November 2008


So you know it is a bad new cycle when a toolbag lost in space becomes one of the leading headlines on the evening news.  None the less, if you are bored of your Thanksgiving leftovers and your in-laws ad nauseuma going ons about how bad the recession is, you may want to take an evening walk on a clear night and star into empty space (well I guess less empty now that there is a toolbag floating around there).

Here is a website that can locate the exact sky coordinates so that you can view the flying set of Craftsman tools. (I wonder if lost in space is covered under the Craftsman warranty)

Being of course Canadian, my American history is at best foggy.  Other than studying for my citizenship test, I have learned very little about good ole’ Americolgy.  So doing my civic duty I have learned some interesting things about the voyage of the largely unknown partner ship of the Mayflower; the Speedwell.  

Initially, the plan was for the voyage to be made in two vessels, the other being the smaller Speedwell, Separatists bought the ship Speedwell in Holland, and boarded it at Delfshaven. They then sailed to SouthamptonEngland to meet the Mayflower, which had been chartered by the merchant investors. In Southampton they joined with other Separatists and the additional colonists hired by the investors.

The two ships began the voyage on August 51620, but the Speedwell was leaky and returned to Dartmouth to be refitted at great expense and time. On the second attempt, Mayflower and Speedwell sailed about 100 leagues beyond Land’s End in Cornwall, but the Speedwell was again found to be leaky. Both vessels returned to Plymouth where the Speedwell was sold.

It would later be revealed that there was in fact nothing wrong with the ship. The crew had sabotaged it in order to escape the year long commitment of their contract.

Eleven people from the Speedwell boarded the Mayflower, leaving 20 people to return to London while a combined company of 103 continued the voyage. For a third time, the Mayflower headed for the New World.

Source: Wikipedia

Now the rest of the story…  The story (or the myth) of what happened to those who braved the Atlantic was they landed at Plymouth Rock and had a hearty turkey dinner together with the local natives and lived happily ever after in this great land of America.  

True history reveals that only 53 of the original 102 passengers actually survived and were able to call the new frontier home.  Half of the wide eyed adventurers had met their end being ravaged by various contagious diseases such as scurry, pneumenia and tuberculoisis.

But back to those 20 passengers on the Speedwell who chose, well, they chose to go home.  Back to their homes, back to warmth of their fireplace hearths, the comfort of a land that was known.  

Now being the arm chair history quarterback perched on the edge of the Wikipedia universe it is easy for me to see how fortunate those 20 were.  Saved from uncertainty, saved from unease, saved from disease, death and loss.

But I also see how they were saved from the adventure of a lifetime, the chance to make history, the challenge of the unknown, the uncertain and the unseen.  

So for half of the passengers of the Mayflower their end was death, but it was death in the pursuit of something, something greater, something undefined by the conventions of the times.  They died breaking into the New Frontier.  

 History always teaches us that,

“Nothing of the new is ever obtained without there being a dying to the old.”

My problem is that dying is so dang hard.  Guess that is why it is called a life of faith. 

mayflower

For the last two days I have attended a conference put on by John Perkins and Paul Metzger called Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from John Perkins…

“To take care of yourself is an addiction, there is more than yourself.”

“We have to lower our hate voice.  We have to come up with a language for love.”

“The reason why you don’t relocate?  You love yourself more than your neighbor.”

“We need a culture of love.”

“Go… live, love, learn, build on what they have.  At the end, you want the people to say they have done it themselves.”

“We must move from charity to development.”

There was much more, but these are the things that are challenging me and my current thought-actions.

Whether you are just starting on the missional journey or are a seasoned veteran, here is a great page chalked full of missional links

My favorites are…

1. Five Marks of Mission and Five Marks of a Mission-Shaped Church – Notes from the famous Anglican Church statement about The Mission-Shaped Church

2. The Missiological Foundations of Theology by Gailyn Van Rheenen (Author, Missionary – in East Africa for 14 years, and Adjunct Professor of Missions)

3. Twelve Hallmarks of a Missional Church and Three Overarching Principles – A short summary from The Gospel and Our Culture Network plus a short summary from Michael Frost and Alan Hirsh’s award winning book, The Shaping of Things to Come

And a great quote on mission by Yoder,

“The political novelty that God brings into the world as a community of those who serve instead of ruling, who suffer instead of inflicting suffering, whose fellowship crosses social lines instead of reinforcing them.  This new Christian community in which the walls are broken down not by human idealism or democratic legalism but by the work of Christ is not only a vehicle of the gospel or only a fruit of the gospel; it is the good news.  It is not merely the agent of mission or the constituency of a mission agency.  This is the mission.”  – John Howard Yoder The Royal Priesthood

 

The below is from an intriguing article discussing the future picture of what a “great depression” may look like in our day. 

And above all, a depression circa 2009 might be a less visible and more isolating experience. With the diminishing price of televisions and the proliferation of channels, it’s getting easier and easier to kill time alone, and free time is one thing a 21st-century depression would create in abundance. Instead of dusty farm families, the icon of a modern-day depression might be something as subtle as the flickering glow of millions of televisions glimpsed through living room windows, as the nation’s unemployed sit at home filling their days with the cheapest form of distraction available.

 Interesting, that the icon of a great depression would be the television.  The television being the tool to help us forget.  It would make a lot of sense that in the midst of current trends of emotional depression, hopelessness and despair that these feelings would only increase and be magnifide by the loss of security as spurred on by a financial depression.  I could forecast that emotional trauma would multiply, with hopelessness and despair being the typical emotional outlook.  Instead of facing these feelings of emptiness the TV would become, not only a great time filler, but an escape.  An escape from the helplessness of the noise around them.  The TV storylines of family, safety, security will transcend their own stories.  I imagine that the TV story lines will revert back the happy and secure plots of the 80’s Cosby show and the 70’s Partridge family.  

The TV would become the form of distraction from the unsettledness of life around me.  The cheap and accessible drug to lull the pain.  The 30 minute escape, into the fake life of imaginary charcters.  And as with all successful TV shows I become more connected to the fictional characters than I do my own neighbours. Their happy families, nice jobs, nice houses and neatly managed lives would be the soothing images that would help shield the “real-life” story of those around me who houses are being lost to foreclosure, the family friend who lost his job and the general messiness of life.

What a place for the story of the church.  People who are not only caring about the needs of others, but in tangible, real life ways providing for the needs of those around them, both physical and emotional.  It is time for us as the church, to begin preparation for such times.  Not only in terms of stocking away our 5 gallon buckets of dehydrated lentil soup, but in terms of the heart, spirit and mission of the church.  To become a place, a central place, maybe even the central place, where those who are at the end of their rope, financially, spiritually and emotionally will find an answer.  The reincarnation of the faux-ideal life of the Cosby family is not what we need, but a tangible church living out the life of Jesus that impacts real sorrows, hurts and pains and walks with and alongside those pains.  That is a story that the world may want to tune into.  

family

With free trade coffee, free trade clothes and free trade jewerly, what would be next but… Free Trade Music.  I came accross a great website called http://www.noisetrade.com.  It is a great one for connecting with some new artists.

fairtradeheader

If after two plus years of political banter and debate you still cannot decide who to vote for I am providing a myriad of options for you to use in today’s election day decisions.  

The, “I Like That Name Approach”:  FOR THOSE WHO FEEL THAT A NAME SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

This is simple.  See a list of names and pick the name that you like the most.  It may remind you of your favorite aunt, your first girl friend or your favorite car.  Oppositely, some names may remind you of the girlfriend who broke your heart or the gym coach who embarrassed you in front of the whole class.  In this way, a pick between Angelica Fortunato(note the hint of angel and fortune) compared with Kermit Steel(with the hint of a puppet and thievery). Now who wouldn’t vote for a Angel of Fortune rather than a thieving puppet frog?  This method does not bode will for Barak Obama for obvious reasons.

R-D Approach: FOR THOSE WHO FEEL A BALANCE OF POWER IS IMPORTANT

This technique, although simple, provides a great balance of power.  Simply done one starts at the top of the ballot and checks R-D-R-D.  For good measure, and usually only once on the ballot one should vote I (independent).  This keeps the Joe Lieberman’s in political power.  One could also start with D-R-D-R if one felt so disposed. 

First is best Approach: FOR THOSE WHO FEEL IN FATALITY, DESTINY OR THE WILL OF GOD

This technique is to vote for the first person under each category that is listed.  This is really relying on fatalism to choose our leaders.  Under this approach all the Ashes, Ashcrofts and Albarez will likely be elected while the Zebedee, Zaft’s and Young’s will be sitting it out until the next election.  Again, M is before O and so Obama is left out in the cold again.

Self Centered Approach:  FOR THOSE WHO WANT PEOPLE LIKE THEM IN POWER

Again this technique is simple.  Vote for the person who is most like you.  If you are male, you only vote for males, same for a female voting only for females.  If you are middle class you only vote for middle class people.  If you are Caucasian you only for for fellow Caucasians and if you are black you only vote for black candidates.  Some would call this racism.  And it is.  The only unfortunate thing is that I think that this is the way most people do vote.  Who is most like me.  

Honestly, if you are going to vote today.  All the above options are viable options, except the last one.  Don’t vote based on who is most like you.  That is plain selfish.  If you tend to vote this way, I would recommend changing styles and at least going with the R-D-R-D approach.  I will trust fatalism to selfishness any day.

Happy voting.

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