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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Humility
The truth sets us free.

I know that a lot of people insist on putting the capital "T" in that thought --every single time! I don't deny that Jesus is the one who sets us free from sin - but I want to avoid exalting that one thought to the place where I no longer consider the implications of the lowercase "t" either.

I mention that because there are times in our walk when God makes a lowercase "t" truth real to us, and this is a precious thing that God does for His children.

I could give many examples, but I am going to talk about humility for the next couple of minutes, because that is where the Lord is working on me these days.

Had you asked me five years ago if I was humble, I would have done everything in my power to say that I wasn't humble, but do so in such a way that in the same moment you would come away with the unmistakable impression that I was in fact very, very humble.

To be sure, I knew what humility was, what it ought to look like, and because I was zealous, I aped it well enough. I wasn't doing this deceitfully, though in hindsight I see now that I was self deceived. To be sure, I was not without evidence that my humility was (in practice) only skin deep, for example:

I was asked to write a very delicate for our leadership once. It was a difficult letter to write, dealing with a very delicate situation - and I was asked to write it because the other fellows felt I had a better command of language than they did. I wrote what I can honestly say was a brilliant letter. It said all that needed to be said, and did so in such a way that looked so very humble, we were all quite impressed by the beauty of it. The only problem was that it really was describing where we (as the writers) should have been at spiritually, and not where were really were at spiritually.

One of the fellows couldn't place his finger on it, but knew something was wrong about the letter. It took us a prayerful while to learn what it was - and when we finally came to the heart of it, we realized it was disingenuous. It painted a picture that wasn't real, and since we were genuinely committed to keeping it real, we re-wrote the letter. Not quite as beautifully (according to man's wisdom), but far more beautiful in the Lord's eyes I am sure.


It isn't as though I didn't understand humility; I knew what it looked like, I could articulate it, and I could certainly imitate it - but acting humble is not the same as being humble, no matter how self deceived I was.

To be sure, even as recent as only a couple of months ago I really thought, deep down, that I was a fairly humble fellow... But so much has happened to me in the past four or five weeks.

To begin with, one of the ladies who left the church shortly after I began preaching, contacted me and let me know (in no uncertain terms) that I, and I alone, was the reason she stopped fellowshipping with our congregation. I had suspected as much, but the weight of that truth was crushing. She explained that she saw in me an arrogance that was out of step with my profession, and for my part I was likewise convinced that I probably came across that way - I mean, I wasn't arrogant, I was just, just... just being me and if you knew where I was coming from (oh, how we justify ourselves?), you would understand that what you see as arrogance is not, but is just a personality quirk, to be dismissed and ignored. My reply was full of grace of course, and we were reconciled at once - but truly some part of me felt that she was mistaken.

Yet today I would say that she was not mistaken, but in possession of a precious and rare sensitivity to such things - whether she has always had it or the Lord brought it to the table just for me, I leave to the Lord. But she saw right through me, and with a clarity that even I didn't have.

I say this because I would have dismissed it all, but God had other plans. In a short order another brother, who knew nothing of this, replied to an email I sent him regarding another matter entirely, and his prayerful reply included a heft section on the way I came across as arrogant. God bless that brother for his prayerful reply, for I wonder had he replied without prayer if he would have included such a section. He was so gracious to speak without accusation or unkindness, but the coincidental mention of my "seemingly" arrogant persona struck me as significant.

I could bore with with several similar anecdotes - people who know nothing of what is going on suddenly drawing my attention to a falseness that seemed to be in me, or how no matter where I turned in scripture, I was instructed again and again about falsehood and deceit.

The greatest blow however came during our pastoral search. I had been the primary preacher on Sunday for many months, and being a member of the leadership, and the primary teacher in the church, I really expected our pastoral search team to ask me to candidate as pastor. I was so certain of it, that I didn't want to be on the pastoral search team in order to remain aloof enough from the process that my own bias and expectation wouldn't end up influencing the process. Yet when the team finally passed me over, and when I saw that this was prayerfully and unanimously done - I was both prepared for it, and taken off guard.

I mean, I swallowed their decision as graciously as I could, but it hurt me too. No one who has ministered to a congregation can deny their love for that congregation, even if it is tainted and selfish. The rejection felt like a stomach full of flu, as I felt not only rejected by the congregation, but shown to be wanting in the eyes of my Lord.

In rapid succession others voices began to express polite concern that much of my manner seemed a sheen of polity, and not terribly genuine. Oh, they didn't say it this way, nor do I think they meant it this way, but in the space of a few weeks I seemed to be bombarded on all side by people who, although had no contact with one another, yet with the same voice and language began to show me that I needed to re-evaluate my own opinions of myself.

God has never spoken to me in a mystical voice that I heard in my ear, but I do believe that God sometimes answers my prayers in a way that I can understand. In this case, though I never prayed the thought out loud or even dared to think it, yet some part of my had been crying out to the Lord: how have I failed you? What do I lack for service? Why have you set me aside like this?

The answer came, as I said, not by mystical voices, visions, or visitations - but by seeing in God's word and in the multitude of people who providentially (all of a sudden) began to express simultaneously my own lack of humility --my falsehood in this area of my walk.

Truly, deep down, I think I have always felt that I was better than others. I hadn't really seen it before, but it came out through this process. Some deep part of me that is more me than the sheen I put up - that part is so ugly, and I began to look it square in the face, and I could see how God would hate it - for this thing was a source of so many wrong motives, wrong attitudes, and the well from which much lovelessness drew its strength. To be sure, I could almost describe it better as saying that I felt, truly, that I was here to serve myself, and that I deserved that service.

It is one thing to know a thing is true - we all know (or should know) that we are wretches - sinners who think the world of ourselves. We don't deny that we are selfish and sinfully so. That is, we have the truth, but there is a disconnect there: We have the truth, but the truth was not -in- us. If ever I knew that I was a leopard yet I had learned to hide my spots, rather than deal with them spiritually and biblically.

Well, for weeks the same message (though in many flavors and from many sources) continued to come to me.

I now see that humility cannot happen until I see myself as God sees me. O what a profound truth that little sentence contains, but how cliched it sounds, and how little the words satisfy the magnificent thought they portray!

I am created to serve, not to be served. Humility happens when I do more than agree that this is true - humility happens when that truth takes hold of me, and changes me from the inside out. Oh scrub all day my friends at the outsides of your cups! You won't impress the Lord.

I see now, babe that I am, that the ground work of genuine service is genuine humility. Would that the Christian world could sing:
I am a servant,
like my Master before me,
created for His purpose,
and not for my own.


If God has been pleased to grant me some small responsibility, and to give me some gifts with which to edify others, how beggarly a steward I have been to have neglected humility for so long.

My prayer of course is that God would make me a truly humble servant, though I see that one cannot be a servant without humility, nor can one be truly humble who isn't a servant.

We serve a God who grows in glory the more we see of Him.

Grace and Peace.

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posted by Daniel @ 12:34 PM   14 comment(s)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Unassured Faith...
Daughter: Daddy, I don't think I am saved.

Father: Saved from what?

Daughter: From going to hell when I die.

Father: Are you a sinner?

Daughter: Yes, everyone is a sinner.

Father: Is that why you are a sinner - because everyone is?

Daughter: Everyone is a sinner Dad.

Father: Yes, but what if no one else was a sinner. Would you be a sinner?

Daughter: (reluctantly) yes.

Father: Why?

Daughter: Because I sin. I have told lies and I did things I knew I shouldn't have.

Father: Then are you a sinner because everyone is a sinner, or because you wanted to sin?

Daughter: Because I wanted to sin.

Father: Do you know what the penalty for sin is?

Daughter: (sadly) Yes daddy. It is that you don't get to go to heaven when you die, but you go to hell.

Father: If you just stop sinning will God forget about all your other sins?

Daughter: I don't know...

Father: If a person kills someone on Monday, do the police let him go just because he doesn't kill anyone on Tuesday?

Daughter: Daddy! They wouldn't do that because he is a killer, and he needs to be punished for killing people.

Father: That's right - so do you think God will forget about your sins just because you stop sinning for a while, or because you sin less?

Daughter: I am not sure...

Father: Well, if a person was killing five people every day, but then started to kill only two people a day - do you think the police would let him go because he doesn't kill as many people as he used to?

Daughter: No! He is still a killer, even if he doesn't kill as many people anymore.

Father: So even if you can stop yourself from sinning as much as you are able, does that stop you from being a sinner?

Daughter: I guess not. But Daddy, everyone is a sinner!

Father: Yes, everyone is a sinner. There was only one person who ever lived without sinning, and that was Jesus Christ.

Daughter: I know that faith in Jesus means I don't have to go to hell when I die.

Father: If I said I had faith in our van, would that make the brakes work when we needed to stop? Could I just drive fast and then make the van stop by believing it would stop?

Daughter: Nuh-uh. You would have to push the brakes.

Father: Ah. You see, I have faith that when I push the brakes the van will stop. That isn't "faith in the van" - it is faith that the van will do what it is designed to do if I do what I am supposed to do to make the van stop.

Daughter: What?

Father: The people who made the van put brakes on it so that it could stop. They designed it that way.

Daughter: Yes...

Father: I know that they designed it that way, so I have "faith" - that is, I trust that when I do what I am supposed to do (push the brake pedal), the car will do what it is supposed to do (stop).

Daughter: Oh. I see that.

Father: So my faith isn't just "in the van" - my faith, or my trust is that the van will respond in the way it is supposed to. But how do I know that the van will stop when I push the brake?

Daughter: Because all cars have brakes.

Father: No, that's not what I mean. How do we know where the brakes are? How do we know that they are what stop the car?

Daughter: Because all cars are the same - the brakes are on the floor there Daddy.

Father: (Sigh), what if a person had never seen a car before, how would they know that the brakes were on the floor, or that they stopped the car?

Daughter: They would watch other people do it.

Father: What if there was no one else to watch - what if they just had a van and a book that told them about the van?

Daughter: then they would read the book and the book would tell them how to use the van, and the brakes.

Father: That is right. But the first time they used the brakes, they would really have to -trust- that the people who wrote the book were honest and not lying right?

Daughter: I guess so.

Father: Good. Because when it comes to dealing with our sin, God has told us in His word (the bible), that although there is a penalty for sin, He has made a way for us to be saved from the penalty.

Daughter: I know, by trusting in Jesus!

Father: Ah, but what does it mean to trust Jesus.

Daughter: I don't know... that I just trust Him.

Father: To do what?

Daughter: To save me from going to hell.

Father: Will he do it?

Daughter: I don't know. I have prayed and asked Him many times, but I never feel like it worked.

Father: Do you know why that is?

Daughter: No, but I feel like he doesn't listen to my prayers, or he can't hear me.

Father: Before the world was ever created God designed you just like someone designed the van before it was made. He carefully and lovingly decided who your parents would be, what things you would like, what color your hair and eyes would be, what things would make you laugh and what would make you cry. You were very precious to him even before you were ever born. At this very second God is thinking about you because God is holding all the universe together by the exertion of His will - if God stopped thinking about you, you would stop existing - there wouldn't be a "you" anymore.

So believe me when I tell you that every breath you take is given to you by God, that he hears your thoughts and he listens to the things you say, and you could not pray a prayer no matter how quiet you tried to be - that God would not hear clearly.

God hears everything you think and say - he knows you better than anyone else, even better than Mommy and Daddy, and you are more precious to Him than you are even to Me and your Mom.

Does God hear when you pray?

Daughter: Yes, He hears, but I don't think he answers me.

Father: Why not. Why does he answer others and not you?

Daughter: Because I keep on sinning --even if I don't want to--

Father: Do you think that if you stopped sinning God would listen to you?

Daughter: Yes, or at least maybe?

Father: Come and look at God's word with me. See here where it says that Jesus came into the world to save sinners?, or here where Jesus explains to people that he didn't come to save perfect people, but to save sinners.

Who do you have to be for Jesus to save you?

Daughter: a sinner.

Father: and are you a sinner?

Daughter: yes, but when I pray I don't think Jesus will save me.

Father: Do you want him to?

Daughter: yes, I want him to save me, but I don't think he will.

Father: Why not?

Daughter: Because I have asked him before and I don't think anything happened.

Father: What is supposed to happen?

Daughter: I think I am supposed to stop sinning forever, but I don't.

Father: Ah, it doesn't work like that. Do you want me to tell you how it works?

Daughter: yes.

Father: It works like this. You learn that you are a sinner, and that God is going to punish you for your sin. After you find this out you start wanting God to forgive you (and God is willing to do so if you trust that He will) so you ask God to keep his word, that is, you ask God to do in you what he promised to do - to save you from sin and all its consequences.

And He does exactly that - the very moment that you trust that God will do it, not because you are such a good person, but because God keeps his promises. The moment you trust God because of God, and not because of you - in that moment God places you into Jesus, and the part of you that must be punished is united to Christ. Jesus takes that part of you to the cross, and God pours out his wrath on it there. That part of you dies when Jesus dies, and you both are put into the grave. Now God's wrath for all the sin you have ever committed (or will commit) has been dealt with by God. He didn't forget about it, He punished it, and He punished it with as great a punishment as was possible. That punishment killed that part of you that was united with Christ, and it killed Christ too. But unlike you, who deserved that death, and deserved to be put in the grave, Jesus was innocent and did not deserve that death, nor did He deserve the grave - and God could not be righteous and just if He allowed Jesus to stay dead in the grave. So God raised Jesus from the dead - and because you were united with Him in His death, and in His burial - that part of you was also raised anew in Jesus when God raised Jesus from the dead.

It is just like when God put Noah in the ark. God poured out His wrath upon the world, but those eight souls who were in the ark were saved from God's wrath - having passed through judgment by being placed in the ark. Jesus is our ark - we are placed in Him, but instead of passing through an earthly judgment like the flood - we pass through a spiritual judgment - "death" Jesus conquered death when he took us through it.

Anyone who is in Christ has passed through this death and into life, never to die again - because death has been defeated.

Daughter: But what about if they sin??

Father: Jesus took all the sin we will ever sin to the cross, and not just some of it. If we sin, that sin is also in Jesus. There is no sin that we can sin, if we are in Jesus, that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, didn't take to the cross with Him - that God didn't punish in Him, and that we haven't been redeemed from, as is proven by the fact that God raised up Jesus from the dead.

Daughter: How does God raising Jesus up from the dead prove that even the sins that we haven't sinned yet are going to be redeemed?

Father: Well, it works like this: we are still united with Jesus. If we sin now, and that sin is not taken to the cross in Christ, then it must be placed on Him afterwards - and if afterwards, then God couldn't raise Jesus from the dead because the penalty for these new sins would require us (and therefore Jesus - because we are united with Him) to stay dead.

When God raised Jesus it showed us that all of our sins, past, present, and future were in Jesus on the cross, and that they were punished there.

That is why the apostle Paul writes that there is no more condemnation to those who are in Jesus.

Daughter: So I can still sin if I am a Christian?

Father: Let me put it this way, you are my daughter, and you must obey me or I will punish you. When you obey me, is it always because you are afraid of being punished, or do you sometimes obey me just because you love me?

Daughter: Because you're my Dad and I love you.

Father: There are two reasons why anyone obeys. The first is because we think that something bad will happen to us if we don't. That is called fear. We are afraid, so we listen. The second is because we trust that what is being expected of us is for our benefit and not to put us out. That is, the second is we believe we are loved and that the one who loves us would not hurt us, but is trying to lead us into the things that are best for us.

Daughter: What?

Father: Either you listen to me because you are afraid you will be punished, or you listen to me because you know I love you, and knowing this you trust me, and want to please me.

Daughter: Okay. But if it is God and I don't listen...

Father: God doesn't forsake you - He doesn't abandon you just because you sin. See here in the bible where it says that God doesn't forget our "frame" - He remembers that He made us out of the dust. We are His children, just as surely as you are mine, and just as I don't disown you because you disobey me, God doesn't cast us out just because we failed to obey perfectly. God knows we aren't perfect, and He saved us anyway! Jesus came to save us from sin because we are unable to save ourselves from it.

Daughter: But when I can't stop sinning, I feel like I must have prayed wrong because if I prayed right wouldn't I stop sinning?

Father: There were some people in Jesus' day who were concerned about the same sort of thing. They wanted to make sure they were saved - they wanted to make sure that they said the right prayer, and that they did the right things. So they asked Jesus, what must we do to do the works of God?

Do you know what Jesus told them?

Daughter: Go forth and sin no more?

Father: No, that was Jesus' instruction to a person who stood condemned under the law and was forgive - he told her that if she wanted to avoid being condemned to death she should stop doing the things that condemn her to death. Jesus said the same thing to the man who was born blind - he told him to stop sinning if he wanted to avoid worse things than blindness.

It is like what the apostle Peter tells us in His first epistle - that if you want to see good days, and love life - stop sinning.

It isn't that if you sin you are no longer God's child, it is that if you sin you will be corrected for it in this life - and that correction will not be pleasant and can even be as severe as dying.

So it was good for Jesus to tell them not to sin anymore - and it is sound advice for all of us. But that is not what Jesus told those people who had heard Him talk about all who would come to Him, and wanted to make sure they were amongst those who were coming to him. He said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

You see, when we talk about being saved from sin - we don't get saved from sin by not sinning - nor do we stay saved from sin by not sinning. The work that we are given to do is to believe in Jesus, and if we do, we will want to obey Him.

Daughter: I want to obey Him, but I don't always obey him.

Father: Me too, but as I read more and more of the bible, I see with more and more clarity that God is someone whom I love more and more each day, and that desire to obey him grows and grows - and pretty soon it swallows up the desire not to obey. It happens over time, and it happens as we spend time with him.

If you want to stop sinning in order to make God like you, you are going to be disappointed. If you trust that God likes you not because of anything you have done, but because of what he has done, and if you trust that God really loves you, and in the strength of -that- trust, you seek God, you will find him, and as you do the world will be less of a thing that you are willing to invest in.

Daughter: I don't think I get it.

Father: We will talk more on this.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:01 AM   11 comment(s)
Snow This Morning
A low pressure system that had been moving northeast through Wyoming and the Dakotas has entered into Manitoba, bringing with it plenty of moisture. The cold air has turned that moisture into snow and freezing rain.

So I am not cycling today.

Sigh.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:58 AM   0 comment(s)
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Taming of the Few...
As a computer programmer, I sit on my bottom for hours on end pushing little tiny buttons all day. On especially frantic days, I may actually burn an additional 20 or 30 calories through my vigorous typing... but the reality is that my job is very sedentary.

Now on the winter solstice in Winnipeg, where I live, we have 8 hours (and five minutes) of daylight, and 16 hours of darkness (less five minutes), which, if you work, means that most of the time when the sun is shining in the winter - I am squirreled away in some windowless place in a big building - and I don't get to see sunlight except on the morning bus ride.

The temperature falls as low as -49°F (without the "wind chill") in Winnipeg in the winter - which is just another way of saying that, for the working man at least - the only outdoor activity in the winter ends up being "frozen star gazing".

Which is all my way of justifying the fact (I suppose), that on average I put on about twenty pounds each winter.

I know, I know... I bought a big old nautilus gym set, put it together in my basement with the intention to start doing something about my exercise deficit - that is, not so much as a year round pursuit - but something to stave off the winter flab. I have been less than motivated in this department. Not that I don't like pumping iron in my basement... well... okay, that's not true - I find it tiresome and boring, and it feels like I am trying to be vain and not simply healthy... yet, as I say, this never seems to pan out for me. My good intentions haven't met up with productive desire yet...

Notwithstanding, in the summer I tend to lose as much from cycling and starving changing my dietary habits, as I gain in the winter. Were it not for this I expect I would be a very squat, plumb fellow.

So it is that I embark upon another season of weight loss. I have decided to do away with the scale altogether, and concentrate on waist measurement at the navel. For men, the measurement at the navel ought to be less than half one's height - that is, for someone who is six foot (72 inches), their waist at the navel should be 36 inches or less (less is better) - anything higher is heart attack country. For myself (a measly 68 inches), my target is something under 34 inches.

Now here is the hard part - an honest measurement. It is easy to take a tape line, and squeeze it around my plumpness so that the number is more pleasing, but that is not going to be a true measure of where I need to be. So about ten days ago I did a baseline measure. Forty two inches.

I have done this the last few years. Last year I started at forty six, and the year before that at forty eight - so forty two isn't as bad as I have been - but let me tell you, it is still an embarrassingly high number. When I graduated high school my waist at the navel was twenty eight inches. I don't expect to see that again until I begin (Lord willing), the "shrivel of the aged"

So I measured again this morning - and I am at forty inches now. I hope to lose an inch a week - so that by July I am down to 31 or 32. I will try to keep up with blogging it, just in case there are others who have similar struggles - perhaps we can encourage one another.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:17 AM   5 comment(s)
Monday, April 07, 2008
The Canada Goose.
They look so graceful and serene when viewed from a distance...

But on my ride in this morning, I was attacked by one. Yeah, that's right - attacked.

To be sure, it was partially my own fault. The route I take to work involves going through wooded areas and park like settings - and through places that, by their quiet and by their access to water, would make an ideal place for a goose to lay a clutch of eggs. So it was this morning, that as I passed through a particularly treacherous area - there was still plenty of frozen water around - only a few inches deep, but covered in just enough ice that you could go over it - carefully - without crashing through. If one did crash through it wouldn't necessarily mean death - but it would probably mean a wet, very cold ride, the rest of the way to work in temperatures that are below freezing.

So as I passed through this particular area, I had my head down, my eyes on the wheels and the ice - and that is probably why I didn't notice the irate avian sooner. To be sure, I had slowed my pace considerably in order to navigate with through the area in higher (more torque) gears. It wasn't until a rather louder than expected whooshing sound caused me to look up that I noticed, some ten feet in front of me, and about a foot off the ground - a very angry goose.

I would like to say that it's eyes were glowing red, but I promised myself I wouldn't embellish the story, it's eyes were cold and black - almost lifeless. The kind of cold deadness born of some dark, unspoken, purpose... I scarcely had time to notice however, because, after all, I was cycling right at it, and it right at me.

At first I thought I had startled the poor thing, and that it was flying at me in a panic. I have seen this happen many times in the past. I used to work cutting timber in "the bush" (that's Canadian for forest), and one of the jokes we would play on newbies is we would cut down a tree close to them - nothing too big - and angle it so that it would fall right on them. Then we would give it a push in their direction, and yell at them to get out of the way.

Now logic (and some math) would tell you that the tree is going to fall at such and such a rate, and that the easiest way to avoid getting hit by the falling tree is to side step it. But that is not what happens. Instead the wide-eyed newbie, gripped by sudden "flight or fight" panic, and realizing that there is no fighting a falling tree - immediately breaks into a run. Where do they run? Why they run away from the falling tree. But as the tree is tall, and accelerating as it falls - they find that they cannot outrun the tree, and it falls on them.

We all laugh at them at that point - because, had they calmly taken three steps perpendicular to the line the tree was falling on, they would have had plenty of time to get out of the way, pick up their water jug, and maybe even take a bit of some jerky. But instead - they run in a panic - away, away, away from danger - and for some dark reason, the rest of us find that hysterical.

Yeah, I know its cruel, but those who live through such an experience (They did it to me when I started), learn quickly that panic can kill you in the bush. So you take the hard lesson, get made a fool of - but in doing so you learn, and you learn quick.

So I say, I see the thing flying right at me, and I presume that in its panic it has leapt into the air, and is only seemingly charging at me with white hot fury in its cold black little eyes. So when it clobbers into me (they weigh more than you would expect), I feel sort of bad for the thing. Poor, frightened, goose - that's what I would have thought to myself, if the adrenal rush weren't beginning to take effect. .. In a heart beat it is past me, but I still hear the whooshing? For a second I am concerned that perhaps it has become entangled in my helmet or jacket, so I glance into my itty, bitty mirror - the one attached to my helmet that sort of looks like a star-trek cyborg thing, and all I see is goose. In that very second many things happened simultaneously.

At once I understood that the goose was not merely frightened, but was actually attacking me. I was being attacked by a wild, albeit fluffy and harmless looking, animal. I realized also that there was precious little I could do about it, being, as it were, that I was still trying to maintain my balance on a path that was alternately snow, ice, gravel, mud, broken pavement - all of which had been frozen into a hazardous series of frozen, tire-gripping, ruts.

I actually cried out at that moment. Not so much out of terror, though to my shame, there may have been a bit of that (who wants to admit to being -even momentarily- frightened by a goose?), but out of stunned disbelief. I think I said something like "Get out of here!" Not meaning that I was giving an imperative to the goose, ordering it to remove itself from the vicinity, not an imperative to myself, as though I were giving instructing to my body (Feet! move!) - no this was a wonder filled, almost questioning, interjection - not unlike saying, "... nO ... wAy ...! "

I added the mixed case to try and emphasize the way you would be saying that - you know in that very emphatic, "television sit-com" sort of way. Only when I said it, there may have been some shrill hysteria mixed in too. It was a time of sudden stress, and frankly, I am just happy I didn't wipe out.

Anyway, after following me at shoulder height and pummeling me with it wings for a bit, it broke off the chase. I was quite amazed though, and began to pray almost immediately - thanking God for the bizarre experience, and already planning an alternate route home. I don't expect it will keep to that nesting area too long - enough traffic goes through there (dogs and foxes too) that the clutch won't last long.

It was however, so out of the ordinary, I thought I should mention it. First commute of the year, and already I am counting how many flying things have abused me. Normally it is just bugs and the occasional flying dog - but this was too much.

The whole story is true too, except for the flying dogs.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:45 AM   11 comment(s)
Bike Riding Season again...
Well it is time to start up riding to work again.

It's 21 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 C)this morning, but it promises to warm up to 40 (5 C)or so by around two o'clock this afternoon. Most of the ice is gone from the major roads, though there is enough that, for the morning ride at least, I shall likely stick to back roads wherever possible. The ride home will be easier as the ice will have melted by then.

The cold is annoying, but it isn't a show stopper. Packed down snow on the road is a show stopper - but when that melts away, there is usually enough concrete for a safe ride; though there is the occasional puddle.

I put on some pounds this winter, so I plan to drop those over the next few months. We will see how it goes.

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posted by Daniel @ 5:47 AM   1 comment(s)
Saturday, April 05, 2008
We have a candidate...
As some of you are aware, in mid July of last year our pastor resigned, and I began to fill the pulpit on Sundays and look after the Wednesday night prayer meetings. The Lord has been full of grace to myself and to our church in these last thirty-eight weeks, and we anticipate His continuing grace.

That is why I am quite pleased to announce that our pastoral search team has this morning identified a pastoral candidate to bring before the congregation. The team came to a unanimous consensus, and we now enter into a four week candidacy, where the incumbent will meet with the congregation, preach on Sundays, and look after the Wednesday prayer meetings.

I believe this is our guy, but both the congregation and the candidate have the next four weeks to seek the Lord for certainty on that.

We would appreciate any prayer. Thanks.

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posted by Daniel @ 5:42 PM   7 comment(s)
 
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