Daniel Reynolds

photo of Daniel ReynoldsDaniel Reynolds came to Trinity Western planning to learn how to snowboard while studying on the West Coast. After three years in the Religious Studies department, he has yet to escape the confines of the library to make it to the mountains. While failing in this endeavor, Daniel has been able to cross #14 off his List of Life Goals by winning an International Dodgeball Competition. He is now excited to work on the remainder of his list. Daniel was born in Manitoba, raised in Alberta, trained in Ontario, and spends his summers elsewhere.

Recent Blog Entries

Welcome to 2010

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:53:38 GMT

I have a lot of free time.

I’m not complaining, but it means I have to find ways to occupy my spare hours. Lately, I have been watching and reading all the year-end reviews. It seems like every themed TV channel and/or website is offering a retrospective on 2009.[1] And every magazine cover is oriented towards reflecting on the past 12 months.[2] While we reflect on 2009 and look forward to 2010, we are considering the very best of the year.[3] This annual reflection is heightened with the first decade of a new millennia coming to a close. Regardless of the medium, there is an emphasis on the great things within a 365-day span. A quick sampling of current headlines and magazine covers is revealing. As I survey the media landscape, I cannot help but reflect on those around me. I am amazed by their accomplishments. How did they do it?

How can a missionary kid from Florida become a three-time Heisman finalist?[4]

How does an inner city kid graduate with distinction from Harvard?

How does a college dropout become the wealthiest man in the world?

But there is another side to the closing days of 2009. It provides us with an opportunity to anticipate the months ahead. My questioning of the grand achievements of others quickly translates into more personal queries.

How can I, with my mediocre GPA, get into law school?

How can a private liberal arts university thrive amidst rising tuition costs and a floundering global economy?

How can my church be filled to capacity on Sunday mornings?

How can I make a difference?

As I reflect on 2009, I cannot help but anticipate 2010. The past successes of others inspire our future accomplishments. So, without further ado, here are my 2010 New Year’s Resolutions:

Act. Learn. Choose. Love. Unite. Provide. Imagine. Make. Enable. Expect. Accomplish. Believe. Think. Dream. Express. Motivate. Teach. Achieve. Fight. Talk. Manage. Invest. Decide. Change. Hope. Belong. Serve. Commit. Play. Encourage. Uncover. Inspire. Lead. Give. Practice. Doubt. Explain. Participate. Gain. Fix. Confess. Disagree. Receive. Admire. Tell. Stimulate. Interact. Pioneer. Reward. Connect. Thank. Admit. Engage. Follow. Realize. Value. Agree. Partner. Move. Educate. Amuse. Liberate. Rebuild. Inform. Rely. Complete. Plan. Evaluate. Volunteer. Deserve. Answer. Identify. Withstand. Rejoice. Sing. Perfect. Counsel. Involve. Anticipate. Improve. Direct. Link. Pretend. Apologize. Rescue. Mentor. Explore. Rally. Applaud. Determine. Search. Validate. Persuade. Facilitate. Apply. Critique. Question. Happen. Cooperate. Influence. Approve. Reach. Argue. Donate. Relate. Assist. Cherish. Forgive. Promote. Attain. Test. Balance. Offer. Strengthen. Boost. Care. Urge. Graduate. Want. Charge. Include. Refuse. Debate. Earn. Allow. Discover. Abide. Raise. Employ. Tolerate. Prepare. Excite. Find. Further. Go. Build. Help. Increase. Launch. Advise. Champion. Maintain. Bolster. Multiply. Observe. Clarify. Open. Permit. Experiment. Advocate. Communicate. Preach. Cause. Read. Save. Join. Share. Empower. Prove. Define. Create. Escape. Design. Shock. Invite. Focus. Coach. Dare. Accept. Pray. Instruct. Speak. Prevail. Challenge. Examine. Reflect. Ignite. Become. Overcome. Ask. Enjoy. Laugh. Succeed. Write. Live. Do.

 

 

An Admittedly Lacking Postscript

If you cannot observe the common theme, it is because of my shortcomings as a writer. It's not you, it's me. So here’s my second try.

The answer to the above questions is relatively simple. In fact, I would even go a step further. The answer to each and every one of these questions is the same.

How can I/you/we achieve greatness? The answer is found in my list of resolutions. Each of these resolutions is united by a common theme, and this theme is the answer to our riddle.

That is because the path to greatness starts with action. It is not the start but to start. It is not a plan but it means to plan. Pick a verb and put it to use. Start with any one of the above, or find your own. If you desire greatness, and you must simply begin.


[1] For example.

[2] For example.

[3] Undoubtedly there is also the worst, but for once in my life I am going to focus exclusively on the positive.

[4] I’m not sure if I am a Tebow fan. I am less certain of his ability at the pro-level. But there is no denying his success thus far.

Chapter Seven: Prison

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 06:00:02 GMT

Last night I went to prison.

Please, allow me to explain.

Last night I attended a Prison Fellowship service at a local penitentiary. To celebrate the holidays, I gathered with some inmates, a few volunteers, and the chaplain.

I must confess. I was not eager to be at the service. I went mostly out of a spirit of obligation and duty and would rather have been watching Sunday Night Football. I had no idea what to expect, but how good could it really be? Certainly, it would not compare to a normal church service, would it?

I sat down in a flimsy plastic chair, glancing around the room at the few dozen gathered in the “chapel.” More of a meeting hall than a church, the chapel served as a multi-faith, multi-purpose room. Government restrictions demand that no particular religion or group receive preference over another, and that rule was clearly enforced. Miniature Buddhas sat on a shelf in the far corner. A Chinese calendar had been tacked on the wall opposite me. Muslim paraphernalia was scattered throughout. At the back, there was a small kitchenette with a coffee maker brewing a fresh batch. Towards the front, there was an old nativity scene displayed in front of a make shift pulpit, the lone indicator of a Christian meeting place. It was a far cry from the local church I had attended earlier in the day.

The service began in typical fashion, with the chaplain leading the congregation in song. But the similarities with normal church services ended there. Without a piano, guitar, or even talent, they sang with what they had. There was no band, the sound system was non-existent, and a multi-media presentation was not being projected on a big screen.

The first verse started slowly. As they lifted their voices in strained unison, it became apparent that this was not an award-winning choir. I half expected the chaplain to throw his hands up in surrender, not worship. Gaining momentum with the chorus, the second verse started strongly, almost powerfully. I listened more carefully, looking for them to falter. By the second time they sang the chorus, it was unmistakable. The group sang passionately, making their missing talent insignificant. More significantly absent from this group was the pride that I normally associated with many worship services. Unaware of their own inaptitude, they cared not for the quality of their sound. I sat in the back for the remainder of the songs, apparently the only one in the room that noticed how awful we sounded. 

It became even more obvious when the chaplain called an inmate to the front for a special performance. The song choice was difficult for the most accomplished of soloists. He chose to sing ‘Ave Marie,’ unaccompanied by music and in front of a crowd that had probably never before heard anything in Latin. In any other setting, it would have been comical. I can easily picture this performance being met with laughter and jeering in my local church. Spoiled by theatre quality performances and concert-like atmospheres, we demand the best. He was not.

His talent was meagre and modest. As he started the first line with a deep breath and an off-key note, I feared the worst. I expected the backlash to start any moment. These were hardened criminals. If there was ever a tough crowd, surely this was it. But the jeers did not come. Instead of smiles of mocking, I saw nods of respect. Where eyelids normally would drop off in boredom, here there were eyes closed in thoughtful reflection and prayer. Here it was met with genuine appreciation.

It was in that moment that my attitude changed. I did not pity them for what they lacked. I ceased to compare them in a negative light to the other churches I had attended in my life. Instead, I found myself envying them for their genuine passion and desire to worship God.

I often find myself sitting in my local pew, commenting on the poor song selection. Or criticizing the sound quality, lack of percussion, or inaptitude of the choir. My hypocrisy was revealed in that moment. I often complain about the lack of passion in my local church. However, here I was confronted with the truth. Better musicians, more popular songs, and nicer buildings do not change the heart. My attitude was revealed for what it was: foolish and vain.

I wonder if God attends our services with the same attitude. Would he leave and complain about the volume of the worship service. Or the lack of good songs? Would He be disappointed with the choice of sermon, since He had undoubtedly heard it before? Would he be frustrated by the outdated cultural references and humourless jokes coming from the pulpit? Would He leave the service and vow never to return unless there was a drastic change? Sadly, I worry that He might. 

I worry God is disappointed. I fear that He is upset. But He is not upset with the quality of the service but with the insincerity in my heart.

Last night in prison I was reminded of 1 Kings 19.

God tells Elijah to wait in anticipation of His presence. So Elijah goes up a mountain, waiting for a message from God. He is anxiously expecting God to reveal Himself. A strong wind, an earthquake, and fire all pass before him, but God does not speak through any of these. Instead God speaks to Elijah in a whisper.

Elijah anticipated God’s message to arrive in a certain form but it did not. Instead, Elijah’s expectations were shattered by the arrival of God’s presence in an unexpected way. While it was unexpected, it was no less genuine.

I wonder what expectations we bring with us. I compare my expectations to those of my brothers behind bars. And I wonder how God views our different expectations.

Last night I went to prison. I am thinking of becoming a repeat offender.

To Do List

Sat, 12 Dec 2009 02:33:52 GMT

list

Contingency Planning

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 02:21:35 GMT

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Personally, I am unwilling to accept failure. As such, I am beginning the task of planning my post-university life. 

As graduation looms closer and closer, I realize it is time to start evaluating my future (plans). While I have some ideas pertaining to my life after TWU, nothing has been decided yet. And, if I have learned anything in my short life, it is that back-up plans are important. As such, here is my list of alternate plans for post-graduation, in particular order.

B. Plan B

The ultimate.

C. A Close Second

If above doesn’t work out, I can always develop a website and sell it to Google for my first billion.

D. Internship Program

This is a shout-out to my friend Rob Raike, who nearly 4 years later still tops his all-time favourite TV moments. If Cabbie doesn’t work out, this could be fun. Or something to do with this.

E. Gym teacher

Near the top of everyone’s back-up list. And why not? If I can’t play dodgeball professionally, this is probably the next best thing.

F. Mercenary

Realistically, I envision it being somewhere between this and this. I can deal with that.

G. Really?

Every great contingency plan involves getting paid to do something you love. I do this for free everyday.

H. Truck Driver

I would do it just for the food. And to potentially be involved in the last scene of Die Hard III.

I. Contingency Plan I

I figure this should last me a few years.

J. Ball Boy

If Kramer can do it, anyone can. As long as this doesn’t happen.

K. Bounty Hunter

I would have to grow my hair, but I could see myself following in his footsteps. I don’t even want a TV show – I just want to see justice served.

L. Research Assistant

You’re probably envisioning wearing a lab coat. That’s boring. Instead, I could get paid to test new products. Video games. Food samples. Pharmaceutical drugs. The options really are endless.

M. Why Not?

This exists solely because people need another option. I just think it would be fun.

N. Mob Boss

I own every season of The Sopranos and I have watched every minute of Godfather I and II (and most of III). My favourite meals invariably involve some form of pasta. Every college prank I have ever orchestrated resembles something close to the Italian Job. And I would be willing to purchase a large gold chain and flaunt my chest hair. What else do I need?

O. Photographer

Pro: You can charge whatever you want.

Con: You probably have to attend weddings

Pro: Anyone can do it.

Con: Anyone can do it.

Pro: If it doesn’t look good you can just label it “artistic” and sell it for more

Con: Did I mention weddings?

P. Valet Parker

Only if it involves cars worth $100K plus. I’m picky like that.

Q. Flight Attendant

Who doesn’t want to get paid to travel the world? Being able to serve juice and pretzels is just an added bonus.

R. Canadian Armed Forces

Naturally, this falls lower than Mercenary and French Foreign Legion. The pay and perks aren’t on the same level.

S. Cab driver

I have to be driving a cab when someone jumps in and shouts “follow that car.” If none of the above work out, it could happen.

T. Teacher

Those who can’t do, teach. Obviously, if I get to this point I can’t do so I might as well teach. The quality of public education can’t go any lower, can it?

U. Plan Q

It pays well.

V. Click here for Plan V

Essentially, you get paid to watch the Leafs and Raptors play. Any other teams and this wouldn’t be so close to the bottom.

W. Doesn’t everyone end up here immediately after TWU? Or is it here?

X. Be Cool

Stay in school. Maybe a doctorate like this guy. 

Y. Pastor.

I’ll try anything once.

Z. Professional Blogger  

Older Posts