Tearing Down The Walls – some thoughts on deconstruction and why we should calm down!


There has been a lot of talk about deconstructing faith in Christian circles over the last few years. So I will be late to the party for sure, but have some thoughts nonetheless. The whole concept has taken on some fairly negative connotations. I would say this comes from people that don’t know what it means to deconstruct your faith and that you can do so in a completely positive way. There is a trend amongst established leaders to create elements of fear around the possibility of asking questions and giving push back. I have heard for years “that’s not what we believe” or “as long as you don’t preach that happy, Jesus makes things better stuff.” Let’s be honest, have you ever tried to argue with a Reformer? It’s fairly exhausting to live in these environments. These environments are the walls we build around our Christianity. They are filled with opinion, fear, shame and what ever else doesn’t belong around our hearts.

In a recent survey I conducted for my thesis project, I learned some of the behaviours of young leaders that have either left a church position or left a denomination for another.
In a combination of Generation Xers and Millennials that took the survey, 2/3 identified that they have gone through some sort of a process of deconstructing their spirituality. Of those who did so, 66% reported that their relationship with Jesus improved while the other 33% mentioned that there was no change in their relationship in either a positive or negative way.

Some confuse deconstructing with “falling away” or “back sliding.” I’m not fully sure what the markers are on those terms, but this is neither of them.

The process of deconstructing is about getting rid of the man made restraints and patterns of religion and finding something more pure and ancient.

It takes times of conscious pursuit of truth or hitting a wall of perceived truth to know that it is time to evaluate what we believe and why. We don’t all have the ability to strip down our spirituality and know that we will find Jesus under all the rubble, but it’s worth trying.

Over the last few years a lot has been said on the topic, and guys like the Bad Christian Podcast have taken up the cause. You may like their language and ideas or not, but these guys hit a wall of religion and had to figure out what was underneath. They did this publicly and it has given some courage to good friends of mine to do the same.

Others like theologian Greg Boyd have discussed in podcast form their thoughts. Greg said that it’s time to deconstruct your faith when “it stops working.” That’s probably the point most of us hit and start to figure it out. He points to making sure that your faith is built on Christ as your foundation. I’m not sure I could agree more. He also mentioned that at least 5 times in his life he has deconstructed.

The more I weigh down my spirituality with church norms, cultural norms – Paul says this, Moses did that, the fundies love their trump and what would Francis Chan say… the more I know I need to come back to Jesus and simply whisper, get me out of this mess! If anyone can throw the dynamite to take down heavy walls, it’s Jesus. I believe in Jesus, his church and his power, I want the authenticity to come from there, not opinions and ideas cooked up for marketing and book sales. I am finding that my friends that have gone through this process are a lot less like Ned Flanders and more like Jesus all the time.

Here’s How
I say, deconstruct, find Jesus and life the life you were created to live. My number one tip on how to pull this off is really simple. Start reading the gospels. Just read the gospels. Don’t read anything else. Find Jesus again, then slowly start adding back Acts and if you’re brave some Paul and OT. But when you really find Jesus in the gospels, you will start to be able to find Him in the rest of scripture too. Care about His teachings, live His teachings, breathe His teachings. It might be the only way to make it to 90 for some of us.

If you thought this was good, interesting, or annoying… please share it with 5 friends. I will issue virtual high fives and gold stars for those that do. Each post for the next while I will be leaking some of the info from my thesis project. There are some stories and stats you do not want to miss.





Capsule Wardrobes as a Spiritual Discipline


There are some great arguments about what a spiritual discipline truly is. Some people are locked into a ‘water only’ fasting regime, discounting anyone else’s attempts to gain proximity to Jesus through other types of biblical fasting. Let’s understand that all are created equal but with different ways of relating to God. It is sad to discount because in a rapidly changing culture, we should open the doors to what ever sacrifice someone is willing to make in order to create peace in their heart and cultivate a relaxed and healthy spirit.

This brings us to the popularity of minimalism. Sure, it is a fad. It is also no secret that I want to trade my large house for a tiny house and give everything (cats included) to someone else to deal with. I don’t like seeing things on the kitchen cupboards, I get frustrated in clutter and mess. Basically owning things does not spark joy. I love throwing things in the garbage or selling them to some sucker who wants my collection of antique cat clocks. But I wasn’t always like that. I had a shopping problem. I love shoes, coats, jeans, shirts or what ever else you can buy. Even if it had no purpose, just in case I may wear it once, I wanted it. This drove my consumer debt up and caused tension in all sorts of areas. That is not a sign of a soul at rest. I made the decision a few years back to only wear two colours of t shirts: Black and White. I also started wearing one type and one style of jean in various colours . (I buy Nudie Skinny Lin or Grimm Tims 31×30’s if you are feeling generous)

Here is why.

When I would get ready to leave the house I would panic. I would panic getting ready for work.  I especially hated my clothes first thing in the morning and couldn’t handle the simple stress of deciding what to wear. I have even made myself late for work because I couldn’t handle the stress of getting dressed or not having perfectly combed hair. For what ever reason, picking out clothes became a big decision every day. Today, I know that my options exist inside of what I can layer on top of a t shirt and jeans, and life has become much easier. Chances are really high that if you have seen me speak somewhere, at a back yard fire, picking up groceries or go to the pub (of course just for wings) I was wearing jeans, t shirt and a jean jacket (because I can’t afford a cool biker jacket). It is my uniform. The uniform mentality has saved me a lot of stress. I know that stress does not come from God or any place rational. So if I can make the easy move of eliminating tension created by culture, I win. I now find my heart at ease.  I don’t want my heart to be tied up accumulating things, I want my heart to be tied up becoming a better dad, husband, friend, son, brother, student and pastor.

Here are some practical techniques I use to become more spiritual through my wardrobe. Yes, I am trying to sell this as spirituality.

  1. It is easy to try a capsule wardrobe. Pick out 32 items. I do pants, shirts, sweaters and shoes. I skip counting underwear (because I am not always up on the laundry) and outerwear. (because I live in the SK, I need different coat temperatures. But I do limit the styles to one per temperature setting) Once I limited that stuff I put the stuff I didn’t plan on wearing in a suitcase and hauled it downstairs. Now set the 3 month timer and see how you do with your 32 favourite things.
  2. The quality over quantity technique  is actually cheaper in the long run. Try it for a year and run the numbers. One day you will realize you don’t even go to the discount store anymore. You don’t go because you don’t need new clothes. What you have is good enough and you actually like what you have. You will save money and keep yourself out of debt. It might look like you are spending more up front but that will change when your clothing budget curves. Multiple pairs of $30 jeans vs one pair of better jeans is a better move, but you have to stop buying the $30 jeans at the same time.

You can continuously replace worn out jeans or buy better quality and not waste your money and material. The culture that we have created around throw away clothing isn’t good for us or the plant.

What if we could eliminate the things that cause us stress in order to find more pockets of peace inside our days? I am finding peace every day because of these little simplicity tricks like capsule wardrobes.

3. I buy one brand of jeans because I like the way they fit and don’t wear out on me. If you buy raw denim you can extend their life with some clever no-wash techniques. I have a pair that has never been washed and they still look amazing after two years. That is where brands like Nudie or Neuw come in. I have two pairs that are over two years old and I am wearing one pair that is about five years old. You will find yourself repairing better denim and not just throwing it out.

I do this with t shirts too. Buy a cheap plain t shirt, then get some staple items that you can layer overtop. MeUndies makes a great t shirt that lasts a long time. For layering items go to a great local mens shop that can give you options and direct you in the right direction. I generally just go to  BoysOnThird site to find what I want. Most of what I own has come from their shop. The guys there are honest about what will look good on you and what won’t. I still haven’t found one that I am happy with in Saskatoon so I keep going back to Medicine Hat. I appreciate their honesty. It is worth the drive. Good jeans + t shirt + button down = fancy enough for everything but a wedding.

Remember, Michael Scott even had his fun jeans!

OR to be perfectly honest, sometimes I am lazy and go to Michael’s during their coupon days and buy ten black t shirts for $20. A plain t shirt is a plain t shirt.

4. I like simple so keep it really simple. Pick one style and stick to that. I buy the same looking t shirts. (other than band shirts, retired punks still need these at 40) If I open my drawer and look down, there is a row of black and a row of white. 90% of these shirts are plain. I fought the feelings to be trendy and buy cool for over a year. Now I just don’t care. The simple look made my life better. I can’t even recognize most ‘cool’ brands now and I am happy about it! I do look like I am wearing the same thing I did yesterday, and the day before that but I am ok with it. At least I don’t show up at Wal Mart in my pyjamas in the middle of the day.

Matthew 6:25-34 The Message (MSG)

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

You don’t need to give everything away to find peace today, but I am sure you can find something to give up that is going to give you peace and create more proximity with Jesus. Search that out and find peace for yourself. Maybe it’s your wardrobe maybe it’s your kitchen cupboard or your vintage clown painting collects that need to get altered.

It isn’t hard to make everything in your life spiritual, because it probably already is. Just accept that even your clothing decisions and shopping habits speak to greed and unrest. Conquer that, find some peace, then move on and find more pockets of peace.


Feel free to share this with friends and help me get my numbers up in the writing world.






Used Car Church


Nothing wrong with a used car. The only problem is when it is held together by duct tape and a story is spun of how amazing this car is! The story could even escalate to a degree where you would be crazy not to get the 88 Civic for $2000. I had that car! A 1988 Civic. It was red with much rust, many dents and a series of 90’s punk stickers on the back window. I loved that car because it was mine. It stalled on every hill, leaked through the windshield when it rained and the trunk was 90% filled with a subwoofer. I kept it clean like it was a Ferrari, I spent what ever money it needed to keep it going. I was so excited to get into that car and drive away that I am sure I missed asking questions about it. Does it leak, whats that spot on the ground from, why is there a hole in the floor boards etc.

What if church was sold like a used car? Welcome to church, congratulations on meeting Jesus! All your problems will be solved from here on in. If someone dislikes you, just blame it on the anointing on your life and the sin in theirs colliding. It’s not your fault, just say that over and over! The pastor is available 24/7 and would love to take the blame for anything needed. Don’t worry about discipleship or making steps to becoming more like Christ, thats what grace is for. You will always love the music and the grape juice will never be stale. Sometimes we find sections of scripture that make us uncomfortable, just start going through different translations until you are satisfied with the language. You might consider writing your own version and skipping the judgy parts.  From their sit back in your cushioned chair and enjoy the Jesus ride… ok maybe some huge exaggerations in there, but you get the idea.

Trying to make Christianity more spectacular than being perfectly loved seems like used car sales tactics. Christianity can be hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Let’s keep it simple. Nobody is perfect, but we are perfectly loved as if we are. There were issues and tensions with my car, but I was willing to put the work into it and make it last. That car is like my faith, full of tension, puzzling conversations and hard work. I love my faith in Jesus, but I am glad that I am also willing to love it enough to be honest about it when its good and when it’s frustrating. That honesty brings me to the place of putting in the hard work to see the results.

Someone Else & Somewhere New

Day dreaming is pretty fascinating. We often think of a future that could be amazing or a past that could have been better. We relive moments that inspired us or bring us back to a memory that we would love to preserve forever. I am sure you are thinking of one now! It is much more difficult to live in the moment we are in now and then be present enough make the most of it. We all have break throughs of brilliance where we achieve, but for many of us we do not stay there long.

I recently heard a radio article about a performance artist who spent years taking on the persona of an upper class business woman. She would go to the right restaurants, meet the right people and dress in the appropriate clothing. She could fool her pretend world by just assuming the role in front of her and mimicking her unsuspecting mentors. She would later take on the role of a tattoo artist. She would even go as far as tattooing people herself, one person interviewed claimed to have gotten a tattoo in childish script that read “rock and roll”.

Of course for the artist she was living her art. She was conquering her moment and taking on the day. For myself I can get caught in between a day dream of what life could be and trying to be someone else. We are told what a healthy Christian life looks like, one who contributes to society and fits a perfect mould. We take most advice as gospel, assuming that we need to be coached on how to be ourselves. I was told about a preacher who claimed that skateboards and tattoos would hold you back from God. I hope no one with tattoos or a skateboard realize that they need Jesus in their lives, because they will be out of luck.

The point is this, day dreaming is cool if it pushes you further in life than you have ever gone before. But make sure that you are being yourself going forward. Be who God created you to be. Your interests, obsessions, likes, dislikes and ideas are part of who you are. They make you unique and awesome. Consider your past, it has formed you into who you are so that you can be a better person tomorrow. I have spent many years trying to write my past off as a useless ball of teenage angst. The problem is, years after leaving my punk rock world… I still love the stuff. I still like wearing doc Martens, black t shirts, drumming as loud and fast as possible and now teaching my kids the classics of my world. Embrace the past, future and present and when they meet you will find that you have more great conversations with people that all need to find hope in Jesus and friendship in you. People that you would not meet if you did not have a past.


A New Journey (H1) November 17th


We often use blog space to give our two cents on religion or politics. It is a great space to talk about our strengths and all the victories in life. I am going to share something different for a while. I am going to share a weakness with you.

Today marked a brand new day for everyone as we woke up, but for me it marked a new journey. Today with the swallowing of 3 tiny pills, I started a journey that I have ignored the relevance of for many years.

Flashback to the mid 80’s. A time when blood transfusions were not screened as they are now. A time when blood was sold from the American prison system into our very own blood supply. A time when ignorance was acceptable, and those who spoke out were ignored as fanatics. During this time I received one of those blood transfusions that left a lasting mark on my bodies ability to handle life. I was left with chronic Hep C, a disease that would begin attacking my liver from that day on. If you think that your liver is not important… you are wrong. It regulates many functions of normal life!

For many years I did not realize that I had Hep C. It wasn’t until many years after infection that my family received a letter explaining the large scale mistake that occurred. All of the symptoms began making sense the older I got. Always feeling tired, sometimes confused, grumpy, sometimes discontent and perpetually nauseous. There are many stories between today and 1988, but those will come another day.

Many months ago I learned that the cure was available. Then I found out that it would be available to me. Then yesterday a box showed up… a box full of pills with a huge promise attached to them. The promise of freedom from the disease. These tiny pills mark a massive journey for me. A journey to begin a life with one less thing to worry about. A journey where I am less concerned about leaving earth early and getting a chance to always be there for my kids.

So why am I blogging about this?  That is simple. This is a big deal to me.This is my blog.  Going through this might be difficult. It does come with side effects. But this journey is happening now for what ever reason God has ordained it, and I get to walk through it. If that is something interesting to you and you would like to pray during this journey or have coffee and chat about something similar you are going through, cool. Follow my blog and join the discourse. Even leave a comment and let me know you are following along. Over the next long while I will be posting about this often!

My lamp, a symphony and love

Todays playlist was Shostakovich symphony number 9 and on my desk is a copy of Mere Christianity. I have had too much coffee and am taking another pass through the book of Philippians. The sky is a bit gloomy which has prompted me to turn on my dusty green lamp. Explaining these irrelevant details is partially my attempt to sound more hipster, partially to set mood and another part because I think it’s funny.

These were my morning thoughts… inspired by all the things listed above and possibly randomness I watched on tv last night.

We walk through life haunted and followed by the concept of fair play, what is right and more importantly what is right for us. The question follows closely behind, why do we often do the wrong thing The thing that we know will lead to pain or confusion or tension. C.S. Lewis talks about the law of nature and how it might be more observation based than hard set rules. So if doing right (even though we know right from wrong) is not always conceivable, and the very laws of human nature are bendable, then how (insert your own frustration word) are we supposed to become more Christlike.  How do we become perfect as God the Father is perfect? (Matt 5:48) Even Paul, THE PAUL said that he can’t pull of the perfection that we aspire to. (Romans 7:15)

If Paul hadn’t figured out that perfect is impossible, and that no body can be perfect than I am sure he would have given up while laying half dead in prison. Instead he kept on preaching and leading people to Christ. Why? He could have never thought that he would soon reach perfection as a felon going for his daily beating in a Roman prison. Instead Paul found the answer in the very thought that illuminated imperfection as perfection.

We cannot be perfect, but we can be perfectly loved as if we were perfect. When we try to make Christianity more spectacular than that we are just imposing our own motives and theological gymnastics on it.

Once we live from love, then we can pour love out on others and that is when we see our lives changing. We see ourselves becoming less selfish, less inward focussed and able to function at a level of humanity that deserves to be called Christian.

An observation from some great people in my life as of late is that the more we accept love and therefore give love to others, the less we find ourselves needing to access the abundant grace that is poured into our lives. A life loved perfectly truly brings out the best in us. A life perfectly loved is like turning on my green dusty lamp and realizing it still gives light no matter how dirty it might be. I love lamp.

Partnering Thoughts at midnight

It is nearly midnight and I am about to go to the airport for a pick up for the Church Weekend. We just finished a team meeting with our core planting team and some of the boys from the Vintage Church plant movement. I am struck with bigness of the amazing people that we have the privilege of partnering with in this church planting journey. There are GREAT churches that have brought us along side and are walking with us as well as friends that are willing to come and spur us on as we go forward.
We are truly blessed people. I can’t wait to see what all the plans are that God is putting together for the rest of this journey!
Now to the airport and hopefully some sleep later tonight before the weekend begins!

Correcting the abuse of honour

First of all, what I am about to type is not doctrine just some thoughts.

I have watched self proclaimed apostles beat honour teachings into their congregations my whole life. I have seen their prophet friends prophecy money and honour coming their way. I have even watched pastors offer the world in exchange for honour and admiration. It comes with fancy teachings that sound really good at first, but then when you go over your notes you realize that they didn’t say anything. At the end of the day all it makes me want to do is be sarcastic and skeptical of people that need to be honoured and respected.

Hebrews 13:17 (amongst many other verses) talks about honouring our leaders and how not honouring your leaders actually creates problems for yourself as a follower. I get this concept, and I suppose at the end of the day if I am following a leader / boss / Culligan man… or who ever that I can’t respect and honour on my own, then I should not follow. But in Hebrews 13, back up with me to verse 7-8. “Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”

I am coming to the conclusion more and more as I watch men and women of God in their ministries that if I want to replicate what they are doing in life then that is worth honouring. Here are two examples from my life (no names, you can do the math if your smart)

1. A guy who is a senior pastor of a church, my wife and I have know this pastor for several years. He used to be a really friendly guy, always willing to give some advice and stop and chat when we were in the same city. I really respected his opinions and insight. Over the past few years he has been getting bigger speaking gigs and gaining some notoriety that he has worked hard for. But with the elevated profile he started becoming to big for people who don’t matter to his career, too busy to even be polite. He even teaches an interesting view of honour, in the form of “don’t argue with the man of God”. I have watched this for a few years and the sad fact is… I am still learning from his insight. I am learning how I never want to behave in my ministry career. I never want to be too busy to have simple conversations, I never want to be too busy to pray with someone. I never want to speak as though I have all the answers.

2. Another senior pastor who has served in only 3 congregations in his long ministry career. He has been willing to stay in positions and fight for his staff, fight for his congregation even when it does not seem popular. He is a pastor who models scriptural living, not by using catch phrases while he is preaching, but by staying the course and honouring those who work under him and even taking time for truly annoying people. (Don’t pretend to be holy… we all know them) He has never asked for honour, just modelled it. He never asked for respect, he just respected others. He never asked for people to follow him, he just followed Jesus.

I am coming to a place where I am not interested in following super flashy leaders who don’t last the course of time. I don’t care about new revelations that are really nice if you only look at one scripture. I want to follow leaders who are proving that they have the faith to stick it out, who have the character to sustain their marriage and ministry and who above all honour people that don’t deserve honour. That to me is the type of person that deserves honour.

To me it’s similar to my opinion of movies. If you tell me how awesome a movie is and it has huge hype… I probably won’t go see it. I will wait until its not popular to see if people still like it. I value my time more than that. I also really value my honour that I give, I want to honour leaders worth honouring.

Just some thoughts.


The Commitment Dillusion

Commitment is a tough sell in the day and age of “I want that one”, yes that was a Lou and Andy reference. But it is a tough battle for the age old titan of adulthood known as commitment. How can it compete with the coolness of being spontaneous, or the whimsy of that greener pasture. There is nothing sexy about doing the same routine over and over again. We are often hoping that magically the work does it self and there is a huge party in our honour at the end… But usually no party.
It is a realization I believe that comes into play somewhere around 30, when you see the good that came from your commitment and the commitment of others. When you see peoples lives impacted through unselfish acts. Then you can see the inspiration of the giants of commitment who paved a path in front of you.
The people I have admired the most are the ones that spent the years fighting and building week after week knowing that the greater good was somehow at stake. In ministry I look at people who stay and fight, clean toilets, put on baseboard and preach week in week out, instead of falling for whimsy or spontaneity.
Don’t get me wrong I still have times of spontaneous behaviour, I am after all Pentecostal. Just not when I know that my family or church or friends are counting on me. This week I am reflecting and thankful for those guys who do what they say, preach what they live and give example to the rest of us who are watching their every step. I am watching new giants of commitment rise up and wow me with what they have done and others fall with the smallest tasks. I have a long way to go but with great examples will keep following!
Maybe this is part of the great race the Apostle Paul references so often, at least part of it.
I have a saying, not sure who I heard it from but I know it’s not mine. “Commitment beats talent, every time”.

I want to make you rich!!

I want to make you rich! But not in the North American new SUV, house with 15 bedrooms, 16 guitars, 10 credit cards kind of way. Rich in contentment because you are able to manage your life in such a way that honours God and what God is calling you to do.

Over the last 13 years in youth and young adult ministry and now transitioning into a new role in church planting, we have met as a couple with dozens and dozens of couples. Each counselling session has a theme to it. That theme is stress, stress in communication, stress in family and stress in finance. Usually the key source is the later of the three. Financial stress is a massive problem for anyone either planning their future or already operating in their present adventure.

Here are two simple tips to help alleviate that stress for you, especially sitting in November… that’s right Christmas is coming and the social pressure of giving above your means is ready to be applied. This is also the advice that has been able to help countless people get back on track.

1. Remember God! Everything we have is essentially borrowed from God. God in turn gives that to us with a request to be generous in our time and in our finances. Most churches call this tithing. Where ever you sit on the tithing topic, its about the heart behind it. If you do not remember God in your giving … why would he remember you in his? That might sound kind of cruel but its true. I have not always been rich but God has always looked after what needed to be looked after.

2. There is a really haunting verse in 2 Thessalonians 3 that says “Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.”

This is pretty simple, if you’re not making enough money… either get a better job or work more hours. Again that sounds harsh but its true. It works into the balance in the home. If you are spending more money than you are bringing in… you either need to spend less money or you need to bring in more income. I have had many times when this has had to be adjusted in my life… the adjustment only hurts at first, its worth it in the end.

3. Here is the last and most practical of the points! Make your budget with your accountability partner and then take out cash! If you don’t have your debit and credit cards in hand you are way less likely to go to McDonalds or get a pair of jeans. Nothing wrong with packing a lunch!

There are my two cents. Tithe, be responsible and go cash! Ok so that won’t make you rich with enough money to be a hip hop artist, but at least you can be happy when you’re not living in stress.