Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How I spent my Memorial Day Weekend

Of course since I am Canadian it wasn't a holiday.

Instead I was at this meeting

All. Weekend. Long.

OTOH< the girls loved going to the city and staying in the hostel.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Two Decades

20 years ago this month I began my journey towards ordained ministry. I just didn't know it at the time.

In early May 1989 I got a call offering me the position of Devotions Director at this camp. This was merely to be a summer job to both earn some money for university and help build up my resume for when I finished and would be looking for teaching jobs.

On Victoria Day weekend that year I attended my first training weekend for the camp (having been told that I would not be asked to do anything and then arriving on site to find out that I would indeed be preparing Morning Watch and Evening Vespers). THis was the first event on this site I had attended since the last time I was a camper in 1981. We arrived on a day which had snowed to find that the power was out (which meant the water pumps were also out so there was no water). And the camp had just had all the power lines on-site moved underground so there were partially filled & settled ditches all over the place. Mud and dark and holes make for an interesting evening.

I worked that summer and the next. And by then the seed had been planted by the minister at my home congregation -- "has Gord ever thought about...?". The rest is history. Not straightforward history but history nonetheless. And certainly I caught the camp bug. From 1989 through 1999 I was out at Maskepetoon for at least part of every summer except one. And every summer since 1999 I have been involved in a camp program somewhere...

AMazing what can start from one summer job!

Monday, May 18, 2009

THe Lesson of the Lash

A week ago Saturday my eye started to bother me. Being overtired, I assumed that was the main issue and thought little of it. THen it still bothered me on Sunday. Monday was a bit worse, so was Tuesday. By that time I realized that if anyone else told me they felt like there was something in their eye for 3 days I would suggest they need to get it checked. So I did.

Dr. looked in the office then had me come to ER to use a brighter light (I though Dr.s always told us NOT to shine bright lights in our eyes). Saw nothing. So I picked up some eyedrops and gave that a try.

Having spent much of WEdnesday and half of Thursday either squinting or holding my eye closed for relief I returned to ER on Friday morning. This time after more bright lights and some freezing drops and some poking and prodding the offender was found. An ingrown eyelash that was then promptly plucked out and the irritation dissappeared.

Upon further thought it struck me that the church needs to be somewhat like that eyelash. An eyelash is incredibly tiny but for those few says it made an incredible impact on my life.

How can the church, as it grows smaller on the political and cultural stage, learn from that lash? HOw can we continue to make a major impact (even if as a non-relenting irritant) on the world around us? ANd are we even willing to figure it out or give it a try?

OK, so the image of the church as an irritant may not seem all that positive. But then again I have previously compared the church to a rotting potato or onion (that destroys the whole bag in time). And of course the GOspels compare the Reign of GOd to some yeast that infects several measures of flower and the people seeking justice to a widow who annoys the local judge so much that she eventually gets her due.

So maybe the church needs to be an irritant under the eyelid that won't let us rest until it gets attended to.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Five: Rites of PAssage

Reflecting on Beltaine Sally says in part:
Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK's Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals.
I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;

1. Are ritual markings of birth marriage and death important to you? Most definitely. Both inside and outside the church/sacred and secular varities.

2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice. I truly enjoy baptism, but maybe that has to do with being a sucker for children in general. Especially the part in our liturgy where I carry the Babe out into the congregation for all to admire (the Babe of course, no one admires me that way)

3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for? We desperately need a coming of age ritual these days, something beyond the first drinking binge or getting a driver's license or getting laid (hopefully these three don't all happen at once, that would most certainly be unsafe). SOmething to help move young people into adulthood in a healthy way. ALso those of us in tradtions that practice (will we ever get it right with all that practice?) infant baptism need a ritual to celebrate birth when baptism is not requested but something is needed. Thirdly we need a ritual around relationship for those who want to celebrate their relationship but not get married. THe church needs a way to do this.

4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
Honestly I have never given it a lot of thought. Mind you I think we do it more than we are aware were we to really explore the origins of our Christian rituals.

5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
Oh that is so dependent on the situation and circumstances. But small crowds would be a part for me. ANd either outdoors or at least partly outdoors.

I think a more general warning is needed...

Found this on
A toilet seat that can be attached to a trailer hitch has gained national recognition - for a warning label that says you'd better not use it while the vehicle is moving.
Having read the whole article I am thinking that maybe we need a general warning sticker on all products:

WARNING: Engage Brain before using this product!

Or Maybe:

WARNING: Do not use if you are an idiot!

Mind you I liked Bill Engvall's proposal a few years back that stupid people should be made to carry signs