Teri Schiavo. December 3 1963 - March 31 2005

What do I have to say about Teri Schiavo?


May she rest in God's peace.
May there never again be such a three ring circus surrounding the intimate moments of someone's death.
May we stop appointing ourselves experts because we saw 2 minutes on CNN, before supper.


I think this is what bugs me most about the whole deal. I'll let Bob say it:



Jimmy Ray Slaughter was executed Tuesday. There was no hue and cry from conservative Christians. Dawn Eden was silent. As was The New Pantaguel , Media Culpa, Mere Comment , Peggy Noonan , and almost every other commentator now trying to save Teri Schiavo's life.

Slaughter's death went unnoticed, despite the fact that, as Greg Horton points out, the detective who led the investigation against Slaughter thinks he's innocent, Slaughter had an alibi, and DNA evidence that might have exonerated Slaughter was not allowed at appeal, and "all DNA and lab evidence used against him used testing methods that have subsequently been discredited."

"Dennis Dill, a retired Edmond police office and initial lead investigator on the case, also concedes Slaughter may be innocent. He reportedly stated if the state were to carry out the execution, they will be killing an innocent man. 'If they do this, they might just as well take him out and lynch him,' Dill stated. He contends he was taken off the case because he didn´t feel the investigation was being conducted properly and that police had wrongly focused on Slaughter to the exclusion of other suspects."


Thanks Bob for presenting the case for inconsistency.

Good Changes

It's been an interesting week around the house what with the kids being on Easter break


Hillary's off finding her independence down in California and Mexico. Johanna's off to Saskatoon for a few days to hang out by herself and shop for a grad dress. Micah's stayed the night at friends, and Thomas is coming and going as he wishes.


It's a precursor of sorts.


Within a very short time frame, they will gain that which they have been pushing for all these years, their independence. From the time when Hillary didn't want to eat the green stuff in little jars, to the times Thomas though it fine to walk to school at -25C with just a jacket, no mitts or toque or boots, Lauralea or I made the final decision.


Soon they will make the final decisions, from what to eat to what to wear.


Of course we've been training them all these years, trying to help them learn how to make choices that are wise and good. And some of them love the chance to make the decisions, while others of them occasionally struggle with such power.


And to that end we encourage them and pray for them. But we've also realized that one of the things they've needed in their lives, is parents. Not another set of friends or buddies. They, we, need parents. People who will love us come HOHW. People who will train us and teach us and do the difficult thing with us when it's needed, just because it's needed.


Yes, the relationship will certainly change over the years, but we all need a parent, even if she is old and lost in the fog of Alzheimers. Even if he struggles with the ability to express love to you, we need them.  Parents show us how to live, and will one day show us how to die.


This is amazing, but they are God's true gifts to us. Perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to abdicate that place in our child's life and replace it with a friend-ship. Yes, you can and should one day be friends, but not at the expense of being a dad, or a mom first. 


Sorry, I'm starting to preach. (but heh, I'm a preacher, it's what I do!)


Anyway, like I started to say, this week is turning into a picture of Lauralea's and my future. And I like what I'm seeing, kidwise.


Looks like it will begin shortly. Johanna received word yesterday that she's been awarded a scholarship for a five week course in french studies, in Winnipeg, starting July 3.


This is getting interesting.

Yancey on J.D. Unwin


While much of the media was buzzing about a new survey on sex in modern America released in 1994, I was thinking about a book, Sex and Culture, published in 1934...


Seeking to test the Freudian notion that civilization is a byproduct of repressed sexuality, the scholar J.D. Unwin studied eighty-six different societies. His findings startled many scholars, above all Unwin himself, because all eighty-six demonstrated a direct tie between absolute monogamy and the "expansive energy" of civilization. In other words, sexual fidelity was the single most important predictor of a society's ascendancy.


Unwin had no religious convictions and applied no moral judgement. "I offer no opinion about rightness and wrongness." Nevertheless, he had to conclude, "In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and post-nuptial continence."


For Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Moorish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, Unwin had several hundred years of history to draw on. He found with no exceptions that these societies flourished, culturally and geographically, during eras that valued sexual fidelity. Inevitably, sexual mores would loosen and the societies would subsequently decline, only to rise again when they returned to more rigid sexual standards.


Unwin seemed at a loss to explain the pattern. "If you ask me why this is so, I reply that I do not know. No scientist does. . . You can describe the process and observe it, but you cannot explain it." Yet the trend so impressed him that he proposed a special class of Alpha citizens in Great Britain. These individuals of unusual promise would take vows of chastity before marriage, all for the sake of the empire, which needed their talents.


. . . Without realizing it, ...Unwin may have subtly edged toward a Christian view of sexuality from which modern society has badly strayed. For the Christian, sex is not an end in itself, but rather a gift from God. Like all such gifts, it must be stewarded according to God's rules, not ours.


Philip Yancy
Finding God in Unexpected Places

ATTENTION, MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION FOR A MOMENT PLEASE?


MEMO: FOR MEN'S EYES ONLY
FROM: THE WORLD HEADQUARTERS OF RANDALLFRIESEN.COM
REGARDING: PUBLIC WASHROOM ETIQUETTE


Gentlemen; (and I use that term very loosely)


It has come to my attention twice today through personal observation, that many of you don't know what that porcelain or metal bowl is for in the public washrooms. You know, the one with a blue dial on one side and a red dial on the other, and when you turn the dials, a small stream flows out from between the dials.


It is entirely appropriate, fitting, and healthy, that when you use a public washroom, for any length of time, and for any purpose residing between the numerals 0 and 3, that after finishing your purpose driven visit, you wash your hands.


This somewhat small activity will provide you with a long and healthy life. It will also contribute to your friends health and general wellbeing.


Consider yourself notified.


Alright, now that you've all seen the memo, things should be different around here.

Uh, finger lickin good chili?? (sorry, I'm sorry!!)


SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A diner at a Wendy's fast food restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili prepared by the chain, local officials said Wednesday.


"This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it," said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. "Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited."


Local officials launched an investigation after the incident Tuesday night and the medical examiner determined Wednesday that the object was a human finger.


Officials are trying to determine whether the finger came in the raw materials Wendy's used to prepare the chili, Gale said.


My first thought? Hmm, I wonder if it was Hillary who got it. She's down there, and she likes the chili!!


via.


I feel like I've got Easter hangover goin on

Accomplished a lot this weekend, in terms of services and meetings and contacts and family.


Of course we do the extra services, and I try hard to connect with the "Regular Sunday" crowd. You know, the regular Christmas and Easter bunch. Try to see if there's more room for faith and God in their lives this year.


And Sunday, after the services and breakfasts and classes and coffee, we headed down to Saskatoon for the day. Course, it seemed like half the van was grumpy, (incidentally, it was the female half...) But we had a good time there. Nice to hang out with family with no need to rush back home. So we got back late.


And this morning seemed to arrive early. Thus the Easter hangover thing.


Then, today I had to attend a meeting or two in the afternoon. They just couldn't arrange it for any other time, and I really needed to be there, so I was.


Sunday morning was really great, for me at least. It's always energizing when the Spirit starts speaking really clearly to us and He's movin, doing things in peoples hearts. Yes, I'd like to say that happens every week, and to some extent it does. But then there are days when, well, it's all so very very clear, and you See, like you haven't seen for a while.


So, Easter 2005 behind us. Next up, I have to start thinking about the Canadian Conference Annual meeting. Oh, and I have a writing deadline this week, I think... when is April 1??

Easter Sunrise Service

About 28 hardy souls turned out at 6:45 this morning for our Easter Sunrise Service. And after a night of light snow, and overcast conditions, the temperature was a balmy -2C.


Course that meant that we couldn't see the sun, but hey, it was nice out.


And here is the photographic record of the day.



The Sunrise.



Some of the Faithful.



The hot drinks afterwards at Lanoies.


UPDATE: Here's a few more photos, compliments of Phil.



Ahem...

She called.


She says it's all green where she is. San Francisco I believe.


I have to go dig out my big boots, for tomorrow morning.


Sigh.

Notes on a Holy Saturday

Maundy Thursday evening service has become my favourite service of the year here. It's because of how we share in Communion during the evening. We gather in the candle lit basement for the service, and the bread and juice are centered on a round table in the middle.


When it is time to share at the table these are the "Rules." You must be invited to the table by someone else in the room. They will take you to the table and serve you. You do not have to serve them. You are invited to partake as many times as you are invited. You may invite anyone to the table.


Then stand back as the body of Christ does it's thing.


Everyone is equal at this table. The children serve the adults. The adults serve their children and their children's friends. The adults who have had a difficult year with one another, serve each other. The children serve other children. Husbands serve wives. Pastors are served by eight year olds. It's enough to get me well into the Holy Weekend.


Good Friday service is a city wide kind of service. And based on what I've heard, either you loved it, or, well, "It's Friday but Sunday's a Comin!"


We went home and had some Indian food for lunch and just chilled for the day. That was a nice change. I helped Micah build a webpage, and even had time for a nap!


We watched "The Incredibles" and then "Finding Neverland." Wow. Jonny Depp has come a long way from his 21 Jump Street days. I have really come to respect this guys acting abilities over they years. 


Lauralea and I watched "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", a Bollywood love story about two families who are strongly attached to the traditional values of Indian (Punju) culture. Like most of these films, it has a happy ending, but this one also has a good story and amazing scenery. It's considered one of the best ever made. Although I have limited experience in this area, I would agree!


Tonight Lauralea and I and some friends, are headed out for supper and then attending a live Radio Comedy, Madly Off in All Directions. It's a CBC program that we love, and it's recording a live concert here in Prince Albert tonight, for broadcast later on. I'll try to laugh especially loud so you can hear me on the radio. 


And, Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, with many reasons to celebrate, I shall put on my winter gear once again and head out to the place we normally have our sunrise service, (Down by the Riverside...). And I shall stand in a snowdrift, leading many many (ahem, MANY) brave souls in worship of our God remembering and celebrating his defeat over his enemy.


And it will have been a very good weekend indeed.

...because of the Cross



"The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written,


   I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head,


   I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.


So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb--preaching, of all things!-to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.


While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle--and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself--both Jews and Greeks--Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."


Paul


via.


Cal-i-for-nia here she comes...

Well, she's gone.


Number two of four, Hillary, heard about this Easter Week youth trip to California about a year or so ago. She took a notion in her head that she would like to go on one of these trips too. So last Autumn, when she got her first job she started saving everything she earned, so she could go on this thing.


While there were a few moments of; "What else could I do with my money," at the end of the day she still wanted to go to California.


By a month ago, she had saved the thousand plus dollars she would need to go on the trip.


And she took care of the details.


The health insurance, the paperwork, the payments, the travellers cheques. She did it all herself.


A few minutes ago Lauralea and I put her on a bus to Saskatoon where she will connect with the group heading south, and she will have the time of her life.


San Francisco, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry farm, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Mexico, Magic Mountain, hey, I wish I was going.


I'm proud of her. She worked hard to accomplish this feat of finances and planning. For her, this in no small accomplishment.


So, I hope she has a blast and that she learns a little more about God's love for her.


She's gonna have a great 10 days.

Way cool

I just got an email from my cousin, they're gonna have a baby!!


That is cool news, way cool.


(Now about 50 of my relatives who read this are getting nervous...)

Tuesday Night, Holy Week

As we have been walking through this Lenten season, we now find ourselves in Holy Week.


Let us prepare ourselves for what is to come.


Pray with me tonight.


I will lie down and sleep in peace
for You alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.


O God, and Spirit, and Jesu, the Three,
from the crown of my head, O Trinity,
to the soles of my feet mine offering be.
Come I unto Thee, O Jesu, my King -
O Jesu, do Thou be my sheltering.


My dear ones, O God, bless Thou and keep,
in every place where they are.


Whoever has chosen to make
the shelter of the Most High their dwelling place
will stay in His over-shadowing.


He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I am trusting Him.


He will rescue you from the traps laid for your feet,
and save you from the destroying curse.


His faithful promises are your armour.
You need no longer be afraid of any terror by night,
or the death-arrow that flies by day.


The Lord Himself is your refuge;
you have made the Most High your stronghold.


Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
for You are my crag and my stronghold.


How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.


I will not lie down tonight with sin,
nor shall sin
nor sin's shadow
lie down with me.


O God of life, this night,
O darken not to me Thy light.
O God of life, this night,
close not Thy gladness to my sight.
O God of life, this night,
Thy door to me, O shut not tight,
O God of life, this night.


 



The peace of all peace
be mine this night
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Back in school again. Day Two.

I was back in school again this morning, helping out a friend with a class he's teaching in pastoral training.


Today we were talking about volunteers and working with staff. It was a good class, and I've really been enjoying it, realizing that I've actually got something to share with the students. Cool.


Driving back after class, I was trying to remember, I thought I had written something on volunteers at one point... Alas I had.


Here, from the National Archives of randallfriesen.com, is a Hinterland's Who's Who, (for you Canadians!!) on volunteers.





Volunteers.


Volunteers are a strange animal. In the northern Canadian prairies, the Northern Groused Volunteer is hardly ever seen. He hide in caves and holes in the ground, keeping his head below radar, so as not to get it shot off. When he tentatively comes forward from his safe place, he needs plenty of coaxing and calming that all will be well.


Because his personal safety is a prime concern for him, he doesn't tend to commit - to a great degree. He will attend, if he has time, if he's not busy, or if there isn't hockey on the CBC. He's somewhat difficult to train, because he knows he can't get fired from this position, and, for that matter, he's one of the bosses.


I know brave, strong men who work in parachurch organizations, who have communicated to me that this is the exact reason they won't enter into church work, the dreaded Volunteer.


When a Northern Groused Volunteer can be captured at a young, willing age, they can be trained and formed into the work that they do. Their enthusiasm and eagerness can be contagious, but they need to be kept away from the older Volunteers, because they begin to loose hope, and become discouraged in their ministry.


Some churches have dealt with this by bringing in even rarer Tie Crested Hire-lings. These Tie Crested Hire-lings can only be seen in larger churches, because they are so costly and rare. The Hire-ling you can train, and, if he doesn't work out, you can fire them.


I have long suspected that the best way is to create a safe reserve where the Northern Groused Volunteer can grow and try new things in a safe zone. A place of warm reception and constant care. A place where hunters are unwelcome, and traps and snares are not allowed. Thus the Volunteer can explore ministry opportunities that will, in fact, help the whole ecosystem to grow and flourish.


Alas, our over hunting and use of big guns has diminished their population among us. Soon we will have to create reserves of safety, just to replenish their numbers. This writer deeply hopes we can do it before they become extinct.

Some words of wisdom

From Cathy...



"I really don't know what is ahead. All I know is that God will travel this path with me. There is no guarantee its all going to be fine. There's no guarantee I will find a wonderful job that I love to bits. Like I said, all I know is that God will travel this path with me. I am greatful that I did have a job I loved, and that was a gift. Not everyone gets that in their life, not even Christians. They don't automatically get the happiest kids or the most loving spouses or the best jobs. They get what everyone else gets, PLUS the Holy Spirit to help you through. That's the difference."



Being a parent

So, the kids are showing up with their report cards these days.


Harumph.


I don't always like this part. One child gets A's and B's with a teacher, gets an A+ with another teacher, and F's with another teacher.


It just seems like the teachers are talking about two different kids, you know?


A previous child has had difficulty with the same teacher giving out the F's, in the past.


And I know, from having family and friends as teachers, that teachers are people too. All kinds of people.


It's just hard to know what to do. We will keep on the kid to raise his marks with the one teacher.


And I know it's not this easy, but it's hard to know what's the kids fault, and what's the teachers.

March 21. Spring has arrived!!


Spring Has Sprung


The birdies sing because it's spring.
And bunnies hop, hop, hop.
From below the grass, the flowers wake,
And up their little heads pop.
They greet the trees and warm spring breeze.
With a cheery spring hello.
To tell the world the spring has sprung
And the winter snow should go.
How wonderful the springtime
With all its life anew.
I hope that this and every spring
Bring happiness to you!

Chicago redux



It's called the Magnificent Mile for a reason you know.

Tonight, on the way home

I drove through downtown Prince Albert. On one "corner" was standing a tall brunette, tight jeans, bomber jacket, you know.


She stood there, for a long time, just waiting. And then she saw me coming, and tried to wave me over, like an old friend from out of town. I kept driving.


I wonder if Jesus had that problem.

A thousand tiny bandaids

Well, another week is down the tube. Or, if you're an eternal optimist, another week full of opportunities thinly disguised as problems, has passed by!


Monday started off a bit fuzzy, but ended well with a date with "her whom I love" and I going to see the movie Hitch.


Tuesday I was in school as a kind of "guest expert." And ended the day late with a cold turkey sandwich. (a personal favourite of mine.)


By Wednesday I'd had about enough of the weather, and thought you all should know about it.


Thursday was a Day'O the Green, with a Mennonite twist.


And Friday, I won a Donut, and that was the high point of the day. It kinda fell apart when I got a call, as a friend and pastor. Some hard news.


Been a bit of a rollercoaster this week, emotionally I mean. For a lot of people, hope is all they have. And hope seems to die the death of a thousand tiny cuts.


I get to listen to them, sit with them, be overwhelmed with them. Then, when it's time, I try to point them in the right direction, and bless them as they go.


And suddenly, it's Sunday again. And we will gather together out of our busy schedules and successes and failures, and worship The One who gives us true hope and peace. Together we will create an hour of worship  for Him alone. And as we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on Him, He will meet with us and breathe upon us, healing our diseases, and renewing our hope.


And we will go out into a new week, a little more hopefilled, and a little more alive.

Shattered


She picked up the priceless vase, gleefully unaware of the next moment when she would attempt to set it down, and fail.


Happily she pours over it, tracing it's lovely design with her finger, examining the way the sunlight is caught and reflected in it's glass.


It is surprisingly heavy, for a beautiful old vase.


Still she is unaware. And her joy is complete at the chance to explore this amazing treasure.


She is pleased. Her heart is full of life, then...


She moves to replace the priceless beauty. As she moves, the base of the vase bumps the side of the table.


In slow motion, the vase is pulled out of her hand. In slow motion her joy is chased away, by sorrow. The pleasure scatters, replaced by fear.


The vase crashes to the ground and pain takes hold of her heart.


And just as broken as the priceless vase, is her heart.


Smashed, lost, broken.  



Major Announcement

After many many cups of Tim Hortons coffee this year, I have just won a free Donut in the Roll up the rim to win contest.


I'm on a roll here baby.

I put this under Culture because, well, it is.

If you have a Mennonite history shaking around in your past someplace, and have had relatives who spoke LowGerman, you might just be able to have a good laugh over this one.


Read it out loud. It hits pretty close to home.


_______________________________________________



YA SURE, YA BETCHA, DIS IS DA LATEST AIR SERVICE TO SPROUT UP IN MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN, ALBERTA, B.C. AND ONTARIO.....TRY IT, YOU VILL LIKE IT!!


If you are traveling soon, consider Menno Air, da no-frills airline. You're all in da same boat on Menno Air, vhere flying is an uplifting experience. Der is no First Class on any Menno Air flight. Meals are potluck. Rows 1-6, bring rolls, 7-15 bring a salad, 16-21 a main dish, and 22-30 a dessert.


Basses and tenors please sit in da rear of da aircraft. Everyone is responsible for his or her own baggage. All fares are by freevill offering and da plane vill not land until da budget is met.


Pay attention to your flight attendant, who vill acqvuaint you vith da safety system aboard dis Menno Air 599.


Okay den, listen up: I'm only gonna say dis yust once. In da event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, I am frankly going to be real surprised and so vill Captain Wiebe and Co-captain Penner because ve fly right around 2000 feet, so loss of cabin pressure vould probably indicate da Second Coming or something of dat nature, and I vouldn't bother with dose little masks on da rubber tubes. You're gonna have bigger tings to worry about den dat. Yust stuff dose back up in der little holes. Probably da masks fell out because of turbulence vhich, to be honest vith ya, ve're going to have quite a bit of at 2000 feet...sort of like driving across a plowed field, but after a vhile ya get used to it.


In da event of a vater landing, I'd say forget it. Start saying da Lord's Prayer and yust hope ya get to da part about forgive us our sins as ve forgive dose who sin against us, vhich some people say "trespass against us," vhich isn't right, but vat can ya do?


Da use of cell phones on da plane is strictly forbidden, not because dey may interfere vith the plane's navigational system, vhich is seat of da pants all da vay... no, it's because cell phones are a pain in the vazoo and if God meant ya to use a cell phone, He vould have put your mouth on da side of your head.


Ve're going to start lunch right about noon and it's buffet style vith the coffee pot up front. Den ve have da hymn sing... hymnals in da seat pocket in front of you. Don't take yours vith you vhen ya go or I am going to be real upset and I am not kidding!


Right now I'll say Grace..."Come Lord Jesus be our guest and let dese gifts to us be blest. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, may ve land in Vancouver or pretty close. Amen".


 


I borrowed it from my sister. She won't mind. Apparently I broke her arm once and now she's afraid of me.

Happy Green Day

Ahh, tis that time O year that brings fear to me wee bones. She who looves me will be talkin in some Irish tongue today, and cookin me food till she's green as the face of a prairie boy, ridin the waves of a prairie ferry...


Sorry. But tis the day, so let me remind you of this Man of God.


I quote Reg Block:



St. Patrick was not Irish, but he was born somewhere in Britain. His parents, Calphurnius and Conchessa were high ranking Romans from either Gaul or Britain.

At the age of 16, Patrick was captured in an Irish raid and sold into slavery. For six years he tended his master´s livestock near what is now the town of Balleymena. At 22, Patrick had a dream in which an angel told him to flee captivity. Escaping from his cruel master, he made his way to the coast some 200 miles away and boarded a ship headed for Britain.

Once there, Patrick became a monk, dedicating his life to God and the ministry. As the story goes, 20 years later he had another vision instructing him to return to Ireland and preach the gospel. Which is exactly what he did.

In the winter of 432, Patrick and 24 of his followers arrived in Ireland to share the good news with the druids. Although Patrick´s formal Latin education was somewhat lacking, his ability to speak Celtic served him well.

It is known that Ireland at the time was a land of paganism and for the past 400 years few if any had been there to share the gospel. The inhabitants constantly warred with each other, practised human sacrifice and engaged in the slave trade.

Patrick condemned slavery and empathized with the suffering of others, having himself been a slave. He is counted among the few Christian leaders, who at the time, spoke up for the rights of women. As Ireland at that time was essentially free from Greco-Roman influences, the Christianity that developed was more primitive and less political, adopting a more joyful and celebratory attitude. Patrick was a man well ahead of his time.

While the papacy had not yet determined that slavery and subjugation of women were immoral, Patrick was busily converting a nation to the Christian model Jesus had taught.


Today St. Patrick´s example is no less relevant than it was 1,500 years ago. He is regarded by many as a champion of the downtrodden, a man who understood and felt other people´s suffering and someone with the courage to speak up against injustice. Also, it is probable that St. Patrick´s conversion of Ireland and subsequently the monasteries that sprang up helped to preserve literacy during Europe´s Dark Ages.


May God raise up more Patricks for these days.

Putting out an All Points Bulletin

Ok, between you and me, this weather is starting to make me want to say a very bad word.


Last week I was pretty much walking around in my shorts for a couple of days. My cold cold heart was thawing out. I could smell the beginning part of the smell of dirt again. Hope was awakening in my boosem, buzum, boozum, breast. And i was beginning to think we had made it though another long winter.


Then came Friday, and SNOW.


But that was ok, it was just a hiccup on the road to springtime.


Then came the COLD.


Now it's in the -20C's again. People are skiing again!!


I'm trying to wear my summer jacket in the mornings, only to find the van seat hard again, and the steering wheel frozen, so you can only hold it with the tips of your fingers.


Tonight it's getting cold out, and I'm tired of being played the yoyo ing fool.


C'MON SPRING, WHERE ARE YOU?!!?!


Talk to me already. Are you dead on some road down in Central America where you stopped to pick up some hitchhiker who turned out to be a dangerous hottie?


Or did you stop for what, just one drink with Winter who was passing you on the way south? One thing led to another, and you woke up in some Ecuadorian prison??


I understand, stuff happens. But dude, you gotta get moving. I'm suppose to lead a Easter Sunrise service in about a weeks time, and I'll be jiggered if I have to do it in a full body snowsuit, just because you got distracted by a pretty weather system.


If you need to raise some bail money I know some Canadians who would probably be willing to chip in. (We just don't want this to become a habit, you know?)


It's pee or get off the pot time dude. Let's get moving or else we might start looking around for a new season to take your place.


 


UPDATE: It snowed last night. Alright Spring, you are off my Christmas card list.

Checkin email...

eatin Turkey.


How cool is that.


She found a cheap turkey and roasted it for supper.


I'm eatin leftovers late at night.


Life is soooo good.


(Yes, I do think I'm easy to please!)

October 18, 1993 Monday, 5:30pm 12 C outside, very nice.

It seems I was blogging way back in 1993, even before the Internet was cool!!


I found an old digital journal I kept back then. On October 18, I wrote:



The church at large will be moving from an event oriented  structure, to a relational oriented structure in the years to come. In the past the church has moved in special services, films, activities, concerts, special speakers, etc. We have used the "Big Event" to draw the saved and unsaved alike.  Now, however, we are in a transition period.  We are becoming more of a family.  We are connected to one another through the blood.  This gives us a unique relationship.  The world is moving through deep turmoil, no more absolutes, no permanent commitment of relationship any more. Broken and spliced families, hearts in pain, and on and on.  The need of the world is to experience the true love of a committed family. One that won't go away if you say the wrong thing. One that will support you through the good times and the bad.  I believe that this is where the Lord is leading His church.


Wow. Either I should be stoned for being a false prophet, or this thing is taking longer than I had anticipated!


I was surprised to read my heartbeat, even 12ish years ago. It still beats the same you know. I still see this as the direction the church needs to move in. Relational rather than event oriented. Connected, networked through the blood. 


C'mon church. Be brave and courageous. Follow your leader. It'll be ok, He knows what he's doing.

Today I went back to school

I was invited to participate in a Bible College class on Pastoral Ministry. It was a great time.


You know, you do this preaching thing for oh 20 odd years and you don't notice any major knowledge shifts or changes within yourself. Then you go do a thing like this and look back over the years of ministry and realize whoa baby, there's a whole lot of experience in there.


That's kinda cool.


I'm becoming, "Experienced."


If this keeps up, one day I might even be wise!

Hitch

Laura and I went to a movie tonight, Hitch.


It was a great date movie, cool story and I love Will Smith. Kevin James was a nice surprise, I liked his work too.


A bit to bad it doesn't always end up like that. Good I mean.


So we left the theater a little after 9, and wanted to hit a place for something to snack on.


Our choices? Tim Hortons, fast food, or a bar.


We came home.


:-)

Monday morning

A bit of a groggy day off, so far.


I was so tired last night that I headed off to bed at 9:30ish.


But, the day had been filled with, just lots of difficult stories you know? People broken, people asking me to pray, people trying to live with these parts of themselves that are totally damaged and broken.


Yesterday seemed like a lot of those kinds of stories.


And for some of them, I know their struggles, and I look into their eyes... they fill with tears quickly. Or fear. Fear is the other thing I see in their eyes. They are overwhelmed, like children separated from their parents at a mall. Fear and tears and lostness and...


Yeah, like I said, yesterday was some day.


I lay there, unable to find sleep. Lauralea came to bed and was soon asleep.


Finally I got up and prayed for the faces and situations of the people I saw throughout the day. It's an honour to do that, it's not a chore. I pray for a time.


By then I'm getting hungry so I sneak some crackers and cheese downstairs to the dark quiet basement, and watch Boston Legal, a lawyer show I've started to enjoy the Sunday nights when it's been a long day and I can't sleep.


Finally I fall into bed exhausted and ready to sleep.


So, here I am, Monday morning. I'm groggy and it's snowing out and I'm trying to fix one of the kids' broken computers.


Maybe I'll get a little nap in. And maybe, since I think tonight is a night off, Lauralea and I might hit a movie. Something we have not done in a long long time.


Just maybe.

Today...

it feels to much like work.


And I want to stay at home and have a mental health day.


UPDATE:


Well, in little faith I headed off this morning, tired.


The worship team wandered in and we practiced a bit.


We started the service and a minute into it my lapel mic battery died. I need this thing like I need air, otherwise I'm forced to stay standing behind the pulpit all the time and that just about kills me.


Then, we start praying as a congregation, and it seems as if God shows up, in a new way, a good way.


And, I ask for, and get a new battery someone just happened to have...


And I preached with great freedom and release.


God reminded us of the deep value he places on obedience. It's our foundation for life. Not Him, but our obedience to him.


(Hmm, come to think of it, maybe I lived out what I had to talk about. Hmmmm...)


Anyway, people were ready to hear this, and God was breathing life into hearts.


It was very encouraging.


And God is good.


Yes he is.

Baby Alert...

Well, we here at randallfriesen.com are officially on babywatch 2005.


(No, not Lauralea, sheesh...)


I mean, Marc and Dixie are in the midst, hopefully, of bringing forth their second VanderBaby.


So, head over and keep watch. While you're at it, send up a prayer for Marc, that he won't say anything stupid this time round.  ...I'm already expecting you to send up a few for Dixie!!!


So, head over here. Come on baby, lets get born.


 


UPDATE:


At 7:15 Luke Timothy Vandersluys entered this old world in a big way, 9lbs, 9oz.


These Vandersluys' do nothing by halves.


Way to go Dixie and Marc. Way to go.


Nouwen on Listening


"To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.


Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you."



So, we went to a concert and a party broke out

Well, we've been through the school concert scene with Johanna and then Hillary and then Thomas. Now it's Micah's turn.


So tonight we went to see him and his band play some tunes. He did quite well, for all the practicing he does!! In fact, he's been asked to be in the senior band too.


Now, don't think us totally looser parents, (or do but just don't tell us) but we can't figure this out. He doesn't practice at home, and he's shooting up the ranks like a Dizzy Gillespie. Tonight we figured it out. He's one of two Trumpet players, and the other one never shows up.


But, I think he's enjoying the extra demands the band teacher is placing on him. Something he's finally succeeding at, and we all need something like that in our lives.


So, afterwards we hit Tim's for hot chocolate and donuts, his choice. (Didn't win anything!)


 


 


 


Here's a 6 meg mov. movie clip if you want to see him in action. You can hear the two trumpets near the end.


(Right click and hit Save as...)


 


 



Today I went to a care home

This afternoon Lauralea and I brought a service to the care home next door to the church.


Now, usually when you do a service at a place like this, you can expect people to be splattered all over the theological map. You can expect people to be scattered all over the "Hello, I'm with you and understand completely everything you are saying to us" map too.


So, when I prepare for a little visit like this, I usually try to do lots of singing of the old hymns with them. And I like to pray with them, and read the scriptures with them. As for teaching or preaching, I try to keep it really really simple, so as many people as are able can follow along, no matter their church background, or mental condition.


And, I'm invited by those inviting me, to keep it between 20 and 30 minutes. It's ok.


So today, it all goes very well, except of course that I'm the only one singing, which I'm used to by now, so I don't mind. And I talk to them about Isaiah's prayer and his comment that we are clay and God is the potter. We explored that idea a fair bit, I thought, and the glazed eyes were coming out after 10 minutes of that, so I started to bring that ship into the shore.


After we were done and I was walking through the very little crowd, one guy pulls my sleeve and I bend down to his level.


"That's it? You're done already??"


"Yep" I reply, (Hey, you say things like Yep a lot in there, it's a cowboy themed care home.) "That's the time I'm given."


"Well, it's not enough, you gotta go deeper." He says. "You gotta not worry about tellin them damn stories and get into the deep layers of the word, get into the anointing. We need it over here, we don't have time for entertainment..."


I know what he's saying of course. He wants to eat big food again, like he used to. But he can't get out to his church any longer, and, because of winter, he hasn't been at our church in a while either.


But the urgency is still there.


Life creeps up on you, and you get surprised by how things change, how you change. You get worried because time is running out and you don't have precious time to waste on the damn stories. The fluff that takes up precious space in your life.


So you start sorting, life from the fluff.


It's a part of getting ready to go home. Preparing to travel light.


And it's something we all will go through, if we are given the time and place.


But, we do have the time and place if we have today. We don't need to wait till the end. We can be sorting as we go...


Where we give our time. Where we give our money. Where we give our love.


In all of it, there's always the life giving things, and there's always the damn fluff.


Some advice? Sort as you go, and you won't feel rushed when it's time to go home.

The Parting Glass?

I enjoy the music of Shane McGowan and the Pogues, and have for a while now. I especially like Shane's gifted writing, and his desperate need of a dentist! So tonight I watched a documentary on them.


What a profound story.


Images of men, locked in alcoholism and brokenness. Gifted musicians and talented writers who needed to be drunk all the time. And in spite of this heavy oppressive stuff, Shane and the band were able to write some amazing deep songs. Perhaps even because they were so broken, they were able to write of it so well.


Shane's in his 40's now, caught between rehab and a drunken stupor. Still writing songs, still stumbling through life, still no front teeth.


Of, all the money e'er I had, I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that ever I've done, alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit to mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass, Good night and joy be with you all.


Oh, all the comrades e'er I had, they're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts e'er I had, they'd wished me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot, that I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call, Goodnight and joy be with you all.


If I had money enough to spend, and leisure time to sit awhile.
There is a fair maid in this town, that sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips, I own, she has my heart in thrall;
Then fill to me the parting glass, Good night and joy be with you all.


The Parting Glass

Catch my mood????????


I


A M


S O


T I R E D


O F


W I N D O W S .



Reggie McNeal on God and New


"The people of God have been in captivity for years. Some long for the good old days; others grew up in captivity and never knew their parent´s world.


"In the middle of this, God speaks a word through Isaiah: Forget the former things. Don´t dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19).


"When God says he is doing a new thing, he says something important. God is always doing something new. A lot of people think of God as old and old-fashioned. This impacts everything we do. We think God likes old music. It affects our prayer life; we tell him what is going on. (If we spent more time listening in prayer instead of talking...maybe we are the ones that need to catch up with God!) God loves new.


"Creation was a new thing. Throughout the Bible, God does new things - including doing old things in new ways.


"When God does something new in our lives, it sometimes looks like a detour (e.g. crossing the Red Sea after leaving Egypt). The dry-ground crossing took a response of faith (step in before the water is stopped). Every generation needs its own dry-ground crossing. Faith does not have battery packs. Faith is a verb, not a noun. It is always an active response, not intellectual assent from the head up."


Very interesting :read Cool, piece.


Thanks Darryl.

What's the most Extravagant gift you could give?

Lauralea and I had a talk today about who you "connect" with, on a regular basis. We were looking back at who we had, or rather how we had connected with others lately. She made an interesting observation. That the real connecting we had done over the past month were done with people who had time to connect.

They had, or at least appeared to have had time just to set a spell. Didn't have to plan the get together days in advance. Didn't have them thinking where else they needed to be, as they sat across from us visiting. Their only agenda, was hanging out, checking up, sharing themselves and their time, with the likes of us.

That's how a pastor should look, I think. Like he's got all the time in the world, to share life together. Peterson calls this pastor one who looks lazy, but he's surely not.

Nope, most of us would rather have a full day ahead of us, with a full list of people to see and meet with. Makes us look important, valuable, significant.

We create these busy illusions of importance for ourselves, because un-busyness would be a sign of... unimportance? laziness? friendlessness?

or, maybe the busyness keeps us from thinking things to deeply or feeling emotions to significantly. Maybe it's like human autopilot or something. Keeps the wheels moving, so we don't have to.

I dunno.

But I do know that we are busy people

Sally Morganthaler, in an interview with One Small Barking Dog said:


Truly, our deprioritization of our own offspring is one of the great tragedies of late twentieth century America. The effects are staggering, and I'm not just talking about broken homes. It goes much deeper than that. The cessation of intergenerational narrative is at the core. The exchange of story has been one of the most important roles of family life. But getting involved in that exchange means sacrificing time, listening, and value that our children are actually worth the effort.

We are busy people, and we like it that way, even though we say we don't.

To choose another way may cost us. It may cost us income, perceived significance, being labeled lazy, or worse yet, uneducated.

But maybe this is an area in which we need to be counter cultural. Maybe we need to be an example to our neighbours and friends, and children. That busyness isn't inherently a good thing. That the luxury of time is more precious than the luxury of wealth. And spending time on someone is a huge wonderful extravagance of love.

It's interesting that our reward to come after death, isn't a great gob of cash. It's not wealth untold, or (much to my chagrin, a Wendy's!) It is something called Eternal Life. A great, never-ending gob of, time.

Time, will be the reward. Not because we've been so short of it down here, but because of it's incredible value.

Time.

What are we doing with ours.

Flickr updated

Well, I finally upgraded my Flickr account to Pro.


If I'd have known that was all it took to become a Pro, I might have done it earlier.


So, I've uploaded some new images, as you can see on the right photo strip. And I've set up a couple new collections under "My Photography" at the right.


I am loving photography these days, wish I had more time to give to it.


Oh, and once I mentioned the Google image software, Picasa as being a nice piece of work. Well, they've upgraded it to Picasa 2, and it's twice as cool, indeed.


Check it out.

Monday Morning Blues?

So, if you've got that heavy Monday morning thing goin on today, you need to check out this link.


http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/206373


click "Watch this movie"


and then "Play Movie,"  with subtitles.


Let him inspire you do do a little dance at your workstation today.


Thanks for the Link Of Joy Harv!

Yeah I know, I'm still up... whatever.

Had a good morning in church today, one of those where there is so much going on that that pastor doesn't have a lot of time left to talk. I'm ok with that. I hate it when the service is full of stuff and there's like 5 minutes left and the pastor guy gets up to preach for 25 minutes...


But, we shared in the Lord's Supper together. That's always better than preaching anyways.


The church is in a good place right now, not a perfect place, but a good place, you know? And we've got to start looking out to those around us these days. There are many who join us for worship, but because they are new, they don't find it easy to fit in. We need to watch out for them, and help them fit in better, and we are.


This afternoon we had some friends over just to hang out with. It was a real good time.


I do think it's time to be done for today. So


Blessings and goodnight.

I've got a bad case of meeting hangover today

Had a long meeting last night, and only got home after 11. Tried to go to bed but the good adrenaline was still shooting through me, so I got up and wondered around the house for a while. Made a bacon sandwich, and watched the new Law and Order series. It could be a good one.


Fell asleep sometime after 2:30.


There really is nothing like burnt porkfat on bleached white bread to make you feel alive!


Maybe it's a bacon sandwich hangover I've got.

Four Mounties dead


MAYERTHORPE, ALTA. - Four RCMP officers were killed Thursday during an apparent raid on a marijuana grow operation in northwestern Alberta.


"It's my sad duty to inform you that four RCMP officers, four brave young members have been killed in the line of duty," RCMP Commanding Officer Bill Sweeney told reporters at a late-afternoon news conference.


Via.


Thinking of my friend Wayne tonight, and his family.


Wayne's RCMP, stationed in British Columbia. The stories he tells... well, it's not an easy life.


Just thinking about him is all.


Update: Just got an email from one of the slain Mounties relatives.



"He loved to sing duets with his Dad and also with... his grandpa.  He was an expert in martial arts as well and had travelled extensively.    He graduated from training in Regina a month ago today and was class valedictorian.  ----- would have been 29 this May.  Thank you for your prayers for his family and relatives."

Can a guy ever have to much Batman and Boy Wonder??

This weekend TVLand is running a complete weekend of Batman.


This good wholesome TV was what got me and my brother relating at deep levels, like "Boof", "Zowie", and  "Biff!"


All Batman, all weekend.


Zowie!


UPDATE: Sigh. Looks like it was last weekend only.

Missing the point, one day at a time.

This morning Micah wasn't getting up so I went down to give him a shake.


I rolled him over and got scared silly.


What kid wears a Night Mask over his eyes for sleeping at night???

Hey, it's just life...

This place is getting busier and busier these days, and it's making me nervous.


To me, what makes a blog interesting is the writing style and stories of it's writer. When it's a small affair the writer often knows his or her readers,  and it can be a relational and sometimes folksy place to hang out. Then it begins to draw new readers, for various reasons.


I've watched as many of these fine blogs become victims of their own successes. It's a classic case. A good blog, often written by a introverted individual, begins to grow in traffic. The writer begins to get contacted by the people who frequent the blog, and quite honestly, gets freaked out by the audience.


For a time he or she may loose their unique voice, their writing style, if you will. As they sit down to write, the faces and names and situations of the readers begins to flow through their minds, and they can't write. At least in the way they used to write.  


I absolutely understand this.


It seems to be an ongoing struggle to grow in your writing skills, while at the same time, not stopping when things get weird. But I'm trying.


And I do encourage you to contact me. Some of you do just that by leaving comments on the page. Another group of you communicates using that "Send a Message to my Cell phone" form over to the right. And still others of you shoot me emails directly. It's all good. I mean, I can see you've been here, so feel free to drop me a note once and a while.


Writing in this space has been a huge wonderful discipline for me. It's an act of faith and worship to be able to explore the way God has made me to be. I bring who I am to this place. My gifts and offerings come with me. My strengths and weaknesses come too. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.


So, carry on folks, nothing to see here, it's just life.

The Newspaper world is a small world

Early this morning I was in a meeting with the Managing Editor of the local paper. She is looking for regular articles for the Faith page of the paper, and a good place to look for articles for the faith page would be among the city clergy. Smart woman.


The coolness factor?


She used to work with the Salmon Arm BC paper, which is also the place Lauralea's aunt works. Turns out they know each other, well. In fact they are going to see each other next week.


This ole world just keeps on shrinking and shrinking.


(20 points for using "ole" in a sentence!)

Speaking about McDonalds, what about prayer in restaurants??


"And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you."


Jesus


Would this instruction include prayer in restaurants, before a meal??

A lovely quote from Dave Barry, Nationally Syndicated Columnist


"There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2030, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them."


See, I really do feel sick.


If you want some more, check with Steve. Really!

Presenting, The McDonald's Diet!! (You knew it was coming, didn't you!)

You know, a couple of weeks ago at the insistence of my kids, we rented Supersize Me. It looked quite convincing, and though I don't often eat at Ronald's, it put me off his food for some time.


But I've been thinking about some of the ways he made that film, and what really happened during it. I mean, he stopped exercising the day he started eating at McDonalds. Stopping a regular exercise routine's gotta give your body a hit, let alone over doing it at fast food.


Tonight while driving home, I heard an interview with an Edmonton teacher named Les Sayer who was pushed into the same kind of month full of McDonalds test by his students. Tomorrow marks his last day on the McDonalds only diet. The last day of 30 in which he only ate McDonalds meals, three times a day. The only item he didn't try was the fish sandwich, because he hates fish.


But, he tried not to over eat a lot, and he tried to eat a variety of things regularly including deserts. The other thing he did was exercise, daily I believe.


So, how's he doing?


Well, as of today he's down 18 lbs for the month.


Yeah. That's what I said.


He presents a good argument. You can check it out at http://www.mcles.com/


Hmm, exercise daily, eat a variety, and don't over do it. I wonder how that would sell to the mass market?

I think I'm sick...

but I have the deep comfort of knowing that it's not the flu, as I had my flu shot and I paid Ten Dolars for it!

St. Davids Day

"There is no barrier between two worlds in the Church,
The Church militant on earth
Is one with the Church triumphant in heaven,
And the saints are in this Church which is two in one.
They come to worship with us, our small congregation,
The saints our oldest ancestors
Who built Wales on the foundation
Of the Crib, the Cross and the Empty Tomb.
And they go out as before to travel their old ways
And to evangelize Wales."


Gwenallt's 'St David' translated in A. M. Allchin, Esther De Waal: Threshold of Light - Prayers and Praises from the Celtic Tradition.


Thanks for the reminder John.