Thursday, April 30, 2009

music on dusty shelves

So over the last little while I've been dumping some of old CDs onto my computer and mp3 player. Bands I listened to in college. 26 disks so far...
Here's a list:
  • Tragically Hip
  • Watchmen
  • Hootie and the Blowfish,
  • Pearl Jam,
  • Our Lady Peace,
  • 3rd eye blind,
  • Oasis,
  • Goo Goo Dolls,
  • Great Big Sea,
  • really old Sarah McLachlan stuff,
  • Space Jam soundtrack,
  • Crash Test Dummies,
  • Big Wreck,
  • Barenaked Ladies
It's weird though, the music hasn't changed. But I have. I'm older. I'm married, now, have a trio of kids, my oldest turned 7 today (see Tara's post for a cool little video she made of photos).

Yet while I don't enjoy all of it the way I did back then, some I have truly enjoyed listened to, because it seems to connect to a part of my life years ago. It's good to have a sense of where you came from, a sense of who you are without all the forces around you pushing and pulling you to be something else. I learned a lot about life in the 90's. It's good to groove to music that I haven't listened to in so long that it feels like it's fresh- if you know what I mean, but I know all the words.

So no, I am not going to live in the 90's, but for awhile, I'll be there musically.

Friday, April 24, 2009


So today I was buried in pink.
I was loading the washing machine and found that I had a whole load of pink things. Now this was not something I had ever imagined myself doing. However at this point in my life I am tied to the colour pink. Pink now completely and totally reminds me of my daughter Olivia. Pink does not remind me of Tara, if any colour reminds me of her it's green. But now I don't despise pink. Now I kinda like pink. Honestly it's funny how some things change you.

Anyhow, here's a few photos of my little girl. It's official (and has been for some time) I'm smitten.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sitting on the porch with a friend...

Have you ever just sat with an old friend on the porch?
Just sitting, sometimes chatting, sometimes not.
Where just being together is like a healing balm to your whole person. As your body rests from the sitting, your soul rests in the presence of trusted and beloved friend. Have you ever had such a wonderful moment where time slips away but leaves a fabulous warmth in your heart as it does?
Morning pleasures...

Most of us long for those kind of connections. Most of us have no idea how to make those moments happen, or even how to encourage them. So when they do happen we hold onto them like crazy, reliving them many times in our imagination afterwards. The only thing we know is that those moments only come if you give them space. You can’t have moments if you never get together with your friend. If you never carve time out for them you can’t have those moments.

I think sometimes we expect Jesus to show up and do that for us every Sunday. Yet if we never give him the space or time, is that a realistic expectation?

Oh Lord, I so long that you would come soon so that the promises, all the things that up to now fall into that “not yet” category, becomes the now. If not, will you come and be with me today? Will you bring warmth and healing to my stone like heart? Strengthen and encourage, gently teach and show me the way to do all of life better, show all of us how to be your people, your church, your bride.
We love you, but not as much as you love us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All of a sudden it was 1997...

So I'm driving Aiden home from school and the grocery store and we were talking about the warm weather and having a barbeque tonight, and I said ' should we listen to some music on the way home?' and he replied 'Oh yeah! Some rock and roll!', 

So I put in a kids CD on that we have in the van.  He said 'that's not rock and roll!!!'.
So in a scramble I slammed in an almost forgotten about CD and was taken back to 1997...

Anyone remember "Big Wreck - In Loving Memory of"?  

Here's a little reminder...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 1989

I was baptized on Easter Sunday 1989.
Twenty years ago.  

Thoughts are swirling between my ears.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Me and Church and other people

I'm a pastor.  For the vast majority of the time I enjoy what I do.  I love the church.  It's not a popular sentiment these days, but I've never been cool.   I grew up in the church.  Aside from home, it was where I learned about God, where I learned to grow and mature as a Christian.  As I went from childhood to my teen years, it was in church, specifically the youth program at my church, that I was pushed to grow more in my walk and make my faith 'my own' (as opposed to something that my parents did).  

I read this week a reminder about the nature of truth and love it said this:

Love without truth is hypocrisy
Truth without love is brutality

The church is messed up.  We can be inward focused, selfish, push personal agendas, and generally be mean to each other and judgemental (or worse) of the world.  I get that.  I get that many people have been hurt by the 'church', which is really just a nice way of saying that other people, other Christians have hurt you.  Sometimes that comes through deliberate actions and sometimes it's because something was left undealt with or was never seen.
That sucks.  It's more than likely I have even hurt people.  My choices or lack of making a choice has hurt people.  Sometimes you know that a choice you make is not only going to be unpopular, but difficult for someone.  Sometimes you have no idea.  Sometimes hindsight tells you that the way something worked out hurt people, even though  you didn't mean it.

So what am I trying to say really?
Leaving the church isn't the answer.  There are times when you need to leave a particular church, but giving up on ALL church is not going to help anyone.  
The question I then have, and it's a question I ask on a regular basis is this:
Well what should church look like then?  Because in my mind it's easier to find things wrong then come up with solutions.

While I grew up in the church, at the end of it all I wasn't left with the same kind of 'traditional' feeling that some people get.  I mean I remember poking fun at different parts of our church life or of some of the people who did things a certain way.  People poked fun at me too, and my wife feels that was entirely appropriate as this was the era of the Doug Mullet.  I have also been informed that I am in no way ever to have that kind of a hair cut again, or she'll go and cut my hair in my sleep with a rusty steak knife, but I digress.  (If there are any people from my youth group days who can tell me which family's pool this photo was taken at, hit me in the comments)

The point is though that nothing ever really felt 'traditional' to me.  There were things that I liked and things that bored me to tears.  There were parts of church life that resonated with me and parts of it left me scratching my head.  
I wanted to become a pastor because I felt like I had to give back a little of what others had given me.  God used the work and effort of regular people to impact my life.

 Sure over the years there are some people that don't understand me and rail against me at times, but not everyone.  I remember pivotal points in my life where different people in my church(s) were used by God to break through my defences and teach me something.  People like Jim, who taught a Sunday school class in Junior High, my quiz coaches pushing me to memorize (even though I only quizzed one year), Pastor Gerry who God used in big ways, Steve a youth sponsor who drove bus and prayed with me the night God rattled my cage in a big way at a Good Friday rally in Unionville.  I remember the ladies who sang their hearts out and showed me that all kinds of music could be worship (I wasn't listening to anything like what they were singing on my walkman).  I remember the encouragment people gave me the night I was baptized (Easter Sunday 1989).   The people in the church I interned at who loved me and challenged me and showed me things.  And many in the churches I've served as pastor. And as much as I remember I know that there were more things that God used to shape me.  

I suppose I struggle with those who can walk away from church in general.  Despite all the chaos that I've seen in churches (and likely I haven't seen as much hurt and chaos as many have) God still used it to impact me.  For me being a pastor is a small way to serve the church that has prayed for me, challenged me, taught me and at times has hurt me.  

Often though, I don't know what to do to make the church better.  Often I don't know how to get people to change.  Often I don't know how to bring depth to something that often is shallow.  I struggle at length at times to find a way to communicate the immense gratitude I have inside for all the things that God has done.  

It was twenty years ago that I was baptized on Easter Sunday, perhaps that's why I am writing this really long post.  I'm still here.  My intention is, that twenty years from this Easter I will still be in church; and twenty after that and... (although I'm not sure I'll be pastoring 40 years from now, but who knows, maybe I'll be the guy trying desperately to stay awake during the service and Tara will be jabbing me in the ribs with an elbow to keep me from snoring during the sermon).

May you find a new appreciation for our Lord Jesus this Easter weekend and find new ways to love the church.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The pastor's question is

The pastor's question is, "Who are these particular people, and how can I be with them in such a way that they can become what God is making them?"
  -Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor