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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Last night I was able to head downtown with my wife and some of our friends to the opening session of a conference put on jointly by Wycliffe College and ACI (Anglican Communion Institute). The event was being held at St. Paul’s on Bloor. To be honest, the main reason we went down was because the speaker for the evening was one, Tom Wright. The writings of Wright have been quite formational for me over the last couple of years so it was nice to hear him speak for the first time in person. Tom gave a talk on the New Testament (obviously) and it’s impact on Anglicanism. Some things that stood out to me:

– The importance of reading from both the Old and New Testament each time you read. This gives you a window through which you can glimpse the whole of God’s story as revealed in the Scriptures.

– It is important to read through books of the Bible, from beginning to end, in one go. This is obvious when you think about it. The epistles were written to be read in their entirety. They are letters and were never meant to be broken down into little bits. The same goes for other books as well. Granted, it’s not always possible to read an entire book at a time (either publicly or privately) but it’s something we should attempt to practice at least some of the time. It’s important to read entire books at a time for a deeper understanding of the flow of the book as a whole.

– Daily, and by daily I mean daily, immersion in the scriptures is something we need more of. Wright likened it to a familiar analogy: suppose you have a jagged rock that you are trying to shape. If you you throw it in a river and come back at some point in the future the effect of the river constantly running over the rock will have caused it to become smooth and take on a new shape. If you were to take this same rock and throw it in a dry river bed nothing would happen. Even if you doused it with water every now and then it wouldn’t have much of an effect. The same can be said for occasional outbursts of flowing water.

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The Raptors have lost some air are at .500 already. Monday nights game in Boston was incredible from a basketball perspective. The Raptors played their best half of basketball both offensively and defensively that I’ve seen from them in a long time…that would be the first half. They look on fire. Some incredible ball movement. One thing that I found incredible was the atmosphere in the place. I’ve been to a lot of intense Raptors playoff games and this definitely had playoff intensity written all over it. Bosh and Jose had sub-par games but the Raptors flexed some muscle. JO was strong down low of course and I thought he was going to come to blows with Perkins at one point. Then later on in the game KG got in Jose’s face and started talking trash and working up the crowd. To my surprise Jose didn’t let him get away with it and jawed right back! BIG UPS to Jose for talking back to KG. Toronto and Boston are both Atlantic Division contenders so naturally there is a rivalry there, but I see a really nice rivalry developing! Last night the Raptors lost again but we saw good things out of Bargnani! Reggie Evans is going to need some new ankles after Barg’s destroyed them on the baseline and threw down a reverse dunk! That was SICK WICKED AND NASTY (RIP Chuck)! He had a couple of great drives and it’s nice to see him finally growing a pair, getting aggressive and playing like he’s 7’0 (oh wait, he is 7’0). Couple of other Raptors notes:

– Someone needs to tell that clown Solomon that when he’s on the floor the ball *always* needs to go through the hands of either Bosh or JO when they’re on the floor.

– Moon needs to work on his shot selection. He takes some questionable shots and I’m not sure that’s his roll.

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Totally different basketball story: The other day Christina and I went to catch a playoff game that one of our students, Kemi, was playing in. She’s in the 9th grade and plays for her school team. They were down by like 30 points in the first half and the other coach kept running full-court defense on them. What the heck? I got a little frustrated and yelled at the coach to let him know he should relax his defense a little bit when he’s up by 30 points (Big Mike probably would have clocked him!). Christina was a little embarrassed, but he listened…nice! Anyways, in the second half near the end of the game Kemi’s point guard was bringing the ball up the floor and all of a sudden the weirdest thing happened. Every player on her team except for the PG tripped and fell on the floor…simultaneously! Naturally the players on the other team stopped and looked and the PG jacked up a 3, and hit it! Then it suddenly clicked on me that it was a trick play. Maybe this makes no sense in type, but it was absolutely hilarious in person.

That’s all for now…PEACE!

I’m reading a book at the moment and the authors, in a section on leadership and churches valuing Pastor/Teacher leaders more than others, write the following: “So-called ‘good teaching’ is not occurring in a church that has no heart for its community, since the purpose of teaching is to equip Christians for service,” (Frost & Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, 68).

This got me thinking about a particular church in our area that is known for “good teaching”. In fact, people that attend this church often cite “good teaching” as a reason for attending there. Others even leave their old church to attend this one because of the “good teaching”. However, to my knowledge, there really isn’t much going on in the community. Sure, they give loads of money to missionaries overseas and hold various outreach events but there doesn’t seem to be much service happening. And in cases where there is, the vast majority of the congregation does not get involved. I’m speaking generally here of course because there are great people there that do get involved in their community, but this is all to ask the question, “What good is knowledge if there is no action?” Great teaching ought to lead to great action, should it not? Or am I way off base here?

Grace and peace.

It’s a big day in American politics and it seems as if the entire world is watching. And yet, the world continues to turn. Amidst all of the media attention being directed towards this election life is being given, and taken. As I logged on to my computer this morning I visited the BBC website. The headline read “Big day for the USA,” and there were fancy flash banners advertising up-to-the-minute election coverage (and this was the BBC, I can’t imagine what the CNN website is like!).

I scrolled down the page a bit and came across a much smaller headline. This one had no flash banners to accompany it. It read: “Stoning victim ‘begged for mercy'”. All I had to do was read the opening sentences and I felt a deep sense of sadness and regret. The first couple of sentences read like this:

A young woman recently stoned to death in Somalia first pleaded for her life, a witness has told the BBC. “Don’t kill me, don’t kill me,” she said, according to the man who wanted to remain anonymous. A few minutes later, more than 50 men threw stones. Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped. Initial reports had said she was a 23-year-od woman who had  confessed to adultery before a Sharia court.”

The story continues on to say that she was forced into a hole in ground, buried up to her neck and then bombarded with stones until she died. All of this happened in front of more than 1,000 people.

At one point nurses were brought out to check on the girl to see if she was dead. They dug her out of the hole only to discover that she was still alive. Then they put her back in the hole and the men continued to stone her until she died.

A 13-year-old girl. Raped by 3 men, but accused of adultery. Stoned to death by 50.

I can’t help but be reminded of another familiar sounding story…

At dawn [Jesus] appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Father, we’re thankful for your grace and mercy. A grace and mercy that is so unlike ours and so beyond our realm of thinking. We think now about this young muslim girl in Somalia. Raped, brought before the courts, dragged out in front of thousands and stoned to death by 50 men. This isn’t right. This can’t be what you’ve planned for your Creation. Rescue us from ourselves. Thank you that you have indeed broke through creation and become one of us. Thank you that you redeemed each one of us and reconciled us to yourself. Thank you that we can be made whole. Let your kingdom come and be manifest on earth like it is in heaven. Nothing can stop you from accomplishing your will. Teach us to forgive like you’ve forgiven us. Thank you that you’re with this girls family. May love be present there.
Amen.