Sunday, May 29, 2005


Yesterday when we gathered for our weekly gathering we did our usual breakfast thing. Pancakes, sausages, toast and crumpets. And then we moved into the sitting room for our "religious" section.

We could do anything at this time. Whoever is hosting the gathering leads the thing, and we do many different things. Today, one of our family showed a slide show about his recent trip to central America. He showed us the places he went, and commented on the architecture and the people in each place. Showed us one picture from far away of people that did not want their pictures taken for spiritual reasons.

There was no scripture, no worship, no discussion.

Just one of God's children, sharing about his life.

And yes that is church, and I grew.

the rev

Friday, May 27, 2005

fighting again

I don't do anything halfway. Well usually I don't.

When I became a Christian I went full bore. I read the bible from cover to cover. I gave up premarital sex, cigarettes, drinking and cussing. I cut my hair nice and got some sweaters. I went to church almost every day. I started reading Christian books, and even listened to Christian music, no matter how bad it was. I was gonna win an award for most fanatical convert.

Well I worked the night shift at the local fast food joint, was actually the manager. I would get home at 2 or 3 am and would sleep until 9 or so. I would then get something to eat and then go sit in the backyard and read my books or the bible. And I would get really into it.

But this one day my little brother was bugging me. He kept fighting with my other brother who was the youngest, and then he would come screaming out to me to enforce justice. I couldn't get my stupid brother to behave and he was keeping me from my bible reading. I wondered when my mom was going to come home to let me have some peace.

Well the baby brother came out again crying and I went inside and gave the older little brother a good bashing. I mean he was keeping me from my bible reading, couldn't he see that?

I went back to the bible after this, and for some reason I couldn't seem to get into it.

I hope I have grown a bit since then.

the rev

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

another fight

When I was a youth pastor I was trying to get along with the other youth pastors, and for the most part did alright. I had to keep my mouth shut a bit, and if you know me, that wasn't easy. They realized that I was a bit nuts and just tryed to humour me.

But I was developing a problem. I had really made an effort to talk to my kids about relationship evangelism. And sought very hard to not use guilt, shame and fear as a motivator. I wanted people to understand that sharing Jesus is based on the love we have for Jesus, and others, not because we were scared of hell, or felt guilty about our friends going there.

But every single summer and winter camp I went to ended with the evangelism sermon. At the height of the brain washing spectacle, when the kids were at their most vulnerable, the preacher would tell them essentially, "if you friends aren't Christians, and they die they will go to hell, and they will be burning in agony for ever screaming, 'why didn't you tell me'" In other words they will go to hell and it will be your fault.

I went to the next camp meeting and told the other youth pastors, "if this message is given again, I will never come back to another camp, Jesus didn't value our salvation so much that He came and insured it Himself, only to leave it in the hands of a bunch of jr. high school kids"

They didn't agree with me, but agreed to not give that message again.

I love winning :)

the rev

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Joy and George of the Jungle

So yesterday we were talking about joy. We discussed how sometimes we can get suspicious of those seemingly eternally happy people, and how we make fun of the pep rally enthusiasm of some of the mega churches, yet inside we long to have that kind of joy.

We talked about how there is a difference between joy and happiness. Often happiness is fleeting, circumstance driven, and somewhat selfish. Yet joy can seem to transcend even our circumstances. It is a knowledge of a deeper truth, a sense that there is a plan, and even in our most dire places, we are still loved.

And we talked about our difficulty in actually expressing joy, and happiness. And that made me think of George of the Jungle.

There is a scene in GOTG that came instantly to mind when this was brought up. George is hanging out with Jane, and he is dancing like a lunatic. He is totally oblivious to the rest of the world and just letting go in reckless abandon. George then invites Jane to dance with him, and she says she doesn't dance. George is confused by this and asks why. She says, "because I would be embarassed"

His reply, "what means embarassed?"

She tries to explain it to him, but he doesn't seem to get it. He tells her, "sometimes George running, and George fall down, but George no get embarassed"

Who gives a shit what anyone thinks? Why can't we just make the most of our joy, and happiness? Just completely cut lose? Like King David, after years in exile finally comes to Jerusalem to be crowned the king. His destiny fulfilled, the hardship over, the joyuous return home. Overwhelmed he strips down and dances through the streets in his new kingdom. He was letting it out, free of all embarassment.

His first wife, when reunited with her husband after years says, "well are you done entertaining all the young women with your ridiculous display?" I cringe when I read that, as that would probably be my response. Why can't we the church just let go?

Who gives a shit what anyone thinks?

well too often I do, and I ashamed to say so.

the rev

Friday, May 20, 2005

art and prayer

Well I finally got to some of my artwork yesterday. It had been a while. I just didn't feel like doing it. I would look into the back and see my stuff, and just think, yeah I should get to it, but just didn't. I wanted to want to do it, but I just couldn't get out there and start painting.

When I did, it was with some reluctance, looking for something else to do. But the strangest thing happened, as I was working on my paintings I started really get into it. I was having a great time, and was inspired to finish some other pieces, and start a whole bunch of others. It was in the discipline of doing it that the inspiration came.


the rev

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Three questions for the rev

Thought this place could use some interaction

Everyone can ask three questions, and I will answer them as honestly as I can.

the rev

Some fights I have had part one

Thought I might share some of my fight stories, might share some physical fight stories but those are really old, or just sport matches so lack the emotional component.

I was a youth pastor at a church in California. Had a great bunch of kids, many from outside the church culture, and most into alternative music of some sort. I was pretty into punk rock at the time and was usually wearing my boots, had multi colored hair and so forth. I wasn't very popular with the other youth pastors, even though I was with their kids.

Well we planned a summer youth camp. We did this annually and it was always a good time. This year I was placed in charge of the after service hang out times. We decided to do theme night, encouraging people to dress up, and have fun with it.

The first night was disco night, the second was beach party night and the third was hip hop. We had evenst planned for each night.

The first night was pretty fun. We played Saturday night fever soundtrack, as well as many other disco staples. We had a dancing contest. And though not everyone dressed up there was quite a bit of polyester, and gold chains. It was fun.

The next night was scheduled to be great. Everyone put on their bathing suits, and we would play volleyball, have floor surfing contests, frisbee football and so forth. I picked out a great tape by the ziggens who play funny surfy punk music, but also have a positive attitude and no swearing and what not. Well the camp speaker decided to talk for two hours and we didn't have much time for anything so we just put the music on and let everyone hang out and play a bit of volley ball, and then the trouble started.

The kids from my group were dancing a bit, having a good time, and some of the other kids from one of the other youth group started pogoing, and mildly bumping into each other. It was kinda funny, we were all laughing. Well like I said there wasn't much time left so we called time and sent everyone to their cabins. Then the youth pastors had this urgent meeting.

Seems one the pastors had a big problem with this "mosh pit" that had been going on. And I was being told I had to tell my kids that moshing was not allowed at the camp. I not so politely told them that it was their kids that were "moshing" and besides who are we to be tell people which kind of dancing is good and which is not.

We got into a heated arguement. Mr. Kiss ass said, "well, you are the district leader and we are called by God to respect the leadership so whatever you say is what I'll do" Another said, "I just feel in my spirit that this is wrong" I pointed out that we had just had a disco dancing contest, and that disco was perhaps the most sexually promiscuous movement ever, and yet they have a problem with the least sexual form of dancing ever. Mr kiss ass even admitted that was a good point. I was told that there would be no more moshing for the remainder of the camp.

I responded, " I will not be intelectually dishonest with my kids, if you expect me to tell them that one kind of dancing is wrong but another okay, I will not do it. How are we going to tell them that moshing is wrong, but disco dancing and break dancing, (contest the next night), was okay. If you say no dancing period I will tell my kids that, but I will not single out moshing" They agreed and that was the official ruling.

The next night they decided to have a pillow fight instead. This included a gladiator type showdown between some of the bigger kids and youth pastors with the whole camp shouting for blood. There were many injuries, two people were knocked dizzy and one was actually knocked unconscious.

That was much better

the rev

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I thought I was fighting for God

One of the quotes from the movie The Kingdom of Heaven, that I was taken challenged by was given by a leader of the Christian forces who was leaving Jerusalem. He said, " at first I thought I was fighting for God, and then I realized I was fighting for land and riches, and I was ashamed"

I wonder how many of us feel the same way when we get honest. I feel often that I am fighting for God. I mean aren't we called to fight the good fight? My life has been dedicated to this fight, and having actually been a fighter, I throw myself at this bout with all of my intensity. But ultimately what is the war? I find most often the war I am meant to be fighting is against myself, but too often the war I am fighting is for myself.

I do not fight for money, or land, I fight for something more precious, my own pride, my self worth, my desire to win. And I generally don't concern myself too much with who I hurt on my way to the victory stand.

When I was younger, I felt like I was fighting for God as I practically destroyed my relationships with my brothers. I alienated my friends. As I got a bit older, and I thought more mature, I began to fight for God against his church. I think in some ways the emerging church has been guilty of this, but what reform movements aren't? But again, what I was really fighting for was my own need to be validated, to be loved and accepted by God, and to be respected by my peers.

How often do we think we are fighting for God, but find ourselves really fighting for something worthless and temporal. I am ashamed. Thankfully God can forgive, and lead us on.

I must fight myself, so that I may as Jesus taught, "love my enemies, and pray for those that abuse me"

fight the good fight :)

the rev

The Kingdom of Heaven

Went and saw the new Ridley Scott movie with my wife last night. This is partly a review, but more a response to the subject matter of the film.

I enjoyed the movie, and found it inspiring. Orlando Bloom did a good job in the lead, and there was great support throughout the film. I thought the scenery was very well done, and ofcourse the action sequences were brilliant, though a bit bloody for my taste. The story of a young man searching for redemption in Jerusalem, and defending the city from the attack of the Muslim armies was a bit predictable, most movies are these days. It was also not historically accurate at all, which doesn't bother me either. It inspired me to learn more about the history, and the real events in this horrible time, which is an added bonus.

Spiritually I found this film to be a bit testing. The obvious power of "God wills it" to motivate people to all kinds of behaviour is nothing I have not thought of before. But in this film it is contrasted with the ideals of nobility, and righteousness in a strong way. I found myself more intensely motivated to the anarchist thought that power corrupts. One of the strongest lines in the film says we may be moved around the board by kings, but our soul is in our own hands and we are accoutable to it before God (paraphrased)

Ultimately I was disgusted by the fight. Everyone wanting to be God's instrument of judgement, destiny, or power. Everyone feeling like they were doing God's will, and that the others were instruments of the devil.

I have recently come from a situation where this kind of attitude has caused me some hurt. Ofcourse now we do not hit people with swords and axes, I actually might fare a bit better in those circumstances, but we hit others with insults, accusations, and declarations. I am truly saddened by it all. There is truth, and I will not bend on what I believe the truth to be. However truth is not a weapon to crush others with, but a call to a noble life, and a loving heart. How often have I fought for the truth, the good of others, and to defend the faith, and been guilty of betraying the one absolute truth I hold dear, "God is love".

The weapons may have changed, but I seriously wonder if we will ever learn.

the rev

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Worst Band ever!!!

I have been talking with some friends about the worst band of all time. We have created some criteria that must be followed:

They must be a legitmate band so Weird Al does not count (ofcourse we then got in a giant arguement over whether the Darkness was a legitimate band or not.

They must have been popular enough that most people would know who they are

No one hit wonders so the Baha Men are out

We have created two categories Australian bands and International bands

We have given this much thought and come up with some ideas but no for sure winners

Here are my picks for top three international bands

1. Captain and Tenille ( the worst smarmy pop crap ever)

2. Cinderella (the hair bands hair band)

3. Nickleback ( I just hate everything about them)

Top three Aussie bands

who really cares about aussie bands :)

I am just ignorant on the subject, I was told the cockroaches became the wiggles and that is enough of an indictment for me.

And what do you say?

the rev

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

More Cricket stuff

I have told you before I have developed an obsession for cricket. Especially spin bowling. Well I discovered another spiritual "idea" in my cricket education.

Just so you know, I look for spiritual insight and truth everywhere, and with everything I do. This is not because I am a saint, but rather because if I can get some spiritual truth out of it, I might be able to convince my wife that it is important to let me go play cricket once a week :)

Well in spin bowling the object is to spin the ball very hard, and when it bounces in front of the batsman, the spin will effect the direction and height of the bounce. If you spin it hard enough it will also tend to move in the air a bit as well.

Well what I have been doing for the last three months is learning to bowl wrist spinners. But I have been working on landing the ball in the right spot, which is necessary obviously. The problem is I have sacrificed a lot of the violent spin on the ball to get more precise. Instead of concentrating on learning to rip a spin on the ball, I have been trying to have better direction. And then I read a book.

This book explained that if I really rip into a spin I will be pretty inaccurate. The ball will spray all over, but all I should be concerned with now is to spin it as hard as I can. Once I can spin it violently in four main ways, then I should try to get more accurate, but never sacrificing the spin. If I can land the ball in the right place but it doesn't spin much, I am just tossing up batting practice. But if I can keep all of my spin, and figure out how to land that where I want it, I become a very difficult bowler.

Well this is my thought:

We often spend so much time as a church focused on theology, what you should believe. The four spiritual laws and so forth. We talk so much about how you should behave as a Christian, how much you should read your bible and pray, and even what music you should listen to, or what tv you should watch. We are trying to be precise. Trying to land our lives in the right spot.

But shouldn't we rather try as hard as we can to follow Jesus? To put him first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. To try and learn as much as we can about Him, read His story, recite His words? Shouldn't we pour ourselves with reckless abandon into relationship with the living God, and from this proper life, then try to make some sense of things?

I think we often use our quest for accuracy, to lesson the effect of Jesus. Often the youngest Christians can explain why Jesus didn't mean for us to really "sell all of your belongings, give it to the poor and follow me". They can explain why their church is right and others are wrong. They can often tell you all the do's and don'ts. But do they really know Jesus? Do we really know Jesus?

And does that make us vulnerable to getting knocked around by life?

The kingdom of heaven is like cricket, if you have a little imagination :)

the rev

been a while

I have been desperately searching for something meaningful to share with you all. How about this one:

"life is what happens when you are trying to find something interesting to write in your blog"

Have had a pretty good week, church on Sunday was about singleness. They talked about what it means to be single, and some of the struggles with being single in our culture today. Some of the myths of marriage in modern culture, especially the Christian culture.

It was a good reminder of how us marrieds sometimes make others feel excluded or somehow second class. I truly enjoy being married, its the best part of my life. But that doesn't mean it would be the best part of someone elses life, often it is the worst part. We need to support our single brothers and sisters. One of the speakers really made my day she said she had decided to never marry when she was young, and because of this decision has had a plethora of great friendships. Her goal is to be and find great friends not potential marriage candidates. She seems very happy and fulfilled with her life.

Tony Campolo once said something like, " the bible tells us it is better to be single, but if you are too weak and can't hack it, then go ahead and get married"

the rev