Friday, December 22, 2006


A wall
fights the gentle patterns of life
grinds out its possession
a monument to conceit
deceiving in its rigidity
permanent as a pause in a melody.

All walls fall
but stones decay towards life
erode to resurrect the soil.

God builds living walls
music just within
the brickwork of my body is moving,
dynamic, busy.

I am a living stone
but soft;
a seed falling
into the grave of resurrection.

Monday, October 16, 2006


"Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God-it whets our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship-it deepens. It overflows the hour and permeates the week. The need is expressed in a desire for peace and security. Our everyday needs are changed by the act of worship. We are no longer living from hand to mouth, greedily scrambling through the human rat race to make the best we can out of a mean existence. Our basic needs suddenly become worthy of the dignity of creatures made in the image of God: peace and security."

-Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I wrote this poem several years ago after someone I knew died of cancer, and I had to face the fact that I had been really self-absorbed and had more or less forgotten about them as they suffered - not intentionally, of course, but an "out of sight, out of mind" sort of thing. I figure it's not that hard to know what God's will is or how to do it, because it's summed up in the two greatest commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor... my "self" is pretty noisy though so somehow God's will becomes hard to do.


I saw your burdened, aching eyes
Heard the tremor in your voice
You tried to be brave

I met your news with sympathetic gaze
Promise of prayer
Encouraging embrace

But lost through cold indifference
Was persistent love
visits, support
Did I even remember to pray?

I watch many faces
Anguished, hollow
Feel twinges and twangs
Of helplessness, guilt, but

Imply agreement
With oppressors, destroyers
by my silence.

No! No!
Anger and injustice!
But I sat idle.

Your hardened, hurting eyes hit mine
Where was God when I suffered?

What can I say?

When He wanted to reach out,
I held back my hand.
How do I explain
Shutting the door on His tears?

Who would not comfort?
I who was not there.

Where is He? Where was He?
Bound by my refusal
Thwarted by my apathy.

Where was I when you suffered?
It was up to me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Booming Homeless

Ok, blogs are for rants; here's one that won't amuse.

Calgary is experiencing a wild rodeo ride these days: an economic boom which is fueling unprecedented growth and a surge in real estate. But out-of-control growth is not a good thing. Many middle-class and low income Calgarians have been left homeless and suffering. These are people with full time jobs and families whose rents have skyrocketed, or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or lured here by the promise of jobs without taking into account the increasing cost of living- something which it appears increases every month. I cringe to think of how it will be for these people in a few short months when winter sets in.
The most disturbing thing to me in all this is the relative silence from the church in Calgary. It seems most Christians are hoping the government will step in and alleviate the problem of homelessness and all the associated problems which come with it. But taking care of the poor is the prerogative of the Body of Christ, not the government. If ever there was a time for the Body to step up to the plate and do something about poverty in our city, it is NOW.
Of course I am aware that there are already numerous Christian agencies already in place to assist the homeless, but those places are overwhelmed by the volume of people needing assistance. I am quite sure that the amount of financial aid they receive has not increased in proportion to the need - or the prosperity in some sectors. It is definitely time for something new to be implemented.
This new thing should cross our denominational boundaries. We are all the Body in Calgary, and we must lay down our doctrinal swords and truly demonstrate that we belong to the One who is, by definition, Love. I am no organizer and I have no idea what we ought to do. Perhaps we should raise funds to build or purchase our own low-cost housing for those who are struggling. The Muslim community is raising 14 million dollars to build a mosque. Perhaps our answer should be raising millions of dollars to build low-rent homes. Whatever each of our churches could do alone is nothing compared to what we can do together.
Maybe it is easier for us to let down our guards towards theology than money.
Whatever we do, let us do it remembering God's admonitions in James and Isaiah 58 about true faith focusing on taking care of the needy. The Body is sleeping when we should realize that this is our moment to shine! This is our moment to shut the mouths of the scoffers who despise our faith and our God. But all I see and hear is silence when we should be weeping, working, healing and helping.
Let us also not forget that every boom has a bust - whether gradual or sudden, there is no doubt that this prosperity cannot last forever. Let us do as much as we can while our home values are high and our jobs are secure. If the boom has left this many people in the dust, what will the bust bring? Certainly nothing will get better for anyone. Never before has Jesus' call to turn away from the riches of this world rung so true as it does today. Am I like the rich young ruler who cannot give up great wealth in order to follow Him? Am I even worse than him, not realizing that I cannot serve two masters, and trying keep one foot in my comfortable life and follow Him too?
I don't want to give up my home or my comforts. But who knows but that I will not retain them for long anyway? Isn't it better to give them up for His sake than have them taken away in the end for no one's profit- except perhaps the bank?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More About Language

The Linguists:
uncovering roots of meaning hidden beneath the cacophony of voices
dragging their treasures through the pitfalls of convenience
and the structures are lost
tossed, squished, undermined.
still we pick through, piece together,
puzzling over what cannot fit but must to find
Looking through the weathered ages of language
obscure, twisted, rocky, tundra, knotty forest bark
our speech is still unfound.