Friday, August 31, 2007

5th Anniversary ALready

Five years ago this moment I was preparing for a wedding. NOT all that unusual given my profession but this one was different. You see this wedding I wasn't going to do much talking at. ANd yet despite that I was more of the focus of attention.

IT was a great day. Weather co-operated for outdoor pictures. Well almost, the wind was a little troublesome -- someone always had to have a hand behind the loved on to hold down the veil. The wedding was grand.

It was an evening wedding. Candles lined the sloping aisle of the church. THe choirs came out to honour the day (loved one had been in both the singing and the handbell choirs so they had to take part). Minister from l.o.'s childhood officiated and gave a wonderful message. WE recessed singing "You Shall Go Out with Joy".

THe rest of the day almost made up for the fight with the women's group about how to set up the hall for the post-service tea/reception. But that is another story.

HAppy 5th Anniversary love of my life!

Friday Five: Summer Change

1. Share a highlight from this summer. (If you please, don't just say "our vacation to the Canadian Rockies." Give us a little detail or image. Help us live vicariously through you!)
A day at the lake that was sunny but not too hot. Nice and relaxing.

2. Are you glad to see this summer end? Why or why not?
Neither glad or sad. Life goes on and each season has its good points and bad. Mind you I am still wondering how it is the end of August already
3. Name one or two things you're looking forward to this fall.
THe hope that the church will start doing some visioning work. Wathcing the girls get excited for Halloween. Eldest starting school.
4. Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another? (Cleaning of house, putting away summer clothes, one last trip to the beach)
WEll I don't do the clothing changeover (loved one has started that already) but this weekend I plan to lower the mower deck and give the lawn the last cut of the year --before teh leaves come crashing down.
5. I'll know that fall is really here when _The garden is harvested and covered with its leafy blanket for the winter.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The MAthematics of Change

Fall is here and that means more newspaper pieces. HEre is one for next week!

We live in a changing world. That much is certain. And yet why do we often find it so hard to change? Even when we think we are ready to change it seems that we easily get stuck in old ruts, old habits. What stops us? Is it just fear or is it maybe something mathematical?

Yes, that’s right I said mathematics might be our problem.

Last spring I was introduced to an equation for change. It is: MC=fp(fv)(fs). Expanded that means Movement for Change=felt pain x future vision x first steps. The important part of the equation is that it is multiplication. Think back to your school days, what happens when you multiply by zero? The answer is always going to be zero. In our equation above, if any of the variables are missing then change doesn’t happen.

The first variable, felt pain, is easy. Many people, many communities, have that in abundance. Often much of it comes out of that experience Bob Dylan sings about – the times they are a-changin’. As things change we feel pain and grief. But that isn’t enough to change. We need a sense of where we are headed (future vision) and we need to get started (first steps).

So how do we fill in the blanks? Where do we find a vision? Well we begin with asking why we are here. Then we ask what our ideal result would be. For people of faith these questions are intricately linked to our understanding of God’s plan. What is needed for us to be the people (or the church, or the town, or the nation) that God would have us be? As we explore these questions a vision or goal starts to appear.

That leaves possibly the hardest part of the equation – the first steps. Once we have found a vision, once we know here we are headed, why is it so hard to get going. Often this is where the fear kicks in. Maybe the vision leads us to a place very different from where we have been before. That is scary. Maybe the vision has holes in it and the first few tries might not work exactly. Failure also is scary. But remember that multiplying by zero equals zero. We have to conquer the fear and take the first steps. And for people of faith there is help in remembering that we are not alone. We live, move, and have our being in God. With God’s help, we can take risky steps, we can step out into the unknown, we can embrace change.

What felt pain do you have? What vision do you have for the future? What is the first step in your new path? Where will the mathematics of change take you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Labour Liturgy

This coming Weekend is Labour Day. ANd we are marking it in worship--sort of. LAbour Day as a holiday has its roots in the union movement. But we are talking about the labours of our lives and whether they are simply exhausting or if there is something more as we ask For What Do You Labour?

Here are some Labour-inspired liturgy pieces written for the occassion:
In the midst of our labours…
we come to worship and be refreshed.
In our search for fulfillment…
we come looking for the “more” of life
With our cracked cisterns and empty hearts…
we come to find the living water and to be filled.
Let us join the Creator in the labour of re-creation…

God here we offer the fruits of our labour and our labour itself. May all that we have to give work for the time when we will all be filled with living water, and when we can all go out with joy.

Our worship is ended, our service continues.
You mean there is still work to do?
Yes, we continue to labour with God for the coming Kingdom
So we go out and keep working?
Yes, but we trust that this work will not exhaust us but will refresh us
Oh, we work to build cisterns that will hold the living water, we work for those things that bring fulfillment.
That’s it! And remember always that the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Spirit are with you in your work.
Thanks be to the Threefold God! Amen.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cultural Friday 5

From RGBP:
Name a::
1. Book
2. Piece of music
3. Work of art
4. Film
5. Unusual engagement with popular culture
That have helped/ challenged you on your spiritual journey.

  1. Lord of the Rings--Actually I did a Christology paper on this in first year New Testament.; more recently HArry Potter; a variety of history books and historical fiction.
  2. Hmmm, lots of hymns but that isn't exactly pop culture. HOwever, there is lots in Jesus Christ Superstar that I have found helped (or made) me struggle with issues around Low Christology. ANd I know there are others on issues of social justice and on issues of personal growth but I can't think of names at present.
  3. Oooh, not really much for art, if by that you mean painting or sculpture.
  4. Jesus de Montreal, Star Wars (first 3 movies); PRincess Bride--seriously, there is lots in there on growth and truth and good vs. evil; The Seventh Sign--mainly because it made me think about Revelation and what I don't think it means.
  5. WHat means "unusual engagement"? I am thinking though that being in a musical theatre group throughout my teens exposed me to different things than others my age. ANd good theatre contains all the major themes of life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SHould I or Shouldn't I?

In three weeks the church by the river is having a congregational meeting to look at where we are going. My best hope is that out of that we will have a group (the bigger the better) who are ready to do some intentional work around visioning, around assessing needs. Oh and some ideas for concrete things to do might be nice too, but may need to be a second step.

LAst week I had a thought. What if, instead of a sermon that morning we had a drama. A bunch of people planning a canoe trip (this is the canoeing capital of Canada after all) and debating what route to take, what to take with them etc.

The problem, at least in my mind, is that as I envision how this drama might play out I realize that it is, shall we say, less than subtle. Being too heavy-handed might be a bad thing or is it?

ROute, cargo, destination--those are important for travelling. But they are also vital for a community vision.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Being Bent-Over, Being Freed

This week's Gospel passage is the story of the Bent-Over Woman. While Luke certainly frames it as a healing story to talk about how best to mark Sabbath I am sticking with the healing. This woman is being set free from a long-term captivity.

Marcus Borg lists the story of being set free from captivity as one of the meta-stories of Scripture. Certainly being freed is part of my understanding of atonement. So talking about being freed is hardly a small matter.But in the here and now, what do we need to be set free from? What has us bent over with a heavy load or enchained? Is it possible that some of us don't even know we can be freed?

THe sermon title? Stand Up, Stand Up Through Jesus

One of the thoughts this passage always brings up for me is the fact that sometimes we only know in hindsight that we were even bent over/enchained. SOmetimes our sense of "normal" gets so twisted that we have lost sight of what it would be like to be free.

That is what it was like for me. In Junior high I was heavily bullied (admittedly I was a good target). ANd while I wasn't happy--not even close--there was a part of me that accepted how I felt as normal. And for years afterward the chains remained, the chains that set me into a description of myself that was less than helpful.

Only when working with a therapist 15 years after the bullying did I really realize what had happened. We were using a technique called EMDR and as I revisited the events of my teens something happened. I slumped lower and lower in the seat, my voice got quieter and quieter, I started feeling cold. As we talked about it afterward, I realized not only how bent-over I had been but also that I had been freed. But for so many years I thought I couldn't be freed, that I was who I was and that couldn't happen.

Sometimes I wonder if the woman in Luke's story felt the same way.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OK< Get Over IT People

Watching the news earlier today I saw coverage from Graceland. Here is one story (RealPlayer)
OR here is a text story.

I don't get it. WHat is this massive fan frenzy for someone who has been dead (not missing, not pumping gas in some small town in Louisiana, not abducted by aliens--dead) for 30 years? I didn't even ever hear of the man until a month after he died (admittedly I was 8 at the time). ANd I am not an incredibly bifg fan of his music.

Mind you I have trouble understanding Beatle mania, or modern equivalents like Garth Brooks or the SPice Girls either. Guess I'm just not much for pop idols.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Walk Back in Time

Yesterday we all went to Fort William Historical Park. THis is a reconstruction of the fur trade era settlement in the area (which served as a headquarters and the junction point between head office in Montreal and the traders in the West).

At a different point in my life I would likely provide a reflection on where we have come from but now I see the sights as much through the girls eyes as through those of the amateur historian within me. ANd in some ways that is better. Seeing the wonder of the girls as they look at the interpreters and the farm animals. Watching them listen wide-eyed to what is happening around them. That adds to the experience.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What Revolution?

I am not sure either but apparently it began on June 21.

I was asked to read through the website for the Consideration Liberation Army and determine what it is about.

It may be a performance art piece, but I think there is a call to thought behind it. Thoughts anyone?

This Doesn't Make Sense...

LAst year we did far more on holidays. We started on the first day with 3.5 days of driving in summer heat and tenting with 3 kids and a neurotic dog in the heat of August. ANd we ended with 3 days of travel (one of them quite long) in September.

This year we started with 3 days of relaxation, then a week in the city 2 hours drive away, then a visit from family.

And I am far more exhausted and stressed 3 weeks in than I was last year. Not well rested at all, stress level as high as 3 weeks ago (which was fairly high as I chart my reactions to things).

THis was supposed to be a nice relaxing holiday. Why was last year's more active one more relaxing? Is there that much to be said for going away?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Even when the world is grey light can break through if you are looking for it.

THe calmness of the lake, the quiet of the air. Ah yes, this is the way to relax

Thursday, August 09, 2007

But Of Course...

You Are 96% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.
Hat tip to John

Monday, August 06, 2007

And After

2 hours, a good sized bag of garbage and 3/4 of a blue bag later...

Cleaning TIme

One of our tasks this weekend has been a fairly thourough cleaning of the house. All that's left is the den/office. It seems it has been let slide for a little too long.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Get 'em Before they're Gone!

THat's right, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans are now available.

GOt to coffee this afternoon and one of the fellows said, "I've got something for you". Flavors (listed on the side panels) include grape, vomit, grass, soap, earwax...

The kids were very excited--but not totally taken with some of the tastes

Drummer in Training

HEre is Little one playing it. Gotta start them early you know!