Friday, November 19, 2010

A Christmas Challenge

Fellow Residents of Grande Prairie:

In just over a month Christmas will be here. And so we are in the midst of the annual advertising blitz encouraging us to buy buy buy. On our TV screens, through our radio speakers, in pop-up windows on-line, and in the mountain of flyers within the folds of this paper each day we get told of the great deals just waiting for us to make our choice and put our money (or likely our plastic) down.

There is, of course, nothing really wrong with wanting to buy gifts for family and friends. But the Christmas commercialism blitz has gone over the edge. In the US the Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. Originally this was in reference to the fact that the holiday season is what puts many retailers in the black for the year. But for some of us it has a darker meaning.

What does it mean to buy so much stuff that we really do not need? Is it good stewardship of the world's resources to amass more stuff when so many people both near and far struggle to have life's basic necessities? Is that really the best way to celebrate the season?

Several years ago we determined that it wasn't. And so I am sharing with you a challenge I made to myself. For the last 4 years I have committed to donating at least half as much (often closer to 100%) as we spend on Christmas gifts for our daughters to charity. I challenge all of you to make the same commitment. Imagine the benefit to our favourite charities if every family in Grande Prairie gave a Christmas gift this way each year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Book 19 of 2010

Putting Away Childish Things, a novel by Marcus Borg.  Yes, a novel by Borg. Something of a change for those of us who are used to reading Borg's work on theology.  And yet not much of a change.

THe novel tells the story of a Religious Studies professor at a small US college.  One sub-plot revolves around a young woman who is struggling to find a theological home between the liberal and progressive Christian worlds.  The main plot follows the professor as she wrestles with an invitation to consider a yearlong appointment at a seminary.

Borg describes this as a "teaching novel", mainly (he says) because he couldn't see how to write any other type of novel.  ANd his theology bleeds through it.  Is the book great literature?   PRobably not.  But it is a good read and a good way to start discussion [note to self, put this one on the next list of potential book studies].  And given a chance I would be happy to take a class from Kate Riley.