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.