Monday, June 28, 2004

Maybe have to give this one a read...

If someone were to ask you what was the theme of Jesus' preaching, what would be your answer? Man's need for salvation? God's love for mankind? The new birth?

To be sure, Jesus spoke about all of those things. And they're all essential truths. But none of them were the theme of His teaching. The theme of Jesus' message was the kingdom of God.

Wherever He went, Jesus preached about the kingdom. The irony is that the message of the kingdom is almost totally missing from the gospel that's preached today. As a result, a lot of Christians don't realize that the kingdom of God is a present reality on earth. In fact, they don't even know what the kingdom of God is. Consequently, they never make the kingdom commitment that Christ requires.

In The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down, David Bercot takes the reader back to Jesus' teachings of the kingdom - teachings that have too often been forgotten. Bercot describes the radically new laws of the kingdom and its upside-down values. There's no room in Christ's kingdom for superficial Christianity, for this is a kingdom that has historically turned the world upside down.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

I'm having fun with this lyric I have been working on. I was playing around with Acid (the software) and I put the guitar riff from Jesus Christ Superstar's "Heaven on Their Minds" (Judas sings that) over a rhythm loop, and then wrote these lyrics. Of course, it doesn't fit in the least with the alt-country type stuff we have been doing, but perhaps it can evolve to that new genre, taking Japan by storm, alt-hip-hop-country...

I put my ear to the ground, tried to stop and listen
But a part's left out, like there's something I'm missing
We were in the back row there was holding and kissing
Now I'm sucking a pepsi in the intermission

But this is the path to love you say,
Just rattle the windows, and go away
Like a bomb going off far away
It'll turn your head, but not wreck your day

I talk a lot because I think that I know stuff
I don't sleep too much but I dream like Joseph
But in dreams it seems that I'm wearing handcuffs
Your kiss is soft, but your touch is rough

Because where it blows no one knows
You just plant the rose and hope it grows
A broken heart, a bloody nose
You're just keeping me on my toes

So how do I play these cards I hold?
Am I getting closer or just getting old?
Because the silence is just like gold -
It's of the greatest worth, and hard and cold

By the time I send this I might have lost it
I'm enjoying my time here but I don't really fit
When we stand, I'll stand, and when we sit, I'll sit
But I can't say I care for it

Because where it blows no one knows
You just plant the rose and hope it grows
A broken heart, a bloody nose
You're just keeping me on my toes

Friday, June 18, 2004

It won't be a popular decision. It won't be easy. It wasn't clear just a few months or even a few weeks ago, but there's now one obvious choice for the Lakers to remain among the NBA's elite in the next decade.

Trade Shaq.

Fascinating thought. Any trade suggestions? I guess to get him in Toronto we might have to give up half the team... might be worth it.
Shoeless panty pervert

...The whole sorry business started when Shinichi was leaving the house during his first trip. The panty pilferer was spotted by the house owner’s wife, and in his haste to flee the scene, Shinichi-san left his footwear in the garden. Yes, despite illegally entering a house and stealing underwear, the thief in question was still polite enough to leave his shoes outside and enter the residence barefooted....

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Wow. How sad to have to be sitting in an internet cafe in Japan listening to the Finals all by myself. I'll bet the party is going on at home. I mean, it's like Return of Jedi. They just blew up the Death Star and the Evil Empire has been crushed. The low places are being made high and the high places low. Next thing you know Jesus will be coming back.

Who'da thunk it...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Jordon points to an idea about re-arranging the NHL to make an even better league.

I was having similar thoughts in the good-ideas-that-are-never-going-to-happen realm, only about basketball. I was watching the game yesterday, and thinking about the critics who say there is too much scoring in basketball (though hardly a criticism that can be made about the current series...). Now basketball is my favorite game and I its biggest defender, but I have to admit there is some truth to the idea that there is no point in watching the first half, as the only real action that matters happens right at the end. I have heard so many people say that they only tune in for the last 10 minutes because that is the only part that really matters. The only ones watching the whole game are guys like me who love watching the sport itself...

So anyway, here is my improvement. We divide a basketball game into three periods and play it set/match style like volleyball (may the basketball gods forgive me for making that comparison...). So basically, instead of 48 minutes continuous, you play three separate "mini-games" of 16 or 20 minutes, and whoever wins 2, wins the match. Also then if the teams are very unevenly matched, the stronger team wins the first two games, and it's over - no need to sit through the boring final quarter of a blowout. If the teams are very evenly matched, it would end up pretty much like it does now, with overtime, etc. But basically the best part would be that there would be three "final minutes" in every game, and all the excitement that comes with that. And it would seem a little less like the entire first half means next to nothing...

So what do you think? Should I send it to the league commissioner??

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

1 Peter 2

9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Submission to Rulers and Masters

13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."[5] 23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

This passage was just reinforcing thoughts I have been having about the importance of forming communities of faith that are deliberate about the mission of coming to know and understand the love of God while at the same time extending that love to places where it is severely lacking... which is going to entail suffering. But it seems our suffering is not lost on God, but is instead part the journey we signed on for. Anyway, this passage is a foundational one for the notion of Christian Anarchy, as it seems to reinforce the vital nature of focusing our efforts on things like care for the disadvantaged, etc, rather than political revolution (I still wrestle like crazy with the whole political engagement thing... hey Derek, at some point I want to have an in depth discussion on that one...). Anyway...

I don't say this to be preachy, but as someone who is currently gazing out over the chasm of who I am versus who I could be...

Again, this is mainly just for my own future reference, because I know I am posting almost never, and therefore few are coming by, so this may well become a repository for things I want to remember for future days. And information seems to survive longer on the web than on my oft-reformatted hard drives...

Sunday, June 06, 2004

And I guess he is on a roll, because here is another good one:

I believe that we condemn ourselves not directly because of what we have done or failed to do in this life, but rather for what we have allowed ourselves to become. We can bathe in the waters of corruption for so long that when we finally do stand before glory we cannot endure it. What we do, or fail to do contributes to what we become, but it is not a surefire method of ascertaining to which of the two crucified thieves a person would be most analogous.

Hell, I have heard, (I believe from Fr. Hopko) is like a little boy who is told he can have no dessert before dinner and the little boy becomes very angry and upset. After dinner, dessert is placed before everyone and the little boy is encouraged to "dig in!" But he won't, so angry for not getting his way, he refuses to eat the dessert even though it sits before him readily available. That is hell.

Friday, June 04, 2004

James at his best:

War for the Shire

A politically conservative friend related to me awhile back an apologetic for the current "war on terrorism" that went something like this: Everyone seems to want a world like the Hobbit's shire, but often the same people fail to see the need for the defense of that shire against the evil of places like Mordor. The argument being, obviously, that sometimes you do have to fight for peace. Okay.

Oh how I wish the world were that simple. That evil should be so easy to geographically identify... point to the map and say with absolute certainty that "there is the evil empire" and that all the orcs (people) there need to be wiped out. But, where is evil?

Is it found in what some term "radical Islam?" Is it found in what some term modern American imperialism? Perhaps it is found in globalization? Or can we see it in the "one world government" soon to be ruled by the anit-christ? Maybe, it is in Rome? Or Moscow? Or Washington DC? North Korea? Iraq? (Whistling) Here evil... come here boy... come on!

Ahhh... there you are... right where you've always been: in my heart.

(sigh of contentment)
Now, I can march to war for the Shire.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

For my own reference:

The communal movement of Yamagishi was founded in Japan in 1958, based on the original mystic but rational ideas of a social-philosopher of that name. Today there are more than 30 communes in Japan and 7 communities abroad (in Korea, Thailand, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany, Australia, and the U.S.). The aim of Yamagishism is to reconcile human acts with Nature - to bring about a human society of affluence, health, and natural affection, that is secure and comfortable.

In Yamagishi communes there is no private property, no fixed work hours, no material reward for labour and no internal financial accounting. Their major occupation is organic agriculture, from the land to the consumer - not "organic" in the accepted sense of the word, but in accordance with the spirit of the animals or crops being raised. Other activities include health-maintenance, education, social welfare and computer software development.

The Yamagishi Association,
555 Kawahigashi,
Iga-Cho, Ayama-Gun,


Hutterites: A Selected Bibliography


Hutterites to Japan
Andrea asks, "why are you getting so fightey lately?" That question has nothing to do with a deteriorating marital relationship. She's talking about Pride, K-1, and most recently kendo, Japanese fighting sports which I have been taking in an interest in. She wants to know, why the interest? Well, it's because I have a sports-shaped hole that yearns to be filled. And in Canada, it was never an issue. Between basketball, football, and hockey, I was never less than satisfied. And lots of people to do those sports with too.

Not so in Japan. I am starting to accept the fact that if I want to keep up with basketball, well, more than just reading yahoo sports reports, I am going to have to get satellite or something. Because it appears that on regular TV the only thing I will have the opportunity to see are the NBA Finals. And every basketball fan knows that these days they mean nothing. The real finals are already over. Lakers won. Damn Lakers. The rest is just formality...

But in Japan the really popular sports you can get together with some guys and watch without worrying about a 12 hour time lag revolve around fighting. Pride is the best one. Pride is to boxing what a street fight is to ballroom dancing. K-1 is pretty good too, just a little boring of late, with lesser known names than Pride.

But as far as actually getting involved, you are not going to see me fighting Pride anytime soon. I value my teeth, bones, facial structure etc (though who knows - maybe Pride fighting could help in re-aligning a crooked chin...). Kendo looks interesting though. Kendo is what the actors from Star Wars studied before doing the light-sabre fight scenes. So I am looking into it.