Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Music of Tension

I've had the idea for this post or a while now but just last week I was rereading "Sex God" by Rob Bell and ran into this statement: "...we were created to live in the tension. And when you lose the tension, you lose something central to what it means to be human..." (Bell 61).

Of course, in the context of Bell's book he is talking about sexuality. He is talking about "Angels and Animals." Angels don't have a sexuality like God created us with, and an animal's sexuality is purely instinctive. We cannot err to either side. We must live in the tension: not denying our sexuality (pretending to be angels) nor simply acting out all of our sexual instincts (acting like animals). We live in the tension between these two.

The reason I've been thinking about this "tension" idea for a while is because without tension there is no such thing as music. Music requires tension... both literally and often
figuratively as well. Without tension the strings of the instrument (guitar, piano, violin, etc.) would produce no tone, without tension the drum head would make no noise, without tension the vocal chords would produce no sound. Music requires tension.

It is often only through tension that beauty is created. JRR Tolkien's creation myth "Ainulindale" (from The Silmarillion) is the perfect example of this, but I won't get into that.

I think this ties in very nicely with last week's post. Is it possible that through the tension of our denominational differences the Kingdom of God is actually enhanced?
Is there something beautiful that is created out of this tension?
What other areas of life require tension or are enhanced through tension?
What do you think?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Judgement Day Report Card

Just imagine if we got a report card on Judgement Day.
What areas do you think we might be graded on?

I've just been thinking about this because it's pretty obvious that different churches and different denominiations within Christendom focus on different areas. One church might get an "A" on showing compassion to their community but only a "C+" on tithing... or visa versa.

But I was also thinking about this from a theological perspective. I grew up in a Mennonite Church. As I began to formulate where I personally stood theologically I found that I could agree with about 85-90% of Mennonite theology. That leaves approximately 10-15% of the Mennonite perspective where I can't completely agree with.

The funny thing is that now that I'm part of a Baptist denomination I find myself in a similar situation. Recently I've been talking with a pastor that's new to the area who is serving in an Evangelical Covenant church... I've had many good friends who grew up in Pentecostal and Alliance churches... I've read through the doctrinal sections in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer... it always seems that we can all agree on 80-90% of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ so what do we do with this 10-20%?

Obviously, what makes up the content of this 10-20% are the theological distinctives. True Mennonites hold to political separation and non-violence, Pentecostals hold to speaking in tongues, etc.

So why do we get caught up in and define ourselves by the things we will never agree on?
It seems to me that on our report cards we're all going to get an 80% or a 90% when it comes to theology. It would just be arrogant and wrong for me to say, "Well, I'm a Baptist so I'm going to get 100% and the rest of you fools are going to fail."

Some people have had views like this in the past and it ticks me off. It is nothing more than theological arrogance. Those are two words that should never go together.

Now, at the same time we would never believe something if we weren't convinced that it is true. Theology is important and we all need to follow our Spirit led convictions. But maybe God likes diversity. Maybe He uses denominational diversity to accomplish His greater purposes.

What do you think?

And, mostly because I needed a picture for this post, here's the pack Juanita picked up at M.E.C. while she was in Edmonton. Cool, eh?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Holidays

As many of you know, Juanita, Kaleb, and I are on holidays this week. Juanita took off a little early and spent last weekend with her mom in Edmonton. I started off my week of holidays on a perfect note. My brother, Darrell, and I went on an overnight camping/hunting trip in the Nisbet forest (named after a Presbyterian minister, James Nisbet).

We were hiking everything in: food, water, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, tent... everything. So our packs ended up being pretty heavy! I'm guessing my pack was between 40-50 lbs.
We wore matching orange toques so that we wouldn't get shot by deer hunters.
On Sunday afternoon we parked the car, hiked just over 2 kms into the forest, and set up camp. We slept pretty decent. The weather network says that in our area the overnight low was -5.6*C. It was a little chilly but not too bad. On Monday we did several hikes out from our base camp and I bagged a couple Ruffed Grouse. Here's a stock photo of one if you don't know what they look like (I almost wish there was snow when we went out. It would make it easier to spot them!):
It was a great time and a relaxing way to start off my holidays:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Adventure and Adversity

Bill Mason is a bit of a Canadian Icon. I've been reading his book "Song of the Paddle" and it's been great. While the book itself is all about canoeing and outdoor living there was something that struck me from his first chapter.
He talks about the difference between Adventure and Adversity. All outdoorsmen (and women:) are called to nature by a desire for adventure. However, often we don't find adventure... we find adversity. The major cause of this, he says, is that we are either naive or unprepared. Either they don't know what they're getting into when they go out, or they are underprepared so that the fun adventure that they had been anticipating turns nasty and the adventure becomes adversity.

So, he's talking about not having the proper equipement and knowledge: a map, weather forcast, compass, knife, hatchet, tent, etc... If you don't have the RIGHT equipement and knowledge things can go south pretty fast.

This reminded me of 1 Pet 3:15 where it says that, as Christians, we always need to be prepared. I am a firm believer that God has called us, as his followers, to live lives of adventure. I don't think that God has called any one of us to a mundane life. However, if our Christian life is to be an adventure we need to be prepared... otherwise our faith can quickly move from adventure to adversity.

What do you think?
Can you think of any examples of this?