My favourite coffee…

JJ Bean Coffee House
My Americano

I stopped into JJ Bean for a coffee and breakfast wrap this morning. Something about the texture of the place makes the experience of their coffee so good. As I waited I saw “commercial drivers” sipping their espressos while doing crafts and reading. There were two blue collar types having coffee too. Leathery faces and paint filled clothes and they fit right in at this eclectic place. A breeding ground for hipsters, it is. I like this place not only for their coffee, but for the down to earth-ness evident in their ethos. My drink is the Americano.


Rome Day 2 – The Vatican

On our second day in Rome we visited the Vatican. The ornate texture of the place is grand in it’s vastness and caused sensory overload. The art work contained therein can vault one back in time to feel like a part of the history that produced it. As I said yesterday, pictures hardly do this place justice. As I stood beneath the glorious canvass of the Sistine Chapel, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. It was later in St Peter’s Basilica that Michelangelo’s Pieta caused me to pause and consider the cost of discipleship.

We had a guide named Ann from Through Eternity Tours that did a fabulous job giving insight into the history of all we saw. Her commentary kept all interested and I would definitely recommend her services to anyone making the trek to the Vatican. After the Vatican, we stopped by the gelato place outside the walls that Ann recommended and four 5 euros Christiene and I indulged in the best and biggest gelato cone we’d ever had. It’s worth the 30 minute trek back for more.

Here are the pictures we took yesterday. I created a new “Rome Collection” on Flickr.

If you are ever at the Vatican, walk the Copola!

Here’s a post for mac lovers…

Here’s a resource post for the growing number of mac lovers I am encountering in my circles lately. People are coming to mac like crazy. A mac revival is spreading across the land like wildfire and people are seeing the light like never before. So, religious imagery aside, here is a list of mac apps that will kick start your discipleship toward eternal computing paradise.

Apple-logo.jpg (JPEG Image, 187x226 pixels)

  • Delicious Library – 40$, but well worth it.
  • Books Application – it’s a free library and a good alternative to Delicious
  • Adium – a messenger
  • Ecto – for blogging, this is the best software out there for 20$
  • Liquid CD – for burning
  • Mac the Ripper – for importing your movies onto your mac
  • Omni Outliner – for organizing your ideas
  • Skim – a great PDF reader with many options
  • You’ll love Skitch for image sharing and manipulation (by invite only…so search google for skitch invites and see what you find)
  • X-Pad for taking notes – it’s easy and clean
  • Journler – a great little app
  • Firefox Campus Edition – with some cool research and multimedia options

Check out C.Wess Daniel’s site Gathering in Light each friday. His “dress down Friday” post has great links and tips for mac users.

[Update: Check out Quicksilver, A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. via Adam]

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A busy week, late summer cleaning, and a new blog…

Toward the Intelligent Enterprise

‘Tis been a busy week at work and at home so far, so apologies for the blog slowdown. In fact, blogging has not slowed down but increased, just not on this site. As part of an initiative at work to strengthen customer relationships, I’ve decided to start a blog related to Business Intelligence. It’s called “Toward the Intelligent Enterprise: Excerpts from Experts on all things Business Intelligence”. Go figure with the name heh?…I had to get the ‘toward’ in there to be consistent. Check it out if you want to learn what I do for a profession. A part of me longs to be able to live full time in the missional conversation, but for now, the mission field for me is equally in the office.

Tonight we gathered at our campus to offer the building some much needed TLC. We started with a BBQ and then all got busy fixing up the place. Many hands do make light work. Thanks for all who showed up to help…your faithfulness and servant-hood was much appreciated. There is an increasing sense of community among us, even though we’ve gone through a tough time the last number of months. The Lord is good.

I used this cool new program called Skitch to create the banner for my BI blog. Check it out, it’s pretty good.

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Something new on the site

astore-logo-md-short._V31866931_I have joined the Associates program through Amazon. This has enabled me to create my own bookstore hosted by Amazon and anyone can buy books from Amazon at their low prices. See the a-store widget to the left. In the Toward Hope Bookstore you will find the books that I have encountered on my journey and that shape much of the thinking beneath this blog. Buying through my bookstore will earn me points toward Amazon gift cards that will help offset the cost of books for my studies. Enjoy the selection and I will add to it regularly.

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Random links of interest…

  • All right, this is how academics make other academics laugh. Ben and Kim confess…you may miss half of what they are talking about (like I did), but what I caught made me laugh.
  • 10 propositions on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am inspired by this man
  • On the Rooftops: Theological proclamations
  • A brilliant article from Out of Ur by David Fitch about justice and its importance for us who say we follow Jesus. Here is a snippet:
  • If we read the accounts of justice in Ezekiel 18:5-9, Isa 58:3-7, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 3, this kind of righteousness, both vertical and horizontal, is at the core of what justice means for the Hebrew mind of the OT. We therefore should engage in practices of horizontal reconciliation for one another and those outside in our neighborhoods before we go trailblazing on the national political scene.”

Read Part one of his Justice article HERE

  • More of David Fitch here on 10 Reasons you know Christendom is over
  • And in other news almost everybody in the world has heard Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma. The car phone salesman can sing. This is a case of something beautiful in the place you would least expect. I guess that’s what we are hoping to come from the church too…
  • Erika has posted a wonderful benediction that should in actuality be a good thing for us…

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People who pretend to be other people…

I couldn’t resist linking to Brant Hansen’s post about the Oscar show last night. You know Brant, that whitty guy who writes us Letters from Kamp Crusty…yeah, that Brant.

here is the post…pure genius…

KingoftheworldThe people who pretend to be other people gave themselves some awards last night!

And let me tell you something: The people who pretend REALLY like Al Gore! The people who pretend said Al Gore is pretty awesome! :)

The people who pretend are pretty upset about the whole world getting too hot, and we’re all going to die :-0

They weren’t happy about that. Our lives of consumption are catching up to us, they said :(

One lady had a pair of shoes that cost a million dollars with diamonds! I hope you saw those! I did! ;)

But the people who pretend were happy that their award show was “going green”! :) I thought their limos were super-neat!!!

A guy named Leo DiCaprio, who pretended he was pretending to be “the King of the World!” once, said he also thinks Al Gore is super-double-DUPER neat!

I like how all the pretending people believe the exact same thing!

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A beautiful finish before Lent…and various other things…

CanucksI have not mentioned at all on this blog my love for the game of Hockey. I’ve kept the focus on Christian Missional Spirituality for the most part. But tonight is different. You see, I am a Vancouver Canucks fan. Our Canucks have just beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 3-2 in OT to give them a record of 18 wins, 3 losses and 3 OT losses over the last 24 games. It was a nice finish to a game that I have decided to put my love on hold for. As part of a number of things I will be sacrificing during Lent, I will refrain from watching my favorite team. It is actually all TV that I will be refraining from.

For the hardcore fans…the stat sheet.

On to Lent…

This is the conclusion of what many call Fat Tuesday, or in French, Mardi Gras. Andrew Jones (TSK) gives us the skinny on Fat Tuesday for those interested in learning a bit more about this indulgent day that marks the eve of lent.

Bread 1We had our bread night tonight and a mission group dinner together. The staple was Spaghetti, lots of it, and fresh garlic bread…a meal that I could eat everyday….but not over the next 40, of coarse. After we ate together, we bagged bins of bread and went out into the community to deliver it to our neighbours.

Over the next 40 days I will be intentional about avoiding the distractions and attachments that plague my life in an attempt to draw closer to God. It’s kind of like a desert experience I am expecting… and a much needed one at that. It will be a time for me to reflect, trust and become aware of my condition and need for God. One thing I am aware of is this: we live in the midst of such abundance and comfort. To keep things in perspective, I believe we need to suffer a bit. Suffer in the sense of refraining from the compulsions and things that we can constantly comfort and fill ourselves with. There is a benefit to our spiritual journeys to wait through the temptations for the touch of the Lord. It is the place where growth happens. I have been there before, but sadly not often enough. It is the desert.

Part of me is yearning for such a time of surrender and sacrifice…and another part of me fears it. I can relate to Kester Brewin‘s two part confession on failure of an emerging leader. See Part 1 and Part 2. I anticipate being challenged to the core of my being; but am encouraged and believe God will be gracious and give me strength to follow through on my commitments. This encouragement comes on the heals of finishing Susaku Endo’s book Silence. Silence is about the missionary attempts by the Jesuits to bring the Gospel to Japan in the 1600’s. The persecution is intense and the torture is horrifying. It makes my meager offering seem simple; hence the encouragement that I can endure.

I’d like to wish each of you a refining time this Lenten season and ask our God on your behalf to draw you each near to him as He increases in your life.

I never thought it possible to write about an ice hockey team and the desert in the same post…

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Delicious Library

If you have a stack of books mounting up and you’re struggling to catalog them. I’d suggest checking out the Delicious Library.  It’s only for mac, I think.  I downloaded it yesterday and started scanning books into my new library using my i-sight camera that is built into my macbook. It is actually quite cool.  Once a book is scanned, it gathers info from the web about the book along with a description (in most cases). The software costs 40$, which is a small price to pay if you need this type of resource. In addition to cataloging your books, you can store movies, games, music, and even set up borrowers if you’re the type that likes to lend out books but forgets who has them. 

I scanned one hundred books last night…it was fun.

Off to Vegas…


As I draft this, I am above the clouds on a plane smaller than a big bus (37 passengers max) and on my way to Vegas for our company’s annual

Sales Kick off. For those unfamiliar with the software business, large companies such as the one I am a part of throw money at conventions such as this to ensure appropriate corporate discipleship messaging occurs. To give you an idea, the company is spending about 2 million dollars to send about 2000 employees from the sales and marketing organization to the Bellagio Hotel for a week of seminars, celebration and indoctrination. It’s an over the top experience in the lap of opulence and luxury.

12M-1-1 Bel Gate Photo 12M

Last year the company flew John Cleese over from the UK to come speak to us in Atlanta. He was funny. The year before in Vegas, they brought Sinbad the Comedian in to have some fun with us while Cirque de Solail acrobats were wrapping themselves up and down long curtains in the ballroom. Between the fine food, team building stuff and entertainment, the whole experience is something else. It’s kind of like going to some churches.

I’ve been thinking about the psychology of such an event as this. I’ve resolved that it is a careful and intentional telling of a story. After all, the company’s success is determined by how well they teach us to tell the story to our customers about the way we are changing the way organizations do business. It’s incredibly psychological and carefully planned. The hope is that the 2 mill with turn into 20 mill in increased revenue and production….I fell I am being assimilated…

I have to pause and admire the beauty of God’s creation from 23,000 ft for a moment…OK, better.

Anyways, nothing extremely spiritual or missional about this post other than it will be an opportunity to embody God’s presence in the midst of a city that takes pride in it’s motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. May that be true of God’s presence there as well.

I will try to update daily and include some pictures. And now, an old Gaelic blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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Born Again…again…

Here I sit and write my very first blog entry as a born again…again believer. Tis the equivalent of a second conversion experience. I could no longer stand the heckles and humiliation associated with the PC guy on those apple commercials. I have switched to mac. Today I acquired a macbook [Edit: It’s not a pro]. It’s a bit of a change, but I like the look and feel. I am posting in a trial edition of Ecto and it seems nice as well. Thanks to Bill Kinnon for the tips and encouragement toward the mac. I truly feel postmodern and emergent now…

Macbook Black

It’s black…it’s cool. Now I just need to figure out how to use this thing…

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New Books…I can’t wait.

In addition to the three books I received from my wife on Christmas, I just pulled the trigger on the following with the Chapters gift cards I was blessed with…


Out of Bounds Church, Steven Taylor


The Powers that Be, Walter Wink


The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, Alan Roxburgh


The Word that Redescribes the World, Walter Brueggemann


A Guide To Prayer For All God’s People, Sawchuck


Silence, Shusaku Endo

Now the waiting begins….there is a prayer rising from within my heart that is now pleading for time to read…