Tag Archives: Lent/Easter

My name is Jordon and I need help

Driving home from Waskesiu yesterday, Wendy asked me what I was thinking and I couldn’t tell her the truth. I was trying to name off all of the NFL’s starting, backup, and third string quarterbacks of all 30 teams from memory. The scary thing is that not only did I name them, I also was running scenerios of what would happen if Daunte Cullpepper signed with different teams.

I may be a NFL-aholic. Of course it isn’t my fault and I can quit at anytime but I blame the NFL Network. No person can handle that much NFL without being changed but here I am, absorbing hour after hour of Deion Sanders trying to be funny and wondering if an insightful thought will ever come from his mouth (not yet anyways).

Last night I actually came home, flipped through the channels and decided the best thing to watch was video footage of the Houston Texans mini-camp. For the love of Gary Kubiak, what was I thinking? Even the Houston Texans don’t like the Houston Texans.

Other signs of NFL-aholism…

  • I own two Rodney Peete Pro Set Rookie Cards
  • I have fond memories of watching Steve DeBerg compete in the NFL Quarterback Challenge.
  • I cried while watching America’s Game and I am a Canadian.
  • I keep my NFL “Duke” football on my night table.
  • I named a previous dog of ours Elway.
  • Many of my fondest memories involve Monday Night Football.
  • I have the NFL Films sountrack on my iPod and I occasionally sneak it on Wendy’s iPod.
  • I consider the NFL Draft to be on the same par as Christmas, Easter, and my wedding anniversary in terms of holidays.
  • I watched the Nebraska spring game this year.

I am a man screaming out for help and I have to deal with this… right after I watch the reply of the NFL Europa game of the week.

Easter Monday

Some Easter thoughts…
  • While I did try to avoid partisan politics this Lent season (and it was worth it), my more serious disciple was to reflect and try to deal with some of the emotions I feel on a daily basis at work.  I did some exercises, journalled them, and talked them over which was good for me.  Looking back at it, the one characteristic that I struggle with the most are those that are self-centred to the extreme, regardless of race, class, or education.  It has always bugged me as it an antithesis of community which I value very highly.  I am working on some exercises to help with my attitude as that is probably the best short term solution.  Eliminating self-centred people will probably take a little longer and of course the first one who needs to be dealt with is me.
  • Speaking of work, Easter Sunday was both long and fun.  I thought it would be nice to make sure we had some chocolates to hand out to the residents, so did some other co-workers so there was a LOT of chocolate to be given out to the residents and kids who came for our meal time.  Long in that there was a lot of people all day along around.  I was tired enough that when I got home for work last night, I slept to this morning.  So much for Easter supper, I was out of it.
  • Of course this morning after all of the sleep and a thermos of coffee, I was like a hummingbird and I was flying all over the place.
  • On Friday night I was at Jerry Reimer’s 60th birthday party and I felt horrible.  My feet and my hands hurt so badly from the neuropathy that I couldn’t stand it.  I had heard of Neuragen before but saw an ad in the paper.  Wendy went out and got some for me at Shoppers Drug Mart and I whined about the price but I was hurting so bad, I wasn’t going to take it back.  So I put some on where it hurt and it stopped hurting, I waited for the pain to return as it always has.  It didn’t which blew me away.  You just drop it on where it hurts and the pain goes away.  When I am in pain, it takes about 3 minutes for me to figure out all of the places to put it but then it is sleep, wonderful uninterupted sleep.  I almost forgot what that feels like.  It says no more than five times a day but I just need it at night when trying to sleep.  During the day, I am active enough that it doesn’t really bother me.  Apparently this naturopathy stuff does work.  More on its effectiveness with diabetics here.
  • We are closer to purchasing a car today.  Lee and Wendy went test driving while I worked.  Edmunds.com makes life a lot easier for us used car buyers.  Tomorrow will be D-Day if all works out well.
  • Bishop N.T. Wright in the Guardian ::

2007 Draggins Rod & Custom Car Show

47th Annual Draggins Rod and Custom Car Show

Easter weekend was the 47th Annual Draggins Rod & Custom Car Show which like most people in Saskatoon, we try to attend. This year Wendy had to work later so Mark and I headed over and she met up with us later. I grabbed the camera and posted a bunch of photos on Flickr. Mark was in his glory. For a kid that loves Hot Wheels, this is his favorite event of the year. When we went, the crowds were just dying down for the night and several car owners chatted with Mark and let him get a closer look which he was thrilled with. He also walked away with some promotional material from some of the racing teams. There were a couple of cars that caught my imagination but I think I would look pretty good driving this around town.

Related:

Hypocrisy

Warren Kinsella has a good post on spirituality, praxis, and politics.  He starts it with this

In the shadow of Easter, on a miserly, cold Sunday, the subject of today’s sermon is an old one: hypocrisy.

and finishes with this

Sitting in church, I am reminded of that political trusim every once in a while. Look! There’s the scary-angry parent who literally punched a wall at the community centre, in front of a bunch of little kids, when their misbehaving kid was asked to leave. There’s the one who tells other parents not to let their kids play with the kids whose mother they hate. There’s the guy who uses big words to hide the fact that he is a sexist bully, and that he never actually completed a university degree. There’s one who terminated a pregnancy because she wanted a different gender than the one she was getting. There’s one (or two) with a shady past, and who isn’t permitted to set foot in the United States as a consequence, but who formulates elaborate stories to cover it all up. There’s the ones who monkey around on the side, then march to a pew with unsuspecting spouse and children every Sunday morning. It’s the same in your place of worship, I’ll bet. Same everywhere.

What’s my point? My point is that the rhetoric about the separation of church and state is overblown. Precisely the same kinds of people fill the church pews and the leather-lined legislature seats, with the only difference being that the latter get more ink than the former. But both exhibit symptoms of the same virus, which is rank, stomach-churning hypocrisy.

While watching the documentry Scared Sacred by Velcrow Ripper (second only to Rip Torn as the best name ever) last night, I was reminded that in the middle of the worst situations that mankind faces, there are also stories of hope.  The stomach churning hypocrisy will always be there but there are always those that seem to show up and want to challenge it and change the system for the better.  Yes, some people “get as mad as hell” and take power sometimes but that is only part of the story.  If Velcrow Ripper can find hope in Ground Zeroes around the world, I think it can be found everywhere, even in churches and politics.

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Contextless Links

  • Crime pays poorly and it is because of the red tape
  • Blogs aren’t exactly destroying mainstream media
  • Kester Brewin on the Judas that we never knew
  • Maggi Dawn on Misquoting Jesus :: When I lost my naive faith, I had the good fortune of coming to land in a place where the Bible is taken in the context of reason and “tradition” (by which I mean the history and practice of the Church, not “traditionalism”), and consequently the inaccuracies, mistakes, inconsistencies and unknowns of the Biblical record do not necessitate an abandonment of faith.  It intrigues me why people continue working, in a negative way, against a faith they have lost. Where does the energy come from? And what kind of a mission is it to spend your life disproving something? Once you’ve disproved something, surely there are more interesting projects to move on to? All the same, I sympathise with people like Ehrman who do lose their faith, because I’ve walked close to that line myself, and see close-up the crisis that ensues when someone who has carved out their life around a profession that goes hand in hand with a belief system that subsequently crumbles.
  • The Book of Bart :: Bart Ehrman’s take on Scripture
  • Jason Evans has a beautiful reflection on Mark Palmer’s life :: Palmer developed community by developing people. I wish I could have the time he had throughout the day. Alas, I live in So.Cal. and I have to work full-time. But this is really only an excuse. The truth is, I envy the way Palmer valued people, saw potential and capacity in everyone and always could listen… I like to talk way too much. Mark developed a sense of community amongst those that called LP their church by helping all who participated to see their value within the community. By focusing on an individual that individual discovered their place at the table, as part of a family… I want to do that for my community.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Message via :: The mystery of Christian faith is really something we can’t ever put into words because it is about so many things that are all true all at once, but we can only talk about them one at a time. Advent and Christmas and Good Friday and Easter and Pentecost, Baptism and Communion and birth and death are all packed up together, inseparably. But whether in our words or in the course of the Christian year, we usually have to pull them apart and take them in some kind of series. And it’s good that we do, since we have to give ourselves a chance to think things through carefully and to experience the time it takes to get from old to new, from death to life.  But once in a while something happens that pushes it all together again, confusingly and wonderfully, telling us that Advent is already, eternally, overtaken by Christmas, Lent by Easter, death by life. God is always there ahead of us, his future already part of the present. I think that was the gift – or one of the many gifts – I received from our brothers and sisters in Sudan. Yes, we ought as a rule to take things at their proper pace, one thing at a time. But let’s not forget that God is already ahead of us; that there really is an ‘alleluia dimension’ in the very heart of Lent and Passiontide. And the people who can tell us that are people like the Sudanese, who have, quite simply, met the Risen Lord in the darkest times.

First night of summer

Today is a holiday in Saskatchewan which means I get it off.  Oddly enough Easter Sunday is not a holiday here so I will be working.

We didn’t take in a Good Friday service for the first time in my life today.  Wendy was sick to her stomach all last night and I was up while she was tossing and turning.  We decided to sleep in.

Lee pestered us to take us out for lunch but Poverino’s was closed so Lee, Wendy, Mark, and I took off to Credit Union Centre for the Draggin’s Rod and Custom Car Show.  I don’t know how many cars and hot rods were there but probably around 200 and some from as far away as Chicago.  We went last year and we all had our favorites.  For Mark, it was like walking through a world where all of his Hot Wheels have come to life.  Not only that but they gave all the kids a free Hot Wheels car as they went in so he was even more pumped up if that was possible.  More muscle cars this year than older hot rods and we had a good time.  The highlight for me was they had the ultimate man’s shed with it’s own urinal in the main area.  Not that I thought it was that cool but the stunned and horrified look on Wendy’s face was priceless.  A lot of stock cars that race at Bridge City Speedway were on hand.  All of them had promotional stuff for the new track which got Lee and I interested in checking it out.  Thanks to Becky and Dave, I find myself watching some NASCAR. 

By the time we got home, there was a Star Trek film fest on and Wendy and I watched Star Trek V and VI together.

Finally, we wandered outside for the first nice night of spring and started a fire in the firepit as we burned part of the fence that was smashed by the stolen truck that slammed into the front lawn this winter.

While most of you are borned out of your mind after reading this, I realized while watching William Shatner save the universe how incredibly relaxed I was.  During all of the weeks and months that I was sick last year, I never, ever felt relaxed or at ease.  I was either focused on being in pain or the lack of work and being broke.  I never felt relaxed.  Today was the first time in a year where my mind was shut off and totally disengaged.  I felt relaxed.  It felt good.

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The Third Word

“Women, behold thy son!”…”Behold thy mother!” John 19:26-27 (KJV)

From Stanley Hauerwas’ Cross Shattered Christ

…Indeed I think we can only appreciate Jesus’ commending Mary to the beloved disciple, as well as his charge to the disciples to regard Mary as his mother, when we recognize that Mary is not another mother.  Rather, Mary is the firstborn of a new creation.  Without Mary’s response “Here am I” to Gabriel, our salvation would not be.  Raneiro Cantalamessa quite rightly, therefore, entitled his book on Mary, Mary: Mirror of the Church.

Cantalamessa, moreover makes the fascinating observation that in the New Testament Jesus is often designated or assumed to be the new Adam, the new Moses, or the new David, but he is never called the new Abraham.  Cantalamessa suggests that the reason Jesus is not associated  with Abraham is very simple — Mary is our Abraham.  Just as Abraham did not resist God’s call to leave his father’s country to a new land, so Mary did not resist God’s declaration that she would bear a child through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Abraham’s faith foreshadows Mary’s “Here am I” because just as we are Abraham’s children through faith, so we become children of the new age inaugurated in Christ through Mary’s faithfulness.

God restrained Abraham’s blow that would have sacrificed Isaac, but the Father does not hold back from the sacrifice of Mary’s son.  Jesus’ command that Mary should “behold your son” is to ask Mary to see the one born of her body was born to be sacrificed so that we might live.  As Gregory of Nyssa put it, “If one examines the mystery, one will prefer to say not that his death was a consequence of his birth, but that the birth was undertaken so that we could die.”  When God tested Abraham by commanding the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham’s “Here I am” (Genesis 22:1) did not result in Isaac’s death.  Mary’s “Here am I,” however could not save her son from being the one born to die on a cross.

In the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews we are reminded that “by faith” did our foremothers and fathers live.  Yet Mary, true daughter of Israel, was tested as no one in Israel had ever been tested.  Jesus’ “behold your son” asked Mary to witness the immolation of the Son, to enter into the darkness that is the cross, yet to hold fast to the promises she had received from the Spirit that this is the one that will scatter the proud, bring down the powerful from their thrones, fill the hungry with good things, and fulfill the promises made the Abraham and his descendants.  Her son, the Messiah, will do all this from the cross.

Jesus charges Mary to regard as her own, her true family, the “disciple whom he loved.”  Drawing disciples into the church, Mary shares her faith, making possible our faith.  At this moment, at the foot of the cross, we are drawn into the mystery of salvation through the beginning of the church.  Mary, the new Eve, becomes for us the firstborn of a new reality, of a new family, that only God could create.  Augustine observed that the God who created us without us refuses to save us without us.  Mary is the first great representative of that “us.”  Accordingly Mary, the Jew, in a singular fashion becomes for us the forerunner of our faith, making it impossible for Christians to forget that without God’s promises to Israel our faith is in vain.

When Christians repress the role of Mary in our salvation we are tempted to forget that God remains faithful to his people, the Jews.  Our saviour was born of Mary, making us, like the Jews, a bodily people who live by faith in the One who asks us to behold his crucified body.

Jesus, therefore, commands the disciple, his beloved disciple, not to regard Mary as Jesus’ mother but rather recognize that Mary is “your mother.”  Mary’s peculiar role in our salvation does not mean that she is separate from the church.  Rather, Mary’s role in our salvation is singular because, beginning with the beloved disciple, she is made a member of the church.  Mary is one of us, which means that the distance between her and us is that constituted by both her and our distance between Trinity and us, that is, between creatures and Creator. 

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Interview with Stanley Hauerwas

This comes from Rick Bennett’s blog, one of those weblogs that if you don’t read it, you should be reading it. He linked to this interview with theologian Stanley Hauerwas about the Cross Shattered Christ.  Below is a portion of it.

One of the most challenging chapters was the one on the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You say the words “shatter our attempts to understand God in human terms.”

It shows that Christ does experience the darkness of being completely alienated from the Father.

So one person of the Trinity could feel completely alienated from the other?

Yes. And that means there is a time when we cannot approach God through Christ, because Christ was completely abandoned. That is a chilling, chilling notion: that there is a time when we cannot reach God through Christ. I think that’s what that means.

You say it reveals that “our assumption that God must possess the sovereign power to make everything turn out all right for us, at least in the long run,” is idolatry.

It’s idolatry to think that to be a Christian means this is all going to work out well for me. That’s not what God is in the business of being God for. The idea that Jesus’ whole project was to make sure my life would be OK is a far too narcissistic account of the crucifixion.

It also touches on the age-old theodicy question: Do you believe God is simultaneously all-powerful and all-good?

I believe that whatever it means for God to be all-powerful and all-good “names” the fact that God could not be other than the Father to the Son, who submits himself entirely to sin. You never start with an abstract notion of omnipotence or all-powerful in a way that those words become self-defining separate from Christology.

So we have to accept God first, and not certain words in the language?

That’s right. That was what Karl Barth well understood.

You say we try to explain the “why have you forsaken me?” phrase to “protect God from making a fool out of God.” Why do we have such a problem with these words?

Because we want God not to be the God we find in Christ. We want God to be the great all-powerful daddy, who makes sure our lives will not have to be lives of suffering. It’s an idolatrous position.

So we shouldn’t expect God to do anything about our suffering?

We know God has done something about our suffering–it’s called the cross. It gives us the resources to have even our suffering be a service to God and God’s kingdom.

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The Second Word

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” Luke 23:43
 
From Chapter two of the Cross Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
We may be Christians, but we fear the habits of our imaginations, and too often the way we live betrays our fear that we are but bubbles on a stormy sea.  The weather of an aimless universe produced us, and that same weather will kill us.  We worry that we will die without a trace because there will be no one to apprehend or remember the trace we were.  As a result we live desperate, deadly lives in the hope we will not be forgotten.  We take comfort, for example  that we are citizens of the greatest, most powerful nation in the history of the world.  Doing so, we are tempted to support exercises of American might and wealth that may be unjust but are assumed to be necessary to secure our nation’s power.  To be a citizen of such a nation at least suggests our lives will not be forgotten.  When the history is written, America, like Rome, cannot be forgotten, as Americans we will have a place in history.  Is it any wonder that a people so formed believe that what is happening in this man Jesus’ life is something about our significance?  Is it any wonder that we find the lean and gaunt account of the life and crucifixion of Christ so unsatisfying?
 
Accordingly it is almost impossible for us not to identify with the thief’s request.  Please, dear Jesus, remember us.  Insure that our lives will have significance so that we will be more than bubbles on the foam of life.  Jesus’ crucified companion, however does not ask to be remembered so his life will have significance.  Rather he asks, as the Psalms taught Israel to ask, to be remembered when Jesus comes into his kingdom.    Such a request makes sense only if Jesus–a man undergoing the same crucifixion the thief suffers–can fulfill such a request.  We desperately ask to be remembered, fearing we are nothing.  In contrast this thief confidently asks to be remembered because he recognizes the One who can remember.
Some of you will read the reference to America and think that is me making a political statement by quoting this section but it isn’t.  I cringed typing it is as I didn’t want to make that at all.  The same could be said for any country or people group.  I think of the cathedrals of downtown Saskatoon and all western cities and look up and hear the cries of people wanting to build something bigger than themselves in the same desire to be remembered.  The same desire to make an impact.  As I read this, I looked around at my own life and even this blog and I asked the question, how much of what I am do is trying to find signficance instead of looking towards the One who can remember…
 
 

The First Word

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
 
From Chapter One of the Cross Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
It is also a stark reminder that these words are not first and foremost about us; about our petty sinfulness.  It is the Second Person of the Trinity who asks, “Father, forgive them for they know what they do.”  The Son intimately addresses the Father.  We look away, embarrassed by a love so publicly displayed.  According to Herbert McCabe, these words, “Father, forgive,” are nothing less than the interior life of the Triune God made visible to the eyes of faith.  The Son asks the Father to forgive, a forgiveness unimaginable if this is all about us and our struggle to comprehend the meaning of our lives in the face of death.  By this deed, by this word, Jesus rules out all speculative theories that seek to subject these words and this death to our understanding what is required for reconciliation of the world.  In von Balthasar’s words:
Over against such free-wheeling speculation in empty space it should not only be remembered that God is his (ever-free!) sovereignty the absolute ground and meaning of his own action, so that only foolishness can cause us to neglect his actual deeds, in favor of scouting round for other possibilities of acting.  But, more than this, we must state positively that to be it that to be in solidarity with the lost is something greater than just dying for them in an externally representative manner.  It is more than so announcing the Word of God that this proclamation through the opposition it arouses among sinners, happens to lead to a violent death… for the redeeming act consist in a wholly unique bearing of the total sin of the world by the Father’s wholly unique Son, whose God manhood is alone capable of such an office.
Is it any wonder we find Good Friday so shattering?  On this day and with these words, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing,” all our presumptions about God and the salvation wrought by God are rendered presumptuous.  Moreover, that is how we discover that what happens on the cross is really about us, but the “what” that is about us challenges our presumptions about what kind of salvation we need.  Through the cross of Christ we are drawn into the mystery of the Trinity.  That is God’s work on our behalf.  We are made members of a kingdom governed by a politics of forgiveness and redemption.  The world is offered an alternative unimaginable by our sin-determined fantasies.
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Holy Week

No contextless links this week.  Instead I am going to blog about some things I have been mediatating on after reading and re-reading Stanley Hauerwas’ book, Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations On The Seven Last Words.  Some longer essays that I am working on may make their way online as well but for the next little while this place will be set aside for some inner thoughts of mine that are slowly being extroverted.  That and it is raining in Saskatoon so my plans for the yard today are delayed until it dries up (nothing that fancy… we have a fire pit in the backyard and Mark has been wanting a fire to roast some marshmellows on for a while.  I was planning to burn the old fence section.  The yard is too damp.  Lawnchairs would sink right into the ground).
 
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Reflections on a Sunday night

Another day, another couple of dollars from work.  I wish I could say it was quiet today but it wasn’t.  Wendy was working at Safeway, I was working at CBiT so Lee and Mark hung out and bonded.  I work tomorrow and then I have Tuesday and Wednesday off work.  Oddly enough we are closed Good Friday but open on Easter Sunday.  I am not sure how many people are shopping Easter Sunday but all of the malls are closed in Saskatoon that day.
 
The snow is finally gone from the yard.  The driveway is still a mud pit but we should be able to start working on the lawn in a week or so.  I don’t rake the yard, I just set the mower right down and mow it all up.  Last year I mulched all year so I am wondering if I should just mulch up the dead grass and leave it on the lawn instead of collecting it up.  Our soil is so clay filled, all organic matter that can be used, should be used.  Decisions, decisions…
 
The annoying task of the year is repairing the smashed four foot section of fence.  I have a massive rotting tree stump that is right beside that fence so digging another post hole will be as much fun as having a new hole drilled in my head.  It is right at the corner of our lawn so you know if I don’t do anything, everyone will cut across it.
 
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Upcoming.org

I am not sure why no one outside of tech circles is talking about or using Upcoming.org but it is incredibly cool, especially when a lot of you in a certain city (or metro) are using it.  Basically it allows you to promote and find interesting events that are in your city and also find out what your friends are attending.  My user profile can be found here (Wendy has one here) and enclosed are a list of events that we are planning to attend over the next short while.

I am not sure I would want to promote every single church service but it is also a great place to list big Sunday’s (Christmas Eve, Easter) and also some other big events like when Lakeview Church brought in Tony Campolo a couple years ago.  Just don’t spam it. 

You can also add a badge to your own weblog or site, just like the one to your right.

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