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Showing posts from July, 2011

let me point you elsewhere

This week, I was privileged to contribute to a blog dedicated to expressions of church in an urban setting. You can read my entry here and check out some other cool writings, videos, and presentations by accessing the general website here. Thanks to Steve Hamilton for making the connection possible.

This is a photo from a fall fair in Ontario last year.

the good, the bad, and famous

While in Key West, we visited the house of famous author, Ernest Hemingway. By today's standards, it is a roomy but modest home. The tour guide told us many amusing and interesting stories that gave us a glimpse of the adventurous, larger-than-life Hemingway. He was wounded in the first world war, travelled extensively, lived in France, Cuba, and various parts of the USA, and was married 4 times. Adventure or perhaps mis-adventure seemed to follow him. He survived several plane crashes, numerous other physical ailments and traumas, and years of heavy drinking. However, the depression that hounded him for many years eventually caused him to end him own life at age 62. He left behind a collection of novels and articles, the Pulitzer prize, the Nobel prize, and three children. And a mixed legacy of good work and bad choices.

Hemingway's story is a tragic one. Like so many artists, the beginning is promising, the middle is troubled (often accompanied by destructive behavio…


We just returned from 5 days in Florida. It was a welcome and much-needed break from the pretty hectic year we have had. It is amazing how being in a different location (and without internet for the first 2 days) allows the mind to put aside most of the stresses of current and impending projects and slow down to embrace the beautiful present moment. I try not to have specific expectations about how things will turn out (mostly a waste of time and an exercise in disappointment, I have found), but everything about this trip seemed to be more than we could have asked for. From the moment we stepped into our first hotel room in Miami and saw the view of the harbour through the floor to ceiling windows, I felt like I had won a prize on a game show.

For the most part, we travel very simply and economically, and this time was really no exception. I shopped around for hotel deals, Dean used points to get a free night, and someone generously gave us the plane tickets. The one splurge we d…


A few of the interactions I have had in the past week have all carried some element of a way of being and doing that I love encountering, and that I am hopefully learning to cultivate more in my life. It is that very attractive thing called generosity. Far more than simply giving a few dollars to the beggar on the street or offering to share my lottery winnings, it is an attitude that reflects vulnerability and openness. It tells people how much I want them in my life.

We attended a U2 concert on Saturday night. If I were to point to any one thing that stood out, it would not be the impressive stage nor the huge "fan jam" tent village erected for people to enjoy during the day nor the incredible number of humans gathered (80,000) in that one space, though all of that was remarkable. The sense that I got from the whole experience was extravagant generosity. I know we all paid good money to be there, and many also shelled out cash for t-shirts and over-priced refreshments…

book review: On the Verge

I was recently introduced to (and intrigued by) Alan Hirsch through a video in which he talks about how risk-averse we have become as church. A culture of comfort and security have replaced the pervading atmosphere of adventure found in the life of Jesus and his followers. These thoughts resonated deeply with me. Therefore, when I saw a new book of his come available for review, I jumped at the chance! Here, then, are my thoughts on the book: On the Verge by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

A few things struck me when I first started reading. There is a recurring theme of hope, especially for the future of the church, in the comments from the pastors and authors who lend their recommendation to the book (see the first 3 pages). This probably reveals as much about the state of the minds and hearts of many North American pastors as it does about the content of the book. Interest, excitement, commitment, and growth are declining in the Western church a…