had no idea what was really going on. It was stressful for me, as one of the people who introduced me to the group is now gone. While there were a lot of things that were totally unlike church in the situation (what with it being online and being all about a video game), there were some things that I did learn. These are things I won't soon forget.

  • It's difficult to sort out what's going on when you feel like you only know a handful of people. It's difficult to know who to believe when people take sides.
  • It's hard to know what to do when you like the group, but the people you knew best are gone, should I stay or should I go?
  • Your emotions that run the gamut all at the same time, you find yourself in some measure identifying with all sides.

Now truthfully, the intensity of those emotions are for me, were not nerely as intense as I have about church and serving the Lord. (For anyone reading this from that group... that is primarily due to the strength of my convictions about church life and community and the length of time I've been in the group).
In the end, it's good to know that other groups struggle with what we do, but it's sad to know that as the church we're not that different either. Did that make sense? It has given me a great deal to think about.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Spirituality and emotions...

...specifically, mine. It has been in the last few years that I have begun to discover how incredibly emotional I am. (All of you saying that you knew that already... keep you comments 'til later) I feel very much like I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions and it is incredible how much of your sprituality seems tied into that. It's not like I'm having a serious crisis of faith or anything, I still fervently believe in God, but somehow things feel "off".
For some of you, this revelation is nothing new (read: Tara), however for myself it has been a little stressful to see all these up and downs. I have pictured myself more "steady" then it appears I am. Nothing like having your own ideas of yourself challenged.
I have begun to study Isaiah. While prophetic literature is rarely "fun", in that there is a great deal of judgment therein, I am looking forward to chewing on some of it. I am trying very hard to think through some things and look ahead, to the future. Recently, I have found that life when it becomes overwhelming (as it is likely to try and do...), it begins to take away our hope, our dreams and our passion for things. Sometimes it seems like everything is kinda stale.
Parts of life sometimes feel that way. Intellectually I am thankful for so many things. I am so thankful for my wife. If I haven't told you lately how awesome she is, I'm sorry- SHE'S AWESOME! My kids are a major blessing to me too. So many other things too, but those are on my mind now.
I once heard someone suggest that perhaps these "dull and dark" times are to help us appreciate the clear and bright times, if that's the case, let's get on the bright shall we? It is astonishing to me how up and down life can be.
All I know for certain is this, that without my faith, without my God, without the blessings he has placed in my life, things would be infinitely harder.
Pursuing God despite of it all seems to be the order of the day. I am becoming more convinced that God is more concerned about where we are in relationship with him then he is about our personal comfort. So I seek Him as best I can. Often this is hard. Often this is against my "better" judgment. I still hear Him calling me to himself. Not just as a pastor, but as a disciple. The verse that comes to mind is this

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
But, then again, that's just me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


So the weather has been the predominate subject around here these days.
I don't know how much snow we ended up getting, but for goodness sakes, it's a lot.

I also don't mind admitting I have inquired to a friend about having him do our driveway with his quad/snowplow setup. Yes, I'm wimping out. I'm okay with that. I say, work smarter not harder. Besides, while looking out the window might give you the impression it's a beautiful day, bright sunshine, not a cloud to be seen - I can read a thermometer.

Currently -24.7C on the north side of our house. That's like 5 degrees warmer than when I woke up, but it's still cold.

If you need me. I'll be inside.