Monday, February 27, 2006

True Bounds of Community

What are the true bounds of your community? From time to time people ask about Freedom Vineyard, inevitably they ask that hard question, “so how big is your church?” I don’t dislike this question because I think our church is small (which it is in case you are wondering), but rather because I don’t know how to measure that in a true sense. For me my church is my community. As a pastor I think of it as the people that are under my care and that is a whole lot more people than I have ever seen in our church gatherings.

Here are my options to answering that question: I could just count the folks that currently regularly attend our liturgical service (Wednesday Kinship), I could count them and the people who I regularly meet with and have some spiritual influence in their lives (even if it is just as an encourager), I could extend it to the folks who give into our ministry and read our online forums (including a message from the Roman cycle of gospel readings) each week, I could extend it to the folks in our affinity groups (gatherings of Christians and pre-Christians who gather around a shared non-spiritual interest), I could extend it to the people at my school who allow me to speak into their lives spiritually and more often just as a friend along the journey, or finally I could extend to the world that I consider to be my parish. I know that most people are more concerned with the front end of those options, but I can’t help thinking about the far reaches of my life.

Often I have pondered Freedom Vineyard’s influence on people, we’ve seen a lot come and go. Often these people have been profoundly impacted by their time with us. I sat in my car the other day with one of our folks who was almost in tears telling me how much Freedom Vineyard has meant to him. I know we’ve stretched a few too far outside their comfort zones – but really if we hadn’t done that then we would not have been as effective as we have been with the people that I really feel called to minister to. The people who are part of our natural community, the not-so-churchy folks God has graced my life with.

So maybe I’ll give you that question: what are the true bounds of your community? Who has God called you to reach? What journey mates have you met along the way? If you are like me you will have trouble answering that – and I am convinced that is a good thing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What an awesome day!

This is the day of good news! I got the notice from Wizards that they like my scenario, so I should have a writing contract with them next week. And one of my professors gave me major kudos in an email. I am so stoked. Haven't blogged in a while, it has been fairly quiet on the home front - my reading week. Trying to catch up on all the stuff I put off while I was supposed to be focusing on class work. Hope to get back in the swing of things next week, especially as the new DDM set comes out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


If you have or are involved with Pentecostal or Charismatic ministries, or even if you are just wondering what is the deal with these movements, then you have to check out this amazing new resource. Post-Charismatic is an amazing exploration by a good friend from Resonate, Robby Mac. Sharon had to drag me away from this one, I have yet to see a better reference on the Latter Rain movement. Anyone serious about the pitfalls of walking in a responsible way without quenching the Holy Spirit has to become aware of the things Robby digs through here. Robby is respectful and appreciative and at the same time deeply concerned. I am going to email this link to many of my good friends. I just want to say thanks to Robby for this important work. What are you waiting for, go check it out.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Used Bookstore

Went to the used bookstore today, wanted to pick up a book on the Enlightenment that I had seen in the history section. So of course I browse the spirituality section. There were a few books I thought of but luckily I only bought two of them. “With Burning Hearts” by Henri Nouwen – a meditation on the Eucharistic Life, how could I now buy that? And I also bought the book “In Memory of Her” by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. I have run across Fiorenza’s work in my studies at St. Paul, I always find the feminist theologians to be challenging; in fact I know I’ve read an article or two of hers in the past. What is cool about this one is that it has a scripture index; it will be so cool to get a feminist perspective on some of the verses I am working with in our community. Well, unfortunately I have to relegate these books to the bookshelf for now – much study of the good Count of Zinzendorf still ahead.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I am digging into the history of this wild man for Jesus. It is pretty cool. I am struck by how some put his forward as a pioneer for ecumenism - bet my Moravian idolizing friends wouldn't have seen that coming. But it makes sense, there were a number of groups at Hernhutt and Zin helped them get along. What is pretty cool to me is that he did this by calling them to prayer as the common bond (yeah I know it isn't that simple, there was an article of faith, etc. but I am still at the romantic stage of this research). It was prayer that went 24/7 for over 100years straight. How cool is that. Not only did this prayer bring unity but it also fueled and launched Zin's desire to touch the nations.

Just watched a National Film Board film on the Moravians in Labrador, I was truly impressed that they would preserve the Inuit language and actually taught school in Inuit! That is until the Canadian government schools came in and began teaching primarily in English.

I know I have lot of Free Methodist and Wesleyan friends out there - I love the Moravian influence on young John Wesley. His first trip to the 13 Colonies was a dismal failure because he just plain sucked as a minister. But after taking ahold of the Moravian zeal he was radically changed and I would say changed the world in his day. Ironically whenever Zin went out on missions he just had no ability as a missionary, kinda like young John. God indeed has an awesome sense of humour.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


OK, now this really, really bugs me. I can appreciate that it is upsetting for someone to talk trash about your religion, I am a Christian and face that kind of crap all the time, but where is the voice of reason within Islam? So what if the Danes published satirical cartoons representing the growing popular sentiment about Islamic fundamentalists. Do you think you are somehow unique in this? Look, we believe our Jesus to be God (at least a smidge better than a prophet) and you don't see us burning down embassies when people misrepresent Jesus. Can you not see that the Danes are just naming the fear that is growing in our society?

At this point I don’t even care if I agree or disagree with those cartoons. Hearing of little boys being trampled in your idiotic riots has scarred my ability to try and see something good there. What would your prophet Mohammad think if he were to step on the scene? Would he lament at how you have done exactly what the cartoons depicted?

Apparently there is a discussion today between the Danish ambassador and a Canadian Islamic representative. That Islamic representative sounded like his knickers were in quite a twist yesterday when I heard him on the radio. He calls for Denmark to institute an anti-hate law similar to the one we have in Canada, hello? Publishing satirical cartoons typically is a reactive form of writing and depicts growing sentiments in society – it is not meant to shape popular opinion. If these same cartoons were published here first do you seriously think you would have a case?

Here is my suggestions: Why not instead recognize that for many people that image of Islam as bomb toting fanatics bent on indiscriminate death and destruction is all they have ever seen of Islam, do something about that! Show us a different face of Islam. Call your people to repent of their anger and wars, to forgive and to seek reconciliation. Call them to lay down their arms and take up their prayer mats and become a true force of good in this world. Show us a side of Islam that will make all of us extol the virtues of a truly great religion and give thanks to Allah for the witness of Islam. If you want to declare a Jihad, then do it against the real enemy of Islam – the many, many of you who validate those very cartoons you found so offensive.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Beauty in Diversity

I just had a great conversation with a friend of mine at the coffee shop. He is a Roman Catholic who also studies at St. Paul. We were talking about how much we appreciated the diversity of the body of Christ. It started with a discussion of the rich diversity at St. Paul university, obviously lots of Roman Catholics, but in my circle of friends there are Pentacostals, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Orthodox, United Church, Congregationalists, Plymouth Brethern backsliders (he will smile if he ever reads this), B'ahai, and agnostics. That must sound like an odd mix, but the conversations are wonderful.

Then our conversation turned to the attractive quality of the diversity within the body of Christ. I love the diversity at the roots of my own denomination. In the midst of diversity we find unity, just think about the Trinity for instance. The Trinity is inspirational for unity in spite of diversity instead of unity enforced through homogeniety. Even my own life is a hodge podge of different streams of Christianity meeting to shape the trajectory of my journey in Christ. There is something that is so exciting about that to me. Something that flies in the face of fear and launches me towards freedom. Fear conforms but love frees, Perfect love casts out all fear.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I am not a Heretic! Sweet!

Oh Sven you are the master of quizs. By doing the Are you a Heretic? survey I have regained complete confidence in the orthodoxy of my faith. Actually I knew I was slightly Pelagian and the test nailed that bang on, so sweet. Here are my results, would love to hear how you manage:
You scored as Chalcedon compliant.

You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant 75%
Pelagianism 67%
Monophysitism 33%
Monarchianism 17%
Apollanarian 8%
Docetism 0%
Arianism 0%
Adoptionist 0%
Donatism 0%
Gnosticism 0%
Nestorianism 0%
Albigensianism 0%
Modalism 0%
Socinianism 0%


Amill, as if...

Most of the questions didn't really work for me, but the results were interesting.

You scored as Amillenialist.

Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.

Amillenialist 85%
Moltmannian Eschatology 65%
Preterist 60%
Premillenialist 30%
Postmillenialist 20%
Dispensationalist 10%
Left Behind 10%

Left me going hmmmmm. I always thought of myself as Historic Pre-mill (Ladd) with definite Moltmannian influences, but there was not enough framing of the Kingdom of God in the questions. I don't consider myself Amill at all.