January 2007

Woot! NYC–here I come! Today, my boss gave me the green light to take 3 weeks off in May for my trip to NY-Philadelphia. I’m going to book my flight this later on this week. Went to my parents’ tonight to discuss the particulars with everyone going, including Rupert and Anita.

Originally, I was planning only to stay for a couple weeks, but decided to go an extra week earlier to be with my mom and dad. Though a little leery of vacationing with a family of adults (and the extra costs), I do think it’s special to be fully present with immediate family in NYC, especially since we have roots there.

Two of the musicals I really want to see (The Drowsy Chaperone and The Producers) are indeed running on Broadway, so here’s a cover performed by my favourite funk band that looks ahead to that:

On Broadway
words and music by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in collaboration with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
performed by: LMT Connection
recording: Outta Control (1999, Impression Records)

(If you visit their myspace site, be sure to play the video of their live performance on BB King’s 80th Birthday Tour. Leroy Emmanuel on his green guitar is hot stuff! Joel Parisien and Mark Rogers from NEWWORLDSON plays for the band as well.)


… the last time I really changed my mind about something. And I don’t mean merely a change in taste or sway in opinion, like how I feel about a certain writer or what I think about a particular restaurant.

Rather, I’m talking about a change in deep-seated beliefs/values about life, people, and even oneself.

Recently, I was confronted by the fact that I have a stereotype about people from “X”. I hadn’t thought about it consciously in years, nor had I any reason to until I actually had to engage with such a person who came into the faith community I belong to. Needless to say, I’m not proud of holding this prejudice and thus “tried” to deal with it by appearing to be nice and behaving civilly to this person, all the while keeping a cautious distance, with no real intention of getting better acquainted.

Then I wondered, “What would it take to change my mind about this person?” Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything, perhaps due to a lack of will or vision. Either way, it seems it would take a miracle for me to change my mind. Then I started to think that it is amazing that any of us change our minds AT ALL in areas that we are so strongly convicted or entrenched in (sometimes unawares). That could be a good thing or not, depending on what we value and the actions that come out of that.

For my own growth as a person, there are more things to change my mind about than not. But if I can’t remember the last time I REALLY changed my about something, does that suggest that, as follower of Christ, I’m not growing? But that thought doesn’t seem quite right because I don’t really live with having all the right answers; in fact, I constantly feel that Paul-ine tension.

So, after some pondering, I’ve come to this freeing conclusion: my mind is actually BEING changed as I continue to engage in my relationship with God; in my faith, I am constantly being worked on by the Spirit. Hence the tension, hence the conscience, hence the need to reflect and think twice about how I live. Struggle is good! A sign of Life! A sign of the Spirit at work!

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of sampling the menu at West for the Dine Out Vancouver 2007 event.

Right off the bat, I was impressed–impressed by the prompt service in taking our coats and showing us to our table, impressed by the interior design of the restaurant. With dark leather paneling on one length of the room and an entire floor-to-ceiling wall of wines filling the other length, the ambience is warm, classy, masculine. Apparently, West is known for its wide selection of good quality wines, and I was visually convinced.

As we waited for our appetizers, the server gave us some freshly baked bread and an incredibly fragrant olive oil to dip it with. I had never tasted such fine olive oil.

For starters, we all had the Mosaic of Chicken and Foie Gras with Pickled Winter Vegetables, Red Wine and Lime Syrup. It was an earthy, but complicated creation that kept my taste buds on their toes. My entree of choice was the Smoked Sablefish with Choucroute, Ventreche Bacon and Juniper Butter, paired with a glass of 2005 Mission Hill “SLC” Chardonnay. The sablefish was very meaty, surprisingly and satisfyingly filling … for fish. The meal was finished off with a titillating Gingercake and Panna Cotta with Maple Poached Apple and Pecan Ice Cream. I was very reluctant to share this multi-textured dessert. As with the appetizer, there was a lot going on in my mouth.

Over dinner, we decided that this restaurant would be a great place to go for a dinner date. If you really liked the guy, then dinner would be a bonding experience where two people get to share something good with each other. If there wasn’t much chemistry, then at least the the two of you can talk about how good the food is.

Am thinking lots about my upcoming trip to New York these days. Most likely, I will be out on the East Coast for over 3 weeks. Oh, what to do? Where to stay? Who to hang out with?

Anyways, here’s a little tribute to Brooklyn, where I’ll be sure to visit because I’ve got some relatives living there:

Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning
words and music: The Innocence Mission
recording: We Walked in Song (March 2007 release)

From Sufjan’s bio on the Asthmatic Kitty Records website:

… Sufjan’s other interests include graphic design, painting, running, knitting, crocheting, weaving, quilting, cleaning, photography, haircutting, and dry wall installation. …

And further confirmed by an article about Sufjan from The Guardian:

… He really does teach knitting to the blind in his spare time. …

Lauren Winner will be teaching a course on writing as a spiritual discipline (1 or 2 credit option) at Regent College this summer, which I would love to take if I can scrape enough money together ($430/credit + $35 registration!). Lauren Winner is a keenly observant, intelligent writer and author of a couple books I enjoyed reading a few years ago, namely Girl Meets God and Real Sex. She (and therefore her writing) is refreshingly thoughtful and frank. Her style is highly readable and accessible; at the same time, she brings a certain academic rigour and scholarly inquiry to her writing. And she’s young! It would be sooooo cool to take a writing class from her.

This past Sunday, Nick started on a sermon series on the book of Revelation (often misnomered as Revelations, or The Revelation). To prime us, he got us to think of an experience where we “missed out” on something. I think the approach he is taking with this difficult piece of scripture is relevant to our times. The message (as revealed to John) served to remind and encourage the early churches (who were enduring persecution) to stay vigilant in what God is doing in the “big picture” of things, to not lose sight of it by becoming distracted. I think a lot of churches in North America today are in fact distracted (albeit not from persecution) from what they are called to do, from what God intends them to be.

The set up (i.e. contextualization) was a bit hard to follow, and my mind wandered a few times, but I appreciate these observations that Nick makes about himself on when he misses out on something important going on:

  • when he is bored (e.g. watching for shooting stars, but in waiting to catch sight of one, ends up drifting off and inevitably missing out on a sighting)
  • when he is fixated (e.g. looking obsessively for travel Scrabble on a trip, and having no other recollection of trip)

Naturally, the questions to pose myself are similar: where have I gotten complacent, simply humming along in life, that I might be missing out on what God is doing around me? What are some things I am distracting myself with that takes my attention away from what God is doing around me? How am I asleep? How am I blind? Or deaf to the Spirit’s calling?

Hear for yourself:

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