Monday, November 24, 2008


A man has got to give props where they're due so here's my shout outs for the night. Major respect, Son.

Props to George Stroumboulopoulos of The Hour. I love how he keeps it real. Even more, I love how he brings real people of faith on the show and treats them with open, honest respect; allowing them to voice their faith in a reasonable way. Check out his interviews with guys like Craig Gross. He also cares deeply about issues like poverty and AIDS and brings some really thought provoking guests onto the show. I love his conversational style - man, he is just kickin' it real style.

Serious props to North Coast Brewing Co. and their Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. If you're a lover of serious beers, you must try this. Dark as a starless night, deep as a forgotten well and complex like the best women. Beer sites and connoisseurs around the web rate it among the best in the world and let me tell you - it is well deserved. I know I rant about American beers...lacking but that ignores smaller micros on the West coast who put out beauts like this. Seriously delicious.

Short Term Missions, Revisited

When my Momma was here last week, she sat me down and unloaded the double barrels of her esteemed opinion on my previous blog post, Tourists or Missionaries? She is a wise woman so I listened and she indeed had some valuable things to add to the discussion but since she's not going to post them on here I will throw them out and then comment.

The gist of her comments was twofold: first, we shouldn't place so much emphasis on money or commodify God's plan with missions. It's not all about money.

The second point was that we should not limit God in his workings. Who knows what can happen when someone chooses to participate in short-term missions.

As you can see, these are a couple really good points that got me thinking again. Wise woman, that momma of mine. But here's what I got to thinking on.

She's right, my original post focused too much on the money side of things when I really see that as a subordinate aspect to the relational side of missions. My problem is with how we represent Christ in out relationships with others. While most people who engage in short term missions probably hope to represent Christ's compassion and love to the impoverished -is that what those "impoverished" see? Or do they see a rich, white Christ who flies in for 10 days, jets around in air-conditioned chartered vans, eats way too much food, and then complains about how friggin' hot it is outside and how there are lizards in the bathroom? Do they see a patronizing Christ who makes them wish they were somehow a little better off? Perhaps a Christ who feels they need a new church building rather than a steady source of food?

I believe that missions work is about relationships. Those types of relationships can't be made in a week or two. They demand a long-term commitment to working, living, crying and playing with people in their lives and in their situations - whatever they might be. It's about portraying Christ as someone who is willing to listen to them, to be there when they're hurting, to support them when they need it, to really understand what the struggles in their life are. This is the relational side of missions that those short-term projects seem to miss, I think.

As for limiting God... guilty. There indeed are no limits to what God can use and the situations that he can choose to work in. For all my objections, it is hard to deny that there have been short-term missions projects that have changed lives for God's glory. But at the same time this seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. God can use anything so we'll give him something inferior because he can use that just as easily as something more superior.

We're called to be good stewards of the resources God gave us - does short-term missions accomplish this? We're called to take up the cross and bring an offering of sacrifice - does short-term mission accomplish this? We're called to truly care about the suffering and oppressed, to wash their feet, to clothe them, to feed them as if they were Christ himself - does short-term missions accomplish this? These are some of the questions I wish the church would sit down ask themselves.

Thanks for the thoughts Momma!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Days

In my 5 days of Daddyhood there have been many lessons I have learned, let me share a small smattering of them with you.

1.) She's a lot cuter when she's not crying.

2.) Yellow poo is good poo.

3.) There is no greater feeling then when she falls asleep in your arms.

4.) Babies operate on their own schedule - mess with it on your own peril.

5.) Nothing feels funnier that explosive poos while you're holding her.

Five lessons for 5 days - not bad. They've been a great five days though it's been a bit odd having to go to class on Friday and leave my ladies behind. Mom is doing great and adjusting well - she's a pro. Daija has been super content, for which we are superbly thankful and hope that it is a sign of further things!

As for pictures, you can check out my album on Facebook here. I'll try and update it regularly.

I don't want to make this another 'baby blog' and I'll be back with other content but, hey, being a Dad is part of it all now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A New Ritskes!!

At 7:26 this morning Nolana and I welcomed a little girl into our family! Her name is Daija Grace (pronounced like Asia with a D) and she was 8lbs 5oz. She is cute as the proverbial button, long like her mama and has a head full of hair that is already looking a little curly. The labor wasn't too bad and was manageable for both of us. We are happy and home, enjoying out little girl!

If you're in Victoria, we really do want to see you all and I know you're going to want to see Daija... just don't surprise us! Call, and if we don't answer don't take it personally - we'll call back. Thanks for all the support and encouragement you've all given us, we appreciate it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

By the Numbers

Zero. Nada. Nil. Zip. None. Not even one. Nothing. Naught. Zilch. Shutout. Goose egg. Not any. Null. Cero.

That's how many children we have.

Six is the number days we are late.

Two is the number of midwife appointments in the last week.

Seven. The day in November our good friends Tim and Kari had their second child.

Two is the number of days they were late.

Sixty-two is the number of people who have congratulated me even though the baby is not here yet.

Zero is the number of days I hope are left to wait.