Friday, October 27, 2006

Some more thoughts on Christian Music

So I was reading the July/August issue of Relevant yesterday. Specifically the interview with Dustin Kensrue of the band Thrice. In the interview they ask him what his thoughts are on "contemporary Christian music." And like most bands who have made it a point to stay out of the "Christian" scene he goes on to bash all that the Christian music industry is. Now this got me thinking. A few days ago I wrote about how I was upset with some site that put bad comparisons of "Christian" bands to bands that were "bad." When in fact a lot of bands that are not Christians put out lots of very good music. Now I listen to lots of music, in fact now that I have my ipod I am rarely NOT listening to something. But Kensrue’s comments got me thinking, and my conclusion today, is that we are being too hard on the Christian market. There is a lot of really good stuff coming out there. And Bands like Me Without You are a prime example of a band on a Christian label (tooth and nail) who are original, thought provoking, and pretty well amazing. There is also something to be said about what we allow our minds to dwell on. Yes there is truth in the music that bands put out, but there is also a lot of crap in their lyrics, that frankly isn't healthy.... that said there are some pretty nasty cliché’s in some Christian music that doesn't do much for us either. I like what Derek Webb sings in his song A New Law "don’t teach me about truth and beauty just label my music" I believe this is true and we need to look at all music that is labeled. But to say that just because an album is labeled "Christian" it is somehow less good, less beautiful, less true, seems not only wrong, but also pretty stupid.

Along the lines of labeling stuff there is some bad news for us Narnia Fans, apparently Disney has postponed the release of Prince Caspian until December of 2008.... yup even longer to wait until we can enjoy another installment of Narnia. At least I have the books :D Speaking of movies with Christian themes there is a great article on the Relevant website about how Christian and family friendly are not the same thing. Check out the article here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Hey I know that this is making it's way around the internet right now, so I thought I would do my part. I was really impressed by the decisions they have made if YQ this year so here it is

"Greetings from Youth Quake!

You may have noticed the absence of big-name acts on our YQ poster and website. I want to offer a word of explanation about that so you can catch a glimpse of how God has been working in our lives, preparing us for YQ ’07.

We went through a long process this year of trying to locate bands for the Friday night concert at YQ. We started making formal booking requests in August, before most agents wanted to talk with us. None of our requests were accepted, right up to our poster deadline. As time wore on and our deadlines loomed larger, a sense of urgency (desperation?) started to work itself into our decisions. We started making offers to bands that we either didn’t know or didn’t necessarily like. By the beginning of October, our desperation had “paid off”—we had two bands confirmed for our concert slot. Given the process we had gone through, it was actually a surprisingly strong lineup.

Here’s where things turn interesting.

As soon as I booked our “big band,” I was uneasy. In the days leading up to their confirmation, God had convicted me of a practical idolatry that we were exercising in terms of the bands. We look to bands to save YQ, to bring kids to our event. The “need” for a band had skewed our priorities and we were offering increasingly costly sacrifices to appease our gods and win their favour. God called me on this and called me back to him.

Isaiah 30:1-3, 15

"Woe to the obstinate children,"
declares the LORD,
"to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt
without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh's protection,
to Egypt's shade for refuge.
But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame,
Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength . . .

After much prayer and discussion, I felt led to break the agreements we had with the two bands we had signed for the Friday concert. We booked them out of a sense of desperation, not direction. We’ve been convicted of this and so we’ve cleared the field as a costly sacrifice of praise to our one TRUE God. We’re listening to him now, asking what he wants to do at Youth Quake on Friday night. My sense is that it might not look like a standard concert at all, but whatever it will be, it will be the thing that God leads us into. We have thousands of dollars we had budgeted for bands—how does God want to spend that money? That’s an exciting question to be asking together! My sense is that his plans might not look like a standard concert at all, but whatever it will be, it will be the thing that God leads us into. We will keep you updated through our website as details develop.

When I was in the thick of the struggle, I sensed God asking me if I wanted everything that he has planned for YQ. I do. The implication, though, is that it means giving up what we had planned and waiting on him. This is our freefall! This is costly (we may still need to honor the financial contracts into which we entered with the bands), but there is a powerful promise that is motivating us and moving us forward. God has plans for YQ and I don’t want to stand in the way of those.

We thought it was important to let you know why we’re doing what we’re doing at YQ ‘07. We want to invite you to pray with us and join us on the journey toward all that God has for us. Our hope is that people will want to be a part of an event where the leadership is willing to prepare the ground for Jesus at any cost. There’s powerful opportunity in all of this and we want to make the most of it!

With anticipation,
Kevin Fawcett"
Director of Youth Quake

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just A Sucker For Hate Mail

Found this pic on some site, and loved it. Now I realize that as a Flames fan the timing might not be the best, but I guess I just can't resist this one!
Life here is going well, working on a presentation for Friday on the Culture of Youth. So far I think it is looking pretty good, but if anyone has some ideas that I could use, or good websites that talk about this sort of thing that would be really appreciated.
Also I'm looking forward to taking next week off... or sort of off. I'm still going to be at youth and doing those things, and I have a TON of prep for my class on Colossians, but I won't be in the office which will be a nice sort of change.
Well that's all from my life for now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hollywood Fashion

It seems like the big Hollywood fashion accessory this year is the African child. Angelina Jolie started this a while ago with her adoption of... well who knows what the kids name is. Anyway then after she got together with Brad they adopted another one. Now Madonna is making waves because she adopted a child from a country that doesn't really adopt out children. Today I heard that she is talking about adopting another little girl from the same village. Now here is the kicker, today I heard that Brittany Spears is considering having a third child, but since she doesn't want to get fat again she is going to adopt a child from.... AFRICA!! Yup, I hate to be a cynic (well actually I don't) but it seems to me that this is just a trend to get some attention and seem like you're a nice person. I'm reading Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire and in the beginning of the book he talks about when he was in Rwanda he and the government agreed that they wouldn't adopt out the children. The reason? Because the money it costs to adopt a child could be put to better use building orphanages and keeping the children in their home country. I think I sort of understand what Madonna and Angelina are trying to do, but is it really the best for the children? Couldn't they do other things? And it's not like them adopting Children is going to make all sorts of Americans sit up and go, "Oh I should do that and help those kids." Because a lot of Americans don't have the kind of money it takes to fly to Africa and adopt a kid. One other thing that really got me was that, on TV, they said that the Nanny was the one carrying this new child into the house. Who is going to be raising these children anyway? Until now I've never seen Madonna with any of her other kids? Nope it seems to me that while mommy and daddy are busy touring the world the kids get left behind with the Nanny... and the kids? They become nothing more than a Hollywood Fashion Fad.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Christmas isn't that far away...

Since Christmas will be upon us in 68 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 26 seconds (less even as I write this post) I thought I would start to post my Christmas list. Check out this beauty!!!

This is made by Toshiba. They say that it, "enables the wearer to experience a full 360-degree view on a 40 centimeter dome-shaped screen." Don't believe me? Check it out Here.

In other news.... I was watching Good Morning America today, and they were all excited because the 300,000,000th person was born today (Story Here). There was all this excitement about it, they even had a reporter in a hospital hoping that the baby would be born there. Now they are saying the it is possible that the population will reach 400 Million in as little as 35 years!? Here's the thing, isn't 300 Million people like a small town in
China? I don't know, I'm just not impressed.

Some Motivation for Evangelism

Thanks to Dale

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nothing Today

So I don't really have much to write today, so instead what I'm going to do is link you over to Dan King's Blog for some thoughts that he wrote today. I thought it was an awesome post so I thought I'd share it with the rest of you. so click (here) and check it out!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

All Good Things...

So my ipod came yesterday!!! WHOHOO it's pretty sweet, I'm pretty pumped to walk around with Lennox while listening to music. I also have a whole bunch of sermons by Rob Bell that I haven't had time to listen too yet, so I'm hoping to be able to catch up a bit. So far I've just heard his one sermon on Yom Kippur and I thought it was so amazing. I was going to write yesterday about how it had snowed and the only two good things I could see about this coming winter are that Lennox really loves snow, and he is really funny to watch as he runs along trying to eat all the snow. And the other good thing is our neighbor’s yard is going to get covered in snow and we won't have to look at his grass any more (which he hasn't cut since August). It doesn't actually bother me, I just find it interesting. On the positive side he actually inspires me to do yard work, so that's s good thing.

So I started reading An Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus yesterday. So far It looks like it is going to be an amazing read. He has a really good way with words. So I'm looking forward to that. I also finally paid my registration so I can go to NYWC. That was a bit of an experience in itself. First I lost my MasterCard and then it showed up in the parking lot of the Credit Union (which I hadn't been too in months) and then it was all maxed out (I did that not someone else) so I had to pay some of it off so I could max it out again.... sigh.... Anyway now it's all paid for and I'm going and I can't wait!!!

Guess that's all for now.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Great Day

So yesterday was such an awesome day!!! Especially since it started with my cleaning up tons of dog crap all over the breeze way (another story). I had breakfast with Jayson and Mark (always a highlight of my month). It is great to hang out with other youth pastors and talk about what is going on. To make a already great tradition even better Mark announced his engagement and bought us breakfast! So I came into the office very happy.

A few hours later Marv came in and told me that the Church board has given me the ok to go to the National Youth Workers Convention in Charlotte NC at the end of November!!! I'm going down with a bunch of people from Winkler. I am so excited to be surrounded by so many awesome leaders!! I'm going to be catching some workshops with Doug Fields, Kurt Johnston, Mark Oestreicher, Philip Yancey, and SO many more. Originally I had thought that Donald Miller was going to be there too, but now I see he is only there for a few of the other NYWC's. Now I should say that this is really good news, and sad news. The good side is... well it's five days with thousands of youth leaders from all over!! The sad part is that it is five days away from the person I love most in the world.

And speaking of Niki, yesterday she also gave me the permission I have been waiting for!!! My ipod mini is now in the mail!!! It's a 4 GB from the Apple Canada store. $119 with all taxes and shipping!!! I am so excited for it to get here!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What I've been thinking about lately

So here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. I can’t say that it all started with this, but it certainly got me really thinking. We as a staff spent the last two weeks at our staff meeting discussing the Chapter The Seven Jesuses I Have Known by Brian McLaren in his book Generous Orthodoxy. For background he sets out that he has met 7 different views of Jesus they are the:
1) Conservative Protestant Jesus
2) The Pentecostal/Charismatic Jesus
3) The Roman Catholic Jesus
4) The Eastern Orthodox Jesus
5) Liberal Protestant Jesus
6) The Anabaptist Jesus
7) The Jesus of the Oppressed (Liberation Theology)

Now here’s the thing, each one of these theologies (ways of thinking about God) have validity, they are true and there are things to learn from each one. Which brings up the question, How big is my God? Is God big enough that we can all be right, and all be wrong? My thinking right now goes something like this.

If I can fit God into my Mennonite Anabaptist theology, than that cannot be God! It is not big enough, not awe-inspiring enough, it is just a god, that I have made up, like a golden calf. However, if God is so big that Roman Catholics Liberal Protestants, and Right Wing Conservatives can all be right, then I think we are starting to find a true image of who God is. Pastor Gary shared this quote from a Texan pastor on Sunday said something to the effect that. “The thing that brings unity is not a common purpose or vision, but rather that we are all involved in a common argument.” So what if, the thing that unites us as Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist, Liberal is that we are all involved in a common argument/discussion on the best way to live out the gospel. We are united in that we all want to live out the life of Jesus, as we understand it. In this context theology, and thesis’ and books on theology all of significance and value. Because we are coming together and asking why do we believe this? What are they doing right? The Anabaptist comes and lays out their beliefs for why we are not part of the kingdoms of this world, and why we should not give allegiance to our countries, why war is wrong and how to live in this third way. The Liberal Protestant teaches us that we must live out the meaning of the miracles of Christ, building hospitals to heal those with aids, building schools so that people who are intellectually blind can see, the Charismatic Christian teaches us the power that the Holy Spirit still has and how He is still actually healing people. Can two separate sides of the women in ministry We do this because we are interested in understanding the best way to live out Jesus to the world. We don’t all agree, but we are open and understand that Jesus is bigger than my walls, my ideas, my theology.

I wonder if we viewed God like this if it would be possible for a homosexual Liberal Protestant Christian to sit with greedy Conservative Protestant Christian and for them to actually discus together the best way to live Jesus. It is not about trying to win the argument, but about discerning how best to live Jesus. Now I guess I have qualify that last statement. I’m not condoning sin, but both those who hoard wealth and those who live in sexual sin, are not living the best they can for Jesus, but perhaps they can find common ground in trying to find out what that best way is. Hopefully through this dialogue both sides would see that they are wrong. But it is not about picketing places and yelling and screaming, instead it is about discovery, trying to learn the best way to live.

I guess it comes down to, how big is my God? And, how big is my theology? Can I have a generous Orthodoxy? Or must I stay within the walls of my specific theology? So now I will practice my Anabaptist tradition. What do you think? As my community, what are the things I’m missing? Does this ring true? Or am I doomed?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

V For Vendetta

Last night was Pizza and a Movie night at our house. I think that Niki and I will have to institute that as a more common occurrence in our house. It was a lot of fun to eat some great greasy pizza and watch a movie.

The movie we watched was V for Vendetta. Now I realize that I am WAY behind in my movie watching, and that most people in the world have already given their two cents about what they thought. But this isn't everyone else's blog, it's mine, so I can do what I want. Now I'm not sure that I can recommend it (due to some graphic violence) but I thought it was a fantastic movie. It also leaves you in no doubt about how the Wachowski brothers (Makers of the Matrix) feel about the Bush government. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie the basic premise is that the world is full of terrorists and horrible dieses, and so the people give up their freedom for protection. The government then becomes a government of the sort you read about in Orwell’s 1984. Now the interesting thing is that in this movie the government is clearly supposed to be Right Wing Conservatives. Their motto is "Strength through Unity, Unity through Faith." They even have a "religious" commentator who is the "Voice of England" who supports the government (Pat Robertson perhaps??). But the Warchowski brothers don't leave it there. They also draw some pretty clear lines connecting this Right Wing government to the Nazi's. Taking homosexuals and others and running inhuman tests on them, breaking into houses and night to take people away, the Chancellor standing holding up his arm as an army marches past. And through all of it I sat there and thought to myself, you know their not that far off. It doesn't take that big of a jump for a government to go from good to bad. As soon as we start to allow fear to rule, and we ask people to take over for us we will always end up in trouble. This quote stuck in my mind after the movie,

"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both." -Benjamin Franklin

With all the recent school shootings, wars around the world, mad cow, aids, etc. it is very easy for us to run to our government begging for safety, but it seems like the writer of V for Vendetta had a few thoughts about where that will get us.
So, what do you think? Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts about it?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gloria in Profundis

There has fallen on earth for a token A god too great for the sky. He has burst out of all things and broken The bounds of eternity: Into time and the terminal land He has strayed like a thief or a lover, For the wine of the world brims over, Its splendour is spilt on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all—
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.

Glory to God in the Lowest
the spout of the stars in spate—
Where the thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for a sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star that has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.

This is my favorite poem ever! It was written by G.K Chesterton in 1927

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kutless, Jazz, and the Opera

So I have to say that the last few weeks have been great for concerts and such. First there was the Underoath show (which was incredible) and then on Friday we took the youth to see Kutless... well we took the youth to see Kutless, but I went to see Stereotrap (which I missed because we were late). And then on Sunday night Niki and I went with the churches college and career to see Blue Like Jazz Live! The Kutless concert was... ok, after seeing Underoath and Moneen... well let's just say that Kutless isn't quite on the same level. But it was fun Dwight and I took the role of old guys in the pit! It was fun to jump and scream my head around like I was cool or something.... I decided that if I was in a band then I could actually be cool. So my goal for the rest of my life... Find some people to be in a band with me... so we can act like idiots for the rest of our lives.

But the show I was REALLY looking forward to was Blue Like Jazz Live. It is a one man show that acts out Donald Miller's Book Blue Like Jazz (obviously). Anyway it was AWESOME! We had front row seats so we could catch everything. It was funny, deep, and thought provoking (everything that Miller's book is) I have to say if you ever have the chance you need to see this show, go with some friends and then go for a drink of your choice and talk about it. And if you never get the chance to see it... I bought the DVD and while it is not AS good, it is pretty sweet!

Now as if this weren't enough there is more. On Saturday Niki and I are going to see the Phantom of the Opera. In Niki's post Skittles, Alf, and Ecclesiastes she talks about "dates in the city that cost a lot but are sponsored by a third party" Well that is this date (Thanks Steve and Diane). I really can't wait for it. I have loved the music from this score for YEARS, and I have always wanted to see it, and now I will!!!

So on a completely different note. I had been planning this SWEET surprise for Niki. I was going to fly her best friend out from Saskatchewan pick her up at the airport and then bring her into the house and Niki was going to be shocked and so happy! Well Marsha and I had been emailing and Niki sometimes checks my email at work so I told her she couldn't look at it. When she asked why I replied with the classic "Don't worry about it." Instead of leaving it and not worrying about it like I asked her she starts to think about it which makes her all suspicious and upset... did I mention she was upset? Well I accidentally let her see that Marsha and I had emailed (rookie mistake... gosh!! I'm better than that!) anyway she spent all of Sunday night just ticked at me because she thought I was... I don't know... cheating on her!?? Eventually she cornered me and I had no choice, but to let her know... *sigh* It took me two years to think of something this good. Now I have to go back to the drawing board. If any of you guys have some tips on how to lie to your wife I'm more than willing to take some advice at this point, because it just doesn't seem like anything works. I just hope Marsha will still come out.