September 23, 2009

The Twitter edition #1

I have several partially written posts dated all the way back to June, which I never could post because it wouldn't feel right to post unfinished work. And looking back in my list of drafts I've got unfinished posts dating back to 2004. I got this idea from another blogger who recently posted a bunch of his backdated thoughts.

So without further adieu, I'd like to do the same, while adding a little spin -- I present to you In The Blink Of An Eye's inaugural Twitter edition:

(06/29/2009) ebrian: I'm often asked about my thoughts on the garbage strike for the City of Toronto. I tell people that I support what they're doing, but I'd r

(07/24/2009) ebrian: It's come to my attention that the left lane is no longer the faster lane on Toronto roads. It has officially become the "I refuse to go fa

(08/10/2009) ebrian: Why is it always the fat people who take the elevator to go up (or down) 1 floor? Take the friggin' stairs, you need it! Over the past yea

(08/22/2009) ebrian: My wife and I have been having BBQs on almost available Saturday since we moved into our new home. We usually invite 6-8 people to keep the

(09/02/2009) ebrian: NFL Football is about to begin, and I'd like to make my annual predictions for the upcoming season. I think the Superbowl Champs will be th

September 17, 2009

Myths about preaching

I found this article recently and found it pretty insightful. It talks about the 3 myths of preaching. I'm no preacher, but I still found it interesting to think about.

1) If You Preach a Good Sermon the Church Will Grow

I definitely agree with this one because our church has grown significantly over the past 2-3 years and I haven't noticed anything different in the sermons. If anything I've noticed the sermons have been getting worse; which was part of the reason why this past summer my wife and I decided to go and try some other church, although in the end we went back to the original one. Our beef was that some of our preachers don't necessarily use the bible it its correct context, but rather choosing to cherry pick verses in order to make point stand out. Which is bad, of course, but not bad enough to make us leave and start an entirely new community, etc.

2) Who You Preach To is Who You Will Reach

This one I wholeheartedly agree on. When I was younger I used to invite my friends to church because I knew they were talking about certain topics that might interest a non-believer, or maybe it was a message I thought my friend needed to hear. 9 times out of 10 they were offended and never came back. A great example of this is inviting your atheist friend when you know an apologist was going to speak. That's pretty much the LAST way you want your friend to learn about Christianity.

3) The Goal of Preaching is to Make the Bible Relevant

I was talking to a co-worker yesterday about favorite movies, and he said he like Casablanca the best. I couldn't understand because I've seen it a couple of times and I've never enjoyed it. I asked him to explain himself, and he said it was because every line in the movie was still relevant today as much as it was 40 years ago. And the other thing was even though he'd seen the movie 20 times, every time he saw it, he would discover something new.

I think that's the perfect way to describe the bible. Every scripture and every verse is relevant even centuries after it was written. Everything that Jesus spoke about and taught still applies today. And every time you read the bible, there's something new to be learned.

So in that sense I understand what the guy is saying here. You don't need to make the bible relevant because it already is relevant.

Perhaps what I find most frustrating about preaching today is that the preacher is too afraid to step on anyone's toes. They're afraid to offer the extremes, even if it is the truth. When the bible says we should sell everything and follow Jesus, the preacher simply turns it aside as metaphor and a "worldly goods / materialism" sermon follows. But is that really what Jesus is saying?

The simple truth is difficult to preach because often you're afraid to offend, or you don't want to look like a hypocrite, or perhaps you're simply not ready to face that truth yourself so how can you ask your congregation to do the same.

September 04, 2009

The Grill Express

My wife and I attended a wedding this past weekend in Ottawa. It was about the most fun I've ever had at a wedding, and certainly one of the best weddings out of many weddings we've been to this year. (Congrats Ben & Erin!) In part I think it was because I felt closer to (the groom) than any other of the wedding participants I've attended this year. And the other part was it being in Ottawa -- a chance to see the many friends I had gotten to know 10 years ago when I lived there -- many people who to this day I consider to be some of the best people I've ever known.

Being in Ottawa made me think about all the memories I had there, and had me reminiscing about "the good ol' days". During that time I met this guy, a very passionate person and all he ever talked about, at least when I first met him, was a device called "The Grill Express". His name was Lon Wong.

He would talk about this mythical Grill Express like it was some kind of super appliance to end all other appliances. If I recall it was a pre-George Foreman grill, better than all of its predecessors. It was supposed to be able to grill almost any fresh food in under 4 minutes, while sealing in all the flavors. It just happened that around that time Lon discovered someone selling their Grill Express on EBay, and of course he had to have it. As the shipping date neared, I could see in his eyes that he was about fulfill one of his many lifelong dreams.

After he finally received it, I heard very little about it. I was never invited over to try it out, and it seemed like I stopped hearing about it. We all did. It's as if it never existed. One day, and I believe this was Canada Day, 1999, another friend named Jason Chau and I drove over to this guy's house to hang out. It was this big yellow house that had at one point in time been used as a bordello. Lon was still in his room sleeping, so we wandered around the house to explore. We walked past into the kitchen and noticed something on the counter -- it was the Grill Express.

It really didn't look all that impressive. I remember thinking it was so small, how could you fit a meal in there other than for small children? Jason picked it up and tried to figure out how it worked, tried to open up the latch, and wouldn't you know it, a piece of it BROKE off. Jason and I looked at eachother and thought "OH NO!". Jason did the best he could to try to fix it while I watched to make sure Lon wasn't coming downstairs. We whispered as quietly as we could as we (two engineers) did our best to fix it. But it was to no avail. The part that had broken off was an integral piece that held the spring which then held the rest of it together, forming the "juice seal". We tried but it was no use. The Grill Express was done.

I have a picture somewhere of Jason giving Lon an apologetic hug, but somehow I think that Lon's Grill Express dream had died way before it had broken.