#4YYC

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Over the past 5 months at Urban Grace Church, we’ve studied the book of Nehemiah and taken a very serious look at how, in God’s plans to reach the world, the city bears great importance. As we’ve learned, in order to bring the grace of Jesus to the city, we have to know what the city is like and what the city needs. So, beginning in July, we are challenging you to join us in a little summer venture. We’re calling it ‘FOR YYC.’ The challenge is to use the next two months of our summer to take part in as many possible experiences and activities Calgary has to offer. This challenge does not require you to go broke, and it does not require you to become even more swamped than you usually are. The point is to stimulate you to experience more of Calgary than you usually do.

Let’s not forget that in all of these explorative activities, we are not looking to just do more stuff, but to meet the people behind the ‘stuff’. So, as you explore the city, don’t simply try to ‘get stuff done.’ Observe the people behind all of the places and things that you do. Be a curious and gracious citizen as you explore. Meet as many people as you possibly can. Tell them you appreciate their place in the city. Find out their story. And–enjoy your urban exploration. We have a great opportunity to spread grace in a great city that will only get better with more grace from Jesus.

Some of you won’t know where to start, so here is a list that our own city-exploration team compiled. Please add your own ideas to the list. We’ve also provided different ways for you to record what you’re doing. By recording your explorations, you will benefit yourself and others. You will have a future reference for Calgary activities, and, as you compare notes with others during the challenge, you will share good ideas. So we’ve hand-crafted our own UGC edition of Field Notes: you can manually and creatively record your activities. We’ve also created a facebook page and an instragram account so that you can record your journey with technology. Looking forward to seeing you on the streets of Calgary!

  • Sick of your music? Browse vinyl with a Stumptown coffee @ Luke’s Drug Mart

  • Mozy across the Peace Bridge @ Prince’s Island Park.

  • Scream for ice cream @ the Eau Clair Market Wading Pool.

  • Chow down on a Boogie Burger @ Boogie Burger.

  • View a film @ the Plaza Theatre.

  • Treck up Nose Hill Park.

  • Step inside the giant white head @ the base of Bow Tower.

  • Get the blues @ Blue’s Can in Inglewood.

  • Get a new perspective @ the Calgary Tower.

  • Wolf down a PB & J hotdog @ Tubby Dog.

  • Cheer on a cricket match @ Riley Park.

  • Cool down @ Village Ice Cream.

  • Stay @ the Burger Inn in Mission.

  • Smell a book @ Central Memorial Library in the Beltline.

  • Get a pitcher, not a belly itcher @ Bowness batting cages in Bowness.

  • Court one another @ Shouldice Park (free tennis).

  • Visit Fort Calgary and discover our city’s history.

  • Stroll through Canada Olympic Park.

  • Be artisy @ Glenbow Museum downtown.

  • Get your game face on @ a Stampeders game with friends.

  • Get wild @ the Calgary Zoo.

  • Feel like Kings and Queens @ the lobby of the Palliser Hotel.

  • Finally get your teeth cleaned @ Apple Appeal in Kensington.

  • Bomb the Mountain Bike trails at C.O.P.

  • Get shaky @ Shakespeare in the Park (Prince’s Island)

  • Experience the extraordinary @ Livingstone & Cavell’s Extraordinary Toys in Kensington.

  • Wake up and smell the bacon @ OEB (Over Easy Breakfast) on Edmonton Trail.

  • Wolf down a hamburger & a milkshake from Angel’s Drive Inn in Bowness.

  • Hunt for great used books @ Fair’s Fair in Inglewood.

  • Tune in for some Bluegrass @ the Irish Cultural Club in Bowness.

  • A River Runs Through Calgary: Fly-fish the Bow River in the city limits. (Contact Dana Lattery @ Bow River Fly Fishing to book 1-403-968-9877)

  • Improvise @ the Improv Guild in Erlton.

  • POUTINE @ the Big Cheese Poutinery on 17th.

  • Find out where everybody gets Field Notes @ Reid’s On 17th.

  • Ride the sky: take the C-train over the 4 story bridge @ the Sunalta station.

  • Wave goodbye to the airplanes @ 32nd Ave.

  • Devour maple-bacon deliciousness @ Jelly Modern doughnuts.

  • Hunt and gather @ the Calgary Farmer’s Market.

  • View the city skyline @ McClough’s Hill.

  • Tweet us @ Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

  • Soldier on @ the Calgary Military Museum.

  • Get a crew together and go paint “The Rock” at the University of Calgary.

  • Flip out @ Kensington’s Flipp’n Burger.

  • Stuff your face with Mini Donuts at the Calgary Stampede.

  • Sit on the edge of your seat @ the Chuck Wagon Races.

  • Get a sweet tooth @ the Stampede Parade.

  • Be sporty @ the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.

  • Get cultured @ Chinese Cultural Centre.

  • See the Skyline from the SAIT Soccer Field.

  • Get a picture under the worlds largest Skylight @ TD Square.

  • Test the waters @ the Bow Habitat Station.

  • Soar @ the Aero Space Museum.

  • Drop your jaw @ Marion Nicoll Art Gallery, UofC.

  • Get up the creek @ Fish Creek.

  • Be outdoors while indoors @ the Devonian Gardens.

  • Watch the sk8ers @ Millennium Skate Park.

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What is in a Name?

“Oh great, another Christian Missionary Blog.”

“What kind of name is that?”

“Dude looks like a hipster…paaaaassss”

“YOLO!”

“Ooo, an introductory post, those are always real gems!”

These could very well be one among some of the many things you might be thinking if you’ve stumbled across this blog. And honestly, I get it, I’ve said the same things.

Well…except YOLO.

It feels like the Christian Community has taken to blogging their thoughts on the world with an unbridled passion. And in true Christian fashion we all seem to be trying to out “contraversialise ” one another by choosing to write around subjects that are likely to generate a lot of interest and discussion, as well as a great deal of death threats and hate mail. There are a few people who don’t, and they are pretty awesome. I hope to be among those few who don’t, though it is likely that I’ll step on a few toes. It’s pretty much unavoidable when it comes to sharing your opinion online. Somebody is going to take umbrage with it.

My hope is that I can create a space where I what I am learning will be shared and that it will be as encouraging to you as it has been to me, regardless of your background. I just want to meet people, hear their stories and have a chance to share my own in the process. So if you think you’re down with that, well then welcome!

There is one thing up there I would like to address.

The name I chose for this blog.

It’s more or less an inside joke, though I doubt there are many people who wouldn’t get the humour behind it.

I have a bit of a pet peeve, and it was/is one that I derive a great amount of joy in getting to express with some of my friends, more in particular, a friend of mine from back in Manchester. The two of us on many occasions had joked around about the kinds of names that surfaced in Christian Ministries and Church Programmes. If it wasn’t something being set on fire, it was something being drowned in water, blown up or sent in some direction with extreme force, or an obscure Greek/Latin/Aramaic/Chaldean/Hebrew word, that was more often than not, taken entirely out of context. My friend had told me about numerous occasions where he had been stuck in church meetings for hours on end as they worked to develop and pray over the name for their new programme.

Oh, and acronyms, can’t forget those!

I don’t know about you, but that would drive me nuts.

My friend, in exasperation, finally exclaimed, “Call it Charlie Sofa Face Fun Time! Who cares!?” (try to imagine this being shouted in a Northern Irish accent, it makes it a great deal more amusing)

We both had seen more than our fair share of overly deep names given to various events and programmes, all in the name of marketing and sounding attractive. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with wanting a name that will reach out and grab peoples attention, but there are some pretty standard tropes when it comes to naming Christian Stuff that we really need to let go of.

Engage

Refresh

Renew

Restore

Regroup (there is a great story behind this one. Feel free to ask!)

Impact

Fire

Elijah Project (one of my own)

Tahilla

Rock

Initiate

Detonate

Action

Dinamus

Ignite

Living Water

Rain

Radical

Radiate

[something] Revolution (we love revolutions, nothing like a good ol’fashioned revolt)

Crave (no, not the cupcakes)

i[something] (cus iPhone, get it?)

Reach

etc.

You get the point I am sure.

Before you paint me as some kind of pessimist, I don’t think these are terrible names, in fact I contributed to a few of them myself. I just want you to get a little bit of insight into my own sense of humour and as to why I chose the name I did for this blog. It’s a bit of a throw back to some of those more humorous conversations with friends that often involved us making up silly names for things. It seemed the best one to capture a little bit of who I was, a guy with a real sarcastic streak and the ability to laugh at himself.

I figured I will have covered most of my bases with the name. I found a website with at least 26,000 ministry names. Mine has got to at least pool together like…half of those or something.

Anyway, I look forward to continuing to update this blog on a bi-weekly basis. I promise that it will be much more interesting than just me ranting about names.

I’ll probably rant about other stuff to.