Saturday, July 29, 2006

[THO] Worship II

Whenever we begin a new kinship (our name for a house church group) there is a process of adapting the liturgy to the community. The people that initially form that community have a huge impact on how that liturgy is formed. We shape a liturgy from their likes and dislikes, their liturgical history and from a desire to push beyond the box of their previous experiences.

Worship styles and liturgical forms, much as we hate to admit it, are really a matter of taste. If you look at the responses so far on my best liturgical practices post, few though they may be, there is a diversity there. Some people want to be surrounded by artwork, others want no distractions from their focus on God, others prefer chanted and integrated liturgies and still others a staccato experience with clear demarkations between liturgical elements. All of these preferences form the building block for the community worship experience.

By uncovering these preferences we can create an atmosphere of worship in which the majority of participants can engage with the experience and in which we can begin to push them towards other liturgical shapes. But without that initial connection to preferences you will not achieve the essential connection with worship that will draw other worshippers to participate in the experience.

Worship as a corporate experience is quite different than worship in a private setting. As a member of a public praise band, Plugged' In, we used to gather for what we called 'experimental worship' sessions. We had no audience except God and we came with a sense of expectation that our various liturgical backgrounds would spark something unique that would touch the heart of God. And it did, those were amazing times. But that is quite a different experience than one could ever have in a congregation, well unless you have a very special congregation. Those experiences were not conducive for anyone else to follow and only worked because as a band we had a history together and had learned to play off each other. This ability to jam is what we translated into a very private form of worship - very special but not corporate in the sense I want to talk about here. But even though that is a differnt experience, it does still show that we worked from the basis of our preferences. Each of us played in our own style trying to simultaneously compliment each other's playing and to connect with our creator. If we ignore preferences we reduce the ability of our congregants to participate.

Participation in the liturgy, a word that means 'work of the people', is essential to draw others into the experience. Many times we come of the service tired, beaten, introverted and unless others are willing to be caught up in the worship then we will not be either. At this point it doesn't matter how much the leaders of worship have prepared the experience will just not be all it can be when you have everyone engaging in the work of worship. But when the foundation of the liturgical experience is one that a good majority enjoy, they will find themselves caught up in the worship despite their weeks. The result is a snowballing of participation in the liturgy, which is always a great thing.

Liturgical history is also important for a community. Many communities have deep roots in classic liturgical expressions. When these elements are introduced into your liturgy they provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. In our community we have a number of folks with Roman Catholic backgrounds, so it is important that as we develop the Eucharistic side of the worship we draw from those deep wells. Eucharistic prayer three has been our main touchstone, however it is important that we unabashedly adapt that form to our community and theological understanding. With a number in our community who have broken away from their Roman Catholic roots to pray that the elements become the body and blood of Jesus smacks of heresy and provides a stop to their worship. It is only after we have established a more true sense of the mystery of the Eucaristic experience that we have been able to re-introduce these phrases and have them enrich the experience of the liturgy. This is my final point, pushing the box we want to put around worship.

Liturgy is fluid, not static. Just as the people change, their work changes. I want to be careful to not say that it improves, because certainly it does, but the worship an older community enjoys might have been highly inappropriate to a new worshpping community. It isn't about moving towards an ideal but rather towards a worship that is particular to that community. A worship that challenges that community. A worship that is part of the process of making disciples of all women and men; and I mean that in the sense of putting women and men in the face of God rather than being a stale didactic experience.

If our liturgy is just what we like then we are never challenged to grow beyond our understandings of God and humanity. If our liturgy only draws from our common roots then we miss much of the richness of the Church. Yet if we throw too much, too soon into the mix of worship then we can lose the participation that is so essential for a great worship experience. We need to strike a balance of pushing into new relational avenues with God and providing a familiar and engaging framework for this push to happen.

This is not an easy one. Status quo is safe. But status quo will eventually get boring for worshippers. Any of you who has been through the process of introducing drums into the service in the 80s has seen how hard this can be, but how many congregations now feature drums in their worship bands? I see them all over the place and often used to great effect. If liturgy is about work, then it must be about accomplishing something. Guarding the status quo only accomplishes a spiritual stagnation and an entrenchment of elitist ideas about how 'we' do worship.

We try to not introduce a lot of new songs in our settings. Each worship leader comes with a different set of preferred songs so by mixing up the song leaders we do gain a variety of songs, but when we put together the songs for a liturgy we try to choose the majority of our set from songs we have done in the past and that the congregation has really engaged with. Adding new songs is not really a push but more of a way of building a resource of songs to give voice to a wider range of liturgical high-points. More about that in a further edition of this series. Where we push is more in how we execute those songs. Our base liturgical form is a three cresendo service: worship (in song), teaching (usually interactive and laid back), prayer (our comminity praying for each other often in smaller groups). Let us leave aside the form of our Eucharistic service which is monthly and quite different. Our basic form provides a familiar framework that folks know and expect. To push we will do things like introduce responsive readings or creeds into the worship in song. Change the teaching to a preaching or discussion. Have the prayer time take on more of an altar call type experience. Each of these foreign additions can keep the participants on their toes so to speak. Breaking their automatic expectations with a sense of anticipation. Often when you do a small change there is an increase in expectation that God too will do something new within our midst. If you change them all you run the risk of completely alienating the congregant. And these are merely a few of the possible pushes you could use.

A push works best if it is blatent at first and has the potential to be naturalized in after depending on how it impacted the quality of your communities worship. This brings us to Byron's suggestion of evaluating worship experiences within the context of a community. Look for that in Worship III.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

[LIF] Nova Scotia

We arrived safe and sound in Truro. As we drove onto Robie street a sense of nostalgia washed over me, not as intense as previous occasions though. I am usually torn between giddy energy and angst whenever I come back to this town. So many of my most regretable moments happened here, of course they were very formative and in a wierd sense I am greatful, but still some of them still have left scars on my soul.

We are only here a few days and then off to the Vineyard National Celebration in Mahone Bay. That is going to be a great time, lots of stuff for the kids so Sharon and I will have a much needed break from them, and just hanging out with some old friends.

After that we'll figure out how to make our way back home.

[LIF] Dose <> Does

I keep seeing this and I'm going to explode if I do not say something. Now my typing isn't perfect, but I am concerned that this is becoming the new spelling? So far I have refrained from jumping on this everytime I see it, especially in gamer newsgroups, but I've had enough. It is time to declare war on something that really matters! The erosion of spelling and literacy!

If not I will be forced to admit Nietzsche was right: "That everyone may learn to read, in the long run corrupts not only writing but also thinking." (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: First Part, On Reading and Writing)

Monday, July 24, 2006

[LIF] Radio Silence...

I might be away from an IP connection for a few days. So in the meantime it is worth checking out a few interesting blog posts:

Desert Pastor has a great post on Shaking off 'Americentrism' which is a worthwhile read. He even mentions my web-friend Len!
Patrik in Finland has an excellent series running on the Eucharist.
Ben's poll on the worst theological invention still garners a heck of a lot more traffic than mine on the best???
And if you really want to keep tabs on me try Dan Wilt's excellent blog, I'm off to Mahone Bay to hang with my Vineyard family!

Don't forget to post your choice for best liturgical invention!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

[THO] Worship I

After reading some of the comments on my post regarding the best liturgical invention, I can't stop thinking about the particularity of worship I am most comfortable with. So I would like to maybe share a bit on what makes that worship, especially the songs of worship, so special to me. Because this is something I've been involved in for many years I will also throw out some of the things I've learned about leading congregational and small group worship (both have their own particularities). I realize fully that worship is a very personal affair, and that corporate worship is very personal to the communities of faith in which they arise. But I believe there is a mandate within the Christian tradition to develop good worship practices that work well for your community. There is no "right" and "wrong" way to worship, there are better ways for sure as anyone who has experienced painful liturgy will attest. Those things come with practice and I would dare to say that with practice and sensitivity any liturgical format can be done in a way that promotes worship.

So let us start with this mandate to develop worship as Christian communities. Why should we be concerned about the development of worship in our communities?

Many of us want to romanticise a particular era or style. I don't think any of us are immune to this tendency, but it is worth noting. If we were to do a survey of the worship/liturgy of the Church we would notice that although there are some common elements (Eucharist for example) throughout and also some changes. Jasper and Cuming offer a wonderful survey of liturgies throughout the earliest days of Christianity up until the Reformation. (Prayers of the Eucharist, 1975). What is most striking about this survey is that the liturgy is appropriated into a variety of contexts, nothing is set in stone. Sure as the communities grow the liturgies capture more and more of the formalities, but that is a feature of large congregational worship versus small community and house fellowship worship. The more people in the mix the more work to make something that is good for everyone, or at the very least has entrance points for everyone to potentially take advantage of.

The Gospels also reflect the particularity of worship in four different apostolic communities. These communities championed different aspects of Christ's incarnation, seeing these aspects as most relevant to their worship. Of course my assumption here is that the gospels are primarily liturgical narratives intended for corporate worship. So the Marcan community recognized the humanity of Christ, while the Johannine community celebrated the mystery of Christ, Matthew celebrated the Messianic promise fulfilled in Christ and Luke celebrated the Lordship of Christ. Sure there are overlaps but each reveals an essential aspect of the incarnation (often aspects but I am generalizing to keep it simple).

So it seems clear that history bears out a mandate to do worship that is both faithful to the God who is worthy of worship and faithful to the community that longs to worship God. It is not fair to say that this changes in generations, rather it is highly contextual. One should not expect the same liturgy in an African Pentecostal community as one would find in an Asian Baptist community or even a Dutch Reformed community. Indeed some of what it takes to craft worship for your community is having an openness to other experiences seeing why that liturgical form connects with the community that embraces it.

It is these connections that I will turn to in my next post on this subject.

Friday, July 21, 2006

[FUN] Injurius Games

My buddy Jeff and I decided to try out Red Shirt's Injurius Games. So we went splits on some minis and rule books at CanGames. It helps that we know the guys who created this game and we play D&D Miniatures with them. It is quite a different game, kick and fun rules all based on a d12 (that's a 12 sided dice for the uninitiate). I describe it as gladiatorial combat with rocket launchers. The game is played in a 4' X 4' arena divided up in 3" squares (zones). You move your squad of gladiators through home-made terrain (buildings, obstacles, etc.) and try to take out as many other gladiators as you can in 6 rounds. Then you apply your battle honours to make your team stronger, faster and more deadly! Loads of fun for us gamer types.

But you start with nothing. Well a few unpainted miniatures. So far I have 2 squads of IG Legionnaires, 2 squads of Mecks, 1 squad of Space Orx, 1 squad of Reaction Marines, a deathball and 2 painted NRAAVs. I'm including some of the pics so you can see just how much work goes into this game. I now have a pile of terrain bits including a very cool water treatment facility, terrain with an unexploded bomb in it and tonnes of little bits and pieces. I'll soon be done the last few pieces of terrain so that I can clean up my modelling stuff to finally regain my music room.

Letter to a Fundamentalist

Michael Pahl wrote this excellent open letter that deals with the issue of scriptural inspiration. It is worth reading and digesting. I know myself that dialogues with my fundamentalist friends have been painful and I imagine a letter like this is really only well recieved by the already convinced. Maybe it will help us to be a little more merciful to our fundamentalist brothers and sisters.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

[THO] Liturgical Trappings

Over an Ben Myer's blog there is a poll on what is the worst liturgical invention! What an interesting topic it has been, last I checked he ahd garnered 72 comments (only about 4 were me before you ask). What really struck me is that "tiny communion cups" is leading! Yeah, those silly little grape juice recepticles so common in the Church today. Is this further evidence of a real Eucharistic renewal in the Church? I sure hope so. Some of the early comments are priceless, like the guy who witnessed fat men in tights doing liturgical dance - yeah I know you want to rip your eyes out just reading about such a thing. Although I often suspected this is something that went on in freemasonry.

So what do you think is the best liturgical invention? It could be from any era, but something that was introduced into the church and just makes a lot of sense. If I get enough variety I'll make up a poll.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

[LIF] Life is Busy

One of my friends once tried to tell me that being busy is a bondage. I tend to agree, but I am not sure what to do about it. Life just gets that way. Especially when you have two kids and a wife, a church to pastor, great friends and hobbies. It seems I get through one busy spell, catch my breath and hit another.

Right now we are preparing for our family vacation and a friend asked me to write and article for Christian Week. How could I turn that down? I also promised to write a new scenario for D&D miniatures before I left, I have a contract to write for them which is a lot of fun but a lot of work. And I am still preparing my liturgy for tomorrow night.

I spent the day at a local gaming store, with my oldest daughter of course, to run games for a D&D club there. Well none of the D&D club showed up but one young guy was interested and played against my daughter. She kicked his butt in Skullrunner, a little scenario I wrote. After that we hung out and played Pokemon, she kicked my butt. I got home and Sharon had made supper for a change, I'm the usual cook in the home and after supper I had a brief chance to read (Volf) while the kids played in the backyard. Sharon was off with her boss negotiating hours for this coming September. I just got the kids down and am free to work but what do I do - yeah I came here to type this up.

Well, best stop dallying. If I don't post as frequently in the next little while it is because I am busy.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

[LIF] Doing the Stuff

Yesterday I spent the whole day at Joy Jam. This is my third year playing the Joy Jam festival and the third year our church, Freedom Vineyard, has donated water and helping hands to make this outreach a lot of fun. Brainchild of Matthew from Capital City Mission, Joy Jam wants to become Cornerstone North. We've had the joy of being there from the start! This is a day of free food, kids activities and music in an inner-city park surrounded by some of the poorest of Ottawa. Going out each year, and connecting with Capital City Mission through the year I'm starting to get to know some of the folks down there. There are a few old friends from my street preaching days, one friend in particular who always enjoys my music!

I was the last act to play. I got to close out the day which was both cool and a bit stressful. I had arranged to play with another guy, we had even worked up a set of music, but life conspired against us. Then I set up a background vocalist to at least make me sound good - and she had to bail on me as well. So I was guy with guitar. But it was fun. I even had some lady sitting right up front her eyes closed listening to every song, that was encouraging.

A lot of the acts were gospel music, and the first guy to play had a really great voice. Matthew's band, that he wants to name "Smells like Skunk", were pretty good doing all original pieces, they have a nice grungy sound. Then the main act was from Sudbury, the Mission Jam Band which were pretty good blues players. They let me into the tent just after 7 and by 7:15 I had my guitars by my side, a mic in front of me and I was ready to play. I started with "Let it Rain" which really needs Amanda Marshall to pull off, I was a bit fast but it gave me a chance to get my sound. I then launched into Rik Leaf's "Everyday" a song I always do down there. I did "Won't Back Down" which people loved, I do a fun version of that one that people asked me for before I went up. Then I grabbed my wife's guitar all tuned up in open E for a little Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." That was my first time playing that song live, it was better with Nancy's BGVs but enjoyable none-the-less. Then I did my country set (smile), the Choir's "Behind that Locked Door" then to Andrew Smith's "I Come Undone". Then I did an original called "Fever", I think I've done that one somewhere else live. And at this point time is getting on so I finish up with "Heart of Gold".

Friday, July 14, 2006

[LIF] My Pocketbook Does Not Like Kenny!

I found All Books today. All I can say is wow. I managed to get out of there having only spent ~$40. This is what I scored:

The Portable Nietzsche (Viking Edition, the very one I was looking for and for like $8)!
Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Yeah I know, I couldn't remember if this was the one I had and it was. Downer. But it was only $10)
Heidegger Basic Writings (Oh yeah baby! I defintely want the copy of Being and Time they had there but this one sold me as it starts with What is Metaphysics. Yeah I know these are online but a book is so much nicer than a printout)
Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche) The one Nietzsche I wanted that isn't in the Portable Reader.

Kenny you need Hegel?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

[THO] Convenential Extremes

There are a lot of ideas in popular Christianity that are quite disturbing when you think them through. Most of this poor theology comes out of a singularity of focus and a utilitarian approach to scripture. I want to explore both of these thoughts in relationship to what I call extreme covenent theology.

When we focus on anything to the exclusion of all else we create an object of worship out of that thing (which could be an idea or a practice as easily as it could be a physical object). And when that thing is anything but God then the imbalance leads us into strange places. This happens when we place a particular practice at the front of our theological musings as I have been recently discussing with regard to the affection of tongues over on Joe's blog. In a covenential setting it is seeing covenant as the defining quality of our relationship to God that creates the most trouble. When covenant takes the place of the mediation of Christ then we are thrown into a legalistic framework. Both God and man seem to be bound by the rules of this framework, and what gets espoused by proponents of this thinking is that if we pray just the right way, or give the right way, or even witness the right way then God is forced to respond in a pre-determined fashion. This smacks of witchcraft when we think about it.

God cannot be forced to heal, forgive, bend the laws of reality or anything we might try to manipulate God into doing. If this were the case then somehow the creation has gotten the upper hand on the Creator and the last time I read the bible God was still King and on the throne. But isn't that just easier to relate to than a God who freely gives, freely forgives (even folks we secretly don't want forgiven) and even freely heals?

The second problem stems from an approach to scripture that I would define as utilitarian, but might also be appropriately named instrumentalistic. Seeing Scripture as a series of "priciples" that when applied in just the right way will affect the desired results. Again this smacks of witchcraft.

Proponents of such theologies tend towards endless prooftexting to build their "principles". Often building an entire theology from one or two verses lifted entirely from their context. This type of thing always makes me cringe, and for good reason. It completely misses the point. Scripture is not some magic spell that makes God dance to our beat. On the contrary Scripture beats out the heartbeat of God so that we can join the dance that God has initiated. It is the story we find ourselves in, not the one we get to rewrite basd on our percieved needs and twisted desires.

Sometimes that song is disturbing to us. I know recently the dance has been hard because reading Volf's Exclusion and Embrace has been uncovering some real unchristlike aspects of my life. But there is no magic mantra in the bible that I can say to make that go away. Rather I am drawn into the dance that takes me into these places so that with God, as my dance partner, we can begin the hard work of salvation deeper and deeper in my soul.

So next time someone tells you to pray this way or follow this principle. listen for the drumbeat of God. That one might not sound as enticing, but trust me it is the one that will change your life. Sure I believe in covenants, but the one covenant that matters is what Jesus did for me on the cross. And that one lets me dance the dance that God has begun. That one removes me from the legalistic frameworks that can never lead to life. That covenant leads to freedom.

Monday, July 10, 2006

[FUN] All of Tübingen is celebrating!

Bringing home the victory to Germany it is Jürgen Moltmann! Jubilant crowds could care less about the huge airship darkening the stadium, crowds of theologians, wannabe theologians, liturgicists, feminists, philosophers, scholars and the like are dancing it up on the field. Balthasar gracefully embraced Moltmann with a look of, "we'll have to see about next century!"

No news yet as to the mystery of the kiwi or the huge blimp hovering above the Finnish stadium. Updates to follow!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

[FUN] Huge Koala Blimp heading towards Finland!

Seems that the excitement in Germany over some other World Cup had distracted our infamous Koala villian, but the blimp is back! Must be awaiting the fierce knock-down drag-out fight going on between Von Balthasar and Moltmann. My Molty is looking spiffy tonight! Looks like this is one match that won't need to go to a penalty kick-off. But still what could be up with airship?

As the airship overshadowed the battle arena the crowd was bombarded with a booming slightly femine voice: "Who wins here faces me in Australia or I will reveal the secret of the kiwi fruit to the world!" Thirty minutes of insane laughter followed during which the contestants shrugged and began to match words, thoughts and influence in the ring!

Note supporters of von Balthasar have tried to invoke penalty after penalty, attacking the very questions at stake. It would seem vonB plays like the Italians play soccer! Perhaps he spent time in the Swiss guard, protecting the Pope in the Vatican? It is oh so confusing. Perhaps it is merely that his supporters want to win this one like they won the "other" World Cup!

[LIF] Minidisc Decisions

I am really cued to sound, especially music. I prefer the silence of a library, but end up doing most of my reading in coffee shops or late at night in my house. Unfortunatly that isn't giving me enough reading time, not to mention it makes me tired. Sometimes the coffee shop is too noisy. But I noticed something. It isn't the music, it is the lyrics. I am obsessed with listening to the lyrics! When it is just music then I am fine to read, in fact the pace helps me move along. But as soon as a song is sung I am distracted. Funny I can tune out the conversations of most strangers, but not my family. And I can tune out music, just not lyrics.

So I have an idea. I have a minidisc player and a couple great sets of ear cans! Those headphones that cover your whole ear - I have them from my home music studio. So now I have to programme a couple of these discs for the coming reading year. On one I want fairly contemporary stuff, both need to have consistent sound levels (not a lot of volume modulations) and the contemporary stuff needs to have a decent, but not too fast pace. I'm into everything from Portishead to Folk Rock, but I don't do classical music (sadly bad associations with my past has wrecked my capacity to enjoy classical music).

I want to throw it open to suggestions: Please indicate disc A (contemporary) or disc B (ecclectic). Also please make many suggestions for both. I believe in paying for my music so the more stuff I can get from say buying a compilation CD the better. I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

[DDM] Bahamut Baby!!!

Yesterday I arrived home from the game store with 18 cases of freshly released War of the Dragon Queen Miniatures! OK before you freak, only 3 of them where for me. It was a lot of fun to watch my gamer friends come by and grab their cases. After supper a few of my friends came over to play a sealed event - that is you grab two unopened boosters and make a 500pt warband from the minis inside. I opened my first booster and it was the Aspect of Tiamat, I knew this was going to be fun! Second booster - Aspect of Bahamut! Holy crap I pulled the two fiercest rares in the set! Unfortunately they both don't fit. I had a tough decision so I finally went with Bahamut (pictured) and built my band.

Because of the excitement of people coming by and opening up their boosters we only got to play two games. The first one I decimated Greg's Sorceror on Black Dragon and Tordek band. He really rolled poorly on saves which made the game go really fast! The second matchup was against Jay with his Godslayer band. That was the only piece I was afraid of, it has a major hate on for the Aspects. He managed to confuse both my Fang Dragon and my Nightmare! But in the end I beat him with points. Jay has improved his play considerably, but he has also slowed down his play which I think cost him the game. All in all it was a fun night.

From my three cases, and a little trading, I pulled all the huge minis. I also snagged most of the rares I really wanted including 2 Cadaver Collectors! I need a few more Griffon Calvary but judgeing by how much people wanted them in our group, I might have some difficulty getting more than the one I pulled (first mini I pulled out actually). My girls helped me open the first two cases that afternoon, which was fun. Elyssa thought the Aspect of Tiamat looked so beautiful that she was crying happy tears when she saw it. My wife just thought it looked creepy.

[FUN] Moltmann!!!!

The crowd on either side is roaring their excitement. Each contestant has come out dressed in their fighting shorts and tees! Moltmann cuts a dashing figure as he rushes into the arena and looks to find his gladiatorial weapon of choice - this is serious theology folks! He eyes the Sword of the Spirit but opts for the Trinitarian trident of Immenant Social Might (+5 for you game nuts). Von Balthasar hefts a mighty mitre of Peter (+3 Holy weapon) and steps into the Ring of Decision. A bell rings out from Finland to the world and the frey begins! This is going to be fierce people, hold on to your hats!

Rahner kicked Jenson right out of the ring last match securing a solid bronze finish.

Friday, July 07, 2006

[FUN] We have finalists!

It is down to the wire are the World Cup of Modern Systematic Theologians! Battling it out for third and fourth place we have Lutheran Robert Jensen, the only Anglophone to make it that far and Roman Catholic giant Karl Rahner!

von Balthasar knocked out Jensen to earn the match against Moltmann coming up. That should prove to be exciting as both theologians seem to have a strong following amongst the blogizens.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

[FUN] Moltmann rocks the WCoMST!

This just in, Moltmann has kicked the crap out of Rahner! It is true, he had him up against the ropes just pounding away. Rahner put up a pretty consistent defence but was no match for the awesome creative force of Moltmann!

If I were into tattoos I'd get the letters TATK across my knuckles in honour of the event!!!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

[LIF] OK This is Annoying

What the heck is Harper thinking with this? My buddy Joseph was ranting about this in his Coffee Jesus. I had to look it up, sadly I find the news depressing and this is a case in point. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of Mr. Harper but still I didn't expect him to do something as stupid as this. Did I suddenly wake up in the States?

I just don't get it. Especially with someone who wants to win a majority government in the next election - you would think they wouldn't want to alienate a huge portion of Canada's population, let alone one that many of us feel have been trodden under the boot of the "white" man for too many years now. Just frustrating. Perhaps George Bush will be relieved that his position as my least favourite world leader is being challenged.

[LIF] Books!

Paid a visit to the local used book store and bought my very first Hegel! I also picked up Bibby's Unknown Gods which should be fun. I am pretty excited to actually have the dreaded Hegel on my shelf. I was hoping to pick up some use Nietzsche but alas none was to be found.

Currently I am reading Miroslav Volf's Exclusion and Embrace which is incredibly profound. I find that it is uncovering my own patterns of exclusion, especially in regard to how I construct my own identity. I am not liking what I see but the book is just starting and I think is going to be a good partner through a difficult personal journey. BTW Volf's Free of Charge is an incredibly worthwhile read! On the go I always have something from Moltmann, still The Crucified God. And devotionally I have added Nouwen's With Burning Hearts to my lectional readings, this is the book I would love to use as an intro for a course on Eucharistic Imagination.

I am thinking of constructing a Reading List, what I would like to read next. I'm just going to deal with books on my shelf already and give preference to books I've either started or haven't touched yet.

Thinking Biblically Ricoeur & LaCoque (started, need to finish)
The Idea of the Holy Otto (have picked at, but always wanted to sink my teeth into)
Philosophy of the Right Hegel
In Memory of Her Fiorenza
Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason Kant
Theology of Hope Moltmann
The Rule of Metaphor Ricoeur
The Future of Hope Volf & Katerberg (read the Moltmann essay only so far)
Followers of Jesus Vanier
The Gospel of the Kingdom Ladd (I've never finished this one)

That should keep me busy a while. Of course this goes out the window as new books come into my house.

[FUN] WCoMST Getting down to the wire

Reports of Moltmann practice sparring with Walter Kasper tell us that the upcoming heat against Karl Rahner will prove very, very exciting!

Yes, we have it folks. Moltmann has stepped into the ring with Rahner! This is going to be a matchup that will reverberate through the ages! Moltmann is creatively jabbing at Rahner while Rahner consistently blocks the blows. I think his consistency will be a liability soon, yes, Moltmann has figured out the pattern of Rahner's defense. That mighty blow of influence has Rahner reeling! This is a grand fight folks! a grand fight!

Down on the pitch von Balthasar is still jostling with Pannenberg. Results to follow soon. Pannenberg seems to have taken an injury early on, we'll see how he fares at the end of that matchup.

Towards the end of the match, von Balthasar shouted "take this protestant boy!" as he scored the winning goal!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

[FUN] WCoMST Continues

Yesterday we saw Rahner take to the field with J�ngel, and only one will emerge victorious. Rahner has been dominating that match, but it's not over until the Finnish man sings!

Not surprisingly Moltmann handily defeated the bishop of Rome. Those Swiss guards were no match for Moltmann's feminist legionnaires, all sporting spiffy bushy eyebrows. Suspiciously absent from that crowd was Mary Daly? In any case they were successful at preventing any violence from breaking out and promptly decided to change their name from legionnaires to "peer support group". Ratzinger took up his mitre and jumped in the awaiting Popecopter, heading towards Rome. Guess he has some business to take care of - we knew he wasn't going to stick around to cheer on Rahner.


Two theologians I know pretty much nothing about are duking it out! Gunton and Jenson (pictured above) - I'm following the comments to see if I can glean anything about them.

Meanwhile Rahner was awarded the victory! Despite the claims that he has led many astray, it seems Rahnger himself knows how to get out of the J�ngel!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

[LIF] Canada Day


Off to spend time with family and friends, and hopefully see some fireworks with my oldest daughter. Rahner and Jüngel can wait...