Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Joseph's Coat of Many Colours

Tonight we prayed through a passage of Genesis 37 using a form of prayer called Lectio Divina. We read the passage a few times through, once to listen for a word or phrase, a second time to capture an image of scene of scripture, and a third time to hear what sense the Holy Spirit could make of it all for us.

The passage of dealing with Joseph getting thrown into a well and then getting sold to the Ishmaelites is one we had heard often in Sunday School, however with some prayerful reading in a community of believers, it became all the more rich. We thought about how money was able to appease the bloodlust of Joseph's brothers, much like it does in the rich, materialistic Western World, where we look down on poorer nations for their barbaric killing. Perhaps it's only the comfort of our money that lets us seem peaceful towards one another. We also pondered who the man was who met Joseph when he was wandering in the fields, he knew Joseph's name and where his brothers were staying. Most of our thoughts ended up pointed right at ourselves and our own situations. This is a good thing as if scripture is supposed to be living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, I imagine that sword is best put to use when pointed at our own hearts.

Friday, July 18, 2008

If someone asks you for a ride out of town and you suspect they might be running from the police, do you do it? Would Jesus?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

More news on the census

Chelsea, Brendan and I went court on Friday. Again, it was pretty uneventful, but I was able to speak to the Crown Prosecutor who offered me a deal if I would fill out the census. It was kind of exciting. I told him I would rather not do that...

I was also interviewed by the Canadian Press on Friday. It was nice but scary as the Canadian Press gets a lot of exposure... Anyway, this time the article avoided anything about the Christian motivation behind our census refusal, but it's still very helpful as our reasons are getting a lot more exposure than they were previously.

Here's the article:

We also got another encouraging letter to the editor in the Whig:

Friday, July 4, 2008


And it made sense to me on my last night in the Dominican Republic as I descended the hill into the village: I still haven't found what I'm looking for. It's been this idea that's followed me around for a while, the first time it came across me was the first night we had stayed here at The House Famous, this idea that no matter what we accomplish in the name of Jesus will not compare to the Glory that awaits us, it's a feeling that always leaves me with this craving for more and more and it always reminds me that we truly are refugees from our Father, looking to fill the void with whatever we can until the day of Judgement.

But this really doesn't explain my trip too well...

I was in the Dominican Republic for 2 months, I was with my friends Katie, Amber and Taylor and we lived a Haitian village called Ascension. My official "project" while there was to work at the Mustard Seed orphanage and to work with Rachel at the fair trade co-op known by everyone as La Tienda.
The Mustard Seed is a beautiful place. They are an international organization and have many orphanages in the Carribean and elsewhere and they house abandoned children with severe mental and physical handicaps. Without using words or other means of normal social interaction it was amazing to make connections with these kids and to see their personalities come out in ways I wasn't used to. The great thing about this place is that they also hire locals to work in the orphanage as well which is a great way to employ the people living there.
Everything you've heard about La Tienda is true. It was odd finally going to a place that I had heard about for 2 years, but it was a joy to be there. And working alongside Rachel was a particularly great job to have, I learned much from her.

I realize as I type these words down how limited I am in explaining this trip to you. It is frustrating to have feelings that can't be named or described. But I experienced a new culture and the new temptations that came with it, I experienced real community in that Haitian village, I experienced real beauty in the children's faces and their laughs, I was pushed to my limits, I experienced more of God's truth, I fed widows and orphans, I witnessed a people who have had to leave their country and live in a place that's not their home. In other words, I was changed.

I have been blessed with what I have seen, and maybe one day I can make sense of it all...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What about Romans 13?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Love, for the Day is Near. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

As expressed in earlier posts, I have been withholding my census from StatsCan due to StatsCan's outsourcing of technology upgrades to Lockheed-Martin, one of the world's largest arms manufacturers. I decided I wanted to be on the side of the Prince of Peace, and that meant making a hard decision that could have consequences. Through the processing of all of this I have struggled with the passage of Romans 13 which calls Christians to submit to the authorities. I struggled to reconcile a the self-sacrificial resistance of Jesus and the idea that Paul may have written Romans 13 in Jail, with the idea that we should submit to the authorities. Other Christians have pointed it out to me and I haven't always been able to give a good answer. Last night Chelsea, myself and 3 other Kingston friends went to see Shane Claiborne and the Psalters in Toronto (who have both been inspirational to the House Famous) make a presentation called Jesus for President (Prime Minister?). All of them have been jailed for Peace Activism, and all of them are very inspiring Christians. I asked them about their take on Romans 13 was and they pointed me to their website which gave the best defense of civil disobedience in light of Romans 13 that I have heard. Their key arguement was that Romans 13 was speaking to a group of people who had already decided that their loyalty was to the Kingdom of God rather than to the State, therefore Paul needed to caution them not to try to overthrow the government, and thus taint themselves with power. They also demonstrate how one can be subordinate to the state without blindly obeying it at all turns.

“The conscientious objector who refuses to do what a government demands, but still remains under the sovereignty of that government and accepts the penalties which it imposes, or the Christian who refuses to worship Caesar but still permits Caesar to put him or her to death, is being subordinate even though not obeying” (John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994], 209).

Read it for yourself here: