Monday, April 12, 2010

Church Hopping - Part 4

It's been a while since Church Hopping - Part 3. Since then, we've mostly been going to Blackbelt Baptist. We did go back to Golgotha Baptist once because they were having a retirement service for the pastor there.  Since my last post on the subject, I have visited the following churches:
Fate Anglican Church
This was one of those small churches in a school gym. The pastor didn't like the liberal direction the Anglican church of Canada was going, so he broke off and joined a more conservative network of Anglican churches. You gotta really respect that. So, given what it was - a small church, it wasn't bad. I liked how the pastor had a Q&A period at the end of his sermon. It was different being in back in a liturgical church. I can see how some of those prayers and creeds could get old. They become just words you say every week, but once in a while, they're really good. The authors obviously put a lot of time and effort into them.
Redemption Alliance
The oddest thing about this church was that all the music was played before the sermon. There was no closing song. The music was very good. I enjoyed it much. The people were somewhat friendly. One distracting thing was this one guy on the worship team was wearing a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt. This was in February. It was out of place! Other than that, it seemed to be a run of the mill church. Nothing special either way.
Oak Orchard Church
Every so often Blackbelt Baptist and Oak Orchard Church have combined services. They also combine for their youth oriented groups. I've been to Oak Orchard twice; once in a combined service, and once in a regular service. The music was always very good. The people were really friendly. I haven't been assaulted with that many "Hello and who are you?"s since Beaver Creek Baptist Church. They do communion every week, which is odd to me. For communion, they just have one loaf of bread that everyone breaks a piece off of. The germophobe in me doesn't like this. Thankfully I brought my hand sanitizer with me that morning. Then the speaker, who wasn't the pastor, started speaking. He was to give a "quick summation" of the life of Joseph. This "quick summation" took a long time. I think it would have been just as fast to read that portion out of Genesis. All in all, it wasn't bad. I'd go back a few times.
Village Baptist
The music was odd. They had a lot of talented musicians, but the layout was different. They had two stages. On the main stage stood the guitarist, two vocalists, and an old-school choir. On the second stage sat the bass guitarist, an electric guitarist, a keyboardist, and the drummer. I find it really odd to have a choir singing contemporary worship music. But, they made it work. The preaching wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. And no one, not even the ushers, said "Hi" to me. I won't be going back.
I enjoyed this service. There was a huge young adults group. I think they took up about 4 or 5 pews. I haven't seen that since my church in Sault Ste. Marie. One guy came over to talk to me and invite me to sit with the young adults. The preaching was decent. The music was good, although they lacked a drummer. (Ohhhhh, if only I lived closer to that church!) I'd go back.
Glebe Baptist
One morning when I was staying in the Glebe I didn't feel like driving very far so I decided to check out Glebe Baptist. It reminded me of my church in Sault Ste. Marie.  The old wooden pews, with red carpet was like my Sault church. The percentage of the pews filled up was about the same was the Sault church when I left. And, they had an old-school choir, just like my Sault church when I moved there. Besides the piano and organ, this choir was accompanied by a bass guitarist. I thought this to be odd. That's usually one of the last instruments to be added to a worship team. There's not a lot of bass guitarists out there. They even did a contemporary worship song. The preaching wasn't too bad, except the preacher kept saying how Christ died for us out of his love for, and devotion to us. I thought Christ died for us because of his love for, and devotion to his father. Perhaps that point is debatable? Anyway, A few people came up to me and introduced themselves to me, so I felt welcomed.
Chedarview Alliance
I'm writing this the day I went to Chedarview. Let me say, it was not a good morning. It all started on Saturday when I had a late lunch.  I skipped supper that night.  I intended on a breakfast at Tim Hortons on Sunday morning on the way to church.   I had picked the Tim Hortons closest to the church so I could stay and enjoy my breakfast sandwich. When I got to Tim Hortons, it was closed for renovations!  I was hungry, grumpy and not happy!   I drove around Farhaven looking for another Tim Hortons, and all I could find were gas station Tim Hortons.  I wanted to sit down and read a book.  I didn't want drive-thru! I decided to go to church hungry and get a big lunch afterwords. When I got to church, no one said "hi" or shook my hand - not even the guy handing out the bulletins. That was disappointing. The music was tight. But the preacher went on and on and on.  And on.  He was the freakin' Energizer Bunny. He just didn't stop. Even the best preachers start getting stale at 40 minutes.  This guy was far from the best. I expected he's preach for about 30 minutes.  After 45 minutes of preaching. I noticed people getting up and leaving. I would have left too except I wanted to know how long he intended to bore us. Was he planning on keeping us there until Jesus came back? It felt like it. After 50 minutes he finally closed in prayer. (My prayer was one of thankfulness.) The worship team cut their last set down to one verse of one song.  I won't be going back.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Stick a Fork in 2009; it's done!

2009 has been a pretty bad year for those of us living in the McQueen household. I am writing this on New Years Day, 2010. Now that the year is over, I'll write about why it was so bad.

The bad stuff started happening in December of 2008, so I'm going to lump that in with 2009.

Some things are worse than others.  As the year started showing a trend of being "one thing after another", I started keeping track with a list.  The first part of the list was the order I remembered things happening.  After that, I added to the list as things happened.

The following order is the order of the list I recorded.

The OC Transpo Bus Strike
This started in December and lasted two months. By the time they put the rural buses back one, it was four months. I take a rural bus. I had to drive in to work every day for four months. I live far away from work. I put 8000 kilometres on my car in that time.
My health
Normally I don't get sick. I might get two colds a year, and that's it. This year I got four colds - twice as many as usual. But the worst of it was I got the stomach flu twice. I got it in December a few days before I went to Halifax for Christmas. I threw up for the first time in 18 years. Not cool. Then I had a relapse when I was home in Halifax.
The Economy
We're in the worst recession in a long time. Some were comparing it to the 30s. I don't think it was quite that bad - at least in Canada, but it was still pretty bad.
While the Swine Flu pandemic turned out to be pretty tame, it still was, by definition, a pandemic. It was a new virus that few people had immunity to that was hitting young people harder than old.  It was the first pandemic in 41 years.
Pastor Jack Left Yahoo! Baptist
The very day I returned from Halifax from my Christmas vacation I found out Pastor Jack would be leaving Yahoo! Baptist. For the McQueens it would mean changes were likely on the horizon. They would probably move before too long. They would be facing unemployment in the worse economic situation in years. This would not be a year of plenty for them. It also had implications for me. If the McQueens moved, so would I . If I moved, I would surely face a huge rent increase. If my rent increased substantially, the possibility of finishing off my pilot's license in the near future would be pretty small. There goes that life goal.
Being on-call at work
Due to the recession, the Government of Canada put forth an Economic Action Plan which included an EI workload increase. So a bunch of us had to do some on-call time. I hate being on-call.  I've done it three times before.  I hated it.
Euphoria drinks rose in price
Euphoria is a store near by that sells smoothies and fruit drinks. They're really good, but a bit expensive. They just got more expensive. It's not a big deal. Just an annoyance.
July was the wettest on record
This summer stunk because it was really wet.  The days were cool and the nights were warm. I want the opposite. I don't care if it goes above 30 in the day, I want to get cool at night. Instead, in the summer of 2009, it would get up to about 22 in the day, and go down to 19 at night. It was very humid. It was very hard to sleep. If I had continued to work on my pilot's license, I wouldn't have gotten very far due to the weather. So, at least the weather wasn't taunting me. :)
Pastor Jack fell off the roof, and broke his ankle
Being out of work is bad enough - this was just terrible.
The McQueen's car made several trips to the garage
They're out of work. The last thing they need is a failing car!
Corner Gas ended
This is a minor one. I really enjoyed that show. Now it's over.
Record Federal Deficit
The last time there was a record federal deficit in Canada was in the 90s. In order to balance the books, the government slashed a lot of programs. In the process they cut about 45 000 - 50 000 federal public servant positions. If they do that again, I don't have enough seniority to survive.  So, this causes me to worry about my job security.
Saturn Dealerships closed
Saturn had such potential. But now it's over. GM says that any GM dealership should be able to fix my Saturn, but Saturn has a few parts that are different from other GM cars. I want to sell my Saturn and replace it with a car from a company that's still in business, but I'd never get for my Saturn what it's worth to me.
That's 13 items.  I can count at least eight more that didn't make it onto this blog because....well somethings just don't belong on the Internet for all to see.

But, it wasn't all bad. Let's look a the bright side of 2009:
I got to fly First Class to Halifax at Christmas time.
'Nuff said
The McQueens didn't have to sell their house.
God really provided for them and allowed them to stay. Since they got to stay, so did I. While, I didn't get to resume working on my pilot's license, I was able to put some money away. If they (and I) can manage to stay there for another year my question won't be "What apartment building should I move to?" But "What condo building should I buy a condo in?"
The McQueen kids got to go all over the world for school.
Bruce returned to Vancouver. Jane went to LA. Robin got to go to England.

So far, 2010 is shaping up to be a better year for me. The federal budget came down in March, and it seems as though my job is safe....for another year anyway. It has been a beautiful winter. As I write this, I'm living in the Glebe for a few weeks. Sweet!