Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2015

contentment...what's that?

I see a nice house on the beach and I think: I wish I had one of those. I see someone eating a cookie and I think: I want a bite of that. I read about someone publishing a book and I think: I wish I had a book on amazon.ca. These kind of thoughts are normal, right? Nothing wrong with them. Or is there? Yesterday in our faith community, I talked about coveting and stealing (numbers 8 and 10 in the Decalogue, if you are keeping track). First, a few clarifications.

Jealousy, though usually used in a negative sense in our society, is actually a good thing in its pure form. When prohibiting idolatry at the beginning of Exodus 20, God calls himself a jealous God (YHWH Qanna). Jealousy is vigilance in maintaining or guarding something which is rightfully yours. It is protecting that which is precious to you.
Envy is discontent and resentment in response to someones possessions, qualities, privileged situation in life, or good fortune. Envy, it is obvious, is not a happy state of mind. Coveti…

Job, suffering, and a cat

These days I am spending a lot of time in the book of Job. It is not as depressing as it sounds. There is a compelling story, a cast of interesting characters, a lot of impassioned and honest dialogue, some amazing poetry on the subject of creation, and a good number of philosophical and theological questions to ponder. Readers of Job looking for solutions to the problem of suffering or seeking to justify God's goodness in the face of unexplained tragedy are inevitably disappointed. This is not a book of answers; it is a drama. And it is a good one. I don't know about you, but if I were to read a book or watch a movie about someone whose life was easy and everything worked out well, time after time, I would toss that boring book in the corner after the first chapter or two, and I would walk out of that trite, simplistic movie. Because life is hard, we know it is, and a story with nothing but innocence and goodness is a fantasy that we can't relate to and don't really …

Adultery, dogs, and desire

The seventh matter in the Decalogue is this: "Do not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). The word used here is specific to a sexual relationship between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. In other words, it speaks to fidelity. Jesus had this to say: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus indicates that before a sexual act of infidelity ever happens, something has already taken place in the heart and in the mind.

Let's talk about dogs for a bit. How do you walk a dog? Well, I checked around and here is some advice from dog trainers:
1. Remember you are leading, not the dog.
2. Be aware of your focus, your body language, what you are communicating to your dog.
3. Keep the leash short but not tight. Make it easy to communicate with your dog. Don't let her go wherever …

Teaching children and children teaching

One of the biggest challenges in our faith community is making space for and involving our kids in spiritual formation in a meaningful and appropriate way. A lot of our activities are geared toward adults and assume a pretty advanced ability to grasp abstract ideas. Since we don't yet have the resources to offer Children's Church every week, we decided to try an experiment for a few months: every fifth Sunday we have an Inverted Meeting. The basic idea is this: the whole gathering is accessible for children and there are a few tidbits thrown in for the adults (what usually happens is the reverse, hence the name, Inverted Sunday). As well, there are also plenty of opportunities for the adults to join in and help out. Re-thinking our Sunday morning gathering this way has been and still is a bit of a learning curve, I have to admit, but we are all discovering how to be together in a more equitable way. I believe we are also becoming a better community through it.

Just over a wee…