Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Hipsters & Haters

When ever you like something, your joy increases when you share it with others. Here are two items I would like to share with you.
A) Derek Webb's most recent: a clever twist from what he normally releases. I feel like a real hipster listening to all these drum & bass inspired tracks. It also has a controversial track only available online! (Great marketing ploy?) Regardless, put on your coolest Kensington market purchases, and enjoy Webb's new electric edge.

B) This site is very funny. A rare look through the eyes of an individual who doesn't like Phish. (Is that even possible?) I'll concede a few points this fellow makes; but only to say they are endearing "flaws". Mind the language if it bothers you.

-C.D. Clements

P.s. C) Jesus. Bonus Link! He is also worth looking into.

Monday, November 30, 2009

On meeting with mentors

The other day I met with an old mentor of mine to re-connect. He expressed during our time together that he needs Jesus, and did so in a very sincere manner. Needing Jesus is something I often express in keeping with proper theology, or view as a well-timed phrase used to create atmosphere in church services. While neither is really a problem in my view, I want to express that it is very refreshing to “re-discover” needing Jesus in my own life. Working with God is much better than working by one’s self.

-C.D. Clements

*Special note: all graphics considered for this post were too cheesy; I trust those who like pictures within a blog post will understand.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On wise comments

I often enjoy the comments section of an online media piece, more than the article/clip/picture... etc. People take the liberty to write all sorts of crap, and are generally very serious about it. Then someone else feels a former comment is wrong in a very grievous way; and so on. With regard to this matter, my friend James used to joke that he could not sleep when someone on the internet was wrong and didn't know it. Along these same lines, I came across one of the greatest posts I have read yet. People love to argue for their operating system, and I spotted this on a review of the new Ubuntu Linux; someone posted:

October 29, 2009 7:29pm

Okay, I'll post everyone's comments for them:

Windows fanboys: "Yeah, but can you play games on it? Who uses Linux anyway? Windows 7 is so much better at the end of the day... I mean, everyone uses Windows anyway, so why do Linux users have this compulsive need to be different and feel superior? Call me when it gets Office 2007"

Mac fanboys: "Yeah, whatever. I don't have time between trips to Ikea to learn how to use Linux. I just want something easy, simple, beautiful, and that never crashes or gets viruses and never crashes or gets viruses and never crashes or gets viruses. Plus, I don't think you can put iTunes on it, can you? Hey, wanna see my new iPhone app?"

Linux fanboys: "Well this is another blow to Microsoft and Apple OSs. When will people finally realize that open source is the future? Have fun, Winblows and Crapple owners with your bloated, slow 7 and Snow Leopard. Have fun getting viruses and paying $5,000 just to upgrade your OSX desktop. I'm laughing at you all because I'm simply better than you."

Anyway... "trips to Ikea" hehe.

-C.D. Clements

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hitler: MGMT vs. Bowie

During Halloween shows, Phish have a tradition of donning a "musical costume." This costume is another group's album played from start to finish. This year, the Phish website has an ongoing game, where the last record left "alive" will be Phish's upcoming musical costume. There is much speculation, but I found an insider video that lays the facts bare. It also stars Hitler. Take a look:

-C.D. Clements

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On making mature life choices.

This past summer, I spent 22 days on northern Ontario rivers, mostly with Pioneer Camp. These days I am back in Toronto earning a living; which I have since remembered is very a mundane life. As such, I am trying to think up what to do with the rest of my life, but haven't come up with anything responsible, engaging, and preferably with rapids. Let me know if you (dear reader) have any good ideas.


In a former post I lamented being at camp. Just now I lamented being back in the real world* of two part-time jobs, and little to do in the evenings. I think some prophetic figure (Morpheus) once said: "Fate, it seems, is not without its sense of irony"

-C.D. Clements

*Clever allusion!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On screaming kids

There comes a time in every man's life where he is ready for camp to be over, and for September to arrive.

-C.D. Clements

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On Fearing the Lord

A "hole" is a particular movement of water, which is generally found when fast moving water encounters a deeper section of a river. The effect of this meeting in the river is sort of "folding over" of the river on itself. This force creates a current which is constantly being driven to the river bed, and then circling back in on itself.

On a recent out-trip, I found myself accidentally caught in an eddy, which forced my canoe on to a hole, which then capsized me. While this particular hole was relatively small, the hydraulics caught me in an underwater swirl for [only] about 10 seconds.
After settling down, and making careful note of my error, so as to not repeat it, I was thinking about my experience, and how it parallels my understanding of the Fear of God.

The Fear of God is a very real thing; if God appeared to me suddenly, I expect I would become genuinely afraid. However, our relationship with God is not exclusively on these terms; there is also a mix of respect & honour. Even, there is an element in our relationship with God of enjoyment (as stated in my church's catechism).

While I appreciate that metaphors will break down under scrutiny, I am feeling these days like our relationship with God, and our fear of him, is something like canoing on moving water. While I find the rapids to be majestic, and certainly enjoyable, only a fool would approach moving water without deep respect... or even fear for what the rushing river is capable of.

As we relate with God, we discover him to be majestic, delighting, and commanding of our respect. However, not wanting to be foolish, we are fearful as we come to appreciate reality of who he is.

-C.D. Clements

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Northern Bushmen

On a recent canoe trip I was leading, the group asked a remote cottager in a run down shack/cottage if he knew of any good sites on the lake. He introduced himself as a retired man from the southern sates. As conversation progressed, it became quickly apparent to us that he was also the creepiest man ever.

With an apparent guise of being caring, he began asking bizarre questions, trying to get one of us in his boat so he could show us the site he had in mind, wanting to inspect our equipment, and wanting to know about our abilities to communicate with the outside world.

Since we could not pleasantly break off the conversation, we paddled away, only to observe him get in his boat to follow us.

Eventually we shook him by telling him we were going to stay on a particular “site” for the night and agreeing to go fishing with him. While he went to get his “fishing stuff” we paddled our faces off and got away.

The LIT's decided that the man reminded them of Herbert the Pervert from Family Guy. I would say I agree.

-C.D. Clements

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Hello Everybody,

For the past four summers, Nyssa and I have been volunteering with Pioneer Camp's leadership training program. The L.I.T. (Leaders in Training) program is for 16 & 17 year old who are looking at being councilors in the camp, and who want to develop as leaders and maturing Christian as they return home.
The LIT program runs in month long sessions, and builds into the teens through intentional teaching, discipleship, growth experiences, and staff & peer relationships. I have seen many teens be significantly transformed as they move through the program; moving toward deeper discipleship in Christ. Nyssa and I both agree that seeing this process in youth's lives year after is is what makes LIT important to us, and what keeps drawing us back.

This summer Nyssa and I are raising support to cover rent in Toronto while we are up at camp. If you are interested in helping us out with this, there are a few ways which donations can be processed, the most direct can be used via this link. You may also browse through by following the links: Support Us -> Financial Support -> Staff Summer Missions -> Donate Online -> Chris Clements.
Nyssa and I hope to be in personal contact with all who support us. If you are sending support, but we have not talked face to face, please drop us a line so we may do so!

Thanks everybody,
Chris & Nyssa Clements.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On White Noise

   As this blog entry is being made, Nyssa is watching "So you think you can dance", and I am trying to refine liturgies for next Sunday's service. The conflict comes in that I need these liturgies to make sense, as well as lead people to God.

    I remember that my former room-mate Al had tried to use an inverted noise program to cancel unwanted after-hours hallway commotion. I also recall that this did not work as planned. However, building on this inspiration, I have found a website which hosts a variety of white noise tracks from University of Utah. (accessible via this link)

    Below is is a screenshot of these tracks in action:

    My favorite is Harsha_Rao.mp3
   -C.D. Clements.   

Monday, June 01, 2009

A glimpse into Real Life.

"Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don't stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape"

Talking Heads on Youtube: 1
Writing a Sermon: 0
-C.D. Clements

Friday, May 22, 2009

On Studying the Bible

About once a month the youth group will come over to my home for a manuscript bible study. I have come to believe that the doodles left of each youth's scripture manuscript indicates something of the relevance of the topic, or perhaps the preparedness of the leader (myself). Tonight I have found these following doodles left on the manuscripts, at the end of the event:

A) A seal-like bird yelling "Salut"
B) A snake holding a grenade, a clock, and an arrow.
C) A tent and a tree with the word "Christmas" arching over both.
D) A pig, under a tree, under a cloud, which contains the word "cbad".
E) A spider, in a cup, collecting a bunch of small circles.

I would say it was an average study.

-C.D. Clements

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Recent Events

I thought I might like to bring you (whoever you are) up to speed on a few events in my recent life. Some are of no consequence, while others are of much.

In chronological order, I have recently:

A) Discovered a green mailbox in a remote location between Cornwall and Ottawa. This discovery was made before lunch, and halfway through a medium long walk on country roads.

B) Graduated from Seminary, and then posed as family members took pictures of me by an orange traffic cone in a parking lot.

C) Ate some oddly textured food. The texture pictured at left is an eggplant curry dish, and the right is a tofu stir fry where the tofu crumbled. Nyssa believes that the eggplant curry resembles diarrhea, and the tofu stir fry resembles baby barf.

D) I have recently made my first call to the Mike Gordon Hotline. Upon calling, you will hear a lengthy pre-recored message by Mike, and then you are invited to leave a message according to specific guidelines. These guidelines can be found at I recommend calling this number on Skype to avoid long distance charges.

- C.D. Clements, M.Div.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On things I would buy, if I had lots of money.

1. A Hyundai Accent: I have come to believe it would be useful to own a car. One case in point would be that I am always arriving at meetings out of breath, and with dirty pants.

2. A good touring bike for Nyssa: In the mean time (re:Hyundai Accent) I went to bike store today to try and get some kinks worked out of my drive train. The mechanic was a great conversation.

3. Phish Tickets for this summer's tour. Preferably for "The Gorge" shows: So much fun. Perhaps Nyssa and I could bike there. Below is someone's shot from last time Phish played there.

4. Support an Inter-varsity Ministry, probably Pioneer Camp: I am a big fan of almost everything they do. Nyssa and I are greatly anticipating taking the summer off of city based responsibility, and volunteering at L.I.T.!

If you are feeling rich and charitable, just let me know!

-C.D. Clements

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On The Things I Learn

Nyssa, myself, and some friends, have tried over the past year to “do” community & gospel living. We were going to hold a handful of cool (kingdom of God style) events and meet regularly in between. We have ended up with a one-off service event, a few great ideas which didn't happen, and a few brunches and meetings.

It was an interesting experiment, and in the end I have two conclusions.
A. Even though I often consider this to be over-hyped, there is probably something to be said for actually living together.
B. Graduate student people are transient/fragmented; Improvisation makes for funny skits, and may find some resonance in faith life. But I bet it helps to be a planned and mature doer of God's work.

On the other hand, it was a great experience as we did not have a lot riding on our experiment, and in the end I would think we are better friends/people because of it.

These days I like this verse:

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

On the Intersection of Jazz and Soup.

Perhaps you have heard the story of stone soup, and perhaps you even enjoy the recipe described in the story. Over the past year or so, I have undertook to make many batches of the stuff. The great thing about it, is that so many “stone soup” recipes differ from one another; I have discovered that there is little consensus on how this soup is to be made.

All things considered*, it seems that making stone soup simply requires one to mix together healthy portions of different vegetables, add broth, perhaps a clove of garlic, and then boil for ½ hour. The end result is much like a Phish song: the loose structure is there, and you more or less know what you are getting into. However the moments of inspiration, and subtleties therein, can take the soup [or song] to wondrous new levels!
(With regard to soup: generally less killer grooves)

As Trey himself might say: improvisation enables the one to obtain a end result they would never have reached otherwise.

Here is to an apple core, worms galore, and a can of some corrosive.

*Or Reconsidered
-C.D. Clements

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On a handful of things.

You may have noticed that there were no posts in January. Here are a few mini-posts to make up:

Mini-post A)

My youth group recently went to pack up a senior's belongings, due to the fact that she was being evicted. She said that her pension could not cover a rent increase. She also said that her social worker advised her to put her stuff in storage and “move into” a shelter. Ultimately the youth and I didn't know what to do, so we packed her stuff, conversed pleasantly with her, and left. Later I gave her name to some contacts in the church. She says she will contact me in march regarding her situation. What an experience.

Mini-post B)

I used to do these Bible in a Year challenges. I managed a few translations, and then gave it up. In January I started this up again, but using The Message translation. However I've become aware that many folks think this is a bad idea. Some will even tell me it is not devotional reading. So I guess I will not be doing any devotions until I finish The Message.

Mini-post C)

I have taken to playing Fallout 3. It is the sort of game that scares you (or at least me) if played alone, or for too long. Last night I was in a subway tunnel looking for cannibals (in game that is). Between that and an episode of The Fringe, I had crazy dreams.

Mini-post D)

Nyssa and I have been on an epic quest for cross-country skis. Recently we finally compiled two complete sets. We have also discovered that the X-C skiing in Toronto sucks . It looks like the only real X-C skiing we will get in this winter will be the camping trip with the extended family. However it is hard to tell if Nyssa is feeling the "4 mid-winter days in the middle of nowhere" vibe.