Sunday, June 30, 2002

Another month done. Wow time flies when you are keeping track. Just wanted to post that I have met my primary biking goal of 250 km for June. I was at 211 km at the start of the month and I'm now at 470 km, so I did 250 + 9 km. That mean I'm running a 30 km deficit so far this year.

One of the reasons I obsess so much about riding is that I find it's my one time to reconnect with nature. For instance I stopped on the way back from church and sat on bench overlooking Fish Creek park. I saw ducks take off from the creek and deer crossing the creek. Truly amazing considering this is smack in the middle of suburban Calgary. I've been more aware of the role nature plays in my spiratual life since reading Soul Survivor by Philip Yancy, reconnecting with nature is a sub theme that shows up a couple of times in the book.


Friday, June 28, 2002

Time magazine is hyping The Remnant the next book in the Left Behind series. I'm reading the series, it's a fun read. The authors create suspense filled page turners, in a vividly imagined nightmare world. It's not great literature, but it's fun

I am however uncomfortable with the hype that treats the book of revelation as a detailed description of the End of the World. According to the article 25% of Americans think that the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 was predicted in Revelation. Really? Have 25% of Americans actually read Revelation? I doubt it, but I bet they've heard the hype about Revelation being mostly about the end of the world. Since September the 11th felt like beginning of the end of the world, it must be in there somewhere.

Luckily the end time clock watchers don't have a exclusive lock on the book of Revelation. In 1988 Eugene Peterson wrote Reversed Thunder. In this book Eugene Peterson shows how the book of Revelation depends on knowledge of the old testament to be understood. He shows us how John was retelling the story of Christ and his rule in the world. A good example is Revelation 12. Revelation 12 is scary stuff, a drangon attacking a pregnant woman and her child. Peterson makes a strong case that John is retelling the Christmas story, in way to focus our attention on the cosmic battle between good and evil and not on the cuteness of child being born in barn. If find this a much more useful approach than the commentators that get caught up in the exact meaning of the 1260 days mentioned in the text.


Thursday, June 27, 2002

Mikes' Spot On The Wall

  • Man it's hot! I heard that the local temperature is currently 37c which is WAY to hot for this part of the planet (the average for this time of year is 16.9c).

  • One of the DBA's at our college is leaving so I've decided to apply for his job. I don't know if I have the qualifications but there seems to be more future in it.

  • I'll be leaving on my holiday's tommorow so it might be a while before I get back to blogging.

Mike's Walk

  • I've been struggling with my sin today. I sometimes look at my walk wonder why He ever wanted to save a guy like me. But God takes a risk when He reaches out to us that we will not bloom as He desires but that we will stubbornly hang on to those things that destroy us.

  • Still I know that He took my sins uppon Himself (Isa 53:5 and 1Pe 2:24)(intellectually anyway). Justice I understand, but grace is very tough sometimes.

Have a blessed day :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Just wanted to note that we got (as far as I know) our first inbound link. On Monday 24th June, 2002 Bene Diction linked to my Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God review as part of the blog watch feature on Thanks Bene.

Mike's Spot On The Wall

Mike's Walk

  • God Still Does Miracles: Dave and Leah are friends of mine who have been trying and praying to have a child for 6 years. I too have been praying for a while and not long ago I had a sense of peace that God not only would give them a child but that this child would be set appart for His purpose.
    I got word today (in the medical sense of the phrase) that they are pregnant. Go God!

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Mikes spot on the wall:

I should explain that I suppose.

One of the things we have been talking about in our Wednesday morning prayer meetings is the concept of being watchmen. We were all created different (God loves diversity) and so we all have a 'spot' on the wall of faith that is unique.

  • Remakes: We live in a world of remakes, but sometimes it's interesting to contrast the old with the new. This week I watched "The Three Musketeers" (1939) and "The Musketeer" (2001). Both these films are adaptations of the original story with a twist. The 1939 version is a musical comedy, yes really. Don Ameche and the Ritz brothers lampoon the popular tale in classic Ritz brothers style. The 2001 version is harkening to the Beijing Opera School complete with wire work and very fast martial arts. I liked them both, which makes me unusual cause no critic failed to pan "The Muskateer".

  • An overwhelming spirit: I go to the 5th largest college in Alberta and we don't have a chaplain. There is an odd similarity in belief among my coworkers, all of them believe in reincarnation and I am the only Christian in my department. The weekly bible study that one of the instructors is leading attracts only 3 people each week from the entire college. So in the midst of your busy prayer lives please cover NorQuest College.

Mikes Walk:

I have decided to talk about my experiences in my daily walk here as a means of accountability, to share my burdens, and hopefully to provide encouragement.

  • I'm getting encouragement from Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I never knew" and Dutch Sheets' "Intercessory Prayer". God is slowly ministering to me and reminding me of His amazing love . I'm still struggling with the evil one as he tries to convince me that my failures are greater than God's ability to make beauty from ashes.

I'm glad your comming home Dave.

Monday, June 24, 2002

I'm going home. I got the news today. I'm going home. I've been repeating that to anyone within earshot, so I thought I should post it here. For those not in the know, I've been working just out side of Toronto. I can see the CN Tower from my hotel window on a clear day, so close enough. I've been here most of the time since Mid March, way too long. And it's just way too far from the Calgary Tower that I can see just before I dip into Fish Creek on my bike commute in Calgary. On the upside I've been able to reconnect with some friends here in Ont., but it will be good to go home. Did I mention I was going home?

I've been thinking about Mike's church web site, and church web sites in general, just I haven't collected my thoughts yet, but it's on my to blog list :) Good to see Steve's first post, now if we can just cajole Jolene out of the shadows ...

Greetings, group, I'm Steve Page. Dave overstates my education, but it's flattering none the less. No M.Div to be sure. Call it a Master of Christian Studies, and it's not over yet.. sigh.. I'm banging away at becoming one of those rare few who take their thesis away from campus and (try to) finish it "in the real world" Meaning I left Vancouver and Regent College nearly 3 years ago, and between the competing interests of unemployment / struggle-to-survive / relocate-across-canada / 60-hour-work-week-when-I-found-work, I proptly forgot my thesis for 2 years. Then picked it up again and have invested 20 hrs a week since last August. Alas they changed the rules while I was looking the other way, and now if it's gonna be done at all, it has to be this calendar year. Ah well, the latest revision (29,000 words, 107 pages) was sent for feedback 10 days ago. Please, God, may it come back with only minor revisions..

Oh and don't believe everything you hear about badminton raquets.. One was poor quality to begin with, and the other slipped.. honestly!

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Spoiler warning, I discus the plot and even the ending of Minority Report, though I discussion of the ending is kept to broad strokes.

I caught Minority Report last night. Minority Report is an action sci-fi film noir who-dunit with a sense of humor and style. At it's core Minority Report is an action flick, and the action is well done. It's not a body count movie like Total Recall, thanks in part to the use of non-lethal weapons in the near future. It has a couple of creative action scenes, the best, Tom Cruise's character has a Lexus built around him. Set around the year 2050, all the required sci-fi elements are deployed for the near future: Ubiquitous Advertising, Bio engineering, Orwellian scale monitoring and control, cool cars that zip up and down the side of buildings. One positive note, the future solves merging issues on the highway. All the effects are well done and meld well with the movie's sense of style. We'd expect nothing less from Steven Spielberg film As film noir, it seems a bit tacked on at times, like just being ugly for the sake of being ugly. If you didn't like the eye ball scenes in Blade Runner this movie won't be for you. With a little editing Minority Report could have been a good date movie, but Steven Spielberg seems to be trying just little too hard to prove that he can be gritty too. Towards the end of the movie the who dunit part of the movie kicks in with a decent mystery, but it takes a while to get there. There are several points in the movie where the audience laughed out loud. This movie has a definite sense of humor. For example Tom Cruise ends up chasing his eyes down a long ramp. Now that's funny. All of this is wrapped up in a streamlined art deco look and feel that works well.

There is one major flaw in Minority Report is that it tries to be a film about some deeper spiritual issue. Spielberg tries hard at this. They have three people who live in the "temple" and form a single hive mind. One character, who spent three years at Fuller Seminary, talks about the relationship between the oracles and the priests and how power rests with the priests. And there are some high school level discussions of predetermination vs. free choice. Ok so I had some pretty nerdy discussions in high school. However Spielberg answers the question of free choice vs. predestination in a very simple binary fashion. On top of that when our free will is reconfirmed, Spielberg wraps up all the details in a neat and tidy Hollywood ending sort of way. Predicting the future has allowed the cops of 2050 to eliminate all murders for period of six years in crime ridden Washington DC. When it shown that system is less than perfect, it is abandoned, cause it's an affront to our humanity and our free will. Of course it is, but I don't see a society that has abandoned privacy for a nightmare of customer intimacy, giving up a near perfect murder prevention system just cause it can fail once in while, or because it offends human dignity. It's as if at the end of Blade Runner they decide to let all the replicants retire to nice little colony and close down the Tyrell Corporation. Reports of Steven Spielberg 's conversion to cynicism have been greatly exaggerated. This neat, clean ending undermines the film's attempt at being true film noir. It might as well have been a good date movie.


Saturday, June 22, 2002

One of things that I'd like to see this blog become is a public place where we work out some of faith in a shared space. Kind of an Open Source Faith if you will. Here are some of my thought from reading Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God by Tony Campolo.

This 1997 book covers such topics as How to be Rich and still be a Christian, How to be an Environmentalist without being a Tree Hugger and How to be Sexually Attractive without being a Obscene. While each chapter was interesting in and of it’s self ,what caught my attention were the reoccurring themes in the book.

The most helpful theme is that of surrendering to the person of Jesus each day. To spend time each morning just in silence with the holy spirit, in inviting God’s presence and Love. Tony comes back to this point in almost every chapter. For instance in the Chapter How to raise kids without going on Guilt Trips Tony gives some valuable advice to parents of children approaching adult hood. But with that advice he reminds us to spend time in prayer before taking up a difficult topic with out children.
In silence yield to Jesus and invite him to give you wisdom and words.

For me this book has shown me how integral our devotional life should be with the rest of our life.

The other major theme of the book is post modernism. This is a bit ironic because the specific section of the book on post modernism isn’t done that well. I much prefer. Truth is Stanger than It used to be by J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh. However in the rest of the book Tony shows him self to be a non-modernist thinker. I'm not sure Tony would accept the post-modernist moniker, but he clearly rejects the modernist thinking. This shows up in many ways. He refers to Saint Francis as a pre modernist thinker. He refer several times to the fact that he beliefs that Faith is an a priory decision that we use reason to defend. And he doesn't just apply this to the Christian Faith but also to other faiths such a Scientism. I must admit I find this both a comfort and a disturbance. I find it a comfort, because it conforms what I have seen that intellectual objects to faith are usually red herrings. When intellectual objects are met people just move on to the next objection. If find it a disturbance because it can paint a picture where reason can not sway us from our commitments. That is a little scary. Scott Adams is found of pointing out that the brain takes action first then invokes reason to justify those actions. See this review of the Dilbert Future as an example of post-modernist thinking.

Another example of Tony's non-modernist thinking is the chapter How to be a Theologian without Being and Intellectual Snob. Now I'm not qualified to be an intellectual snob, but I still find a way to fake it. Here's the essence of the chapter

Our relationship with God is not determined by how smart we are, but by how much we yield to him in Love.

And for me that's a real challenge. I've always tend to the intellectual side of the faith. I'm always willing to think about God, I'm just not sure I'm always up to encountering God. I've found this book to be a real challenge. I'd recommend you take a look.


Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Nobody commented on my church's website that I've been working on.
(hint say nice things :).

I'm off to a conference on Electronic Docoment Management Solutions (sounds fun eh?).

Monday, June 17, 2002

I went to the Edmonton flavour of that same concert Thursday evening (I guess Calgary is a bigger venue so they got the Friday concert).

I enjoyed all three acts and it cheered me up a great deal.

There was an interesting moment when the Newsboys drummer put one of his bass drum pedals through the drum.

We got several minutes of the Newsboys vamping without a drummer. They pulled a guy up from the audience to sing while they goofed around. He actually did alright

I tried to find a picture but there doesnt seem to be any on the net.

I found it interesting that for the Newsboys North American tour their side acts were both Canadian bands and one of them is from Three Hills.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Went to a concert with Sarah and Kim Friday in Calgary. Thousand Foot Krutch and Alberta boys Jake opened for the Newsboys. I felt mostly like on observer until Newboys did an extend version of Breakfast during their "encore" set. That rocked. I surprised that all the kids in the crowd knew that song as it dates back to 1996. Breakfast is a Steve Taylor song that he wrote for them for Take Me To Your Leader, which Taylor produced. In my humble opinion Steve Taylor is a genius. Who else could write a funeral song that becomes a signature song for a pop/rock band?

I saw some very cool t-shirts in the crowd from, Rock For Life. I think I'll spend some time on their web site to see get a better feel for them as a group. Personally I think there is more to being pro life than just being anti abortion, but that's good place to start. One of thing I do like about Rock for Life is that they understand that the Pro Life / Abortion struggle is first and fore most a culture struggle, and the laws won't, can't change in any meaningful way until the culture does.

As Sarah was getting autographs, I got to ask the Toby,lead guy from Jake what he thought about The Disciples, a CBC Witness documentary on Christian Rock focusing on Jake. He was pretty non committal, answering that some people liked it and some people hated it. Talk about a non answer. Of course the autograph line isn't the best place to get into a serious discussion. One of the scenes in the in The Disciples shows Toby dying his hair blue and how the record label people freak out, and force him to change it back. I mentioned that I liked the blue hair and he laughed saying he thought it was a good idea at the time. So while I wish I'd gotten a strait answer on The Disciples episode, I'll give him kudos for having a sense of humor.


Thursday, June 13, 2002

True North Email

As I mentioned earlier Kevin Frank has started a new syndicated comic strip called True North. True North is now available on line. You can even sign up to receive it by email. I loved yesterday's strip on strong decaff coffe.


I haven't been on for a week and Dave complained

I guess I've been blogged down.

(there are some worse puns on the net)

I have had a tough week spiritually. I've been quite depressed about my lack of progress as a Christian.

I found a site to remind me of who Jesus has called me to be.

I have also been working on our church's website.

Well, have a good one everybody.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

At this point we could rename Ideola "Three Guys and an American". Jolene Schneiderman has agreed to join us canuck guys in this blogging experiment. I met Jolene in Edmonton where she was studying at NABC/EBS (now Taylor University College) On top of being a trained minister, she’s got great taste in music, she’s funny and not too hard to look at :). Yeah I know Chistian - happily married - guys aren’t supposed to notice, but oh well. Welcome aboard Jolene!


Sunday, June 09, 2002

I'd like to welcome Steve Page to Ideola. Steve and I grew up together in Fredricton NB. I wrote my first usefull program with Steve on my Comedore 64 to track our badminton scores. I still remember hundereds of lines of code to just open a file. We never did add the feature to track the number of rackets that Steve broke :) We also did shows together at CHSR, Steve did a clasical music show, I did the Wild Frontier (Chirstian Rock) show, we did the New and Improved Show (eclectic, comedy) together When I moved to Edmonton Steve took over the Wild Frontier.

Steve's got a masters of comp sci and a masters of divinity, I'll let him explain the connection. Welcome to the blog Steve :)
From the gee that makes me feel old dept. After giving Mike’s page a couple of spins, I’ve been checking up on some favorite bands at The Choir has new box set covering the first 20 years.

20 years! I guess that mean’s they’re not the Youth Choir any more. I’ve been listening to The Choir since Jr. High School. That’s over half a life time a go now. Oh well at least I wasn’t a Michael Jackson fan in the 80’s :)

Speaking of favorite bands on here’s a quick list
Michael Fox - Cause he’s my friend! And because his art is honest and raw and touches me in away only the art of close friend can
The Choir – smart honest music/poetry about life, love and faith
77’s – Rock and Roll about ...
Daniel Amos, DA – the real old men of Modern Alternative Christian music :) Creative, funny, and deep, oftern all at once. You’ve got to love thease guys.
The Lost Dogs – Guys from the Choir, 77’s and DA do country rock.
The Echoing Green – I first heard these guys on, Thier CD SuperNova kicks! It’s great power techo pop with an energitic message to match
Via Voce - Friends of the Echoing Green, an unpretensious alt rock band.


Friday, June 07, 2002

I read about the Student Cross Canada Photography Exhibit (Winner of the Longest Domanin Name Award) in the Toronto Star this week. There’s the usual stunning scenery. But what caught my attention were the photos that were a bit more creative/humorous. Great use of shadows by Audrey Brown and Chelsea McCauley. Shannon McCauley has a creative angle.

I’m headed out of the city to go camping this weekend, with folks from the Freeway, so I hope to see some of this scenery myself


Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Mikes prayer log: Today is Tuesday and I pray for a group of people who are going to be doing intercessory prayer for the community, church, city, country, and other needs.

If it sounds redundant I can only say that I believe it is very important to cover prayer with,.. well,.. prayer.

So I pray that God will prepare their hearts and bring to their minds those things that He would have them mediate for in prayer.

We can pray that because Jesus is the great mediator 1 Timothy 2:5

and we are called to do what Jesus did (1 Cor. 11:1)

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Just a quick post, Must say I love Mike's page. That made my day :) Mike you will have to post here when you update the page, or get news about it (stats, awards, you know, whatever) I'll add your page to the recomended list.

I've told just about everyone that would listen that my goal for this summer is to do 1000 km on my mountian bike (it's a brodie) As of yesterday (May 31) I'm at 185 km on my CAT EYE ENDURO 2. I did 26 km before getting the bike computer installed, for a total of 211 km. My goal was 250, but I'm still happy with that. So for June I want to do 250 plus make up the 39 short fall. I'm doing 13 km a day, each time I ride to work. I'll update my progress again at the end of june.