Tag Archives: culture

Woman At The Well, Part 2: Crossing Barriers

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The Woman at the Well – John Chapter 4 was one of the first texts I ever spoke on.  As the years have passed I have become more and more mesmerized by this anecdote from Jesus’ ministry and all the different issues it impacts in our life today in the 21st Century.

In Part 1, we began this study by examining the woman herself.  Why was she fetching water at midday?  What is the significance of this?  Who was this woman Jesus was talking to?  Can we relate to her at all?  Turns out, her story is becoming more and more common today, but the biggest difference between her day and ours is that today the zeitgeist tells us that this woman is a healthy, successful woman who has had a life of personal self-fulfilment.  In contrast, what led to her isolation in her day was both her own acceptance  of and society’s censure of the outcomes of the immense pain in her life, and the calluses that were forming over those wounds insulating her from love, closeness and intimacy both with other people and with God.

Here in Part 2, I want to wrestle with the reality that this conversation should have never happened.  There were too many reasons that Jesus, an unmarried devout Jewish man, should not have been talking to this half-pagan, Samaritan five-time divorcee, living with a man she was unmarried to.  How did it happen?  What does it mean that Jesus set aside all these barriers to speak to her?  And what was it that he had to share with her that carried such urgency? Read the rest of this entry »

Rebutting Wilson’s “Why the Hunger Games is Flawed”

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Trevin Wax’s friend N.D. Wilson commented on the Hunger Games and why it is seriously flawed as a work.  I really appreciated the level of thought and the perspective of a writer on how people’s motivations should be written.  He definitely caused me to think more deeply about the messages the book sends and the question of realism in terms of how the people acted and reacted in tune with (or out of sync with) human nature.

However, I found his arguments for what makes the books so flawed to be seriously… flawed.

Warning: if you have not read the books or seen the movie yet, the below will contain spoilers.  Don’t read any further unless you don’t mind them. Read the rest of this entry »

Why You Should Read the Hunger Games (and Other Books Too)

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“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
(Romans 12:9 ESV)

…but test everything; hold fast what is good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV)

I must admit: I am offended.  I am offended by the tendency of too many Christians to simply refuse to engage with anything in the world for fear of contaminating themselves with the world.  I am offended by the idea that we should throw into the trashbin anything that we suspect might maybe be a little bit offensive, uncomfortable, or controversial.  Is this the spirit of the age – to be so terrified by everything that our first instinct is to duck and cover?

I could take this in so many directions but the one that has my goat this morning is books.  I just finished reading “The Hunger Games“.  Now frankly, it is not the finest literature ever produced, but it is worth the read in my opinion for two reasons.  First, the books engage a number of cultural realities that presently have far-reaching influence over Christians and non-Christians.  Second, the books (and the new movie) are incredibly popular, especially amongst young people.  What is so grabbing their imaginations and keeping them interested?  Should we not investigate such icons as a basic responsibility of a parent, or at least someone who at some levels “is my brother’s keeper”?

Some say no.  One vociferously opposed such an idea.  One told a friend of mine that it was wrong to read the Hunger Games.  Why?  Because it has violence in it.  I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and I’ll assume she meant the books feature children killing children. Read the rest of this entry »

From Alberta Children’s Hospital – A Room to Read

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It is a fascinating chapter of life I have entered into.  I almost wrote “we” but this is a blog about me, so I will assume you know that I fully acknowledge my son’s brain surgery is not about me.  But how I am affected by it is.

I have heard of people in busy jobs, lives that become ill, and are forced, for health reasons, to take a break – to step out of their routines for a time controlled by the process of healing.  I think part of the reason God made us like He did was to force this upon us.  When we are overworked or overstressed, our body tends to break down easier, forcing us to slow the pace.  In this case, it was not my pace of life, or stress, or anything we had done.  It just was.  Thankfully, we have an amazing community of friends and family that have stepped into the situation and made it possible for Cheryl and I to simply “disconnect” (though the rate of Facebook communication has stepped up considerably as we try to keep everyone informed about how Lyndan is doing).  We are so very grateful for the rest of our boys being cared for at home, for my responsibilities as pastor being lifted by my associate Bart and other leaders in Grasslands Church.

image This disconnect has opened up so much time.  Time for things that get swept away by the urgent or the routine.  I have been able to finish a book – “Your Secret Name” by Kary Oberbrunner.  I am glad I did – it was a very good book and I will be mulling over what I took away from it for some time (expect a blog post at some point).  I have also had time to write towards my next message – it’s not often that I am afforded 3 weeks’ lead time for the next time I speak.  I have even had time to wrestle with some subjects that I would like to speak on but need further development before moving forward.

And also, it has given me time to blog.  Which I really do like but often feel too busy to do these days – as you can tell by the frequency of my posts here, on our church planting blog, Planting on Faith and even on the Grasslands Church Blog.

On the subject of busyness, my associate, Bart has been encouraging me to read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, and while it was written more than a couple decades ago, it really is timeless in its ideas and pointing out not only the general idea of how to move towards doing what we want to do well, but also with specific, applicable things we can do to find that zone.  I am not the most organized person in the world but I am certainly convinced that I would like to do more with the time I am given – and the only way that is going to happen is if I implement more structure into my life.  “You lack DISCIPLINE!” I can hear Ahnuld’s voice ringing in my ears when I begin to get that rush of adrenaline from a looming deadline.  There is something about the way German speakers pronounce the word “lack” that adds extra weight to the word.

Lastly, I am finally getting to chop through a book that I have wanted to read since Tim Challies first wrote it – “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment”.  The topic is almost unwritten on but so critical for Christians to understand in this day and age where too many supposed God-followers are content with their Bible reading limited to their pastor’s powerpoint slides and their thinking on the intersection of Christ and Culture as a couple of streets in Mexico City.  I find much of my job as pastor so far has been doing the interpretation of culture for people, but I am convinced that my calling as pastor is to teach people to interpret culture through Christ themselves.  Hence, I had better get reading.

Without further ado, back to my Kindle app!

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