I was just going over a project I completed a while back – some friends would like to use some of the information I gathered in a project they”re doing. I interviewed farm families for a paper I did on stewardship of creation. I”ve long believed that farmers – especially family farmers – are some of the most environmentally conscious people in the world. These interviews have only worked to give strength to that idea.

They have similar environmental worries and concerns as the rest of us… sometimes more so, because the health of the soil and water is vital to the work they do and the life they lead.

Hey, God? Thanks. Thanks for people who care about what they”re putting into the ground and for what they”re taking out. Thanks for people who know you through the intimacy of life and death and new life seen every day on the farm. Thank you for helping them to find the words to help me understand. Thank you!

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blogs4god

I know most other Christian bloggers have posted a message about this… but I”d like to throw in my support for blogs4God. Here you”ll find links to a huge number of Christian blogs. The site designers have given a number of different ways to help you find the blogs you will be interested in: categories, search engine, ratings and comments. The site is… well… fantastic!

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Stats

Wow! I was checking my site stats this morning, and saw that – for the very first time – someone found “looking back… looking forward” through a search engine! Google, even!. (I then spent the next 10 minutes playing with my google bar to see what search combination would bring up the site. Silly, but fun!)

Well… time to get ready for morning worship – two baptisms, communion… and the summer agricultural fair.

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Brian McLaren

One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve wandered through people’s blogs are the books they’re reading. A friend and colleague of mine, Greg, suggested I read some of Brian McLaren’s work, so I picked up “A New Kind of Christian”, today. One of the members of the What Is Church community, Amber, suggested Peterson’s “Five Smooth Stones”. (Fortunately, Shannon already has that one on her shelf! And she’s going to let me borrow it! 🙂

So I hope to do a little reading over the next while. (Right. As soon as I get three weddings, one funeral, and two papers done.) Ok. I hope to do a little reading when I start holidays in August.

Any books you’d suggest I add to my pile?

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fatblueman’s music

One of the great things about having an ecclectic taste in music is that I can love everything from plainsong through to… well… hmmm… just about anything. If you’ve got a few minutes to listen, wander over to MP3.com – and listen to some of John Janzen’s music. John also shares his thoughts with the world as the fatblueman.

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Sitting and Not Doing My Work

So, I’m sitting in an internet cafe in London, Ontario. I know I’m supposed to be working on my papers – and I will get to them. (Actually, I’m heading over to the university right after I’m done typing this note.

I went and got my hair cut this afternoon. The person working on my balding pate was a young man – early 20s. We had the normal banter going bacck and forth, until he asked “so, what do you do for work”. When I explained that I was a minister, our conversation moved into “everything that’s wrong with the church”. I listened for awhile. Nothing particularly new. Then I asked, “If you could create a ‘church’ that would help you to worship God, what would it look like?”

He didn’t say anything for a while.

Then he said, “It would be a place where I wouldn’t be looked down on for wearing what I wear, for having piercings, for liking music that says something.”

But here’s what got me.

“It would be a place that would help me to understand what my grandmother believes about God… and would help her to understand what I believe.

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karen ward

karen ward is back to blogging. (Yea!) Make sure to read her latest posts. In them she invites the “mainline churches to open up to new possiblities”.

karen writes, “despite my occasional rants, i love the mainline churches. i want them to stop the downward spiral they are on and get out of the survival mode they are in. if you operate out of scarcity you are doomed. when you operate out of abundance (out of what god has already given to you), you will prosper.

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Personal Prayer

I’ve been doing some thinking about personal prayer – praying for and with someone. (Long story coming up…)

Every year, I do “continuing education”. Sometimes its a course, sometimes a retreat, sometimes just getting through that stack of journals that seems to grow beside my desk. Geographic context for this story: a classroom at Ashland Theological Seminary, in Ashland, Ohio.

Some of you know that I my theological viewpoint is distinctly liberal on that wonderful “conservative…middle-of-the-road…liberal” scale. *chuckle* I grew up, and am a minister in, The United Church of Canada. In our congregations and pulpits we have people who’s worldview (and Godview) runs the entire gamut from hyper-conservative to hyper-liberal – and lots of other directions, too.

I didn’t realize what that meant to my prayer life until one fine morning at a seminary I’m doing some continuing education work at. Most of my classmates would consider themselves to be evangelical and – much – more theologically orthodox than I. (Which has been great! I’ve learned a whole new language to explore our relationship with God!)

We had shared a lot of our personal and ministry story through the week of classes. We had gotten to know about and care for eachother – especially when we disagreed. The class had just finished and, as I was packing my texts away, one of my table mates said, “Let’s pray for each other.” We all agreed.

In my mainstream, U.C.Can. mind, that meant that I would continue packing my bag, get into my car, and (probably while I was driving for the next eight hours) lift my colleagues in prayer.

However… this was not the understanding everyone else had in mind.

The group gathered around me, laid hands upon my shoulders and head, and began to offer their prayers to God… for me. For my life. For my ministry. For my pain.

There were a few people who wandered by the classroom and, when they realized that someone was being prayed for, they came in an joined in the prayer!

We prayed for just about everybody that morning.

I had never felt so cherished. Later, I realized that the only other times I had felt the presence of God so tangibly had been during Shannon and my wedding, and at my ordination.

When I came back to St. Marys, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on the experience.

It changed how I ask people if we can pray together. It changed how I pray. It caused me to realize how important physical presence can be during times of prayer.

Since I’ve come back, I’ve invited groups of clergy who are getting to know each other to pray, out loud, for each other.

I led the elders of the congregation I serve, and the congregations Shannon serves, through the process of gathering in pairs, talking to each other about what is going on in their lives, and then having each pair join hand and pray (out loud or silently) for each other.

Each time I’ve expected negative feedback.

Each time I’ve found that people have seen each other in a new – and beautiful – way.

I’m still theologically liberal (and, often, downright weird). I probably will be for most of my life.

But I’m truly glad that my evangelical sisters and brothers taught me about this kind of prayer.

(Perhaps, later, I can tell you what it was like to introduce them to Lectio Divina. smiley face

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Powrpoint On the Web

Ok, folks… if you can help, please, make a comment or e-mail me! I’m trying to figure out how to put a powerpoint presentation I created up here. The problem is, even zipped, it’s huge (10.3mb). Any suggestions on how to shrink the file so it’s useable? (Half of the space is taken up by an mp3 file, while the other half is the background photos.) I’d really like to share it, but I’m not sure how to go about it.

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World Youth Day

The Roman Catholic parish here in town (Holy Name) had 59 pilgrims stay before they headed on to World Youth Day/Journée Mondiale De La Jeunesse. I believe all of the pilgrims who are here come from two diocese in Germany.

Shannon and I went to the celebration Holy Name organized, down by the river. It was a wonderful time – the music was great, and the guests from Germany sang, played, and danced.

It was a little sad that there weren’t more of us from the wider community.

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Next Reformation

As I was blog-hopping around, I found the thoughts of Andre Lefebvre… a fellow St. Marysite. Wonderful… somebody I might actually *see*. Except… he and his wife moved to Guelph just a couple of months ago. *chuckle* Oh, well.

I dropped him a note and, after taking a look here, he suggested I check out NextReformation.com. An excellent site – with especially cogent thoughts on postmodernity and Christian faith.

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Aura

As I was sitting at the auction place this afternoon, I was listening to a CD of Aura – the source of trance – a group I found at mp3.com. I think I must have dozed off, because I found myself dreaming. Dreaming about celebrating communion…

It’s taken three years to help the congregation I serve see it as more than a memorial feast, but also a celebration of our communion with the Divine.

In this dream, I was celebrating the eucharist using an old latin rite… but all of my movements and words were flowing over the sounds of Aura’s “Destination skyline”.

Weird.

Powerful.

Hmmmmm….’, ‘, 1, 0);
INSERT INTO `wp_posts` VALUES (79127085, 3, ‘2002-07-18 20:21:20’, ‘I’m back from Toronto. Sadly, I missed out on buying the projector by one bid. (There was an absentee bidder who won. After the bidding had closed, the auctioneer told me that if I had raised by one more bid, the absentee’s max would have been reached. Gee… thanks for letting me know! 🙂 )

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Action

Tonight I’m debating driving into Toronto tomorrow. (The place I want to go in the city is only 2.5 hours away… as long as the traffic on highway 401 is light.) You see, there’s an auction “of the assets of a software development company” happening in North York.
Three of the items up on the auction block are Mitsubihi digital projectors… a couple of years old, but still in excellent condition.
I’ve been wanting to purchase one for a few years, but haven’t been able to find the money. Perhaps I can get one at a slightly less painful rate.
I hope.

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