Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part One

To truly appreciate the grad trip I just took my youth on, you must first hear all the misfortunes that befell us along the way...

Day One - Tuesday, August 25th

- I told Marie to meet us at the church at 7:30am. I told everyone else 8am. This is because Marie has a reputation for arriving late. Marie arrives at the church at 7:34. No one is there. She is forced to wait outside 20 mins until someone else shows up.

- The line I chose for the border crossing moved twice as slow as the line beside me. I'm not even exaggerating. It took us probably 30 mins to get across.

- Almost immediately we hit traffic. It took forever to get through it. We hadn't even hit Bellingham yet and we'd left the church 2 hours ago.

- We stopped at Wendy's for some lunch just past Tacoma. Tessa decides to do some handstands outside. Seems harmless?

- The odometer screen on my rental van changes to "4% oil life"

- I pass Shane on the highway. He has just been pulled over for speeding.

- We stop in Roseburg for supper at IHOP. Tessa realizes her wallet is missing. Whilst doing handstands at Wendy's she placed her wallet beside a tree...and left it there.

- Tessa and I find a payphone to solve the oil and wallet situations. Rental company tells me I need to change the oil on their vehicle. Unbelievable. We decide to continue driving and change it on the way back home.

- Tessa tries to find the phone number for the Wendy's, but we have no clue what street it was on. The operator puts her through to the Wendy's in the mall (which we clearly said was not the one we wanted). We find a map in a nearby bookstore and discover it is on Bridgeport rd. and call directory assistance again. They patch us through to the right place, but unfortunately the wallet is nowhere to be seen. Tessa had all her money for the trip in that wallet.

- IHOP is out of chicken strips and tilapia.

- IHOP takes ages to bring our food out. A stop I figured would take 1 hour turns into 2+ hours.

- Shane texts me saying the oil light has come on. Nice joke, Shane.

- No really, the oil light has come on on my car. I thought he was referring to how the rental car needed an oil change. They check the oil and there's plenty. The car sounds fine and isn't getting hot, so I make the decision to keep driving it until Redding.

- Whilst passing a car going down a hill, a pair of headlights come on from the side of the road. I predict I will soon be pulled over. Sure enough the car comes up behind me, follows for awhile, and then on come the lights. I act as innocently as possible, admit I was speeding, and fortunately get off with a warning.

- Estimated time of arrival in Redding: 10pm. Actual time of arrival: 12pm.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Ghost in the Post - Part Eight

"Hey!" Dan yelled.

"What's your problem??!" The Ghost in the Post replied.

"Where did my last two posts go???"

"Hmmm? I don't have the foggiest clue what you're going on about..."

"I wrote two posts this weekend. One on the rich guy at Subway and the other about GI Joe. Where did they go?!"

"Why are you asking me?"

"Because you're the one who always makes my posts disappear and it's really frustrating my readers!"

"Hmm, I thought you didn't believe in any case, I think they might just reappear tomorrow..........."

"Stupid Post Ghost!"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

GI Joe - The Rise of Cobra

So I finally saw the GI Joe movie with my brothers tonight, and I've gotta exceeded expectations!

I thought it was going to be a huge pile of crap, but it turned out to be a sweet-smelling pile of crap! As expected the dialogue was stupid, the plot was preposterous, the special effects were lacking, and the humour was so forced. Marlon Wayans had the most ridiculous lines and was not funny at all. His relationship with Scarlett was unbelievable. Uggh, it was so lame.

However, I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of the film! As a GI Joe fanatic as a child, it touched on so many of the elements I loved in the toy and cartoon. Unlike the Transformers movie, this one made the movie all about the GI Joes and Cobra. They had a lot of favorite characters, and I look forward to the sequels so we can be introduced to more of them. Where was Gung-Ho, Major Bludd, the Dreadnocks, Lt. Falcon? Obviously there are too many characters to bring into one movie, so I understand that we'll have to wait for them. I loved seeing Dr. Mindbender thrown in there, but I didn't like Brendan Fraser. I don't really like him as an actor, and in this movie he played a newer GI Joe that was added just recently. Not sure why they wanted to have him as a cameo.

I thought they were going to overuse the accelerator suits, but thankfully they were only there for a short bit. I like how they took advantage of the vehicles and weapons like with the toys. They were ridiculous and fun, and completely implausible but who cares? I knew they could only make this film if they kept it ridiculous, because the characters could never be taken seriously. And they did keep it ridiculous.

I loved it, I can't wait for the sequels!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Rich Man and Subway

I went to Subway tonight and I realized as they were making my sandwich, the guy had to skip over 2 other sandwiches that were just sitting there. I wondered whose sandwiches they were, until I saw this rich looking guy sitting casually by the window reading a paper.

After my sandwich was complete the Subway guy said the rich guy, "Excuse me sir, what would you like on your sandwich?"

I thought that was rather odd. This rich guy ordered two sandwiches and then sat down while he waited for them to be finished. Obviously he had never been to Subway before. I wonder what brought him to stoop so low as to enter this franchise restaurant in the first place.

"I'll have whatever goes on the sandwich!" The rich man barked in frustration.

Subway guy sheepishly replied, "Here you have to choose what toppings you want..."

"I don't give a sh*# what you put on it!" Snapped the rich man as he answered his ringing phone.

As I began to eat my sandwich I heard him comply and say what he wanted, all the while still talking on his phone trying to make some business deal.

When he went to pay for his food I noticed him look down at the ground. I could see a penny at his feet. He reached down and grabbed the penny.

I wondered to myself, "What is he going to do with a penny?" If it was me I would have either put it in the tip jar or thrown it in the garbage (I hate pennies by the way, more on that later!) What do you think he did?

Yeah, he put it in his pocket and walked away.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


It's good to have options...or is it?

I get overwhelmed by the amount of options I have to choose from. It might be easier if the options were narrowed down to 2 or 3 (or even 15-20). But the options are almost limitless!

Take for example movies. There are thousands and thousands of movies out there. I can't keep up with all the ones I want to watch. I will never be able to see all the movies I want to see. So in the face of all these options I shut down and watch no movies. Or I should say I watch movies on the spur of the moment.

And when will it end with buying movies? Instead of renting a movie for 5 dollars I can buy it for 10. So I buy a lot of movies. But now I have all these movies, many I haven't even watched yet, and others that I'm not even sure I will watch again. That's why I stopped buying DVD's. Although I did buy one on Monday...

And the same is said for video games, books, online video clips, and music. Sooooo many options.

That's only one aspect of my life. What about all the other millions of options I have before me? Where to invest? What to wear? What to eat? Who to hang out with? Where to travel? What to do with my life?

I'm preaching this Sunday and it's sooooo hard to narrow things down, because there are so many options. Which direction do I head in? I could read and read and read for months and still not get everything there is to get from that one small passage of Scripture.

So how do I choose?

Kevin told me about the difference between living here and living in Madagascar. One thing that struck him was the shift and attitude towards options. Here we have too many options. We can't juggle them all. There, they have very little options. When they would go to the grocery store they couldn't choose which cereal they wanted to buy. They would show up and see, oh I guess we're eating Cheerios this week, because that's all they had.

And there mission had very little money or resources. So anything that they had they used to its fullest potential. Whenever they got something new they asked, "How can we use this to help people?" And they would find a use for it. Every dollar they had was stretched to help as many people as possible. Because they had no choice.

Here, we get something new and our first thought is ourselves. How will this benefit me? Our money is not used to its fullest. It is so abundant we spend on it whatever we want without much thought.

Inconvenience Store

I don't know what else to say, or where I'm going with this. I am just beginning to wrestle. I don't like having so many options. It shuts me down. But on the other hand, I like them because they keep me safe, and because I'm rich and healthy. It's easy to keep things the way they are. Hmm, I'll stop there...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jesus Again...

In regards to a previous post, Conor wrote,

"Is such a "pure" and disincarnate encounter with the historically real person of Jesus really possible?"

Hmm, yes and no. Although I don't know what disincarnate means. Are you saying because we don't have a bodily Jesus here? I assume that's what you mean...

Okay I have been thinking about this a lot this week, but I'm just going to say a few simple things.

I think that God has always been interested in relationship with humanity. That's how it was in the beginning. I think even all the priests and sacrifices and temple were meant to facilitate relationship.

However, with time we always fall into a business type relationship with God that isn't right. And that's what happened with the Old Testament way of relating to God. It became a transaction that was hollow. People weren't interested in God, they were interested in getting their way.

So God put an end to all that with Jesus. When Jesus came he shut down all those things (which was the plan all along). The plan was for the Messiah to come to restore that relationship on a deeper level.

Okay, so how do we have that relationship with a Jesus that is not bodily with us?

Partly it's personal. In that sense I do believe we can have a pure relationship with Jesus. He is alive and his Spirit is present. He speaks truth directly to us and guides us. However, we also are fallible and finite and can confuse those words with our own biases and desires.

We also have that relationship through community and tradition. Jesus left his disciples to pass on this faith and teaching. We need community to discern what is truth. We need time, history, and stories to give our faith weight and meaning. However, if that community and tradition becomes a business transaction, we've fallen into that trap that Jesus came to get us out of.

So basically that's what I'm saying. I do think that we connect with God through ritual, teaching from others, community, service, prayer, Scripture, art, nature, work, rest, etc, etc. However, when we get stuck in the rut of, "Am I doing all the right things to get to heaven???" we miss the whole point. That is what I associate "religion" with. The goal should be relationship with God, rather than selfish pursuits. God made that simpler for us by becoming a human that we can relate to.

What do you think?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Caught Again...

I'm caught in another online phenomenon. Yes, Farmville is controlling my life! My brain is trying to think of creative ways I can design my farm by planting certain coloured crops in special formations. But first I have to raise money, and that'll take about a week for me to get enough cash to start playing around.

The odd thing is, I've only been playing it for a couple days, and today as I came out of the church I noticed the trees around it. I've seen them lots before, but I'd say this is the first time I opened my eyes to them. There's this set of trees that have bright red berries on them that I never noticed before. They look really neat. I'm glad some people from my church put in that effort.

Then I drove to someone's house and couldn't help noticing all the different plants and trees and how they were arranged. It's funny that a video game is teaching me to appreciate nature...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Attraction Update

If I ever get to meet Randene Neill, I'm sure I'd react the same way as Ginger.

Not sure who thought this was a good idea...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Losing Friends

On Facebook the number of friends I have fluctuates quite often, but it confuses me a little bit. I understand that some people are deleting me as friends so that makes my numbers go down. And of course I make new friends which makes my numbers go up.

But numbers go up and I haven't added any new friends!!! I'm not really sure what is happening there, but I think it's weird.

Some people I know regularly weed people off their facebook friends list. I don't. I have lots of people on my list that I never talk to and/or haven't even seen for years. But I like to keep them on my list so I can stalk them when I'm bored. It's fun looking through other people's photos. Just sayin'...

I don't mind if they go through my pictures. I'm don't put anything on my facebook page that I'm ashamed of. Sometimes I consider altering my page though, so it looks like I'm something I'm not. That way all the facebook stalkers can have something to tell their family and friends about. "Did you see what Dan's been up to??!? His status says he's single, but he's got pictures of himself with 13 kids!!!"

When I changed my birthday on facebook, that was a little taste of what goes on in my mind on a regular basis. If I'm walking down the street, I often think about doing something weird and random just so people can have a story to tell when they get home. "This guy walking down the street today for no reason ripped his shirt off and started air-punching!!! It was the greatest thing EVER!!!!!"

Yup, I definitely foresee some changes for my facebook page in the near future...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Clear the Table

The priests, the laws, the temple, the sacrifices were all necessary to connect us with God.
But their usefulness proved to be temporary.
So God swept them off the table and introduced us to Jesus.
We no longer need religion to connect us with God.
We deal with Jesus now.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Satellite Conference

Yesterday and Today I went to a conference called The Leadership Summit. It's put on by Willow Creek and has quite a stacked list of speakers. I quite enjoyed most of it and walked away with some good insights.

However, here are some of my nitpickings, haha....

1. The actual conference happens in Chicago. We got to watch it via Satellite at a large church in Langley. Yesterday there were a number of times when the audio did not sync with the video. That was very distracting. Especially when we're trying to sing along with their worship team and their mouths are not moving to the words.

2. It is really weird singing while being led on a big screen with no actual band before you. Our crowd has no real interaction with their crowd. We are being led in worship by no one actually present. It was almost robotic. Not sure how else to describe it. And at one point I realized everyone here is singing praises to a giant tv screen. We are all facing forward looking at people that cannot see us. No one is actually looking into our eyes. We are all drones facing forward. Another weird thing about it was the volume was quite low, so sometimes I couldn't even really hear the band except for the drums. That was really awkward whenever they sang a song not many people knew.

3. People would clap. Why? Why do people clap? I often clap because I want the speaker to know I agree with them or that they have done an excellent job. The speaker cannot hear us clapping, so why are people clapping at our satellite sites? I can kinda understand at the end of a speech, because you're emotionally enthused and want to express that. I get that. However, it baffled me when people would clap to introduce a speaker. Once again, who is hearing your clapping? Haha.

4. There's a time delay. Chicago is in a different time zone. Essentially we are not watching this live, we are watching a taped version of what happened earlier that day. There is a lot of hype for us seeing this the same day, but whatever. And when you think of the time delay you realize, this band leading me in worship isn't even playing instruments or singing right now. We are being led by a video.

5. K, this next one is a bit tricky. I understand this is a big conference and you want people who are qualified to teach about good leadership. So every Pastor that was a speaker or guest came from a fairly large church. In fact, most had the church attendance number beside their name. Why? This to me says, a Pastor of a church of 100 is not a successful leader. They don't have what it takes to speak to me about Leadership. That bothers me. Well, they say a successful church grows...umm, hmm. Man, there are some incredible Pastors that have small congregations and I really think they need to be honoured and put on the same level as the megachurch Pastors. That's all I'm saying.

Thanks for listening to my negativity. Now here some good stuff:

1. At first it sounded like they were going to say structure your churches after big business, but I quickly realized they were saying we need to be innovative like many companies are today. Many companies today are thriving on a flat, grass-roots model that is not hierarchical like things have been for the past while. They also talked a lot about flipping your perceptions, changing conversations, and simple solutions. That surprised me.

2. I needed to hear many of the things said. I was shaken and inspired. I have some fresh ideas for this next year of youth ministry. I learned some things about myself that I need to work on.

3. I forgot I would probably see people I knew at this thing. It was really neat seeing a lot of people I hadn't seen in a long time.

4. The food was excellent.

Will I go next year? Hmm, I didn't want to go this year, so I'll say probably not. But who knows...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I Don't Know What I'm Doing

I feel really clueless these days.

Well, that's not the proper adjective, because I do have lots of clues. I feel uncertain. I have a good foundation, and I have a lot going for me. But it's like, I don't know what to do.

Part of it is my tendency to run away. Although, I rarely do run away. Commitment is what makes me tick. My real problem is letting go.

So maybe I should run away? I don't know what I'm doing.

But even if I ran away, I wouldn't know what to do in that new place either, so what was the point of running away in the first place.

So let's just keep praying.

You know the Christmas song that goes, "Oh come let us adore him"? So the obvious meaning is "hey, let's go and worship Jesus" but sometimes when I sing it I think of as pleading to God or Mary and Joseph. So the secondary meaning is "please, let us in so we can praise Jesus!"

But this time I mean the first meaning,
"Oh Come, Let us Adore Him!"

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Post Ghost

"You might not believe in me, but I believe in you!"

Sunday, August 02, 2009