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Showing posts from January, 2009

out of the cage

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

I am grappling with a few concepts in my own personal systematic theology right now. The first issue I am not sure about is the concept of the Trinity, and the second one (creation 'ex nihilo' or out of nothing) just popped up this week. I am not questioning whether these are true or not (okay, I am but just hang on), more like whether these are adequate concepts for us today. Each people group in their own place and time has to find language and concepts that relate Truth to where they are at. This is not relativism; this is the beauty of eternal Truth taking some concrete form in our human world and being able to touch every person at every point in time. Some ideas that were explored and explained centuries ago still find a hold in our day and time, but others do not.If anything, I feel that the concepts of trinity and cr…

confront

This is another journal entry in response to some reading I am doing for my Christian Spirituality course.

Of the four essential disciplines that Rolheiser mentions in chapter three, the one that appeals to me most is also the one that challenges me the most. The first "pillar," private prayer and personal morality, has been an integral part of me for pretty much my entire life and though these healthy habits are not always easy, there is a consistency and rhythm in that area that comes from long practise. The second, social justice, is something that, though definitely of great importance, does not tug at my heart strongly. As to the third item, mellowness of heart and spirit, most days I am grateful and not prone to anger or malice or anxiety.

However, the fourth discipline, community life, can be quite a challenge, especially for an introvert. My favourite sentence in this whole chapter comes from page 69: "Schleiermacher pointed out that, separate from historical…

Your mission should you chose to accept it...

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

Usually there is one thing that sticks out in the hours of reading and listening and writing that I do for this online course. This week it was something that Dan Wilt said in his video teaching (Dan Wilt, Essential Worship Theology, Week 2 video of Essentials Blue online course). And I quote, "We don't have a mission; a mission gets a hold of us."

I was preparing a few thoughts to contribute to our home group meeting last night. The topic was Decision-Making: directing your life without being a control freak. Interesting topic. As I thought about it and asked God about what he had to say on the subject, I remembered this line that Dan used in the video. And at that point I clearly saw that we are a very individualistic, self-centred, self-indulgent, and unsubmissive people. We act like we are the rulers of our own one-…

knives

This is part of a journal assignment for a course, Christian Spirituality, I am taking this term at Concordia University.

For one who has been on a spiritual journey since a very young age, I thought that a course on Christian Spirituality would be a rather undemanding exercise. How quickly I forget that a commitment to lifelong learning and maturing means that every day I see again how far I still have to go. In the course of this week I have felt incredibly intelligent and mature as well as fragilely stupid and incompetent. Each day that I ask the question, "God, what are you doing?" I am surprised by the honest participation and submission the answer requires of me, and the presence of both an "aching pain" and a "delicious hope."

The key word that Rolheiser uses to describe spirituality in the first part of his book, The Holy Longing, strikes very close to home. Desire has not been an active part of my vocabulary for much of my life. Having been ra…

the simple and the awkward ways of worship

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt
This is my first blog for the online worship course I am taking (see the above lengthy subtitle that will herald each of these posts). There is a plethora of reading, listening and watching to do each week which is enjoyable, but after a few days of this input, it sort of gets muddled in my head for two reasons: first, because I inexplicably just don't remember specific details about things that I read or hear after a few days, and secondly, I am also taking several university courses at the same time and there is only so much my brain can process and hold! For this reason, I take notes and try to write down the things that strike me as important.
But there are some things that do not have to be written down; they are the things that impact me in a deep way and that often hit me like a good, refreshing slap just when I need it or…

walk on

This past week has been a bit of an upheaval for me. I don't really do new year's resolutions, but as I began to contemplate some areas of my life and where they were going, something slammed me hard: for several days I felt alone and overlooked and neglected and like someone had taken a big chunk of my chest and ripped it out. There was a gaping wound and vacuum where a sense of belonging and companionship and love should have been. This made me take a long hard look at the relationships in my life and ask questions that I usually don't like to ask.

1. In what relationships am I investing heavily in without much return?
2. In what relationships do I expect the other person to always come over to my side of things?
3. In what relationships does the other person usually expect me to come to their turf?
4. What people are ready, willing and able to spend quality time with me and invest in who I am?
5. What people make me feel like they always want something from me, lik…

back to school

My university classes start again tonight and I already had the first conference call for my online course yesterday. Part of what I have to do in two of the classes is blog or journal about my weekly readings, so I hope you don't mind being part of my education, because I will be posting some of those musings here. I also teach/moderate a Wednesday night group where we explore finding God in our everyday lives, so I might occasionally post the thoughts I prepared for that group on here as well. Don't worry, it won't get stuffy and boring and I won't turn into a droning, dry professor (though rest assured, none of my teachers are anywhere near boring). It will still be personal and real, but perhaps on a few more varied topics and issues. As I am inspired in my journey of learning, my hope and prayer is that you may find something that will benefit or encourage or challenge you as well.

So, here are some thoughts from yesterday's Wednesday night group.
The topic was …

attention

For those of you who might be wondering, Dean and myself and Tea and Jazz all survived the holidays quite nicely. Tea is continuing her recovery and I was happy to find that, thanks to the wonderful caregivers who fed her and loved her while we were away, she improved while we were away. Dean is back at work and I am bracing myself for another busy term with two university courses and one online 15-week worship training thingy. This is sounding altogether too much like a newsletter so let me stop with the update thing right here and move on to more interesting stuff.

Yesterday, for no particular reason, I had a low day. I woke up feeling less than bouncy. I had a lot to do and oodles of reading and writing that should have been tackled, and perhaps a spiritual exercise or two that might have been helpful, but I didn't have the energy or the heart for it. I just felt flat and unexcited ,and I realised that I was empty. I give out a lot of words (mostly good and kind and true …