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the Friday list

1. This is Dean's new car, a Honda Accord. He picked it up on Monday and like he would say, "It doesn't totally suck." We have yet to name the computer woman who lives inside it and gives directions while you are driving and responds to commands like "Radio On." Any suggestions?

2. My car switched from winter tires to summer ones yesterday - the official sign of spring here in Quebec.

3. I had a cat incident this morning. Jazz jumped onto the bed, unaware that my face was exactly where she hoped to land. Surprised, she quickly dug her claws in and jumped right back off again. Ouch! I look like I have been in a bit of a street brawl with the lacerations above my left eye - hopefully this will improve my ability to intimidate and influence people to unquestioningly respond to my requests as they will assume I am someone not to be messed with! Well, one can hope, right?

4. I have been battling a silly cold all week (lost my voice for a few days as well) and yesterday started to feel symptoms that were not good: spells of fatigue and a heavy chest. These were all too reminiscent of my bout with pneumonia over a year ago and I did not want to go down that road again. I asked Dean to pray for me last night and as I was falling asleep, again asking God to clear my chest of any infection, I tried to figure out what "Be healed in the name of Jesus" really meant and if I honestly could say those words with conviction over myself. I know those words are in the Bible (In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk), but I feel uncomfortable with them for some reason. Nevertheless, I prayed for my body to come in line with the will of God and this morning I feel a lot better.

5. I am reading a book on hell (how often have you heard someone say that lately?). I didn't meant to buy a book on hell, I thought it was a story of one's man struggle with faith, but well, it turns out that your view of hell really determines what kind of God you believe in. Is he an exclusive God or an inclusive God? I am finding it an interesting read.

6. Well, I am trying to play backgammon with my friend from South Africa while I type this and I have already lost one game, so let me cease this unsuccessful attempt at multitasking and go and teach him a lesson on the second game.


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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.

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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. …