Tag Archives: church

my catholic protestant anglican weekend

This past weekend I was part of a Roman Catholic wedding, preached in our deeply Protestant church, and then co-baptized a baby with an Anglican priest (I covered the Father and the Son and he covered the Holy Spirit… just joking!).  I did the baptism the way we always do, and he added two Anglican traditions onto the end of the sacrament (a sign-of-the-cross blessing and a candle ceremony).  It was beautiful.  While I noticed all of the nuanced differences (Catholicisms at the wedding – confession, liturgy, etc; and a bit more of a salvific tone to the Anglican blessing words) it was still wonderfully encouraging and hopeful.  I just finished reading a part of James Hunter’s How to Change the World, where he speaks of the neccessity of church unity to meet that end.  If we can’t play nice among ourselves, how can we ever expect to relate meaningfully to the rest of society?  So true.  I still can’t get the gentle graciousness of that Roman Catholic Deacon out of my mind; he bent over backwards to be inclusive toward me.  After the co-baptism in our church, the Anglican priest said, “Thank you so much for including me in this.”

Royal Wood and John Knox


Friday night I was sitting in Knox United Church listening to an up and coming singer named Royal Wood. His music was mystical, thoughtful, and spiritually provoking. At one point in his concert he referenced the fact that we were in a church. Later, after making a barely off-colour comment, he said, “Sorry about that Lord.” In the middle of his set – during that quiet more contemplative part of all sets – I started to look around and take in the sacred setting; this majestic stone sanctuary, tall stained glass windows, and a great sandstone arch framing the musician’s stage – the pulpit.

As Royal Wood’s voice narrated the story of that space I thought about the United Church; in particular, about it’s de-deifying of Christ. A few years back the church’s moderator (its big kahuna) publicly stated that he didn’t belief Jesus was God. The church let him keep his job, and this mainline denomination has been slipping ever since.

So it was with sadness that I looked around that darkened sanctuary.

But then an encouraging thought hit me. Having just finished a month of sermons on God and music – the idea of Christ’s Spirit still speaking through contemporary songs still fresh in my mind – I felt hope. While the sermons preached from the pulpits of several United Churches may not speak of a Jesus who is Lord, perhaps the songs being sung by these singers do. Wouldn’t it be just like Jesus to continue to leave his mark is this more subltle, commonly gracious way?

Listening to the singer sing, I felt this strong sense of, “I’ve not left this place yet.” And I just paused, smiled and listened. There was something intriguing in this music. At one point, during one song, Royal Wood had the entire congregation sing along with him. Strange feeling; all of us joining in the chorus sitting in our pews.

During the break I bought his newest CD and yesterday I had a good listen to it. The last song on the album seemed to me a doxology; a prayer.

Silently
Surely it won’t come to this
Surely there’s a way
If on my knees I ask of thee
Silently
And holy love don’t pass my way
Shine your glory brightly
Realign the stars to say
Silently
Silently
Silently
Well oh love
Holy love
Don’t turn your back on me now
Well old love
Holy dove
Don’t turn your back on me now
For no one has a heart for breaking
No one has a soul for taking
No one needs a love worth faking
Yes no one has a heart for breaking
Well oh love
Holy dove
Don’t turn your back on me now
Well old love
Holy dove
Don’t turn your back on me now
For no one has a heart for breaking
No one has a soul for taking
No one needs a love worth faking
Yes no one has a heart for breaking
Silent
Silent
Silently

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Royal Wood and John Knox
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 21 2008 @ 06:07 PM PST
Great thoughts. It is sad when church becomes a place that is no longer about
Christ. But I think you’re right when you say He hasn’t left them. Cool.

finding humility


I desperately need to be humbled. Yesterday I read that bible story about the time King David got haughty about his success (by taking a census of his troop strength just to see how strong he was). This faithless act was hugely offensive to God. By counting David seemed to be taking credit. In measuring he was gloating, or perhaps putting his trust in mere military strength. Either way, he took his eye of the ball, and all the king’s people ended up paying the price…

Reading the story reminded me of all of my fears and propensities in this regard. I know that I’ve matured in some areas but others still haunt me. I check our web page sermon download stats way too often. I imagine my book (“my”) enjoying great sales success. I read the news with past sermons in mind; hoping that what I’d preached ends up coming true (re: Obama and the Credit Crisis). Sometimes I’ll quote myself; which is so pathetic if you think about it. There’s a big difference between re-stating something and quoting yourself having written something before. I’m still offended that a local newspaper won’t publish my editorial submissions like they used to. And the one they recently did express interest in (and haven’t published yet) drive me nuts. When I get the paper, the first thing I do is turn to the back page. When I send a note to a Globe and Mail reporter about another news matter and she responds to me, I’m elated. I often catch myself being more willing to answer my cell when the media calls.

I count all the time.

And a few minutes ago it really hit me; just how wrong this is. I was in tears thinking that my behaviour might somehow be limiting God’s work in our faith community. I know that God works his will in spite of me all the time, but in this matter I really feel like I’m the problem. I have this deep sense that I need to get past this, but how?

I want nothing more than for God’s message through this church to get out there into the world. I want it to get out there in compelling, creative and unimaginable ways. And I don’t want my ego to stand in the way. But I don’t know how to change myself. I can’t. And yet, the feeling of remorse I feel, the sense of the gravity of this matter is weighing heavily on me.

My prayer is that this feeling is the first step to moving on; getting over myself.

I hope so.

New CBC article mentioning New Hope Church

ust back from a terrific holiday and a friend emailed me a link to an article the CBC interviewed me for a few months back. It’s about religion and technology. The reporter, Georgie Binks, was really into Metallica I discovered; she actually listened to the audio sermon online.

Here’s the CBC link;
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/05/15/f-technology-religion.html