Monday, January 29, 2007

The Priesthood of All Believers

Here is a link to my last sermon. I like it as a "text" but I may have prepared it too much that way because I feel the presentation was not as smooth as I would have liked.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oh Man . . .

Youth Pastor Pranked


My Church

I have not been the habit of posting many pictures but here are a few pictures from around my church. There has been gorgeous snowfall in the last couple of days.

The first two pictures are the view from my office window.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Question of Worship

I became aware that the question of worship was pointed and focused. We had already talked at length covering commonalities in morals and ethics. Our personal experiences and goals offered ample ground to share and encourage. I had underestimated how thoroughly he perceived his circumstances. Our encounter revealed, at least to myself, the superior position I had assumed. I believed my perspective was raised, exalted, seeing farther and more clearly. I hope I learned from this though I may not have changed my beliefs. Towards the end of our time together I asked him something to effect of, “Do you worship?” This emerged clearly to me as the most pointed and focusing question, personal and intimate . . . without escape.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Davinci Code

(Warning! If you still haven't read or watched The Davinci Code you probably don't want to read this)

I suppose most of the hoopla has died down by now but I finally watched The Davinci Code (I am not sure I will ever have the time to read it). On my first viewing I thought the movie was quite good. I am sucker for cryptic suspense. I enjoyed it right up until it began to start sermonizing in the last 10 minutes.
No Sophie was no proven to be an heir of Christ. So in response Langdon offers the painfully repetitive refrain of the western modernity, "the only thing that matters is what you believe." Really? That is how world-renowned historian Robert Langdon sums up his world view? No, that is not all. He follows to say that "history shows that Jesus was an amazing example, a human inspiration, that's it. That's all the evidence has ever proved."
What?! How has that been proven?
Anyway . . .
Then Langdon returns to the story of when he fell down the well as a child where he reveals to Sophie that he prayed to Jesus. He thought that perhaps he was not alone. To which he comes to the conclusion. "Why does it have to be human or divine. Why can't it be that human is divine?" Correct me if I am wrong but isn't the whole paradox of orthodox the believe that only Jesus is human and divine?

I do not want to undervalue that aspect of the movie because I believe there is validity in someone reaching out and experiencing the presence of the unknown. I just have an issue with how it was framed here.

I also find some validity in Langdon's next question. "Why couldn't Jesus have been a father and still capable of all those miracles?" I think that is a pretty good question. I don't really have thoughtful answer for it. Unless perhaps part of the Jesus's celibacy was to remove biological gender from the issue of salvation.

Of course in the end the "debunking" of orthodoxy is secured in the reliability of our hero Langdon as he uncovers the true resting place of Mary Magdalene and so bolsters a view that critical reason has finally prevailed over the myth of Christianity, though it cannot over conclusive proof.

This is a fairly unnuanced post and a little late in coming for the discussion but there you go.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Future of Mennonites

Okay no more excuses about using YouTube. If I like it then its going to find its way here. I thought that now that I am a pastor at a Mennonite church I should see if there is anything on YouTube that would connect me with my roots and give me a broader sense of belonging. What I never realized was that I would stumble across the future of Mennonites . . .

(even if you are confused wait for the last robot, he is the best!)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Theological Cartography Part 1

Okay here is something a little more boring and perhaps a little less coherent but give it a go if you like.

There is one scene in the video below which offers the best and worst depiction of the theologian's task. Remember how little Danny took his rubber ball, split it in half and then tried to flatten it out on the flat surface of his bookshelf. This reflects the movement of translation. The space between two distinct realities. It is an attempt to communicate this reality apart from its original form. This transference of meaning has proved to be the bane of literary theorists and philosophers alike in the twentieth century (well throughout history of course though we appear to have experienced some type of climax). Seeing that the ball will not flatten philosophers began to see the distortions in the works of little Danny's throughout history. These men and women were not the first to make such observations however earlier thinkers tended not to be marked with such unrelenting skepticism as those of the late modern period. As a result many are left like little Danny staring at his Polar Projection Map noticing that a given interpretation leaves them with "a different idea of the world."

My attempt at theological cartography does not assume that the ball can indeed be flattened. Nor does it assume that there is "kernel of truth" in the ball that can be extracted and transferred onto another plane. This "kernel of truth" approach is embraced by many biblical translators and assumes that there is a static component to truth that will yield to the control and manipulation of the handler. I know most translators are much more humble in how they would describe their task. However, I belief the underlying assumption still supports this view.

I have described my task as theological cartography because I believe there is still something to be said about navigation. No map is final or complete but each map allows us to participate in reality in a certain way. I take the Tabernacle as my guiding image. The Tabernacle was not a flattened depiction of holy reality. It was a space to be lived in that helped us discern the boundaries and movements of God's presence in the world. The Tabernacle was not an abstract theory but a Symbol in fullest and most demanding sense of the word. It showed that actions, words, and postures mattered in how we relate to ourselves, our neighbour, and to God.

With the coming of Jesus I now take as my task the navigation of three “Tabernacles” (read Temple here). The navigation of our Bodies (social and individual), the navigation of the Eucharist (the broken and shared body of the high priest), and the navigation of Creation (the plane on which God’s Kingdom, prefigured as a Temple in Revelation, will come).

I do not assume that this is entirely coherent at this point but I thought it would be helpful at least for myself to try to work some of it out. More to come . . . hopefully.


Friday, January 05, 2007

The Man Came Around

Yes I have been shamelessly relying on YouTube these days. But I have to spread the word about my man when I get the chance.