Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Of Horses & Rider Pride

It's a little known fact that some horses love the taste of car paint. I think it has something to do with not having enough zinc in their diets and finding it in the either the paint itself or the protective coating on the car's body applied prior to painting.

My dad's truck, which for a time was frequently in the company of horses, received countless teeth-scrapings by the zinc-starved equines, which exposed a lot of the bare metal underneath.

The truck, while not a beater by any means, has almost 300,000 KM on it. It is a rear-wheel drive long-bed, and it's fifteen years old at least. In short, it has little to no re-sale value for the Saskatchewan ruralite (he's had a For Sale sign in the window for the past nine years).

He was in a playful mood the other day and decided that he'd demonstrate some of that German ingenuity and efficiency by both repairing the paint job and cheering on the Green & White (12/5/0 so far this season).

Let me state for the record that yes, while I live in Winnipeg, I am not a die-hard Blue Bomber fan. Being a son of Saskatchewan, I have an inbred (is that the right word?) need to cheer for the Riders when the two teams meet. Ultimately, however, I am somewhat indifferent to football, being more of a stick-and-puck sort of guy. GO SENS GO!

But my dad's paint job is pretty impressive, seeing as he's never done a lick of creative painting before in his life, and all he used was canned spray paint.

I wish I had a "before" picture, but I don't. You'll have to trust me: the hood was about 25% grey before he did this:


Good job Dad! You'll turn a lot more heads on your trips into Regina now than you ever did.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Night of the Living Ed

Ed being my brother-in-law, I have to acknowledge his feature premier.

Check out parts 1 and 2, as well as the bloopers.

Part 1:




Part 2:




Bloopers:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Education

For those of you who missed our talk on Education at Wednesday's prayer meeting, I invite you to visit David Warren's site for his perspective on the topic; we appear to think alike:

Get yourself a real education, in what you can find of the world, and see what you can accomplish without participating in the credentials racket. Make your “core relationship” with God, rather than with some Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Discover a vocation in which you can advance the cause of the good, the true, and the beautiful. And raise children -- in poverty, if necessary -- who will also defy the zombism of our post-modern age.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Evan Sayet

Evan Sayet - I've only just heard of him - is a Jewish Hollywood writer and producer who has launched into a career of satirical political speaking. But wait a second and put your stereotype away - he's no liberal (at least, not anymore). The conservative blogosphere is abuzz with a recent talk he gave at the Heritage Foundation in which he picks apart the mindset of the modern liberal. Quote:

The modern liberal looks back on 50,000, 100,000 years of human civilization and knows only one thing for sure: that none of the ideas mankind has come up with - none of the religions, none of the philosophies, none of the ideologies, none of the forms of government - none have succeeded in creating a world devoid of war, poverty, crime, and injustice. So they're convinced that since all of these ideas of man have proved to be wrong, the real cause of war, poverty, crime, and injustice must be found, can only be found, in the attempt to be right. See, if nobody ever thought they were right, what would we disagree about? If we didn't disagree, surely we wouldn't fight. If we didn't fight, of course we wouldn't go to war. Without war there'd be no poverty, with poverty there'd be no crime, without crime there'd be no injustice. It's a Utopian vision, and all that's required to usher in this Utopia is the rejection of all fact, reason, evidence, logic, truth, morality, and decency. All the tools that you and I use in our attempts to be better people, to make the world more right, by trying to be right, by siding with right, by recognizing what is right, and moving towards it.

This is an amazing insight, and because liberals have rejected reason & logic, they fail to see the inevitable conclusion of that Utopian vision. As soon as John Utopiaman punches a liberal in the face because he feels it's the right thing for John Utopiaman to do, the liberal is left without recourse to the morality which would have stated, in the pre-Utopian world, that it's wrong to punch people in the face (even liberals). This concept of an amoral anarchic world goes out the window when the liberal is himself the victim of war, poverty, crime, or injustice. Suddenly he insists that the standards he has rejected for the world at large be applied to him.

The above linked video is long but is well worth it, if you have the time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Won't Fade Away

Welcome to the first (and probably only one ever) review of a new music album on Convert Man.

If you've ever looked at my Blogger profile (near my picture on the right), you'll see that the only artist I've listed for my favourite music is Rick Cua. I've got other artists I appreciate, but my love for Rick Cua's songs go back to my teens (the early 90's).

He released his last album Like A Cool Drink, collectively from Rick Cua and the Ah-Koo-Stiks, a whopping ten years ago. Seriously - he's got grey hair now; gone are the bouncing Italian shoulder-length locks. But last month he suddenly released Won't Fade Away, his 12th album, and true to form, it rocks.

The bass subtly injects a pounding rhythm into the tracks, the percussion is robust and energetic, and the worshipful lyrics are plucked straight from profundity itself, with minimal evangelical clich├ęs.

It's all I've been listening to for the last few weeks. You know when you can't get a song out of your head and it drives you crazy? It's actually more unbearable not to have one of these tunes stuck in my head, like the adoration-themed title track Won't Fade Away to the enchanting whimsy of the duet Mercy Seat to the desperate soul cry of Be God.

If you buy just one new album this year, buy this one. Listen to the title track at Rick's site, then purchase it there, or from anywhere fine Christian music is sold.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hello Again

This is one of those things you can take or leave at your discretion.

At a community bonfire and prayer gathering held near Wadowice in southern Poland to commemorate the second anniversary of the passing of Pope John Paul II, a local shutterbug snapped a bunch of pictures. In one of them, taken at 9:37 PM, April 2, 2007 (two years to the minute after he died) the flames appear to show the form of the late pontiff, arm outstretched in blessing.

Click here for the image.

This photographer shot a lot of pictures that night, and apparently the rest of them showed just a regular bonfire. Only in this one does anything other than the random shape of flames appear.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Morning

I've been working the dreaded closing shift, which lasts until 2:00 AM, for the last few days. Last night (aka yesterday morning) I came home and cleared my head for a bit, then crawled into bed around 4:30 AM.

At 8:30 I awoke to my 7-year old daughter leaning over my face, chirping, "Daddy, wake up! We made you breakfast in bed!"

I pulled myself into a sitting position and blinked away the sleepiness as she lovingly placed a Teflon cookie sheet on my lap. On this makeshift tray was one of the kids' oversized Disney Princess plates with two pieces of (cold) peanut butter toast on it, and a large plastic tumbler of water.

My 5-year old daughter repeated this for my wife, except that she got jam on her toast and milk in her tumbler.

They stayed and watched us eat and drink and returned the trays to the kitchen when we finished and let us go back to sleep after.

Understand that this was far from the most elaborate breakfast I've ever had, but by George it was probably the most delicious one ever. I think I've got some good kids.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Urgency of New Life: A Meditation

Several months ago I received a geranium, and it has spent the summer happily in our sun porch, soaking up the warmth and getting watered on a fairly regular basis.

With the approach of autumn we brought it inside. Sadly, in that placement it has received less care than it deserves. But while I was on my retreat last weekend, it started to bloom again:


The thing I found so interesting about this is that the rest of the plant is dying. If you look closely, you can see that only the top few leaves are green, while the rest have withered and are crackly brown. In such a state, it instinctively sent up a flower in an effort to reproduce.

Also, a few weeks ago I was walking my daughters home from school when the elder one picked a flowering plant from the curb. She managed to get the roots intact, and was eager to plant it, so I found an old sour cream container and gave it to her. She found some loose soil and gave the plant another chance to flower in our home. Lo and behold, today it too started to send up a blossom.


This strikes me as amazing, for we live in an age where we view reproductivity as a burden and something to be shut down in order to enjoy life. Yet the flowers of the field know that producing offspring is the difference between life and death; between eternity and obsolescence. Without a next generation, there is no hope on earth for the living.

It pains me when I hear of married couples - Christian ones at that - who say they don't want children. I'm sure that many of them eventually give in to the biological instinct to reproduce, but even to start from that barren perspective is foolishness. Creating life is miraculous; plants and animals do it all the time and each time is a full-blown miracle. How much more so for we people who are created in the very image of God? If God creates us to be like him, we instantly know that we too must create, for that is what he did. It's like looking at a reflection of a reflection; it goes on and on and on.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

God Is Good

For those of you who didn't already know, TEC is addictive. And I'm not talking about this kind.

I've just made my fourth consecutive retreat, and I can't enough of this. It's funny; my wife made her first TEC a couple years back and when she returned she was the most calm and peaceful I had seen her in all the time I've known her. There was a serenity and a tranquility to her spirit that warmed my soul from her mere proximity, and when she told me I should go on the next retreat, I initially refused - I wanted her to go so she could be like that again and again.

But I guess there's an advantage to me being serene and tranquil for my wife. Mostly due to the restrictions placed on her social flexibility by newborns, I have gone on every retreat since hers, leaving her to care for the children. She's a trooper and I love her for it, although it's probably her turn next time, as our youngest will be a year old and well within my ability to handle on my own. Sigh. It'd be neat if we could both go, but who's going to babysit for a whole long weekend?

Anyway, what God did for me this weekend was incredible. While I'm in no danger of losing the faith, I had lost my faith. By which I mean that I knew in my head what the love of God means for me, but my heart was disconnected from that truth. During a period of prayer & meditation, I had an image in my head of the crucified Christ, but something didn't look right. His eyes were, well, to put it bluntly, kinda freaky looking. They looked too big and too bright and too colourful. I zoomed in for a closer look, and saw that his eyes were filled with the scenes from my life where I had felt the most rejected and abandoned. He told me that he had thought of me - of ME! - during his Passion and that he bore my hurt on his shoulders along with the cross.

He also told me that if he were to reveal the fullness of his love for me right then and there, I wouldn't be able to handle it; it would shatter me. He promised to take me deeper and deeper into the depths of it if only I would give him the chance to do so with every today. I look forward to what he has in store for me.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Once Again

So I go off on retreat again this weekend, on TEC #74. For those of you unfamiliar with TEC, check out the website. In a nutshell, it's a weekend of intense prayer and sacrifice, and I've been looking forward to this for months.

Lately I've been coming to terms with some serious healing that God is trying to impart into my life, and it's the kind of healing that involves peeling back layers of scars to remove a centuries-old thorn. Painful, unpleasant, and all around nasty. My faith is being tested through this process, and it's difficult not to let life grind to a halt while I work through this. Still, this healing is a good thing, and I need to see it through to its end.

So please keep me in your prayers, dear reader, this weekend and the months ahead. I'll post again once I'm back.