Dinner at VIKALINKA

UK 09-06 to )9-25 678One of our missionaries, Julia Frey, is an amazing cook! You can read her food blog at www.vikalinka.com.  She likes to serve me new dishes when I come for a visit but this night she indulged me by serving something I’d had before… and loved.  Jeanne and I showed up for dinner and enjoyed her unforgettable French chicken dish.

UK 09-06 to )9-25 681Brad and Julia have cute kids, Mitchell and Vika (Brad is Canadian and Julia is Russian). I do, however, think they are slightly spoiled to good cooking; they paid little attention to her creations until dessert was served. Her fruit tarts were pretty amazing, though.

During the evening we enjoyed catching up on their lives and praying together for their ministry future.

A Very Paintable Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

A Busman’s Holiday

So what is a “Busman’s Holiday?” When a bus driver takes a day off he most often has so little money that all he can do is drive about in his car (something he does every day of his or her life). So, here we have it. I travel all of the time but when I get a day to myself, I wind up traveling once again. Yet, this provides a good time as long as my cultural informers won’t mind pulling over every so often so I can take a picture.  

Then people think that I have lots of fun when I travel. What they don’t know is this. When I was in Norway, I spent a total of $5.80 in seven days. Then in Sussex, if it were not for the Tim Horton’s and Smitty’s Restaurant down the hill from the college, I would have had no outings at all. I certainly don’t spend my days in museums or laying on the beach. Generally speaking, when I am on a teaching or preaching assignment, I spend almost the entire time in a dormitory room or someone’s spare bedroom.

Peggy’s Cove is a rustic, authentic fishing village on the edge of the world. It boasts a splendid lighthouse and some magnificent and massive wave smoothed rocks that jut out into the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Regrettably, we didn’t get the best of days for taking photographs for watercolor paintings. It was a “close” day as Canadian’s call those days that are grey or foggy. Still, you’ll enjoy these pictures. Hopefully, I will one day get some of these quaint images on to watercolor paper.

Canada / New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia

This is shot from the car as the Elliott van crossed over the border from New Brunswick. I briefly visited Nova Scotia once before as we drove through on our way to a Prince Edward Island vacation. P.E.I. is beautiful as anyone who has viewed the made for TV series “Anne (with an “e”) of Green Gables” PEI is beautiful but let me assure the reader that it is one week of beautiful and not two as we learned.

Pastor Kevin Wilson

We are on the way to Halifax where we will stay with Pastor Kevin Wilson, Bev, his wife and daughter Emma (who gets a longer name when she is scolded). Emma is an absolutely delightful Shirley Temple of a little girl of five years who quickly warmed up to my Grandpa-ness. She reminded me of my own precocious granddaughter, Adriah.

Here the entire bunch are pictured standing on the boardwalk along the Halifax harbour. You might say that we were just “chillun.”

Kevin, Bev, Helen and Stephen Elliott, Emma

Bethany Bible College, Sussex, NB

A few shots of the NEW and IMPROVED library…

Bethany is a Wesleyan denominational school that trains pastoral personnel, Christian school teachers and missionaries (and other things as well). I have seen remarkable changes in the three or so years that I have been involved there. For one thing, the new chapel is astoundingly beautiful. Then the library has been moved to a larger space and significantly upgraded. Here a few pictures of the library and computer room.

The Chapel

Here is the view of the sanctuary ceiling  from the pews below.  

The Newly Renovated Library and Study Hall

Canada / New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

What a Beautiful Time of Year.

This morning I woke up with allergies. People tell me that it is Birch pollen. I began the day with a runny nose. It’s a good thing that the lecture portion is over and this morning I listened as a number of students preached their required twenty to twenty-five minute sermons. Tomorrow morning I will pack up,  go into the town, take some photographs and then find my way to a coffee shop where I will grade papers and sip a cappuccino. At noon we will leave for Peggy’s Cove and on Sunday morning I will preach in Halifax, eat lunch and be driven to Moncton where I will spend the night before flying home on Monday morning.

I have a had a good time and especially enjoyed my roommates. Rod Martin (left) is a specialist in Instructional Technology and drove his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle all the way from southern Indiana, about 1,400 miles. I worked along side of Rod two years ago.

My other roomy, John Morgan (right) came to Bethany from Marquette University in Milwaukee where he is doing his PhD. He taught Young Adult Ministries.

Canada / New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Preaching to the Seminar Students at Bethany College Chapel

Have you ever heard of this concept? Low Predictibility=High Impact whereas, High Predictibility=Low Impact. Well, if this theory is true then I had very high impact on this body of students. This idea comes from the notion that Jesus had high impact because he was nothing like the Pharisees. His style completely shook the staid, religious culture to the core. To the Pharisees, Jesus was like someone running his or her fingernails down a blackboard. This concept is taken to include high impact Christians and churches. Predictable Christians and churches apparently do not impact the culture in any significant way. If all of this is even only slightly true then my message at Bethany Chapel was full of high impact. 

I do this sort of delivery everywhere and especially when I am talking to young people. I am, as they say, “very animated.” They do their best to try to make “very animated” sound like a good thing but the truth is, I’m not sure they’ve ever seen anything quite like my presentation in their short lifetimes. You must remember this is the Maritimes and folks don’t get around much so truth be told, they thought I might assault them by jumping over a pew.

For some of you who wonder what I talked about, I talked about risk and told the rabbit story. The rabbit story is legendary! Almost everyone knows it and is perhaps my most requested story. I am pretty sure that once is enough for this group. They were dumb struck by my antics and I have no idea of whether my message found its mark or not. Only time will tell. Those that did like it, really liked it.

To hear the “Rabbit Story” in all of its’ unabridged glory go to www.adventive.ca, at the top tab click “Resources,” then click, “Risk.”

Canada / New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

A Small but Rather Capable Group

I rarely get a large enrollment and for good reason. They say that there are three prospective events that frighten everyone. The first is the possibility of death, next, the chance that your spouse might divorce you and finally that you will be called on to speak in public.

I have been given the assignment of teaching a course they have entitled, “Preaching to the Unchurched.”  I have what I think is perhaps a better title but it would likely confuse people. I always call this course, “Communicating Christian Thought in a Post Christian, Post Modern World.”

Truth is, even believers are sometimes confused regarding the TRUTH. Many Christian’s see truth as a series of facts that they adhere to. For the most part, they would say that they agree with the tenants of the Apostle’s Creed. Even still, they often fail to see how TRUTH impacts ever aspect of life from what we wear and drive to whom we choose to marry or the job we take. There cannot be a sacred and secular life that co-exists within the same person.

Regrettably, churches wind up being filled by relativists and humanists masquerading as Christians. With this in mind, I have spent the week encouraging my six young preaching students to consider the task of preaching to procure a Christian mind by tackling the issues that have found their way from the halls of philosophy to the media outlets to the kitchen table and finally to the church pew.

Canada / New Brunswick, Nova Scotia

I flew into Ottawa on Saturday afternoon and was met by Ian and Alison Frankish at the airport. They took me to their van where with mom Bev we drove off for something to eat at a Kanata restaurant. There to meet us was husband, father, Chuck an ACCI board member. It was a quick visit as they were all on their way to a Michael W. Smith concert and me to the Peterkins’ home for the night.

After a fun evening , the next morning I was delivered back to the airport and on my way to Moncton, New Brunswick and a rendezvous with Dr. Steve Elliott, his wife Helen and son Jedediah (the call him Jeddie). A couple of hours or so later I was in my room, unpacked and out for a walk down to Tim Horton’s (in a town of 4,000, one has two choices to consider, Tim’s or McDonald’s). I will be here quite a number of times this week. I promise not to bore you with pictures of Tim Horton coffee cups and doughnuts.

 

 

On the way down I got this shot of Bethany College Church.

When I was here some two years ago, the campus church was only eighty percent finished. Here it is complete.

Canada / Ottawa, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia

Canada, a Nation filled with Oprahesk, Cultural Goo.

I write this bit as a Canadian. This Sunday morning I sat in the Ottawa International Airport awaiting my flight to Moncton. Having a Tim Horton’s  “double -double coffee in one fist, a boston cream in the other and a maple filled doughnut waiting in the wings, I picked up the latest edition of The Ottawa Citizen, the national capital newspaper I once worked for. I read what I could of the front page and then turned to the section entitled, “Faith and Values.” This is another attempt at political correctness in a multi-cultural world. It is a prime example of political correctness run amuck.

They, making sure that they are fair to all they wind up producing non-sensical mush. I understand The Ottawa Citizen is not Christianity Today. I recognize that they publish their newspaper for one million people, not one million souls. However, in so doing they try to include a wide range of religious viewpoints, so each week they ask a question then allow a Roman Catholic cleric, an evangelical pastor, a liberal pastor, a Buddhist monk, Hindu, Muslim Imam (well whatever comes to mind), speak their piece.

I do notice that not every religious persuasion gets a kick at the theological can. For instance, someone has decided that Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s, Satanists, practitioners of voodoo, Scientologists, Zorastrians, Druids and others are not legitimate enough to be included.  Why shouldn’t it bother someone that there is a person or group of persons somewhere deciding what is legitimate religion and what is not? Shouldn’t a thoroughly pluralistic society include all comers?

At any rate they don’t. They pick and choose which religions are not so screwy as to be excluded.

The question to be considered this week was, “Who is the religious leader most misunderstood?” What do you think happened to a question of this nature? Who did Rabbi Bulka choose? You guessed it. He did not choose Jesus, he choose Moses and for good reason. He dared not think about Jesus. Who do you think a Hindu or a Buddhist might pick? Who did the Roman Catholic and the evangelical protestant select as the most misunderstood religious figure? Jesus, of course.

This brings me to my point. Some people think that it is a good idea to have no religious opinion. For instance, The Ottawa Citizen and post modern culture in general thinks that it makes good sense to “play fair” with religion. It seems to bother no one that we don’t “play fair” with opinions concerning science and math.

I once had a prospective accountant that asked me what it was that I did, exactly. When I told him, he said something like, “Well, that’s good. I have personally always admired the Mormon’s. I suppose it doesn’t matter what you believe. All religions are basically good. There must be some truth in all of them.” I said in response, “That strikes me as an unusual opinion coming from an accountant. The truth is, sir, some religions are downright stupid and others downright dangerous. What might you know of the Mormon’s? Do you intend to prepare my taxes with the same philosophy? Does it matter to you or the IRS if the columns add up or will any figure be as good as any other figure?” This left him utterly staggered. I picked up my manila folders and left his office.

Here is what I am driving at.

It has become asininely popular to make no decision regarding religious matters. Think about this for a minute. Let’s just be nice and treat all religious notions the same even if they are light years apart. In the interest of fairness, this seems right and the only sensible position to take in a world of faith systems, none of which agree with the other. What does taking this position really communicate? It says that religious matters are immaterial. The Ottawa Citizen appears to elevate religion by giving an entire  page to opinions about this religious subject or that, but in the end, this policy only communicates one thing, we’ll just patronize those who have an interest in such ridiculous things by throwing them a bone. Religion is unnecessary (stupid) and not worth the time of day. When every opinion is as good as another, none are more or less meritorious than another, having no opinion is an opinion.

Upcoming Ministry Spring 2010

Minnesota / March 7-18

The Book of Acts

Bethany College of Missions

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Norway / April 13 – 22

Evangelism Methods

Smyrna Bible Institute

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London, England / April 23 – 26

Preaching, Teaching,  Evangelism

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New Brunswick / May 4-10

Communicating Christian Thought in a Post Christian / Post Modern World.

Bethany Wesleyan College