Thursday, April 29, 2004

GMail anyone?

Signed into gmail and saw this:

Thanks for using Gmail and helping us improve the service. We're ready to expand our test to a few more users, and because you've been a trusted early tester of Gmail, we're looking for your help. Please invite a few more people who you think would like Gmail and could help us make it even better.

They've given me two invitations to use, comment if you want in.

- Peace

UPDATE: These are long gone, email asking to beinvited will be ignored.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Lenton Reflections

Now that Lent has come and gone, I'm interested in hearing from people who gave something up for 40 days. In particular, what is the purpose behind doing so and what did you experience through the process?

I've never done it myself b/c I'm not quite clear how giving something up, e.g. pop, relates to Jesus' sacrifice. I would like to give something up next year, but I would like to understand the significance first.

Monday, April 26, 2004

320 km down, 80% to go

I passed the 320 mark on the way home today. I lost over a week of biking to snow and a cracked rim on my rear wheel, but I've biked every day for over a week and I'm a head of the game. Almost doubling my weekday ride from 20 km to 35 km most days has been huge. I'm draging my self up that last hill on the way home, but it's getting easier.

I'm setting my goal for the end of May to be past the 800 km/50% mark.

- Peace

From U2 to the Anglican Church

If U2 can teach us to be honest in prayer, what can the Anglican Church teach us?

Here is a link to the Common Book of Prayer. I've linked to the US version b/c the Canadian version doesn't seem to have the Psalms. You can look around at all the versions once you're there.


Friday, April 23, 2004

May is Psalms Month

Half way through Under the Unpredictable Plant, Peterson challenges his readers to undertake a new discipline. He argues that this discipline along with Common Worship on Sundays and Recollected Prayer throughout the week provide the "basic pattern for our praying life and developing spirituality."

This discipline is the act of praying through the Psalms sequentially every month. With Peterson in the back of my mind, this almost sounds sacrilegious, but I'll say it anyway, if you're interested in trying this out with me, I'm going to start May 1. The sequence for the first 15 days is laid out for you here.

According to Peterson, "The basic Rule of Common Worship/Psalms-Prayer/Recollected Prayer is where we start from and return to - always."

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The anti-Warren

Here's how Peterson describes his congregation in, Under the Unpredictable Plant,

These were the people for whom I was praying and for whom I was writing, these people whose spirits had taken early retirement, whose minds had been checked at the door. Suburbia lobotomized spirituality. In the flatness and boredom I lost respect for these anemic lives. These people who assembled in worship with me each week had such puny ideas of themselves. In a fast-food culture they came to church for fast-religion help (p.62).

He does come to say that he learns to see them in a different light, but still, this is the condition he sees them in. It's a good observation, but I pity the pastor who says that on a sunday morning.

It raises an interesting point though, which is that in order to see people as Christ does we have to both see them as they could be and as they truly are. I guess it is best to be honest about the condition of the people around us w/o being judgemental, and to honestly admit we fall into the same catagories.

It's refreshing to read a book by someone whose authentic criticisms are more uplifting than the guilt-producing idealisms that are often portrayed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

WRW is back up.

Amazon uses ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1) encoding for it's data, but does not declare it in the XML. So one 'é' brought WRW to it's knees. The bug has been fixed.

- Peace

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I have GMail!

I have a gmail account, drop me a line at

In other news I'm gettting some bad data from amazon, so WRW could be down for a while unit I find the problem.

- Peace

Monday, April 19, 2004


Here's the blog form of my sermon from Sunday.

You shall not steal.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

These two commandments define our understanding of honesty. And while important and deserving of a many a sermon, they are not this sermon's focus.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Friends speak the truth in love, that has huge implications for our relationships, but this is not that sermon either. Mostly cause I'm unqualified to give that sermon, thruth is easy, in love - I'm still working on that.

This is a call to Pray Naked, to be honest with God and tell him where you're at. Can you do that? Can you really pray what's on your heart? After all the heart can be a messy place.

Can prayer be like U2's Wake Up Dead Man?

Jesus, Jesus help me
I'm alone in this world
And a fucked up world it is too
Tell me, tell me the story
The one about eternity
And the way it's all gonna be

Wake up, wake up dead man

Ok maybe not, cause U2 is rock band, and they use language you wouldn't expect to hear in Church. So what do we do with this

God, you've walked off and left us,
you've disgraced us and won't fight for us.

You made us turn tail and run;
those who hate us have cleaned us out.

You delivered us as sheep to the butcher,
you scattered us to the four winds.

You sold your people at a discount--
you made nothing on the sale.

All this came down on us,
and we've done nothing to deserve it.

We never betrayed your Covenant: our hearts
were never false, our feet never left your path.

[Psalm 44]

or this

And you, Babylonians--ravagers!
A reward to whoever gets back at you
for all you've done to us;

Yes, a reward to the one who grabs your babies
and smashes their heads on the rocks!

[Psalm 137]

To be honest, I don't know. I can't explain why bad things happen to good people, but I can relate to the confusion and asking 'God where are you?'

I don't know how to reconcile God's grace the blood lust of Psalm 137. But if these things are in the psalms, the place where Christians have learned to pray for thousands of years, then there is nothing in your life you can not pray.

It would be tempting to stop here, to leave it at: it's ok to shout at God, but I need to give a warning.

If we're Honest with God he will be honest with us.

My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline,
but don't be crushed by it either.

It's the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

[Hebrews 12]

Not that He isn't always honest, but I find when I'm honest with him, I'm more open to hearing him being honest with me.

so that's abou it, there was more but this gives you the basic out line.

I need to thank Brian J. Walsh for his sermon Wake Up Dead Man, singing the songs of lament from Get Up Off Your Knees as I was half way through preparing for the sermon, and fit perfectly with my working title of violent prayer.

Some friends thought quoting Wake up dead in church would be risky, and Brian J Walsh says the same in his sermon, but I got nothing but positive feedback and lots of support.

- Peace

Sunday morning "worship"

For those of you who couldn't make it to South Meadows on Sunday, you missed a good gathering. You know that when a preacher drops the f-bomb in a prayer and it goes over okay the congregation must be willing to accept some honest prayers / pray-ers. The message was thought-provoking and delivered in a laid back style that I found refreshing, i.e. it didn't feel like a sermon.

Since I'm on the topic, I would like to raise the question of the purpose behind Sunday morning "worship" services. In particular, I would like to read comments on the view that says worship gatherings are all about God. Is that actually a biblical view of Christian gatherings? Is it God's desire to have people come together to sing several songs (how many of those words are sincere & does sincerety matter? ), hear a sermon (how much do they really impact us?), partake in sacraments, and leave with nothing but superficial interaction b/w congregants (&God?)? Where do we see this in scripture?

(yes, I like brackets)

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Onion Taken Seriously, Film at 11

This is both funny and sad. The funny part is obvious The sad part is there are too many 'Christians' who don't love Truth, and won't take the time to check out a story. If we are his sheep, then we need to train our ears to hear the Truth.

BTW I'm preaching on Honesty and truth tomorrow at South Meadows, so if you're in Calgary, feel free to come by and hear me preach. We meet in the Deer Run Community Center at 10 am.

- Peace

Friday, April 16, 2004

Father Brown

At the library, I recently had the good fortune of stumbling across the GK Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries. I had no idea that Chesterton wrote murder mysteries - I had always thought of him as solely a defender of the Roman Catholic faith. The hero is a priest who solves mysteries by combining his insight into the human heart with his powers of observation. The stories are a refreshing change from the usual portrayal of the clergy as naive, incompetent, corrupt, cruel, or uncaring.

I have since learned Chesterton wrote these short stories to support himself. They were immensely popular (Agatha Christie refers to Father Brown as her favorite sleuth) but Chesterton eventually grew sick of writing them just as CS Lewis wearied of writing the screwtape letters and Doyle tired of Sherlock Holmes.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Here I go

Well, thanks to Dave I've begun reading, Under the Unpredictable Plant, by Eugene Peterson. Already (30pgs in) it has sparked a thought about something I first learned, and continue to learn over and over again in marriage, which is that the sooner I'm honest with myself and the other person in the relationship, the sooner healing, reconciliation, resolution, etc. can occur. Lately, I've been applying that principle more and more to my relationship with God and the religion that so often follows. I'm thankful for the example of biblical writers who were painfully honest with themselves & God and for writers like Peterson, Kimball & McLaren who give me permission to be more honest with myself, God, and others around me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I've invited Kriss Hill to join IdeaJoy. He said he'd like to give blogging a try so I told him he could post here. He's toughtful and gentle soul. We'll see if he posts.

- Peace

Monday, April 12, 2004

The first 160 km

I passed the 160 km mark biking to work this morning. That's one tenth of my goal for this year.

I'd like to make 320 before May, but that's dependent on Calgary's random weather. Today is Sunny and 22°C (72°F), but Wed Environment Canada is forecasting Snow.

- Peace

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Religion And Superstition

Though, I think I'd call title it The Four Leaf Faith. I ask the same sort of questions all the time.

- Peace
He is risen!

Friday, April 09, 2004

BBC NEWS - Radar clocks Mini at Mach 3 speed

Police also said they had made a mistake in still sending out the ticket, given that it was impossible - even for a doughty little Mini - for a car to have travelled so fast.

So no one reads these tickets before they are sent out? Still if I'd have gotten the ticket, I would've framed it :)

- Peace
Kristen of This Classical Life fame, has found WRW. I think it's fair to say she
does not consider RW's The Purpose-Driven Life a classic.

- Peace
Who Reads What @ blogs4God Updates

WRW@b4G now uses the blog scores from Who Links Who to break ties. You can see the number that WRW uses to sort if you do a view source on the WRW page, it's in html comments. The formula is this , number of unique blogs * 100 000 + score of all listed blogs

- Peace

Thursday, April 08, 2004

She was trying to tell the trees to stop making the wind blow.

I don't know why, I just loved that sentence. It has a poetic beauty.

- Peace

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Google's new logo for GMail. I'll admit, it took me a second to get it.

Hmm I wonder what the chance of getting will be? If I don't get it, someone else will be getting the spam from this post :)

- Peace

Monday, April 05, 2004

CBC News:Public smoking ban may cut heart attacks: study - Calgary will go smoke free, but not till 2008. That's just so sad, when it comes to smoking we're behind Helna Montana.

- Peace

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Appropriate' Attire:
Well since I've gone and created Who Reads What, I should get caught up bloggin the books I've been reading, so here are the last 5.

Right now I'm reading

The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash by Dave Urbanski
This book traces Johnny's spiritual and artistic journeys. Doesn't attempt to white wash the man in black, instead Cash's sense that God was with him through everything comes shining through. The last quarter of the book focuses on his partnership with Rick Rubin which returned Cash to the limelight with a series of critically acclaimed albums at the end of his life.

And before that I read:

Under the Unpredictable Plant an Exploration in Vocational Holiness by Eugene H. Peterson
Peterson uses the story of Jona to map his own journey to understanding of the role of pastor and the spiritual life. Well worth a read for all Christians, Peterson spends a fair bit of time developing his understanding of the spiritual life, and the foundational role of praying the psalms.

Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog edited by Raewynne J. Whiteley & Beth Maynard.
From the Book's FAQ.

Get Up Off Your Knees is not a book seeking to explain anything about U2 themselves, but a book of examples of how religious leaders are integrating spiritually informed pop culture into their proclamation of the Gospel. Its interest is not in the people who wrote the songs, but in how the songs goad and inspire listeners to see gospel ideas through a new lens and proclaim them afresh.

I owe the Phantom Tollbooth a review of this book, so I'll link to that when it's done and up. I wanted to blog all the links from the contributor section of the book, but that will have to wait till I find my copy. It's here somewhere... By the way, Beth Maynard blogs at U2 Sermons.

The Unifying Force by James Luceno
The 19th an final book in the The New Jedi Order series. I've been reading this series since it started in 1999. The has a review.

Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing? by Philip Yancey
Christian mysticisms 101. No a lot new here, if you've read CS Lewis' Surprised By Joy, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and, Yancy's articles in CT, then you've read most of this book. Still he brings it together in an a well written and thoughtful package. A good book, but not at the level of What's So Amazing About Grace? or Soul survivor.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Who Reads What update
  • I've changed the title to make the link between WRW and blogs4God clearer. I guess the short name would now be WRW@b4G.

  • As requested by Roy, the index engine now counts links to Barnes and Noble as long is there is an isbn param in the query string.

    I'd like to add other book shops, but and Canadian giant Chapters/Indigo don't include ISBN numbers in their links.

    I pointed this out to Chapters via their web feedback form, and got the stock response.

    Please accept our sincerest apologies that the ISBN numbers are not included in links to our site.

    We do appreciate your feedback and would like to confirm that your concerns has been forwarded to our management team.

    So I won't hold my breath. I'm guessing by the time book indexing makes it on to Doug Caldwell's radar, it will be too late to do anything about it.

  • Just for WIT's Christopher: I've improved the parsing of Amazon links, so now when you copy the URL you found via their search engine WRW should count it just fine, well actually that picked up quite a few more links, so it's not just Chirstopher ;)

    - Peace
  • MSNBC - 'Simpsons' stars on strike for more D'oh

    - Peace
    My review of Adam Up by Apologetix has been posted at the Phantom TollBoooth.

    Also at PT News, Michale W. Smith is to star in movie writen by Steve Taylor. Don't know how I feel about this, when I heard about the movie from Steve this summer, I was thinking something experimental and edgy (like cash cow) not something with MWS. I mean I'll still go see it, still...

    - Peace