Category: Spiritual Disciplines

Person after cataplexy attack

Narcoleptic Spirituality

I have narcolepsy. I’ve referenced it here before, but I generally don’t dwell on it, especially on a blog about following Jesus. Of course, it does sometimes impact the way that I follow Jesus, much like any other disorder does.

For those who aren’t familiar, narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. It’s a hypersomnia, excessive sleep – as opposed to insomnia which is not enough. I spend all day tired. Ok, sometimes if I got a really good rest, I feel pretty good for the first couple of hours of the day. Some other things help a little, like exercise which might give me a boost for an hour or so afterward..

Beyond general limitations on energy which is the main factor, there are other symptoms. Cataplexy is the sudden weakness of muscles. When most people think of narcolepsy, they’re thinking of this: people suddenly collapsing into sleep. I usually have a few minutes warning and don’t necessarily sleep – sitting or laying down quickly is usually sufficient. There’s also sleep paralysis, which is when your brain and eyes wake up but you can’t move anything else. And there is excessive dreaming – falling directly into REM sleep instead of going through a sleep cycle first – and very lucid dreams, the latter much rarer for me than for many.

Technology - Bible and Headphones

The National – Social Media Shaming

The National, one of Canada’s best news programs, recently showed a piece about social media shaming. I first heard about it through Brianna Wu, a game developer who is on a couple of podcasts I listen to and was featured in the piece because of the various abuse she has received right up to attempts on her life.

The piece looks at how we can completely destroy somebody’s life, often without thinking too much of a nasty comment and usually without any actual malicious intent (although there are some exceptions, like the people trying to kill Brianna).

MennoNerds Screenshot

Church Websites

I once had a conversation with one of my seminary classmates. After she had moved to Kingston, she did like many Christians do: she searched for a new church. And like most people, she started by simply Googling and looking at the websites that came up.

She had to look at multiple websites before she found a church that listed their Sunday morning worship time on their website.

This isn’t simply the obvious impracticality of being able to visit the church. It also sends a big message. If your worship time isn’t even listed on your website, I assume the target audience of the website is the people who are already part of the church. I assume that you’re not really interested in new people joining your community. And so I typically move on to try a different website.

Technology - Bible and Headphones

Sneezing Angry Thought Germs

This video about how ideas – particularly angry ones – spread across the Internet comes your way via fellow MennoNerd Robert Martin:

WikiGodPod: Our Stories Shaping God

Faith Turning Points

WikiGodPod: Our Stories Shaping GodRecently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to the GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God. I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

Mark’s next question for me was:

What were major turning points in terms of faith and God?

Confession

We Need Confession

Things like shame, fear, and judgementalism have no place in the Christian life. The perfect love of Jesus casts out that stuff. We have new life in Jesus. We face no condemnation. That is all true and very important to remember.

I talk about that kind of thing a lot, but sometimes we over-correct and become afraid of confession. One phrase I’ve heard is that we are Easter people, not Good Friday people. Yes, that’s true. That is where our hope is found. But by definition Easter could not have happened without Good Friday. Jesus couldn’t have been resurrected if he didn’t die first. We, like Jesus, have new life, but the process of that new life isn’t comfortable. It would be wrong to celebrate Easter without Good Friday just as it would be wrong to celebrate Good Friday without Easter.

Sexism in my Favourite Games

For those who follow the videogaming world, you’ve probably heard of GamerGate. Short version for those who don’t: a lot of straight, white men get angry whenever people point out the industry is terribly slanted toward them while at best failing to represent and at worst actively harming other groups (particularly women, but also LGBTQ and minorities). There have been months of coordinated death threats, doxxing (discovering someone’s address and releasing it online), swatting (calling SWAT teams to that house in hopes that there is enough chaos for somebody to get shot), and more.

I’ve really gotten into videogames again in the past year and a half since getting an Xbox One. It is a great way to relax for me. GamerGate has caused me to consider what I play a little more critically, though. Here’s the big games I’ve played meaningful hours in over that time and how they generally seem to represent women:

Good Code

Why I Love Tech

Recently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God.

I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

So without further ado, the first question:

You’re a tech guy? What do you love about it?

"I never intend to adjust myself in economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few." - MLK

Birthing New Systems

"I never intend to adjust myself in economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few." - MLKAt our worship gathering Sunday morning, we sang the song “God of the Bible.” Verses 3-5 really stuck out to me, in many ways representing the best of the Anabaptist tradition. On MLK Day in the U.S., this seems like an appropriate segment to share.

Those without status,
those who are nothing,
You have made royal,
gifted with rights,
chosen as partners,
midwives of justice,
birthing new systems,
lighting new lights.

Not by your finger,
not by your anger,
will our world order
change in a day, but, by your people,
fearless and faithful,
small paper lanterns,
lighting the way.

Advent candles and wreath

An Eschatological Advent

This Advent I’ve thought about the usual theme for Advent – the second coming of Jesus – more than usual. It’s probably because of the Daily Common Lectionary plan I’m subscribed to (shameless plug).

Growing up I was always told that Advent is about remembering Jesus’ incarnation but even more about about preparing for his second coming. In that church, we didn’t really talk much about Jesus’ second coming, or the parousia to use the biblical term. There were occasional hints that the pastor probably did believe in the Rapture, although I also remember some suggestions that it was not pre-tribulation so not escapist Left Behind theology. Even in seminary, when we had to drop a topic in systematic theology because of a snow day, we unanimously chose to drop eschatology. My general assessment was that it was not the most important topic.