Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your Life in Six Words

I thought this was a great little, thought provoking video. What're your six words?


Friday, September 26, 2008

Crisis of Faith

"The Problem of Evil" is a barrier for many people to connect with or even acknowledge the Creator. Simply stated, the problem is "If there exists a God who is both good and all powerful, how can there be such evil in the world?" For some reason, this has never been a huge issue for me. And it's not that I haven't experienced or seen evil. But I have resolved the paradox to my own satisfaction, though I'm not going to get into it right here and right now, because there is another issue that has been much more of a challenge for me.

I've been involved in evangelical churches most of my life. I was a pastor for nearly 20 years. And I've seen many amazing, good things that have bolstered my faith. But I have been set back time and again by people who call themselves Christians and yet seem so unchanged by the power they claim to believe in.

As a teenager, the church I grew up in "exploded" leaving three churches where there had been one, clusters of enemies where there had been friends. As a pastor I had to confront too many adulterers and adulteresses who claim to be Christian. Do I need to mention the high profile Christian leaders who mess up like clockwork? And then there are the perpetually grumpy or self centered or materialistic who NEVER CHANGE year after year. "If there is a God who changes the lives of those who believe in him, why are so many who believe in him so seemingly unchanged??"

That's my crisis of faith. It's troubling, frustrating, discouraging, draining. And it's also convicting. Because while I know I truly have been changed in some dramatic ways, at times the unchanged Daren surfaces, and a heart that has areas of grumpiness, self-centeredness, materialism, and a capacity for adultery surfaces.

So I've been asking myself the question: "If an 'outsider' to the Christian faith knew everything I as an insider do about that subculture, would they believe or not?" Knowing all that I do, I still believe. But someone might argue that my faith is simply the result of a life long immersion in that culture. Perhaps. But I know the good and the bad in a way that relatively few do, and I am still convinced there is substance in the claims of Christ. I am also convinced that the North American evangelical church is not the ultimate manifestation of the Christian faith, as many North American evangelicals seem to arrogantly believe.

Solutions? Well, I am a firm believer in the adage that there is no great skill in identifying problems; the challenge is to solve them. Or, as someone else put it, "You get points for building arks, not predicting rain."

So I get no points today. Maybe one day I'll give my shot at the possible solutions. Today I just wanted to rant a bit and get the issue on the table.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Release Book Review

Mike Bristol at http://fencer.wordpress.com recently did a review of my book. Please consider checking it out and giving Mike your feedback. I have never met him, and appreciate him taking the time to write up Release.

If you are, or know of, other prolific bloggers who like to review books, let me know and I will send a copy!

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's about time!

I know it looks like I'm going for the longest gap in time between blog entries, but I've been up to other stuff. Like getting the book out. Publication date is in '08 but I've had copies since July and have already ordered a second print run. Here's the cover; feel free to check out the page at www.The-Life-Plan.com

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wilderness Adventure of the Soul

Here's the forward to my book in progress. I hope the book turns out as well as the intro!

"Each of us is on a journey. But it’s tragically easy to walk the beaten path over and over again — never learning, never growing, never gaining insight. We become masters of our work, sculptors of our bodies, and experts in shallow relationships, while too often failing to cultivate our souls and reach the destinations we truly crave. In moments of vulnerability we may admit that we can’t even identify those desired destinations. Why? Because this all takes time, unrushed time, reflection, solitude. And in much of the world today there is no rarer commodity.

"The thought of going on a wilderness trek, like the one undertaken by the character in this story, may be exciting to you and something you will begin to plan even as you read. Or it may be an overwhelming idea, a true impossibility at this stage of your life. In either case, you are fully capable of taking the more significant inner journey, and making many of the same discoveries our traveler makes along the way. But to do this, you will need to add to your reading those rare ingredients of unrushed time, reflection, and solitude. Read slowly. Journal your thoughts. Allow the principles to soak into both your head and your heart.

"A mentor once instructed “If it doesn’t work at home, don’t export it!” I have followed that advice in this book. As a result, what you will find in these pages is not merely a theory of personal discovery, planning, and growth, or some random thoughts strung together in an afternoon. This is the systemization of a process I’ve lived through, which was forged in my real world of pain, success, crisis, and joy. As I shared different aspects of this process informally, and in talks given in a variety of settings, I was surprised by the response. The principles I shared struck an immediate chord and helped many progress on their journeys in very specific ways. I quickly realized that these principles I’ve discovered through my reading, writing, reflecting, counseling, and teaching, and then applied to my own life, had a universal quality which would benefit many. This book is the result of that discovery, and an attempt to make these principles and the Release process accessible to more people than I could ever meet with personally.

"My prayer for you, and for every person who launches out on the Adventure of the Soul, is this: May you be released to more clearly see both your place in this world and the Creator’s heart for you. And may you have the courage to take the next step on your journey, wherever it leads."

If you want to be notified when it's published, let me know via www.darenwride.com . I could even possibly be persuaded to email you the first chapter.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Interviewed a wine maker yesterday to try to get a better grasp of the water to wine miracle. Learned that even "young" wine requires quite a process and a fair bit of time; that there are many variables, some completely outside the control of the wine maker; that the best wine takes time and the almost miraculous alignment of these factors.

So, Jesus produces the best wine of the day in an instant, compresses years of process into a second, aligns all the variables precisely. It's a big miracle.

But why? So the groom wouldn't be embarrassed by running out; so the party could go on; and...so he could use the six sacred water pots to make a point: It's time to dismantle religion. When religious structures and traditions interfere with true celebration, relationship, and joy, they need to go.

What would he dismantle in your life, what sacred pots does he need to desecrate, in order to release your joy?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Paddling, pain...and marriage

Paddled the length of Okanagan Lake with a friend Aug 21-22. Seventeen hours of total paddling. After five hours, everything hurt, even my brain. At 4 mph you can sometimes see a point of land coming for hours before you get there. But we kept going, actually enjoyed ourselves and felt great at the end.

Paddling a canoe is a lot like marriage. Everything the other person does affects you, there is calm and rough water, beautiful scenery and eyesores, times when you want to quit, deep pleasure and sometimes deep pain. But when you reach a common goal, you experience a bonding and sense of accomplishment that is only heightened by the length and difficulty of the trip.

There is a depth of satisfaction that comes from being together for the long haul, that does not happen in a little paddle across the bay.