Tag Archives: friends

Summer reading and such

I didn’t plan to give up blogging for Lent. It just sort of turned out that way. Aaaaaand my readership continues to slip away…

I handed in my last paper of the semester yesterday. Now I start thinking about the reading I need to do for the two classes I’m taking in May.

Tonight is the seminary grad banquet. Neither of us is graduating, but we’re going to the banquet. I am winning some kind of award (it’s an honour just to be nominated!). Tomorrow morning we leave for a 6-day stint at Elkhorn Lodge or some-such, a resort north of Neepewa and on the edge of Riding Mountain National Park. It’ll be the Vandersluys’s plus another friend, then a few days later that friend and his wife, and then a few days later another couple friend. It should be good times. I hope. Let’s be honest: the kids a kind of the wildcard here. But there’s a pool and possible horseback riding and hikes.

But after that, after the getaway and the classes in may, I will read what I want to read.

What I think I can reasonably finish in the summer:


  • N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God
  • Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship
  • Thomas Halik, Patience with God: The Story of Zacchaeus Continuing in Us
  • H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture
  • C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
  • Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places


  • Eric Mataxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy


  • Gavin’s sermon from a couple of weeks ago inspired me to pick up Three by Flannery O’Connor again and read at least The Violent Bear it Away
  • I’d like to have a second go at Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Something else by Graham Greene.

Maybe this list isn’t reasonable for me to finish. All of these books will be beneficial reads, but I think now of the books I would benefit from practically by reading them this summer, such a s William Willimon’s Pastoral Theology (a text for a Winter 2012 course) and something on spiritual direction. Plus I need to re-learn Greek over the summer in preparation for the school year.

Let’s be honest: this reading list looks almost nothing like I will actually read this summer.


Had a great weekend in Surrey, BC for the annual general meeting of the ECCC.  It was a chance to get away from the kids (first time for more than 1 night in six years); it was a chance to visit with friends and get to know new acquaintances a little better.  I also attended a “ministerial” for the first time–there’s a great bunch of pastors in this conference.  The Covenant church really does feel like home.

And we had beautiful sunny weather the whole time, which was a shock not just for the visitors to the area.

I won’t get into the boring (to you) details of the weekend.  Of note, however, was Sunday’s trip into Vancouver.  We wandered down to Granville Island with Dixie’s brother.  Granville Island is a former industrial area of the city revitalized as a trendy/artsy-fartsy/old-school public market area.  A person could have quite a full, relaxing day out there.  Start out in the morning in a coffee shop with the paper; wander along the water and have a light lunch somewhere; wander some more–maybe through the market–and have a solid dinner before calling it a day.  It’s now officially one of my life goals: spend a full, easy day on Granville Island.

That’s not what’s of note, however.  We were undecided about where to eat for supper.  We were actually seated at Bridges on Granville Island, but after perusing the nearly blank menu decided to go elsewhere.  A peruse and dash, if you will.  The next plan was to drive into the downtown area for some Thai food, but on our walk back, Dixie’s brother spotted a Sushi restaurant he’s wanted to try for a long time, but could never get into: Shabusen Japanese Yakiniku House (the one on south Granville, just a couple of blocks from Dixie’s brother’s apartment).

I was reluctant at first–I was hungry after all that walking, so raw fish and wasabi–unappealing at the best of times– didn’t seem like the thing we should be trying out.  As it turns out, Dixie and I both loved it.  We went with the all-you-can-eat menu so that we could try a bit of everything.  Dixie’s brother did the ordering, since he knows his way around a Japanese menu.

Dixie and I in front of some of our food:


In front of Dixie is a plate of various seafood wrapped around some rice (“Nigiri sushi”). On the left: shrimp (“Ebi”–cooked); back right: tuna (raw); front right: salmon (raw).  On my plate is a scallop cone: a dried seaweed cone filled with raw chopped  scallops and rice.  

The large white cup in front of me is green tea; the small white cup with the blue graphic is warm sake.  

On the grill: lamb chops and chicken breast.  The meat on the grill was a mistake.  According to Dixie’s brother it’s a Korean custom, but we found it a bit annoying to have to pay attention to the cooking meat.  Much of the lamb ended up burned to a crisp.

Also eaten: deep fried avocado (“Maki”); spring rolls; chicken karrage (deep fried chicken wings); deep fried yams, carrots, zuchinni and squash (“Tempura”); Yakisoba (noodles); pork gyoza (dumplings); miso soup (soy soup); edamame (soy beans).

My judgment: delicious!  

I would never have guessed, as I generally don’t care much for fish.  I would take raw tuna or salmon over the cooked equivalent any day.  The raw tuna was my favourite, followed by the raw salmon.  The meat melts on your mouth.  

The warm sake was also delicious–it’s a rice wine, but I found it reminiscent of ouzo, though not as sweet.  I think Dixie’s brother described the taste as “wine and soap”, but it was very good.

(More pictures of the trip may follow, but I make no guarantees.)

Sometimes the best map will not guide you.

Today our church had a combination Thanksgiving/farewell potluck.  Now there’s a bulletin blooper for you:  “Join us for a Thanksgiving potluck as we give thanks and say farewell to our pastors” or something like that.  I guess you can’t force a blooper.

We had a nice lunch, had a bit of a program and then many people said goodbye to Randall and Lauralea.  They’re still around for a bit, but this was the official goodbye as a church body.

I’m generally a non-crying person, but there are four circumstances in which I’m guaranteed to get choked up and weepy-eyed:

  1. A normally non-weepy person gets choked up.
  2. When I’m really angry (doesn’t happen often).
  3. When I’m trying to speak from the heart.
  4. At the end of a movie about a couple dogs and a cat who travel a thousand miles to find their owners.

Today’s circumstance was #3.  Opportunity was given today at the potluck for people to stand and tell a story or share something about Randall and Lauralea.  I felt like I had better say something, so I stood up and hoarsely fought my way through a quick something or other.

I still remember the day I met Randall face to face.  It was just over 4 years ago (July 2004).  I had been reading his blog (found via Leighton, via Paul, via Nate—Paul and Nate are no longer blogging) for a couple of months and one Sunday I decided to stop in at Randall’s church (Gateway Covenant Church) for something different (I blogged about it here).  One of the first things he said to me when we met was, “We should get together for coffee sometime.”  He barely knew me, but that’s the kind of guy Randall is.  The rest is history.

We had lunch a couple of times over the next year.  In the spring of 2005 Dixie and I were in a period of transition and we attended Gateway Covenant Church several times.  In the autumn of that year we were invited to join their weekly small-group meeting and we started attending the church regularly.  Somewhere in there Randall suggested we get together regularly.  A couple of years of weekly breakfast at A&W ensued—talking, laughing, listening.  In January 2007 we became members of the church.

In February or March of this year, after a weekend trip with the church youth, Randall was one of a couple of people to name things that needed naming.  In April, Randall asked me to preach on a Sunday when he was going to be out of town.  He had actually mentioned (as I recall) the possibility of me preaching a year earlier, but the time probably wasn’t right.  I’ve preached thrice since then (and will be again this coming Sunday).  And now I’m going to be working at the church for a bit.  And I’m enrolled in a seminary course.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all of these things are linked or that I couldn’t have come to the place I’m at by another route—and I’m not suggesting that Randall is “responsible” for all of this or that he has been a means to an end.  But I will say this: Randall’s friendship and guidance has had, I think, a subtle, but profound effect on my life (and Dixie’s life as well) and he has been able to see things in me long before I see them myself (and he had the patience to wait for them to surface).  I like to think that God has brought Randall and Lauralea into our life (or us into their life?) for whatever purpose he has in store for all of us.  That’s pretty vague, I know, but I’m generally reluctant to make that kind of statement, and things aren’t clear yet, though we seem to be on a course (“sometimes the best map will not guide you/ You can’t see what’s ’round the bend” – Bruce Cockburn*).

The friendship was meant to be, I think, and it shall continue to be, I hope.

Thanks Randall and Lauralea for listening and caring; for your patience; for your insights; and mostly for your love and friendship.  You will be missed.

Oh, I guess I also get weepy-eyed over this sort of thing (#5).**

*there’s an appropriate Cockburn quote for every situation.
**Apologies for the non-locals for some of these sappy posts of late. Perhaps these things are better sent in emails and letters, I don’t know. But I write here and I write what I live.