The weblog of Darren Friesen

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Landmark Dresden Church Completes Rise From the Ashes

Landmark Dresden Church Completes Rise From the Ashes | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 29.10.2005

This is a remarkable story of a cathedral that was consecrated today after being rebuilt. It was destroyed in an air raid in 1945.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You can download mp3's of Bono's Rolling Stone interview here. They come in sctions, and the first one is available. Enjoy.

The Gospel According to Anne - Newsweek Entertainment -

A very interesting article on Anne Rice, vampire writer. Seems she's found a new calling.

Excerpt from Rolling Stone Cover Story - Nov. 3 Issue

What is your religious belief today? What is your concept of God?

If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.

How does it make sense?

As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It's so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian. Although I don't use the label, because it is so very hard to live up to. I feel like I'm the worst example of it, so I just kinda keep my mouth shut.

Do you pray or have any religious practices?

I try to take time out of every day, in prayer and meditation. I feel as at home in a Catholic cathedral as in a revival tent. I also have enormous respect for my friends who are atheists, most of whom are, and the courage it takes not to believe.

How big an influence is the Bible on your songwriting? How much do you draw on its imagery, its ideas?

It sustains me.

As a belief, or as a literary thing?

As a belief. These are hard subjects to talk about because you can sound like such a dickhead. I'm the sort of character who's got to have an anchor. I want to be around immovable objects. I want to build my house on a rock, because even if the waters are not high around the house, I'm going to bring back a storm. I have that in me. So it's sort of underpinning for me.

I don't read it as a historical book. I don't read it as, "Well, that's good advice." I let it speak to me in other ways. They call it the rhema. It's a hard word to translate from Greek, but it sort of means it changes in the moment you're in. It seems to do that for me.

You're saying it's a living thing?

It's a plumb line for me. In the Scriptures, it is self-described as a clear pool that you can see yourself in, to see where you're at, if you're still enough. I'm writing a poem at the moment called "The Pilgrim and His Lack of Progress." I'm not sure I'm the best advertisement for this stuff.

What do you think of the evangelical movement that we see in the United States now?

I'm wary of faith outside of actions. I'm wary of religiosity that ignores the wider world. In 2001, only seven percent of evangelicals polled felt it incumbent upon themselves to respond to the AIDS emergency. This appalled me. I asked for meetings with as many church leaders as would have them with me. I used my background in the Scriptures to speak to them about the so-called leprosy of our age and how I felt Christ would respond to it. And they had better get to it quickly, or they would be very much on the other side of what God was doing in the world.

Amazingly, they did respond. I couldn't believe it. It almost ruined it for me -- 'cause I love giving out about the church and Christianity. But they actually came through: Jesse Helms, you know, publicly repents for the way he thinks about AIDS.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thoughts on Dennis Miller

I'm watching a stand-up comedy show with Dennis Miller. I like him for a couple of reasons.
1. He's Smart...smarter than me. I try and keep up with him, and succeed about 43% of the time.
2. He makes me nervous. Because of #1, i think there's truth to what he says, and he doesn't hold back. I don't agree with quite a bit of what he says, and his irreverence makes me cringe sometimes, but he makes me think; gives me a different point of view with intelligence and dark humour. (I think that's the only way I can take it sometimes.)

I used to let the nervousness get the best of me, and I would turn the channel when that sort of thing came on TV, but no more. I need to listen, to not stick my head i the sand and be scared. I am scared too much of the time. So I start with Dennis, and hopefully move on from there.

By the way, I would have linked to Miller's site, but it is WAY out of date.

Tough, true words from Scott Williams

many pastors believe, down deep, that they are the first among equals.

it's a subtle, subconscious thing. we preach our entire lives about how we are one, how we are all equal in god's sight, though down deep we feel 'called'. we understand that people notice us. at pastor's conferences we joke about how pastors used to be powerful - and secretly yearn for the days when our words were taken more seriously. outwardly we truly believe that we are only one part of the body, though inwardly we know better.

you are sheep. sheep need to be told what to think. you never seem to get so much of what we are trying to tell you. we are higher on maslow's pyramid than you are. week after week we leave frustrated that so many of the congregation is not growing, is not learning, is content to bleat. at minister's retreats we strategize how to motivate you lazy people. we complain and gossip about your shortcomings. we bemoan how hard it is to equip you to "do the work of ministry".

i was wrong but not completely guilty. i was put on a pedestal and though i knew better i let it happen. i wore my humility like a crown and by pointing out how i was one of you, i showed how i was not.

I worked in churches for ten years. I am still in a "ministry type" position. I deal with this in my own heart all the time, and I've seen it in others. The church likes people who seem to know what they're talking about, and there are those of us who are more than glad to fill the position. Sad co-dependancy at it's most religious. If we are all the same from God's view, then we all need to start acting like it, and that starts with the religious leaders, perhaps the pharisees of the day, in this case.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Great Huskie Game

Tonight my son Dylan and I went to see the UofS men's basketball team play the U of Alberta Golden Bears. They were down by 15 at the half, but came back for a grat two-point win. The boy was impressed.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Life in a Northern Town

Remember that song? (Brian the Mennonite, if you're reading this, I know you remember it. I don't have your email. Write me.) It was a one-hit wonder for some band whose name I can't remember, but I loved that song. There was a dream quality about it. In fact, I think the name of the band was "Dream Academy", right? Anyway, that was a good song.

Latest news (actually it's not news for our house, but...) we have another member in the family, a dwarf hamster named...wait for it...HAMMY!! I did not name it! Actually, for all you Robson Arms fans, I wanted to name it "Bushy Bush", but no one went for it.

I had the chance to start reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" to my son Dylan today, and he really enjoyed it, for which I was relieved and thankful. I really wanted him to like it, and he did. I'm a little nervous about the movie, but it will bring C.S. Lewis to the forefront like the LOTR trilogy did for Tolkien.

My work is going okay. There is so much to do and so many avenues to explore that I get immobilized sometimes. The world of corrections is huge, and I don't really know anything about it. Just making initial contacts with so many people I don't know is a daunting task at times, and it can be exhausting.

I also want to throw out a big HI to friends that I haven't talked to in a while. Nolan, Ed, ede, Nathan, Brian, Steve, Coop and Wendy, Nathan Peterson, hi to you all. (Sorry if I missed your name. Hi to you too.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bono: A Not-So-Stupid Lit'l Dreamer

I thought this was a great article, not just because it's pro-Bono (HAHAHA), but it goes past the schtick to say some things that might be thought of as profound. Good job, Fox.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I wanna say thanks to the guys at "Out of Ur" for linking to me last week. I don't think my blog is the best in any category by any stretch, but I have my own journey, and hopefully someone can learn from it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Saskatoon's next Worship Freehouse will be Sunday, October 16th at 7:00 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church :: 1601 Munroe Ave. S. (3rd Street and Munroe Avenue - Just three blocks off of 8th Street) As always, admission is free.

The theme for the next three Freehouse's will be "Exploring a Glocal Faith" and on October 16th we will be looking at global and local poverty and our response to it. There will be some corporate worship, time for reflection, interactive stations, and fair trade beverages. If you want to help, fire off an e-mail to

"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom." - Nelson Mandela
Jesus came bringing good news to the poor. But consider this...

* 3 billion people, almost one-half of the world's population, live on less than $2 a day
* 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, on less than $1 a day.
* 30,000 children under 5 die every day from preventable and treatable poverty-related illnesses.
* nearly 1 in 6 Canadian children and more than 1 in 6 U.S. children live below the poverty level.
* the richest 5 percent receive 114 times the income of the poorest 5 percent.

The Make Poverty History campaign urges Canadian and world leaders to take action on eliminating global and local poverty. It assumes that changes are needed in the economic systems and structures that perpetuate inequality and injustice.

But change also needs to happen in the lives of individual people . Christians especially need to demonstrate by their own lifestyles that they are committed to a world built on justice and fairness.

God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers

BBC - Press Office - George Bush on Elusive Peace


Monday, October 03, 2005

I flew into Toronto yesterday, and the fisrt day of chaplain orientation has been full. There is so much to learn, and I am part of a small, good group of people that "get" what chaplaincy is about, even though many of them only started in the last few months. I would appreciate your prayers, that I would learn much and stay awake. There are an amazing group of learned men and women in this area of government, and I need all I can get.
It is humid and smoggy here, but the retreat center that I'm in (QUeen of Apostles Renewal Center)is in a beautiful, RICH part of town. Take care of yourselves.