Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Mike's Spot On The Wall

  • I got a call on Monday from my aunt. I haven't heard from her in 30 years.
    She said there was some property that was being held in trust for us from my Grandfather's Will.

    You would think I would be happy about this but... I think I would have been happier if she just called because she wanted to restore ties to us.
    I want her not her property. The whole Will thing just adds a layer of tension and distrust to what should be a joyfull reuinion

Mike's Walk

  • The morning prayer group met this morning and prayed. I felt very blessed and touched

    I sometimes wonder at the wisdom that wants to use broken imperfect vessals like me to do His will. I wonder "Wouldn't it have been better if you hung around after the resurection?"
    And yet He says "It is better that I go, that the comforter will come"

    It is the very mystery of the gospel that somehow Jesus not only substitutes for us on the cross and in the grave but that we are His substitutes here on earth, filled with His spirit and responding with love.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Most of the time I feel like I’m out of sync with the rest of the world. But today I felt like I belonged.

Slashdot of all places had the news of new movie adaptation of The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe that is at the screenplay level. Here’s hoping they don’t gut the analogy to try and please the folks who don’t like religious content. Personal petpeve of mine is how the publishers rearranged the order of the series. Imagine my surprise to find a +5 post about the same thing. I thought it was just me.

In the same story was news of a new movie about Douglass Adams. I just finished the Salmon of Doubt and will post a review soon. Of course it was Adams who said I love dead lines, I love the whoosing sound they make as they go past.

If you hunt through the IdeaJoy archives you’ll see that I’ve posted about Eguene Perterson and U2’s Bono, but who knew there was a connection? bloggedy blog knew.


Saturday, July 27, 2002

Changes, nothing but changes ...

ok I'm sure you've noticed some changes

  • new colors (colors from my room when I was a kid, I always liked green)

  • larger font, to make reading on those hi rez monitors possible

  • when saints blog - firgured I should show that we are part of a larger community, this list will grow, change

  • added Bible Gateway to the recommended list

    let me know what you think in the comments


  • Thursday, July 25, 2002

    Recently re-read C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra", the middle novel in his sci-fi trilogy, and my personal favourite.There are lots of interesting scenes and statements in it about innocence and the theology of the Fall, commandment and obedience and duty, pleasure and joy, philosophy, etc. One of my favourite topics in this (and the entire trilogy) is the cosmic view of God that Lewis expresses. He dethrones humanity from any notion of supremacy or uniqueness, while he simultaneously affirms so powerfully that the Incarnation in human form rippled throughout the universe, with terrible, radical, awe-ful results. What a pleasure! Why did I wait so long to re-read it??
    Mike's Spot On The Wall

    • I just read "Call To Arms" and "The False Mirror" by Alan Dean Foster

      Foster illustrates man's hypocisy that while we claim to want peace and culture we realy are a bloodthirsty violent species.

      Its interesting to see the dichotomy of the desire of man's spirit for enlightenment and peace against the flesh's desire for war and violence in these books.

    Mike's Walk

    • Feeling a bit depressed today

      One of the main reason's I came to Christ was my loneliness. The idea that Jesus would come and live within me was like offering water to someone who had just spent a month in the desert.

      Lately I've been feeling lonely a lot. I know we are to walk by faith not by sight, but I still want to wave a big flag around and shout "hey God, over here".

      Seems I'm not alone in being alone. David felt the same way: Psalms 13:1, Psalms 27:9, Psalms 69:17, Psalms 102:2, Psalms 143:7

    • I've also been praying that God would help me witness to my co-workers, but I just can't seem to find the words.

    Wednesday, July 24, 2002

    Last night I heard something that gave me a little "wake up call". I was watching a program last night and someone used the expression, "Remember who you are and what you represent". I've heard that before but it never really sunk in until now.

    The people I work with know that I'm a Christian and that I attend weekly worship gatherings. But when I take a look at things I've said and done, I realize that I haven't really been a good example of what I "claim" to be.

    I'm not sure if deep down I'm ashamed of Christianity or if I'm just weak. I think it's a little of both. It's not easy being a Christian today. Especially when there are so many temptations out there. I know the "bastard from below" is trying his hardest to get me to screw up and sometimes I do screw up.

    I say that I think I'm ashamed of Christianity but that's not really true. I'm not ashamed of Christ or Christianity. I am embarrased by the way some "Christians" totally mess up what Christianity is supposed to be all about. But I guess I shouldn't point my finger or cast stones because I'm not perfect either. Like I said, I find it very difficult "remembering who I am and what I represent".

    I really wonder if Christ is pleased with what we are doing down here. Are we "doing" church the way it is meant to be done? As followers of Christ are we really following Christ or are we following man? Do we worship God or do we worship worship? I don't know how many times I've heard kids say, "Oh, I can't wait to worship". What do you mean "wait" to worship? You don't wait to worship, you just worship. And now with the Pope being over here I really wonder what the hype is all about. He's just a guy. I was blown away at the number of youth who have flocked to see the Pope. Again, are we following Christ or man? It really scares me that it's a huge deal that an old guy has come to Canada. He's not God. God is God.

    Ok, I better stop now before things get out of hand. Father forgive me if I'm wrong about some things. I'm still learning. You've still got a LOT to teach me. Amen.


    Monday, July 22, 2002

    Mike's Spot On The Wall:

    Mike's Walk:

    We're now IdeaJoy :)


    Friday, July 19, 2002

    Welcome Steve

    More musicians, yeah! hoot hoot!

    Mike's Spot On The Wall:

    • My cousin is getting married this weekend. I'm very happy for her. Carol and I are volunteering to do the photography.

    Mike's Walk:

    • Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good thing that I desire to do; but the evil thing that I desire not to do, is what I constantly do.

      sigh, My spiritual sobriety didn't last very long. The hardest thing to do after you fall and you realize that nothing will undo a mistake is to get back up again.
      The blood covers me so that I don't reap what I deserve but there are ripples of consequence that may never heal.

    • On the good side after looking at Dave's link to the True North cartoon page I decided I would look for one that I enjoyed a long time ago

      And Thophilus was still there and it spoke to me about my issues.

      These are the ones that helped: Sketch's Secret Sin and Turning Point gave me hope.

    Hey everyone! I'm new to this thing but thought I'd give it a shot. Or maybe I should say "I thought I'd give a Shout out to all you guys" since Dave made reference to shouthing.

    I watched CSI for the first time last night. While I found it to be a very poorly scripted show I must give them credit for having a great storyline (well the episode I saw was good...I'll have to watch it again to see how things hold up). I'll try not to go into too much detail about the show but part of it had to do with spontanious human combustion. The two characters investigating this case were trying to determine if a body, that had reduced to ashes, had spontaiously combusted or if someone lit her on fire. Well part of the show had them doing an expiriment on a dead pig (thank God it was dead...that could have been pretty disturbing!!!). They end up determining that the lady dropped her cigarette and burned death! By the way she was totally knocked out from the sleeping pills she took, which is why she didn't wake up when the cigarette dropped. Anyhow, someone ends up saying something about "seeing is believing", meaning that now that they've seen what happened to the pig they can determine that the lady didn't spontaniously combust. The "seeing is believing" line reminded me of that Tim Allen movie The Santa Clause. There's a part in that movie where it is said that "believing is seeing". Now in the movie they are talking about Santa, and the North Pole and all that junk. But the "believing is seeing" thing totally applies to the Christian life, and heaven and God and all that junk. (I hope nobody's offended by me using the word "junk".) Anyhow, you know how we need to believe in order for us to see heaven? Well that's what I'm trying to get at. It's like that line Bono uses. Something to the effect of "packing our bags for a place we've never been, a place that has to believed to be seen". When I think about heaven and eternity it totally freaks me out, but in a good way. Of all the things that I can't wrap my mind around, regarding God and Christianty and stuff, eternity spent in heaven blows my freakin mind the most. Well maybe not the most but it's high up on the list. I'll tell you one thing, I'm looking forward to life in heaven and I believe I will see it.


    Thursday, July 18, 2002

    We scored a 2 on the Leader Board. That's more than I would have expected, unfortunatley I don't know where the links came from. So if you link to us let us know, just for fun eh?

    Hey I'm glad to announce that Steve Jolliffe has agreeed to join the Ideola/IdeaJoy team. Steve is a fellow Calgarian, a husband, new father, athlete and musician. As a worship leader when the Song says "Shout to the Lord", Steve expects you to SHOUT! Welcome Steve ...


    Wednesday, July 17, 2002

    Blog Notes

    OK some quick notes.

    added a comment system from enetation Not because of the hords of people not emailing me about my posts, but so that the Three of us (soon to be four I hope) can post questions to one another. Anyone else is free to join in the comments as well. I still need to sync up the two templates. Steve pushed me over the edge on the comment system when we talked last night. He also promised a blog on Abba. Really!

    Mike is Back :)

    Check out the powered by Tim's logo on Kevin Frank's site. Should we add it to the list at the bottom, let me know in the comments.

    Next week I will rename ideola to IdeaJoy. ideola isn't exactly unique on the web were as IdeaJoy is. I'll make the change on Sunday. The new url will be Ideola was of course the name of Mark Heard's short lived one man band. He did the album Tribal Opera under that name. I've been a Mark Heard fan ever since I got my hands on Tribal Opera back in 1987.

    More change to come ...


    This picture is from a 4-D ultrasound, Wired News has the story. What struck me was how much humanity the picture reveals. We face a constant bombardment of dehumanizing messages about the preborn. An example was last night on The National there was a sound bite from Joanna Manning asking people who are considering returning to the Catholic Church, "What happens when you daughter needs an abortion?" Joanna Manning defines the issue, in that one line, in terms of only one person. If technology like 4-D ultrasound can help animate that there is more than one person involved, that's a good thing.


    Tuesday, July 16, 2002

    Mike is back :)

    Mike's Spot On The Wall:

    • A Good Book:

      There are some gems in my book collection. These are special books that although I found them in secular bookstores the content is marvelously christian.

      I have often felt that all the creativity left our faith when C.S. Lewis died. I mean how many sci-fi fantasy books have been written by christians since? Well Stephen R. Lawhead has restored my faith with his Pendragon series. I read the first one and was amazed, and the second, Merlin, is even better. A first person account of Merlin's life and times, and Merlin is VERY christian.
      This is great stuff and I highly recomend it.

    Mike's Walk:

    Monday, July 15, 2002

    The Peach of Christ

    I realy don't like trusting the Lord. This was my conclusion as I headed to Church on my bike on Sunday morning. My heart was heavy, the news as of late hasn't been good. 6000 people to be laid off at Telsus , people I know from CJUG out of work, I've just come home from a tough assignment in Toronto, thinking I was getting a long term assignment, to find out the big project had been canned, but I could help on a short term project to mid August. So I was thinking, planing to blog, about how I don't like trusting the Lord. I know that security is an illusion, and that we only have security in him, but right then I didn't feel loved, or cared about, I just felt anxious.

    The sermon at Church was on Prayer, the story was from Acts chapter 12, about how the Church prayed when Peter was in prison and how he was released. My mood was so black that I couldn't help noting that story begins with the wonderful news

    About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword.

    Obviously St. Luke never spent time in the Marketing Department. So we can pray and great things can happen, or we can pray and die by the sword. This was only confirming my line of thinking that morning. Lynn (one of our pastors) continued, talked some more about prayer and asked that someone read a section out of Philippians 4. So having a voice that carries, that's what people say, me I just think I'm loud, I started to read.

    Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peach will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

    As I read this I couldn't belive what I was reading. As I read I was filled with the sense that God was speaking to me, through my reading this passage. He broke through my cynisim. God wasn't promising that we wouldn't face the sword, or that we would always get set free, he was promising his peach to guard our hearts. (ok the peach was a typo that Chris or Lynn made, must send them a link to Bible Gateway) In the time it took me to read those few words, my entire attitude changed. My prospects haven't changed, I just found out today that a woman I've had a great working relationship with was laid off. But try as I might there is a sense of Joy and Peach that I just can't shake. Evidence, I keep coming back to the peach thing. :)


    PS to the cynics both Christian and otherwise, I know this subjective stuff doesn't prove anything, but it a record of my experience. I know I could dismiss it as an emotional reaction to random events, and yet that is not how I experienced it. I also know you can reduce anything, including existence to random events, or as Douglas Adams puts it "What ever happens, happens". While I don't base what I believe, simply on subjective experience, it is what brings my faith alive.

    Tuesday, July 09, 2002

    One of the things that drives me nuts about Kim is that she like things like Tuperware for Christmas and Birthdays. I just drives me crazy. Carol Lay has a Story Minute on the subject, I guess it's not just Kim. Sigh, 10 years of marriage down, and so much understanding still to go.


    Sunday, July 07, 2002

    OK I'm jadded, about a lot of things. One of the things I can be jadded about is the spiritual need of our culture. I know it's there, it's just hard to think anyone else knows it's there. We got a new pastor today, and he started his sermon with Stillness of Heart by Lenny Kravitz. Here the last verse and the chorus:

    Where's the love?
    What is this world we live in?
    Where's the love ?
    We've got to keep on giving
    Where's the love ?
    What happened to forgiving ?
    Anyone ?

    All that I want is
    Stillness of heart
    So I can start
    To find my way
    Out of the dark
    And into your heart

    The quip "If Jesus is the answer, what was the question?" always bugs me, perhaps because I don't have a quick one line answer. So here's Lenny Kravit asking the question, and it seems obvious to me that Jesus is the answer. That makes me a little less jadded.

    Looking to the week ahead, I'm glad Mike will be back, I've missed his spot in the blog.


    Wednesday, July 03, 2002

    Is Honesty Always Honest? John Trott reflects on the Christian call to be a role model whether we like it or not. He's pondering things that Bono had to say during his interview with Charlie Rose.


    PS while trying to track down the mentioned interview I came across this cover of One by Johny Cash on U2 Audio

    Tuesday, July 02, 2002

    Salon is running a brief story titled Remember when we had no e-mail? It's an interview with James Gleick who's new book "What Just Happened" covers the net revolution. What I like about this piece is that points out how fast we absorb things like email. Try explaining the idea of a net revolution to new grads and they just don't get it. The net just is, like power or the telephone. I use the following story to try and explain the change.

    In 1994 I did two terms as a coop student with Public Service Commission. At the time the big question was could we get the various Federal Departments housed in Canada Place talking via email? There was no good answer, each department ran it's own email system with it own proprietary protocol, CC Mail, MS Mail, Banyan Vines email. Getting them to talk was very expensive. Flash forward to 1998 and my sister comes back from doing work with CBM in Brazil. She brings me a bag of coffee. I don't know Portuguese so I can't read what is printed on the bag, but I do recognize the email address for comments by the now ubiquitous @ sign. So in four years we went from not being able to send email between departments in the same building, to being able to say "What Great Coffee!" to company in Brazil.

    Lest we get to wraped up in all this tech change, one of the great things about reading the Bible is you get to see how little we've changed over three thousand plus years. This morning I read the following proverb

    If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
    Proverbs 27:14

    Showing that even 2700 years ago, being too cheerful in the morning was annoying.

    Fellow Canadian Jordon Cooper has a link to Bono on CBC where Bono talks about the Church starting to wake up to issues in Africa. Choice Quote

    there are 2,300 verses of scripture about the poor. It's the central message outside of personal redemption, the idea of dealing with the poor


    Over the long weekend, my wife and I took advantage of a discount offer at our local dvd rental outlet and grabbed 3 films with a common theme: Troubled Relationships. They were from 3 different angles, and were done in 3 different countries.

    The Canadian entry was Last Wedding, a comic drama about the simultaneous disintegration of 3 relationships.
    * The central one was between a couple who married too hastily. The husband, Noah, went through an evolution of wanting to grow their love, changing to wanting to smooth the wife's rough edges, regardless of love, to finally desperately wanting out. Throughout, the wife Zipporah remained self-centred and abraisive, bribing his good graces with the occasional affection. In all, a dysfunctional take on being trapped by marriage.
    * They were friends with another couple, Peter and Leslie, who had been living together for 4+ years. He was a lit prof at UBC, who had a meaningless fling with a student, and his infidelity brought the destruction of his relationship. This couple gave the impression of no longer seeing each other, taking each other for granted, but the amoral inclinations of Peter had no leg to stand on when he was found out. Or rather his rationalizing was flatly rejected by the injured party.
    * The most interesting couple was Shane and Sarah, he an art-inclined idealist architect, she an upwardly-mobile pragmatist architect. The destruction of their relationship is the most jarring; as they grew in opposite directions, their relationship tensions grew. But just when they realize the sacrifices required to save their life together, they deem it not worth the effort and split without trying.

    In all, a pleasant enough movie, although not terribly deep. The scenes of infidelity between Peter and his student certainly avoid glorifying affairs, with the viewer feeling as dirty about dumpster-sex (literally, at one point) as the participants. 2.5 out of 5 on the Stevometer.

    If you enjoy subtitled films, then do check out the Italian entry in the tryptich, Bread and Tulips. It was a charming, quirky comedy, in which Rosalba is accidentally left behind at a stop on a bus tour. Rather than hitchhike home, she takes a personal vacation from her family and goes to Venice on a whim, meets several odd characters (suicidal Icelandic landlord, holistic healer neighbour, klutsy amateur private investigator, anarchist old florist). She resumes her music playing, and finds love, joy, and contentment. Of course, her family misses her terribly -- her husband cannot convince his mistress of several years to iron his shirts, and her son takes up drugs. Rosalba finally comes home, resigning herself to where she belongs, until she is convinced to leave her husband once (well, twice I suppose) and for all. Very much playing on the theme of how would you do things differently if you could start over.

    It's a pleasant romantic comedy, but true to the mold, the husband is an unsympathetic and unfaithful dud, so the viewer is strongly in favor of her dumping him. Her departure also brings a moment of redemption for the son, who joins her in Venice in the end. It's an enjoyable film, possibly a good discussion starter on divorce, faithfulness, and other related themes. Probably my favourite of the 3, give it 4 stars out of 5.

    The final film was Hollywood's Dinner With Friends, in which Gabe and Karen are devastated to learn that their longtime friends Tom and Beth have split up. Tom has felt unloved by Beth for years, and so he leaves her for another woman. His actions, to his surprise, not only break up his family, but ripple out into relationships with Gabe and Karen, and their relationship with each other. Gabe presents a powerful argument against the pursuit of one's own (usually sexual) happiness, which I found surprisingly strong, given the American origins of the film -- not a medium known to argue against individual pleasure and fulfilment. It was a variation on the theme in the CS Lewis essay "We Have No 'Right to Happiness'" (if I was on the ball I would have included a Lewis citation in the review!)

    There was something missing in the film, though -- Grace. Neither Gabe nor Karen were able to show any grace to their friends, and this coldness eventually ended any hope of friendships surviving the divorce. Equally guilty, neither Tom nor Beth showed any grace to each other, or to their friends. They became hostile when their friends refused to take their side, not giving them the space to make up their own minds, or to be hurt by the actions.

    In all, an excellent discussion starter for the theme of Grace, and not bad for other relationship themes either. It is rated R, but I cannot figure out why -- you'll hear worse language waiting at a bus stop, there was no sex or violence, and only the briefest of nudity. A pleasant evening, and I'll give it 3.5 / 5.