Pastor John Van Sloten's Blog 2001-2007

John Van Sloten's Blog 2001 - 2007

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Sept 19, 2005

John's editorial to the Calgary Herald, pokes a few holes in the new book about Brian Mulroney

Sorry no text, link to PDF only.


Superhero Spirituality

Sept 19, 2005

I came across this quote from C. S. Lewis last week while prepping for a new sermon series on Superheroes... "Supposing by casting all these things (God's truths) into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained glass and Sunday-school associations, one could make them appear in their real potency? Could not one thus steal past those watchful dragons … that paralyze so much (discussion of) religion?"

Good question. And didn't Jesus do exactly this when he wove God truths into living parables; fantastic stories espousing the mysteries of seeds, birds and human natures? His truth telling invoked a lot of fiery vitriol in response; he radically shook up the religious world of his day.

Sometimes I wonder if the Spirit of Christ isn't about the same kind of activity today. Where religion has deadened things; lost the wonder, the magic, and the power of the gospel, He has decided to plant some truthful seeds in some very unorthodox places instead. Not to trump, or cancel out any of his truth from the past, but instead to provide a new (wardrobe) door into it.

I just read the first Superman comic book (1938) for the first time this morning, and I see these doors all over the place... A saviour comes to earth from the heavens... as a baby! He's adopted by some earthly parents who don't quite understand what he's about, but they know he's been sent as a gift to humanity. As he grows up he realizes that he needs to hold back revealing his super powers at times; a kind of messianic reticence. Some see his humility as a sign of weakness, but he knows better. In another scene he demonstrates his super powers by saving Lois Lane as she faces a firing squad, "Covering Lois' body with his own he receives the shots meant for her." I could go on...

Is this just a coincidence? Is it the result/remnant of growing up in a post-Christian western culture; our stories can't help but take on a distinctively Christian edge? Or is God doing this for another reason; a very intentional reason?

By speaking through other parts of his creation (the stories of our culture in this case), is he offering new and fresh entry points into his eternal truths? The incarnation comes alive again when I see it encapsulated in a Kryptonian space ship... I get Joseph and Mary's confusion as I watch the Kent’s struggle... I understand Jesus holding back on his divine powers (so that a greater good be accomplished) as I witness Clark Kent humbly take it for the team. And when I see the image of Superman shielding Lois from the bullets, saving her, interceding... I'm given yet another image with which to better understand the mystery of Christ on a cross.

Is God doing this on purpose? And when Lewis' 'The Lion, the Witch and the Waredrobe' comes out this December, will the film's release be the Spirit's way of opening some more powerful doors to God's truth; to his very face?

I think so. And if we, as followers of Christ , can learn afresh how to see his Spirit at work in these places, connect the dots, and then show what we've discovered to others, God's truth will get out, and his will will be done.

Is this not one great way for God show himself afresh to our world? To us?

The following are links to the messages in the Super Heroes series.



X Men

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 20 2005 @ 02:10 PM PDT
you are unwrapping stories all over!, and this happens in many places that God reveals himself, I enjoy unwrapping Gods amazing revelation in mathematics, the further I go, the more I see His hand of creativeness and perfection, and then to point it out and watch students reactions... and question, will it always work this way?


Seeing God while cycling Canada

Sept 15, 2005

John's message "Seeing God while cycling Canada" is now available online, John says that it is "almost the same" as the message that he preached in Halifax on Sept. 4 at the end of the Sea to Sea ride. Enjoy!

Mp3 streaming message at 32kbps - dialup

Mp3 streaming message at 96kbps - cable dsl

John's thoughts before he started the trip.


What I believe

Sept 15, 2005

Ok, this is what I believe...

I believe in God.
I believe that everything that exists belongs to him.
I believe that God cares deeply about the things that belong to him.
I believe that the primary job of both Christians and the church is to help others come to know this fact.
I believe that the best way to do this is by showing people where God is already at work in their lives.
I believe that God is already at work in their lives; in more ways than most people could ever imagine.
I believe that God's work in people's lives can be seen, discerned, known and shown.
I believe that the face of God can be seen in their very human being. Every person is made in God's image and reflects something of the divine nature. It's built in to our very essence.
I believe that we also reflect God in the things that we do as human beings; that our communities, our creativity, our ideas, our science, our sport, our music, our fashion, our work and our rest all bear his finger prints.
I believe that any truth that exists in any of these activities, or anywhere else for that matter, is God's.
I believe that this 'God truth' carries God's full revelatory authority.
I believe that knowing this fact blows my mind away.
I believe that the face God can also be seen in the rest of the created order (beyond humanity). I'm talkin the natural world.
I believe that God can be known through his book of creation just like he can be known through his book; the bible.
I believe that we can most clearly see God in the created world once we've seen him in the Bible. (we need faith glasses in order to focus)
I believe that one of the most powerful experiences a human being can have is seeing both at the same time (God's truth in his creation and God's truth in his bible)
I believe that when Christians (who've got the faith glasses) tell others where God is already at work in their lives, an epiphany can happen.
I believe that this is one of the most gracious, unimposing, see the good in others, non-condemning, incarnational ways to help people know God.
I believe that God might want to open us up to using this approach more in the future.
I believe that his Spirit may be opening our eyes to his truth in the created world for this very reason.
I believe that if the church really grabbed on to this idea, the world would change.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 06:01 AM PDT
I believe you may be on to something John!


Blogging on...

Sept 14, 2005

Ok... it's been a week since I last blogged. Part of me is ready to put down the 'cyber pen' and let things rest, another part wants to keep the conversation going; not in regards to the cycling journey per se but more in terms of the ongoing spiritual journey that lies ahead.

In particular I think that there is lots to think through re: seeing God in our world(this core idea that's grabbed a hold of my heart and our church in recent years)

So I'm going to keep this thing going for while... see how it all plays out. Post some thoughts, some pics, some ideas and see where it all goes.

Stay tuned...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 14 2005 @ 01:03 PM PDT
I for one have missed reading the blogs and getting inspired by the things you shared. You really provoked alot of thinking and soul searching. I was looking forward to hearing your Sunday sermon but so far they don't have it online. I for one am going to enjoy reading your future blogs, your challenges.

by: rob_b on Wednesday, September 14 2005 @ 07:04 PM PDT
A psychiatrist ( has done research on blogging and bloggers. He says that quality blogs online are now the exception, rather than the rule. And these blogs have increasingly become more difficult to find and pick out amongst the hundreds of new blogs that start fresh each day.

The same guy says that good bloggers are storytellers. They understand the need for a beginning, a middle, and an ending. They draw together like-minded links into themes for the day, for the week, for a lifetime. The authors of such weblogs and online journals have an inner drive for their work. They don't look for adoration or attention from other folks online. It comes to them naturally by the power of their work, by the originality of their stories, or by the genuine nature of their words.

The same shrink has this link on his page, as another person suggested, maybe it’s for people who have to put up with bad blogs.

John, I think your blogs are the exception. I look forward to reading and seeing your stories. Hopefully we won’t need the helpline.


Day Whatever... the rest of my days...

Sept 06, 2005

I wake up at home for the first time in 10 weeks and I don't know what to do. Getting up to go to the washroom twice last night, I instinctively went to my bedroom window, opened the curtain, breathed in the cool fresh air, and looked up to the sky. Ever since landing back home I've been seeing rider after rider from the tour. Mike Krault was at the restaurant my familyand I dined at for lunch... at least someone with his voice was. I saw both Dave and Angela outside as we were leaving. I've felt Rob and Sherry right beside me a times, it's almost as though I'm in their draft; only now it's causing me to shudder.
This is a very strange feeling. I'm so very happy to be home... it's so right... and yet, this transition so weird. As expected, (I guess, expected in a naive 'not knowing what to expect' kind of way), I'm having to deal with "real life" once more.

My laptop needs to be taken to a repair shop (please Lord!... not the photos!)... I've got to get to the office soon... preach Sunday. Feel the stomach tighten... remember to breath from your stomach on the hills... relax.

Remember... Boy was that last day an amazing one. Arriving at the All Nations church to wild cheering... receiving everyone's handshakes while internally thinking, "Thanks, but we're not quite there yet... we've got that last 2k to go to get to the harbour... EFI!!" But still the reception was most wonderful... both from the people and in my mind. Clear and focussed. "2k to go and then glory"

We rode that last 2k downhill to the water's edge, did a big media photo op, and the crowd there was even bigger. Elation... irony. Here we have all these first second and third generation immigrant children arriving at Pier 21 from another direction; coming home, with such feelings of joy, confidence, and strength; both in themselves and in their country. When they or their parents, or their grandparents strode thorugh that same parking lot, I'm sure they were feeling a bit different.

But for us it was glory, what God has made us all for... now about to be known in a symbolic tire dip. I was one of the first to line up at the beach, "Do it all together... as a community", Pastor Veenstra preached in Ottawa. So we all waited, naturally, as though it was our idea to begin with.

And as the line of bike weilding heroes grew, so did the excitement... Some words, the Lord's prayer, O Canada (another prayer, "God keep our Land, glorious and free..."), and away we went, "On three.... one, two, three..."

And the group of pilgrims made their way to the Atlantic, baptizing thier bikes. "In the name of the Father..." Thank you God for this most amazing journey!

Thank you for the fact that it now just begins; next chapter. We talked a bit about it in church the following day, "This is not the end of the journey, just one chapter of an even bigger one that's playing out. We're riding on into this huge God story right now, a magical kingdom kind of tale that's playing out right now, before our very eyes; our newly opened eyes." And thanks to this cross Canada ride, we've gained some perspective to see this fact more clearly.

God has always been with us, faithfully throughout generations. God is with us now... All the faithful witnesses saw it via this tour, I saw it in the moon last night.

And the tour goes on... and boy will I miss it... and boy am I excited for whatever challenge lies ahead.


Day 71 - more to come

Sept 05, 2005

Ok... ok... my computer broke down and I've not had internet access and I'm now just home... so give me 24 hours and I'll do the final post on this topic... and get some pics up!


Day 71 – Truro to Halifax – 112k

Sept 03, 2005

This is it… and it’s beautiful. I’m riding into Halifax today on a crystal clear day (on multiple fronts I trust). I can hardly wait for the light to come (literally, I can’t see my keyboard right now as I sit behind the trailer), and for this most amazing day to be lived out.
Last night, at a hoppin local bar, we talked a lot about the meaning of this ride, about relationships, about life. Great seafood appy and entrée! After dinner I sat cross legged on the floor beside a couch full of people, listening to an east coast band do its thing. Savouring. Seems a few people are a bit worried about the void that such an intimate and meaningful community might leave as this journey ends. We talked about detaching in healthy ways. We talked about how it might, and should, hurt a bit. The thought then hit me, “God knows; he knows what this has meant to us, knows that these relationships are a gift, and he knows that they are a pointer to something even bigger; our ultimate relationship him. All that was great about this past 10 weeks is just the appetizer; life can be this rich and richer knowing Him.” And it’s true, I know it is. And it wouldn’t be right if this could fill all of our relational needs, right now or forever. And there has to be more. Today I want to live in both of those relational places; fully.

Now to the bike…

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 07:28 AM PDT
John...want to thank you for your delightful daily posts. It was fun and and a joy to read, especially when we could count on you and Bill for a daily update to those who have been closely following the tour. An amazing journey! To God be the Glory!! p.s. you need to publish a book with your unusual and awesome bike pics. Wenda

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 04:30 PM PDT
Hi John
congradulation on a job well done.I traveled with you since you left here in B C .(in the comfort of my home)and i want to thank you for the blogs and the wonderful pictures, and the way you shared with us your ups and downs and your joys and sorrows.we wish you a safe journey home and now we are waiting for the arrival of the DVD that was made.

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 04 2005 @ 03:52 PM PDT
Well John you did it! Excellent. Sitting here with Keith and talking about the power of the media and the web! Glad you are enjoying the local scene in Halifax... I certainly enjoyed the local pubs in Halifax during university and also just last week. We live in an incredible country and have much to share with our neighbours and the world! Russell in Calgary.

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 04 2005 @ 05:49 PM PDT
Pastor John, I have never met you but have followed you around for the last few weeks. :o)
Thank you SO much for sharing your heart-felt thoughts and anecdotes. Each evening I was eager to read the latest entry . . . I am hoping that there might be one more!! We need some closure too. :o)
God be with you as you adjust back to regular life.

Day 71 – Truro to Halifax – 112k
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 04 2005 @ 07:32 PM PDT
Well , now what do we do?


Day 71 - Truro to Halifax - 112k
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 08:30 AM PDT
THANK YOU John for not only riding, but for riding for all of us who couldn't. For those of us who have lived vicariously through the internet pictures, blogs and stories told, you have given us the scenery in words, pictures of a 1000 words as well as ponderings, musings and wrestlings of your own heart. Thank you for representing us as part of the Body of Christ, as part of the greater CRC in Canada. I am very proud of you , indeed exceedlingly proud of all who cycled from Sea to Sea. We give glory to God for the hands of His protection , the hands and feet of those who drove, prepared meals, pickup, cleaned up , setting up again faithfully and all the cheerleading support along the way. Its a phenomenial chapter of history and we now entrust God to multiply the seeds of conversations, presence and work that was done........for the Kingdom. Indeed back to home, where the LOCAL church is the HOPE of the world. Bless you all

Melody Jobse, Vancouver

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 11:28 AM PDT
Reading your blog has served for great sermon procrastination for the past number of weeks--so I don't know how I'll handle your finishing this journey either. I do know that you are in Halifax, a city very close to my heart, and that you will be ministering to people very close to my heart at All Nations. I'm praying for you.
Most of all, thank you for sharing yourself so freely and honestly in your blogs. We were taken along to see God's face along the way. Thanks for that.
David Kromminga

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 12:40 PM PDT
John, congratulations on finishing your phenomenal journey. You are looking pretty trim in that Nova Scotia pic. And those legs, they look like Ontario oaks! I'm sure you're quite the crusher now. I look forward to having you pull me up the Elbow Falls hill next time we go out. Peter

Authored by: akuiper on Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 01:47 PM PDT

Thanks so much for your faithful blogs every day. I felt like I was riding in a bike trailer being pulled along by your bike. You have taken us along for the journey and given us unique insight into what all went on during the tour.

I pray that you will have a safe journey back home to be reunited with your family and congregation and that God may use you to manifest what has been started with the C2C tour. Best wishes.


Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 04 2005 @ 04:34 PM PDT
Thank you again, John, for keeping your website so up to date. I have smiled, laughed, and shed a tear or two along the way thanks to your insightful writing. Your photography has been spectacular too -- I love how you tried to incorporate the bike into so many of your pictures as it was obviously an integral part of the journey. Yours and Bill's blogs were "must sees" for me. It has been a pleasure and I wish you all the best. Carrie, Grimsby

Day 71 - Truro to Halifax - 112k
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 04 2005 @ 06:18 PM PDT
Are you leaving us hanging? How was the last day of biking? How did it feel to dip your bike tire in the Atlantic? Was it difficult doing a TV interview while riding your bike and trying not to sound too out of breath??? (saw you on CTV yesterday!)
Thanks for the blogs, I'll miss them.
Love you!


Day 70 Amherst to Truro – 127k

Sept 02, 2005

Who gets to do this? Waking up alive, breathing, warm and well rested after a long night’s rest… Who gets to feel this way? This body healthy, soul awake, full day ahead kind of sensation… Why are there so many good things in this life? A wife and children, friends, an amazing job, and an exciting future…

And I’m only talking about regular life here… my uncycled life. Today I also get to go biking!

Who do you thank for stuff like this? Yes, there are all kinds of intermediaries that help make life beautiful and fulfilling, but at the core of it all, who do you thank? Who else can you thank? For life… for health… for being born in one of the wealthiest places on earth… for freedom… for love? The big things in live, the mysterious intangibles, they all beg the biggest existential question imaginable; they grab us by the chin and turn our faces toward God. There is no one else to thank, thank God!

Today is the second last day of the tour… filled with expectation and grace. Today is the next day of my, all too short, life; filled with expectation and grace. I don’t want to waste the opportunity, I don’t want to live it short, I don’t want to forget how real this is, I don’t want to let it go… “Help me God to really live this thing… today.”

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 02 2005 @ 06:26 AM PDT
I agree 100% with you, John. However, we must remember that one of our missions is to share our wealth with our needy neighbours. At this time, that happens to be those unfortunate folk in the American south whose lives have been destroyed by Katrina. We must not wait for someone to ask us for help; we must initiate our own actions.

Day 70 Amherst to Truro – 127k
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:33 PM PDT
John, In spite of having to endure a lot of jokes over the duration of this ride, you have had a trip of a life time.
As for today, I can just about imagine the scene with "blood sucking musquitos" with all of you dancing around your bike while you repair its tire...... It must have been a hilarious site.
Over the months your blogs have been most meaningful and thought provoking. You were able to create lots of humor as well as share personal thoughts and fears. Thanks for being transparent and human.
Have a most enjoyable celebration in Halifax.
Judy S.


Day 69 - later that day...

Sept 02, 2005

Later that fabulous day… With 149 k ahead and the forecast of heavy rain I wasn’t sure what to expect today. What we got was sublime. Huge 35kph tail wind for the first 80k as we headed up into Moncton for a fabulous brunch; clearing skies in the afternoon and beautiful sunshine the whole 70k way into Amherst (with a short stop in Sackville for some seafood, red wine, and a Lobster roll; famous in the region and actually invented in Bor mjujudens, the quaint place were we ate!). 8k away from camp we crossed over our last provincial border into Nova Scotia. Normally we do the quick pic thing and move on… but this time you had to just stand there for a moment and ponder. “This is it, no more new provinces… the last one… you’re only two short riding days away from cycling across Canada.” It was beautiful just to take in the moment. A brilliant late afternoon sun was flooding the scene… several other cyclists were there with us… and there was this palpable sense of achievement in the air.

One guy jumped up on the Nova Scotia sign with his bike for a photo. Another stood straight as an arrow in place of the ‘I’ in Scotia. I had my picture taken with my head filling the ‘o’ in Scotia (you gotta know that I’ve had to endure a lot of, ‘You’ve got a big head’ jokes over the duration of this ride already… I tell them about the correlation between cranial diameter and intelligence, but they don’t understand…. Pinheads!) It’s a funny picture regardless.

I had another leak today; this time my back tire. It took me forever to get it changed. (Yes, I realize the irony in this happening today!) The place where I broke down was loaded with blood sucking mosquitos and they were virulent. The scene must have looked hilarious to passing motorists… all of us dancing around like idiots, slapping our appendages madly, bike parts flying everywhere. At one point I just had to concentrate on finding the source of the leak in my tire, so a young guy named Jared just ran circles around me, waving his hand and legs frantically, all in an effort to distract the little predators. Yeah.

I am so going to miss this adventure. I will treasure it forever. (Yikes… I sound like a 12 year old girl writing in her dairy!)


Day 69 - Sussex (New Brunswick) to Amherst (Nova Scotia) - 149k

Sept 01, 2005

They say pride goeth before the fall; that even the lofty are bound to fall… Well, tonight it finally happened. I should have seen it coming. For over two months now I’ve been carrying around this elevated sense of myself, like I deserved to have more comfort than the others. I had this elevated belief that my NICAD battery powered, self inflating, pocketed AEROBED tm was something that I most certainly deserved after a hard days ride. Can’t you hear that familiar NICAD sound now; this flat lifeless piece of vinyl coming to life? Almost 8 inches thick (fully inflated!)… flannel texture (one side only)… the smell of plastic filling your tent… I gloried in it all; perhaps a bit much… too high and mighty.
Then it happened… just 40 minutes ago now… first you feel that bit of sponginess and wonder, “Nah, this couldn’t be. It’s just a dream.” And then your hip hits bottom. You go into denial for a few minutes, thinking you’ll easily be able to ignore the problem, “I’ll sleep on the ground for the rest of the night and repair this thing in the morning.” Then you realize you’re sleeping at centre ice, on the concrete of a summered hockey arena; reality hits you hard!

Patch kit in hand, you head to the lit part of the arena and make repairs. “IMPORTANT: After patching, wait one hour before re-inflating your AEROBED tm” It’s been 45 minutes… “I wonder how who did this to me? Yeah it could have been a simple accident, the fork in my equipment trailer cubby hole, or maybe it was envy at work… hmmmm… 45 minutes is long enough.”

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 01:57 PM PDT
Dear John,
Thank you for writing your Blogs so faithfully - sometimes two a day. We eagerly look forward to them and enjoy your honesty and your great sense of humour! Yesterday I had to ask my family what "the full monty" meant and was enlightened. With you, I laughed out loud!
Your photos are very artistic - we like the way you include your bicycle in many of the shots.
Soon you'll be there - have a great celebration in Halifax and a safe yourney home to Calgary!
God Bless,
Cam & Jenny Linnell

Authored by: andreww on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 03:29 PM PDT
Good Day John
Well you are coming to the end of your trip and I have to say I will miss checking up on you every morning. I am not sure if it was an enjoyable time for me as most times I was more jealous than happy for you ( forgive me). It sounds like your trip was a success and well worth the time for you. I hope we will have some time after to talk about it so you can fill me in even further. With regards to Opa he has been moved to an extended care facility and seems to be stable for now. I hope this email finds you well and your air mattress full of ......
In Jesus

Hi John,
Thankyou so much for the daily blogs. We have read them all and feel as if we have been where you have been, without the rain in our faces and flat tires, and cold etc. (you get the picture) Our prayers have been with all of you daily and we pray that the last few days of this tour will be great with some sunshine thrown in. May you have a wonderful celebration in Halifax and may God's name be praised.
Thanks again John, and you can come and stay here next time you are in Kelowna. God bless you, as you return to a "normal" life.
Dick & Winnie - Kelowna


Day 68 - later that day...

Aug 31, 2005

Later that day… I thought about my Grandfather quite a bit today. Even found myself shedding a few tears at the thought of missing him. Good thing it was raining (all day long). I wondered what it would be like to be mentally aware and have your body shut down on you; the feelings of loss of control would be immense. One of our flat tire stops today, along side the road in a heavy rain, made me feel a bit out of control; protocol at these types of break downs is that everyone wait while the cyclist fixes his tire. You’ve got no control in a situation like this; over the fact of a flat, over the repair speed, over the rain. And the very small side of me has the gall to get just a little bit antsy. How trite when you know that some people are imprisoned in their beds, by their physical need to depend on others, by their inert and hapless bodies. God help us both.
We also laughed a lot today. Terry rode with us for the duration, and at one point, after I made a few ‘tuning radio’ sounds, and then announced, “Welcome to the Terry Veldbloom Gospel Hour,” he preached a 15 minute hell fire and brimstone, Southern Baptist, sermon. We were almost falling off our bikes with laughter, as we climbed this bill hill, the rain coming down in buckets, as Terry boisterously condemned the evils of television. At the five minute mark we thanked him for making us laugh… but he was only at point #1… 10 minutes later he had deacon Rob take up the collection.

This afternoon I also thought a bit about my upcoming flight home on Monday. It’s hard to imagine that in 5 hours I’ll cover as much territory as it took me 8 weeks to cycle. I’m hoping it’s clear and I can see the roads. I imagine God can see the roads.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 05:38 PM PDT
Greetings John,
I've enjoyed your entries - you and the others willl be missed. I laughed at today's entry -"Terry's Gospel Hour - please say hello to Terry from his friends at CSS (Christian Stewardship Services). Thanks.
James VanderLaan

Day 68 - later that day...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 09:14 AM PDT
We want more on that sermon of Terry's - hope he remembers it so we can enjoy it when he's back with us next week.
From "Terry's Team"


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