Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Pain Of Fishing

Today I went went fishing for the first time since I was a young kid. To sum up the experience, let's just say it did not go well. Riker and I went down to the Red River across from the ruins at St. Boniface while Jobina and Trinity went over to the Forks. We had a nice little spot on a dock, two new fishing rods, some assorted tackle that I was sure wouldn't take us too long to figure out, and Fishing For Dummies (purchased that morning) for some insurance. After all this is just fishing right? All humans have some sort of instinct at this kind of thing.


The two hours we spent out there were two of the most horrible I've had in long, long time. It took me nearly an hour to figure out how to get everything attached correctly to the two rods. That morning we had gone to Cabela's and I picked up some cool new sinkers and some "guaranteed not to fail" lures. Riker was a real trooper though, he never complained about having to wait for his sad excuse for a father to get everything prepped. After a quick glance at the "casting" sessions in my Dummies book I told Riker to stand back and I let loose a might cast. For a split second I felt like I was part of something grand.

Then reality hit.

The line and sinkers flew (dropped) out a massive six feet (which is about how long my pole is) and with a sad "thunk" noise hit the water. I looked at my reel and what was seconds ago a neat tightly spun roll of 8 pound line was now an exploded tangle of line going everywhere. It was immediately hopeless. When I tried to reel in the jumbled mess it just got worse and then I realized that my brand new lure and sinkers were stuck to the bottom. On my first cast!! The anger and despondency I felt were indescribable. Still, I didn't want to let me new depression wreck Riker's day so I as calmly as possible cut my line, put my rod aside and grabbed Rikers. He wanted me to cast if for him (foolish boy) and when I did the exact thing happened again: the reel became a hopeless mess of twisted line and his lure immediately lodged itself firm into the bottom of the river! Arghh! In three minutes I had destroyed an hours worth of labor, lost 2 new lures, kicked my confidence/self respect in the teeth, and severely disappointed my son. Well, at least he got to have some fun eating twizzlers and throwing rocks in the river:

Yup, not a good fishing day. I may need counseling before I try it again. If I do. After "fishing" we went to the ruins of at St. Boniface to check them out with the kids. Here' s a shot Jobina took looking at this grand old church which burnt down many decades ago:

Trinity wanted to take a picture of us. Here's her best shot:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two Relationship Tales of Woe

At the restaurant today I was talking with two girls informally about their relationship issues:

1. The first girl told me that every guy she has ever gone out with has cheated on her! Ironically this girl comes across as a confident and competent young lady. Yet when she describes herself she says she is a "loser magnet." So what's the problem: does she have some sort of genetic ability to attract unfaithful boyfriends? Or does she subconsciously chase guys who are below her, not thinking she is good enough to attract a "quality guy?" Or is it simply that she has just been extremely unlucky? Or is she doing something in each of these relationships that is causing the guys to cheat on her? Or maybe something else?

2. A second girl told me that she lives with her boyfriend (of three years) for the past 3 years. Usually their relationship is really good. For the past week though he has been giving her the cold shoulder. He refuses to communicate with her, avoids her, and when she asks what is wrong he says "nothing." This of course is stressing her out. She knows something is wrong but she doesn't know if it is something she did or something with him because he won't talk to her. I gave her some advice but I'm curious to know what others would say to her.

OK, you armchair Dr. Phil's - what are you insights and advise if you were in my place??!! Feel free to comment one either scenario (or both).

May Light increase!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Favorite Day

Today is my 33rd birthday. What else can I say?

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Wife Has A "Problem"

Today Jobina came home from grocery shopping and I noticed that she had two boxes of cereal. Immediately I was tense. "Um, what are those?" I asked, my voice wavering a little unsteady. "Cereal," said Jobina, "What does it look like?"

At this point in the conversation I got a little animated. I explained to her that we had at least five boxes of cereal already! Seven boxes was definitely too much! My wife has a problem - she keeps on buying boxes of cereal, way, way too much cereal. Many of these boxes are the "jumbo" size ones. She tries to laugh it off, but the ironic thing is that she almost never eats cereal herself.

When I went to check how many boxes we actually had in the house I discovered that we had already had 7 boxes, thus bringing us to the incredible number of nine boxes all together! At this rate we'll need to buy another house, one that has a large room that can simply be known as "the cereal cellar." Honey, I'm putting my foot down. A family of four with 2 children under 7 years old and one Mom who rarely eats cereal does not need more then 4 boxes in the house. We've got to stop this before it gets even more out of hand. I have enabled you long enough! I'm telling you (because I love you) no more. If it helps, I can come shopping with you and direct you away from the cereal aisle. I will do this because I care (and because I am afraid and I want the cereal nightmares to stop).

If we reach 10 boxes of cereal in the house I will need counseling for sure!

The Man Behind The Abortions

My friend Lee sent me this link describing an interview the CBC did with Henry Morgentaler a week or so ago. Now first let me say that I am staunchly pro-life and do not agree with almost anything of which Morgentaler has stood for or accomplished (and no, I don't think he should have got the Order of Canada). I am honestly dumbfounded when talking to pro-choicers as to how they can justify terminating an unborn baby and I am deeply saddened when I think about the thousands of babies legally killed each year in Canada. "Mass murder" is not too sensational a term to describe what is happening and Christians should be mobilizing against it.

That being said, I am fascinated from an ethical and psychological perspective about how Morgentaler as a person justifies his professional and personal life. You may think we are on much different level then someone like Morgantaler, but I'm sure if we looked into our lives we'd find huge contradictions in our ethics and practice. Christians too are famous for our hypocrisy and for how we can twist ethics to do whatever we want (anyone remember slavery)? Personally I can righteously hate what Mortgentaler has done but still feel some measure of pity towards him as a person. Christians don't look very good when we move beyond attacking the man's actions and attack the man himself (something which is very tempting to do). When we do this, we shoot ourselves in the foot as our important message of protest gets lost in personal vindictiveness. And this from followers of the Man who said "love your enemies." Essentially we use pagan ways of attacking a problem and we sacrifice the results by using a non-Christian process. The end does not justify the means and if we believe that it does we are self deceived. Anyway, check out the article.

P.S. Usually I'd find any discussion of Morgantaler's relationship affairs to be firmly in the "gossip" area but because he chose to answer these questions honestly, I don't mind providing the link to the story. However to get the "real" context you should see the actual interview which is here (also check out the comments afterwards to see the wide divergence in opinions from viewers).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Locked Out

As a former youth pastor and now a counselor I have been amazed at the number of people who tell me that they have certain people who they don't speak to. Usually it's a family member, maybe a parent, sibling, or uncle: "Oh, we're not on speaking terms." Or maybe you'd head this one before - "Oh them? I haven't talked to them in years."

As a counselor I'm in a bad position to advise anyone on the rightness or wrongness of this decision because I only hear one side of the story. That being said from my limited expereince, are at least two reasons why people shun a family member, friend, or colleague.

1. They are angry over a slight of some kind and their disconnection is to make a point, something like "Here's what happens when you do that" or "Take that!"
2. They have been repeatedly hurt by that person and have disconnected from them to protect themselves from further harm. They are trying to protect their boundaries.

For a lot of people simple things like grads, weddings, reunions, and even Christmas are terribly difficult because they have chosen not to be in contact with a certain family member (or someone has chosen to not allow themselves to be in contact with you). I suggest that no one should make this kind of decision in a reactionary way. Because this will cause you lots of pain and disrupt your life (and the other person's) it is best undertaken only after much thought, prayer, and counsel with others.

Some questions to ask yourself if you think you are seriously considering shutting the door (disconnecting, not communicating) on some relationship:
1. What are the benefits of not communicating with this person vs. staying connected?
2. How will this affect myself, my family, others?
3. Am I just making this decision out of anger?
4. Have I bounced this off of a few people who's wisdom and insight I trust?
5. Is this decision in line with the second greatest commandment; to love others as I love myself? Is this a decision I would make, even if I have fully forgiven the other person?
6. Have I given honest specific feedback to the person and clearly communicated why their behavior has hurt me? Have I told them specifically what needs to change, when it needs to change, and what the consequences will be if they don't?

One thing about long term disconnecting yourself from someone's life - it will be challenged! And you are effectively killing the chances of future reconciliation (at least as long as you keep it up). If you decide to go this route you should regularly revisit and reevaluate the decision. Once a person shuts someone else out it's easy to just stick with the decision and not to choose hope and test the waters of relationship again - this is a trap, don't fall into it! Oh, and if you as a person have several people who you don't talk to there is a good chance the problem is not with all those other people, but with you!

May Light increase!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Today we got word that one of our past students, and a daughter of Mennville passed away yesterday in a car accident. It was so shocking and out of the blue and I feel like it hasn't fully sunk in yet. Please pray for her family, friends, and community. I really don't know what else to say. Katelyn, rest in peace.

P.S. The painting above is called "Grief" by Gene Gould.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Review: Let My People Go Surfing

Book Review: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

I picked this hardcover up recently at Chapters in their discount area (for a paltry $5.99) and really, really enjoyed it. It's the story of Yvon Chouinard, avid outdoorsman (climbing, surfing, fishing) who went from being a vagrant climber to the reluctant business owner of Chouinard Equipment (which later became Black Diamond) and Patagonia (the makers of high end outdoor clothing). It is the story of a boy from Quebec who never sets out to do anything except escape to the outdoors for fun and how he eventually becomes the owner of one of the most ethical companies in the world (Patagonia). I found it fascinating from beginning to end.

There's a little bit in this book for everyone. There is the classic "poor boy gets accidentally rich" storyline. There's also the "little company does the right thing and is still successful" storyline which describes Patagonia's attempts to become environmentally responsible, before such phrases as "environmental" were even part of our vocabularies For instance they were the first company in the world to commit to changing their cotton clothes (non-organic cotton is produced with so many toxic substances it's not funny) over to organic cotton - they had to almost create the industry out of nothing! Lastly, there is the story of how their company has made a difference by contributing large amounts of their profits to small lobbyist groups which has resulted worldwide in thousands of hectares and many sensitive habitats from being compromised by industry. All of this is pretty inspiring stuff.

If you have ever shopped at MEC, pretty much everything ethical that they do was pioneered by Patagonia. Chouinard is honest, he knows that Patagonia, like all businesses pollutes the environment. But unlike most companies, reducing that pollution is in the founding principles of the company. Chouinard comes across as authentic; he really puts his ethics above making profit and this is a rare thing indeed. The book chronicles the development of Patagonia's principles and gives concrete examples of how they can be applied in almost any environment. The title refers to one of the principles; employees who work for an outdoor company need the flexibility to take time off during the week to enjoy the outdoors. Thus, employees at Patagonia have a set number of hours to work - but they can work them around good surfing, fishing, etc. This inspires huge loyalty among the workers which further increases productivity. There are many cases like this strewn liberally throughout the book.

In the end I was left with a question: Why can't all companies and organizations be as ethical as Patagonia? What's stopping my workplace, my camp, my school, my household from doing the same things. Let My People Surf is not only a biography of a man and a company, it's a challenge to do the right thing and reduce our harm to the environment and people we work with. An excellent, enjoyable, and easy read. 4.3 ninja stars out of 5.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lazy Summer

Is it just me or do we all feel a little more lazy in the summer? Somehow after Jobina and I hung up our skates at being camp directors (which made for crazy busy summers) we seem to shift into "slow" mode when summer time hits. Unfortunately I actually have lots to do so this isn't entirely good. Between doing some real estate fixes, working at OG, counseling a little, getting quotes for siding on our house, finish my last two courses, prepare to teach one in the fall, and trying to enjoy the summer with my family time seems tight. Yet I'm still finding lots of time to procrastinate. I'm even procrastinating on blogging! (Sigh).

Michele recently "tagged" me and though I generally ignore such things I will humor her (she is my sister-in-law after all). Here they are, six unimportant things about myself:

1. Three times a week I do two sets of 40 push-ups and 2 sets of 70 sit-ups. I'm not sure why, but sometime in my mid teens I got into the habit of doing this. I'm guessing that's over 16 years of push ups and sit-ups. That's about 66560 push ups about 116480 sit-ups!

2. I have a great aversion to dolls of any kind.

3. I am an aficionado of late 80's and early 90's rap (the Golden Years). Run DMC, Public Enemy, Maestro, and yes, even MC Hammer. Geniuses, all of them.

4. I have seen several people on bicycle get hit by cars. It's not a pretty sight.

5. I was the first guy in my class to have facial hair, get a growth spurt, and get my voice lowered. In other words, I was the first one to get awkward and I'm not sure if I've ever lost it.

6. When I was 12 years old I decided that I was at the best possible moment in my life. I remember thinking "Well, I guess this is the best its going to be, it's all going down hill from here."

Usually at this point one is supposed to "tag" other people. Nope, not going to do that, however if you don't know what to blog about, here's an easy way to post about something. I leave it to you. It is the summer after all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Return Of The King

imminent (adjective): likely to happen soon [Latin imminere to project over]

We're having guest speakers during the summer in our church and today we had one that impressed me quite a bit. He did a sermon on the imminent return of Christ. Fascinating! I was moved by his sermon on this often ignored piece of theology. He said that when he was a boy he rarely made it through a week without hearing some sort of conversational snippet about Christ's return. Two things he remembers: one, that he was not afraid of the idea of Christ returning and two, he often thought about how Jesus might return whenever he was eating food that he liked - and this made him wolf down his food quicklyon more then one occasion! In his family, Christ's return was spoken of always in positive terms and that is the feel I got as expounded on the topic in church. It got me thinking:

1. I too had my behavior changed by thinking about the return of Christ. As a hormonal teenager I "worried" that Christ would return before I would have a chance to experience the blessings of marital life (I think you know which ones I'm talking about). This thought entered my mind on more then one occasion and I remember after my honeymoon thinking "Thanks for waiting Jesus, you can come back any time now!"
2. Why aren't we thinking about this more? As Christ followers, shouldn't we be longing and expectant about His return? As I listened to the message this morning I realized that I am a little too wrapped up in this present world and not thinking enough about eternity in the next. It was a great sermon (even Riker listened intently to the first 10 minutes or so which is a miracle in itself) and I was challenged (not "guilted") into thinking and acting more on this.
3. Sometimes I struggle with this doctrine. Imminent means "soon" and it's about 2000 years since Christ returned to heaven. I know that a thousand years are like a day for God, but I still find it difficult to live like he will return soon when it seems to have taken so long already. Also, the Bible seems to say no man will know the day or the hour yet believers should not be completely surprised either as there will be signs. I find it difficult to embrace that Jesus could return at any moment and live a Christian life that plans and dreams about the future. Ah, these crazy paradoxes!

I definitely want to look more into this important doctrine.

May Light increase!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Best Man

Congrats to my friend's Jay and Sarah who got married today! I wish I had a picture, but with all of my best man duties I completely forgot to get any (no worries, I'm sure this will be remedied soon). Aside from almost (it was very, very close) passing out on the stage and muddling through my "toast to the groom" speech, I think I did an OK job in my maiden voyage as a best man. I learned lots and really enjoyed watching Jay and Sarah as they went through their Big Day. I wish them best but as I am exhausted I'm heading to bed. Perhaps I'll report more on my thoughts about the big event later. Adieu.

May Light increase!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Riker's Birthday Today

Today is Riker's 6th Birthday. Although we are going to have the big party on Sunday we had a good time opening presents with him in the morning (he got a fishing rod, a hat, and a minnow trap). I'm proud of my boy. He is growing more and more into a little man and his inquisitive mind combined with a general absentmindedness endearingly reminds me of his old man. At the park today he impressed me by figuring a way of getting himself on top of some high monkey bars. This simultaneously scared his mom and filled me with pride. Happy Birthday Riker! I love you (and like) you more each day . . .


P.S. The picture is taken at the gardens in Camp Morton Provincial Park last summer . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Book Reviews

The Mosquito Coast, Paul Theroux
I was really looking forward to this book, but overall it kind of disappointed me. Not because it wasn't brilliant (it was), but because because it didn't keep me engaged the entire time. Also, it was quite dark and left me with an uneasy feeling. The main character, Allie Fox, is a brilliant and complex man who decides to move his family to the jungle of Honduras and start his own civilization. Told from the perspective of his son the book focuses on both the genius and the madness of Fox and you are never sure exactly which side is going to win out until the last chapter. The book was fine, but without much of a moral point to take home and I found my enjoyment of it often waned for several chapters before it picked up again. Theroux's Mosquito coast is a commentary on many things; North American consumer culture, atheisim, and the nature of man but without a moral compass it seemed that these points got lost in the story. So yes, a "great" book in terms of it's style, content, and dramatic ending but overall it left me feeling flat. 2.9 ninja stars out of 5.

A Walk In The Woods, Bill Bryson
A Walk In The Woods is Bill Byrson's humorous chronicle of his attempt to (without knowing anything about hiking backpack one of the world's longest trails). His partner in crime is a poor and recovering alcoholic with severe social skill handicaps and their resulting adventures are funny. This book made me laugh out loud on the plane to Belize, while I was relaxing in my hammock, and late at night when I was worrying about scorpions in our bed. As comedy it's pure gold. As a book about "conquering" the Appalachian Trail? Well, let's just say you wouldn't want this to be you only reference on how to do it. This is a great fluffy read, readable by the chapter and a great softcover to throw into your pack on your next camping or canoe trip. Not much for inspiration here, but as fluff it does the job. Just so you know it's a bit crude in places but worth the ten bucks I spent on it. 4.1 ninja stars out of 5.

The Long Way Round, Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
For me this was a one time read that I enjoyed very much. There is something fascinating about reading how two movie stars attempt to travel around the world on motorcycles. Not only do they have the regular challenges of safety, logistics, and funding that anyone else would have but they also are celebrities and celebrities have completely different challenges to add to the mix. Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan in Star Wars Episodes 1-3) is definitely the "star" of the book but there is enough in this read to interest almost anyone. The authors are quite open about their challenges, moodiness, fatigue, feelings towards each other and their benefactors, and especially about their joy of biking. Some of the things they fall into are quite fascinating, as an example when they fall in with East European mafia types. This book is quite rude and if it was a movie would be probably be rated "R," but it was definitely entertaining, especially if you are a biker or have contemplated a long distance trip of any kind. I rate it 4 ninja stars out of 5.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Epic Battle

This morning Jobina left early to go to the Pan Am Clinic to get her ankle looked at so I was home with the kids. Trying to work at home and watch kids is pretty much an exercise in futility. Around 11:00 I was frustrated as I was trying to work on my computer and being interrupted about every minute and half. Riker seemed to be getting sad. He sidled up to me and said "Hey Dad, want to have a little wrestle?" I looked down into his big eyes and my heart melted. "OK, I said, just a little one." A few minutes later we were upstairs throwing each other around on Jobina and I's king size bed and having a grand old time. Trinity (AKA "Karate girl") joined the fray and we rough housed for a good 10 minutes or so. It wasn't the most productive morning, but I know I at least accomplished one good thing: wrestling with my kids. Schoolwork/real estate investing - zero. Half decent parenting - score!

May Light increase!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Question: Could You Survive An Affair?

I recently read a book about recovering from affairs. The thing I found interesting in the book was that:

1. The Christian author believes that everyone, high in morals or not, and under the right conditions can find them self cheating on their spouse.
2. More marriages experience some kind of infidelity then those who don't.
3. People often cheat on each other because they are not getting their emotional needs met. The 10 most important "emotional" needs include Affection, Sexual Fulfillment, Conversation, Recreational Companionship, Honesty and Openness, Physical Attractiveness, Financial Support, Domestic Support, Family Commitment, and Admiration.
4. Although devastating, it's very possible that a marriage suffering from infidelity can often be better after the couple have recovered from the affair.

The book I read was called Surviving An Affair by Willard H. Harley an expert in helping couples as they try to get their relationship back together after infidelity. I was surprised by how optimistic he was about the ability to help such couples and that life after the affair could eventually be better then it was before. He believes that with the right help and following the right principles a damaged marriage can be restored to a place that is is much superior to where it was. I like this radical optimism. One thinks that one could never recover from an affair (indeed I have thought this) never mind have the relationship improve, but it seems that the author has helped thousands of couples do this exact thing.

So here's my question: could you see yourself recovering and even improving after an affair? Do you think it's possible? What are your reasons? I was discussing the book with Jobina and found that when you get past the idea that such a thing is really possible (most people refuse to go there) you may find yourself surprised by the emotions and thoughts it brings up. Some people think that by ignoring the topic they will be immune to it. I certainly don't think its something we should fixate on, but realizing that one of the results of a marriage where needs are being met could be an affair is just honest and realistic thinking (and incentive to work harder on prevention). Anyway, an interesting and realistic topic I thought. If you'd like to read more on the topic, I recommend Harley's classic book His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair Proof Marriage.

May Light increase!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Baching It: Complete

Yesterday evening my family came home and my baching it was over. It was a strange week without them: I spent the first few days staying up late, eating poorly, and not getting anything of significance accomplished. Then eventually I adapted and starting living a somewhat productive single life. I am very thankful to have them home now (I missed them) but it was nice to see that I could survive on my own as a temporarily single person . . .

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Secrets of the Pure

As a youth pastor, counselor, and Christian I am very interested in the answer to this question: What is the secret to staying pure before marriage? I'm talking about people who are in committed relationships who in the course of dating and engagement do something that most couples (including Christian couples) do not: they stay pure. I've blogged about this before. Although evangelical Christians for the most part subscribe to a "not until marriage" theology, their practice says otherwise. In other words, Christian couples are getting sexual and yes, it's a big problem, our dirty little secret.

Anyway, I recently spoke with two people who have remained pure. The first is a Christian bartender who went out with her boyfriend for seven years and stayed pure the whole time. Seven years! They just got married. I asked her what the secret was to her staying pure. She told me that activity was never an option for them. Ever. (This reminded me of the secret to marriage that Will Smith recently espoused "You just both agree that divorce is never an option. Then you'll never be tempted by it.") My friend and her boyfriend both valued purity and believed that it was possible to stay pure. Principle 1: You have to decide that you are going to be pure. Not that you are going to try to be pure or do your best to be pure. You will be pure. Simple. If you do not have this rock solid commitment to waiting you will almost always fail. That is the reality and it is the main starting point on the journey of purity.

My second story is about a guy I know in his mid twenty's who has been going out with a girl for a few months. As I often do when catching up with guy friends I'll ask them about how their physical life is going with their significant other. I find that very few people ask this question! One guy I asked told me I was the first person who had ever asked him! Anyway, this friend told me that things were going great in his relationship, including the physical part. A few interesting things he told me:

When they started going out he told the girl he thought they should take the physical side of the relationship very slow. They made an agreement not to kiss for awhile which ended up being a few months. They did this, he said to work on their friendship first. A wise decision I think. Principle 2: When a relationship starts with the physical it is difficult to stop that side from becoming the focus of the relationship. Start with the friendship first. As an aside I wonder if the it is the guy who is the main "boundary keeper" in the relationship if the chances are higher that the couple will succeed in purity (without being sexist, my guess is that this is true).

The girl's uncles let him know in subtle ways that he was being watched by them. "Hey _(my friend), if you were going to be shot where would you want to be shot and with what kind of gun?" "Are you trying to say something?" "Nope, just curious, you know one of those "what if" questions." Seriously that's what they said to him! Of course there were no explicit threats, just subtle warning. Principle 3: It takes a community to keep one pure. My friend did not try to escape this accountability, instead he embraced it. Couples who fail sexually often have no accountability or they reject that that is offered them.

When my friend wanted to ask the girl out she told him that he had to ask her Dad. Yikes! Scary right? Actually it wasn't that bad. Mostly they talked about the girl and what she meant to both of them. The Dad did make one stipulation though: he told my friend that if he wanted to date his daughter that he wanted them to hang out mostly at their house (where she lived), not at my friend's house. I thought that this was genius because it took out the temptation to be alone in a place without any accountability. Principle 4: Stay away from tempting environments and avoid being alone very much. Many couples consistently put themselves into a place where they will be tempted - and eventually they fail.

My friend told me this story of renting a movie he had really wanted to see for a long time. So he invited his girlfriend. Unbeknowst to him, the movie had some nudity and he started to feel uncomfortable watching this with his girlfriend. So he made a difficult decision: he turned it off. "What was hard," he told me, "was that I really wanted to see that movie!" But it was the principle of the thing. Will one sex scene in a movie cause someone to be impure? Probably not. But it goes to show what my friend was willing to do to protect their relationship. Principle 5: Small decisions to protect purity add up to a pure relationship.

Let me add a principle from my own experience. Principle 6: Decide what your personal boundaries are ahead of time and make sure that who ever has the more conservative boundaries - those are the ones you never cross. Jobina and I did this. We openly discussed what we each thought was too far and then agreed to go with the "weaker" person's conscience. If the other person can't respect those boundaries, the couple will eventually fail. This means checking in on each other and putting your values ahead of your own desires. Speaking of boundaries, most couples who fail don't know how to talk about them, enforce them, or have consequences for if they fail. Yet they are so important. Knowing your partner's boundaries and not letting you (or them) go past them is a very loving thing to do. Many successful couples have used the same principle - with excellent results.

Do you know of any couples who have been successful in staying pure before marriage? If so, what worked for them? I'd be interested to know.

May Light increase!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Watching Them Grow Up

From 1998-2005 Jobina and I lived in Mennville, Manitoba where I was a youth pastor in the church and a director at Beaver Creek Bible Camp. These were some of the best years of my life and though I'm glad I am where I am, I look back at them with great fondness. While I was out there I got to meet so many wonderful people, especially the students and staff who I ministered to.

This week I have thinking a lot about how awesome it is to watch students who you have worked with grow up. Being at camp last weekend warmed my heart as I saw people who I had coached, trained, talked to, and occasionally struggled with maturing and finding their place in the world. It is incredibly satisfying. Last night I went to see a movie with one such individual and afterwards we went out for coffee and he told me about all the cool things that were happening in his life. I just sat back amazed at how, well . . . mature he was. He was making some great relationship and life/faith decisions and I was very proud of him. Did he have it all together? Of course not, who does? But he has lots to celebrate and I celebrated with him. I've gotten a lot of emails recently from former students and staff and whether they are feeling blessed or are struggling I was really impacted by how through it all they are all maturing. Some through hardships, some through blessing. But they are all growing and it's wonderful to behold. My "students" are now challenging me with their lives, their words, and especially their courage and perseverance in life circumstances.

Walking with someone through a formative time in their lives is a great honor. But watching them later on as they grow up and mature . . . that is truly one of life's greatest blessings. I feel very thankful as I reflect on these things. And content.

May Light increase!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Camp Stuff

Wow, thanks Scott for taking the reins for a few days! Well, I spent the last few days up at camp doing training with the directors and doing LiMiT team development training with the staff. Although I was pretty rusty we had a great time and hopefully people learned some stuff. The team there this year was intense, mature, and higher then average in integrity - all good signs. The last TDA was extremely difficult but the team completed it in less then 2 hours - very impressive! Here's a picture of "Nitro Drop" from several years ago. Recognize anyone?

This was the first time I was overnight at camp for 2 years since I was director there and it felt good. It was fun to be up at camp training people and not having the responsibility/worries of getting staff last minute. So much more peaceful! Although I was jealous of all the good times the new directors are going to have I did not envy the mental burden of it all - I must remember to pray for them. Being back at camp was (as always) good for my soul.

Jobina and I went up to Gimli together where I dropped her off at my parents farm for the weekend. On the way I mentioned to her that maybe she should think about cooking at camp this week. There was (is?) a great need for cooks and one of her favorite people from Mennville was already signed up. Even though it was last minute we realized that if Camp could find a babysitter for her it could work. Sure enough they found someone to help her with the kids (at least for the first few days) so yesterday afternoon we said goodbye and she went up to camp while I returned to Winnipeg. Yup, so I'll be "batching" it this week while Jobina ministers up at camp. I have often told people that it is not the person at camp who sacrifices the most, but those who are left behind (family) and now I am learning just a little bit what that sacrifice feels like! If you are the praying type and you'd like to pray for Jobina here are some requests:

1. That BCBC would get enough cooks each day and that meals will be good, timely, and large enough.
2. That our kids would work well with the babysitter and that the babysitter will have time off and be blessed by her time up there.
3. That Jobina will have energy and strength when they are understaffed in the kitchen.
4. That she will meet God in a special way through serving Him.
5. That the camp will achieve it's goal: loving the campers and sharing the Good News with them.

UPDATE: Please pray for healing for Jobina's ankle. I haven't heard from her directly but apparently she fell and twisted it in a freak accident just after arriving . . . there was a nasty noise from it as she fell.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Church Membership?

Do we actually know why we become members of a certain church? Is it really necessary? I have never personally done it myself and believe allot of people do it just because it is the thing to do and don't think about why. I was asked once at a church I had been attending to become a member. I declined the offer and was asked why so. This church like most had a rather large statement of faith with about a dozen points if i remember right. I said that i didn't agree with all of the statements. This person told me just to forget about those points as long as I agreed with most of them. What a turn off for me.

I have had many discussions with people who made points to try to convince me that membership was good and why it had a place. One was "To get people to be more involved in the church". Tell me how participating in a weird ceremony and having your name on a register causes you to become more involved. I know many "adherents" {as we non members that attend regularly are called} that are far more into the church than most members. Another point was "so you can vote on issues and that it would keep bad people from influencing the church in a bad way". If a few people have an idea that the majority done agree with or like it won't matter because they are a majority. Also if too many are on their side they could just branch off and start another church{sarcasm in case you didn't catch it. Like we need to start more branched off churches}One more argument for membership was that " It keeps people accountable to monetary support". I don't see how this is accomplished. Has anyone been kicked out of a church because someone in power thought they were not giving enough? I have never heard of it happening.

I have often thought about other groups that require memberships. Biker Gangs, sororities and fraternities, and political parties, They all seem to have one thing in common. The members learn to be competitive, sometimes violent and negative towards other groups. There is almost always a thought that they are better than any other group. Are these qualities that God wants to see in our churches? Competition and a superior attitude is very strong in allot of churches.

I am not really a fan of denominations either. I really wish sometimes that we could all be members of "Gods church" and when someone asks what denomination we were we could just say Christian.I often wonder what the people around town that are not Christians think about our variety of denominations that can't stand each other or at least don't really get along. Not a great sales pitch for Christianity is it. This could be post topic on its own.
I wouldn't say I'm 100% against membership, but I have yet to hear a valid point that has convinced me or that the positives outweigh the negatives. I am curious what others think of this issue and am open to comments and opinions.

Well, its been interesting trying blogging out. its way more work than i imagined. I applaud Mark for being so dedicated to it. I don't think I could keep it up daily as he does.


Friday, July 4, 2008

What am I doing?

Hello everyone
My name is Scott Williamson. I am married to my beautiful wife Julie who you met as a guest blogger about a month ago. I also have a cute daughter Norah who is so much fun to watch as she grows up. I'm not sure I would agree with all of Marks comments about me but I will try to do them justice. First off I would like to apologize for my poor spelling and grammar. I fix airplanes for a living and hated English in school and almost failed. As for my title I never thought I would do something like this. I occasionally read Marks and other blogs. The thought of blogging seemed interesting but I don't think I could dedicate time to do it regularly. This Will be a chance to try it out. Thanks Mark.

I work for a small airline as the Director of Maintenance in St. Andrews. The majority of our business is to native reserves. Most of you probably heard about the young 16 tear old boy who murdered the 9 year old boy in the news. On Monday night I was asked to stay and help unload one of our aircraft when it came back from Little Grand Rapids. I was aware that on this flight was the 16 year old that killed the other boy along with 5 RCMP officers. I had had first hand information about the incident and it was much more brutal than the media had stated. They tend to do that as to not expose how bad things really are on reserves. While waiting for the plane i have to admit I had some really bad thoughts and opinions about this boy. One of our pilots and I talked about just dumping him off in the middle of nowhere or tossing him out of the plane. I had talked to Julie about it and she said that maybe God would change my heart when he arrived. She was so right! This young innocent boy who looked like he wouldn't kill a bug stepped off. I was instantly full of compassion and my heart felt so heavy. Every day I see small children with obvious FAS symptoms getting taken off the reserve by child and family services. They will often go back to the reserve in a few months just to be hauled away again because the parents hadn't changed. There is a serious problem in our native communities and it would take nothing short of a miracle from God to fix it. Continually just handing out money is not working. Doing this would ruin any race or group of people. I guess my point is I would like to encourage everyone to pray for these communities and pass it on to others to do so. Their is so much more that I see from these reserves but it would take days. I have been to lots of these communities and they are amazing people that need Gods love. Pray that our government leaders would find a way to start resolving these issues.

I guess I should mention that I in no way intended this to be a racial slander. It is something that I deal with every day and really weighs on my heart some times.

More thoughts tomorrow

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Blood

Just to let you know, I'm going to be really busy for a few days so I've asked a friend to tag in and do some posts for you the next few days. Fresh thoughts, fresh wit, and hopefully a fresh perspective! A mysterious and intriguing guest blogger cometh . . . prepare to be enlightened!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It Would Be Nice . . .

I saw this on Postsecret. For a few people, a counselor is the only person they really have to talk to. It's an incredible privilege yet sad at the same time. If you see someone today who likes they have no one to talk to - engage them. It's worth it.

May Light increase!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is Torturing A Telemarketer Really That Wrong?

Video: Tormenting A Telemarketer With One Word:

As the above video shows, it's fun and very satisfying to play with the mind of a telemarketer. I laughed when I watched the video the first time and I snickered when I thought of it later. In retrospect I realized that torturing telemarketers is probably not the Christian thing to do. But is it really that wrong?

On the "not at all, they deserve it" side let's face it, telemarketing is mostly an evil thing. We get several calls a day from different companies trying to sell us stuff, get our donations, or get our free opinions on things. So often they call at bad times. Often they get my name wrong (or address me as "M. Westman"). They are usually trained not to take your first "no" for an answer. The charities can often be demanding. Very few us ever appreciate a telemarketer yet they can call us at will, interrupting our lives and privacy. In so many ways they are a blight on the North American landscape. Surely having a little fun at their expense is not wrong?

On the flipside, torturing people in any does not really fit into the "love" paradigm that the Gospel preaches. It also goes against the golden rule. I have known people who have been telemarketers - it's a terrible job for all but a handful of high achiever, high challenge salesman types. They take a lot of abuse and it's hard not to take it personally. Would you like to be sworn at, told off, screamed at, or spend your whole day at a desk calling people who don't want to talk to you?

Some people see their torture of telemarketers as a strike against tyranny and there is some truth to this. If telemarketers all got abuse maybe no one would take the job and companies would find other, less intrusive/abusive ways to market their wares. Hopefully Canada will soon get a "no call" list like our American neighbors. How should a Christian respond to telemarketers? I personally have a "no telephone solicitation" rule for myself which I inform 95% of telemarketers of as soon as I can get a word in edgewise. I also think that interrupting their monologue with a "sorry to interrupt but I don't accept telephone solicitation of any kind, please remove me from your list and have a nice day" is acceptable. We have to have our boundaries after all. What's your approach to telemarketers? Ever play around with them?

May Light increase!