Sunday, April 30, 2006

Driving in America

Stanford University, California

Well, here it is - the post you've all been waiting for. I've returned the rental car and made it back to San Francisco after 8 days of driving all over the place. Here are some vital statistics:

Total mileage: 1794 miles
Average mileage: 225 miles per day
Gas used: 60 gallons
Price of gas: $3.15/gallon
Cost of gas: $200
Cost per mile: 9c (5p)
Miles per gallon: 30

As you can see, I wasn't hanging around. The car I rented was a Chevy Malibu, a 5-door hatch with all sorts of cool features. It had a 3.5l, 200bhp engine - when you put your foot down, it GOES; automatic gearbox, cruise control, remote entry, remote engine start (!), air-con, CD player and genuine fun. Having never driven on the right before or an automatic, it was a bit of a culture shock to get used to: a good job then that I only rented it in downtown San Francisco during Friday morning rush hour... for the first 10 minutes I just stayed in my lane with very little idea of where the corners of the car were!

It was surprisingly easy, actually, to get used to the car and the driving. American drivers are pretty docile and law-abiding, although they have an annoying lack of observation to see that they're sitting in your blind spot on the freeway.

So where did I go? Well, from San Francisco I hit the 101 south to Monterrey, and picked up route 1 - the Pacific Coast Highway - from there most of the way to Los Angeles. That was the most fun I'd ever had driving - empty roads, twisty yet well-built and awesome scenery. It took me 11 hours to get to LA and I was pretty knackered by the time I got there, 500 miles on the clock.

In LA I had a pretty easy time with the infamous freeways: I didn't get stuck in any major jams and found it quite easy to navigate around the city. I even found a roundabout to drive around at Venice Beach! I put on another 150 or so just driving around one part of the city, which gives you an indication of just how big it is...

On Monday, as I've already blogged, I left LA and drove up to the Sierra Nevada mountains for a few days. Leaving LA on Interstate 5, the road had to climb over the mountains surrounding LA, and reached over 4000ft! Surely that's pretty high for a freeway, I thought. For one section the carriageways actually crossed over while passing through a valley, presumably because they built one originally and then when they widened the road it was easier to use the other half of the valley to build on.

The Sierras were just fantastic fun to drive in. There was so little traffic I wondered whether something was wrong! Driving up to Sequoia NP the road is wide at first and with lots of high-speed curves, but inside the NP it gets narrrow and very twisty, climbing to over 6000ft. Unfortunately, my fuel gauge light came on as I was driving up, so I had to turn around once I reached the main forest and drive back. Nursing the car down the hill in "L" (mainly in first gear) I only touched the throttle about four times in 20 miles before reaching a beautiful gas station. I don't know exactly how much further I could have driven, but when I turned the ignition on again after filling up, the engine didn't start right away. Could the spluttering be because it was right out of fuel and had to bring the new stuff straight in? Who knows - either way, I was very fortunate to not run out of fuel.

After a night in a Motel 6 (getting into John Urry's auto-culture with its supporting industries...) in the city of Fresno, I headed up into the mountains again to King's Canyon NP and then to Yosemite NP. As I wrote earlier, those were both spectacular (and so they should be for $20 each!) and the driving was once again a lot of fun. Cruise control really comes into its own when you have a lot of miles to cover and no traffic to regulate your speed.

I never got around to buying a map of California, instead relying on Alamo's rather small-scale attempt that didn't always make the grade. Yesterday afternoon, killing time before returning to San Francisco, I drove around the Napa and Sonoma regions which are very hilly. I ended up driving round in a circle for about an hour and finishing where I started! D'oh. I got the car back to the garage - via the Golden Gate Bridge [$5 toll!] and twisty Lombard Street - 2 minutes before the stated time. Poifect. Overall it was a great week and although it cost quite a lot of money, it was worth it.

Driving? It's so hot right now. Driving,


Ski rental? $16

Lift ticket? $52

Practicing carving turns while your friends are writing essays? Priceless.

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's exchange programs.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Lake Tahoe, California
It's official: I love California. Over the weekend in LA I was puzzling over what to do this week with a rental car, cheap fuel and unlimited mileage. The obvious answer is "drive a lot!" but the question was where - do I go to Las Vegas? The Grand Canyon? Hoover Dam? Mammoth Mountain? Well, I've ended up driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains in eastern California. Since leaving LA on Monday, I made it to Sequoia and King's Canyon national parks on Monday and Tuesday, Yosemite on Tuesday afternoon and now Lake Tahoe, further north in the same range. The scenery is (and I don't use this word very often) AWESOME.

Image Hosted by

Quite literally actually - when coupled with some hymns on the stereo. What an amazing God we serve, who we can worship by combining engineering (sweet car, twisty roads) with creation (mountains, forests, lakes, fields, birds). Several times on my journey up I actually broke out in a huge grin; one such time was during this verse:

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

Tomorrow I hope to go skiing around Lake Tahoe - the season ends this week - and then on Friday return to San Francisco the long way round, and then spend the weekend with Aimee and Lauren at Stanford, who I met in Poland last year.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Are you a good person?

Los Angeles

Well, here I am in the City of Angels, although the population (and the driving) could hardly be described as angelic*. I'm only here over the weekend, staying with friends of a friend, as I've developed quite a knack of doing.

I arrived here on Friday night after an all-day journey down from San Francisco*. When I arrived there was a Bible study going on at the Dandurands' house, so I was able to sit in - the subject was developing grace and humility in our daily lives. Good stuff, I reckon.

On Saturday - after sleeping in a little - I took off for a day as a tourist (also something I've developed a knack of doing!) and drove first over the Santa Monica mountains to Malibu, then along the coast to Santa Monica and Venice beach. Venice, you might recall, is a place populated by a lot of weirdos. I saw a short man with no legs and one arm listening to a walkman and pushing himself along on a tiny trolley. I also saw a hippie on rollerblades playing the electric guitar and having a good time, man.

One strange thing I saw at first was a group of three men huddled together with their eyes closed. "They look like they're praying" I thought, but walked on. A little later on, a man walking the other way held out a piece of paper to me and said "would you like a million dollars?" He had some $1,000,000 bills that he was giving out. "Actually" I replied, "I have a whole stack of those at home - but they're Canadian!" It turns out that a group of 50 people - 10 of whom were at Venice - were on a Way of the Master 'bootcamp' to learn how to evangelise!

Some guys were on a soapbox asking passers-by if they considered themselves good, with the promise of $20 if they passed. Needless to say, nobody did, as the criteria we use for goodness can be summarised in the 10 Commandments.

After listening to them and talking with a couple of the guys - it seems that Ray, Todd and Kirk weren't at Venice - I went back to the car and drove on: first through downtown LA and then west on the 101 to Hollywood. After some to-ing and fro-ing, I found a street heading straight up towards the Hollywood sign. There was a warning diamond saying "NO ACCESS TO HOLLYWOOD SIGN" which told me I was on the right track to get to the Hollywood Sign! I drove up the street as far as it would go, then parked the car at the top and hit the dirt trail heading up-hill.

It was a nice evening (past 6pm by now) and surprisingly quiet for Los Angeles. The trail eventually hit a tarmac road, and I followed it one way - which was wrong - and then headed back the other way, which although looked to be the wrong direction, curved around the hill, crested the mountain (giving a view of the north valley instead of LA) and eventually reached the top: a radio mast on Mt Lee.

When I got to the top, I realised that unfortunately I'd overshot the Hollywood Sign! I was standing 100ft above it, and there was a fence blocking access. But what's this? A gap under the fence where others have gone before? Some ropes hammered into the slope leading down to the sign?

Yes, that's right. When I shimmied my way down to the sign itself, I saw on the back of 'H' a small notice saying "NO TRESPASSING OR LOITERING" which was a little late as I'd already gone under the fence! What can I say - I'm a bad person, but remember that the Bible addresses this issue. When I did reach the sign itself a loud beeping suddenly started - I noticed the motion sensor, the tannoy and the CCTV camera, took a quick photo and left!

Today (Sunday) I had the opportunity to go to Grace Community Church and hear John MacArthur preach twice! In the morning he was talking about the rich man and Lazarus, and how a lot of people who don't expect it will end up in Hell; not Heaven as they expected. Straight after that service there was a student ministry where the pastor spent 40 minutes introducing the sermon for the next few weeks on valuing the Bible highly. In the evening, John was preaching again, and on (controversial!) the idolatry of Mary worship in the Catholic church. Lots to think about, for sure... in any case, I'm incredibly fortunate to be saved by God's grace and even more fortunate to be able to travel around like this!

* I'll write a blog on driving sometime later this week. Suffice to say, it's fun.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New York experiences

Los Angeles

It's high time that I wrote a blog on New York, seeing as I left there two days ago. When I last wrote, I had just arrived in the East Village with its ghetto hostels and different shops and restauarants. I spent basically the whole time I was in New York walking around the city, and mostly in Manhattan.

This was my third trip to New York, so there were some activities and sights I didn't need to do - the Empire State building, the Staten Island ferry and so on. I think that after this visit I'm pretty much done with NYC for a while - it is very big and diverse, but the diversity is quite similar (if you see what I mean). Nonetheless, here are a few things I did see and enjoy:

On Tuesday, I had intended to walk south from 14th street to the bottom of Manhattan at Battery Park. Instead, I ended up walking north and west, past Union Square, the Flatiron Building, some government housing and to the Hudson River at Midtown. It's easy to forget in the bustle of Manhattan that there are over 7 million people living just on that one small island. They don't just live up north either - down the west side of the island there are lots of apartment blocks (not all mega-tall) and even three blocks west of Times Square there are 4-storey houses turned into restaurants and apartments. The human side of New York, if you will.

I had a glimpse of how the other half lives when I walked uptown past Central Park to the Upper East side on Wednesday evening. Strolling down Park Avenue with its immaculate flowerbeds in the centre of the road, condos with uniformed doormen outside and money growing on every tree was a somewhat different experience to 5 miles due south of there in the Lower East side. The other, other half eats at hot dog joints and KFC, where a notice says "Nutrition available on request". How true is that!

The weather was great while I was in New York - the sun was out and I had to respond and buy some flip-flops and shorts, which I had no need of in Toronto... the clear skies also made for great sunsets. After walking over the Manhattan Bridge at 6pm, I was perfectly placed to see the skyline silhouetted as the sun went down over the harbour. Very romantic...

As I said earlier, I spent nearly all my time in Manhattan. As I had plenty of time to catch my flight on Thursday, I left the hostel and took the subway to a stop in deepest Brooklyn and then a local bus to the airport. Just like last time, I was able to play "spot the Caucasian" and I still got to the airport ahead of time.

So, one city down, several more to go. Watch this (cyber)space!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Checking in

Long Beach, California

This is a slightly different transit experience to the last time I had to change planes, on January 2nd. On that occasion I landed at Newark airport near New York with 80 minutes between flights. I had to go through US customs, pick up my baggage, carry it to the recheck point, find the check-in desks, check-in, go through US customs again, and find the gate. Needless to say, I didn’t make it! Here I am in Long Beach airport, one of jetBlue’s hubs. JetBlue is a low-cost airline but with some frills, like seat-back TV and some free food. They’re onto something with this Long Beach lark – the terminal building is about 20m end to end, and from deplaning to sitting here at the gate for my next flight took literally two minutes!

My next flight leaves in 10 minutes, but I thought I'd take advantage of some free wireless internet and let you know I'm still here! I should have some more internet time over the weekend, and I'll update you on New York, San Francisco and LA. Jackpot.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Small world, Big Apple

New York City

New York is a shock to the senses, and always so much bigger, busier and edgier than I imagined. My train got in to Penn Station soon after 10pm, and once I figured out which subway to take (not a problem in Toronto!) there wasn’t much of a wait for a train. Some of the lines are seriously ghetto – graffiti-scratched windows, wannabe gangsters, real gangsters, general lack of maintenance and so on. The hostel I'm staying in is a bit ghetto as well - it's in the East Village which is quite a nice neighbourhood (at 14th and 2nd) but it's certainly solved my oversleeping problem: it turns out that all I needed to do was sleep on a plastic mattress in a small room with 7 other people! Simple solution to a simple problem.

On the subway to the hostel I noticed three people - a gay black man who was talking congenially to the guy next to him; and a couple wearing Sheffield uni hoodies. When they got on I thought to myself "I bet they're going to my hostel." I was right - not only that but they're in my room! After that it didn't surprise me to see the gay black man at the hostel front desk. He's not in my room though.

This blog post is brought to you by Starbucks at 9th and 2nd, in association with T-Mobile wireless hot spots. I wish it could be brought to you by Orange Mocha Frappucino - but they don't do them. It's time to hit the town - bye for now!

End of an era

It’s pretty hard to believe that my time at York is over. Every term at university has gone faster than the one before, and I knew that four months wasn’t a long time – but come on! It really feels like about two weeks ago that I had a 24-hour odyssey from Gatwick to Pearson, via Newark. Was it really three and a half months ago that I met the guys on my corridor? Bumped into Patrick, a friend from home who I didn’t know was coming? Went to my first C4C meeting and met Steve, Andrea, Andrew, Jessie, Josh, Danielle, Ryan, Matt…?

I guess it must have been. The term has been broken up into several pieces though, which made it seem quicker. First of all I had to revise for my exams at the end of January. Then I was looking forward to reading week in mid-February. Then it was only six weeks until the end of classes. Then I had exams to revise for again. Then I had five days left!

Overall, it’s been a fantastic term, probably my best yet. Meeting a whole new group of friends has been great – in Founders, in classes, at church and at C4C. It feels almost strange to know so many people from one city and I definitely have to come back and visit in a year or two – or wait for people to start visiting me :)

Leaving do

en route to New York City
Good afternoon. It’s about 1pm and I’m on a train from Toronto to New York. This post heralds the further metamorphosis of this blog from social life calendar, to multiculturalism monitor, to Christian cynicism to travel! I like travel, and I’m going to be in the USA for the next five weeks or so, visiting places and seeing friends. I’ll try and update the blog every few days with my usual witty perceptions and fascinating anecdotes. Well, I’ll try and update the blog every few days anyway.

What a weekend! I don’t think I had a moment to stop – certainly not to blog – for all of Saturday and Sunday. Following my excursion downtown with Ryan on Thursday, Andrew Mackenzie (my Bible study leader and “key student leader” of Campus 4 Christ at York) picked me up on Saturday morning. He doesn’t, unfortunately, drive a convertible, even though he’s a Pentecostal.

We left the car at Downsview subway station and went to Chinatown first. I went to Chinatown two Saturdays previously just to have a look round, but armed with the recommendations of various Chinese friends of AMac, we joined the crowds at King Noodle House on Spadina/Dundas. My chopstick skills aren’t all that bad – at least I don’t think so! – but there were furtive points and giggles at my expense from the table next-door. Whatever. Whose idea was it to eat a meal with two sticks anyway?

Suitably full from our massive bowls of broth with noodles, duck legs and beef flank or wonton noodles, we hit the TTC again for Castle Frank station, just east of downtown. Ours was a purpose-driven day trip, although Andrew hadn’t told me what or where this would be played out.

(The night before I’d had dinner with Matt Hughes (as mentioned previously) and he smiled when I told him about this mysterious trip. “Let me give you a clue” he said. “There will be flowers there”. My first reply was “Am I going to a graveyard?” and he replied “how interesting that that’s the first thing you think of.” Maybe I’m morbid.)

After we turned the street corner near Castle Frank, Andrew said to me “so we’re going to a graveyard,” which made me laugh at Matt’s clue from the night before. We spent an hour or so there, first wandering around and then reflecting on what in our lives is eternal, and what is eternally useless. Andrew is wholly committed to the Great Commission, and we chatted for quite a while about world mission.

To wind down after all that, it was nice to explore a little more, and we walked back downtown through a farily “eccentric” neighbourhood with some “eccentric” people. Eventually we reached the Eaton Centre where Lydia came to meet us. Andrew wanted her advice on choosing a U2 CD… no comment. I also picked up some old-school postcards in a souvenir shop – the CN Tower under construction and York University looking even worse than it does today.

Well, by this time it was getting on a bit and I wanted to get packed on Saturday. At Downsview, Andrew asked me “do you want to drive?”, jokingly. Then I said “well… actually…” so off I went. I did a few circuits of the parking lot then we hit the streets. I didn’t hit anything which is a good sign for California next week when I’ll hire a car!

So I finally got home and started packing. Even though I didn’t bring all that much stuff, it was taking me ages. Hye-min and Dan next door invited me in for a beer, and we chilled for a while. Then I did half an hour more packing and Bai, Jenny, Shafat and the other Dan said “Chris! Let’s party!” An offer I couldn’t refuse… I had another three beers with them and flopped into bed (after I’d cleared all the junk off it) at 2am.

The phone rang at 8.30. I’d asked Josh to ring me because my alarm clock doesn’t cut the mustard any more in waking me up. Church was fantastic – Paul preached a wowser of a sermon on how Jesus is the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. We too often separate the OT and NT as if they’re completely different books, whereas the NT is the fulfilment and continuation of the OT. Lunch at the Robinsons was also a wowser, as usual J

I made it back to York at around 7pm to basically start the real packing. It took longer than I expected (which always happens, so I should really expect it) and I said my goodbyes and left just before 10. Being pretty tired from the night before and three hours of frenetic packing, I went to bed straightaway at the Roughs’ house. A good job too! My train from Union left at 8.30, so Hugh and I got up at 6, scarfed some breakfast and he dropped me at Don Mills station at 7, in time to get the subway downtown. Maybe I’ve been away too long, but I doubt that I’d get a seat on a London Tube train at 7am on Monday!

It’s now 6pm and the train is somewhere between Syracuse and Albany, NY. Time goes pretty fast when you’re on a long train ride: I’ve listened to three hours of Way of the Master Radio, my home church’s Good Friday sermon, last week’s GFC sermon which I missed in favour of some migraine-healing action; I’ve also organised the pictures on my laptop, read a bit, and looked out of the window at the rather uninspiring scenery, sad to say. There are some hills in the distance now, but earlier on everything was flat industrial or farmland. And of course we sat in a siding in Niagara for two hours for customs checks…

A 1000 word blog entry! Maybe this train journey is too long after all.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


I just had dinner with Matt Hughes, a fellow YorkU on-campus resident and C4C member. He went to Christian Centre Church this morning (where I went last Sunday) and told me that they had an official update on the result of Tom Scarrella's ministry at the church last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I hope you're ready for this. It's an incredible figure, not at all what I was expecting.

One person was "healed of a migraine". And of course there was-- no, that's it. One person. "Healed" of a migraine. In other news, sales of Tylenol were reported in the Jane/Shoreham area on Monday afternoon.

Matt said he had trouble keeping a straight face when he told me. I joined in his enthusiasm. I mean, if you're going to misquote the Bible and hype people into giving you money, you could at least actually heal them! What a CHARLATAN! Maybe he should go to medical school.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I'm still a little in shock that my time in Canada is basically at an end. I always knew that this was a short exchange, and how quickly uni terms go etc. etc. but I don't think I anticipated having such a great time over here. Now that I've been here for over 3 months, I thought I'd make a stab at a blog about the city where I (apparently) live.

I say "(apparently)" because, to be honest, YorkU isn't the best located university. As the crow flies, it's 10 miles from the Keele campus where I live and study to the downtown core. By car it takes about 40 minutes in clear traffic, and using the TTC nearer to an hour. On the relatively few occasions that I have been downtown, I've enjoyed it - not least because it presents a stark contrast to the incredibly low-density development around York.

Yesterday, Ryan Lawrence and I took a trip downtown. He lives in Scarborough, and borrowed his parents' convertible to show me around, which was very cool. We saw the delights of the DVP (with good traffic), headed across town on the Gardiner, then drove back around downtown a little. Ryan found a place to park - for only $5 - and we grabbed dinner at the "Old Spaghetti Factory", a kind of 1930s TGI Fridays - 1930s in the junk on the walls, not the type of food! It was starting to get a little dark by the time we made it to the CN Tower: thankfully there was virtually no queue to get in, which I imagine is pretty unusual... Ryan hadn't been up for about 10 years so he enjoyed it too, even as a local. Well, I'm sort of a local now ;)

I took plenty of pictures, as you would guess, and put them on facebook here. Some of them are a little touched-up, because taking pictures in the dark through smeary glass isn't too easy! And there was evening, and there was morning, the fourth-to-last day.

Today is Good Friday! I had a lift to church with the Twins, Carl and Josh - it's a tradition for GFC to meet at a church out in Burlington (45 mins west) on Good Friday. How does a 5 year old church get so many traditions? Must be a Baptist thing. Anyway, it was a fantastic service. The lead-up took nearly an hour when we sang and listened to a lot of excellent hymns. The sermon though was - amazing! I really hope it makes its way online soon, because I'd love to listen to it again. The preacher was a Caribbean guy called Dr. Glendon Thompson who is a seminary teacher. You can tell what a great preacher he is easily:

  • knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Latin
  • pronouncing "Isaiah" and "wrath" with British vowels not American ones

Josh promised to blog on the sermon itself, and as I cannot explain it, I shall merely preach that his blog is here. I have to get down to some packing now, although I might go out later. 48 hours left at York!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Summer holiday

That's it! I've finished for the summer. What a very strange feeling to go from extremely busy and stressed to extremely quiet and relaxed in the space of a few minutes.

I have a few blog entries that I've not got round to writing, which I will do over the next few days. Apart from that, I hope to be out more than in - having spent 95% of the last 3 months on YorkU campus, I'd like to make sure I see the city before I leave.

I am leaving next Monday morning (the 17th) for New York, and thence to California, and back to Toronto via the Midwest. I'll be in the US for 5 weeks or so, and only in Toronto for a weekend before I go home on the 22nd May. So you can understand why I need to 'do' Toronto soon.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Take that

I finished my take-home exam last night for my postcolonial geography class - the one I've been moaning about! One of the questions was just begging for trouble!

Considering the evolution of Geography as a discipline, explain to what extent “knowledge produced in the West is political… to dominate others culturally, intellectually, morally and politically”.

I didn't exactly sock it to the professor, but I think I gave her something to chew on for a while. I won't post the essay, but the reference list should give you an idea of the OWN-age quotient.

Bassett, T.J. (1994) Cartography and empire-building in 19th century West Africa, The Geographical Review, 84, pp. 316-335
Brathwaite, E.K. Nation Language {from the TRC}
Carey, W. (1792) An Enquiry Into The Obligations Of Christians To Use Means For The Conversion Of The Heathens, republished by Kessinger Publishing: Whitefish, Montana (2004)
Fanon, F. (1967) Black Skin, White Masks, Grove Press: New York
Fanon, F. National Culture {from the TRC}
Johnstone, P. & Mandryk, J. (2005) Operation World, WEC Research International: Gerrard’s Cross, UK
Kipling, R. (1899) The White Man’s Burden {shown in class}
Matthew 28:19, The Bible (New International Version), Hodder & Stoughton: London
Ordnance Survey (2006) From one revolution to another [online] Available at: [accessed 9th April 2006]
Pattison, W. (1963) The Four Traditions of Geography [online] Available at: [accessed 9th April 2006]
Spurgeon, C.H. (1887) The Soul Winner, republished by Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Michigan (1963)
Young, R. (2003) Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press: Oxford

Now I just have to keep my head down until tomorrow at 9pm when I will be free!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Brief distraction

I am working, honest. But I found this cool test (well, if you're a Christian) via... somewhere. Sometimes Blogville is too big to remember full citations!

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Reformed Evangelical




Neo orthodox






Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with

Interesting that I rate at 39% Charismatic/Pentecostal. This morning I overslept :( and missed my lift to GFC. I did, however, wake up just in time to get to Christian Centre Church, where a gentleman by the name of Tom Scarrella was, er, ministering. I was going to say "preaching", but apart from turning up a few verses from Micah and Acts to talk about God blessing a remnant, he was WAY off track. I was very disappointed that he used Paul's words to the Corinthians - "we did not come to you with wise or persuasive words, but with the power of the Spirit" or similar - to justify his healing ministry.

Ironically, his ministry offering was based on some pretty wise and persuasive words, from Genesis where Isaac is told to sow in a famine. "Sow into my ministry and God will prosper you! If you doubt me, just look at my tailored suit and Rolex!" His healing ministry was pretty sketchy too. I love it when people are healed, but as I was sitting in the front row, and stretched my hands to heaven and closed my eyes as commanded it was easy to feel the emotional power when someone is speaking and then suddenly SHOUTS or speaks in a tongue. I'd be interested to find out how many of the 50 people with shoulder problems who lined up at the front were healed.

Anyway, it was a "prophetic day". 100 years since the Azusa Street revival and Palm Sunday. What a combination! On a happier note, next Sunday is Easter Sunday - at GFC hopefully, and the Sunday after I should get some meaty MacArthur teaching in LA.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Work in progress

One down, two to go.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Well, this is fun. Great weekend is followed by not-so-great week.

So far this week I've done about 20 minutes of work. Not so bad, you might think, but bear in mind that next week I have:

  • six pages of essay to write for Monday, which I've only just started reading for;
  • a two hour historical geography exam on Tuesday evening, which I haven't started revising for;
  • a "take-home exam" (ie. essay) to write for Wednesday for my postcolonial geography course. I haven't decided whether to play by the rules, or to spice it up a bit and reveal the prof's inherent biases, even though she will be marking it.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Welcome to April

As we're now a few days into the month, you can rest assured that I won't be pulling any April Fool jokes on you. That's not because I'm so inherently kind-hearted and genuine that I couldn't countenance misleading anyone; I just couldn't think of anything funny enough. I thought about pretending I was stopping blogging, but Challies already pulled that - and was a lot more believable!

Anyway, apart from pondering my blog, I had a great weekend. After a several week hiatus, I made it downtown twice on Saturday. Being at York gets a little tiresome after a while, and it's nice to have a break, whether that's getting out of town altogether or getting out of the vomit of suburbia that YorkU sits in.

In the afternoon I headed down into the city, got off the subway at Spadina, hopped on a streetcar heading south down Spadina (that stops underground - very bizarre to see an underground tram!) and then started walking. My Lonely Planet: Toronto got some use as I wandered down to Chinatown at around Spadina/Dundas. Chinatowns in North America are an odd beast: the city structure is still Canadian (wide streets, blocks, traffic etc.) but all of the street signs, shopfronts, and people change to being Chinese (and Vietnamese in this case). The type of shop also changes to one of three things:

  • barber shop offering ludicrously cheap haircuts: $4 for a men's haircut? I don't think so;
  • music shop with speakers out on the street playing Chinese pop music, and offering 17 DVDs for $20 - the only caveat being that they're not really DVDs and you've never heard of them before;
  • fruit and vegetable market - where you've also never heard of any of the products on offer before

Hey, I don't mind. The very different shops that are there are presumably why there's a demand for a Chinatown in all these cities. When I eventually go to China, I'll have to see if there's a Canadian district in Nanjing or Tianjin with a Timmy's on the corner, a Second Cup halfway along the block, and a Presbytarian church at the other end.

From Chinatown, it's a seamless transition into Kensington Market, which is more bohemian and has lots of random second-hand shops. It's also all on narrow streets, which are crammed with traffic. I'm not sure why people feel the need to drive to this area, and then try and parallel park their Chevy Escalade, Dodge Ram or Ford Tsumani (OK, I made that one up) on the street. It's pretty obvious that most drivers don't park on narrow streets too often... Nonetheless, a fun district.

I kept walking from Kensington west along College St. and got to Little Italy eventually. Apart from street signs saying "Little Italy" on them, you'd be hard pressed to know that it was actually an Italian district. OK, there was a Vespa showroom, and a few pizza restaurants, but that was about it. I was in a walking mood and kept on walking. Northwest from Little Italy I found a nice old suburban neighbourhood where every house had a few bikes parked outside, and children happily frolicked on the lawns. This, I thought, is a place in Toronto I could envisage living in! So watch this space in a few year's time. After that area the streets got a bit more ghetto. I popped into Coffee Time and shared the place with one guy who was drunk off his face and another so high on drugs that he practically collapsed, unable to move. Fun! This was near the Bloor/Dufferin subway station, so I came home from there. All in all, a fun afternoon, and something a little different from York Lanes.