Saturday, November 29, 2003

(seen at troyshantz)

I think that we need to stop worrying about the big decisions that we make knowing that most ways that we choose will be good decisions. What is more important is that are we in a place where we can live, obey, love and believe.

Friday, November 28, 2003

(seen at NeoTheo(b)logue)

"Western European civilization has witnessed a sort of atomizing process, in which the individual is more and more set free from his natural setting in family and neighborhood, and becomes a sort of replaceable unit in the social machine, His nearest neighbors may not even know his name. He is free to move from place to place, from job to job, from acquaintance to acquaintance, and -- if he has attained a high degree of emancipation -- from wife to wife. He is in every context a more and more anonymous and replaceable part, the perfect incarnation of the rationalist conception of man. Wherever western civilization has spread in the past one hundred years, it has carried this atomizing process with it. Its characteristic product in Calcutta, Shanghai, or Johannesburg, is the modern city into which myriads of human beings, loosened from their old ties in village or tribe or caste, like grains of sand fretted by water from an ancient block of sandstone, are ceaselessly churned around in the whirlpool of the city -- anonymous, identical, replaceable units."

Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God

Thank you for being here...thank someone else today for the same.

(seen at the scriptorium)

"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."

~Robert F. Kennedy

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

(seen at Random Segues, through

"It is when we fail to recognize that we are heretics that we switch from seeking truth to guarding truth - or our idea of truth." - PMac

(seen at

Perspective can change the face of pretty much any situation. Who knew that looking at something from a different angle could make such a difference? Inside, we as people, have the ability to change the way we look at something. It's a powerful tool that's not used often enough. Just like the saying "is the glass half full or half empty?" When I choose to focus on the positives of what's around the corner rather than the negatives, it just makes life so much more enjoyable.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

(seen at Honest to Blog)

Today was a day for contemplating Self-Actualization.

When I feel like I'm failing, I want to blame the System. "Sane people should find themselves completely at odds with life in a dsytopia. Success is really a sign that you've lost your humanity."

Then the character on the other shoulder says something about taking personal responsibility, facing the absurd, being the sum of my choices.

Which voice do you suppose is the devil's?

Friday, November 21, 2003

(seen at the weblog of Mike Gingerich)

"it is easy to be successful, it is very difficult to be relevant" - Bono

(seen in a rough draft of Jordon Cooper's review of The Search to Belong)

Selected Insights from The Search to Belong

Common Myths of Belonging

More time = more belonging :: The first myth is that the greater amount of time spent in relationship with another person, the more authentic the community will be. This is a pervasive myth. In reality, time has little to do with a person's ability to experience significant belonging. Many people tell stories of first time, episodic introductions from which a spontaneous connection emerges. (p. 11)

Belonging is not controlled by time, and time by itself does not develop belonging. (p. 12)

More commitment = more belonging :: A relationship that involves commitment does not necessarily promote a greater experience of belonging. A married couple may feel very committed to their relationship, yet still feel the strain of "not belonging to each other". Every month I am reminded of commitment to my financial responsibilities, yet I never experience belonging because of those commitments. (p. 12)

To experience healthy community we need significant relationships. "Significant" is not the same as "close" or "committed." (p.13)

More purpose = more belonging :: …Groups were started to help people with their search for community, and the first order of business was to write a statement of purpose. After all, people who strive toward a common goal connect, right? We even changed our language. We no longer asked people to attend committee meetings. They were no part of a team. And this simple change was all in the hope of helping people connect in significant ways.
Although many positive accomplishments sprung from this newly focused approach, in reality this strategy has little connection with the community experience. Sometimes people who have a common passion and purpose do connect. But a common purpose or vision or goal does not guarantee that people will connect. (p.13-16)

More personality = more belonging :: Many people believe that some have a natural ability to belong. They assume that if a person is more gregarious, more extroverted, he or she will have little trouble experiencing community, whereas those who are shy will struggle to belong. (p. 17)

More proximity = more belonging (p.17)

More small groups = more belonging … Almost every book I read on a successful church touts small groups as the key. But I have read that churches that provide small group opportunities can expect about a 30 percent involvement from the congregation. Why only 30 percent? Because small groups do not accomplish the promise of fulfilling all facets of a person's search for community. Small groups deliver on one or two specific kinds of connection. (p. 18)

(seen at What is The Message? in this post)

In Israel, there is apparently an expression used to placate those who hold low-paying, low-status "mcjobs," that goes something like this: "There is no job that doesn't respect its owner." In other words, if you have a job so menial that no one will respect you, at least the job itself will respect you. In Hebrew, it's roughly pronounced, "ayn avodah shelo marbedet et b'aliyah." Probing the cliché by twisting a few of the words gives, "ayn kavodah shelo avodat al b'aliyah," which means "there is no capacity (void) that doesn't work on its owner."

At first, the sentence appears to make no sense. But with a little thought, we can interpret the probe to provide an insight into greed and desire. If one is greedy - has an unfilled capacity - that greed will continue to "work on its owner," eventually corrupting the owner to fill it, one way or another. In a way, it is a reversal of the "money burning a hole in one's pocket" cliché. An interesting probe, to say the least, and one that works in the best way - taking a trite idea that applies to one class of people, and sharpening it to probe those at the opposite end of the economic spectrum.

(seen at tahoe::pilgrim)

Truth be told, I have begun to enjoy the solitude I have more and more, but I think that it's the (negative) result of finding relationships unsatisfactory--it's easier to be alone than to put myself out there.

I don't know, I'm rambling. I don't mean to be overly critical of the people around me, I mean to learn to "spur one another on to love..." I'm really very understanding, accepting & forgiving, but I don't come off that way. I've been told in the past that I'm respected more than I realize, and that I come off much stronger than I realize. Perhaps I push it and come off too strong because I don't believe anyone listens. Maybe I'm somehow, subconsciously, ineffectively, trying to demand that people will listen.

I remember when I was a child, maybe in 5th grade or so, on the playground one day I put my hands over my ears (not to hear anyone else???) and jumped up and down, screaming "listen! Listen! LISTEN TO ME! You're not listening to me!" Amazing, but things haven't changed, I'm just a bit less dramatic. Why? What is it? Why don't I think people are listening? Why do I never feel anyone understands me?

So...I turn to this. I'm a prime candidate for blogging! I can talk without knowing if anyone listens or not, so without the immediate rejection I avoid, it allows me to talk and talk and talk. Oy!

Well, it is a journey. Times like this make me evaluate where I am and where I'm going and consider steps I need to make positive changes. So, it's good, it just isn't fun.

(seen at Mexperimental, referred by

language is nor a flux nor mechanical. language is both. so at the same time language is natural and artificial. not a particle not a wave. language opens. language is fundamentally an opening in the space-time complex. what is between me and the telephone? a series of histories, a series of thoughts that builds a field of action and emotion in the space-time between, among, before and after the telephone and me. language puts other objects, subjects, events, feelings, images, between the telephone and me. the space-time created, the field of thought, feeling and action created is different from the physical and temporal distance between us. writing i’m trying to grasp what language really is. i’m getting close, but then language makes it’s functioning invisible, unthinkable.

As you read this, a part of me escapes. And sometimes I laugh.

(seen at Been There...Still There)

I know today that
if I cannot change the wind,
I can adjust my sail.


(seen at ...musings, reflections, thoughts and more than a little deconstruction)

Free trade, New ecumenicalism, the www, transnational corporate identities, brands as superstars are new challenges facing each national ethos.

Remember a few years ago at the Olympics. Michael Jordon/Johnson (I can't remember which Michael) said he won't step onto the platform to receive his Gold medal without his Nikes. What might that signify? Is he less American and more "Nikian?" Or why is it that almost no athletes on Canada's track and field team were born in Canada?

If our connections to our "Nations" are changing than it seems likely that our folkal connections to our identity-giving body becomes more important than what our passport(s) may say. New World order… here we come. Sing with me, "Dawning of the age of... who knows?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

(referred via Jordon Cooper to this page)

There is a great difference between intimacy and affiliation, and there is no substituting one for the other. We need both. Lacking intimacy, affiliation becomes little more than a means of dulling the sense of emptiness in our lives. Lacking affiliation, intimacy becomes overburdened even as it risks the dullness or restricted human contact.”

Sunday, November 16, 2003

(A poem I wrote this morning, partly inspired by station 3 of The Worship Labyrinth, experienced at The Worship Freehouse)

Terror Lost/Found

Don't prey for me; I'm already dead--
Broken apart by the wild waters,
Forgotten and ignored.
Don't look for me; I'm already dead--
Shed from chokes that suffocate,
Dropped through an empty pathway
Like a tear just weighted down.
Don't come for me; I'm already dead--
Gone right after one last plunge
To pierce this still and tranquil sea,
Aroused with many shivers.
Why long for me? I'm already dead!
Don't drag me back to exile,
So let me sink down to the depths
Swallowed and embraced.
What treasure do you hope to find
When erosion eats me away?

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Friday, November 14, 2003

(seen at scratched surface)

Look to the sky for inspiration and all I get is comfort.
Pen to paper wants to birth bastards
(fatherless muses pass time)
finding all it has

comfort is bewitching


"War is Hell"...and "Hell is other people"...

"Best friends can turn into great enemies. They already know your greatest vulnerabilities."

(seen at TheyBlinked in this post)

While considering new approaches to environmental clean-up are important they do not actually solve environmental problems. A clean-up focused (rather than prevention focused) approach is akin to solving a person's obesity every three years via liposuction; effective at some level, but certainly a ghastly, invasive, unhealthy action for the desired outcome.

The biosphere, like a human biological system, is already prepared to overcome the challenges of environmental pollution. We just do not want to live in such a way as to harness these intrinsic capabilities of nature. As with obesity, when it comes to the environment we prefer to staple our stomach or take a pill rather than commit to the longer, but healthier and sustainable, road of cooperating with natural solutions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

(seen at The Cathy J Weblog)

You know, some days words seem so small. As an extrovert I use a lot of them, probably many more than I should. Sometimes I wonder if I have used my quota already, and am now just fumbling around, using the leftover words people have thrown in the trash.

(seen at thoughts of a sojourner in this post)

Last week, I went into a temple.

It has no stained glass windows or big organs or wooden pews. It has no steeple. It has no altar.

Upon my entrance into this sacred space, I experience a barrage of sound and lights. Names are illuminated in neon tubing around the large room. I assume that these are the names of the gods – there is nothing to indicate otherwise.

It is surreal. Almost, I feel like I am in some sort of spaceship.

The first thing I do in the temple is give my offering. In this place, sacrifices are received by machines. I step up to the flashing screen with as much reverence as I can muster.

I touch the screen several times, swipe a piece of plastic, and receive a little slip of paper that permits me access to what I will soon discover is the holiest place in the temple.

Feeling a bit cheapened by my sacrifice, I proceed down a hallway with my fellow worshippers. On each side of us are many doorways. Each is an entrance into a sanctuary. As we walk, I can’t help but ask a question that no selfless giver should ask: “Am I being ripped off?”

The gods would be angry with my question, but it is burning hot in my mind. No matter. I give my slip of paper to a person at one of the doorways – yes, it’s a person and not a machine – and proceed into the dark sanctuary.

[Read more here]

(seen at ~Adam Beach~)

Many of our questions or pains will not be dealt with until our own end - and that may come abruptly as well.

(seen at troyshantz)

The other day I was able to take a break from my currently hectic life and do some thinking. Some of the initial thoughts revolved around a trip that my wife and I will be taking to South East Asia, India, and East Africa in the new year. My mind flowed to thinking about new sights, sounds, smells, relationships, interactions, and experiences that we would have. I know that over 99% of the people that we come into contact over that period will have been given a much poorer lot (financially, physically, emotionally and socially) in life than I was given. Questions started firing off in my head...Why was I born into a family that loved me and supported me rather than beat me? Why do I have all of my needs met, all of the time rather than starve every day? Why was I born into the affluent middle class of Canada rather than the slums of Calcutta? Why was I born into the dominant race of my society rather than a persecuted tribe in Nigeria? Why do I have the talents and gifts that I have rather than a disability, either physical or mental? Did I choose these things? Did I earn them? Did I deserve them?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

(seen at wanderer::worshipper::lover of leaving)

To Remember ...

... is to work for peace.

Monday, November 10, 2003

If I can't find a server in me, what on earth can I give?

Saturday, November 08, 2003

(seen at

To give is to show one's superiority, to be more, to be higher in rank, magister. To accept without giving in return, or without giving more back is to become client and servant.

-- Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies

(and this was in the comments to that post...)

"A gift that has the power to change us awakens a part of the soul. But we cannot receive the gift until we can meet it as an equal."

--Lewis Hyde, The Gift

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Not Freddy vs. Jason...but...

(from The Door Magazine)

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

(seen at

Curiosity is only vanity. We usually only want to know something so that we can talk about it; in other words, we would never travel by sea if it meant not talking about it, and for the sheer pleasure of seeing things we could never hope to describe to others."

Blaise Pascal

The magazine MIKE YACONELLI founded, The Door Magazine (formerly The Wittenberg Door, reflects on Mike's recent, tragic death:


(seen at Pneumatica in the Attempt at Poetry section)

Hear the Song and Laugh

When it blooms- the rain makes its presence known
-but when the wind starts to blow- all are afraid.

If your smile fades- then your eyes will reflect your sorrow
-though the comfort lies around the corner- or are you mislead?

Courage to overcome- now sometimes that seems like a joke
-yet we cling to it- like a bad habit that never dies.

Offer something different- give me a chance to make it better
-and the change will be encouraging- with the hope that is restored.

Tear it down- this world that seeks to suck away my joy
-threatening to cover me completely- yet still failing.

Refuge stays away- but is that refuge really safe
-or is it imagination and dreams- left unspoiled?

Either way it's life- and a life worth living
-no matter what despair- no matter what dreams may fade.

(seen at Poetics)


Every kid grows up
afraid of something:
ghosts or
The Boogie Man
or spiders, and most
every adult is scarred
too. The difference
isn't that adults aren't
frightened, but that kids
are too young to understand
things like ghosts and
Boogie Men and spiders
have been around
to scare people forever.
They weren't created
to scare only them,
but it's that feeling
of something existing
only to get you
that is most terrifying.

by Warren Brinegar

(seen at Land of the Free?)

'We learned early that "home" was an ambiguous concept, and wherever we lived, some essential part of our lives was always somewhere else...'
-P. Seaman, "Paper Aeroplanes in the Himalayas"

(seen at The Invisible Sun)

The forgotten aspect of creativity is discipline."

—John Riccitiello, President and COO, Electronic Arts

Monday, November 03, 2003

"Don't pra/ey for me; I'm already dead!"