What I Like about going on the Wine Route

After five days of walking, biking and driving the Okanagan wine route, tasting as much wine as we could before our taste buds gave out we knew we had had enough. In fact now we are home and have unpacked and gloated over all the fabulous wine we just had to buy a bottle, or two or three of, I do not feel like drinking any of them. I’m thinking maybe a beer would be a nice change. I’m sure the feeling will pass.

I‘m amazed at the extent my knowledge of wine and how much my taste buds and sense of smell has developed since I first did a wine tour in the Okanagan three years ago. We didn’t even feel guilty if after tasting all the wines on offer our discerning brains told us it was all crap and we didn’t need to buy any of it. It helps if you trust your first instinct, ignore the tasting notes and try to tune out what the sommelier is telling you. After tasting five different Chardonnays from five different wineries I determined I like a Chardonnay to be lightly oaked with a taste of fruit. Too much oak and the flavour of the grape is lost, this is true of red wines as well.

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My Quiet Evangelism

Good news doesn’t have to be rehearsed.

Think about it. If there is a birth or a wedding, no one struggles with how to declare it.

We’re having a baby!

We’re getting married!

The right words are pretty obvious.

On the other hand, bad news requires more thought.

I regret to inform you that…

The cancer has spread.

There’s been an accident.

There is nothing more we can do.

Similarly, good brands spread more organically because the product speaks for itself. We don’t need convincing. We recognize that it is good.

Sure, they advertise good things too but this is usually a matter of bringing something good to our attention.

With evangelism, we are actually commissioned with the tasks of delivering both the good news and the bad news. This is where things get tricky.

We have to address the false advertising of other “brands”.

We have to correct the misinformation that exists about our “brand”.

If we try too hard we come across like carnival barkers or hack magicians. Some people have gotten the impression that we are selling something.

But grace is the free gift of God.

I’m uncomfortable with the idea of faith as a sales pitch and yet I recognize that there is a propositional aspect to truth.

People have to be presented with truth claims before they can accept them.

Many Christians are deathly afraid of sharing about their faith with others. Because of this, a large amount of resources have been developed over the last twenty years to assuage these fears, most notably Sharing Jesus without Fear. The aim of these materials is to equip people to turn the conversation toward the gospel in a natural and non-confrontational way.

But then, there is something about the resulting style of presentation that strikes both Christians and non-Christians as disingenuous.

I don’t, as a rule, talk to strangers about my faith but then I never neglect an opportunity when one presents itself directly. If someone asks me what I believe, I tell them. If someone makes a statement about the Bible or about Jesus that I believe is misguided, I engage them.

But I don’t turn a conversation about the Dallas Cowboys into a Billy Graham crusade and I don’t go looking for arguments.

I realize that many of the first Christians did talk to strangers and were confrontational. I realize that many Christians have found this approach very effective.

In the whole scheme of Christ’s hands and feet, I like to think I serve a different function. Some people are a megaphone. Others of us, like me, are a whispered reassurance that God is here and that He is good.

There is a quiet confidence that comes with true faith that enables one to be still amid chaos or to move with the fury and intensity of God’s love.

May we, one and all, possess that strength.

Interview with Ken Lang, a crime author of Walking Among the Dead

Ken Lang is a seasoned detective and true crime author. His book Walking Among the Dead is available in paperback and on Kindle. Keep up with him on Twitter @detkenlang.

Ken shares more about his faith and discusses police shows, why we kill, and his latest book. Read part one here.

Have you ever wanted to quit and find another line of work?

Yes… after 22 years of working as a police officer/detective, I must admit that the crime and violence have worn on me.

Recently, while recovering from a medical procedure that incapacitated me for 6 weeks, I got a taste of working from home.  During that time I was able to finish my first book and work on getting it published. I must say that I really enjoyed working from home and being with the family more.

On the other hand, I have reached 20 years of service with my current agency and am eligible to retire on a 50% retirement.  Considering I am only 43 years in age, I am looking to change directions in my career.  Perhaps when I finish my Master’s degree I will teach criminal justice courses in a college setting.  But with all the book ideas that I’ve come up with, I must confess that sitting on my deck and writing is awfully inviting. Read More …

Interview with the author Ken Lang

Ken Lang is a seasoned detective and true crime author. His book Walking Among the Dead is available in paperback and on Kindle. Here is the second part of the interview with Ken Lang.

How did you become a homicide detective?

Actually, upon joining the police department, my aspiration was to become a homicide detective.  After cutting my teeth in patrol, I applied to become a precinct level detective, investigating crimes that did not fall under a specialized unit.  With my sights set on working murders, I knew I would need to work at headquarters in order to gain the exposure and experience to even be considered for such a unit.  Having completed two years of detective work at the precinct level, I applied to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and was selected to work Sex Crimes.  I worked in that unit for 3 years before moving over to the Robbery Unit that is responsible for investigating commercial robberies.  Commercial robberies often have a tendency to turn violent (i.e. victim is stabbed or shot), so I was selected to attend the Francis Lee Glessner School at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; a required training school for homicide detectives in our agency.  Just a few years after completing this school, several positions became available in the Homicide Unit.  I applied and was selected. Read More …