Heart crap

This post was written in early july… so there is more to the story now, but I just have not had time to sit down and process it all

Some of you may have heard…

Some of you may not have heard…

I have had a heart attack. Or so they think… or maybe they don’t. (more on that later)

For the past several months I have been dealing with chest pain, at times mild like I drank no name brand cola and went for a jog. Other times like my chest was being stood on,  by someone rather portly. On June 13th, the portly person standing on my chest had put on another few hundred pounds and was now wearing High Heeled shoes!

Here is the time line… for those who like timelines!

10:00pm I mention to my wife that I am having mild chest pain… took a zantac and she went to bed.

11:00pm feels like a tight band around my chest, no worries,  get a drink of water

12:30 I am starting to worry, feels like a fat guy is standing on my chest!

1:30 fat guy put on a nice pair of pumps and is trying to balance on one heel!

1:45 I google “Am I having a heart attack” on my iphone (see now its doesn’t seem so unnecessary!)

1:46 I determine it is time to go to the hospital, I wake leah

1:47 Leah does three laps of the room, I am pretty sure she is still asleep!

2:00 we arrive at hospital and I describe symptoms

2:05 I am hooked up to what seems like every concevable machine in the ER, and get a spray of Nitro!

Aside: I got a spray of nitro, and was thouroughly dissappointed with it. I was not able to run fast, at no point in time could I pass others at will, and no fire came out of my exhaust… I feel those of us who played video games as kids have been terribly misled as to the effects of nitro!!!!

2:15 I am told my ECG is very serious! and everything becomes on blur of beeps, boops, pokes, and “how do you feel now’s”

4:00 the doctors says the following “You have had a heart attack, maybe this isn’t one tonight, but You have had one, and I think you are stable enough that you won’t have another tonight!… I am on the phone with the Cardiologist in Kingston, you will probably be there by 6am… Who brought you?”

I let him know my wife did, and she is probably doing laps in the parking lot with my son… he tips his head and says… “she’ll be right in!”

4:05 Leah enters the room, looks freaked and cracks this joke to break the silence. “so… how close was I to being debt free?” I laugh, she laughs and from that point we discuss the what next’s…

Time line end!

Monday morning I was told I would be to Kingston Tuesday, Monday afternoon I was told I would be to Kingston Wednesday, Tuesday morning I was told I was go to Kingston Friday, not by ambulance, but on my own (with leah driving)

I arrive in Kingston Friday morning, the drive down was great, we listened to the audio book of Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like (go to a bookstore and buy it). We laughed and had a good chat about it… I felt great.

The nurses and doctors in Cardiac Care were all nice, and to a person said “you’re too young to be here”.

That whole stay is another post, probably co-written by Leah.

The results of that were… “Your arteries are clearer than they should be for a man of your age!”

Which means two things; first, my heart problems are not artery related. And two, my love of mayo is off the hook!!

Now for my take…

Monday at about 5 am, my Mom made something like the following her facebook status “Jim is on his way to Kingston hospital – heart – please pray”. (She thought that was descrete and that no one would really know what was going on… The only way they could have thought anything differnt, is if they thought she meant that she loves kingston hospital, and to pray for her jealousy!) By 6am I was stabilized and my ecg’s and blood work were normal. I received easily over 50 messages from people world wide telling me they were praying.

Take from that what you will… I have a whole other post started to explain what further tests have shown…

Peace


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Awesome Man (?) Thursday!

Still super busy after the barbq writing a grant, but this wins for Awesome!

Thanks Big R for sending it along!

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When I Cry

This past week, I was asked

How do you not cry, when you come home from there? Crazy

The answer.

I do.

I was supposed to be taking a blogging Hiatus this week while I get things in order for the fundraiser that keeps the centre I run afloat. But I had to write this.

My tears do not come in the losses. The high kids, the broken lives, the shattered dreams. Because those are the reality. Those things are things that everyone faces.

Sure some of our’s may not be as severe, but in the end, we all face brokenness in our own life.

The tears come, in the victory. The victories are smaller than most want. The supporters of this centre tell me, more. Bigger stories, more victories, notches on a bible so to speak.

I coach football. It is one of my passions. I love the game, and love seeing the self esteem that it brings to the kids on the team. This is not ultra competitive ball, these are 12, 13 and 14 year olds. Some of these kids come from homes that, if I was honest, look perfect. Supportive Mom and Dad at practises, new shoes/gloves/TimTebow eyeblack, the whole nine yards.

Then there are the kids who, walk to practice alone. Have no cheering section at games. Some are there, only because they were asked… and then sponsored. Some are from broken homes(whatever that means) some from homes that were broken.

Today I write about 2 kids. Both made me cry Saturday. In fact, I couldn’t be in the “Post Game Rah Rah chat”. I had to walk away.

The first, lost his Mom to a car accident just over a year ago. He is in grade 8, and is a 3rd year player. Last year (the first season after the accident) he barely spoke at practice, was almost lifeless. And justifiably so.

We had high hopes for him this season. But no expectations. He is big, strong, and knows the ins and outs of playing Offensive Line. Yet, we didn’t want to count on him… he has dealt with too much. If this was his escape from being himself, we were ok with that.

Game 1, we hear a voice rallying his team mates… Pumping them up… encouraging. Holding them accountable. It was him. His voice boomed like the ones you hear from professionals in those old NFL Films videos. He took ownership of the O-Line… Then went out and dominated. Showed a mean streak on the field; that is what separates a Really Good lineman, from an average one. Played hard, helped the other guy up after knocking him down… then the next play, knocked him down. For a football fan, it was beautiful to watch!

This past game, he came off the field after a fumble and threw his helmet. I thought maybe his 14 year old hormons got the best of him and he couldn’t control his anger. He was benched for the next series, for which he called his line mates together and apologised for letting them down! then did the same to his whole offence. Leader.

We lost, but he showed grace, and leadership! I was close to tears.

The second young man, is a different story. He is a rough kid. I have lost count of the number of times, he has lost his cool at drop in… or stories about him having teachers who are frightened of him. I have so much more I could write about this young man, but today I will keep it at this.

I asked him to come out for football, because I thought he needed a place to get his aggression out… he did.

But not how I thought. I assumed he would want to hit people, make everyone else pay for the stuff he has been through… He wanted to score.

It all came clear to me this past Saturday.

This young man has never heard his name yelled… well thats not right… no one has CHEERED for him. No one has ever stood up and clapped, and cheered and fawned over what he as done.

This Saturday, he stepping into the starting role at QB because of an absence. And he led… he marched our team up and down the field. On one play in the second half, he ran a QB sweep for 25 yards. Our Fans ROARED. His reaction was shock… mine was tears.

There it was.

People had cheered for HIM! Some so loud that he was able to pick them out of the crowd!

But that isn’t the whole victory.

Later that night in town, I bumped into him. He was sullen. With our other QB we had won, with him we had lost… So it must be because of him. His rational is flawed, but understandable. He is the screw up. The other guy is the “winner”.

He then tells me this story. “Remember when Bob (name changed) came off the field and threw his helmet. (said with his eyes watering) He was mad cause someone told him they were going to eff his mom.” (they are almost full blown tears at this point as he sucks it all back in) “and, his mom (tears are back with anger in his eyes) died last year. That is just wrong”

In that moment his heart was not able to be contained. His love for a teammate, spilled out. He had been cheered that day, and didn’t bring it up. Just talked about a team mate who had been wronged. A team mate who wouldn’t be called his friend… but is now a brother.

The next time I hear a teacher tell me how selfish he is, I have this story.

So I cry.

I see the beauty in the brokenness.

One young man, stepping up to be the leader his mom told me he could be 3 years ago.

Another young man, being cheered maybe for the first time in his life. But wanting to talk about a team mate more!

I love my job.

I will now spend the rest of my week, focused on the acquisition of money, to keep this going. Keeping at the forefront of my mind, that God is faithful.

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Break

Sorry for not regularly updating this… I have a big fundraiser to get work done for… and so blogging is taking a back seat to working. see you the beginning of june!

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Do you wanna be a Rock Super Star!

Generic

That will be the theme of this post. Many will be referred to, none by name.

I have a confession..

I need to be a RockStar!

Not in the traditional sense mind you, but in the desperate to be recognised for what I am sense.

Now the kicker, I can not stand “Christian RockStars“. They drive me nuts. Yet, my struggle is that I think deep down, most people in some type of Christian Leadership have this innate desire to be recognized. And for those who don’t, there is usually a faction of those whom they serve, that wants them to be seen as a RockStar!

In my brief experience (only about 5 years) in Christian Leadership, I have come to see that this type of thinking is THE DEVIL!! (think church lady from SNL).

I noticed this phenomenon a few years back, when “Portly Homely American Pastor” wrote a book that took the world by storm… I had seen him at conferences before the explosion, and he looked… well he looked like a “Portly Homely American Pastor”. After the explosion, he had spikey hair, goatee and a nice suit, and looked like “Portly Homely Stylized American Pastor”. He looked so uncomfortable, but then he became the face of the American Church and his transformation seemed to make that possible.

Then there is “Portly Homely Long Haired Canadian Pastor”. I first heard of him when I was a teen. He was this long haired guy who challenged people to think differently. I heard he went through some tough times, but then a few years ago he popped up on my radar. He spoke where I used to work, and I began to track with his teaching a bit. Then BOOM he was everywhere. People I know wanted to scrap everything and become a branch of “his” ministry. With this happening a few years after “Portly Homely American” pastors explosion, and with my previous connection (we had met a bunch of times) I felt I could ask him how he felt about the “RockStarization” of himself!  below is my email (Green), and his response response (red) which came about 3 hours after mine was sent!!

I have been tracking with your teaching for a while (i saw you at church
at the john at mac in the mid 90’s and again at ###### a few summers
ago) I really enjoy it, and have been able to expose others to a new
perspective in their walk. (lame suck up intro, i know)

here is my query, how have you been able to deal with the
RockStarization of you in the pseudo “emerging/progressive
evangelical” movement. I ask this cause you seem like the kind of Guy
who would be really uncomfortable with that. And I have seen you
elevated to somewhere between Jesus and Paul, and again it seems like
this type of behavior would cause you to bang your head against a wall.
How have you been able to carry on with your mission, without letting
the machine become the message? (which I see is your heart) especially
when people seem bent on making you the message!

thanks for reading this… and don’t let the bastards get you down!

Peace,

Response

Thanks for writing.  It’s great to hear from someone who has been
tracking with our teaching for so long!

I don’t think I’m aware of any “rosckstarization” going on.  (Great word
by the way!)  I’m just involved in our church doing what I do – teaching
about Jesus – like I’ve always done.  I do get asked to speak different
places, and that is rewarding as well, but that has always been the
case.  If I’ve achieved the pastoral equivalent of rock star status then
I’m not aware of it and, besides, isn’t being “super pastor” just mean
you’re a super nerd in our culture?  Maybe that’s the secret for any
pastor – staying in touch with how our culture views pastors – as nerds.
:o)

I have a non-Christian friend who says, “Being a famous pastor is like
getting the award for the biggest penis in the small penis club.”  He
has a point.

As far as people making me the message, again I’m not sure if I’m aware
of that going on.  I just keep preaching Jesus.

Thanks again for writing James.

Here is what I learned from his response. Either he is full of crap, or he has insulated himself from what his position means. He has chosen to see himself not through the eyes of his adoring throng or critics, but through the eyes of the dispassionate uninvolved masses. He is a guy who does a thing, and who cares!

The final example comes from a good friend. He has been actively allowing God to shape his ministry for as long as we have been friends. His ability to connect with the people he serves takes on an interesting twist, because he is cripplingly shy. If he could have taught, and then run and hid from the masses until it was time to teach again. He would be happy. His ministry is not what pays the bills. His ministry is his passion.  Yet over the last year I have seen a change. A transition from wanting to lead the church into “stardom”, to impacting people in his “other” job, and letting his gifts grow and develop in a more holistic way. His teaching remains informative, grounded and insightful yet he has found a way to remove “himself” from it. I feel like his goals have changed, he no longer wants to be the RockStar (or the church to be), he wants people to engage in their faith and have it grow and develop personally. From that the “Church” will be transformed.

You see the desire to be a RockStar can come honestly. As God blesses what we are involved in, there will be recognition. It is up to us, to deflect that recognition, or become wrapped up in it.

Last night as I was thinking out the last of this post, I read this tweet from Jared Wilson “@jaredcwilson: Some of the “manliest” pastors are a bunch of Tinkerbells, thinking they’ll die if they don’t hear applause” and it hit me. Here is a published author, blogger, conference speaker and pastor who sees in his own circle of pastors this innate desire to be responded to.

That desire breaks down to one small problem, when that becomes our desire (or the desire of those who support and surround us) we then become the object of worship. In essence we become a big fat golden calf.

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Dad

I am a man.

I have a son.!

He’s one and a bit… (for “those” people, he will be 14 months on the 12th…i just say one and a bit)

Right now, the most important things in his world are as follows (not necessarily in order of priority);

  • a bawbaw (rough translation, GIVE ME LIQUID!)
  • veggie tales
  • Clementines
  • poop to not be on or around his bum
  • dry under parts
  • Mommy
  • pawpaw
  • woobie
  • the cow
  • his mouth not to hurt

And some times, on rare days… Dahdeee.

I have days when I don’t get to see him awake very much. Like 30 minutes in the morning, then nothing till the next day. Between Thursday morning and Saturday morning, I maybe get 45 minutes of awake Ti.

As you can imagine, being out of the house for 3 evenings a week minimum and rarely seeing him during the day,  means I am not the go to guy when my little guy needs some affection/attention.

As a new dad, this kills me.

We live in a world where the role of fathers is as important as ever. We live in a world of fatherless sons.

My choice of careers, well my calling, has been to help with that. To, in a small way, give kids who don’t have the role model they need, someone to fill that void.

What is painful about that, is I wonder will I be able to give that to MY son. Or will he be the kid who has a “dad” but no one “Fathering” him.

I run a small youth organization, coach football, own a business, am on some committees and  generally find most of my time occupied.

Father, husband, Awesome Man, those should be the things that lead off that list. Yet so often I find that my time is being filled with being more to others, than I am to my family.

Here is where you normally read how that isn’t true. So many people use spaces like this, to tell you how that have not fallen into that trap.

I won’t.

I can’t.

I suck at it. I really do. My lack of attention span means whatever is in front of me, becomes my focus. Which means under pressure I can get lots done. However, when not under pressure, nothing gets done. Which means I am under pressure lots!

Prime example. I forgot my wife’s first mothers day.

I know.

Oh, I know.

Yep. I am!

I did better this year, and will have to do better every year until Ti can start making her breakfast in bed. (here is your raisin peanut butter and oregano pancakes mommy!)

So if you know me… I want you to help me. I need more people to be better dads to their sons… and to other peoples sons… but never the second at the expense of the first! I will try, but hold me accountable

Please!

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Some Crap that fell out of my Head!

Isn’t that what blogging really is… Sure there are some that make a living off their blogs. In reality though, blogs are just the crap that falls out of your head.

So that is this post…

Mental diarrhea.

And now I will talk about church…  I segue better than Gob Bluth!

This  past Sunday I was tasked with introducing Communion, stepping out of my usual rotation of once every couple of months.  Communion for me has become something different than it was growing up, or even in my 20’s. I am starting to get why the ceremony and pageantry infiltrated its  what was in reality a meal.

Every time you do this, remember me!

Simple.

And yet, the remembering is what takes flower, water, salt, sugar, oil and yeast and makes it body. Takes grapes, and time, and makes them blood.  Now I am not going into a “Transubstantiation” discussion. I am talking about  close friends at a table.

And one says “guys, pretty soon I am going to be killed… don’t worry there is more… there will be Victory, and as a reminder, when you get together, remember me… cause I wont be eating like this with you again until you see what I have taught about, come to life.” (jimmy forde paraphrase)

Whamo, simple ingredients that most of us have in our kitchen, are now sacred. Their sacredness doesn’t come from what they do, or even what they become when combined. They become sacred when WE choose to remember!

So really its not the ingredients at all. It is us. It doesn’t matter if we are in the temple, a church, a house, or Goddards Flippen Burgers. The act of remembering Christ when we eat together, is Sacred.

A week ago Sunday we had friends over, we had pasta, salad (with a wide variety of Ranch dressings) wine (clear, and dark) and laughed and talked and shared life. We had community… we had communion. You see our connection exists because of Christ. Our shared acquaintances, and historical similarities are because of Him. Was our meal somber, no it was a celebration of new friendship. Was Christ honoured and remembered? Absolutely! A meal amongst friends becomes sacred.

Because of that remembering the simple act of Bread and Wine, has become a display of ceremonial pageantry… taking an act that is only sacred if the individual is in the correct spirit… and making the act itself sacred! And that is where my frustration has set in. A request among friends, a small act of remembrance, and now we have distorted its value. By assigning value to the wrong aspects, we have done the same thing the early church did… they had some rush in early and stuff themselves on this communal meal, even got drunk on the wine. They left none for others. In our churches today, we do the same thing. We have taken this very personal act of remembrance, and made it all about the form of how. Our pride and arrogance, has in essence made us drunk gluttons of Christ’s suffering.

Now for the irony. We are the ones who are warned. The ones who say they follow Christ, are the ones who need to check themselves. We need a right heart, it is Our condemnation we are eating… But like the early church, we have interpreted what has been said as applying to everyone else.

Take the opportunity to make as many meals as possible sacred. His body and blood are not a Sunday specific type thing to remember!

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