Showing posts from July, 2011


Ellen DeGeneres was on TV the other day. I watched her dial a male nurse at work. This guy had sent her a message saying that they shared the same birthday and would love the opportunity to spend their birthdays together.

At first, she pretended to be a staff member from her office calling to speak to him. When she finally identified that it was her talking, the man shrieked in the phone and could not contain his excitement.

She was going to fly him in to share their birthdays together.

When we pray, it’s important to know whom we are speaking to. It makes all the difference in the world.

In Jesus’ prayer lesson He told us to speak to our Father. God is not just my personal father as an only child, but also a shared father. I have many brothers and sisters. Sometimes I speak to my Father alone. I also speak in the presence of my brothers and sisters. We share God. Jesus tied the family dynamic together when He said,

Mark 11:
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything agains…


Religious leaders, politicians and people in the marketplace selling their wares surrounded Jesus and the disciples. Everyone had something to say and their own way of saying it.

Jesus commented on the public display put on by religious leaders when they prayed in synagogue and on street corners. It was quite a production number. Tongue-tied disciples felt the pressure to follow their leaders. Thank goodness Jesus relieved them of the pressure to perform like that.

Still, prayer is important. If Jesus could point out the ridiculous, what about the genuine? Jesus kept going away alone to pray, so what happened in His private time? “Teach us how to pray,” they asked. He was the leader they wanted to learn from. And a few pages later, they are sound asleep at Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer meeting.

Maybe they felt the way I do about praying. God is pretty important and definitely part of the soundtrack of my life. I’d like to talk to Him and have an intimate discussion, but find myself awkwa…


Awkward, pensive moments… you are with someone important. You are in a setting where you want to talk with them and are not sure what to say.

A few years ago I stood alongside the stage at Hart Plaza in Detroit. My friend Ryan Richardson and I had just heard the gospel singer Russ Taff sing a few songs at a festival. We walked up and said hello and expressed appreciation.

And then, my tongue had a stroke and lay paralyzed in my mouth. What could I say to Russ Taff that he hadn’t heard before? I owned and listened to many of his solo recordings. His music was part of the soundtrack of my life. I felt as if I knew him through his music. Now I felt like a geeky kid in grade eight going on his first date. What was with that? We sometimes find ourselves wanting to communicate, but unsure of ourselves.

How many words never leave your cranium? Some people’s heads may explode if they don’t soon say something to relieve the pressure. I understand the quiet ones. They don’t like to post on…


Before I give you my thoughts on Ian Morgan Cron's newest book, let me make an offer. I will send a copy of this book to the first person with the greatest number of these characteristics:

- raised by an alcoholic father
- had a parent who worked covertly for an Intelligence Agency
- raised Catholic
- attended Young Life, Campus Life or some student ministry during high school years
- partied hard

Email me at with your score out of 5. Highest entry wins the book.

Now to my thoughts...

Ian Cron strikes me as the coolest Episcopal priest I ever came across. Not that I know any, but if I did I would think he stands out.

He writes with the humor of Garrison Keillor and hints of Woody Allen. He is theologically trained but does not write a treatise. Instead, we find an auto-biography that brings us to a quiet place at an altar. His testimony reminds us that broken people are healed by a broken Lord.

This is his journey with Christ from childhood, through add…


I could not put this book down. Without previous knowledge of the author, I assumed the book would be a pendulum swing rant against the things we do not like about Westernized Church life.

What I found instead, was an excellent treatment of key passages of scripture dealing with the Ten Commandments, the New Covenant, Tithing, Baptism, Pre-destination and so on.

Andrew Farley is a masterful storyteller who makes theology personal and memorable.

If you know someone who has been burned-out by church life and legalism, buy this one for Christmas. But do yourself a favor and read it first.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 


A couple weeks ago, I was in the old city area of Montreal. Amidst the quaint cafes and wide cobblestone streets, I observed several street performers. Musicians, buskers and comedians entertained the tourists and collected money for romanticizing the environment.

Sometimes you give to a busker because you are truly entertained. Other times, you give because you feel sorry for them. While a few are truly gifted performers, others appear to be beggars with a gimmick. The out-of-tune guitar and crackly voice singing Neil Young worse than Neil Young might inspire a handful of change in the open guitar case.

And then, there are honest beggars. A few will tell you that they want money to buy beer, food or pay their rent. One of the begging men in Montreal held a sign that read, ‘Too ugly for prostitution.’ Now, that’s honest.

If you ever had to beg, you know that your presentation is everything. You need to compete for the attention of the softhearted passerby. You need their money before …