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I like...

I was just making myself a cup of Chai and thinking about how I like the flavour and smell of vanilla, but others prefer chocolate. We all have different likes and tastes and no one could tell you specifically where they come from. Why do I (the lover of all vegetables) dislike the taste of brussel sprouts and Dean (the detester of most things green) love them? My friends have spent years trying to get me to like sushi, but I just can't do it (deal with it!) There is something creative and unique about our individual tastes. And that's a good thing. If everyone liked the same foods, that would not only be boring, it would mess with our ecosystem, I am sure. I grew up on a farm and know it is important to rotate the crops one grows in order to maintain the stability of the nutrients in the soil, so just producing all corn or all potatoes would eventually impoverish the land. If every man liked the same kind of woman, it would be disastrous for companionship and procreation because a whole viable and valuable segment of the human race would be discounted (and lonely).

When one looks at some of the marketing and media out there, it is easy to see how this diversity is being undermined in some ways. There are certain products and ideals presented as something every one should strive for, and while I understand the desire for greater market share, this premise goes against nature in a subtle way. Not every woman is tall and slim and should not be. Not every one loves coffee and chocolate and should not. Not every one wants to own a Porsche and I am thankful they don't. And yet, if we do not participate in the idealisation of certain things, we are made to feel odd in some way: like loving a chubby woman with a prominent nose makes one less of a man. Or not having an appreciation for fine wine and cigars makes you less sophisticated in some way. Not every one loves the same things and that is one of the ways this world is kept in such a wonderful balance.

One of the greatest gifts of living in a multicultural environment such as Montreal is that I get to experience those who are different than I am, and that is one of the greatest inspirations to be myself. I will not let myself be reduced to a common denominator, but let the whole expanse of humanity be exhibited in the way I live my life and in turn, encourage that in those around me. Because if I don't, someone will get left out and that is never the way God intended things to be.

I like the green grass on my yard, even though it is covered by snow right now.


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the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


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---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

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. …