Colours.

I’m accustomed to colours. Walking downtown – colours. It’s not so much the cool techno repetition of buildings, or the classical white clouds overhead. It’s the faces. When I leave Mississauga, I miss those colours, miss swimming in them. Everywhere else it seems a drabness – a single note. Colour is melody, is harmony, is discord, is signal to snow, is feedback, is rhythm: colour is the music of beauty.

The entire world is beautiful. Scenes are flickering through my head like old films. Sepia. A grate, in contrasts. Tall buildings, all blue glass. Moss on the trunks of hundred year old trees, like a green sea working against gravity. The small of your back. This is the question for you then. Think of something that your soul revolves around.

Tell me about it.

Radically.

In a window somewhere, a girl’s watching traffic slowly disappear from the streets below. She pours herself a glass of scotch. The glass frosts. Then it clears. A bit of alcohol creeps up the side.

Across town, two lovers are having cheap chinese food. Neither of them notice the food, much. He’s teaching her to use chopsticks.

A husband is lighting a candle. Coltrane’s playing the background. Somewhere, his wife is parking the car, just getting home from work.

There’s a girl in Starbucks, dreaming about leaving – going to England. She’s drinking tea, trying different flavours. Her sketch book is almost full.

Above, overhead, the sky’s blushing around the corners, clouds flecked in a brilliant death march. Someone’s taking pictures.

None of these are missionaries, but they share God with eachother. One’s a Pentacostal. The husband and wife attend a traditional gathering. They sing hymns. Another’s a baptist. Yet another goes to a megachurch nearby.

There are questions in these scenes, of course. But there are answers, as well. They are radicals, these men and woman. Not missionaries. Not evangelists. Also, not wasting a moment. They write, they enjoy, they love, they live. There isn’t a question about that in a mind of anyone who knows them.

There’s a simple faith in that, a viral faith, spreading in their footsteps. They are happy – in that, not at all normal. They are vanguard teenagers, brilliant musicians, wild lovers, avid travellers.

They are a sweet smell, aren’t they?

Hectic.

Today has been a little crazy. And yesterday – yesterday was more than a little crazy. So, in the vein of office workers everywhere, I’m taking some time to reflect on my day. Perhaps you could say, to rest on my laurels. Sit back and watch it all work together.

On the way to work today, everything was grey. Everything. It was like someone desaturated the world and left it that way. Noon rolled around, and maybe the sky injected a vein of blue somewhere, but I didn’t see it.

Someone’s chasing a dollar sign again, here. Next to me, they’re talking targets and totals. I’m not so concerned about those things; I figure if everyone looks at the big picture, somewhere along the way we lose the details that make things pleasant.

It’s that way with life, most days. The view from the top is almost always bleak. Bottoms up, though (have some ale, won’t you?), and things are a bit better.

Here I have bottled water, blue. A bright green marker. Carboard, light brown. Cream-coloured walls. A red stapler. Blue and grey cables snaking around my feet. There’s a garishly coloured rug under my feet that I long ago stopped noticing for the colour. A drop ceiling, too, flecked with some designer’s carefully-laid-out pattern.

Things may be a bit hectic, but wouldn’t you agree there’s a genius in the details? In the colours, even?

Bits of news.

First things first. You know that job that Mary was interviewed for twice in the last couple weeks? Well she took it. From an email, “Just to say, I presently employed by Ferro & Company – to start on May 9th. Whoot whoot.” Now, that may not sound excited to you, but trust me, she is. And so am I! When she described it to me the night before, it sounded like a great place.

Some jokes are meant not to be said from the pulpit. Let’s leave it at that.

Ravi Zacharias is coming to a pulpit near me sometime in the beginning of June. I really, really, really want to see this – does anyone want to get a posse together for a great day of apologetics?

It’s the viral religion.

A thought crossed me today, after I re-read my post about love. Maybe it’s better as a question: Why is Christianity defined by an attribute, not a symbol or a style?

I think the answer is that God planned it that way. To be a viral religion, one that changes its face everywhere it goes, but keeps the innards intact. In fact, the burqa, the turban, all these outward manifestations of religion – they require a certain culture to exist. Or a certain sub-culture. You’ll notice fewer and fewer Muslims and Sihks doing these things as time goes by, simple because they want to fit in. But Christianity already has the market cornered on fitting in.

Look at us. We wear jeans, suits, tank tops. We listen to rock, pop, hip-hop, opera, whatever. We drive Fords, Lexi, Volkswagens. And our choices aren’t coherent in a symbolic sense. They’re coherent – or, rather, they should be – because they’re bound together by principle.

In India, they worship like Indians. In China, like Chinese. In America, like Americans. All that worship with a common thread of course. It’s to our God, not any other; it’s worship of a holy God; it’s worship of a God who died and rose again; it’s worship in both extravegant joy and deep fear. Sometimes a djembe. Sometimes a harp. Sometimes a guitar. Sometimes and organ.

That seems foreign sometimes. My ears are conditioned to the notes of my Hymnal, and the praise and worship of more modern times. But my ears aren’t the only thing at work here – I am joined to those Indians, Chinese, and Americans at the hip. Or, more to the point, at the heart. We share the same election, the same virus. We are products of the fall, of course, and we sing in different languages. None of us are perfect in our worship, and our choices, and our lifestyles. Some do it better than others.

But that’s hardly the point – the point is we all raise our hands to bring glory to the same Creator, whether in British Columbia or Prince Edward’s Island. That, I think, is the most important thing. We have the same hallelujah coursing through our veins, us Christians, whether we realize it or not.

Somehow, I imagine God judging the timbre and cadence of our worship like an aroma. Fanciful, I know – but I see him sitting there, smelling a little curry, a little garlic, a little pepper. Watching his holy virus slowly recreating the world.

Sermon notes.

Today, Pastor Vogel had a sermon about Jesus driving out the moneychangers and animal sellers from the Temple. I had a few interesting thoughts marked *BLOG THIS* in parentheses and little star thingies. So here they are.

  1. The Temple was a physical symbol of something better, something that was to come later. This got me thinking – if all the death associated with the Temple was pointing to the something better of the Messiah, and the Jews lost sight of that, what does that say about Christians today? Perhaps the in all the hullabaloo about Jesus rising from dead and the church being formed, we’ve done exactly the same thing. That is to say, it doesn’t end here. Our theology, our history, our church: all these things point to a future that doesn’t really involve theology, history, or this church we see here. It’s more the glorious now that will be, where the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism break down into a desire to just worship God, where the apex of history is Jesus, and where the church lives to party. Pretty cool place.
  2. The Israelites went through the motions of worship, but it was vain, petty worship. It reminded me of the verse about clouds without rain. It looks good, but it’s the ultimate strawmen. And the thing is, they may have done it all with great motives, stealing worship from God. And of course, the road to hell is paved with great motives.
  3. The gentle teacher became a wrathful prophet, priest, and king, driving those moneychangers out of the temple. We focus on the love of God a lot, but lamb is also a lion. And the worship we do, it doesn’t exclude fear and trembling.
  4. Jesus (the one who would make the temple obsolete, cleaned it out before he died, leading the religious establishment to seek to kill him. I see two great ironies here. Jesus was greater than the temple, yet he stood in it, cleansed it. He was there, the thing that would eventually make the temple obsolete. But also, his very act of cleansing the temple made the leaders plot to kill hime. They plotted because they were afraid of their position – but the success of the plot, killing the Christ, made the very positions they sought to protect irrellevant.
  5. Now we, the Church, are a temple that even the Roman armies can’t destroy. And that just about said it all.

Love, love, love, love, etc.

I saw this guy walking the other day, just walking down the street with a Rasta cap on. And from the instant I saw him, I thought he was Rastafarian. Maybe I was wrong. Who knows.

In the mall on Friday, I saw a woman in a complete burqa, nothing but her eyes showing. Obviously, I thought, a Muslim.

On my drive home from that same mall, I noticed a bunch of weathered old men sitting around, talking, brighly-coloured turbans on their head. Sihks, enjoying the weather.

And it occured to me that Christians don’t have any of these things. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk down the street and have people see that you’re a Christian just from something you’re wearing?

I had an epiphany, I think. It’s all right there in the scriptures. We will be known, of course – but not by what we wear. By how we love. Primarily, by how we love eachother.

I forget this all the time. Maybe I think people will know me by my morality. Maybe they’ll know me by my language. Maybe they’ll know me by my excellent, coherent theology.

Maybe. But they should know me by my love. Can you imagine someone treating another person lovingly and being taken immediately for a Christian? Can you? Of course not – you and me, we suck at all this love stuff.

I have this feeling some days, when I know I’m downright cantankerous, or when I forget to speak rebuke with a soft edge, or when I ignore someone hurting. I have this feeling that if I never smoked, drank, cursed, or listened to my loud music, but still didn’t have real love – well, frankly dear, the world wouldn’t give a damn.

Yeah, so something changed.

After about 12 hours of work figuring out how this all fits together, I present for your consideration my humble re-design. That’s right – it’s homemade. Hardcoded by yours truly, using only Wordpad, W3schools.com, and the blogger help pages.

And unless I’m horribly mistaken, everything works just perfectly.

Edit: the site still looks like crap in IE; I’m trying to figure out what exactly is the difference between the way Firefox and IE render things like CSS padding. Bear with me here. Also, a few miscelaneous fixes, such as the colour of links in post bodies. But nothing we can’t deal with.

Edit Two: So, tonight I massively redesigned again, except this time I just ordered the code better and tried to avoid using padding a such. Why, you ask? Well, because IE6 calculates padding and borders differently that Mozilla Firefox (and, I might add, quite improperly). Thus, the site now looks slightly jinky in IE, but you IE users will have to live with that, along with your conscience. Get Firefox, chowderheads!

Life, and traffic.

For a lot of people, driving is a pretty easy thing. You get in the car, and as long as you know enough to safely operate it, you drive somewhere. Point A leads to Point B, and if you arrive safely, you’re done.

Simple, right? Wrong.

I supposed if you consider driving in an individualist sort of sense, you can really boil it down to that first paragraph; but reality being what it is, we don’t drive in a vacuum, and the roads are clogged with other drivers all doing the same thing: driving.

In a very real sense, a busy road is a profoundly philosophical metaphor for life itself. There you are, in your car, surrounded by other people in their vehicles, all trying to do something, all governed by a sophisticated set of rules that some abide by and others violate.

But it’s more than that, even. We’re not all going to the same place, and we’re not all trying to accomplish the same thing. Some people have all the time in the world, and put that fact on four wheels, all too often in the passing lane. Others are in a hurry to get somewhere, and break just about every rule trying to get to that place. Still others just love driving, and do it for the sheer love of hands-on-the-wheel, rubber-meets-the-road driving.

That road, taken collectively, is the sum of all those ideals. We take our philosophies and drive them out. You can keep going. What you drive says something about you. What are your priorities in a car? Fast? Loud? Understated? Luxurious? Practical? Indy-ready? Are you driving with someone, or are you driving alone? Is that because of circumstance, or because of choice? What do you have in the trunk?

It’s not really all that important to know this before you put your foot on the pedal. Not really. But in the course of driving, maybe you’ll notice it. And how profoundly it effects what you’re doing. All your philosophies wrapped up like your fingers on the wheel.

And to advance a metaphor that Doug Wilson once used, driving is like being saved. You don’t actually have to know anything about engines or traffic flow to drive the car. You just need a few basics. You believed. It was done. You got in. You drove. On the other hand, taking apart an engine or programming traffic lights is much like preaching that grace. You don’t trust a typesetter with the monkey wrench, and you don’t let the CEO program the traffic lights: that’s why we have mechanics and techies, so we can drive the long roads without breaking down and running into eighteen-wheelers.

One more thing. A friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend yesterday. Suddenly, you find yourself alone in the car. You turn up the music. You keep driving.