Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Sermon I Need to Hear?

THey say you always preach the sermon you need to hear. I really don't believe that to be true, but I do think that it happens from time to time. As I plan out what I will preach this Sunday (title BUsy-ness and Prayer). I know that this is one of those times.

The sermon is shaping up to be about the need to get out of the trap of needing to always be doing, to always be productive, and take time to simply be. The need to take time working on relationghip with GOd. THe need to recharge, in essence the need for Sabbath time.

Now I never claim to always be productive (seldom productive on some days) but I know that I don't do a great job of the relationship building, on the recharging, on the Sabbath stuff. I fill my time. THat is why I like the need to walk the dog. For that 30 minutes (on average) I am not doing anything. My mind is free to go whither it will--I got a good start on at least one devotional on a walk. I may not formally pray but it is Sabbath time. It is time when I can stop and breathe the clear air, or look at the fresh snow, or pause to watch the river. It is a chore that needs doing but I am also learning that it is a gift.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fun Times!!!

Latelly Sarah has decided that she needs to take her diaper off during "nap time" (understand that no actual napping takes place 9 out of 10 days). Generally not a problem.

Today mom went to let her out of bed and found that we had pooped. Now the throw rug and bedding (from both beds) is being washed and mom got to wash poop off the hard wood floor. Please tell me toilet training is just around the corner?????

New Blog

I have now started a blog for the church. IT will be a plce to post news, coming events, previews of upcoming services. Pictures of the church should show up there too (once some are taken on the digital).

Check it out Riverview Rolls On

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Emerging Spirit

Partly as a response to our Annual Meeting today I went looking at some stuff on the UCCan web site. The UCCan has launched an initiative called Emerging Spirit to help reach people in the age range of 30-45.

There is some interesting ideas and information on the web link above. But I am wondering how much it will help. Unless we in the church get better at describing why we go all the bells and whistles in the world won't be enough. Unless the church can do more to invite people to come they won't be there to see what is new. Unless the church is ready to let go of older ways of doing and being then new ways will never have room to catch hold.

It remains to see how effective Emerging Spirit will be. Will it take root and grow or will it be consigned to the pile of "good ideas that went nowhere"? But there is wisdom in trying to find out what will make the church relevant in people's lives. As one person said this morning during a discussion about vision and change "the wrong people are having this discussion. We need to hear from the people who aren't here about what might need to be changed."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Time for A Change?

This part of Canada is heavily reliant on the forestry industries as an economic base. THese industries use massive amounts of power to operate. Currently they are suffering what some have called a "perfect storm". A high Canadian dollar makes their product more expensive in the US, electricity costs in this province are higher than in other jurisdictions, fibre costs are high, transport costs (both of logs and of finished product) are increasing, and (in the case of lumber mills) there is a trade dispute around duties in the largest market.

Daily in the regional news there is a story about one or another mill that is announcing lay offs, or announcing the possibility of lay offs, or threatening to close altogether. Inherent in all these stories and announcements is the feeling that the government has to step in. The government has to lower operating cost, the government needs to lower electricity rates, or resolve the softwood lumber dispute, or pay a share of road construction costs, or lower stumpage fees. Or better yet, the government has to do all these things. Either the government acts yesterday or the industry will die.

Now make no mistake, there is a problem here. Despite my suspicions that the companies are milking this for all the poilitcal hay they can (to totally mix my imagery) I have no doubt that the economics are not good. And the lay offs/slow downs/closures make a real impact on the life of our communities. But still I wonder, maybe it is time for a change? Maybe it is time to rethink things.

THere comes a time when we need to make hard choices. Maybe the hard choice to be made involves deciding to keep on keeping on or to take a hard look at what is sustainable economically and environmentally in both the short and the long term. MAybe the short term choice needs to be to shore up forestry for a limited period and pour more and more resources into finding a new economic foundation, or a way to do forestry using far less power. This will cause upset and turmoil but maybe in the long term it is needed.

In last Monday's paper there was a letter asking why this town continues to look mainly to resource-based industries as its economic base (in conjunction with discussions around "mitigating" the planned closure of the generating station). Why not look elsewhere, at other industries? Maybe it is time the whole region asked itself that question. After all, what happens when the forests no longer provide enough trees or the rocks enough ore? That day will come at the rate we are going. That day will come. Lets start planning for a change now, before it is too late.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm not here

If anyone asks that is. I am actually writing my last devotional for Ordinary Time (or rewriting actually).. Who knew that a simple little devotional would lead me to reflect on guilt, shame, inadequacy and atonement -- all on the same day. Oh yeah it needs a rewrite.

Or of course I could be figuring out what my introductory comments for Sundy's sermon discussion will be (Scripture is the new heaven and earth from Rev 21 and the houses on rock and sand in Matthew 7. Discussion questions are:
  • What are RUC’s greatest strengths?
  • What is your hope for RUC?
  • Where do you see the need to change? To stay the same?

Mind you I think option c sounds good--veg out watching an ER rerun and pass all the other stuff to my "day off" tomorrow. Yeah, that fits. Night all.

Oh and an update on my celebrity reader gig. THey ran late and I was cancelled--or as the newspaper editior (who read first) put it "they made sure the real celebrities got to read." Hey with friends like that... (Update Feb 2: Or words to that effect--maybe not those exact ones but the same intent was heard)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Weather now...

You Are Rain

You can be warm and sexy. Or cold and unwelcoming.
Either way, you slowly bring out the beauty around you.

You are best known for: your touch

Your dominant state: changing
ALthough truth be told I wanted to have multiple answers on most, if not all of the questions. This seems pretty close though...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

E-mail Humour

HI GORD: Ithought there might be something in this you could use for your Mother's Day service. I laughed right out loud at some of it. Kids never fail to come up with an answer
Why God made moms" answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work & work at home, & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.


I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that. "Why?" my daughter asked.
"Because it's been laying outside, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?" "Uh," ...I was thinking quickly, " All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."
We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
"OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."
"Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart.

"Dear Lord," the preacher began with arms extended and a rapturous look on his upturned face, "without you we are but dust..."
He would have continued, but at that moment one very obedient little girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mommy, WHAT is butt dust?"
Church was pretty much over at that point


It seems I mis-spoke yesterday. APparently the national (in Canada) event is National Literacy Day which is this Wednesday. However the mayor here has declared it to be Literacy Week.

For information about Family Literacy Day you can go here

Monday, January 23, 2006

Say WHAT??!?!?!?!

THere are dozens of things I should be doing so of course I am reading blogs. Over at Adam's World I found this post that made me sit up and blink.

NOw actualy to be honest I had heard this news item on the radio. But I have to wonder. The only way one would feel the need to make it explicit that eating a ballot is illegal is if someone, somewhere has done it. Some sort of statement about the candidates? WOnder if the ballot was then vomited up? And how would it be counted?

Apparently, I am a celebrity

Never knew that. But last week I was asked to be a "celebrity reader". SO apparently it is easy to be a celebrity in this town.

This week is Literacy week. There are a variety of storytimes happening around town. On Wednesday night they will have different community members reading stories during a supper event. Being a big fan of reading to children (and later reading with children) I had no choice but to agree. Now I just have to decide what I will read--something with good story and pictures but not too long.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An Election Prayer

Monday January 23 is election day in Canada. This is a (modified) segment from the Prayers of the People this morning:

God who calls us to live together, to share our joys and sorrows, we pray this day for all who will be going to polling stations tomorrow. We pray that we all will have wisdom and discernment to choose what we believe to be right for our country. Grant that we may have the strength to make choices based on a vision of what we could be, rather than out of fear of what may be.

We pray for all who have chosen to put their name forward. May they be gracious both in victory and defeat. May they all feel able, after the votes are counted, to continue working towards a better Canada, whether inside the Parliament or outside.

We pray for those who will be elected, the ones who will sit on the government benches and the ones who will sit on the opposition benches. Grant them, we pray, wisdom, courage, strength and discernment. Allow that they will use more energy dealing with the truly important issues and not get distracted by the flashy issues that make for good headlines and sound bites.

God who calls us to live together in joy and sorrow, these things we pray in the name of Jesus, the one who calls us all to work for a world where we can all live together in your shalom. Amen

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Assessing Needs, Visioning, Hoping

Where there is no vision, the people perish
-- Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

Sue has a post about Needs Assessments which is worth reading.

This is something I have been thinking about often over the last couple of years. There is a great deal of value in groups taking time every 5 years or so to assess what they are doing/could be doing/should be doing/shouldn't be doing.

But it also strikes closer to home. How often do I stop to assess where I am? Um I think I did that last when doing the forms for Transfer and Settlement (as a legacy from our Methodist founders, United Church clergy are settled when first ordained or commissioned--which is sometimes a very unsettling process). More and more I am finding hints that God is calling me to look at what to do next, both for us as a family and within the church.

At the church, I have been gently pushing for a needs assessment process for a while now. Not actively or constantly but gently putting the idea out there every once in a while. I don't want to push it too hard as it has to be their/our choice, not mine, to enter such a self-study. In a week we have our Annual Meeting. During the service I intend to get table discussion about visioning during the sermon time (after some introductory/focussing remarks). THen it is my hope that during the meeting itself we can move beyond talking about "How do we connect? How do we make ourselves relevant?" and into something more active. A project comes to mind, although often such projects are inward, maintenance type things (new roof, insulation, new floor...) but an outreach project would be good. OR at least starting the process for a needs assessment of some sort. Doing the latter would come in handy when it comes time for us to move from here, as they will then be required to do one with PResbytery involvement as preparation to creating a job description and it is helpful to have done it more recently.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pleasures (guilty and nonguilty)

As seen at various places around the RGBP webring
  1. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Dark, milk, bittersweet, white, its all good (a female coworker once described my chocolaholism as "worse than any PMS-ing woman")
  2. hugs and cuddles from Daddy's princesses
  3. a nice soak in a tub of hot water
  4. walking the dog -- agreed, sometimes it seems like a chore to fit into a busy day but really I like it, gives me time to think.
  5. playing games on the computer (INternet and self-contained) -- this is a great way to eat up time with nothing to show for it, unlike blog reading which is always informative.

Actually this is pretty close...

AS found at Bene Diction's place:

Your Life Path Number is 11

Your purpose in life is to inspire others

Your amazing energy draws people to you, and you give them great insight in return.
You hold a great amount of power over others, without even trying.
You have the makings of an inventor, artist, religious leader, or prophet.

In love, you are sensitive and passionate. You connect with your partner on a very deep level.

You have great abilities, but you are often way too critical of yourself.
You don't fit in - and instead of celebrating your differences, you dwell on them.
You have high expectations of yourself. But sometimes you set them too high and don't achieve anything.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I never knew I was so interesting!

FOllowed Mary Beth to this one:

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Gord!

  1. Early thermometers were filled with Gord instead of mercury.
  2. If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and Gord would be as small as a pea.
  3. Most bottles and jars contain at least twenty-five percent recycled Gord.
  4. The moon is 400 times closer to the Earth than Gord, and 400 times smaller.
  5. There are 336 dimples on Gord!
  6. The first Gord was made in 1853, and had no pedals.
  7. If the annual Australian Gord crop was laid end to end, it would stretch around the world seven times.
  8. American Airlines saved forty thousand dollars a year by eliminating Gord from each salad served in first class.
  9. Over 2000 people have now climbed Gord, with roughly ten percent dying on the way down.
  10. Abraham Lincoln, who invented Gord, was the only US president ever granted a patent!
I am interested in - do tell me about

We Are One?

In her hymn We Are One (#402 in Voices United) Doreen Lankshear-Smith says: “We are one, as we feast, as we feast peace becomes the sign. In the bread and the wine, there’s a sense of love divine”. These words are very meaningful to me this week as I contemplate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The feast of bread and wine is one of the things that ties the Christian world together. In almost any faith community there will be those days when the worship leader will break the loaf and pour the cup while saying “Do this in remembrance of me”. In a world where it is all too easy to talk about what makes us different, it is good to remember what links us together.

Many people lament the breaking of the Christian community into so many denominations. Some long for a return to a time when there was simply “the church” as a unified thing. But such a time never existed. Differences of opinion and interpretation have led to splits in the church since at least the time of St. Paul, if not earlier. But I see this diversity as a gift.

If the church had been truly united we may only have had one Gospel, Mark. Imagine a world with no Christmas story, no Good Samaritan, no Sermon on the Mount. From the ancient diversity we got 4 gospels, with different pictures of Jesus for us to see. And that diversity continues to bring us gifts.

Today there are more different views on various aspects of Christian theology than I can count. Some of those views are totally opposed to each other. But still it can be a gift. Because of our diversity, our variety, there is a church where different people can feel at home. I would never be a good Anglican, or Roman Catholic, or fundamentalist. But I don’t need to be, just as people who feel alienated by the theology of my denomination are not forced to stay and agree with it.

But, I hear some saying, with so many viewpoints and interpretations what makes us one church? How can all claim the same tradition? Because of Christ, because of things like the Holy Meal. I have met many people with whom I disagree on a wide range of topics. I have yet to meet anyone with whom I would refuse to share the communion meal. That taste of bread and wine reminds us that we are part of one body. It reminds us that we all proclaim a Saviour who did the unthinkable – he died and rose again.

This week Christians across this country are offering prayers for Christian Unity. We echo the prayer of Jesus “that all may be one”. By this we remember that what we have in common is, in the end, far more important than what separates us. There will never be one unified church, but with a little prayer and a little work we can still be united in declaring the amazing love and grace of God. Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

THis is so, well, not right

You're a scientific intellectual.

What Sort of Intellectual Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

An INFP as a scientific intellectual? Well, maybe there is some accuracy...I guess... sort of...

Monday, January 16, 2006

WHen is it TOO inclusive?

Christianity has a root of being radically inclusive (IN Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.). Jesus of Nazareth ate with sinners and touched the unclean. THe challenge for the church ever since has been what to do about that inclusivity.

The denomination which I call home prides itself on being inclusive. WE talk about our strength in our diversity. We are proud that we were the first major denomination in Canada to ordain women, that we made a statement that sexual orientation was not a bar to ordination, that we are willing to face our culpability in the mis-treatment of First Nations people. We try to portray ourselves as being open to conservative and liberal and radical versions of Christian theology. It sounds great doesn't it?

BUt I am not so sure. I have a fear that such inclusivity can be a problem. If we try to be open to all, to be "all things to all people" don't we run the risk of becomong nothing? Is there the chance that we will so lose track of who we are, in an attempt to find a definition that appeals to all, that we will literally not be able to describe, and sell, ourselves? I think there is. I think it is alright to realize that we are not, can not, and will not be home for everybody.

WIthin the United Church of Canada we have issues that we call "denomination shaping". I think this is one of them. I think that it is time we found a way to define ourselves. I think we do this not to shut people out but to be truly welcoming. It seems more honest to me to be able to say "this is who we are. It is up to you to decide if this is a place you can call home". My hunch is that the definition we come up with would lead people on both ends of the theological spectrum to ask "is this the place for me?" and that can be a good thing.

15 years ago, as I was starting the process towards ordination, I met with the chair and vice-chair of our local Ministry & Personnel committee. In that meeting the chair asked "are you sure this is the church for you?". He said he had talked to clergy who, after many years in the pastorate, suddenly realized they were in the wrong church. To be honest I thought it was an incredibly odd question at the time. Now I see the wisdom in it. And still I can say unreservedly YES to it. I just wish we had a way of knowing who we actually are--which may not be who we think we are.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

SIngin' in tub

Did something tonight I hadn't done in a long while. Sang my way through an old camp songbook while soaking in the tub. Just 'cause.

Well last week I did the same with the Hymn Book but that was for a purpose, to help me figure out my Annual Report. But tonight was just for me, a time of memories and devotion (and testing if I could still remember some of those tunes). And my did it feel good.

Maybe I should do that more often--help to relax away the day.

But what will everyone say?

I always have trouble with resolutions so I followed Will Smama' s example and got this one:

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Start working on the street corner.

Get your resolution here

Friday, January 13, 2006

RGBP Friday Five -- Travel

Leaving home whether for a week or a month can open space in our hearts, minds and souls, allowing the Spirit to move in ways unexpected. Seeing new places and meeting new people can change our perspective on the world. And sometimes getting out of town can be just plain fun!

Tell us five places you have been or trips you have taken that have been important to you. The point is not so much the place as the effect.
  1. Disneyland 1981 -- hey I was 12 and got to fly to LA, see Disneyland, Knotts, Universal Studios, San Diego Zoo.
  2. England/Ireland/Scotland 1996 -- when my first internship crashed I decided that I would take a trip, so I started to save for this 2 month exploration. It not only let me see lots of stuff but gave me time to think, to heal.
  3. Edmonton and BC 2002 -- this was the first trip back home after I moved here. It was also the first trip Patty and I had gone on together. Most remarkable for the 30 hour bus ride at its beginning (my alternator decided to die just before we left so new plans needed to be made). But also Patty got to meet my family and friends.
  4. Caribbean 2003 -- A Caribbean cruise honeymoon. Need I say more?
  5. Edmonton and Jasper 2005/6 -- the trip we just took, flying with the girls, letting them see the mountains, seeing the excitement again through their eyes, time with family.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A God of Surprises

Preparing for Sunday there are a number of things running through my head.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread
'We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.' Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see'
These Passages remind me that this is a God who acts in ways we don't expect. This is the God who says "Behold, I am doing a new thing". God acts to supplant the family of Eli in favour of an untried boy. And through that God proposes to lead a whole nation. God acts in a time when "the word of the Lord was rare" and starts a new ball rolling.

IN the Gospel we hear that there is doubt about the man from Nazareth, after all he is from Nazareth.

What surprise is God offering to us today? What new thing is happening, coming from way out in the wilderness, to bring us hope and promise? What needs to be supplanted for God to act? What voices in the night do we ascribe to wind and weather and so ignore? What news do we reject because it seems silly, or comes from a disreputable source?

In these questions lie our search for new life. They lead us to find the new way of being. In this part of the world the economic structure is under attack. We need a new base on which to build. We need God's surprising wisdom and leadership to find a new way of being.

Now just to tie that all into a comprehensible sermon...

Annual Report TIme

Just finished my Annual Report, figured I would share it here.
We have this ministry and we are not discouraged;
it is by God’s own power that we may live and serve…
We have this ministry, O God receive our living.
Here at RUC we have what is, in the end, a fairly healthy ministry. And as I look back at what has happened since our last Annual Meeting I am quite sure that indeed we are not discouraged. And let’s face it, it would be easy to be discouraged. In 2004 we had a $9 000 deficit. We were unable to find new Board Members. There were people who were openly sharing concerns about how long we would continue. We had a Sunday School that was going to sleep.

But now think about what happened in 2005. While final numbers are not in, it looks like we will come very close to breaking even financially this year – and expenses increased a bit as well. As a Board we adjusted to smaller numbers and functioned with no noticeable change. As a congregation we had very successful fellowship events. We restarted Sunday School with a small but reliable number of students. We remembered a sense of pride and hope in who we are and what we could be. In our discussions in at the end of our Stewardship campaign we remembered that RUC has made a difference not only in the lives of those who come regularly but also in the community at large. God has certainly been active in our midst in 2005

Of course challenges still face us. While we often find people willing to work on a specific project we are continue to have difficulty finding new Board members. Finances are a constant challenge in any church and we are no exception. We continue to struggle with how best to reach out to our inactive members and adherents. However, we continue to have hope. With God’s power and support we do continue to live and serve.
…Bearing hurts of those we serve, wounded bruised and bowed with pain
Holy Spirit, bread and wine, we die and rise again.
We have this ministry, O God receive our loving.
It is impossible for me to consider the past year of our lives, and our future, without remembering what happens outside this congregation. The life of Akn. both influences and is influenced by the lives of its faith communities. As we all know, this is an economically challenging time for all of NWO. Here we face the closure of a major employer. This brings pain for us and our neighbours. But still we go on. Still we talk about the promise of life beyond death, beyond all the deaths that we meet in the world. Still we stay, ready to comfort and support one another, ready to help breathe new life into a community that is terrified that they may be dying. It is not always easy but we continue the fight. We continue to offer loving hearts and willing hands to the benefit of Akn..
O Christ the tree of life, our end and our beginning
we grow to fullest flower when rooted in your love…
different cultures, different gifts the young and old a place.
We have this ministry, O God receive our giving.
May we continue to grow and flower together in 2006.

[1] Hymn Quoted is #510 in Voices United “We Have this Ministry” by Jim Strathdee ©1979 Desert Flower Music.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And so it begins...

THe true sibling rivalry that is. Younger daughter started playschool this morning. Whenever older sister heard about it she said "No! My school!". THis morning after mom left to deliver youngest, eldest spent 5-10 minutes in tears and yelling at daddy "I go school today!"

WEll I guess it is a good sign that she likes school so much?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Candidacy Story

Over at RGBP Songbird is asking about process stories that might be helpful to hear. I have no idea if mine if helpful to anyone besides me but here goes (an abridged version)

My story begins when I was in my undergrad and our minister asked if I had ever considered ministry. We all laughed. But the idea was planted and by 2.5 years later I found myself sitting in the University chaplain's office asking about the process. In hindsight, while the decision may have been right, the time was all wrong. But that is getting ahead of myself.

A year after my undergrad I started seminary, sort of coasting through as was my habit in school (I seemed to do as little work/reading as possible since grade school). And then in third year went on internship. THat was a much larger struggle than I had expected, although in retrospect the issues were already there. Internship brought into clear focus that the person who was most in the way of my proceeding towards ordination was me. I simply was not ready to be there yet. For the whole 10 months I struggled with trying to live into ministry, while remaining blind to how incredibly ineffective I was. Needless to say that internship was ruled "complete but unsuccessful" -- a fancy way of saying failed without using the F word.

When I say that I was the person blocking my path I mean it, now. Then I could hardly see it. But I had issues of self-confidence and self-liking to get through. What saved me was that I had a wonderful Education and Students Committee. THey refused to let me go on till they knew I was ready. AT times I resented them for it, thought they were just making me jump through hoops. But one of them put it very well "we have a responsibility to protect the church but also to protect you. If we let you go ahead to ordination, and you crashed in the first year (which would have happened) we are sure the church would survive. We aren't sure you would". That is a great definition of their role in my opinion. SO with their coaxing and coaching I took time. I worked in social services and was able to juggle a CPE into full-time work. I was told, not suggested told, to see a counselor and did. And in the end it worked out. I moved out of my own way. The next internship I passed easily. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now it is important to note that no process removes all of our blocks. I still struggle mightily with Pastoral Care, with the concept that I have anything worth offering to people or that they want me to come by. But the process worked. No matter how angry or resentlful I got at those people who I thought were blocking my path the process worked. They merely blocked the coming train wreck--sometimes the barricade is there for a reason.

An Election Quandary

WHat do you do when you don't feel you can vote for any of the candidates but still feel that it is important to vote?

That is my problem in this election (voting day Jan 23). None of the local candidates inspires me. ANd none of the party platforms inspires me enough to overlook the individual candidates. Oh well, at least I have 2 weeks to figure it out...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Now this is just plain Bizarre

Just read a story in the paper about an "unusual baptism". The family are big fans of Elvis apparently. The church in question was Christ the King Graceland Independent Anglican Church. To quote from the story (I can't find a link to it anywhere on Google):

Two year old Presley Mitchell was simultaneously welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Rock...The couple chose Sunday to baptize the boy because it would have been "The King's" 71st birthday. The tot was dressed as a mini-Elvis and baptised by an Elvis Presley preacher in a church dedicated to the memory of the King of Rock. "It's absolutely amazing that almost 30 years since his passing his presence is still here"...
Now to begin with, what the heck is an Independent Anglican Church? And why do this to the child? And really, is it about the baptism or the show

Sunday, January 08, 2006


HAt tip to Jo(e)
Four jobs I’ve had:
  • Family Support Worker
  • camp director -- and various other jobs at camp (paid and volunteer)
  • gasbar attendant -- paid my way through University this way
  • cook -- at 4 different places
Four movies I've seen more than once
  • Star Wars (all three of the Original trilogy)
  • Sound of Music
  • THe Princess Bride
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
Four places I’ve lived
  • Saskatoon (born there and then went to seminary there as an adult)
  • St. Albert (grew up there)
  • Lacombe (internship #2)
  • Edson (internship #1)
Four TV shows I’ve seen more than one episode of
  • MASH
  • ER
  • West Wing (although it isn't nearly as good this season)
  • Law & Order (all manifestations, even Trial by Jury)
Four places I've been on vacation
  • Disneyland (as a child)
  • Great Britain
  • Rocky Mountains (many times, most recently just last week)
  • FRINGE theatre festivals (in Edmonton and Winnipeg)
Four blogs I visit daily
See the blogroll in the sidebar? I visit any of those that have been updated each day. Some don't tell me (Blogrolling communication issues) so I visit them as well to check. No, I will not set aside 4 of them for this meme.

Four Favorite Foods
  • Chocolate (can that count for all four?)
  • corn on the cob
  • pasta
  • stuffing--which is really the only reason to have a turkey dinner
Four places I'd rather be (actually I am happy where I am. These are 4 places I would like to travel)
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • a cross-country tour of Canada, by rail
  • Germany, well all of Western Europe
  • Israel/Palestine
The four CDs I listened to most recently
  • Best of the 80's
  • Rankin Family Collection
  • World Playground (remember I have 2 toddlers)
  • The Needfire
Last four vehicles I’ve owned
I have only had four vehicles in my life. The first was a 1977 Civic Hatchback I had for 6 years. Then I upgraded to a 1988 Accord 4 door (4 years). Next was a brand new 2002 Grand Am which we only kept for 20 months because with baby #2 on the way it wasn't going to be enough room. Now we have a 2004 Venture van.

Things in my life that come in fours
  • Seasons
  • Weeks of vacation I get

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Hat Tip to Kathryn

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.



Chalcedon compliant


























Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

Mind you I would have expected higher scores on Adoptionism and likely Arianism. THe Pelagianism score is no surprise whatsoever. And I am really not sure that those three are heretical (despite what the ancients might say).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And what about Personal Responsibility?

Tuesday night we were watching Law & Order: SVU and I was intrigued by part of the defence. The claim was made that witnessing an act of gun violence made one far more likely to commit such an act. The claim was made that it is like catching a disease.

Now, at its heart there is nothing new here. It is the same logic which claims that violent movies/TV shows/video games make children more violent. And in part I agree. Desensitization is real. WE can easily become so inured to these things that we don't feel the outrage anymore (the TV news being a prime example). But there is something missing. Correct me if I am wrong but aren't we still responsible for our actions?

The argument made on SVU was essentially that the defendant (a child who killed his mother's murderer) was fated to act violently, that he had lost the ability to choose otherwise because he had become infected by this disease. When the expert witness was asked about others who witness gun violence and don't shoot someone his response was "your body is exposed to millions of viruses but you don't always get sick". Here I have a problem. We are still responsible for making choices. The defendant in question was told by the detectives "we'll get him" but still acted on his anger (and some guilt) to engage in an act of vengeance. Understandable yes, worthy of a plea-agreement, but not an chance to escape responsibility.

This stayed with me because I am working with John the Baptist for Sunday. John is an uncomfortable fellow. Uncomfortable because he pushed people to repent. He pushed people to name and face what they had done (although we are reading Mark, and he omits the "brood of vipers" language used in Matthew and Luke) and that is something that we don't like to hear or do in the church as I have experienced it. We seem to have forgotten that judgment and justice are part of the life of faith, choosing instead to focus on grace and mercy. And that we do at our peril. A society that has lost the balance between justice and grace, judgment and mercy, is a society that will never find true just-living.

Do aspects of our world lead, or even push, us to act in certain ways? Undoubtedly. Is it possible for us to lose sight of right and wrong? Of course (for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways). Does that mean we have a "Get out of trouble free card"? NO. We still have the ability to choose and the responsibility to choose wisely. As a part of a community we also have the responsibility to help others learn to make wise choices. Sometimes that means calling them to account for the choices they have made before.

God is gracious and merciful. God is also just. We need the John's in our world to remind us of God's justice.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And We're Back...

GOt back into town this afternoon--and by the time we finished unpacking and organizing I was ready for another break.

'Twas a nice quiet week. But really too short. Round about Saturday night/Sunday I finally started to decompress.

Found out that the girls love flying. NO problems in all the take-offs or landings. Sarah in particular wants to get right back on a plane. ANd now back to work. 2 deaths while I was off (other clergy in town took the services) and time to start prepping for the ANnual Meeting...

PS: Just have to share what Sarah said on Christmas morning when she came downstairs. (I was waiting down in the living room for mom and the girls.) AS soon as she could see in the room her eyes went wide, she took a deep breath and out came the words "Oh Daddy!" in a tone of pure awe.