Ah, Freedom

Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. And now that you have found God (or should I say, now that God has found you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual powers of this world? You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don't do on certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles were?free from the law.
Galatians 4:8-12 (NLT)




(The following are the original comments that didn't move over well to blogger)


Phil L said at 12:43 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Amen. Paul was pretty tough on those who taught God’s grace wasn’t enough, that our works were necessary to earn our salvation. However he was equally tough on those who taught that our freedom in Christ gives us license to sin:

“For you have been called to live in freedom–not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love…

So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

Galatians 5:13,16-25 (NLT)



2Jean Harder said at 1:55 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Phil;; You are right on.



3Randall said at 3:50 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
I agree with where you’re goin Phil, but I haven’t explored lately if he was equally hard on the “Grace = Freedom to Sin” crowd. He was very hard on the “Jesus + Something Else = Salvation” crowd.
“Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” Phil 2:3
Or, as the Message puts it, those “Knife happy circumcisers”
In fact, in Galatians 5:12, about these people he says, “I wish the people who are bothering you would castrate themselves.”
Pretty hard line there.
I love the Galatians passage. We often emphasize the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, but I think we should spend serious time on the Fruit of the sinful nature part.
Yes it does cover wild parties and drunkenness, and the kind of sins we would see the flesh being a part of. But it also mentions things like “outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.”
I don’t know many Christians who are into the drunkenness, wild parties thing, but I do know that some of us are into “the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.”
Ouch.
At least there is a hope, the grace of having the Holy Spirit control your life!
Would it be fair to say that if you are seeing more of the Holy Spirit fruit in your life, and less of the Fruit of the sinful nature, that whatever your outward adornment or activities, you’re living your life in the Holy Spirit?



4Phil L said at 5:18 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Absolutely yes, and hopefully others should see the fruits also. Unfortunately I have seen cases where Christians who have advocated godly lives have not only been ridiculed by non-Christians but have been labelled as legalists by their Christian brothers and sisters. We need to emphasise that our salvation is by grace alone, but I believe that sanctification and mutual edification are also important.

As to whether Paul was was equally hard on the “Grace = Freedom to Sin” crowd as he was on the “Jesus + Something Else = Salvation” crowd, I haven’t crunched those numbers. However, I seem to recall that he said enough to be labelled a legalist among some modern Christian circles (e.g. Ephesians 4:17-29).

Creating Space

I changed my blog look last week for a few reasons. I'm not done with it yet, but for now it's going to do fine.


I need the White Space it provides. The simple approach, the uncluttered look that it offers. I need the border too, as a limit to the White Space.


I need, I crave White Space in my life right now. No lines, no clutter, just wide open spaces, with an expectation of a limited border, just to hold me together, in which to live my life.


My days can get hopelessly cluttered, filled with events and activities that have little life, and rare, if any meaning. I need to remember that I am called as a Minister of Christ, more than I am called to be a minister of the Church. And as such, my contacts and activities can have deep meaning and life if I am ministering Jesus.


I want a Spirit full to overflowing with White Space -pages on which my life will be written. Whole pages and chapters about and with my children, my wife, my friends and family and church and God. Pages of dreams fulfilled, friends loved, family enjoyed. Pages of quiet conversations shared in the dark, with God.


My hope is in God who alone erases the stains of sin from my book, written daily.


I am forgiven. I am free, freer than I've ever known. Still the peace only rests as I rest, in Him.


And this Advent I want to rest in Him. To watch and wait. To simplify and unclutter. To make room, for Him.


And He will come and fill the White Space, the pages, the chapters, with verse after verse of the Words of Life. He will fill my Story with His.


This Advent, I want to create a wide open space in my life for Him to move in and create life in.


It will be amazing.

Anybody seen a "Randy" walking around out there? ...with a logbook?

Well, during my first hospital visit today, (Been a bit busy around here!) I discovered that the yahoo who broke into the van last Friday night also took my hospital name tag. Why would anybody....


The person also took my mileage log! Who would steal a mileage log? Unless they worked for the government, or some spy organization. I know George W. Bush is in Canada today. I hope no terrorist group took my Hospital badge and log book, to get close to W.


That one bum's me out, if I can still use that phrase. That's a few hundred dollars I'm out of then.


I am starting to get a little Christmassy though. That's a good thing.

long day, sore back.

So, I was heading off to the office this morning around 10 am, when Micah mentioned there was water leaking out of the fridge...


I got to the office after 4 pm. With a sore back and a new appreciation for the underside of fridges.


And, as I left for the office, I noticed the van had been broken into, again. A few things were missing, junk mostly. Nothing of value was gone.


I have noticed that since the front interior light has burned out, and I haven't replaced it, I get a lot less stuff stolen. They get in there and it's all black, they can't see a thing. So they end up missing all the good stuff. I think I'll continue to leave the light burnt out.

Really??

Johanna's looking at a number of schools to attend next year.

She wrote one, highly regarded Bible Institute, and asked if her tiny nose piercing would be a concern for them.

They wrote back saying they allowed a simple piercing in a ladies ear. Many of the supporters wouldn't support the school if they didn't have this rule.

Huh? I thought we were past that?

Or am I too liberal a dad?



(The following were the original comments that didn't transfer over well in the move to Blogger)



Marc Vandersluys said at 7:42 pm on November 26th, 2004:
Flaming.


2Clinton said at 11:00 pm on November 26th, 2004:
Christians need to realize that their own biases may have nothing to do with Christian life whatsoever.
However, this school is extremely cheap because it is heavily subsidized. It would cost 2 or 3 times as much for a similar education elsewhere. So, if some very conservative, and very old people (I presume) want to pay for Christians to receive their education, and they ask for no facial jewelry in return, that’s reasonable.


3Jim Litteral said at 10:32 am on November 27th, 2004:
Sheeesh! Oh yes, appearances have always been an important biblical critieria for discerning godly character. Especially with guys like David (I Sam.16:7) and Jesus (Isa. 53:2). My daughter would be ineligble for the same reason – and she is a pretty amazing Christian.


4Brad said at 12:10 pm on November 27th, 2004:
The type of education she would get from a school which majors in such minors is probably going to be of questionable value. Aim higher.


5Matt said at 12:56 pm on November 27th, 2004:
Woah, lets not get too hasty to disavow anyone who has physical standards of modesty and propriety. I could start rambling on about the idea of a negative spiral of cultural conformity and how facial piercings lead to a decension into immodesty, but I don’t entirely agree with that.
But some people do, and I can understand where they are coming from. Look at when Paul tells the women of Corinth to be more modest and such in their physical appearance. It’s different, I’ll admit, but I think that’s the principle people use who are opposed to stuff like nose rings.
If I’m not mistaken, even CBC isn’t allowed to have dances because some of its supporters do not believe that is proper. At least that’s how it was when I went. I think it’s the same type of thing, and CBC is an great school.
Or what about “no alcohol” rules? Alcohol is Biblical, so if you are of legal age why can’t you drink it when you are at a Bible College, as long as you don’t get drunk? No one ever brings that up too often.


6Clinton said at 4:07 pm on November 27th, 2004:
Good points. We all have our own taboos. I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water here. No one is inelligible from this particular school, they just have to take out their piercings. If someone felt it was more important to wear their facial jewelry than attend this school I’d question where their heart is at?


7Johanna said at 11:17 pm on November 27th, 2004:
I generally agree with clinton and matt. It’s their school, so it’s their rules. It’s also their loss of liberal-minded students. Seems like a lot of the people who’ve commented here are at the opposite end of the spectrum: totally liberal. for me the issue’s not so much the nose peircing; it’s a non-issue. It’s more about cutting people from society out, and is the school ready to teach/learn from the secular world. I just don’t want to take my peircing out, because the scar tissue would be pretty bad (I’ve taken it out once already) and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for me to repeirce it after I finished my courses.
Cuz really, if body jewelry is a non-issue, then it’s just as much an issue to take it out as it is to leave it in.


8Dan said at 9:13 am on November 28th, 2004:
So, just to be clear, they actually said in the response that it was due to the supporters? I’m surprised they would be that candid, sort of like saying “we’d like to let you in, but we’d lose all our money” which is the kind of personal information you don’t usually make public. If they truly said that, then I have a bigger problem with it than simpy saying “we’ve chosen to draw a line and nose piercings are out”


9Leighton Tebay said at 11:24 am on November 28th, 2004:
At Bethany a number of faculty kids are students. One has a rather sizeable lip ring. Johanna, you are safe here.
Call Dave Carey, our admissions person at 947-2175.
This has been a very biased plug by a Bethany College staff member.


10Steve Menshenfriend said at 1:10 pm on November 28th, 2004:
You are liberal Randall. The next thing you’ll be pushing is a “Safe”-Grad.


11Michelle said at 2:42 am on November 29th, 2004:
Been struggling with (against) similar jewellery issues imposed by the place where I work – another Christian institution. The new student handbook is WAY strict, and we’ve lost students over it already. I don’t see what it has to do with one’s salvation, other than driving others away from it, but thus far have managed to keep my mouth shut (barely). To me, it’s nit-picking while bigger issues go unmentioned and un-dealt-with. But I’m in a huge minority with that view here.


12Toni said at 4:14 am on November 29th, 2004:
“school ready to teach/learn from the secular world.”
Without wishing to be difficult, what can a christian school usefully learn from the world? Not a great deal, I’d suspect.
I’m not really sure what the deal is, since I don’t know all the facts. However if the school IS good in all other respects, and this doesn’t reflect an oppressive philosophy then it seems a little humility might not be mis-placed. Especially if they ARE subsidising their student’s education.
Of course this might reflect a much less savoury philosophy and approach to the students, in which case the place should be avoided like the plague. My mother spent 2 years at a ‘missionary’ school in the 50’s, and quite frankly the place was sadistic, brutal and operated in a manner calculated to subjugate and humiliate anyone that didn’t ‘roll on their back’ in submission.


13Toni said at 11:07 am on November 29th, 2004:
Just looked at Johanna’s site.
“we don’t allow any piercing with the exception of ears for the gals. This unfortunately does mean that we don’t allow nose rings. I know that it’s seems weird, but there are some supporters of PRBI that are still not comfortable with piercing and we do it out of respect for them. It’s a sacrifice to take out piercings, but we need to have an attitude of humility. We’ve found that most students don’t find it a big deal to take out their piercing because it’s only for a season.”
Doesn’t seem like a big deal at all to me. You want to be part of us – these are the rules. It’s not repression and it’s not hypocritical or anything dubious.
Maybe I’m not alone in finding piercings distasteful (including ears) although I tend to live and let live.


14Jean Harder said at 10:59 pm on November 29th, 2004:
liberal-minded is putting it mildly! What sets aborn-again Christian apart from the rest of the world? I believe that the world has filtered into the churches. eg. Are body piercings And jeans worn down to the “crack of the bum” not part of the world? Just my opinion.


15Sharon said at 8:14 am on November 30th, 2004:
I liked your sermon on Sunday….Christianity is Jesus plus nothing else – not Jesus plus how you dress, or Jesus plus nose jewelery, not Jesus plus circumcision, not Jesus plus anything else. Period. Liberal? – I suppose it depends which “anything else” you have tagged on to “Christian”……and I love what your daughter has and is becoming – she has, as I have observed her, shown Jesus more than many “mature” Christians I have met. So I would encourage both she and you, Randall….you both are Jesus plus nothing!


16Toni said at 11:49 am on November 30th, 2004:
BTW on the ’schools’ thing, Johanna was wondering whether to take a year out and spend it on a discipleship course. The main church in Oxford run a ‘year team’ which includes some serious theological teaching and practical training in all kinds of areas. They view it as equipping the wider church.
We have a number of friends that have done it, and found it very good indeed. If she wanted an ‘adventure’ in a different culture then it would be worth considering. It would need to be explored within the next few months rather than later though, since IIRC these things fill up fairly quickly. I did mention it on her blog too.


17Clinton said at 4:10 pm on November 30th, 2004:
There are many “worldly” things that have oozed into the “church” I suppose. But for the life of me, I can’t see how peircings are any more worldly than women wearing make-up, perfume or pants. (Those who live in glass houses, etc, etc…)
I laugh when I hear what some Christians think is “worldly” or “unchristian”.
The “world” uses cars, so maybe we should stop using cars.

The “world” uses buttons, so maybe we should stop using buttons.

The world listens to country music, so for the sake of all that is holy, please ban those alternating bass lines and the chords G, C and D.

The “world” dyes their hair, so we should stop dying hair.

The “world” reads NIV so we should only read KJV.

The “world” has a drug addiction to caffeine which leaches calcium from the body and creates a chemical dependancy in the user, so maybe we should stop drinking coffee.

For crying out loud, the “world” even breathes air. What am I supposed to do now?
So what separates Christians from the “world”? Perhaps the love of God shining through us. Perhaps the fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps our lack of piercings.


18Marc Vandersluys said at 5:26 pm on November 30th, 2004:
Interestingly, I understand that “the World” reads “NRSV”–and when was the last time you heard that used in church?


19Jean Harder said at 6:23 pm on November 30th, 2004:
Clinton: I don’t have time to “discuss this topic with you right now. I have a bible study to go to. However, you don”t make much sense with Your reasoning. Being testy about someone’s opinion is not the way to go. Maybe you should mature a few years,eh?


20Clinton said at 10:05 pm on November 30th, 2004:
Jean, my response was a joke. I was trying to contrast pointless things people consider Christian with what I consider truly Christian. Hopefully readers will see the ridiculusness of it all and stop calling cultural biases “Christian”.


21Johanna said at 10:12 pm on November 30th, 2004:
wow. 19 comments; don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. but I’m going to add my 60 cents, so beware.
It doesn’t seem to me that Clinton is being exactly testy, more sarcastic.
I would agree with him, to an extent. Sure, having a nose peircing isn’t against the ten commandments (11 if you count Jesus’ addition), but if it causes a brother in christ to stumble or doubt his faith, then I think that’s where the line needs to be drawn. I don’t think clothing is a real issue, as long as it’s modest and not degrading to anyone (including oneself).
Of course some of the culture will seep into the church, because the church is made up of human people, and unless I live in a church, or under a rock, I will always be influenced by the world around me. This influence will either strengthen or destroy my faith, and the choices I make will decide that.
For me, matters of clothing and jewelry aren’t a big deal. I don’t disagree with responsible, adult, consumption of alcohol. I don’t have a problem with associating, or being friends with, unchristian people. But for some people, these are issues, and when I’m around them, I need to respect that, to an extent. If, when I’m a real adult, I have friends over, and they think that for christians to drink a glass of wine with supper is wrong, then I won’t serve it. Or if they were a recovering alcoholic, I wouldn’t do that, because (besides being rude) it might cause them to stumble.
If I’m supposed to go somewhere where peircings and such are “of the world” like ministry to the Amish or something, then there’s no question, I’ll change. But where I am, trying to reflect christ in my school and my world, the peircings are okay, and not much of an issue. If god wants me at that school, he’ll make it known, and I’ll remove the offending items.


22Jean Harder said at 11:46 am on December 1st, 2004:
Johanna: For a young girl of 17 or whatever,I must commend you for YOUR maturity. You do make a lot of sense. It is nice to hear that you respect other people’s religious belief whether you agree with them or not. Thank you.


23Clinton said at 12:06 pm on December 1st, 2004:
Jean, you hurt me. I would not do something to intentionally hurt another person, Christian or otherwise. I respect other’s religious beliefs and agree with Johanna. I tend to make my points through sarcasm though and I’m sorry if that offended you. Age does not always equal maturity. I think we’ve both proved that. If you want to say something to me, please email me. I’ve tried to email you but your link isn’t working for me.


24Tyrus said at 4:22 pm on December 1st, 2004:
It would appear that points made through sarcasm are more likely to offend than would a straightforward dialogue, and maturity jabs aside, it seems that respect for one’s elders has fallen by the wayside these days.
A question though… If an institution has a defined set of entrance rules, who are we to make light of what was probably well thought and hopefully prayed over? To me the question is where is the line drawn? Nose piercings today? Navels tomorrow? 2 piercings? A dozen? How much until our appearance does more to scare away potential members to HIS flock than to encourage joining? Do we have to become the world to attract converts?


25Clinton said at 9:34 am on December 2nd, 2004:
I apologize for flogging this dead horse one more time. I would like a chance to restate my opinion in a more respectful manner. The reason this topic strikes so close to home for me is because I served as a youth leader for several years in Saskatoon where I served under unreasonable and conflicting expectations from Christians. From this experience I have learned that no one can please every Christian at the same time because even Christians hold opposing views. To try to conform to everyone’s expectations of what a Christian should be and avoid everyone’s expectations of what the world is, is to live in man-made bondage which God never intended. This has nothing to do with piercings. This is all about cultures. People assign characteristics to the “world” and to “Christians” that have nothing to do with the “world” or “Christianity”.
The problem is that cultures change. When we base our understanding of “Christian” or “world” on culture we will find that we’ve built our theology on sand, not the Rock. At one time women who wore pants or make-up were considered “worldy”. At one time guitars were actually considered immoral because they were shaped like male anatomy. (I am serious. this isn’t sarcasm.) This isn’t so today, mostly. I would ask anyone who does something today that was considered “worldly” 50 or 100 years ago (like wear make up, pants, dance, play drums, listen to Jazz, fly in airplanes) to examine what they consider “worldly” today. Chances are it is based more on a particular cultural understanding than anything to do with Jesus and our relationship with God. It is possible that we offend others just as much as we are offended because of our cultural convictions. I agree that we need to sensitive to the culture we are in, but we should also be aware that it is only culture.
What defines something as “Christian” should be based on Christian morality which in turn should be based on the character of God. What defines something as “worldly” should be based on the opposite, which I will call sin. So many of my convictions crumble when I use this as a measuring stick. I’d ask that people who disagree on what is “worldly” or “Christian” do the same. I have had my opinions change many times when I’ve come across people with differing ideas who show me their reasoning and why I may be missing the mark.
I don’t think it is wrong to question the values of Christians or intitutions. It lets us see the reasoning behind these values. We then have a foundation to respect the values or respectfully disagree based on understanding, not opinion. The institution or Christian may even change their view when they realize their bias. In this way, iron is sharpening iron as we all encourage each other to become more like Christ. Being like Jesus is what should attract people to us, not our adherence to culture. Non-Christians may be just as turned off by a group of people in suits and dresses as a bunch of people with tattoos and piercings. It all depends on culture, not “worldliness”. Jesus trancends culture.


26Clinton said at 10:11 am on December 2nd, 2004:
I have had the privelege of being in many churches in several different cultures in different parts of the world.
Some of these Churches have organs, drums, distorted electric guitars, piercings, dyed hair, make-up, don’t allow make up, dance, hug, cry, laugh, ignore emotions, preach in shorts, preach for an hour, paint pictures, wear ties, wear swimsuits, serve alcohol, have icons, reject idols, separate men and women, separate children from adults, frown on Halloween, dress in Halloween costumes and give out candy, play country music, play hymns, play jazz, play contemporary music, chant, don’t believe in musical instruments, drive mercedes, walk for miles, use sweetgrass, smoke cigarettes, have same-sex preferences, date, don’t date, don’t gamble, win $10 million, avoid pubs, hold gospel nights in bars, shun technology, use powerpoint, have small groups, don’t have small groups, wear hats, forbid hats, have religious hats, require head coverings for women, don’t allow women in ministry, have women pastors, only use KJV, don’t allow men to have long hair, require that women do have long hair, use only latin, speak in tongues, ascribe tongues to the devil, baptize infants, rebaptize those baptized as infants, use ritz for communion, eat Jesus during communion, serve coffee, teetotal, own a building, rent a building, don’t have a building, meet in a house, meet in a tent, meet in a field, tithe, go bankrupt, reach out, reach in, use chairs, use pews, use dirt, have memberships, believe being a Christian is membership, love Jesus, serve Jesus, become more Christ-like.
I have been in many Christian cultures and none of them are identical. Their only similarity is Jesus. He tends to be unchanging and eternal for some reason .


27Randall said at 11:28 am on December 2nd, 2004:
Thanks Clinton for trying again.
I like, “we need to sensitive to the culture we are in, but we should also be aware that it is only culture”
Indeed. Well put.


28Phil L said at 1:05 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Unfortunately it isn’t always easy to agree on what is merely a cultural preference versus sin. However, assuming we have a high view of scripture, we can use the question that the founders of the Evangelical Covenant Church were so fond of, “where is it written?”. Of course we still won’t always agree on our interpretation of scripture, but that question should help us avoid arguments about body piercings and tattoos, etc., while agreeing on biblical principles such as sexual purity, modesty, avoiding vulgar talk, etc.


29Jean Harder said at 1:08 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
You guys; This is sick. I mean really! I am sorry I gave my thoughts on this subject. I thought this blogging thing was so that anybody could voice their thoughts or beliefs. Clinton, yousay you cannot get through to me on my email. Well, I have something to say to you, so please let me know if you get it. Thanks.
30Clinton said at 2:51 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
I agree, Phil. It’s not all black and white. There are obvious times when culture clashes with Christianity and then there are times when biblical principles say nothing about cultural trends. I discuss those topics with other Christians to see how God is leading them. Sometimes I find those issues aren’t directly sin issues as much as respect and obedience issues.
I also agree with you Jean. Blogging is a place where anyone can voice their thoughts and beliefs. I also agree that having bum cracks hanging out of pants is wrong. That’s based on my view of what the bible says about sexual purity and modesty. I still haven’t received any email yet. My address is me_clint@hotmail.com or ccc009@usask.ca .


31Tyrus said at 2:57 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
“I thought this blogging thing was so that anybody could voice their thoughts or beliefs.”
No offense intended Jean, but I thought that’s what everyone was doing. That doesn’t mean that we are all going to agree, in fact, I suspect many never will on issues of personal appearance. I am comfortable with my personal beliefs, and find it intersting to hear different views. I will also freely discus these issues most times.
That being said, I’m not willing to debate to the point of offending others here. Since this seems to be happening, I’ll simply take my leave.

God bless you all.


32Jean Harder said at 3:34 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Clinton: I apologize for any offensive comments I made to you. I will not be emailing you at this time. Let’s respect one anothers religious beliefs – all of us. Friends?


33Randall said at 4:23 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Well, alas I think this horse is dead on the highway.
I want to thank those of you who contribute helpful and challenging thoughts to randallfriesen.com. At least you don’t always hear it as I see it, and that’s a good thing. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
I also want to apologize if some of you felt misunderstood or cornered. That is not the purpose of this space. Writing words on a screen can be a very limiting way to communicate, especially about things we are passionate about.
And I confess I don’t have the time to moderate lengthy ongoing discussions that happen here. My life is real busy right now.
We’ve also entered Advent, a time of quieting our spirits and looking ahead. So I’m trying to cultivate a posture of stillness and watching. Watching for God. Watching for His hand in people’s lives. Watching for His love and grace and mercy.
So, I’m pulling the plug on, what did we start out talking about…? oh yeah, my daughter, Bible schools, holes in the body, and financial supporters.
Peace to each of you who read these words this Advent season.
God’s Peace.

The Blogger has new clothes

Time for some new threads.


Actually, Saturday night while I was driving the 7 hours back from Calgary, I rebuilt the site in my head. It's what kept me awake. So let's see where the dragons be. If you find some area not working, le'me know alright?


 


In a nod to my purple lovin friend, Leighton, I've made the dates and titles a lovely shade of, ...eggplant.


 

Harpers Index

is a list of interesting facts, printed on the last page of Harpers Magazine.


This is one of the items I just read:



Rank shared by Jesus Christ and Bill Clinton among "the greatest Americans of all time," according to Americans: 13


I think a few Americans may be surprised to discover that Christ wasn't American.

Christian Rock, before those two words ever went together.

For those of you wanting to take a little trip down memory lane, here's a ride.


Larry Norman tunes you can listen to.


Via. Bob



So I took a test

Mmmmmmmmmmm, Mashed Potato Soda...................







You Are Mashed Potato Soda
Like sucking on a stick of butter...


 

 

Thank Becky. Thanks alot.

Week of Prayer 2004

This week is our week of prayer over at the church. It's the second year we've tried the prayer pilgrimage route, and it seems to be profoundly effective for many people.


We have a series of stations through which you move. Stations which lead you through prayer. Confession, repentance, facing our fears,  praise, silence, thanksgiving, petition, and blessing.


I want to encourage those of you who read this page and live in Prince Albert to come and give it a try. It really is a moving experience with God. It's available anytime of the day or night, until Sunday that is. If you don't know how to get past the locked door, call me at 764-7155 or 764-0701 and I'll tell you how to get in.


This is an excellent way to quiet your heart before Advent comes upon us.


Remember the question asked by the wise men, the first question in the new Testament; "Where is he, born king of the Jews?"


It's always a wise question to ask. Make some time for God this season.

Hmm, it may be time to send Lauralea back to school


This Fall, King of King's College welcomed its first candidates for a groundbreaking minor in pastor's wiving, the first such degree offered in the country.


 "To be a pastor's wife you don't have to speak Greek and Hebrew, just be able to listen to it with an expression of sincere interest," says DuLac.
    In the chapel on the King of King's campus, twelve well-dressed female students sit on the front pew, their hair perfectly groomed, their nails painted a modest pink. Bibles are open on each lap. Though nobody is preaching and the room is all but empty, they nod and smile in silence, occasionally throwing in a demure "That's right" or "Amen." Finally, an instructor with a stopwatch yells, "Time's up!"
    The students collapse in their seats, rubbing their necks and cheek muscles.
    "We have to do that every Sunday?" one asks.
    "And Wednesdays, and special events," groans another.


It's a Lark.


Via Becky


 

It's the most wonderful time of the year... not

"It's" happening again. It happens every year, but this year it's coming a little later.


It's the cold.


Every year it takes time to get adapted to the deep cold that moves over us like a layer of ice. Every year it flows into every crack and crevice, testing everything within it's path. Your coats and coverings, your house, your car, your life.


Today the kids took the small car to school as per normal. They didn't quite make it when it overheated and they lost all their antifreeze. They called and I went to rescue them, added water and got it home. But I couldn't find the hole the water was spraying out of, even after letting it run for an hour, couldn't find the weakness.


Tonight I went to get Hillary from work and threw on my leather gloves. There is a small hole over one finger which is usually ok, but tonight the cold flowed into that hole, nearly freezing that one little spot on my finger, till it hurts.


I've got to get the plastic over the house windows ASAP now that the cold is coming. I've got to make sure the car block heaters are working and I've got to find a way to plug in two cars this year, a first for us. And it's not as simple as a splitter plug.


You've got to start thinking differently. You need to be thinking ahead before you leave the house. What will I need to stay warm. What will I need if I get into trouble -if the car breaks. Always thinking, always planning.


Then there is the simple fact that the cold hurts, it's uncomfortable. Even after you cover up, you breathe it into your lungs, it freezes your nose, makes your nose run. And when you stand out in it like I was doing today working on the car, it chills you down to your bones. Then you go inside and warm up. And as you warm up you suddenly realize how tired you are, how the cold made your body exhausted, and you fall asleep sitting on the kitchen chair.


It will get better, once we get used to it, once we get acclimatized.


It's just the getting there that's so miserable.


 

Postmodernism/Postcolonialism?


"...We have been realizing increasingly that "postmodern" is a Euro-American way of talking about one slice of a much larger and more profound reality called "postcolonial" in the global south (which is now the demographic center of Christian faith and mission). We believe that postcolonial is a better, richer, more all- encompassing way to frame many of the issues we are grappling with. So, we are convinced that any theological conversation that doesn't include global south and north as partners simply perpetuates colonial, modern, Euro-American Christianity. The global north/west needs to learn from the global south/east, and we want to link emerging leaders for that conversation and friendship. We have been working on this side of things for a couple of years, but we felt the time had come to shift significant resources in this direction."


Brian MacLaren


This has been a troubling feature of the postmodern shift for me to resolve. Unless it's working itself out in Asia and Africa, it's only a western church thing. If I begin to see it as a postcolonial thing, well, that starts to move it in a much bigger direction.


 

Henri Nouwen on waiting


If we do not wait patiently in expectation for God's coming in glory, we start wandering around, going from one little sensation to another. Our lives get stuffed with newspaper items, television stories, and gossip. Then our minds lose the discipline of discerning between what leads us closer to God and what doesn't, and our hearts gradually lose their spiritual sensitivity.


Without waiting for the second coming of Christ, we will stagnate quickly and become tempted to indulge in whatever gives us a moment of pleasure. When Paul asks us to wake from sleep, he says: "Let us live decently, as in the light of day; with no orgies or drunkenness, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop worrying about how your disordered natural inclinations may be fulfilled" (Romans 13:13-14). When we have the Lord to look forward to, we can already experience him in the waiting.


Henri Nouwen


 

Back safe and (Just a little) sound

Well, got back Sunday morning around 2 am, and back to the church by 8.


Feelin alot better today, after a few sleeps and after Toronto beat B.C. in the Grey Cup final. I was cheering for Pinball Clemons all the way. I do believe the first Black head coach to win a pro football championship.


My mom & dad were up a bit today to check out a different car up here in Prince Albert. So we helped them this morning.


Then this afternoon Lauralea and I went out for coffee, and a trip to the Christmas candy store in the mall. They are this family run fudge business that only comes in November, and stays till Christmas. I was waiting for them this year, mainly because they make the most amazing fudge....


words fail me... 


It's like pieces of heaven made just for your mouth.


Of course I've never been to heaven, (Don't tell Lauralea that...), but if heaven is such an amazing place, and it's better than, well, sex and fudge, well then it's going to be worth the trip, that's for sure.



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

to tired to sigh...

I am beyond tired tonight.


I think I last saw tired about 4pm this afternoon. It was flying past me at an incredible rate of speed, in the other direction.


Tomorrow is more, and bigger. I'm getting nervous about my 7 hour drive home tomorrow night, after dark.


g'nite.


 

Waiting for my chance...

So, my roommate is a BC Lions fan. What's worse, he was at the game last Sunday...


I thought about a well placed pillow over his head in the middle of the night, but he's an RCMP officer, and he might have some moves I'm not ready for, let alone shoot me!


 

I have arrived

Well, I'm tucked away in my Hotel right now, in Strathmore AB. The place even has a business office I can use, so here I am!!


It was a beautiful day for a drive. Clear roads and sky and a smooth ride. All went well.


I even headed into Calgary to get to a book store to pick up a book I've been after. My second stop was a Chapters Books with it's 3 trillion books in stock, except for the one I wanted. The frustrating part? I had to show my information help guy how to do a search of his stock on HIS COMPUTER!! Totally frustrating. (Jeff, you should get a job training these people in how to use their computers!!...)


Anyway, just got back and am bookless, and tired, very tired. I have some changes to work out for the meeting tomorrow, and some more reading to do, so I'll go get at it.


 


Sounds like Lauralea is a lot sicker today... hope she'll be ok. I don't like being at a distance like this at these times.


 

On the road again

Well, I'm heading off to Calgary again tomorrow, I've got CBC Board meetings.


This year I find myself to be the Personnel Committee chair, so I've been doing a lot of prepwork so that we can get a lot of stuff done this weekend. Faculty interviews, policy reviews, reports, etc. etc. etc.


I do like sinking my teeth into a real task and getting it done. I think we are taking a big bite this weekend, should be good!!


Meanwhile, back at the outhouse things are piling up...


We've got people sick around here like crazy. Lauralea went to bed a while ago exhausted, and I'm off to follow her.


I'm into Saskatoon tomorrow. Me and my brother and my dad are going out for supper and a guys night out on the town - it will include steaks, I hope.


Then Thursday I'll be on the road all day.


Hey, I usually pray while I drive, (I think God can hear me over my Andy Hunter Techno Cd...) so, if you want something prayed for, by a guy who's pretty much a captive audience, shoot a note to my cell phone from the left part of the screen here, with your prayer. I'll echo it back to Him.


And maybe you can send up one or 9 for my family back here as they fight over the bathrooms... 


peace.


 

Today I am tired.

Well, last night was Micah's turn to start barfing all over the place.


I didn't believe it was possible to have that much stuff stuck inside you. But, again and again till around 1 am, he kept on goin.


Good thing he wasn't in assembly!!


 

A unique Saskatchewan approach to shunning

Alright, so Paul McCallum missed two fieldgoals last night, including an 18 yarder in overtime. But you've got to ask yourself, is dumping a load of crap on his front lawn really gonna help?



REGINA   -  Some unhappy football fans took their anger out on the home of Saskatchewan Roughrider Paul McCallum in Regina Sunday night.
The Rider kicker missed two field goals in Sunday's CFL West Division Final against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver, including an 18-yard attempt in overtime.



The Riders lost 27-25, sending the Lions to the Grey Cup game against the Toronto Argonauts in Ottawa next weekend.


   Staff Sgt. Ron Buddecke of the Regina Police Service says McCallum's wife called police after an excessive number of cars drove by their Regina home.


The house was later pelted with eggs and a load of manure was dumped off, along with notes directed at McCallum. Buddecke says other threats were also made against McCallum.


He says police know at least one of the individuals involved, and charges will be laid.


Via.


 



Fox. It Isn't just The Simpsons any more.

Guess who was on TV...


While I was away at a pastors retreat in Calgary, the president of the Evangelical Covenant Church was busy talking about how God was not a Republican  - or Democrat.



CHICAGO, IL (November 1) - Evangelical Covenant Church President Glenn Palmberg will participate in an interview on the Fox News Channel shortly after noon today (Chicago time) as part of the program "Dayside with Linda Vester."


Glenn Palmberg The cable program, which airs live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, runs one hour. Palmberg is scheduled to be interviewed for five minutes beginning at 12:35 p.m.


A key subject of the interview is a full-page advertisement that recently appeared in the New York Times and approximately 50 other daily newspapers throughout the country under the heading "God is Not a Republican ? Or a Democrat" ? an approach that stirred considerable discussion in political, social and religious circles. The advertisement was sponsored by Sojourners Magazine and has been signed by 104,117 individuals, including Palmberg. 


More...  and Here...

BC 27, Saskatchewan 25, in overtime

Crap.


Foiled again.


Lauralea and I are going to drown our sorrows in some Chinese food.


See you tomorrow.


 

Watching the Saskatchewan Roughriders march on to glory towards the 92nd Grey Cup

Yea, that's right you NFL Newbie's out there, especially you ones who cheer for Miami, (may God help you...)


92 years we've been playing for a cup up here, 92 years. How old is that Superbowl thing? I think I have underwear older than that trophy...


Well ok, probably not, but my point is made.


I think that tomorrow, as Saskatchewan plays British Columbia, I will throw open the doors to any and all who wish to watch with me.


We have a potluck after church, but It should be over by kick off. The game starts at 3 pm here, so I will attempt to be home and have the best seat saved before any of youall get here.


And I'm out of snacks and have even less cash, so, BYOB. Whatever B means to you.


See you tomorrow.


P.S. the address is 1179 4th St. E.


P.P.S. if Toni shows up, he can have the best seat in the house, as he'll be the most tired from all the travel.


 

Did we get anywhere this week??

Well, I do believe it's been the kind of week in which not a lot of pastoring got done.


Reports, agendas, bulletins, song selections, phone calls, typing, emails and snail mails, and generally hating the computer (XP more specifically) has robbed me of time needed to pastor.


Now, there are those who would say that that is pastoring. Leading, administering, setting direction. But that person isn't me.


Add to that some kind of disease that made me feel like garbage, and a family somewhat ticked off that I didn't take Remembrance Day off, and you have the sum total of my week.


Tomorrow will find me in the office again, finishing for Sunday.


Enough grumbling.


Johanna and Thomas are in Saskatoon tonight and tomorrow night, acting in the play they did here, Joan of Arc.  


Hope they break their legs!!


 

War and Peace, but mostly war

Well, yesterday I got what millions of Americans are after, but can't have, -No, not W out of office!! I got a flu shot.


Now, she told me that last night I would feel like crap, but I didn't. Well I sure do tonight. Don't know if it's connected though...


Tomorrow is Rememberance Day here in Canada. I'm thinking like maybe I'll go find a service of rememberance some place, and stand there, and remember, and pray for peace.


 

Just another quiet night at the Friesen's

Last night around 10:35 pm, the front doorbell rang.


I cautiously opened the door to find a very inebriated man standing there. He carefully formed the words, "I'm looking for downtown, do you know where it is?"


I replied, pointing to the left, "It's that a way!"


"Ok, thanks"


And he was off to find downtown.


 

Micah Micah Micah...

I took Micah out for lunch yesterday. The totally coolest part of his morning?


During the school assembly, Jamie, a boy from his class suddenly vomited "Ton's of stuff," spraying and clearing out the grade four class sitting in front of him!


So cool.


 

...As the Stomach turns...

Well, we got a lovely packet of papers today from the parents grad planning committee.


Permit me to vent.


Page one, a letter of introduction and description of our main goal, "... to make it (graduation celebration) a safe environment."


Sounds like a good plan!


Page two begins with a paragraph stating in many words that parent groups throughout the past have decided this was a good direction to take, thus we should too.


Paragraph two states the legalities of a "Safe Grad" (By Safe Grad, they mean we contain the kids and give them booze and let em go.)


"... to serve alcohol to any individual under the age of 19 years in the Province of Saskatchewan is illegal. Therefore, we as a committee, parents or guardians could be held liable. In our opinion and after extensive research it has become apparent that there is no easy choice in deciding on a safe graduation. Society today is very clear in it's definition of safe grads. NO ALCOHOL, NO DRUGS, CHEMICAL FREE. UNFORTUNATELY, SOMEONE FORGOT TO TELL THE KIDS THAT!"


"Essentially what safe means from a parent perspective is CONTROL and how do we obtain it."


So, our goal is to create a safe party, it's been done this way for years, yes it's illegal, but the risk to parents is minimal, society doesn't understand the safe grad idea, and we need to gain control over our kids, in some way.


Then follows four full pages of data on the physiological effects of over drinking.


Sigh.


The plan is to take the kids to a farm, hire prison guards, give them drinking tickets, and let them go.


If we spent the same time and energy "controlling the kids" without the booze, as they plan on doing with booze, I think it could be a really cool night!


And, we spend four pages speaking of the pain and brokenness of alcohol, then we arrange for them to have it, illegally!


And the final nail in the coffin? The local "secular" school runs a chemfree grad.


Now, I'm not so silly as to think that Catholics/Christians don't drink, or struggle, just as I'm not silly enough to think that the other school has a wonderful grad, with no problems. But we as a School that allows for the existence of the human soul, and God,  really shouldn't be taking a back moral seat to a school in which those things are less celebrated.


And for me, that isn't the struggle anyway. I'm more fizzed off by the apparent lack of parental integrity in the whole process.


I think a letter is in the works.


End of Rant.


 

Adopt an NhL'er (sorry football season is upon us!!)

Look what came in the email today.....


Probably sent out by the owners!!


 


 




THEY NEED YOUR HELP!



Since September 11, 2001, Americans and Canadians have come together as never before in our generation. We have banded together to overcome tremendous adversity.  We have weathered direct attacks on our own soil, wars overseas, corporate/government scandal, layoffs, unemployment, stock price plunges, droughts, fires, mad cow, SARS, high gasoline prices, and a myriad of economic and physical disasters both great and small.



But now, we must come together once again to overcome our greatest challenge yet. Hundreds of Professional Hockey players in our very own nation are going to be locked out, living at well below the seven-figure salary level. And as if that weren't bad enough they could be deprived of their life-giving pay for several months, possibly longer, as a result of the upcoming lockout situation.



BUT YOU CAN HELP!


For only $20,835 a month, about $694.50 a day (that's less than the cost of a large screen projection TV) you can help an NHL player remain economically viable during his time of need. This contribution by no means solves the problem as it barely covers the annual minimum salary, but it's a start and every little bit will help!


Although $700 may not seem like a lot of money to you, to a Hockey player it could mean the difference between spending the lockout golfing in Florida or shmoozing on a Mediterranean cruise. For you, seven hundred dollars is nothing more than a month's rent, half a mortgage payment or a month of medical insurance, but to a hockey player, $700 will partially replace his daily salary. Your commitment of less than $700 a day will still enable a player to buy that home entertainment center, trade in the year-old Lexus for a new Ferrari, or enjoy a weekend in Rio.



HOW WILL I KNOW I'M HELPING?


Each month, you will receive a complete financial report on the Player you sponsor. Detailed information about his stocks, bonds, 401(k), real estate, and other investment holdings will be mailed to your home. Plus, upon signing up for this program, you will receive an unsigned photo of the player lounging during the lockout on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean (for a signed photo, please include an additional $150). Put the photo on your refrigerator to remind you of other peoples' suffering.



HOW WILL HE KNOW I'M HELPING?


Your NHL player will be told that he has a SPECIAL FRIEND who just wants to help in a time of need. Although the player won't know your name, he will be able to make collect calls to your home via a special operator in case additional funds are needed for unforeseen expenses.



YES, I WANT TO HELP!


I would like to sponsor a locked out NHL player. My preference is (check below):



[ ] Forward [ ] Defenseman [ ] Goaltender [ ] Entire team


(Please call our 900 number to ask for the cost of a specific team - $10 per minute)


[ ] Jaromir Jagr (Higher cost: $32,000 per day)



Please charge the account listed below $694.50 per day for the duration of the lockout. Please send me a picture of the player I have sponsored, along with an Jaromir Jagr 2001 Income Statement and my very own Bob Goodenow (Executive Director of the NHLPA player's Union) pin to wear proudly on my hat (include $80 for hat).



Your Name: _______________________


Telephone Number: _______________________


Account Number: _______________________ Exp. Date:_______


[ ] MasterCard [ ] Visa [ ] American Express [ ] Other


Signature: _______________________



Alternate card (when the primary card exceeds its credit limit):


Account Number: _______________________ Exp. Date:_______


[ ] MasterCard [ ] Visa [ ] American Express [ ] Other


Signature: _______________________



Thank you in advance,


NHL Players Union



Roughriders 14 at Eskimos 6

Well, the lamest sight you will ever see, is our TV room during the CFL playoff's.


I grew up in a football watching family where you watched it together, Sunday afternoons! Heck, I remember one Grey Cup game final, I had to spend half the game in my room doing my math homework, which nearly killed me...


I digress.


Leaving home for college, football was still a serious undertaking for me.


I remember the exciting Sunday afternoons spent with friends at some like minded faculty members homes, watching the CFL games played in the snow and cold wind. How when our team did well we would yell and holler and high five each other like we had just made the catch ourselves. And we would console each other as we walked back to our dorms when our teams lost.


There is something profoundly community-esk when you watch an important game together. It's like Christmas morning opening the presents with your family, only without the pajamas. 


So, today at the lunch table when I announced the finals were on and Saskatchewan was heading into the finals, everybodys eyes glazed over, again. And I ended up in the family room watching the game on the ol'e 27 inch colour TV surrounded by empty chairs and an echo-ie, hollow sound in the room.


How sad is it that when our team makes a good play and I cheer, somebody comes downstairs to check if I'm ok. Or when we get a touchdown to seal the victory I jump up and high five - nobody. Embarrassing really. 


So, if Saskatchewan wins next Sunday then heads into the final the following Sunday, I recon I'll have two more Sunday afternoons alone.


The good part is that it won't cost too much for the Grey Cup party I'll host for myself, on the last Sunday!! Maybe I'll even get some real expensive snacks for myself. 


Course, then you will know where the family will be.


 

Pastors and Spouse Retreat 2004

Well, I looked for an internet connection, but it was probably just as well I didn't find any. We were suppose to be on retreat, an intensive, 40 hour retreat, in Calgary.


Lauralea and I and Steve and Lisa hit the road early Monday morning and drove hard to Calgary, arriving just in time for supper.


It was great, face to face wise. Good connections and conversations, again.


Tuesday afternoon a couple of us headed into Banff.



It had just snowed, so it was quite pretty.


The homemade candy store was also open, so that was pretty too!!



Lisa and Lauralea are tucking little Callah into her ride while Liz and Gavin are watching, ...and learning!


What was funny (Interesting) was that all through Banff there were cleancut couples purchasing little treats for their kids. I finally worked up the nerve and asked one small group if they were Free Methodists. I knew that they were having their pastors retreat at that time too.


They replied that they were Baptists! Two different baptist groups were having their retreat at that time too, (And they were staying at the Banff Springs Hotel, which we made much sport of!!) 


They told us there was also an Alliance pastors retreat happening at the same time. 5 different groups of pastors in the mountains. I asked who in the world was minding the churches...


Well, the highlight for Steve came when he found a real "nice" hat for sale. And that wasn't enough for us to make fun of, he had to buy himself a stick too. A chewing stick that looked like oak...



Festus and I and our wives returned to Prince Albert after a quick run into the Ikea store.


We got home early Thursday morning, well uh, rested.


 

Joan of Arc - a Trial of Faith

This came in the email:



Dear Randall,
Do you by chance have any affiliate churches or buddies in Saskatoon who
could mention this announcement this Sunday.  We'd sure appreciate it.


On FRIDAY and SATURDAY Nov. 12 and 13, 7:00 pm, members of the Gateway
Covenant Church, Prince Albert, will join with over 25 other actors,
singers and musicians from churches all over the region - to present the
Christian drama, Joan of Arc - a Trial of Faith, dessert theatre at St.
Timothy's Anglican church. 2101 Lansdowne.
Based on the true story of the french teen who heard commands from God
to unify her country and bring an end to the 100 yr war, this play is
presented by Watch Shop Productions - a Christian based drama company.
Using humor, wit and Joan's own words from her historic trial, this play
testifies to the victory that is ours by faith in Christ Jesus - despite
tremendous trials or hardships.


Bring your teens for an inspirational family outing. Tickets $12.00
adult, $8.00 teens at the church - 343-1332  or MacNally Robinson Books.


Thanks a lot Randall.  We'd appreciate any help to get the word out.


We went to see the production last week and I was very impressed. It's not just a drama, but it's an inspirational story. You really should check it out.


And, if that's not enough to make you go, Johanna and Thomas are both in this production. Johanna plays the sister to Joan and does the final song, and Thomas has an amazing death scene !!! Lauralea was also involved, as she wrote some of the music for it.


So, get some inspirational culture into your regular diet. Go see a play.