Sunday, March 29, 2009

Information Wanted!

As the media covers the flooding of the Red River valley I keep wanting them to answer a question. But somehow they don't hear me when I ask the TV....

They keep talking about Dikes being built to the 41 or 43 foot mark and the river cresting at the 41 foot mark (or metric equivalents). 43 feet from what? What is the baseline? The riverbed? "Normal" water levels?

Anyone know????

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Book REcommendation

We in the United Church of Canada have been blessed with many wonderful Moderators over the years, people whom the Spirit has called into the role as chief official of the church.

Our current Moderator is from this Presbytery. In working with David I got a beginning sense of the depth of his wisdom and his ability to communicate to those around him where God was calling. ANd so it was with great anticipation that I bought this book.

My anticipation was rewarded. Check it out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

How Much?

Having listened to and read about AIG and Nortel over the last few days I have become aware that in some sectors of society it is totally normal to pay someone a bonus simply so that he or she does not go looking for a different (presumably better paying) job. Interestingly, such a bonus can be paid even if you were part of the team that ran the company to the brink of bankruptcy there fore requiring a government bailout.

So I guess the only question remaining is how much I should ask for as my retention bonus?????


Where Do I Get Mine?

IT was promised in the 1960's. We were supposed to have it by now. Up til now only the Weasely's have been known to have one.

But it is finally here. THe flying car (or "roadable aircraft" if you prefer).

Check it out here!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Read This Book!

OK, I know that sounds a little pushy. But really, do yourself a favour and read this book!

I just finished it. It is a long (436 pp) read but a fairly easy one. Or maybe a deceptively easy one because while the text is easily accessible it gives you a lot to think about.

THe book sells itself as an antidote to the despair and angst of much climate-change discussion. Not that it belittles the issue. Indeed Turner sees the issue as a matter of survival. But rather than tear his hair and weep he goes out to find the signs of sustainable living that are already out there.

From the product description at Amazon:
With a mix of front-line reporting, analysis and passionate argument, Chris Turner pieces together the glimmers of optimism amid the gloom and the solutions already at work around the world, from Canada’s largest wind farm to Asia’s greenest building and Europe’s most eco-friendly communities. But The Geography of Hope goes far beyond mere technology. Turner seeks out the next generation of political, economic, social and spiritual institutions that could provide the global foundations for a sustainable future–from the green hills of northern Thailand to the parliament houses of Scandinavia, from the villages of southern India, where microcredit finance has remade the social fabric, to America’s most forward-thinking think tanks.
Seriously, I heartily endorse this book. It needs to be read. It's content needs to be embraced. It's hope needs to be transformed into reality.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Asking For Hope (Newspaper Submission)

Last Friday I got a call from a local businesswoman. She had heard/learned that there were people in town having trouble asking for help from agencies such as the food bank (not because the agencies were unwilling to help but because it was hard to do the asking) and asked if I could write something for the paper to help move them past this reluctance. Here is what I came up with...

My Canadian History professor grew up during the depression. While we were studying that dark period he told us how hard it was for his father and many other men to give in and go to the government for support. There was a shame involved in admitting that they could not support their families on their own. Rightly or wrongly, many people thought it was better to struggle and scrape and remain independent than admit that they needed help.

Similar stories are told whenever and wherever people are struggling. There is something in our culture that leads people to think that they need to always be able to provide for themselves and their families. And for many men this is even more pronounced. Cultural definitions of “manliness” generally don't allow much room for seeking help.

But the reality is that none of us goes through life without help, sometimes a little help and sometimes a lot of help. And here is the best thing. That is how God wants it. God didn't create us to be independent, self-sufficient islands. God's hope for Creation is that we remember that we are all inter-dependent, responsible to and for each other. God wants us both to offer and to accept help at various times in our life.

In the church we spend a lot of time reminding ourselves how important it is to offer help, to love our neighbour and our enemy. And as vitally important as this is we need to break down this idea that we don't need help. Sometimes it is easier to offer help than to accept it. But I'll say it again. God wants us to move past our pride and independence. God wants us to be able to seek assistance when we need it.

In our current time of struggle there are lots of people out ther offering help. There is the Labour Action Centre, Community Counselling, the Food Bank, the churches, and Ontario Works to name a few. Since supporting a neighbour always means doing God's work all of these agencies are signs of God being active here in Atikokan. Turning to one or all of these for the assistance they have to offer is not a sign of weakness. It is merely a recognition that we all need help from time to time.

At my former workplace we had a poster in the office which read “Asking for help is a sign of strength”. We all need the strength both to offer help to our neighbour when we can but also to ask for help when we are in need. May God's blessing rest on all of us in Atikokan, those who struggle and those who are out there to provide assistance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stewardhip Series with a Difference

This month I am working on a sermon series on Stewardship.

But it is a series with a difference. We are going to talk about stewardship for a month and none of the sermons are going to be the "why you should give money to the church" sermon. WHy is that?

Do we not need the money? OF course we do. But the people who are there every Sunday already know that. To give them that sermon is preaching to the choir. But there is something more.

Stewardship is NOT about why we should give money to the church. Stewardship is about choices about how we live our lives, choices about what we do with the gifts we have been given. If those choices lead us to give to a specific church or other charity so be it. But as a community of faith we need to talk about larger issues than our own survival.

OF course the matter of our own survival needs to be talked about, and taught about, too. But not this month.

Monday, March 09, 2009

They're Growing Up.........

Three days ago we emptied the diaper pail for the last time. MOnkey was ony wearing them for sleeping lately and now refuses even then (so we use pull-ups instead).

The pail has been a part of the bathroom furniture for almost 6 years now. IT seems odd to not have to trip over it now.

I guess they really are growing up.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hasty Pudding Friday Five

from RGBP

1) First of all, thumbs up? or thumbs down? Do you like pudding?
Not particularly. Pudding night was never my favourite at camp.

2) Instant or cooked? (Does anyone make pudding from scratch?) I would only make instant. And of course I prefer to eat neither.

3) If you had to choose, would you prefer corn pudding or figgy pudding? Never had either of them.

4) Have you ever finger painted with pudding? Not on purpose (the girls have though). Mind you eating without cutlery is a real experience.

5) Finally, what is the matter with Mary Jane? They are making her eat pudding over and over.

Bonus: Share a favorite recipe that includes pudding! I can't find it, although I am told it was given to me in a batch of other chocolate recipes, but my mother used to make a baked chocolate pudding that baked itself into pudding with sauce. A package mix is now available that does something similar but not nearly as good.

Monday, March 02, 2009

It's the little things....

...that make all the difference.

Since the water was turned off on Saturday (see previous post) we have had no running water until half hour ago. Who knew that water from the tap could be so exciting???

IT was alright for 2 days. We had water in jugs for eating/drinking and a tub full of snow melting for the toilet. (Have you ever realized how dirty clean white snow is when it melts??? Take it from me, don't eat snow clean or otherwise)

Mind you we have a church kitchen full of dishes from the funeral lunch today that need washing yet.

But my how the little things count (like going to the pool for a quick shower last night).

We will still have a hole in the street until tomorrow and a mud puddle until they get it paved in the summer. But we have running water!!!!