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A Brush With Death

“I nearly killed a man tonight.” And just like that, the slightest of lulls in our dinner table conversation was shattered like a paper-thin sheet of ice flying off the roof of a car and colliding with a cold burst of wind. I was probably being more dramatic than I needed to be about what had happened, but it was also the truth.  Half an hour earlier, for what felt like the hundredth time, I set out to drive the well-worn route between our home and the restaurant where my sixteen year old son has been working for the past few months. Last week, I reminded him that if he would finish his driver’s training course, he could do this drive and the drive home four hours later all on his own. Imagine the freedom! (And I wasn’t even talking about him!) We’re heading into the darkest depths of winter in Southwestern Ontario, so even though it was only five o’clock, it might as well have been midnight. The street lights were on, creating a glow on the roads in the half-melted snow, and even thou
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Even When You Don't Feel Like It

I was wrong; this is my final entry. It’s December 17, 2018, and while I suppose this could go on indefinitely as our story continues to unfold, yesterday was a significant day in the life of our church and it feels like sharing some reflections would be a more fitting way to wrap things up.  It was the next to last Sunday before Christmas, so the morning’s service was anything but typical. It’s the third week of Advent, so for starters, there was the weekly lighting of a candle to mark our ongoing journey toward the celebration of Christ’s birth. Then, as you might have guessed if you’ve ever stepped foot in a church around this time of year, a gaggle of twenty-some children took their places on a small riser at the front of the sanctuary waiting to perform a seasonal song, replete with adorable actions and wide, stretching smiles. And because you can never have too much Christmas—a sentiment shared by just about every church in town during these high holiday seasons—once the younger

Four Days Late

This is it—my final entry. One day last week, I took a look at the calendar and had a thought that it was probably around this same time last year when I gave up trying to sleep, stumbled down the stairs to the dining room table, and typed the first words into this Google Doc. As it turns out, my first entry was on December 8, which is only a few days from now, so I hatched a plan to set aside some time on that same date to write one final chapter on the precise anniversary of when I began. It was a Saturday, so I figured I would have time, and truthfully I did have time—but as it turns out, I didn’t write anything that day, and then I didn’t write anything for the next couple of days either, so here I am on December 12, four days late. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) The fact that I’m late speaks volumes to where I’ve come over the course of the past year.

What Voice Will I Have?

 It’s November 29, which means it has now been more than a month since I last sat down to write. The length of time that is passing between these entries is growing, and in truth, I think I’m getting close to putting down the proverbial pen for good on this project. While my inability to sleep tonight is resulting in another middle-of-the-night entry, I have a growing sense that I’m almost ready to bring this chapter of my life’s story to a close.  (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) I just spent a few minutes looking back at some of my early entries and realized that it has been a little over a year since Eric first sat down in my office and told me that he was gay and that he was ready to ‘come out’—a year and six days to be exact. It’s funny how some years pass by and I honestly think I’d be hard pressed to fill more than a page or two with meaningful reflect

Shoulder Pads and Shin Guards

It's October 17, 2018, and it’s been just over a month since I last sat down to write. This is partly because the fall is always a busier-than-usual season in the life of a church, but it’s also a result of the fact that I actually haven’t been struggling to sleep lately. Pretty much everything I’ve written to this point has been during nocturnal writing sessions at the margins of my days, but today I have intentionally sat down to get caught up on our church’s story and how my own pastoral journey is moving along. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) It’s early fall as I look out of our living room window, watching the leaves of our Autumn Blaze Maple tree doing exactly what their name suggests. Aside from the cascade of colours, it’s an otherwise dreary day, but weather aside, I’m about to begin a two day mini-retreat that I try to take each year at about t

One and the Same Place

It’s September 14, 2018. On this date twenty years ago, I officially began my pastoral journey with the launch of our student church at the University of Waterloo. There were months of preparation that went into our kick-off at the Humanities Theatre, but that night was when things really began. We tried to spread the word the best we could, which was quite a challenge in a world that was just dipping its toes in the internet and still several years away from the advent of social media. I was hoping and praying that God would draw 50 students out that night, not because numbers were the focus of what we were doing, but because the theatre we were meeting in had 675 seats and anything less than 50 people simply would have been embarrassing. In the end, 85 people walked through the doors and our church was born. I remember lying in bed late on that first Monday night and saying to Melissa, “I just thought of something: We have to do this again next week!”  (Note: This post is part of an

Turning the Page

September 4, 2018. Today is the first day of school. Our oldest son has moved into his dorm with a week of orientation already behind him, but this will be the first day of classes for all three of them. Everyone experiences the first day of school differently, but I believe that for most there is a mixture of fear and excitement. Even as adults, we can recall to memory quite easily those feelings of anticipation as the summer winds to a close and we get ready to head back to the routines and relationships that will give structure to our lives for the better part of a year. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) In a church, too, September brings a return to ‘normalcy’ as we slide back into our routines and re-connect with the broader community that we may have lost touch with a bit over the course of the summer. In my early years pastoring a student church, I reme