Saturday, October 23, 2021

Counting Stars In a New Light


He (the Lord) took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” - Genesis 15:5

Ok that's a pretty well known quote and it often gets accompanied with images like my photo (above) of the Milky Way made while camping beside the red deer river. 

But a friend (Hi Richard) pointed out that in Genesis 15:12 we get the line:

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep ...
There is nothing to indicate between Gen 15:5 and 15:12 that this wasn't all on the same day. What if it was daylight? Does that change how we read 15:5?  It is certainly absurd to ask Abraham to count the stars he can not see.

I think it renders 15:5 something like:

Your offspring that you can not see will be numerous like the unseen stars.


Your offspring, who are to come will be like the stars which are to come. 

And so after some ancient contract making, and some more prophecy only then can Abraham see the stars he can't hope to count.  For me it deepens the impact of that well known verse, emphasizing the need for trust.

- Peace

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Edit Totals for Garmin Edge 520

Peace Bridge at 1000km

I track my biking KMs using a Garmin Edge 520.  Occasionally something goes wrong and I need to edit my total KMs.  Like last night when my battery died mid ride.  I tracked the rest of my ride on my Fenix 5x, but I like to have my KMs for the year in one place, so I know when to make my next 100km picture. So I needed to edit the file that the Edge 520 uses to track totals.

I've written some code that edits the Totals file used by the Garmin Edge 520, and released it on GitHub.  See Fit Totals Editor.

- Peace

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Lord's Prayer

I shared reflections on the Lord's Prayer at Awaken's (virtual) service today.  There have been many sermons on the Lord's Prayer - but most of the ones I've heard take the prayer apart, treating each part as standalone.  That makes sense as you can dive deep on each line, and almost every word of the prayer.  This reflection take the approach that the Lord's Prayer is one prayer, that each line speaks to the others.

Our Father in heaven

  • Relational: the Father and us as children of God,

Our Father - Jesus taught them to pray together.    

hallowed be your name

  • Hallowed to be given honor to be raised up over all names.  How do we do that? 

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven 

  • That is how we hallow the name of the father, by seeking the kingdom here and now - just as Hail Caesar has definite political implications.

  •  What does the Kingdom look like? We are invited to address the King, the Hallowed one as Father… making us part of the royal family.  A Kingdom where we have a stake in the kingdom, an inheritance if you will.  Not a Kingdom of the disenfranchised. 

  • What if the will of the Father, the Kingdom looks like the rest of the prayer?

Give us this day our daily bread 

  • We acknowledge the our daily needs are met by the father, not by Caesar, not by our economic systems

  • In an agrarian society bread was the basis of the economy, of life, they tried to make Jesus King after he fed the 5000, bread here is a symbol of abundance.

and forgive us our debts 

  • We acknowledge that we have been involved in that which is counter to the will of God, we’ve been disloyal to the Kingdom

as we also have forgiven our debtors

  • Asking for Grace for ourselves we are called to extend that grace to others

  • Having acknowledged that we get what we need from the father frees us to release those who 'owe us'.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

  • I’ve been told the 'lead us not bit' is a bad translation - I'll leave that to those who are more qualified - but I read it as having acknowledged our unfaithfulness, our need of grace that we desire to grow in the kingdom and in God’s will. To be delivered from the evil we have been part of a delivered to a Kingdom of Grace.

The Lord’s prayer is a daily prayer, “Give us our daily bread”  So honouring our father in heaven, seeking the Kingdom, being forgiven and forgiving is something Jesus thinks we’ll need to do daily - so our need to be forgiven daily, that we fail daily is not news to Jesus, it has already been accounted for - and still we are invited to pray Our Father...

I’m wondering if part of the dailyness is that forgiveness is a process, it’s not something that I can do in one leap, oh you’re forgiven, it’s something I have to work at, and maybe that’s ok?  Maybe I realize my shortcoming of forgiveness today, seek forgiveness for that today, and seek to be delivered from my unforgiveness today, give thanks for that progress and repeat tomorrow?  

What does it mean to ask for our daily bread, not just my daily bread?  I’m thinking of the little free pantry, and the community garden would be part of that.

What does it mean to pray about forgiveness as a group, to admit our need for forgiveness and to forgive those who owe us.  Not just my debts, and debtors but our debts and debtors, our sins and those who have sinned against us.  Honestly I'm not sure what that looks like, but I can't escape that it's there.

To sum up:

Our daily focus is this: We honor the father by seeking the kingdom.  We seek the kingdom by admitting our dependence on the Father’s grace, sharing that grace with others and asking to be delivered from the evil that we have been part of.

- Peace

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Accidental Eucharist Poetry

Rejoice, the Body of Christ broken for you.
Rejoice, the Blood of Christ shed for you.
I said these words while participating in the Eucharist at St. Bridgids.  St. Bridgids has a very inclusive approach to the table.  Anyone who is willing may come to the table.  Anyone who comes to the table is also a server.  The table is not a place of solitude, nor is it a place of hierarchy.  So as we began I asked the woman I'd be serving her name. Her answer "Rejoice".

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Jordon Cooper's Funeral (A Review)

Ok I know it's strange to review a funeral.  Jordon had terminal cancer, he knew his time was limited, and he prepared a serious piece of art for his finale. It deserves to be recognized as such.  Because of the subject matter I've kept the monetizing links to a minimum.

Songs from Jordon's Chemotherapy Playlist were playing as we entered the Lakeview Church auditorium. The final song to play: OK Go's cover of The Muppet Show Theme song.
"It's time to get things started 
On the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational..."
I don't know about sensational or muppetational but inspirational and celebrational work well for a funeral.

Being a funeral there were eulogies, passionately delivered by Tammy Robert and Scott Williams.

The eulogies covered Jordon's time as a Student, Husband, Father, Future Mapper at Lake View Church, Blogger, Rural Pastor, Urban Church Planter, Safeway Employee, Activist, Side Hustler Extrodiar, Manger for Two Homeless Shelters, founder of a shelter for rape victims, Blogger, Urban Activist, Camera Salesman, Political Commentator, Lover of Saskatoon.

Oddly the Eulogy Jordon himself had written was not read.  Turns out Jordon removed it from the service in the interest of time.

There was a moving photographic salute by Jordon's son Mark Cooper.

What made the night a performance piece was Jordon's choice of 'The Prodigal  Son' as a theme.  The unlinkable Lee Cooper read the parable from Luke. The wonderfully bearded Jared Sibert delivered a homily on the Prodigal Son, covering the Parable, The Rembrandt painting and Canadian theologian Henri Nouwen's 1994 book The Return of the Prodigal Son.  Best sermon I've heard this year.  But then my church doesn't do sermons.  In summary Jordon was on a journey to become gracious like the father and in a fight not be like the elder son.

I'll insert here that I was and continue to be a recipient of Jordon's grace.  Back when blogging was thing, (2002) I started this humble blog, and started looking around for other Canadian Christian bloggers and found  I figured out that Jordon was kinda a big deal when the New Your Times mentioned him in satirical bit covering blogs.  They described him along the lines of 'Books, Fundies make me angry, Hockey, Hockey' if I recall.  I know that when Jordon linked to a post my trafic went through the roof.  I even got a coveted spot on Jordon's blog roll.  Someone even created a Linked by Jordon Cooper icon.  However by the time the icon came out, I had been de linked by Jordon Cooper.  So I said so in the comments.  Soon after I was restored to Jordon's blog roll.  I never asked why, though he did once make a joke about it.  My read was the he put me back as an act of grace.  So the message of Grace that Jared adeptly delivered on Jordon's behalf resonated with me.

I was also with a friend who had been estranged from Jordon for about ten years, so I was very aware that grace is not simple or easy.  This reality was also acknowledged in the service.

Todd Peters performed a wonderful cover of Over the Rhine's All My Favorite People.

The whole song fit the night perfectly but the verse that stood out to me,
Orphaned believers
skeptical dreamers
Step forward
You can stay right here
You don't have to go
In many ways that summed up the community of people Jordon gathered online and in Saskatoon.

Indeed there was a wide range of people at the funeral, I'm told the Mayor of Saskatoon was there, the Premier of Saskatchewan sent flowers.  The young man next me in ripped jeans was greeted by name as he came in.  Not sure if he was homeless or a trendy church planter.  He gently snored through most of the service, don't read that as disrespect, but as someone who came for Jordon despite exhaustion.

There was a fabulous after party downstairs at Winston's.  More tributes from folks who knew Jordon as political commentator and activist.  There was a Conservative with Heart (who was mocked) and a Fiscally Responsible Socialist (who was mocked, really the jokes wrote themselves).

It was deeply moving to reconnect with Jordon and his community one last time.

You can support Wendy & the boys via the Jordon Cooper Family Relief Fund

- Peace

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

400km with Dave and Calvin

At 400km with Dave & Calvin

Was behind on my KM, so rode the river pathway from downtown, to Canyon Meadows and back north to Joey's Only on Macleod Trail.  33km in total; my longest ride this year.  Highwood pass was 36km, but I had over an hour rest at the summit, it really was two 18km rides.

Dave & Calvin came along, they had a much longer ride as they had at least 10km to get back home.

So I made the 400km goal by the end of May, not with much time or km to spare, but made it.  Next is to hit the 500km mark on the Goat Creek ride this Sat.

Should be good to hit 800km by end of June.

- Peace

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Highwood Pass May 2016

Kananaskis Valley

Feeling amazing about this years Highwood Pass run.  Last year it killed me.  Just over 3 hours to climb the ~700m/17.5 km to the summit.  This year: 2:20 from King Creek (just outside the gate) to the picnic table at the summit.

Last year It took me 45 minutes to go from the summit back to the gate.  This year 33.5 minutes, and that's back to the car at King's creek.  (OK it's not far from the gate but stopping and getting through the gate adds time.

Doing the climb and the descent in 75% of time compared to last year feels amazing.  Did I mention how amazing it feels?  OK I know that 2:20 isn't a record for people doing the highwood pass, but then most people aren't my size so a direct comparison doesn't really apply.  

Random side story:
The first year I did over 3k in a year a guy at the bike shop said "I don't want to steal your thunder but I'm at 3200 for the year" 
Me: "Dude I'm three times your size (zero exaggeration), talk to me when you've done 9k" 
So why the big jump.  Whish I knew for sure.  I don't see why I'd be in better shape than last year.  Last year I hit 300km near the top.  This year I was at ~330km at the top.  Last year I used the winter tires and the foot straps, this year I had the summer slicks and the bike shoes - that would be part of it.  Helped that there was a tailwind on the steepest part of the climb - though that made the descent slower.  I also rode alone this year. I was expecting the rest of the group to catch up with me, so I started out early. That meant I just went at my own pace.  I didn't stop.  I got off and walked for bits (100-200m) and rode again, but I didn't stop.  Last year people took a couple of breaks, and then continued on faster than I could go.  I think not stopping and keeping warmed up worked much better for me.  Also the camera battery died after the above shot, so maybe not taking pictures helped my time.

Whatever the reason,  I was glad to be the one waiting at the summit for the rest of the group instead of being the one everyone was waiting for.

Other Random Notes
  • Saw a grizzly on the side of the road driving up highway 40.  People were getting out of their cars to take pictures with their iphones and tablets.  Stupid people.
  • There were snow flakes in the air at the summit.  Not a good year to have left my sweater at home.
  • Someone wore  pants on their head.  We called this a pantouque. Non Canadians please see the Alberta Parks Touque.

- Peace

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

300km with Clement

At 300km with Clement

Went to Vancouver to visit Sarah, but also got in a bike n brunch in with Clement.  Hit the 300km mark Sunday morning while riding Pacific Spirit Regional Park.  One of my favorite places.  Went to Jethro's on Dunbar afterwards.  They make huge pancakes, I wasn't able to finish one of the two that came with my order.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

200km On Target

200km in Sunalta
Hit the 200km mark on the way for coffee on 17th Ave.  That took me through Sunalta, one of the few communities in Calgary with tree covered streets.

I'm on target for 400km by the end of May.  So far so good.

Looking forward to riding in Vancouver on the long weekend.  Not sure if I can manage to hit a 100km mark while there.

- Peace