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click - SURPRISE!

After confessing to being a minimalist, I thought I had better show you something that illustrates that, so look left now. If you use a digital camera, you will know that the timing can be tricky as the delay between pressing the button and the shutter actually engaging is somewhere between 0 and 20,000 seconds, depending on the make and model, the settings, the temperature, the auto focus, the flash, the zoom, the juice left in the batteries, the strength of your index finger, what you ate for breakfast, in how much of a hurry you are, and in what tone of voice you have addressed said fickle, often finicky, and obviously female, camera.

We were in Niagara Falls (Canadian side, of course) on November 24, 2006 and as is common around the falls, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky that day. I simply looked up, pointed and clicked, and when I later viewed the photo, was surprised to see a seagull in the corner. All I can say is, I got more than I asked for and it had very little to do with my skill and way more to do with God's timing! Sometimes I think the best spiritual gift one could have is being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.


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the songs we sing

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When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

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One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

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singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …