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Thursday, June 22, 2006

one day in His courts

Psalm 84:10-12 (MSG)
One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. All sunshine and sovereign is God, generous in gifts and glory. He doesn't scrimp with his traveling companions. It's smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

as i've spent time in reflection the last few weeks, the one thing which has become abundantly matter what the circumstances, I don't want to spend them anywhere else except with God by my side. one day in His courts is definitely better than a thousand elsewhere!


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


i don't do well with being yelled at- especially before i've had my coffee.

i was heading into work and had a statement to drop at the police station because, due to a gross error in judgement on my part, i had helped some stranger out on the weekend instead of promptly delivering the pizzas to my sons and their buddies who were all watching (you guessed it- this is canada) the hockey game.

but what was i to do? this lady and her little four-year-old child were being accosted out on the front lawn of a lower-income housing project when i drove by on saturday night- five minutes from face-off time. the man doing the accosting was a gross caricature of the volatile substance-abusing father, complete with patchy beard and really bad sweats. i drove by, watching the drama continue to unfold in the rearview mirror until suddenly the guy's hand shot out, whether it was to strike or grab i could not tell.

whatever the threatening movement, it was now superbeggar to the rescue- i turned my powerful minivan around and headed back to the scene.

leaping from my ride, i said in a voice loud enough that both the woman and her attacker...

(who was now trying to pull the kid out of the woman's clutches, while the kid cried silently, no doubt waiting for someone to say 'make a wish!' it was like wild horses in the colosseum in the process of tearing a very small christian apart)

"do you need some help? do i need to call the police?" or something.

the woman said 'yes- please!'
the guy looked up and yelled "go ahead- it's not against the law to talk to my son!" seasoning his dialogue with plenty of extra adjectives and adverbs in order to impress us all.

so i called the police and the woman's assailant took off grumbling at me, but also keeping his eye on me in case i was only bluffing- in which case he would, no doubt, resume his business with the woman and the little child. eventually the police came to assist her and i delivered the cold pizza to the eight 13-16 year olds in my basement who, not surprisingly, didn't seem to mind.

so anyway, today i was trying to bring my big fancy written statement (which was probably more factual but nowhere near as fun to read- however fun this has been, just subtract about 2/3 of it...) but i was there before 8 so the doors were locked. a big buff bald guy and a woman came out through the door, but when i went to grab it and walk in, the guy yelled 'DON'T GO IN THERE!'

geez- yelled at again. i hate being yelled at- especially in small confined spaces. all i was trying to do was hand in my statement as asked so that the police will quit calling my house.

that's it, no more heroism for me... bloody do-gooder.

at least i was polite... although i did say 'you don't have to yell- i'm right here.' to the buff guy who was probably just coming off of a nightshift, keeping the streets safe so i could sleep without a sedative.

it's tough being a super-hero... just ask either of us. all that action and then all that paperwork keeping us from pizza and the hockey game.

and yet somewhere in the recesses of my heart there is a truth that resonates:

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (matthew 25.40)

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Friday, June 09, 2006

to be in or out...that's the pondering

it's funny how you can seem to know something deep down inside, but for me anyhow, sometimes my brain and my actions just don't 'jive'. i know who i am and i know the only view of me which truly matters is God's. so many times though, i go out and try to 'fit in the boxes' of life which apply to me.

i think for me sometimes it's just easier to make myself 'fit in a box' than to try and go against the flow. it's takes a lot less energy, is more peaceful on some fronts and tends to draw less attention. truth be told, sometimes it's lonely and awkward when you're living life 'outside the box'...especially for a person whose tendency is to try and blend in.

the questions in my head as i write...if everyone chose the easy/safe routes in life, what would the world be? just because a choice might be easier, is it necessarily the right one?


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Sunday, June 04, 2006

confessions of a dangerous mind

"The Christian community is not a spiritual sanatorium. The person who comes into a fellowship because he is running away from himself is misusing it for the sake of diversion, no matter how spiritual this diversion may appear."

(dietrich bonnhoffer)

amazing soundbyte. how many of us run away from ourselves right into the arms of others who are trying to do the same thing? and then we wonder why relationships within the church often go bad.

tragic thing about all of that is that those outside the church have been told by somebody that believers have it all together, so when they see something to the contrary they cry 'hypocrite alert!' and turn their backs on the only one whose arms are actually qualified to completely receive them.

we are emotionally flawed at best. we have our moments where everything shines and we have our moments where everything we do and say casts a shadow, eclipsing God's light rather than reflecting it.

awhile back i typed an email that i did not send... you know the kind: one that says much that is probably true but, until these things are spoken in love, mustn't be communicated (and good luck with the 'love' part when you are feeling so strongly that you have resorted to writing imaginary emails to frustrating people!)

however, this note was different- it stopped me in my tracks:

what i want? (in no particular order)

i want you to recognize that there are other people in the church besides you.
i want you to be sensitive to the needs of others, recognizing that others are trying
to be sensitive to yours.
i want you to grow up and quit finding reasons to be mad at people.
i want you to be teachable.
i want you to listen.
i want you to quit asking questions when you don't really want the answers.
i want you to quit arguing when you have been given both personal and
scriptural examples of how we are to be responsible as members of a
believing community.
i want you to quit projecting all of the pain that you have felt from those who have hurt or otherwise devalued you onto those who love you and are tying to walk alongside of you.
i want you to stop putting yourself at the centre of everything and put
Jesus there- then behave accordingly.

it occurs to me that all the same things that I want of you
are the things that Jesus wants of me.

here's a tangent: what if believers applied the restoration process outlined in matthew 18 to their relationship with themselves? it would also have to start with love or it would just be your own private gong show...(1cor13.1)

and my experience has been that it doesn't stay private for long. eventually you give yourself away. if you have no love for yourself, what chance does anyone else have of getting some?

You can be a righteous rocker or a holy roller
You can be most anything.
You can be a child of the slum or a skid row bum,
You can be an earthly king.

Without love, you ain't nothing, without love.
Without love, you ain't nothing, without love.
Without love, you ain't nothing, you ain't nothing nothing nothing.
Without love, you ain't nothing, without love. (larry norman, circa 1975)