Friday, April 25, 2008

Read This!

Until I read this post I had never heard of the Day of Silence. A good cause, unfortunately one that is being protested.

In the same line, MAy 17 is the International Day against Homophobia. The FAcebook event page for this day is here

An Old vs (Post)Modern Friday Five

Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.
As for the questions!

1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live without? Major appliances (fridge, stove, washer,dryer). Many other things would take a lot of readjusting but these would be very very difficult to lose.
2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day? Why? I think I would have to say the cell phone, and all that follwed from them. WHat is with this belief that we need to be available all the time? ANd why do we expect others to be always available? No wonder so many people are overworked.
3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If so, do you use it (them)? The stereo has a dual cassette deck which is only used a very little bit. And the 11-year-old car (2nd vehicle) we just bought yesterday has AM/FM/cassette as a stereo so any trips in it will need tapes...
4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something else? Given those choices I would have to say a mix.
5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process. This is a tough one. It is so easy to over-romanticize the days of yore/bygone eras. But time. Time with each other I think has declined over the years. But this is osmething we do in fact have teh ability to control. It has to do with priorities. When I was a teen there were many nights in our house where 2 people eating supper at the same time was a bonus. But my parents decreed (to the slight objections of my sister and I) that Sunday night supper would be a family event. It was a good thing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Last Sunday I started the sermon by reading this song (refrain then all three verses). The chief question of the sermon that followed was "what would it mean to live as if we truly believed we were walking/living on Holy Ground?"
In the past much environmental rhetoric has pushed us to take care of the Earth because it would benefit us (or because failing to do so would hurt us). But I think eco-theology calls us to care for the Earth just to care for the Earth. It isn't ours after all.
The benefit and the challenge of this POV is that it relly pushes us to ask how far we go. IF we are only seeking what will benefit us most/cause least damage to us then we tend to stop when the cost/benfitof change balances out. If we are seeking to do what is best for the whole creation (which is a gift from God) then the cost/benefit analysis changes. True environmental change pushes us to make changes that will hurt. True change pushes us to pay real prices, to rethink our base assumptions about how the world works.
What does it mean to live as if we are on Holy Ground? Because we really are you know, n Holy Ground that is.

Friday, April 18, 2008

24 Hours

Yesterday I had the 24 hour flu. I had been told by the people who had it first that it really was a twenty-four hour bug. And so while I dealt with all the blech of the flu, I kept reminding myself that morning would come and I would feel a lot better.

This is certainly a strange way to start out a Friday Five but it made me think about what I might like to do if I knew it would only last for 24 hours. There are no reality boundaries to these imaginings. So here are the five things for you to consider...

  1. If you could dramatically change your physical appearance for 24 hours, what would you do? the classic tall dark and handsome. Mainly to test and see if looking classically attractive really changes how one acts and how others react to you.
  2. If you could live in another place for 24 hours where would you go? Oh so many places spring to mind. Some positive, some negative. How to choose?
  3. You get to do somebody else's job for a day... President of the US, like many others I have dreams about what I would love to accomplish with that sort of influence. Mind you I also have the realism (or cynicism) to know that the chances of accomplishing great things in 1 day or even 1 term are low.
  4. Spend the day with another person from anywhere in time and space... Again, so many choices. ANd if you add in fictional characters it gets even harder... I think Gandhi. Honestly that is the first name that jumped into my mind.
  5. A magical power is yours. Which one would you pick? The ability to speed up, slow down or freeze time. Just because it sounds like fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This conference of the UCCAn is having a fundraiser for the Mission & Service Fund. THE fundraiser is called the 7 Wonders of the COnference. For the last while foks have been invited to submit nominations.

Now the voting begins. Votes are $5 a piece for the M&S fund. This is certainly a case of "vote early, vote often" since there is no limit on how often one may vote. SOme plans for vote-stuffing have already been discussed by some nominees/nominators.

Check it out, information about how to vote is available at the link.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Art

This morning the congregation got a first look at a new piece of artwork (I got a sneak peek when over at the church yesterday).

It is a collage made of bulletin covers saved over the years. You can see it here

Saturday, April 12, 2008

THe Girls Pictures

For Christmas the two eldest girls got a child's digital camera.

This morning I took a bunch of pictures off it. AS usual there are lots of blurred shots and pictures of the floor and so on. But mixed in are some really good ones:

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Moving Friday Five

As found at RGBP
1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time? Well what counts as a move? I have completely moved (furniture and all) 6 times. There were a few (4) other moves without furniture for school. The last move was coming here in 2001.
2. What do you love and hate about moving? Love: The promise of newness and new opportunities. HAte: PACKING, oh and the challenge of newness and meeting new people.
3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers? THe last 2 moves were with hired movers (different companies). One I was not impressed with the company's approach to "timeliness". Not. At. All. The second time they arrived right on the day I expected.
4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move? Plann carefully what you need to NOT be in the moving truck -- especially if said truck gets delayed. From experience I can say tht needing to lead worship in 3 days and only having jeans and shorts on hand is a source of stress (and a phone call saying "get my stuff here tomorrow!" was in line).
5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones? Certainly no outer ones are in process right now. BUt there is always that niggling question of "is it time?" that may well count as an inner one. ANd I am becoming more and more convinced that we as churches and as a society need to be much more open to resurrection and transformation. As some one who has often been happy to "keep on keeping on" pushing for change is, well a change.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words of Wisdom

WHy do churches die?

Jan has a very true sounding explanantion here

Sure tehre are other factors, but this is a big part of it.


THese pictures are amazing!

This is from the e-mail that I got the URL in:
chris jordan is an artist who takes everyday items in numerically significant quantities and turns them into (very large) art.
eg. his Cans Seurat, 2007 60x92" Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds, arranged to resemble a seurat...his Denali one, using the logos of the car, with the word denial forming the background, is also amazing!

We Need A Little Resurrection

We in the church are now in the middle of the 50 days of the Easter season. And so I find my thoughts turning to resurrection. At the same time I am listening to the level of anxiety and worry around town and it really seems like we in TOwn-on-the-Small-River could use a little resurrection these days.

But at the same time I am not totally convinced that resurrection is what people are looking for. What people are looking for is the sale and restart of Particle-Board MAker, the restart of Lumber-Mill, a return to what was. That is not resurrection. That is resuscitation. When we think of giant defibrillator paddles being placed on the economy and shocking it back to life we are talking about resuscitation, not resurrection. Resurrection is something different.

One of the biggest challenges about resurrection is that it means transformation. The Easter stories in the Gospel make it clear that people had trouble recognizing the Risen Christ. In a very real way the man they met in the garden or on the road to Emmaus was different from the man they had seen led out to be killed. It was not just life being breathed back into the old body and the stopped heart restarted. Jesus had been transformed; the new life after Easter was not the same as life before the cross.

The same can be said for Jesus’ followers. Before they experienced resurrection they were afraid, hiding, certain they would be next for the cross. Afterwards they were filled with strength and courage, able to launch a movement that would reach from a tiny Roman province to the center of the world and beyond. The transformation was complete and world-changing.

What are we looking for here in TOwn-on-the-Small-River? Is our hope only that the different streams of resource extraction will start up again? Are we really looking for a resuscitation of mining and forestry or are we open for resurrection? Opening up to transformation is always risky. Opening up to change means letting go of what once was. But those of us who share Christian faith are people who believe in resurrection. We believe that even when all hope should be gone, there is still hope. We believe that God is doing a new thing in our midst.

What might resurrection’s transformation bring to TOwn-on-the-Small-River? Only a fool would try to make a complete prediction. True transformation is remarkably hard to predict or even to plan. We who believe in resurrection’s transformation are not called to spark or guide its’ happening. Our task is to open our hearts and minds for new possibilities and realities.

We need some resurrection here and now. We need some new life and new hope. But we need to decide if we will settle for a rebirth of the old and familiar or if we are willing to accept transformation. We need to decide if we want resurrection or resuscitation. Resuscitation will keep us going for a while but in the long term hope comes with the dawn of resurrection and transformation. And take heart, God will walk with us on the long road of transformation, leading us with hope and promise.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

NAture of Evil, NAture of Creation.

THree of my favourite stories are Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Star WArs.

In each of the three there is a personification of evil. Each story is about the quest to defeat the evil. Each story includes references to the seductive nature of power, and the evil that follows from falling prey to the seduction.

Frodo tempted to wear the ring, Harry tempted to use the Unforgivable Curses in his anguish and wrath, Luke tempted to use the "power of the Dark Side" to save Leia and the Rebellion. All walk along the tightrope that comes from being the hero in an epic. ANd it appears that all resist as much by luck as by will power. HArry himself recognizes early in the saga how he appears similar to Tom Riddle/VOldemort. Frodo in fact succumbs at the end, only Gollum saves the quest. ANd Luke, well Luke's temptation is in dream and in the treecave at Dagobah. Without that experience of seeing a possible future he may well have failed on the 2nd Death Star.

The suggestion is that evil often tempts us by doing things that seem right or understandable--isn;t that how Palpatine seduces Anakin?--and questioning when ends and means balance. ANd that is how I see evil (however you choose to name it) at work in the world. Few start out to commit evil but sometimes foreseeable effects are chosen to be ignored.

But what really struck me this weekend is that in all three of these stories there is a great hope for creation's inherent goodness. Sauron, Voldemort, Vader (and presumably PAlpatine although we never learn his story) are not evil from the beginning. THey are vulnerable perhaps. THey are seduced. But they are not created evil. (In TOlkien's world even Morgoth Bauglir, the ultimate Evil One, was not created evil) This is hopeful. That which is created is good, but we get to choose our way.

Along the same line, there is a thread of hope for all. Sauron is offered a chance of redemption at the fall of his MAster (at the end of the FIrst Age, see Silmarillion). Luke strives to, and does, redeem his father by reawakening the good (and possibly the idealist) within him. One gets the sense that for many years Dumbledore had hope that TOm RIddle, already a power hungry bully at 11, could be brought to a healthy path. THis too is hopeful.

It is easy to demonize. It is easy to pass the enemy off as always evil, evil to the core and irredeemable. But great stories with deep characters remind us that life is rarely that simple. One of the learnings of many epic heros is that we are all potentially villains. One of the learnings is that circumstances lead us to make choices good or bad.

NOw if only we in teh real world could learn and remember those lessons.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Enough Already!

APril 6, and a foot of snow!

These steps were shoevled clear 90 minutes before this was taken
ETA: Just need to give a big thanks for neighbours with snowblowers!!!!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

NOw THAT seems uncalled for

AS I am getting ready to go over to the church for the Talent Auction this evening (auctioning to start in 20 minutes) Beloved calls me over, points to my temples and says:
"Gee it's really grey here and here"

Family support, gotta love it. But at least it wasn't a comment on the part that can't go grey...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Check This Out!

LAst night Beloved and I went to a concert. THere were three performers. One was a harmonica player (a rather amazing one in fact -- incredible breath control). He was asked to talk about a project of his called the ArtsCan Circle. THis is a project to help youth in Canadian first nation communities through music. As part of that he told the story of how it got started. It was a wonderful tale. Read it here.

And if you have some spare instruments lying around...

ETA As we were looking at the brochure about the project during intermission Beloved commented that it would be a good theme topic for either the PResbytery youth event or even the Presbytery meeting itself.