Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Harry Potter TCG

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Just set up a new Yahoo! Group. I am always trying to network gamers, I just like gamers a lot. I realize that Harry Potter is a controversial subject for many Christians, so I offer you this - Connie Neal has some excellent insights on the subject. She presents both sides of the debate in "What's A Christian to do With Harry Potter".

Personally I am a big fan of fantasy. We have been running Dungeons and Dragons games for over 2 years now. I am convinced that we need to foster intellect, emotion and imagination as the threefold ways we encounter God's presence. One of my favourite Celtic theologians is Noel Dermott O'Donaghue who has a great discussion of the role of the 'imaginal' in our lives of faith in The Mountain Behind the Mountain.

I am also very keen on seeing kids foster their minds, hearts and imaginations as well. Harry Potter is amazing for that. I love the classic struggle of good versus evil. The emotional connection with the characters struggling to make the right choices in life. The way Harry Potter has encouraged a generation to read. What's not to love!

Now the Harry Potter Trading Card Game isn't made anymore - too bad (they did publish 5 sets of cards though). It is amazing how my 5 year old seems to get it - it helps that she's a Harry Potter fan. The game is great at teaching counting, remembering and strategy. In it you play lesson cards which let you cast spells and release animals. There are also lots of fun add on cards (we use some of these but without them the game is much simpler). The format is like a wizards duel, each of you has 30 cards (including at least one character from the books) and the first one to use up all their cards looses. It is simple and a lot of fun. Elyssa likes to be Hermione and I like to use lots of potions. The game doesn't capture the moral issues that the book handles - but hey you can't have everything.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Blessing My Brother

Had a chance to just hang out with my dear brother Andy today. He is planting a Calvary Chapel in Ottawa. The Vineyard used to be part of Calvary Chapel. It was great, we share a lot of the same history - and more important a common love for Jesus.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Had an interesting discussion with a friend on the whole topic of salvation today. It is interesting because within a post-modern framework the markers for salvation are quite different. It is easy in a salvationist paradigm to identify things like who is saved, when is a person saved, etc. But in a post-modern setting there are barriers to overcome like firstly - what is being saved?

What has helped me the most in adjusting from a salvationist (classic evangelical I guess) sense to a post-modern evangelical sense is the whole notion of invitation. Rather than seeing salvation as an event, often to the denegration of anything preceding the event. I see it more as a process - one that God invites us into.

I think the big fear about such a view is one of confidence. In the fear rife pop Christianity there is a big deal made about knowing if you are in or out. However, the God of scripture is anything but a God of fear. Fear is not the motivation for any of God's actions. Fear is named as something that cannot stand in God's presence. But despite this I think that it is a valid criticism. In response to that criticism I would point out that as one continues to move in a Christward direction, one cannot help but be bolstered by the witness of the Holy Spirit that tell us deep inside that we are God's very own, children of Father drawn near through the love act of the Son.

The other big advantage of a process theology of salvation is that salvation is not relegated to some assurance of a far off event - it matters in the here and now. It affects every choice we make, it permeates who we are and who we are becoming. It takes seriously the process of God's transformative work in our lives. It makes relevant this word 'salvation' by defining it as the restoration and completion of God's holy intent for our lives. It makes me want to be saved.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ray Simpson

Just saw that Ray Simpson, the guardian of Lindisfarne, is addressing the 24-7 prayer folks. I met Ray at a retreat put on by Celtic Horizons in Ottawa. Great guy, always with a story to tell. I left there with all kinds of ideas swirling around my head and heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Day 3 - Resonate Fast

Just checking in before I start running around. I have to remember to pray for my buddy Joseph at 2PM when he is praying for a friend with liver problems. Had a good rest last night - even after a late kinship. This is the last day of the fast, I feel a bit shaky inside and am tired of constantly having bad breath (yeah that is wierd). But am looking forward to some extra praying time today.

I would highly recommend not going to the grocery store when fasting.

Elyssa off to school. Chelsea watching Dora again - now time to pray before I need to go play with her. Can't let her watch that all day don't you know. I have a headache and I should not have started the day with a coffee. Doh!

OK so I'm pretty much through the times I can get away to pray. We'll have to see what happens tonight - I have to prepare supper for my kids! I made it through lunch but that was easy, I just cooked up a hot dog for Elyssa and heated leftovers for Chelsea. I am not sure what to make tonight though. Oh no Chelsea has the phone!!!!

For me the fast ends. It was a great ride. At supper my little one fell asleep and when I woke her she was in a right snit - I was having trouble coping so I decided not getting angry at my kids was worth more to me than a few more hours of not eating.

I know that I blogged the frustrating bits, I actually found that a bit therapeutic. I usually like to keep fasting pretty private - so maybe that is why it is intensified. Also it has been a long, long time since fasting more than a day or less. I learned a few very valuable things:

1 - I don't take care enough of my own body. I am in bad shape. I don't get enough rest nor do I always eat properly. I knew this, but it is soooo evident when you are fasting. I don't remember ever having this much trouble with it.

2 - I think I like it more private. So this is likely the last time I'll mention fasting - unless I decide on another big corporate fast like this one. We were reading the end of Matthew's take on the Sermon on the mount this week and praying in private really caught my attention. I tend to be a pretty open guy and I am learning about pearls and swine as well - got tore apart pretty bad this week for spilling my God dreams. That is a hard thing for me, which is why I think I have an easier time with internalizing things like fasting - more favour I guess.

3 - Get away to fast. The most frustrating thing is trying to press into God and have someone step into your space. In fact I think I really need to organize a time away each week - a personal prayer retreat. I know just the space too.

Well that's it for me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Day 2 - Resonate Fast

Much better - I think last night is the first time in a long while that I got more than 6 hours of sleep! I woke up feeling tired but more normal, that is a relief. Off to morning prayer, which was ok. It would have been better if we had prayed more and talked less - but when we did get to praying it was good. I love praying in public spaces - not that we do that in an obvious way. I like to do what I call conversational prayer - that is we recognize that God is sitting right there with us and we converse with God as we would if we were just talking to each other around the table. Works well in coffee shops and people only catch on if they listen to the content of our conversation (we've had folks join us that way). OK so lots to do today, gotta get ready for Kinship tonight. I have been meditating on the passage but it hasn't all come together in my head and heart yet.

I finally got away to the chapel at St. Paul's. That was super nice. I was mostly focused on my text for this evening - but the Holy Spirit was diligently stripping away my initial assumptions about the text and dealing with my own heart and life. Too cool. I have two 2 year olds to look after this afternoon - should be interesting.

OK kids are here watching Dora the Explorer. Sweet, some time to check in and then meditate.

Well not as much time as I would have liked, but I did get some quiet time in there. I find that I am better off in a liturgical space, somewhere I know I am not going to get interrupted. I think I'll head back to the chapel when Sharon returns. If so I'll check in after Kinship. FYI I tried laying on the floor in the room with the kids, you know to meditate a bit more, but they just jumped on my back which though fun - hurt.

I am hungry!

Kinship was great tonight. I took off for the chapel like I planned and it was awesome. I even spent some time a the Marian grove on campus. I haven't done that since the last time I visited San Jose (there was a huge aluminum Mary near where I was teaching). This was a good day overall - in fact I got into some pretty profound insights on the days gospel reading.

I am hungry and I am tired.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Day 1 - Resonate Fast

I really don't like fasting. The fast pace of life doesn't mean I can really fast effectively - that is taking the time I would eat to pray instead. It seems I am in motion a lot of the time. Always with a list of to do items as long as my arm. (Blogging doesn't help that BTW). It was nice though to start off with my regular early morning prayer group - there seemed to be a fresh fire in our prayers even though I never let on that I wasn't eating for the next three days. My hope is that this is just a small taste of what is to come. Time to get on with my day and try to find some of those precious quiet moments to just be with Jesus.

I love thunder storms, especially with lots of lightening! We only really got sheet lightning where I grew up - so I can watch fork lightning for hours and not get bored. We only got a little storm today - the clouds were moving at quite the clip. Kinda like my day. I feel an ache in the belly and am really hungry. God give me a hunger for You. Ahhhh, well I made a green tea, let's see how that makes me feel.

So frickin' tired. Grumpy, hungry, irritable. I really don't do well fasting when I am at home with my family. I remember fasting from speaking for a week - that was pure hell. This is only day one and I still haven't really had any solid prayer time except the morning. Everytime I get some solitude one of the kids comes or my wife has another job for me to do. Arrrrgggghhhhh. Soon the kids will all be in bed, Sharon has her scrapbooking friends over and I am going to slip away into the night. In all likelyhood I'll probably just fall asleep though.

Check in tomorrow and see if things pick up.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Refreshing the Hearts of the Saints

Met with some fellow Kingdom labourers today, it was good. I love to hear the stories of what God is doing through His communities throughout the city. And to tell the stories of what God is doing with us. I heard the stories of how one community is resisting the urge to speed ahead, to patiently wait for what God really wants to do. I am encouraged to do the same - we have done a lot of speeding in the last couple of years. I heard about how another community is struggling with the corporate chaos of their demanding denomination, but that there is light as a blooming value for autonomy breaks the horizon. Then we went back to their sanctuary where the most beautiful of art blasted my senses! One of the art pieces was created by the kids as an offering to God. My eyes kept being drawn to this one somewhat abstract patch that looked like a stuffed cat - then next to it a purple stuffed hampster and above that a pink stuffed elephant. These kids were offering their most prized possessions to God - their stuffed animals. Maybe it was just me, maybe it is because my daughter has a stuffed cat named Peanuts who is her most prized possession ever, but that touched me deep inside. All I can say to my great friends is - thanks!

Saturday, June 18, 2005


One of the things l love the most about my job (being a minister) is forming community. I love connecting folks together and seeing relationships grow. I love it when God shows up in the midst of community and begins a deeper work. We've adopted a slogan in our church: "One step closer to the Father." It is what we always look to do when we get together or even just interact with folks at work, play or wherever. We want to be people who draw others closer to the Father's heart. So tonight, in true Freedom form - we play poker!

Yeah, it should be fun. Who knows what God might do as we share our lives around a simple game of cards.

[Edit: BTW it was a lot of fun!]

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Travis is convicted...

Man this is still freaking me out. I wish there was more information on why they seem to think this kid is a threat.

Resonate Corporate Fast

I don't think I fast enough. I don't really like fasting. There is something about food that I really enjoy - kinda like I am hungry for it. For a few days a bunch of crazies here in Canada have decided to forsake the hunger of food for a fresh hunger for God. If you are interested in joining us - you are more than welcome.

Obsessive Compulsive.....

My Thursday ritual includes many checks of the Wizards of the Coast website for a preview of the new D&D minis release. I feel like a fly drawn to sugar or something. I think it is apt that we refer to the miniatures as plasti-crack!

Ahhhhhh - the payoff! Nice imp baby!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Theological World View

I noticed some of my online friends were doing this so I gave it a shot. I was surprised at the result. Here is my second try:

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 86%
Emergent/Postmodern 82%
Neo orthodox 68%
Roman Catholic 61%
Classical Liberal 54%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 39%
Modern Liberal 36%
Reformed Evangelical 32%
Fundamentalist 14%

Yeah it came out pretty much the same. I was surprised at the order of the first two, and I am a charismatic by experience (but I find most of the theology to lack depth). Orthodox and Catholic are high because I really value the historic church. So much for those who say I am hopelessly liberal. And being a fundie is 'not my bag baby!'


Boy it feels good to rant......

I am getting really tired of emails telling me I should be all alarmed that the 'gay agenda' is going to take away all my rights? Come on people - the worst that can happen is the government backs out of charitable status for us. You know that might not be such a bad thing. Not that I think it could come to that, I mean think about this. Already we have historical precedence for not just marrying any Tom, Dick or Harry who comes into the church. Most of us like to get to know the folks we marry so that we can help them have the greatest chance of their marriage being a successful union. And by officiating we are standing with them in confidence that God will bless the union and that those present will also be along side for the journey to hold them up - cause marriage is sometimes really hard.

You know I am not convinced that marriage is such a "God ordained" deal. I mean really what we imply by the term marriage is the ritual that we religious folk have put around a civil legal contract. In biblical terms you shack up - you're married. Sure there is an evolution of ritual that surrounds marriage but that is our invention - not God's. God has an intent - He desires unions that are permanent and glorify His name. So I say in the eyes of the government - let everyone have legal marriage. Let's create a whole new ritual and be done with it.

I wrote about this in 2000 I think. Basically I feel that the majority of the Church is missing the boat on this and that the enemy is having a field day with getting us sidetracked from real Kingdom ministry. I reread that paper and it still reflects my thinking. It seems to reflect our percieved need to transform society - something that only God can do. What we need is not stronger right wing legislation - but rather people that will get on their knees and cry out to God. Folks that will go into the highways and biways and declare the Kingdom of God. People who refuse to let the culture of fear that plagues the church afflict them, and live in the joy of the Kingdom of God, faithfully serving their God.

The question might be in your mind as to where I stand on the homosexual issue. I admit in my paper I didn't take a clear stance. I really struggle with the whole issue in my heart. I have had the privelege of many gay friends over the years - and some of these folks have been very dear to me. Let me answer by showing how my struggles work out in my thoughts on marriage.

I don't believe that just because a couple is gay they shouldn't be able to marry like everyone else. I think that there can be a committed loving relationship between a gay couple. However, I have a few issues that would prevent me from in good conscience officiating such a union.

First, I am not convinced that this is God's best for people - having a gay identity that is. I haven't met every homosexual person out there but I have yet to meet one that didn't have obvious deep sexual brokenness (BTW most heterosexuals also have this brokeness) that needed to be addressed. What happens if at some point this brokeness is healed and a partner in such a union decides that their sexual identity was based on their brokeness. That would lead to a crisis of relationship I would rather avoid. I would do the same for a heterosexual couple that I was preparing for marriage and brokeness became evident. My advise would be to deal with the brokeness and then see where things stand. I believe in the sanctity of marriage - and like God, I am not a fan of divorce.

Second, I am not sure that the God, whom I serve, would really bless such a union. And for me I am not simply performing a legal solemnization of a union - this is an intensely religious affair. I want to bring God into it. I was asked to marry two non-Christian friends of mine (heterosexual couple) and ended up not continuing past the initial preperation because they were not comfortable with how much I felt I needed to bring God into the picture. You know I did want to stand with them - I did go to their wedding and even though they have moved to another city we still keep in touch. But they were better served by the non-religious officiator. I would rather ditch the legal aspect of marriage than have the rite reduced to a secular affair. If someone wants the legal side they could easily do that seperately - it is only paper. What makes a relationship last is a covenant (committment) and a lot of hard work.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Something more edifying.....

Just spending some time preparing my heart and service for tomorrow. I find that worship tends to melt away the anxiety of life. I am wigging on a Kim McMechan tune called Could I. I just want to keep singing over and over again - which is good because I keep messing up parts of it :-) But aside from that I find it impossible to just practice it without getting caught up in worship.

We had Kim come with our friend Rik Leaf a while back. They were awesome.

I think my head is now in a space to get something productive done - best be at that. Just wanted to enourage you to make space for worship in the midst of life.

bless you all!
one of Freedom!

Makes me mad....

So this is what I woke up to in the paper: Travis Biehn. You know the day was off to a great start. Met some buddies for our usual early Tuesday AM prayer meeting. Came home to read a bit, check my email. Why, oh why did I read the paper!

Travis you got someone praying for you.

I think the biggest aggravating factor is that I don't want to think bad of my neighbours down South. I really do try. It is bad enough they elected a warmonger for a president - twice. But I want to think they are at least serious about justice - seeing as though they make such a big stink about it. Hey, I only know what I have read this morning. But unless someone can show me some glaring oversight in the Citizen's report it does look like my worst fears about our neighbours are at least manifesting in Pennsylvania.

So Travis - to you I say stand tough in the midst of injustice. What they have done to you they regularly do to their neighbours and trading partners. I'm sorry you had to be a symbolic Canada in all this. Remember, they are really only just jealous about the quality of Canadian beer!

To the judge - what the hell are you thinking? Investigate the further graffiti! No wonder young folks are refusing to toe the "American" line. You will be replaced one day - how do you want to be remembered? (Note: I edited this. I think I was a bit too emotional when writing this at first. Also Travis is a Canadian, a displaced Newfie deep in the heart of "enemy" territory - I hope he makes it out alive.)

As for me, well I AM CANADIAN!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Starting out...

Hey all, I am pretty sure this is slightly exhibitionistic (having a blog and all) but lately I've been reading blogs and really finding some fascinating insights there. So here is my attempt.

Best to start with an introduction eh.

You guessed that I am a Canadian - I am a Vineyard church planter in Ottawa - the capital of this here country. I have a different sort of congregation - sometimes I think it is because we are not that good at planting, but othertimes I recognize that we haven't completely figured out yet how to marry our strengths to our work as church planters. I seem to have a great knack for networking and encouraging churches and other Christian works. Also we've had to face our fair share of pressures to conform to a more traditional definition of "church".

Our church is called Freedom Vineyard and I guess I do blog weekly through our Yahoo!group where you can catch my weekly message (I typically follow the Roman lectional calendar for this) and meet some of our folks. We also have a calendar to help you find out what's going on in our community - you know if you are ever in Ottawa we'd love to hang out.

I have a rather old webpage that has some of my writings on it. I keep meaning to update that puppy, but I also keep meaning to clean up my office - you guess which gets done more often.

I am a big fan of theology and like to take courses when I have time. I have been picking away at a Theology undergrad for far too long now - but enjoying the experience of putting into practice what I am studying. That has been amazing and has brought a lot of depth to the liturgy of our community. My favourite theologian is Jurgen Moltmann, he has an incredible knack for making theology practical. I'm thinking my next entry will be something from my current reading of "The Crucified God".

I am also a gaming buff - fantasy role playing, miniatures, etc. A philatelist - even though having little kids makes it hard to pull out my albums to work on that. A book collector with something like 500+ titles in my growing theology library. I am also a bit of a hack musician playing guitar, harmonica and a bit of keyboards. I sing also, but really should take some lessons. I have done a bit of song writing but nothing published - another area I still need to work on.

Well that's me in a nutshell. Tune in for some of my random musings.

one of Freedom!