Why Things Are Bad And Not Good

Things are bad. Real bad. There’s people all around that don’t care about the law, or about good American things like apple pie and rifles. There’s people that wants to take away our God-given right to protect our families with as many weapons as we deem necessary. There’s people out there, and I don’t know if they’s serving the aliens or the liberals or what, but they’re from the government, and they’re evil. Things’ve gone so far downhill that even the government is evil.

You may say that’s pretty dismal. Well it is. Because it’s a dismal world, full of bad things aiming to corrupt the children of this land and take away their guns. But the bad that you can see right away’s only half the story. There’s more evil than you can imagine below the surface. It’s lurking, waiting to steal your soul. I want to tell you about a few of them.

Rock and Roll – I was a hippie once. I saw what went on at concerts. I was at Woodstock, I think. That’s why I’m bald and paranoid. Anyways, rock and roll has destroyed this nation. It causes abortion, collisions on the highway, murder, and suicide. Look at when Curt Cobane killed himself with a pipe-wrench. All around the world, thousands of teenagers with greasy hair and flannel shirts picked up pipe-wrenches and killed themselves. The morgues were overloaded with bodies. That’s how bad it got. What’s about about rock is the beat. The beat is bad. Any music that has a beat is bad, and causes cancer. It causes cancer and tooth decay. Why do these “modern” musicians need a beat? Did Batehoven need a beat? Shopan? Bramms? That’s right. Their music was completely beatless, and without a beat. There was no syncopation, ande did you notice how there were no riots, civil unrest, teenage pregnancy, or national debt back then? Now you know. Keep your kids away from rock music. They may kill themselves, or worse, become Democrats.

Alcohol – It’s confirmed. Every third person in America is an alcoholic. They drink alcohol and have huge gin bellies to prove it. Everywhere you go are bars, saloons and other dens of iniquity. In bars and saloons and dens of iniquity, they serve alcohol, one of the greatest evils the world has ever know. Let me explain why. When people drink a lot of alcohol they get drunk. Getting drunk is bad, because when you’re drunk you might listen to rock music. Or dress up like Kiss. And if you can get drunk from booze, booze itself is bad, much like airliners are bad because they can blow up buildings. I don’t care if Jesus turned water into “wine”. That wasn’t wine. I’m a closet anthrplogist, I know these things. It was just grape juice. I know, because the wine we use at my church for communion is grape juice too. It wasn’t for nothing that Elijah said, “There’s a devil in that bottle, Beaver!” or something like that.

Hollywood – For every movie that comes out and is watchable, twenty-three more come out that feature at least one of these things:

  • s-x,
  • rock and roll,
  • alcohol,
  • smoking,
  • not wearing seatbelts during chase scenes,
  • rock and roll,
  • people shaking “booty”,
  • rock and roll,
  • swearing,
  • or rock and roll.

Some films even contain all of those things at once. multiple time. Hollywood has a pro-gay, pro-gay, pro-gay agenda, and is also pro-smoking pot, pro-euthenasio, and pro-ferrets. Is there anything these people aren’t against? That’s why Hollywood is evil, because it’s pro-pro. Being pro-pro is almost as evil as being gay.

Gay “People” – Being gay is like getting a “go straight to hell, do not pass GO” card from the Community Chest. I don’t need to explain this, except to say that male birds don’t have marital relations with other male birds.

Swearing – I can’t even walk down the street without seeing some ghetto kid in his ghetto gear talking the ghetto talk, saying f-this and f-that. Someone needs to learn these kids some English. Who cares what’s “cool”? Cool never mattered when I was a kid, because no one swore or listened to rock music. Cool is all about swearing. We shouldn’t call that sort of talk English. We should call it Curselish, a clever name I came up with all by myself. Then they’d feel like the fools they look like, these kids that can’t talk proper. This much I know: you drop out of high school and walk around swearing, you’ll never get a proper job, because you got no English skills. That’s what the world’s about.

And there you go. If we could only get rid of those little things, the culture would be fine. There would be no crime, no drunkenness, no rough talk, no disobedient children, and no aligators, just like back in the 1950s, when everything was nearly perfect, even the Democrats and Canada.

Demystifying Ass

If you’re like me, some words are probably pretty intimidating, like the word “woman” or “giant rock monster”. But one word I’ve come to grips with is the word “ass”. I admit, it’s been a long road getting here, having been instilled from a young age with a fear of the word “ass”, but I have overcome. I have overcome without expensive group therapy bills, and without being arrested as a public nuisance.

The key to this victory is knowledge; a certain street smarts about what this intimidating word actually means. You need to know the enemy in order to conquer it. It’s not that hard: you sit on the enemy pretty much every day.

Please be aware that this post contains a frank discussion of some words that some people may find mildly offensive, so if you don’t feel particularly called to read this, don’t.

Once upon a time, an ass referred to:

  • A donkey.

One may find commonly cited examples in the Bible, such as the Ten Commandments, where the Lord instructed Israel not to “covet thy neighbor’s ass”, an instruction that may seem mildly comical today.

However, in modern times “ass” has come to refer to several different things, none of which are

  • A donkey.

In fact, most of the referents of the word “ass” have nothing to do with animals at all.

To be precise, the modern “ass” is a few things.

  • One’s derriere, or “butt”.
  • A complete fool.
  • The back end of an object.

The noun form of the word “ass” is used to describe a person’s rear end for whatever reason, and as an anatomical referant, doesn’t garner much criticism. However, the adjective form, especially when paired with other words, is considered by most to be derogatory and offensive.

Examples of the conjunctive use of ass are,

  • Dumbass
  • Smartass
  • Ass-clown
  • Ass-wipe
  • Ass last
  • Asshole

Most of these will provoke negative reactions unlesss used judiciously, or not at all.

Other, more random uses of the word “ass” occur in even more offensive situations, such as when a man might crudely suggest that he’s “hunting some ass” or going to “get some ass”, by which he means either hunting women or a sexual encounter. Each of these uses is considered extremely offensive by quite a few women.

Finally, “ass” is sometimes used in conjunction with other formerly crude words, such as the word “suck” or “sucks”, such as in the phrase

  • Sucks ass.

Such a usuage is meant to convey disappointment at an outcome of some event or action.

* * *

I hope you have found this demystifying of the word “ass” enlightening. I also hope that it will help you understand why people use it when they do. I also hope you get a pizza.

So, about that sponsored kid.

I have no fresh thoughts on worship today, and frankly, I doubt I ever will. I’m pre-occupied while reading a book called “The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith”, which has become, within the first few pages, a deconstructionist’s treatise on why he doesn’t believe the Bible is literally true, and why that doesn’t matter. Some things that the “new paradigm” Christianity is characterized by:

  • Woman’s ordination
  • Homosexual relationships and/or marriage and/or ordination
  • Religious nonexclusivism, i.e. the belief that there is more than one way to salvation
  • Non-literal interpretation of the scriptures

All of which are rank blasphemy, or at least grave errors. The book makes me want to cry, but also makes me want to burn things. Like, for instance, the book.

In other, more encouraging news, I’m sponsoring a child with Come Over and Help. I send some money, get a photo, get a letter, and get the warm fuzzies. Co-incidentally, the kid I’m sponsoring also gets the warm fuzzies, mostly because of clothing and heating and those sorts of things. Also, food. Something I take for granted, that Campbell’s soup just comes out of a can, goes into a plastic container, and finally rests somewhere in my nether regions.

Well, here’s something I wrote about semis last night on the Rumor Forum (ever notice how if you hit the letter beside “r” on the keyboard, it becomes the Tumor Forum?):

I always imagine that the fuel tanker beside me is driven by a stressed-out obsessive compulsive, and a bee suddenly hits his windshield, annoying him so much that he swerves into my lane, blowing my car into little bits. Then I imagine that he’s just one in a *covoy* of fuel trucks coming from the refinery, and his explosion causes a chain reaction that reaches all the way back to the refinery, then up the pipeline to Alaska, then from Alaska to the very depths of the earth, causing an overload in internal combustion that sets the earth’s tectonic plates to begin to shift. The plates shifting cause the earth’s orbit to start to wobble, and the earth falls into the sun, taking a few minor planets with it. Then the sun goes supernova, causing the entire galaxy to be engulfed in thermo-nuclear turmoil, eventually involving the entire universe.

But Captain Kirk finds a way to stop it, if Xena doesn’t first. So it’s all good.

I hope you all enjoyed that. After all, I enjoyed writing it.

Music 5. Remember, it’s down the highway, not across the street.

From the ever-loving Candace:

Who on earth says that the church has to be stylistically like the world? What will that accomplish?

I’ve delineated what it will accomplish. Besides, we already look and sound like the world in everyday life.

Why is it necessary that we simplify and simplify until people are so used to reading the Message that they can’t understand the King James? Isn’t that kind of dumbing down?

Well, no one speaks King James English anymore, and unless you’re advocating a sort of Roman Catholic “we must read Latin in church”, I’d suggest that’s not a particularly worthwhile stance to take.

First of all, no church is ever going to feel comfortable to a prostitute off the streets. If it does, there’s a significant problem.

It was an example apply it to something else if that makes you comfortable.

Think: today, no kid has an attention span over five minutes, and that’s fine with everyone. So we’ll have a five minute sermon….change up the liturgy whenever we feel like it, so it’s more interesting, let people walk out and get a coffee if they feel the need to…maybe include some drama…

That’s a cute generalization, but it’s not really relevant to our discussion. No one’s talking about having a five minute sermon, or coffee breaks, or drama: that’s an extremely Reformed steriotype that needs to be crushed. Sure, there’s some churches like that, but I’ve sampled a wide variety of churches, and they’re few and far between.

Here’s a question: would it be a good thing if we didn’t have a set psalter hymnal? If our music selection was pretty much open for change if a new song was found and admired by the pastor and/or music committee?

A hymnal should be born, I think, from practicality, and should be open to revision. And if a song comes along that the pastor and the elders like, then yes, it should be sung. Can you provide a good reason why it shouldn’t be that doesn’t sound like “Well then they could sing ‘Beer, beer, beer, beer,” for all we know!”

Dax and Kev…you’re from independent churches. But as a member of a federation, I think a good compromise would be to have a committee to look over our hymn selections every five or ten years with the purpose of perhaps including new songs.

Yes, we are. And I think your idea is a good one, just take out the “perhaps” add new songs; instead, give them a mandate to find and include new songs.

Also, just for the record, denominations are like a prickly pear. There, I said it. This comment was changed due to it’s over-the-top nature.

Music, part 4, and it don’t stop, y’all.

Kevin graced me with some more of his comments, much like frills grace a 18th century male blouse.

D: Do we want to reach out to out culture? Yes.

K: yes we want to reach out to culture. but our primary purpose is to glorify God, not to witness/evangelize. witnessing/evanelizing is a WAY of glorifying God, as is corporate worship. but we should never cramp our ability in glorifying God so that we are better able to witness. what i mean is, FIRST choose music that glorifies God, whether it be from the blue psalter or from some $5.99 worship CD. SECOND, think about how appealing it is to those singing (as Dax showed to be important in his response to my last post. and THEN think about how appealing it is to those we wish to witness to.

Yes, your sequence of events is very nice and good, but you’re reading your own subtext into what I said: I didn’t argue a sequence of events. I merely pointed out one (of many) considerations that have to be given to the topic of worship. But let me be more clear. A church service is not the place to evangelize to people, because a church service — unless you’re running a mission church — is for the edification of God’s people. However, people do come to these services, and one consideration we need to give as a corporate body is that they can at least understand what we’re doing in the context of modern culture. What I did not just say is that they need to be able to understand it intellectually: most nose-breathing people can figure out what our hymns mean. What I mean is that the form and the style be in the cultural language people speak today.

D: because I want church to be just as much a vibrant part of my life as anything else, not like stepping into some shift in time.

K: i don’t persay want to jump into the past every time i enter the church’s building, but i DO want church to be different. i don’t want it AS much a vibrant part AS anything else. i want it MORE SO. it should be different … i don’t want a band up front … i want something different from my daily life … i’m not trying to say that modern worship music is on the same level as our radio music, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have music that is in a completely different DIRECTION than what we’re used to.

Now you’re arguing personal preference. What you want is cool, let’s take that into consideration, but if I were the leader of a church, I would have to remind you that church is — among other things — not about your or my preference.

I mean, if we’re going to do worship right we might as well go to the source first, before any other considerations are given. Hints about worship are scarce in the Bible, but they are there. Not enough to build a ridiculous doctrine like the Regulative Principle of Worship (a horrible, pharisaical idea). But enough to give direction. For instance, Psalm 150. Look at all the instruments listed… that’s not just a band, it’s a freaking orchestra. And yet we balk at using more than an organ. How can that be justified?

Are you submitting to me that lyrical content and musical stylings are somehow related? Because you seem to be constantly confusing the two. Worship music is already going on another DIRECTION than your regular music, simply by virtue of the fact that it’s vertical and not horizontal music. The stylings change with time and culture.

D: You see this in young Sihk men not wearing turbans, young Muslim woman not wearing burqas, these sorts of things. We all gravitate toward the central melting pot (a good thing), or the culture we’re a part of will become more and more irrelevant and separate until it ceases to exist at all. This isn’t to say that elements of Reformed culture can’t stay: you see in a lot of naturalized third- or fourth-generation cultures a lot of attributes and traces of the original. Why haven’t our church’s stylings gone the same way?

K: because it’s the church! thank God we HAVEN’T gone the same way! i think that what you meant to say here and what i understand you to have said are two very different things. i hope so. b/c we definitely should not be joining in as the world conforms to the culture they are in. we are called to be different. there is a big difference between cultures and religions. i have nothing against cultures meshing. i do have a problem with the salt that is called to go out into the earth becoming a part of the mix. i do have a problem with the light that is called to go out into the darkness blending in so we get a sort of homogeneous dim light. candice said the (Reformed) church has its own culture. now i’m not huge on different denominations having their own “cultures” from eachother, but i AM big on the church as a whole having it’s own “culture” from the world. christians should never gravitate to a central melting pot. this is NOT a good thing.

Kevin, the Christian religion is above the culture that it’s in: Christianity is supposed to guide and inform the culture. But stylistically, it is also under the culture — note that the content of the religion does not change just because the form in which it’s presented is — in the sense that it sounds and looks different in different places.

How else do you explain so many different-looking churches in so many diverse times? The modern Reformed church vaguely resembles the past Reformed church, which vaguely resembles the Roman Catholic church, which very vaguely resembles the church of the apostles, which is based on Jewish synagogual worship. Not to mention churches in India which don’t resemble churches in South Africa at all, which don’t resemble churches in China at all, which don’t resemble churches in Brazil… I mean, face it, the church doesn’t have a uniform culture all over the world, and it though we differ from the world and always well, we still look like them.

Frankly, the church as its own culture has very much become irrelevant to modern society, mostly because they are trapped in a Christian Ghetto where they speak Christianese and have their own little bookstores with their own little music market, with their own little clothing manufacturers; this is not an effective way to fulfil the great commission, or to glorify God. We need to engage the culture, not run from it, and part of that is to worship in at least a slightly relevant way.

D:Our churches are in the world, as in on the planet, but not particularly in the world, as in functioning as a redemptive part of the culture. Frankly, you can’t change the culture into the image of Christ from a distance, much like you can’t conceive a child over email. We need — much like Christ — to become like what we want to save. Don’t think the culture’s got it right? Fine; use the culture as a base of operations and move out from there.

K: dax, you’re frightening me. i love how you always challenge me to think about the church looking outward more rather than so inward, but i think you go too far. “become like what we want to save”? honestly, dax. i don’t think that’s christian by any denomination’s standards. but as you pointed out, i do know you, so i guess you just didn’t do so hot with the phraseology there. how would i be able to help someone save themself from themself if i was trying to be like them? …and the next bit i take issue with as well… “use the culture as a base of operations and move out from there”? no. christians should use God, christianity, and a unified corporate faith body as a base of operations. your own “analogy” references an army-type “BASE of operations”; an army must have it’s base in it’s own body, not in the foreign land they’re invading among those they’re invading.

Come on, Kevin, you know me well enough that if what I was saying is somehow confusing, then you can probably figure out what’s going on. You do have to become what you want to save. But of course that doesn’t mean that if you want to minister to prostitutes you have to become a gigilo. That’s just stupid, and of course I didn’t mean that. But if you want to minster to prostitutes, then you have know what they’re up agaist, the life on the streets, gangs, whatever. It’s no use dropping a 19-year old rural white girl in the middle of that crowd; that’s called not using your brain, and though God can do things in spite of people not using their brains, you’re expected to use the noggin. I believe that also negates your base of operations analogy.

Besides, you can argue with me, but I submit that you shouldn’t argue with Paul and the Holy Spirit on tag-team. I Corintians 9 says this, For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. If Paul is a cultural and traditional chameleon that he may save as many as he can, what is the church to argue, or do differently?

Frankly, we’re not using the world “culture” in the same way. I think you’re using “culture” in the same sense as I would use the word “society”, whereas I’m using the word “culture” to mean the outward forms and stylisms of our society, not the moral beliefs of the people from that society, regardless of how their beliefs affect the culture.

D: there were a lot of crappy hymns written as well — we just don’t sing them anymore because the church as a whole eventually realized they were crappy. I give you for an example some of the stuff the Gaithers bring up every once in a while, stuff that sounds like a 1950s television commercial soundtrack. I have every confidence that the music of today will bear the same scrutiny and only the best will be brought into history with us.

K: it’s a really good reminder that we need not get hyped up over having some crappy songs now – you’re right… they probably will die out. but then again, why are they so popular now? USELESS songs that slap GOD in the face like “yeslordyeslordyesyeslordyeslordyeslordyesyeslordyeslordyeslordyesyeslord”. not to say that song has no place; but while it may be okay for a man and his guitar basically wordlessly praising his Lord in emotion, that is NOT a chorus to be sung in a youth group. but — as dax would say — i digress. …we must keep in mind, dax, that the shoddy songs of the hymnal (even by your own explanation here) were lousy musically. but what we take issue with is songs that slack off on the MEANING. but yah, moving on.

If by this paragraph you mean you’re frustrated with the fact that church isn’t perfect, I’m sure the church is pretty frustrated that you’re not perfect either.

D: Also, bear with the worship music. The renewed interest in writing worship songs is a baby phenomenon. We may have to wait twenty or thirty years until some of the worship leaders become truly mature enough to write great, not just good, material.

K: good point.

Thank you. I knew I had one.

D: What I mean by that is we’re all fine and dandy with singing out of the blue Psalter and sitting around pointing out how little clothes the emperor of modern worship is wearing, but which of us is doing something about it? Are any of us writing songs? Well, sure, some people are. Is there any way to get those songs out to the churches? Do we have a mechanism to spread good music? The answer to these questions is maybe, no, and no.

K: true, true. while i disagree with some (or much!) of your thoughts, you are always right when you remind us to stop bitching and start fixing.

Yeah, I’m sick of people sitting around and criticizing little things behind people’s backs, so I’ll talk about big things in public… I don’t much like it when people tell me to stop bitching and start fixing, because sometimes I need to be the skunk, and I can’t always be a part of fixing what’s backwards. On the other hand, this is something I can help with, and would if I could, which I don’t, because I can’t.

BC: The pictures.

I would like everyone to be aware that I’m composing this post while listening to Grandaddy‘s album, Sumday. Yes. I’m giving it yet another spin.

So the story goes much like this: my mother took me to British Columbia to visit my sister Kristin at her school, Trinity Western, where she’s studying music and apparenty not guys. Although I’ve heard that they’ve been studying her… but from afar. But enough of me writing. On to some pictures that you should enjoy, considering that I spent a good two hours of my life cropping and colour-adjusting. For the record, I wish I lived in a world where the colours were like these. But I’m going to post on why I think that supersaturated colours are pleasing in a more philosophical post some other time. Keep an eye out for that.


Here you see the view from my plane window whilst still on the tarmac. (Do they still call tarmac “tarmac” today? Oh well.) Note that this is very early in the morning. Like before sevem. Yeah, I know. Farmer time.


Apparently when boarding an airbus, it’s tradition to stare down photographers and then eat them if possible. However, I defend myself with ease. So I wasn’t eaten.


Looking down on Mississauga is an exciting thing until you realize that you can’t see a park anywhere. Then you feel dumb when someone points out a park in one of the pictures.


I’d often seen clouds from below, an experience that I have grown casually used to, but it’s quite another thing to see them from above. I felt like the polarity of gravity had been reversed, making flying upside down quite normal. Also, I was reading Calvin and Hobbes. Although I really wasn’t, but I had to segway C&H in there somewhere.


We didn’t run out of clouds for a very long time.


My mom will hate me for this picture. However, I choose journalistic integrity over the curses of my family members.


Car rental companies are officially certified pickpockets, along with just about anything associated with car companies. Fie upon the person who invented the wheel after eating a doughnut. What were you thinking, man?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Somewhere in British Columbia, there is a bridge. This is that bridge.


When in BC, watch out for chicken trucks full of deadly chickens whose lives are lived just to kill innocent fellow drivers as part of their ongoing terrorist jihad.


The chicken picture was your brain. This picture is your brain on drugs. Don’t take drugs.


I happen to like this shot because it was beautifully composed by Yours Truly. I watched while he did it, until he kicked me for asking why his parents named him that.


We went to the Vancouver Art Gallery, where ironically enough the building became a work of art, as did this poor photographer’s derriere.


Outside the Art Gallery, there’s a pine tree that reaches straight up and seems to touch the sky. There is also this tree, which reaches straight up, but doesn’t really come anywhere close to touching the sky.


This is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, one of which is a photograph of a room coated in photographs, [snip]


This is a map of all the largest nodes of the internet in the Urbanization display at the Gallery. I wasn’t supposed to take picture of anything, but I avoided security cameras, Gallery personell, angry mobs, and a bunny to take these picture.


There were peepholes in this one wall of the Gallery, allowing the viewer to view the room with pictures in it. I think it was a physical commentary on our surveilance society, or a physical commentary on the fact that the exhibit builder owned a very large drill bit.


This very interesting text covered a wall of the gallery. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be there, or if some malicious technocrat graffiti artist had recently visited the spot.


Someone from the future cut off a robot’s hand and placed in this null-entropy container to warn us of the evils of the coming robotic age. And I am the only one who understands.


Well, this family meets a sombre fate at the hands of superglue: to be forever in suspended animation whilst headbobbing to Nirvana. (That one’s for Kevin…)


Cure cancer?


There was a very large red room in the Gallery with these large shiny balls hanging inside. I’m not sure what that represents, but I sure felt like a scalpel in there.


This is an image of a painting of a statistic that was incorrect by the time the paint had dried. Nice try, guys.


This is my sister from the back. Note her back.


For the record, I would like to live in this building. I would also like to have built this building. I would also like a pizza.


I took a picture of a large glassy steel sort of thingy.


Behold, my sister from the front. Note my sweater that she’s wearing. This is what women do, folks. They steal clothing because they’re “cold”.


This door caught my attention as I was walking through it, because I can walk through solids, because I’m one of the X-Men. We also ate here.


Again, my sister. But that’s not my shirt, because that would be, like, gay.


I have never drunk so much coffee in one half week in my entire life. I personally bankrolled several Columbian coffee lords and a highly-paid Starbucks executive.


This charming fire hydrant is used to put out fires in the charming town of White Rock.


These charming stairs are used to walk over a charming stone wall in the charming town of White Rock.


After being run over by the train, our hero awakes to find the town deserted, the gold gone. Not to mention that he’s still tied to the tracks. And wearing spandex. Insult. Injury. The evil doctor will pay! Suddenly, the tracks again begin to rumble ominously…


Should you feel like walking a few thousand feet out into the middle of the water to find out that yes, indeed, water still looks the same out there, I humbly submit the boardwalk at the charming town of White Rock.


Seriously, it goes on forever.


This is the seedy side of the charming town of White Rock, where they build condos specifically to block the neighbor’s view of the water. Which, co-incidentally, still looks like water from a condo, much like it did from the boardwalk, train tracks, marina, and the darned plane.


I’m not sure if this sorry specimen is a seagull or some sort of feathered alien, but he looks sad and malaevolent all at the same time, as if he were planning to take over the world, but that plan was weighing on his conscience.


You will see several garbage cans in Vancouver, all of which will be empty, unless a homeless person is using it. Excuse me, a bum is using it. A hobo. A tramp. A worthless ne’er-do-well with a paper bag and bottle of cheap wine. Also, there’s garbage everywhere because no one wants to throw junk on the homeless hobo bum guy. That’s why I love Vancouverites. They’re compassionate people, unless you’re stealing their licence plates for a souveneir. Odd.


My sister appears in mirrors at odd times, such as entering an underground parking lot.


Kristin looks happy because she’s holding shoes. She wouldn’t look happy if she were holding, for instance, a tarantula.


Posing thematically is part of Kristin’s life, as is stealing my sweater. :bitter:


They have trees in Vancouver, but all the trees are funny colours.


This is my mom. She is a beautiful lady, proof that you can bear 11 or so children and still look like a supermodel. By the way, mom, I need money.


I will introduce the Vancouver Library with this shot of Bailey’s. And also this photo of books.


They have many blue books in the Vancouver Library system, and a large collection of blue books at the Central Branch.


Also, green books, and sometimes red.


Did I mention that there are seven stories of this building? And that all these stories hold books? And that some of those books hold stories? I am so totally mixed up here.


Most of the residents can’t read this non-multilingual sign.


You can also take a book to a table and read it, or if you’re a bum, you can tear out the pages and lick off the ink. The other joke that you’re thinking about right now is, yes, a clever play on words. But this is a PG blog where we don’t talk about those things, okay?


In front of the Vancouver Library Central Branch Thing I’m Just Calling It That Because I Don’t Know Better is an entire enclosed street. Complete with about twenty coffee shops.


As I was saying, it goes up a fair bit, and then ends in another impressive show of glass and metal.

And that’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed those pictures. And as an added bonus for all that clicking and groaning I’m pretty sure that you did, here’s some picture that will mortally embarrass my teenaged sisters Elyssa and Rebekah. The music has changed, as well. I am now listening to Deepspace5‘s first album.


This picture is a showcase of how my sisters can be normal, something that happens once every sixty-seven years. Treasure this picture, peeps.


It doesn’t last long.


I have no words for this except, “I have no words for this.”


And Elyssa shoots herself. With a camera.

Okay, I’m done here. Have a great night, and don’t forget to bicker over something useless tonight.

Music. Part Three. You heard me.

And everyone’s thinking this will just never stop. Candice wrote what’s in blockquotes.

Dax, I see your point, but I agree with Kevin. You’re right, worship is a reflection of culture. But you have to recognize that as a Reformed churches, we have a culture as well. I find that I don’t appreciate it until I leave. But I’ve been in several different churches in the last few weeks, and it’s made me appreciate the home that I personally have with my church.

You’re quite right: we do have our own Reformed culture. Maybe to you that’s a good thing, but in my mind, that’s a condemnation of us, not an affirmation.

I say this for pragmatic reasons, but also for scriptural ones; first off, the example of other cultures that have done the same thing. Canada is supposedly a mulitcultural society. Frankly, it isn’t. There is a Canadian culture that all other subcultures are a part of, whether they like it or not, and adapt into, whether they like it or not. You see this in young Sihk men not wearing turbans, young Muslim woman not wearing burqas, these sorts of things. We all gravitate toward the central melting pot (a good thing), or the culture we’re a part of will become more and more irrelevant and separate until it ceases to exist at all.

This isn’t to say that elements of Reformed culture can’t stay: you see in a lot of naturalized third- or fourth-generation cultures a lot of attributes and traces of the original. I know Greeks who maintain many things from their parents and grandparents, but don’t speak of a word of Greek, or even care much about Greece. There’s no reason we can’t be like that either. In fact, we already are. Our Dutchness is very much Canadianized (I’m a third generation myself), and we don’t really understand what it’s like to be Dutch, to think and breathe Dutch culture. Why haven’t our church’s stylings gone the same way? I’m saying, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, but the bathwater’s starting to get a little lukewarm.

I have to laugh whenever I hear people complainging about the 1952 Psalter Hymnal. I grew up with much, much worse than that. The songs I sang where literally 17th century Genevan songs, meant to be sung accapella, etc. No one who hadn’t grown up in the church could sing them. A lot of my family still belongs to those churches, and now whenever I visit them I have Peter with me, and he just can’t sing along. note that he grew up in a Reformed church.

So when we joined Zion URC I was AMAZED at the beautiful music. Those hymns are POETRY…and 90% of the tunes are beautiful. The sudden ability to harmonize in church! To be convicted as well as ministered to by the words of the hymns almost as much – and sometimes more – than the sermon! That is a true blessing a lot of more “hip to the culture” churches don’t have.

That’s a mischaracterization of my views, and also of modern churches. While some care more for style over substance, there’s quite a few that are still centred on the scriptures and sing songs that revolve around that credo. I’ve found this out because I’ve gone to a lot of different churches. They’re not perfect, of course, but we’re not perfect, either.

Besides, coming from the Genevan Psalter to the Psalter Hymnal is a lot like going from the third degree of hell to Africa. At least Africa has a lot of water. It has a huge desert in it, but there’s water. When I went to your CanRC back in the day, wow, that was a culture shock. I humbly submit that you think of this in reverse: imagine someone coming in, never having heard the Psalter Hymnal, never having been subjected to anything but modern music, and imagine how foreign an experience that might be.

Second, because we’re commanded to be in the world. Not of the world, but in the world. Elsewhere, we’re given a cultural mandate to be light and salt. We’re doing neither. Our churches are in the world, as in on the planet, but not particularly in the world, as in functioning as a redemptive part of the culture. Frankly, you can’t change the culture into the image of Christ from a distance, much like you can’t conceive a child over email. We need — much like Christ — to become like what we want to save. Don’t think the culture’s got it right? Fine; use the culture as a base of operations and move out from there.

I want to make two points here: one, that appreciation for the hymns is a lot easier to attain in a building with decent acoustics and a well-tuned and -played piano or organ. (and the occasional trumpet, violin, or flute, which our church includes frequently)

Two, that there are two extremes and I sincerely believe are both wrong. There are people who want NO change in our music selections. Which I don’t believe is good, because it’s not like music is a closed canon. Good music is still being composed, somewhere. But the other extreme seems to think that good music is still being composed EVERYWHERE…which is simply not true. I love newer worship music, I own several WOW CDs and I listen to them all the time. But you have to admit that there is not a heck of a lot of meaning in most of those songs. Maybe it’s just because of my upbringing, but the songs that bring out the emotion in me are songs like In Christ Alone, or How Deep the Father’s Love for Us…both songs which simply lay out the gospel message, with little or no emphasis on how “I” feel. Incidentally, they are also written by the same guy, so I plan to keep an eye out for other stuff by him.

Agreed, with reservations. There’s a lot of crappy worship music being made. But to paraphrase D.A. Carson, there were a lot of crappy hymns written as well — we just don’t sing them anymore because the church as a whole eventually realized they were crappy. I give you for an example some of the stuff the Gaithers bring up every once in a while, stuff that sounds like a 1950s television commercial soundtrack. I have every confidence that the music of today will bear the same scrutiny and only the best will be brought into history with us.

Also, bear with the worship music. The renewed interest in writing worship songs is a baby phenomenon. We may have to wait twenty or thirty years until some of the worship leaders become truly mature enough to write great, not just good, material.

Incidentally (I like that word), a lot of the Psalms written by David are very much about how he felt. They always eventually focus on God, but not to the exclusion of his humanity. I wonder if we in Reformed circles actually have a good reason for “not singing about me”, other than the fact that open expressions of my love, or my desire to serve, or how God affects me make us nervous.

It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I am completely in love with the sincere, heartfelt, and yet somewhat dignified music of the Reformed churches. It would break my heart to see us go to a powerpoint screen with the latest music up on it. (Not that there’s such a problem with powerpoint…I just like to hold a hymnal and see the music in front of me, instead of just words.)

I am in full agreement with you here. I’m not advocating a revolution. All I think should happen is that Reformed churches should just start moving. I mean, we’re too stationary and inwardly focused as it is. It’s not healthy, and as far as I can tell, not honouring to God, either.

And quite co-incidentally, I like the tactile feel of holding a hymnal too. It aids in singing, and skill in singing brings glory to God (as can be developed from scripture). I would like actual music for all the songs we sing, so that at least we don’t lose that ability to sing in four-part harmony…

This is a bit of a later edition, and not really connected to what’s above in any tangible way. But I have two more issues.

Firstly, we in Reformed Circles aren’t becoming the change we want to see. What I mean by that is we’re all fine and dandy with singing out of the blue Psalter and sitting around pointing out how little clothes the emperor of modern worship is wearing, but which of us is doing something about it? Are any of us writing songs? Well, sure, some people are. Is there any way to get those songs out to the churches? Do we have a mechanism to spread good music? The answer to these questions is maybe, no, and no.

Secondly, slippery slope logic is invalid logic. It’s just plain bad, and anyone who uses it should be slapped with a trout. A lot of people like to say, “Well if we start to sing songs that aren’t in the blue Psalter, who knows what might happen next!” I think that logic is evidence of a lack of faith in God, and a lack of trust in elders of our local churches. After all, God’s given men in the past a great deal of wisdom when dealing with issues such as this; why would he not do the same today? Whis is why God’s given you good minds and the ability to use them. So you can make decisions, move forward, and make progress without abandoning the base of operations. So you can change a little, stylistically, and not become an apostate church.

The day of all things new.

I’ve begun a study of Romans with a select individual, and the first chapter is done. For some reason, I love the book of Romans. It’s not something I can nail a reason down on, but there you have it.

Snow is on its way. That’s right, the dreaded Canadian winter and its attendant nightmares will soon arrive, not to mention the hundred thousand Indians that live in Mississauga and drive like they haven’t ever seen the white stuff before. I bear them no ill will, of course, but c’mon people, get a grip. That was a pun.

Today is flying by rather quickly, probably because I got upwards of eight hours of sleep last night. I advise this for people that have what I have — a sinus cold and a beautiful cough — drink lots of water, coffee, and soup; take your vitamines and suppliments such as echenacia (don’t quote that spelling); and get lots and lots of rest. You’ll be better before you know it! Like, three months!