Wednesday, August 29, 2007



During the past week or so I think I've seen more of Toronto than I did in an average month at York last year. It has certainly been interesting.

On Thursday a group of us ate at Big Fat Burrito downtown in Kensington Market. As a result my yam prejudice has decreased markedly. After that we went to the Bier Markt, where over 100 beers are sold on tap or in bottles. When you can get so many good foreign beers it's a wonder anyone drinks filth like Lakeport or Moosehead.

Speaking of beer, Nick took me to the LCBO, which is the government's idea of reducing alcohol consumption: this is done by licensing huge shops every few blocks that are filled with cheap, untaxed alcohol. With stringent measures like this, it's no wonder that drunken antics are down 18% since 2003.

My SUV prejudice has also decreased markedly. To think that I used to scoff at people with DVD players in the back of their cars. Until I'd cruised the highways stretched out in the back of a Ford Exploder watching the Simpsons I was ignorant of the wonders of in-car TV.

On Sunday it was great to get back to GFC for the first time in over a year. I'd also arrived just in time for Paul's reprise of the Romans sermon series I caught some of last year. It's good to be reminded that "you're not a sinner because you sin, you sin because you're a sinner". It'll be even better to be reminded of Christ's advocacy for us this Sunday! In the afternoon a group of us were evangelising in the local neighbourhood and ran across some Somali Muslims. In a step up from the last time Nick and I tried this together, our lives were not threatened... but it was extremely hard to make any progress.

On Monday I finally left Nick and his family in peace and moved to amac's place in Scarborough. Yesterday we spent 8 hours at Starbucks with Silas reading the Gospels and made it through Matthew, Mark, John and 2/3rds of Luke. I'd never done anything like this before and several themes came through:

  • lots of parables, Jesus' wisdom really shines through
  • allusion to many OT passages and prophecies with some repeated, ie. "I desire mercy, not sacrifice"
  • Jesus' death and resurrection are squashed in at the end of the book in only 2 chapters; the only thing he says after his resurrection is the Great Commission

  • punchy, short, straight to the point
  • interspersion of teaching and miracles
  • events not in the same order as other Gospels

  • for some reason the chapters are much longer than in other books
  • lots of parables and teaching

  • focused on Jesus' identity as the Son of God
  • much more philosophical in style than the Synoptic Gospels
  • begins and ends in a slightly obtuse fashion
  • uses characters repeatedly: several people are introduced, not mentioned for several chapters and then brought back as a key part of the plot (eg. Malchus, Nicodemus)
All the Gospels:
  • a recurring focus on John the Baptist and his identity. Was he Elijah in the flesh? Was he the spirit of Elijah? Was he the last of the prophets, preceding as he does the Messiah?
Last night a group of us went up to YorkU to put up posters for the new school year. It was strange to go back to my alma mater, the student centre and several familiar buildings but then drive home afterwards.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back in town


It is pretty weird to come back here to Toronto after 18 months away. When Josh and Nick picked me up on Wednesday night it felt like no time had passed since I'd left. Since then I've been staying at Nick's house but have seen lots of people from church and YorkU already.

Yesterday Nick and I went to the Pacific Mall, which is the heart of Toronto's suburban Chinatown. It's a massive place but it seemed to be full of places to buy green tea, big swords and illegal DVDs. We could have bought the Bourne Ultimatum for $5, less than a week after it came out in the cinema! Now that's Oriental efficiency for you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Last week a group of us from Carey were at the first Cheltenham Bible Festival, held at the town's racecourse. It was a great week, helped by unseasonably sunny weather (well, seasonal weather for any year but this one!), great fellowship and fun times with friends - and of course the inestimable Don Carson. Not that I'm idolising a Christian over Christ, but he is a clever chap and manages to get away with preaching for over an hour with 40 minutes of introduction! I'm hoping to get hold of MP3s of the messages he and others preached as I didn't take notes during the festival. Phatfish and Stuart Townend were also there and made a God-exalting noise in the arena.

On the whole, the festival was very well organised and apart from the lack of a bar or café to chill out in was pretty much ideal. Roll on 2008 with Piper!