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It’s been sometime since I’ve written anything here. Obviously my Euro predictions were a wee bit off. At any rate, here are a few updates that may/may not be of any interest.

(1) I graduated (or, convocated?)! Three years and a whole lot of reading and writing later and I am officially a graduate of Wycliffe College. My wife will heartily agree, no doubt, that these three years were hugely important for our family and me personally. Going into Wycliffe I was in a bit of a strange place mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Seminary isn’t for everyone, but for me it was just what I needed. I grew up in more ways than one and feel a renewed call to ordained ministry.

Wycliffe College Convocation (2012) – Can you spot me?

(2) On the note of ordained ministry, my family and I have been moving in recent months towards Anglicanism. Little known fact: I was baptized in the Church of Ireland and attended St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Newmarket, ON up until the age of about eleven. At the end of April we had Charlotte baptized at our local Anglican Church (St. Matthew’s Riverdale). A few weeks back I was officially received into the Anglican Communion by the laying on of hands from Bishop Mark MacDonald. I am also currently on a one year contract with St. Matthew’s as parish assistant in order that I may gain ministry experience in an Anglican context. All of this is, among other reasons, because I hope to apply for ordination with the Diocese of Toronto in 2013. This journey is, for me, anxiety laden in more than a few ways. I actually plan on writing a short series of blog posts over the summer documenting our journey towards Anglicanism and all of the things I’m concerned about along the way.

(3) We’re moving. As of August 1st we need to be out of the house. We finally found someone to move in and take our place (we have been living in intentional Christian community, of sorts, for the past year and a bit and needed to help find a person to take over our place in order to leave). Ideally we want to stay in the Riverdale/Leslieville neighbourhood as we love it here and our church community is here (not to mention my other job with the Philip Aziz Centre). It’s not looking promising at the moment but I’m still hoping we can find something in the next couple of weeks.

OK, that’s all for now. I’m going to attempt to post at least once a week over the summer to keep the creative juices flowing.

Peace y’all!

 

*The featured image is of St. Matthew’s Riverdale.

Friday, February 24, 1989. This is the day my family and I arrived in Canada from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I was 6.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008. This is the day that I shall travel downtown to write a test to become a Canadian citizen. I am 24. This has been 18 years in the making. To prepare I was given a book titled, ‘A Look at Canada,’ which I am to study in advance (although I hear the test isn’t that hard). After writing the test I’m anticipating that I will have to sing the national anthem and pledge allegiance to the Queen, the Prime Minister or Canada (at which point I’ll be crossing my fingers, you know, because then it will void the pledge, and of course, repenting for my idolatry!).

People become a citizen for all sorts of reasons I suppose. To vote, to be patriotic, to better identify themselves with a country et cetera. I’m not becoming a citizen for any of these reasons in particular. My primary reason for becoming a citizen is to make traveling easier. Essentially, I’m just tired of being probed every time I try and cross the US/Canadian border. If I can simply flash my Canadian passport I can spare myself all of the unpleasantries that are so inherent in said probing and it will make returning to Canada from wherever that much easier. I have no desire to pledge allegiance to a country for my allegiances lay elsewhere (Big Brother, if you are reading this I still quite like Canada and am content to be here).

So that’s the story of the last 18 years. Time to become a citizen.

Grace and peace.

Lot’s has been happening lately which partially explains why I haven’t written much. From June 27 – July 7 Christina and I took a group of 9 students and 1 other leader out to Glace Bay, Nova Scotia to work alongside Dave and Shirley Sawler. I’ll write more on this later.

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This past week we held the first ever Cornerstone Sports Camp: Foundations for Life and Sports. This was a sports camp put on for kids in the Aurora community. A lot of work went into this and it turned out to be a great week. We ran baseball in the morning at a local park and then basketball in the afternoons at a local high school. The kids all had a great time and it was really fun getting to know and spend time with them. Definately look forward to doing this again next summer. Kudos to all of our volunteer coaches and team leaders!

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This evening Christina and I headed down to Church in the Beach to hang out with the Burkes and the local Body there. It was quite the evening. The group of people that we are heading over to Europe with include the Burkes and some people from the faith community in the Beach so we gathered there as a sort of ‘send-off’. It was great. I really love worshiping with the folks at CITB because they all seem so free from pretense. No one pretends that they have everything figured out. The leadership isn’t convinced that they are the most dynamic leaders the world has seen. It’s refreshing. There was probably about 30 people that were there last evening. Most evangelicals would likely chuckle upon hearing that number but I tell you, God was present.

Howard Moore, the Canadian Director for Greater Europe Mission preached about the mission of Jesus. We looked at how/why the Father sent the Son into the world and the impact that this had on the Church being sent into the world. Great stuff. Afterwards we had a time of prayer for those of us heading to Europe.

Then came the party. After our gathering everyone, and I mean everyone, headed back to the Burke residence and partied. Food, drinks, converstation…the whole bit. Why party? Well one of the women that has been a part of this community since 2001 has been a refugee in Canada since 1999. Just this past week she won her immigration case and was granted refugee status! Great! Paul asked her if she had anything she wanted to say. “I won!” was her cry. Then from the back of the room came this: “We all won!” Wow. This really hit home. How wonderful. This woman did not win this case by herself. Rather, the entire community won and was granted refugee status. At times like this I realize how true Paul’s words are: “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others,” (Rom. 12.5) and “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of your is a part of it,” (1 Cor. 12.26-27).

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This Friday Christina and I along with a group of others head over to France and Hungary for 3 weeks. Essentially the break down of our time looks like this: we’ll spend a week in Sopron, Hungary at a conference for church planters from all across Europe. I’m super stoked for this and can’t wait to learn from these people. Then we’ll head back to Paris, France for a week where we will try and be Jesus on the streets there. Finally, we’ll take the train up to Lille, France to try and be Jesus on the streets there. What’s really cool about Lille is that it is about 60% muslim. This is one of the cities where there were riots between muslim youth and police a couple of years ago so I’m pretty excited to walk those streets. I’ll try and update with pictures and stories from along the journey.

Grace and peace.

JT

there’s a theory going around that my wife’s nonna is actually the pope. i think you would agree. here are some reasons why nonna may be the pope:

1) she’s old.

2) she was born in italy, home of the vatican (coincidence? you decide).

3) she is a catholic.

4) she wears long flowing frocks/dresses/robes.

5) she is bilingual.

as if that isn’t enough, for all you doubters out there, enjoi the pictures.

can you tell who is nonna and who is the pope? neither can i.

so last night the raptors got robbed in atlanta. i’m not even going to talk about it because it just ticks me off. but you can read about the shot clock problem here. apparently colangelo may be protesting the mistake to the league, although i’m not sure what would happen. can the league go back and change the outcome of the game giving toronto and win?

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i came across this article on the 101 most useful websites.

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on the topic of handy sites, here are two that i use quite often: da font (almost 8,000 free fonts to download for both PC and mac). the other site, that i just came across but am loving is keepvid. it gives you the ability to download to your computer videos from sites like youtube etc. all you do is plug in the URL and hit download. and the best thing is it literally only takes like 2 seconds. presto!

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N.T. Wright has been getting loads of press in the last couple months for his view of heaven. wright strives to understand the biblical language of resurrection as opposed to basing his theology of the after-life (or, life after the after-life!) on philadelphia cheese commercials. i like. here are two recent articles on the topic.

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there’s tonnes going on in the office/community lately. i’m currently in the midst of directing and putting together a trip we’re doing this summer with the youth. we’re heading out to glace bay in cape bretton, nova scotia to serve with dave sawler. in total there are 13 of us, and we’re driving! WHOO-PA! should be sweet. also, we’re running a sports camp for kids in the community for a week in the summer and we’re currently in the marketing stage of that as well as pulling together all the volunteers etc. also, i’m working with a group of students at a local highschool to figure out creative ways to be salt and light there and thats really neat!

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this past sunday (march 30) was the youth service at ACC. we took over the entire morning service so the youth did everything. it was really cool. i also got a chance to preach for the first time at an ACC sunday morning gathering. i aimed for 40 minutes and ended up going for 63. eff. i spoke about the Church and our role in new creation. if you have 63 minutes to spare you can check out the talk here. enjoi.

whelp, i think i’m gunna go out for some thai. i have a craving for hot and sour soup at the moment. msg. what are ya gunna do?

peace.

jt.

man i really like basketball. can i just say that the playoffs this year are going to be incredible? here are a couple of reasons why:

1) the east isn’t so bad after all. if the season ended today, there would only be one team in the playoffs in the east that would fall below .500. i can’t remember the last time this many + .500 teams there were in the east! plus, in the east you have, arguable, the two best teams in the L in boston and detroit. i can’t stand boston, but detroit is great. such a nitty gritty team. throw in orlando and toronto plus last years eastern champs in the cav’s and let’s not forget the feel-good run that philly is on (really, who knew!) and you’ve got a good playoff race in the east.

2) the western conference. my suggestion: forget about the seeding, sit back, and enjoy. period.

3) it looks like jersey won’t be seeing the post season. good.

anyways, moving on, let’s get specific to the raptors here. currently they’re sitting at 38-36, tied for 5th with the wiz. they only have 8 games left on the sched and only one of those games is against a + .500 team (detroit). the wiz also have only 8 games left, however, 4 of those are against teams that are + .500.

i’m hoping the raptors struggle a little bit, but not too much, to close out the season. just enough to stay in the 6th seed. here’s why: you get orlando in the first round as opposed to the defending eastern champs. i’d much rather see us take on orlando because our back-court would absolutely destroy them. plus our big’s are starting to play well, although i wouldn’t mind seeing rasho actually throw it down every now and then. dude is 7′ and still doing weak little lay-ups. throw that ish down big man! frig! if we meet up with cleveland in the first round, that’s not good (read: lebron).

also, and more importantly, assuming we make it out of the playoffs i would rather go through detroit than boston and in order for this to happen the rap’s must finish in 6th. if we finish in 5th and somehow make it past the cav’s then we run right into boston. ouch. i saw toronto play detroit in the playoffs like 5 or 6 seasons ago and it was really tight. i feel like we match up much better with detroit than boston.

that being said, here’s hoping for a 6th place finish.

did i mention that i love the playoffs. the last couple seasons the raps were in the post-season i scored some sweet tickets. last year i saw two games in toronto vs. NJ and then drove down to NY for game 6! it was wild!

anyways, here’s hoping the raps step it up in after the next 8 games.

oh, and i’m taking the lakers over detroit in 6 for the finals! 

peace.

so on monday night i saw ‘no country for old men’ for the first time. i know, a little late, so what? i thought it was the best movie that i had seen in quite a while. i couldn’t believe the way that my emotions were caught up with the different characters. wow.

anyways, to be honest, the ending kind of bothered me. i’ve only seen it once, so i’ll have to watch it again to let it sink in but i felt short changed by the ending. i really wanted the movie to resolve, but then again, life isn’t like that.

here are two different commentaries by guys on the movie and the ending specifically.

thoughts?

peace.

in hono(u)r of my americ(a)n friend michael i’m growing a beard. it’s in honour of michael because he, evidently, can not grow facial hair. here is a picture, i’ll keep you updated as i go. anyways, i can’t peg this exactly, but i put it somewhere around 3.5 weeks into the journey. fairly solid if i may say so.

i can now stroke my face with a menacing look and actually have it mean something. after all, i’ve often tried to stroke my face with a menacing look in the absence of any facial hair and boy, was the weird.

slainte (cheers) to facial hair.

peace.

jt.

back in april i told you a bit about my friend “Stu”.

as a bit of a follow-up to that Stu was released from prison at the beginning of september (after spending 8 months incarcerated BEFORE his trial). anyways, i was so excited for his release because he’s one of my best friends and this meant that he was able to be in my wedding party at the end of september (he got special permission even though he was on house arrest).

well, today i found out that “Stu” is back in prison. this time he’s being held in central east out in lindsay. this is all really discouraging and i don’t understand why this happened.

please pray for my friend, that God would be with him.

i’ll keep you posted on how this develops.

peace.

i found jose calderon’s blog and it is quite funny. he addresses everything from what the practices are like to what it’s like to have jessica alba in the ACC and not have her come visit (although the actor who plays mini-me came for a visit).

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there has been a drastic turn of events in the war on christmas. steven colbert should like this one.

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continuing on with the topic of celebrity blogs, i have found mahmoud ahmadinejad’s (the president of iran) blog. he wishes everyone a merry christmas.

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here’s an interesting article from the star that talks about how the shootings in colorado this past weekend “highlights church security.” what struck me as strange was the attitude of the security guard from new life church. Jeanne Assam had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and it sounds as if she was ex-military.

Some of the U.S.’s estimated 1,200 megachurches – places where more than 2,000 worshippers gather each week – have been quietly beefing up security in recent years, even using armed guards to protect the faithful.

Beefed up security to “protect the faithful”?!

The security plan at New Life Church may seem extraordinary. The church’s volunteer security force is stocked with people with military or law enforcement experience, they carry radios and weapons, and there are evacuation plans for hustling worshippers into “secure zones” in an emergency.

Why are they carrying weapons that can kill? who do they need protection from? how does this fit in with what Paul says: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing…Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened’,” (1 Pet. 3:9, 13-14). 

How about what Jesus says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Mt. 10:28).

This story is really kind of confusing to me. Some of the details, along with things that Assam was quoted as saying, don’t sit quite well. here are a few.

Assam, the security guard, had attended the church’s early service at 9 a.m., then stood watch in the rotunda of the busy church lobby as the second service was getting out. There, she confronted the gunman, who managed to slay two sisters and wound three others before she shot him to death.

was it necessary to shoot him to death? how does this type of action fit in with the teachings of Christ in the gospels?

At a news conference yesterday, Assam said that she prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide her, and that her hands never shook. “It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God,” Assam said.

this really worries me. she prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide her hands as she shot a young, confused man to death? is this the business that the Holy Spirit is into? is she kidding herself? what the heck are people being taught in churches these days? how does this vibe with Jesus telling us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek? what about that scripture that Paul wrote about not having fear and repaying evil with blessing? is a bullet a blessing?

this was such a tragic day in colorado. but this young man was not evil beyond redemption. i’m just left wondering if he had to lose his life and if this was a good response from the church?

thoughts?