Monday, June 30, 2008

7 Years Ago -- Part C

About the time of this post 7 years ago I arrived in town for the first time.

I met my contact in the parking lot of a small grocery store. HE led me to the church and manse then showed me around the building and town.

ANd so it began. THe next day was a Sunday and although I was present I wasn't providing leadership. I do remember the layperson who was leading that day commenting how she was nervous about doing so with teh new minister present (she has done so since and was a much more relaxed then--something about knowing me by then).

SIngle and childless, Ready for a new start, NOt knowing waht the future would bring (or how fast).

Grrrrrr...

OK, so 2 weeks ago I splashed water on the laptop key board. ANd later that day it stopped working correctly (10 keys only but keys that are sort of needed). My bad.

SO I borrowed a USB keyboard from a friend. Next morning I phoned a large computer company that starts with D to order a new keyboard. No problem, the Customer Service Rep checked if it was in stock, took the order and said it would arrive in 7-10 business days. THat was June 16.

On Friday, the day after the Order Status page said I should have it, I noticed it was stilll listed as "in production" (which seems odd since it should have been a matter of pulling the part from the bin). SO I e-mailed the company. THe response I got, and in essence the only response I have gotten is that some parts are not in stock and they are checking with their vendor.

NOw I understand that the part may be backordered. BUt why did the first person I called not tell me that? Why promise a delivery time that can't happen? ANd why not inform the customer of this change instead of waiting till I contacted them after the promised date to ask?

THe response to those questions? None. Just a "I have no estimated date at this time" response to being pushed on when to expect the key board.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Afflicting...

THis morning in worship we heard this from the Gospel:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Isn't that just a nice helpful piece of Good News. As she rev writes, it is a case of "The Word of the Lord--Like it or not.

The sermon was talking about the uncomfortable places that the path of faith takes us, about those times when we are called to say the unpopular things, about the times when we find ourselves (like Jeremiah, like Martin Luther, like countless others over the centuries, like Jesus himself) put in the place wher we have no choice but to share the truth GOd puts in our hearts (here I stand, I can do no other).

During the sermon I found myself saying that my hope/dream/wish for the mainline church is that we recover our voice for sharing our truth even when it isn't popular. We need to embrace our loss of status as part of the power structure not as a tragedy but as a gift. IT is a gift because for 1700 years the church has been a part of the power structure in the West and as such has too easily silenced its prophetic voice. And the powers have willingly/willfully used the church as a tool (the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington came to mind).

But we need to hear the words of this Gospel reading. We need to share the Good News even when people around us don't think it is so Good. We need to risk losing popularity in the name of faithfulness.

THis evening as I was reflecting further on the sermon, I was reminded of the old saying that the church is called to comfort the afflicted and affilct the comfortable. But we seem to have as a default that everybody we work with is actually afflicted and in need of comfort...

It also occurs to me that comforting the afflicted isn't the same as consoling them. Consoling assumes our task is to make them fel better. But maybe true comfort means something deeper. maybe true comfort means changing what is doing the afficting. Some social change models talk about the time of affliction/chaos as the prime time for personal and/or societal change to happen. Maybe that is indeed the best way to offer true comfort -- not to mention that alot of the time people may not be nearly as afflicted as they believe themselves to be...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dion, Harper, and the Carbon Tax

Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulled no punches on Friday in describing a carbon tax proposal by Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion, saying it would "screw everybody" across Canada.
...
Harper said the plan would be worse than the old national energy program introduced under the government of Pierre Trudeau in 1980, which still sparks fury among many Western Canadians to this day.
"It is like the national energy program in the sense that the national energy program was designed to screw the West and really damage the energy sector — and this will do those things," Harper said. "This is different in that this will actually screw everybody across the country.
"That is really what the Liberal Party is proposing and I hope that it won't fool Canadians."

From CBC.ca

My, what a surprise, Stevie doesn't like the Liberal Green plan. And how coincidental that he chooses to play to the energy industry while standing in an energy-rich province (and of course he has that big Alberta power base).
But is there a bit of a politics-as-usual feel to this? Or is it just me? And what was Harper's green plan again?????

Mind you, there are a number of us, even from Alberta, who think there was some good ideas in the old NEP--things like making energy rich provinces share with the rest of the country. And this plan at least makes an attempt at putting the real cost of energy use/production on the table.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Relgion & Politics


was it really a given? Should it have been?
Found here

Green Communities

At the end of a meeting yesterday we got into a discussion about growth and possbilities for the future of the town. As a part of that we talked about what it would mean to be a Green Community.

I know that there are some communities in Scandinavia that have made that designation. But I don't know what it means. While I will need to do some research before these discussions go more in depth (which I think they will, given one of the people involved). I realized there are people who read these ramblings on a regular basis (for some reason anyway) and they may (would) have some wisdom on the topic.

What do you think a Green Community would look like? What would be the defining characteristics?

I am thinking that carbon neutrality would be a part, a big part. and green space. and discussions around chemical use. and no plastic bags. and...?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Meeting #1 over and gone...

This week I chaired my first meeting since being installed as chair of Presbytery for this year.

The meeting was our executive face-to-face. We started after supper on Tuesday, met all day WEdnesday and finished with lunch yesterday.

All told it was a good meeting, much business was done and also a very good discussion on what the priority of the year was to be (encouraging congregational wellness) and how best to shape our meetings to serve that priority. Also was an aim to make the regular meetings less exhausting for those in attendance. More about that as we try to live it out over the year.


One thing that we chose to do in the midst of our meeting was pause to listen to the Prime Minister give this speech. TO put it mildly, I am not a fan of the Harper government. In fact I disagree with almost everything they have done since taking office. But this was a good thing. This apology, which the Governement of Canada has long insisted could not happen was the right and good thing to do. Of course now we need to see how it gets lived out. APologies need to be about far more than words.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Finding a Balance...

Early this morning I went to a town hall meeting sponsored by the Ontario Forestry Coalition.

As the link shows, they are currently fighting over the implementation of the new Endangered Species Act in the province. They declare this to be a death knell for the forestry industry (by my count this is at least the 5th death stroke for that industry since I arrived here 7 years ago).

AS I listened to their spin on the story (and attempted to remain critical) I have to say that they have some valid points. There are ill-defined terms, there is an overly onerous burden of proof placed on the industry. But it also sounded an awful lot like "we don't mind caring for species at risk but as long as it doesn't cost us too much" (yes the industry has made strides towards being more responsible that is undeniable). IT was sort of a variation on things like "change is fine as long as I don't have to change" or "not in my backyard". ANd that doesn't help their case.

The most striking part of their presentation was their admission that the forestry industry totally misunderstood the rules of the game. THey seemed to be surprised that the environmental lobby played the political pressure "special interest group" game and won. Note to forest industry -- if you don't play you don't win, a promise (written or oral) from a cabinet minister just doesn't mean a guaranteed victory.

But in the end, here is the big problem. I don't believe that current forestry asumptions around sustainability are going to hold true. Some climate change models move us right out of the boreal forest. THere does need to be a balance between environment and economics. But we aren't even close to finding that balance, especially when the future environment is so uncertain.

Oh and it also strikes me that humans are a terribly arrogant species. In general we assume that our "rights", wants and needs trump those of all other species. THen when someone suggests that we need to find a balance we call UNFAIR!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Words, Words, WOrds

Just got back from the opening Worship for Worship MAtters.

Preacher was Rev Dr. Tom Long from Candler School of Theology. He preached on the importance and the power of fragile little words. And he was wonderful.

Can't wait until tomorrow.....