Monday, December 31, 2007

new years, holidays, etc

i'm really tired of the holiday season. don't get me wrong, the sentiment is amazing, but everyone's either flying high, or finding a new low.

as i'm sitting here...on facebook on the turn of the year, i'm hearing people desperately looking for something to do, and people who don't want to say goodbye to 2007. the problem with the holidays is everyone wants the media ideal of the holidays - perfect friends and family to spend it with. when they don't get that it brings them down, hard. i'm excited to see the holiday season go, that way we can all get back to normal life, and normal emotional states, rather than flying all over the place.

i know this year has been amazing for me, lots of hard times, but that's what made it a year, no story is without conflict. 2008 should be equally incredible, and yes, i'm desperately looking forward to being back at camp this summer, and spending the spring with the underground.

then, i have no clue where i'll be.

in the moment

i watched garden state this past weekend, and it's brought me around to thinking about "in the moment" living. i spend a lot of time planning things (thinking about the future) or reminiscing about the past (thinking about the past). how often do i actually think about right now? not tonight, but about this one moment in time. at theunderground we often show a clip from garden state where sam says something around the line of "this is your one opportunity to do something completely unique that no on in history has ever done before". a verse that comes to mind is this one:
do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has troubles of its own.
it challenges us to give up control, and let tomorrow be as it may. that's something that seems nearly impossible to do for me. i want to plan coffee appointments, or know when i'm's easy just to say write it off and keep on going, but i think that would be ignorant (no kidding).

i have no idea how i can continue about life without thinking about the future, i think what it's saying is spend time present in each moment, appreciating everything. it's always at this point that i quote emily gibbs "do any human beings ever realize life when they live it?" i think i've realized about five minutes of my life. (that may or may not be an exaggeration) the rest of it i've been distracted by the past and the future.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

oddities and eccentricities

i really like thinking about people.

not individual persons, but the whole race of humans. we're really odd creatures.

i was sitting with one of my really good friends and we started talking about our 'peculiarities', and i promised her i would write a blog about her story.

the whole conversation started with me telling her that every night when i go to bed, i have to put a sock on top of my clock otherwise i can't sleep.
the reason is that the light from the clock keeps me awake. there will be nights when i lie in bed for 20 or 30 minutes unable to sleep; it's then i realize that i forgot to cover my clock with the sock.

my friend then said:
"i know exactly what you mean! i was up all last night because my bookshelf needed dusting"
on her way to her bed that night she noticed that her shelf was a bit dusty.
"i tried to go to bed, but when 2 o clock rolled around i just gave in..."
she then proceeded to dust her bookshelf, alphabetize her books, and put the un-needed books into plastic bins.

another night she told me was a vacuuming night, where she vacuumed all of the upstairs hallways.

things like these are what fascinate me. the people who can't get their day started without a venti soy light water, no foam chai misto, the people who have to have a bran muffin on a plate, with butter, and a plastic knife - stainless steel cutlery will not do!

another one that came to mind is my actress friend, krishna, who never passes up a penny on the ground, and has to have everyone's drawstrings aligned - i've picked that one up too.

we're so habitual with our lives, so caught up in trivialities to feed our obsessions, some of us have things like ocd to cling to, while others are in denial of their eccentricities.
i have no idea what my point is, but i find these neuroses fascinating.

i've found that as i've gotten to know people more and more, i see their neuroses, their compulsions, extreme introversion, or an inability to maintain eye-contact. they then see my little neuroses - the need to keep my stereo between 18 and 23, how i like to drink my drinks with a little straw or out of a can; never plastic.

i find humans really's odd that they object when i call them eccentric...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

on the topic of...

today, i was driving through a little town named alberton reflecting on my life. suddenly i had an epiphany.

in my earlier years, i wrestled greatly with the concepts of karma and providence.

to clarify:
- karma is the idea that "what goes around, comes around"
- providence is God's diving justice, although it's connotation (street meaning) generally boils down to "when we do bad, God punishes us" and vice versa.

those two thoughts have caused me a great deal of pain.

i used to worry a lot. i would fret about everything. the issue for me was this: if i do something bad, then in theory that bad will come back to me by some divine justice. as a result whenever i messed up i would spend the rest of the week waiting for something bad to happen.

that is a waste of life.

all i felt were pain, stress, worry, anxiety and worst of all guilt.

i believe God's in complete control of my life, and everything around me. as a screwup, that's a comforting thought. since grade 11 i haven't really had to think much about divine justice, but until earlier today it wasn't nearly as clear to me why i disagree with it.

here's some rhetoric for you: if i believe God is in control of what goes on in my life, nothing i do will get in the way of what God intends to happen in my life. as a result nothing in my life will make God go "whoa!". my point: nothing bad can happen in my life that will interfere with God's plan.

it would be proud to think we can control what good and bad things happen to us by what we do.

today when i realized that, a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


i'm a fairly positive person, passionate, happy... just optimistic in general. i don't really spend too much time at home, but if i'm asked where i'm from i say "hamilton" with a tone of "it's a great city" in my voice. now, a few people i know hate it, and that's up to them, but what bothers me is the negative "you'll get shot" in their voice.

i was at my uncle's house tonight - he's a police officer. so naturally he's got a different perspective on the city:
he's seen murders, his partner was almost stabbed in the wesley house... he sees hamilton at it's worst.

i told him of my intent to move in to the beasley neighbourhood, and he called me - in not so many words - a naiive optimist that has yet to be hardened by the world.

according to my uncle, the people in the core are hopeless, horrible, stupid people, completely incapacitated by mental illness. whoa. of course, he said this over a series of stories, but his point was clear.

my father has a similar perspective:
he rents properties to people in the downtown core. only a few weeks ago he was witness to one of his tenants being beaten by his drug dealer for cocaine money. he's been repeatedly scammed by tenants with all sorts of addictions, and as a result is jaded, and cold towards the residents. he has a great heart for the poor, but a lot of times he fails to see the beauty in the people.

he told me tonight that my uncle steve used to have a heart not unlike mine, wanting to serve, and help scares me to think i might one day become jaded and hard hearted.

my uncle's point was that he wanted me to be careful


though nonetheless, i disagree with his perspective on the people.

i know that circumstance is what has caused their situation, and as a result, they are where they are. to call them horrible is another injustice. i'm no different than them, it's an injustice that i am in my cozy house, fed and full from a turkey dinner, and they are lined up in the halls of the wesley house hoping to have a bowl of oatmeal tonight. had i been dealt the same circumstance, i would be the same as them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


so i'm at the hospital right now. some of you might not know, but my mom's had cancer for a while. she's getting better, don't worry. but naturally my thoughts have turned to death... why? because lots of people die at the hospital. it's not uncommon to see people crying around the hallways of mcmaster. i do find it wierd. i mean, i'm walking on grounds where tons of people, now dead, have walked. although... come to think of it, that's the case with the whole earth. morbid, i know. when i see the kids, who are in sick kids, it's kind of sad. it's an injustice when someone half my age (9) is sick, and doesn't get to experience a "traditional/happy childhood". i was listening to a sermon about the pharisees, and how they ignored things like mercy, justice and faithfulness, and as i hear a moan of pain from across the hall, i can't help wondering how much i have in common with them. gosh, i wish someone would turn off the call button. the beeping is killing me. wow, i need to watch my diction.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

snowed in.

in our darkest times, when we feel lost, i think we lose touch with what makes us human. we feel dry, burnt out, and overburdened. i know we weren't ever supposed to deal with these things. in the garden all we had to do was pick fruit, not deal with death, hate... all that stuff. i've noticed in those times, sometimes just a shower can make us feel better, and even better than a shower is a hug, or an encouraging note.

things like that reaffirm our humanity, because they make us feel better about ourselves. i first got thinking about what humanity really is when i read sex god by rob bell, and he talked about beauty. he tells a story about a medical shipment to one of the camps during the holocaust getting mixed up. instead of relief supplies, the camp got crates of red lipstick. they decided to make the best of it, and they put it on all of the people, and they felt better, because they felt almost human again after the terrors. the characteristics that affirm our humanity, like love, hope, passion, are also the characteristics that best reflect god's presence in us.

some might also say that hate, and deceit are "human" characteristics, but they weren't originally, when god first made us.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

i'm amazed.

last night was the christmas banquet, and i had the privelege of being at the jr high ugly christmas sweater party. now that in of itself was sweet, but afterwards the serve team stayed behind to clean up. not just after themselves, but after the senior highs as well, then they also stuffed operation good thing bags for homeless youth. amazing. these guys are incredible, intense, servant hearted, loving, eager, did i say amazing yet? i couldn't believe how extreme they were. a few of them were so intensely in to taking out the garbage (not just a bit of garbage... but heaps of garbage bags with chicken guts volcanoing out of the top) that when i told them "you guys need a break, go finish off the cake in the other room for five minutes" they said to me "no! gotta finish the garbage". then they swept, mopped, scrubbed the place clean, and scrubbed the dishes in a little sink. now as though this wasn't enough, a few of the garbage bags exploded on the way to the dumpster, because they were overfull. i walk over to help out, and i find a bunch of them bare-handed picking guts and goop off the ground and chucking it into the dumpster in the cold at 1230 in the morning. these guys are extreme.

Monday, December 3, 2007

wakeup call

lately i feel as though i've been perpetually dreaming. i am up late, and i am up early. i feel blessed that i've seen so many beautiful sunsets and sunrises, but at some point i need to sleep. thank you to those who told me to go to bed, and told me "you need to rest!" (candace, josh watterworth, my mom, jeanette, thats all that comes to mind right now... but there were definitely others). i've recently noticed that i've been losing contact with a lot of people, i've been so tired, and busy that they've dropped out of my life. i'm looking forward to spring coming... nothing against winter, but i enjoy the rain, and late night sunsets a lot more than long nights and dead trees. there's obviously a lot of beauty to winter, but the forever night gets to me. i've noticed that people as of late have been having it rougher, things are getting to them, and i think it has to do with the longer nights. i think people find it depressing, melancholy, and the dark causes them to feel more alone. and thats a scary thing to feel. i've always noticed people are happier, and better adjusted in spring and summer. the times when the weather's nice, and the sun is hot. i think i'm gonna go rest...

Thursday, November 15, 2007


modelled after beckett
leston: good morrow sir!
verasted: have we met?
leston: you know how things are.
verasted: i do (pause.)
leston: what are you doing here?
verasted: oh, the usual. you?
leston: what else?
verasted: he's never let us down, has he?
leston: who?
verasted: (looks expectantly.)
leston: ah yes, no, he hasn't i suppose...
verasted: suppose?
leston: suppose.
verasted: lacking in faith today?
leston: no less than usual. he's late.
verasted: by whose clock? (pause.) yours?
leston: i don't use clocks.
verasted: then how do you know he's late?
leston: i don't.
verasted: but you just said -
leston: i know what i just said!
verasted: when has he not showed up?
leston: i don't remember.
(pause.) (leston begins to pace.)
verasted: would you stop that!
leston: what?
verasted: the pacing!
leston: why?
verasted: it makes me nervous.
leston: nervous of what?
verasted: that he might not show up.
leston: you too now?
verasted: no. (pause.) he will arrive.
leston: how do you know?
verasted: he always does. you remember.
leston: but what about today?
verasted: what about today?
leston: do you think today he will?
verasted: how is today any different?
leston: it feels different.
verasted: you say that every day.
leston: i do?
verasted: yes!
leston: do not!
verasted: do too!
leston: do not!
verasted: do too!
leston: do not!
verasted: do too!
leston: do not!
verasted: do too!
leston: do not!
verasted: do too!
leston: do not!
verasted: do not!
leston: do too!
leston: damn.
verasted: even you agree.
leston: that wasn't fair.
verasted: what in this place is fair?
leston: not much.
verasted: i'd go far as saying nothing.
leston: i can't stand it.
verasted: i'm quite content.
leston: how can you be?
verasted: i know that each day he comes the same.
leston: he'll never come.
verasted: pessimist.
leston: oh, shut up.
verasted: i will do no such thing.
leston: won't you?
verasted: no. not until this is settled.
leston: until what is settled?
verasted: this.
leston: what?
verasted: this discussion.
leston: you mean this argument?
verasted: okay.
leston: what's left to settle?
verasted: when he's coming.
leston: never.
verasted: today. he always does.
leston: oh, please. next topic.
verasted: justice.
leston: is it fair?
verasted: is what?
leston: this.
verasted: yes!
leston: i don't think so.
verasted: why not?
leston: look at us.
verasted: yes?
leston: this is just?
verasted: yes!
leston: yes?
verasted: what more could you expect?
leston: a lot more!
verasted: really?
leston: yes.
verasted: what is the injustice here?
leston: is it just that each morrow we stand here in this dark waiting and waiting for someone who for all we know will never come?
verasted: i've never looked at it from that perspective.
leston: you haven't?
verasted: no.
leston: how?
verasted: i've never wanted. each day i've all i need.
leston: is that living?
verasted: i'd say so.
leston: are you happy?
verasted: i've no sadness, i must be.
leston: what about me?
verasted: yes?
leston: i'm not.
verasted: you worry too much. that's why.
leston: what do you mean?
verasted: i trust that every day, he'll come and fill my need.
leston: your point?
verasted: every day you doubt, and wind up in a panic. it's very unpleasant.
leston: did you just call me unpleasant?
verasted: not directly.
leston: you insolent washing bag!
verasted: that's not very pleasant, is it?
leston: i'd suppose not. (pause.)
verasted: have you ever noticed how all people leaving a grocery store look homeless?
leston: no?
verasted: do you see their home?
leston: no.
verasted: see?
leston: not really. (pause.)
verasted: you're homeless! that's why you aren't happy.
leston: i am not homeless!
verasted: where is your home?
leston: i, i, am homeless. (pause.) but so are you!
verasted: how do you know?
leston: i don't see your home.
verasted: are the people leaving the grocery store all homeless?
leston: you just said -
verasted: i said they look homeless, you just can't see their homes.
leston: and?
verasted: you can't see my home from here. but that doesn't mean it ceases to be.
leston: where is it?
verasted: with him.
leston: who?
verasted: the one we're waiting for.
leston: you mean the one you're waiting for.
verasted: what happened to you?
leston: i stopped waiting a while ago.
verasted: what are you doing then?
leston: standing.
verasted: he is coming you know...
leston: no.
verasted: we've been over this too much.
leston: you should take a nap.
verasted: i might miss him.
leston: you won't.
verasted: oh please...
leston: yes?
verasted: what?
leston: you said "please" so i replied.
verasted: don't be so smart.
leston: i was being helpful.
verasted: you were not.
leston: now who's distrustful?
verasted: you're such a child.
leston: enough with the name-calling.
verasted: don't boss me around!
leston: what would he say if he came right now?
verasted: nothing. he would shoot you.
leston: that doesn't sound like him at all!
verasted: sorry, i was talking about what i would do.
leston: you want to shoot me?
verasted: yes.
leston: that's not nice.
verasted: wait... what you just said?
leston: the "not nice" comment?
verasted: no, the part about him coming.
leston: what about it?
verasted: you think he's coming?
leston: oh please...
verasted: yes?
leston: (slaps verasted.) don't mock me. (both stomp away from each other.) (pause.) I'm sorry, i can't stand it anymore.
verasted: what?
leston: i missed you.
verasted: oh, okay.
leston: did you?
verasted: what?
leston: miss me?
verasted: i guess.
leston: i guess?
verasted: a little.
leston: oh.
(lights up, both asleep.)
verasted: no!
leston: what?! what?!
verasted: we fell asleep.
leston: yes. isn't it great?
verasted: no! we missed him!
leston: what? (still drowsy.)
verasted: he came, we were asleep and he left.
leston: how do you know?
verasted: uh....the footprints! those weren't here before!
leston: that doesn't prove anything.
verasted: yes it does!
leston: you could have sleepwalked.
verasted: have i sleepwalked before?
leston: you could have.
verasted: have i?
leston: i don't know! i don't watch you sleep!
verasted: i'm glad.
leston: what's that supposed to mean?
verasted: never mind.
leston: don't never mind me!
verasted: all it meant was that i'm glad you don't sit and stare at me whilst i sleep.
leston: oh, okay. (pause.) hm.
verasted: yes?
leston: oh, nothing, just thinking.
verasted: what about?
leston: would you say we're friends?
verasted: i don't know.
leston: i've never thought about it.
verasted: me neither.
leston: do i really need a friend?
verasted: do i?
leston: i thought you had all you need?
verasted: i do. (pause.) so if i do need a friend then i already have one.
leston: i don't follow.
verasted: well, if i need a friend, then yes, we are friends. but if i don't need one, then we aren't friends.
leston: then what would we be?
verasted: indifferents.
leston: oh, that's wierd.
verasted: no more than everything else.
leston: true.
(long pause.)
verasted: why are you still here?
leston: i don't really know.
verasted: are you waiting?
leston: no. i hate waiting.
verasted: why?
leston: it's a waste of time.
verasted: what are you doing right now?
leston: standing.
verasted: is that a better use?
leston: no.
verasted: then why not wait?
leston: because he'll never come.
verasted: i tell you, he will.
leston: i'd rather stand.
verasted: you could do both.
leston: i don't like multitasking.
verasted: really, it's quite easy. (pause.) i'm doing it now.
leston: i'm lazy.
verasted: that's a problem.
leston: i know.
verasted: are you going to fix it?
leston: what?
verasted: your problem.
leston: no.
verasted: why?
leston: too much effort.
verasted: oh.
leston: i think i shall leave.
verasted: what?
leston: i am going to leave.
verasted: why?
leston: i'm not doing anything here.
verasted: stay and wait.
leston: i already told you i won't.
verasted: where are you going to go?
leston: somewhere, other than here.
verasted: and leave me?
leston: yes (pause.) unless you come along.
verasted: i can't.
leston: why not?
verasted: i have to wait.
leston: for what?
verasted: for him.
leston: you know he won't come.
verasted: he is coming.
leston: let him wait.
verasted: no.
leston: why not?
verasted: he's done so much already.
leston: has he?
verasted: i'm alive. and i'm fed.
leston: don't you want more?
verasted: he's given me all i want.
leston: can't you fathom more?
verasted: certainly, but had i more, i would be more unhappy.
leston: how do you suppose that?
verasted: look at you. you want more, and as a result, are more unhappy.
leston: i see that, but what if you had more?
verasted: i'd probably still want more.
leston: what if you had everything like him?
verasted: that's for him only.
leston: but what if?
verasted: things would probably fall apart.
leston: aren't they already?
verasted: where?
leston: here!
verasted: we do this every day.
leston: you have a point.
verasted: are you going?
leston: do i ever?
verasted: good point.
(lights raise to blinding proportion.)
verasted: i told you!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


grey cloud painted skies;
concrete towers eclipsing light.

ignorance, apathy, blindness.

"nothing to be done."

pause. pause.

existentialism -

___no purpose?

______self created purpose?



homes, bikes, mom, dad, sister. maids, cars, trucks, tim hortons. shoes, rollerskates, teachers, friends.

no fair.

Monday, November 5, 2007


my thoughts are scattered right now.

my friend led worship the other night. it was inspiring seeing someone who has been through so much leading worship, and still choosing to love jesus, and taking comfort in his love.

i want to go to cambodia or thailand, there is a starbucks in the neighbourhood i like, and i could work there if i desired. that would be nice.

the youthbuilders are in my prayers, i love them all a lot. i think we should be friends with each other. i'd like that.

i think i'll move to beasley. it's a lovely place. it will be fun.

the meeting house has been good to me. i grew up there. i love all the people there. gareth ate a fish. sinner.

my eyes are very close to closing and i have to wake up at 430 in the morning for work. that's very early. oh well, there's coffee waiting for me at work.

fields of mudan was a very disturbing film. watch only if willing to feel moved into action.

i've lost touch with a lot of people. i'm sorry for that, ask me for coffee. i have a lot.

i need to sleep now. i love you all.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007


i had what turned out to be one of my most cherished halloweens this evening. i hung out with my good friend jeanette from the freeway community and we shared many wonderful experiences.

jeanette and i started out our evening at a williams, me sipping espresso, her drinking i'm not sure what... i know she turned down a white mocha. anyway, from there we decided to go to beasley neighbourhood - home of the freeway coffeehouse. we dropped in and talked to the baristas (friends from church) and then went walking. we started out at the seniors residence. there were about 10 elderlies ready to hand out candy, but no trick-or-treaters. we decided to make friends, although when a group of puppy dogs (4-year-olds) arrived we were no longer necessary, so we continued our walk down rebekah. we then noticed the olive branch, so we checked it out, but an elderly woman came to the door and said "it's a private meeting tonight". we asked what it was about and she said "mission for the needy" and closed the door. thank you. feeling unwanted we continued on our adventure. after that we walked to beasley park. there we saw some of the local youth skateboarding. we swung for a bit and admired a mural and started to walk to the other park in beasley on john street. on john street we met an amazing woman named diane. she had her nephew over, and was the only decorated house on the block. she told me that it was her twelfth year living in the neighbourhood. she also happens to work at a tim hortons. her nephew was one of the funniest kids ever. he is four and gave both jeanette and me the grand tour of the decorations. after that we came upon the other park where we looked at another mural painted by the kids, they did an impressive job on it. after that we just started wandering around. we crossed a few railroad tracks and then hit the more suburban area of beasley. we saw a group of around 20 kids with two moms (impressive people moms are). then we got hungry and stopped at a restaurant. the first one we saw was pho bo. it was very good food, however, the water tasted quite odd... we decided the free jasmine tea was a better choice than the water anyway. the store owner was one of the nicest guys ever. he was super helpful, and kept giving jeanette "real peppers". in other words whole spicy peppers that are ridiculously spicy. she told him she liked spicy stuff, and he gave them to her. it was really funny.

the community, and closeness of the area is making me want to be a part of it as well. i loved getting to know everyone, and thanks to jeanette for a wicked awesome time. that was an amazing halloween we shared.

Monday, October 29, 2007

tango lessons

this evening my friend and i went for tango lessons down at the freeway coffeehouse. needless to say, it was an experience. i had a great time with her, but more than that, i learned a lot. not just about dance, or relationships, but about control, and even a bit about God. let me explain:

firstly, i learned about control. never did i expect that my problem would be taking control. i have a hard enough time giving it up. but sure enough, every five minutes "you need to take control, you need to lead more". it was frustrating, but kinda cool. my job was to do the moving, and make the dance happen, her job was to know what i was trying to communicate. it was pretty difficult at times. when our instructor - this argentinian man named zuber - came over and led for a few minutes he moved with such confidence that my partner knew exactly where to move. when i would try, quite often she would give me a helpless look and say "what do you want me to do?" i would tell her what i was trying to accomplish, and she would reply "i didn't know that". apparently zuber somehow expressed it to her. but by the end of the night we were a lot better, but we still fumbled with giving and taking control - she would try to lead sometimes, and other times we would just misunderstand each other completely.

at one point in the night, i was doing a really good job leading, we were moving together, spinning, and so on, and then all of a sudden i went to move my left foot, and she move hers as well; tangling us up, and i said to her "what are you doing?" she had anticipated a move i never made. i thought a lot about how we do that in our relationship with God. i don't know how many times i have thought "this is what God wants for me to do" or how many times i have just flat out taken control back on my own life. tangoing is a lot more like our relationship with God than we think, he leads us, and guides us, it's our job to feel where he's taking us, where we need to move, and so many times do we anticipate, try and move in our direction. when we do that we end up stumbling, bumping into people, tripping over our own heels, and as a result, the result is a sloppy dance. that's something i've heard for a long time, but dancing with chrystal clarified it, and brought understanding to former knowledge.

overall tango lessons were a success, i look forward to next week's

Monday, October 22, 2007


i get frustrated sometimes. i love hamilton. the city comforts me, not in sense of feeling warm and fuzzy, but in the sense of feeling called to be in the city. i know in my heart that much of my story is in hamilton. i see a lot of beauty in hamilton. my frustration comes in when people insult hamilton - say it's "sketchy and dangerous". sure, if you're dealing crack.

also, people say it's run down, and ugly. yes, parts are run down, but nonetheless, there is beauty within. i like to share in the beauty of places with people, be able to go "look, look how beautiful it is". enjoy a common moment of thinking "holy crap, God made that beautiful". i see that and feel it all the time, but quite often find myself with people who say "holy crap, that's crap".

one of my favourite lines of all time in a play is made by a dead woman named emily gibbs. she goes through her life, dies, then continues her role in spirit form. she does go back as a twelve year old for a short, unsatisfying, and frustrating sojourn wherein she attempts to appreciate life with her community, but finds nothing but apathy. then she says the line: do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?

i don't think we do. i mean, she dies, and then realizes what she's missed. realizes the beauty that surrounds her, and it's so easy to ignore our surroundings. hamilton is a gorgeous city. the lights at night... are so gorgeous. out of the 6945 years i have lived, maybe fourty eight hours did i fully appreciate my surroundings, i mean actually praise God for how gorgeous, and beautiful he has made the world. i read the psalms admiring nature, God's creation, and think "yeah they're right" but rarely do we look at our surroundings, whether it's on a farm, in the suburbs, or in downtown hamilton and praise God likewise.

i think that's negligence.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"spiritual leader deontology"

* each time i say church, i am referring to the insitution, not the body of believers

it has come to my attention over the course of my involvment in the church that there is a system in order to be placed in a position of "spiritual leadership" in the church. according to this system the potential "spiritual leader" must have specific aspects of their life together in order to really be a "spiritual leader". for instance - they must be respected, must look respectable, must act a certain way at a certain time - being crazy and wild is a privelege, and is permitted on certain occasions. age and maturity are relevant, they dictate how "ready" the prospective leader is. "leaders" are permitted, however, to have certain aspects of their life out of order, but must always present an image of "togetherness". this, herein shall be known as the spiritual leader deontology.

my grievances with this deontology (set of rules) are as follows: it is inaccessible, and un-Christ-like. it ignores the universal brokenness of humanity and demands an image of togetherness, it follows the lifeboat theory of rating the significance (or in this scenario, "readiness") of human beings. it looks at things like age, and appearance as markers of a human's qualities - causing more stereotyping and human judgement (something Jesus was a victim of). it builds on to the religious system by creating more laws (another thing Jesus argued against - he fought against the religious system by saying that love fulfills all laws).

if we look at peter, he by no means had everything together. i'm a big fan of peter, his life serves to comfort me. many times did he screw up. i mean, he denied his relationship with Jesus. after Jesus died, he went straight back to his nets to go fishing, Jesus finds him in the same place where he was before, and then invites him to come back to serving him. peter then screws up countless times afterward, he gets his thinking wrong with the whole "should christians be circumcised?" argument, and goes around preaching the wrong thing - paul corrects him - but peter continues to make mistakes. i know if anyone were to deny peter the title of "spiritual leader" they would be quickly corrected by the church. why then does the church follow such a deontology of rating people? it may not be written, but is definitely experienced in any church circle i've ever encountered. with respect to age, paul's exact words are "never let anyone look down on you because you are young", so if we look down on young people, prohibit them from being a "spiritual leader" as such...

i like the way donald miller describes the bible, and following Jesus. he talks about it as free verse. throughout the bible we have poems in between chapters, showing the emotion of the experience of following Jesus. we don't encounter rules, but love, something that is free. Jesus laughed and cried, and he was disruptive. he broke religious laws, and said "love each other" to put in to place these rules around being a "spiritual leader" or "minister" is denying that.

i have two answers to the question of "why must we jump through hoops to be in these positions?"

the first is slightly more educated, the second, is childish.

#1. the church is run by humans - broken, fallen individuals
#2. religion is stupid.

+ i take comfort in the fact that the church isn't in charge of who is a minister or spiritual leader. i may have grievances with the system, but because of Jesus, i am no longer bound by any system of faith. the second we follow him, we are made ministers and leaders.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


monotonous suburban constructs eclipse the skies
apathy finds rest within their walls

my soul finds itself barred within
dry, thirsty, weary.

bourgeois pretension almost contagious
lay foundations for frustration.

voices scream from within crying out
desperate to leave
convinced there is nothing here left

a faint tone
almost silent
joins the marching band within
yet it keeps me here.
bids me stay.

i wait
searching for my "why"
and in that question i find you.

in my suffering, i am found in you

Saturday, October 6, 2007

homey smells

two day old coffee in a dumpster
an old lady's perfume coated in a layer of second hand smoke
the mothballs in her basement
a new car producing exhaust fumes
smoke stacks polluting a nearby park
leaves falling, shaken by the late night breeze

this smell means home to me. it means adventure, romance, real life. i feel as though the suburban lifestyle has so anesthetized me that at first it seemed frightening, and foreign, but now it's become a reality, and a type of life to me.

wandering again

sometimes i think it's good to have no clue what you're going to do, or where you're going to go. there's somewhat of a sense of humility to the uncertainty. it prohibits bragging about "how busy you are", and keeps you from becoming comfortable. it makes you uncomfortable, and keeps you guessing about what is to come. it also in a lot of ways gives God more opportunities to work. by keeping that uncertainty, you allow yourself to experience day to day, in the moment life more. what i'm learning, is your focus shifts from what you're going to do, to what you are doing, and where you are going. what i've learned from not having a car is that uncertainty can be really fun and teaches you a lot of patience and humility. hopping a train and having no idea where i'm going to sleep or how i'm going to afford food, has been a growing experience.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


donald miller - one of my favourite authors - tells a story in one of my favourite books. he tells a story about a group of orphaned male elephants growing up in an orphanage. when they hit puberty they start acting strangely. they get green sores on their legs, and start becoming violent. they run off and start drowning and raping rhinocerous.
their caretakers meanwhile couldn't figure out what was wrong with them - obviously they had a hormone problem, but all of their efforts couldn't help the elephants.
one day in the distance they see a group of male elephants coming in their direction. as they got closer the orphans started to calm down, and one by one the younger elephants started pairing off with the older elephants, and one by one they calmed down.
the problem was that they needed the influence of an older elephant who had gone through the same problems, who could come alongside of the elephant and help them learn to balance their hormones, and emotions.
it's the same way, whether we have a father or not, we need to look to someone to walk alongside of us and teach us how to deal with life. donald miller uses the story allegorically to talk about how God comes alongside of us and shows us how to live. as someone who has had a very broken relationship with his own father, a perfect father coming alongside of me and showing me how to live is a beautiful thought, and a beautiful reality.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


i love love so much. love is the answer for everything. working at tim hortons has challenged my ability to love many times. frustrating situations, obnoxious customers, it's very easy to lose sight. the second you look deep in to the eyes of a person and look for a good quality, all the easier it is to love them, and through that to improve both of your days.

in the bible it talks about love as the fulfillment of the law, because if you really love everyone, then you won't kill anyone, or steal from anyone or be jealous or anything, because you don't do those things when you really love.

an organization i am infatuated with is to write love on her arms. a saying they use quite frequently is "love is the movement". that is what i aspire to in my own life.

love is what i follow. i mean, i believe jesus is God, and God is love, therefore, i follow love incarnate. as such, i aspire to be love, and love as much as humanly possible.

whoever you are, if you're reading this, i guarantee you this: i love you

Monday, October 1, 2007

a psalm

i love You so much tonight
let it be so always

i beheld you in the street
___i beheld you in the sky
______i beheld you in the sanctuary

in the eyes of a child i beheld your beauty.

you showed me your glory
___you showed me your love

many times i ignored you
___many times i failed you
______many times did i spit in your face
_________yet infinitely more did you love me

i found myself upside down
___thrown by side of the road
______downcast, abandoned, hateful
_________yet again you rescue me, pull me up

in your arms i find myself
___rescued, loved, and held by you
______closer than ever before, and so in love

this feeling deep inside
my love for you
your love in me
stay within



on the road

i spent the past few days without a house, and for the most part without the internet. it was wonderful. it was amazing to see how many people were willing to let me be a part of their family for a night. especially this wonderful jesus-loving jesus-following family named the wolfes. they were a great support and radiate with the love of jesus. i love them dearly. it was really cool feeling an uncertainty as i wait for each bus to take me to another place. i'm glad to be headed home, but i already miss the vagrant lifestyle.

i saw something so beautiful in being at the train station waiting, and then getting on. it's incredible how helpful people are when you don't know where you're going. some people would go as far as to have you follow them to a stop, then tell you where to go from there. it was really awesome to see. i felt likewise to Jack Kerouac... only slightly less artistic, and not as far a distance... but still, the point remains. i had a few frustrating times in my wanderings - got lost a few times, shouted at, and abandonded once, yet still it remained a good experience.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

when stories meet

starring: jesus

sometimes Jesus is too much to handle. i have multiple stories and prayers intertwining and beginning to make sense, but i just can't fully get it. here's where it begins:

i've never been a good driver, i'm a bit of a goof... the kind of guy that needs things done for him. for instance: my best friend also chooses my clothing, and makes sure i know where to go and when. i'll come up with my own way of doing things, that requires a lot of extra effort, and generally is counterproductive, and i can't be left alone with shiny things or else i may laugh for a while. and i get lost really easily, and can't drive without praying... or else i go in ditches. Jesus has made me need him directly... i feel sort of like peter sometimes - you know, kind of the hapless hero, bigtime screwup type? God's always made a habit of using those types. anyway i wrecked my transmission because i screwed up with the transmission fluid before i left for camp.

i got back, my car still wasn't ready. i was desperate for wheels, but i didn't have any, so i stayed home and went stir crazy. in my prayer time i asked God to get me back my car so that i could go back to my 'ministry'. and the words "minister to your family" rang really loudly in my head - louder than any thoughts.

now i've never been 'tight' with my family... in fact very much the opposite. we in the past have fought very intensely with each other - recently it's been better, but still never 'great'.

so like jonah, i did the cowardly thing and ignored it. (stupid...) anyway, each day i ignored it we'd get a phone call "you're car isn't ready, the part isn't in" or "it's ready!" then it won't move for us... it happened a few times before i realized that my house was the fishes stomach, and that i needed to take action... so i prayed "God help me to minister to my family, i'm scared, i need you to give me the opportunity" and that was it, i didn't actually do anything physically, just prayed and trusted something would happen... my car came back, and i went about my 'ministry'... not to my family.

i started working at the freeway, a fantastic coffee house / christian community / salvation army church (by sunday night). it has become a home to me. the pastors are very welcoming, cool, and challenging. i like it.

i have a brother (in Christ) that has not been talking to me lately. it was hard because he was talking to me a lot before the school year began. i wasn't able to get ahold of him. i prayed we would get back in touch. last night we made plans to hang out this friday. big answer to prayer, sweet.

saturday night i realized that i have a very large ego these days, and that in the past week i've become pretty apathetic as opposed to the way i usually am. i prayed that God would make me uncomfortable and broken.

sunday i went to junior high in oakville, worked (by work i mean play) there, and then went for a coffee - meanwhile my grandparents spontaneously showed up to celebrate my birthday - a month in advance, though i wasn't there.

my grandparents gave me an ipod accesory thingy (still figuring it out...) and 200 dollars - which overwhelmed me. my grandma said as she wrapped my present she felt the spirit calling her to put it in there, and as she said that she was crying.

i haven't been able to spend that money.

monday i got my car back from another fixing - we got it back the same day - and went to the freeway to pick up a shift. the new pastor was in there - jordan - he was having an intense looking cup of coffee with a man there. after which we got to talking. he challenged me and made me think about my motives, intentions, and comfortability. needless to say, he made me uncomfortable, and then later that night, a conversation with my dad broke me. yay Jesus! prayer answered.

today i made plans to hang with some of my old small group after - awesomest kids on the face of the planet - after senior high, i'd had a good day with tips and wanted to spend the money.

i approached darin and asked him for some prayer. so we went and prayed. i had him pray that i would take from the conversation with jordan what i was supposed to, and learn what i need to learn. i also asked for him to pray that my guys and me would get closer with each other, get closer to God through our experiences together, and the laughs we share, and that we would all get home safely.

we went out, bought three tubs of ice cream for the three of us, and then picked up the pizza and sat in the middle of the parking lot eating, and eating... and eating. then we packed up, and headed home. on the way we turned on to a windy road. it was raining, and very steep and hilly. going down a hill i pressed the brake pedal and my car started skidding, i steered harshly and slammed into a sign and recovered, my wheels way out of line.

needless to say, my guys were shaken very much, and very scared. they thought they were going to die. i continued down the road at about 10 km/h. i told them about darin praying for us to be safe. they now love him.

we arrived at their houses, and prayed together, thanking God for keeping us safe, and they also prayed that i would get home safely. i love those guys sooo much, they are brothers. they said that it was the best night of their lives, flattering, and that we should do it again next week, minus the scary driving stuff.

there is a prayer answered - crazily.

my car is going to canadian tire in five hours to get checked out. it can't drive well, and i had to be picked up by my father. it wasn't a fun conversation explaining that another car is in need of repair. this is my third car accident. the first two wrecked the cars completely - that is why i pray before driving... and maybe because i love the guy i'm talking to.

i talked to my mom on the phone, she assured me that my dad wasn't upset, just tense. so when he got there i had already talked to darin and told him what happened. i asked my dad to pray with me. we prayed for safe driving home. then i realized i had an opportunity to minister to and for my family. when i got home we prayed together about finances, life, and the car and read psalm 42/43. check! prayer answered

and it's now looking like i'll be needing that 200 dollars to get my car back.

yeah, Jesus really isn't very straightforward, but times like these help me realize, even when we don't see directly what is going on, that it doesn't mean it isn't happening. it's just very subtle.

i like the adventure and mystery of loving Jesus.