Crying wolf?

The question that burns in my mind (at the moment, and it has nothing to do with the pills) is this: what do we really want?

I hear a lot of talk about how the culture is going down the drain. And rightly so. The culture is going down the drain. Some good, of course, has come from it, but the modern moral consciousness is shot. This is something I think we can all agree on.

But what are we doing about it? Answer the question personally. What are you doing about it? Derek Webb has a great line from his song “T-Shirts”. It goes They’ll know us by our picket lines and signs. They’ll know us by the pride we hide behind. Which is actually two lines. But there’s a point there that needs to be made. Are the things we know a source of pride? Or are we just apathetic? Or are we afraid?

Try, in Ontario, in conservative Reformed circles, to get out there. In your personal life, that’s easy enough. But the church as a whole? Not! If you want to be involved in the culture as a whole, you have to move outside our circles to do it.

I went to Baptist church in Mississauga for a while. They were active in the community, doing things that brought them out of their comfort zones. There was no culture shock, walking in the building on Sunday. It was something of an eye-opener for me, even though I didn’t grow up in Reformed circles (which in a way, I think, was good thing for me). That’s the kind of church I want to see, and the kind of church I want to be, considering there’s no sense in just talking about things.

Let me ask you — what sort of outreach programs does your church have? Yes, personal evangelism is a primary way of change. But the church’s individual members are also part of a whole, remember, and if the whole is involved, that brings across the ethic of evangelism that we need. It also gives us a chance to flex our communal muscle, for people to see how we work together and how we love eachother. How we’re not just another social club that happens to sing hymns.

Now, you may be thinking “We’re in the middle of the country. How do we do stuff out here?” And yeah, that’s a problem. We’re a lot of rural churches. But then again, how many of our churches are close to a major urban centre? I can tick ten churches off the top of my head, from URC, OCRC, ICRC, whatever. If you’re not actually in the city, what’s stopping you from being there? Or being close to there? Start up an outreach service, by all means. Rent a gym on Saturdays or Sundays. Serve a free meal to people — no strings attached — in between services. Do it on the sidewalk. Talk to passersby. Involve yourselves in street ministies. Soup kitchens. Homeless shelters. Drive cancer patients to their therapies. Whatever it takes.

Derek Webb also has a line in one of his songs, If you love Me, you will love My church. And if (like Sarah says) love is also pointing out flaws, let these paragraphs be my little bit of old fashioned lovin’.

But that brings me back to my original question: what do we want? To be God’s arms and feet in the culture? Or to sit back in our pleasant suburban homes and hope no one bothers us? In that case, how are we any different from the culture surrounding us? That mostly what they want, too.

At the end of quests.

When Frodo was done with his quest to save Middle Earth, when he had gone back to his Hobbit hole, written the book, and thrown the party: what then? Did he kick up his feet with the Elves and toss back a few cold ones and watch Friends reruns? I mean, nothing in his life would ever top saving the entire world from the forces of evil and coming back to tell of it. There would never be another adventure like that one for him. Wouldn’t his life seem boring after that?

The same goes for us. After the work is done, after the mountains have been climbed, after we’ve set and met our personal goals, what’s left? You can’t do it forever. It’ll wear you out. Is it right, then, to sit on ones laurels and relax?

Imagine you became a lawyer. You went to school for seven years. You came out top of your class. You got a job that was just class. You won a few big cases. Then what?

I don’t think people were made to be thrill-seekers like that. But after the personal highs, the lows seem so much lower, wouldn’t you think?

Wierdness.

Some of the IM convos I have are so very strange. Also, some of the message boards I frequent inevitably become wierd. I give you this for an example:

JDR: I hate this place and it smells like 4 day old Fried Chicken that’s been sitting in the sun, and grape kool-aid.

Who knows I might even talk about that on my blog, http://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr – tonight.

DJX: I didn’t know you had a blog.

JDR: Yea, I do have a blog, http://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr – but I don’t like to talk about it much.

DJX: Will reading your blog make me more popular and succesful with women?

JDR: I don’t know if it will or not, the only way to find out is to go to that place, http://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr – in case you forgot (hey we all forget the little unimportant things) and let me know.

And steve, Quit winking at me. What do you think this is, Vermont? Remember our agreement. You’re to stay no closer than 6 feet from me.

DJX: Darnit, I lost the link to Your Blog ™. Can you post it again for me?

ps: can I be your publicist?

JDR: Why sure, DJX… hey that’s alot like my name… JDR…. wow.

it is… oh let me check… it’s been so long since I’ve talked about it….

http://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr

That’s it… It’s a swell place.

DJX: Wow, I feel an instant kinship that almost, but not quite, makes me want to read Your Blog.

JDR: Darnit… I forgot my blog address, do you have it DJX?

DJX: Yes, I think your blog is at http://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr, isn’t it?

*is co-pimp.

JDR: That’s right! It is! htttp://rmfo-blogs.com/jdr is my blog! Wow, you’re so awesome DJX!

*JDR and DJX – Pimpin’ Blogs Since 1918*

And that, my friends, is merely a less-than-strange interlude. Oh yes, it goes waaaay deeper than that.

The obligatory weekend post.

This Friday I did all of nothing special. Though I’ve been thinking of ways to get out there, to be some sort of witness in the crowds of people. I would someday like to start a church plant somewhere. Of course, my reasons for that are a tiny bit selfish as well, considering that it’s likely my church plant would be more youth-oriented and less hey-let’s-have-an-organ!ish. I mean, organs are good and everything for what they’re good at — but I submit to you that they are not good for singing in church with. At least not in our modern climes where no one is used to listening to anything with an organ in it, unless you like goth music or Sig Ros. (By the by, it would be interesting if we had a goth outreach thing, and they wanted to sing with an organ. I can see that happening. In some alternate reality, perhaps.)

Most of these thoughts are provoked by todays churches and their outreach methods. I’d hate to be a armchair coach, considering that I’m involved in all of no outreach programs and ministries and yadda yadda, but what’s up with the marketing, people? I mean, it’s fine to get the word out there, but a church service is about one thing, primarily: worshiping God. Not evangelizing, not being user-friendly, not being flashy and modern and evangelical. This is why I tend to like simplicity above all in church services. It’s fine to have all kinds of instruments (after all, Israel did it), and it’s fine to have a good uplifting message, it’s great to sing a mix of old and modern music; but at the end of the day, I would rather the church be a refuge in the midst of a culture of spin, marketing, and non-stop rushing. Not an extension of it. One of the great things about church is that it’s a time to get away from all the glitter and clatter of modern life, a place not to be assaulted by advertising, a time not to have to be wowed by anything but God.

At the end of the day, that’s what I’d like to start: an enclave of peace in the middle of a nonstop culture. I dunno what we’d call it. But it would be a place to come and get excited about God, not man, music, and multimedia.

Some things about Christian liberty.

In this thread (check it out) at The CMCentral.com Forum, we had a discussion of Christian liberty and what it means in a practical situation involving a guy, a glass of beer, and Romans 14. I had this to say:

This is a pertinent question; let’s not get all caught up in whether or not it’s okay to drink. Just assume for a second that it is fine and dandy, but your church has a problem with it, if you’re in a leadership position. To you, your freedom leads you to occasionally drink, to them, their doctrine leads them not to., ever.

Now, you may give up drinking to placate them, but the question still remains — are they limiting freedom because of conscience, or because of legalism? The problem with making hard and fast rules like this is that it does turn into legalism, especially when scripture actually extols wine as something that makes the heart glad (cf the Psalms, in context of alcohol as a gift of God). It’s one thing for you not to drink in front of a former alcoholic, or someone whos family has been wrecked by alcohol, but it’s another thing entirely to be asked to give it up altogether as a matter of rule.

I had the same thing with tattooing. I would dearly love to get a tat, but most of my community thinks that tattoing, body piercing, and dressing like anything but a businessman or a prep is wrong wrong wrong. No one’s made a rule of it, except in their personal lives, but I’ve chosen to limit my freedom because of other people. I don’t think they’re right; in fact, I think they’re dead wrong. But it’s not important enough to me.

It still bothers me that I have to bend myself to this groupthink. But I consider myself as showing love to them. If your community is that important to you, then by all means give up alcohol. They don’t have to be right, after all, for you to show love to them.

How’s this for a song?

Dido’s album “Life for Rent” is pretty cool. I like it. A lot, actually. But there’s a song on there. Check it:

“Mary’s in India”

Danny is lonely ’cause Mary’s in India now.
She said she’d call, but that was three weeks ago.

She left all her things, well, her books and her letters from him,
but as the sun rises on Mary, it sets on him.

And just dance, and just drink, and just see the things
I probably never get the chance to see.

Danny’s not eating. He’s drinking and sleeping in.
I saw him last night at the party. He’s definitely thin.

He says he’s happy, he looked pretty good, but I think
that as the sun rises on Mary, it sets on him,

And just dance, and just drink, and just see the things
I’ll probably never get the chance to see.

Danny came over last night and I cooked for him.
He talked about you Mary, and how much we loved you still.

He told me he’s packed up your books and your letters and things,
but as the sun sets on Mary, it’s rising on him.

And we danced, and we drank, and I’ve seen something you probably
never got the chance to see.

Don’t worry, Mary, ’cause I’m taking care of Danny,
and he’s taking care of me.

Updated, like poems and such.

If you check the DaxBlogPoetics link, you’ll notice something of a massive update. Fun for the whole family. Really.

Okay, so who likes coffee? That’s right: me. And we’ve just set up the coffeemaker at the shop again, and I can feel the ulcer growing in my stomach as we speak. But I’m too juiced to care!!! Isn’t that just so Dilbert.

Also, there are flies in here. I don’t know where they’re coming from, but it bothers me. And makes me spray them with insect killer.

Tonight: Romans 14.

The media are biased. But you knew that.

There’s a few problems with talking about the media as if they were a collective in a sort of machine sense. First off, they’re a collective of humans, and we all know how much societies screw up. Second, they’re a collective of biased humans, because humans cannot escape bias. Third, talking about them as a collective leads to immediate conspiritorial overtones; you say the media is biased, but you insinuate that they’re thinking with a groupmind, doing this on purpose.

Maybe sometimes they are. But really, people, if you think the media are so biased, don’t read them or listen to them. It’s not so hard. But then where do you get your fact from? You certainly can’t travel to Haiti and see it first hand. Maybe a better way to do it is to get to know the biases of the newspeople that you listen to and filter out the truth from what they say. You may never get the whole truth, but then again, you’ll never know you don’t have it.

Sort of a photolog of me.

I’ve looked quite different over the years. Really. So here’s some photos that span something like six years just to convince you that this is indeed true.

I don’t really know what to say. The mohawk was a cool 1-day thing. It freaked a lot of people out for some reason. It was at that point that I realized how much I liked freaking people out. But I’m over that, really.

*quasi-evil grin*

So yeah, me and Nick went to Toronto.

And in Toronto, we took some pictures. Not to mention that I bought a bike chain bracelet, a silver chain to hang my ankh on, a copper ring, a steak dinner, a few coffees, and some cigars. Nick, on the other hand, bought a chain and a ring.

We arrived at the parking lot in my Focus, and left armed only with a backpack, some money, and two cameras.

From there we headed out to the St Lawrence Market (is that the one), where I bought the bracelet. Also looked at a chain with a copper cross pendant on it. Cost +$50. I didn’t get it. I don’t pay that much for stuff that hangs on my body. Thank you.

From there we went to St James Cathedral and took some pictures inside, one of which worked out. Without a flash or low-light options on the cameras, everything comes out blurry or funky looking. Not our fault, really. But the building is immense, ornate, and utterly flabergasting. They don’t build ’em like that anymore, that’s for sure. Nowadays we get bastardizations of architecture such as The Crystal Cathedral. The Crystal Horrific Pile of Crap. But I digress.

From there we hit up the second Starbucks of the day (and passed where we would later eat dinner), grabbed a Jones and a Latte, and talked to this dude about how we were taking pictures of the city.

Other highlights included the Mexican festival at Nathan Phillips, visiting a largely empty City Hall, trying to find the PATH underground thingy, and finding out that Indigo had removed our table of checkers. The morons.

So, here are the pictures.













And that, my friends, is it. Oh, and we saw lots of people who were dressed a little differently than us. But we didn’t mind, now did we.