Monday, December 24, 2012

From Everybody Here to Everybody "Out There"

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book 16 of 2012 -- What the Dog Saw

This has been my "read a chapter or two while relaxing in the tub" book for much of this year.

It is the 4th book of Gladwell's that I have read (the others have been [in order] The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers).  And I am still not sure what I think of him.  He does have a way of putting things that have often been taken for granted in a new light.  But he also tends (in this book which is a collection of essays) to appear to contradict himself.  Sometimes he does so in the same essay!  (admittedly that is a sign of good writing in my book, seeing as he appears to do so intentionally).

There is also a thread of small-c conservatism running through Gladwell's work (most obviously seen in The Tipping Point) such as the chapter in this book where I swear he was arguing that Ken Lay should not have been criminally charged for Enron that I find mis-aimed on some topics.

This was a very eclectic book.  It covers issues important and trivial.  For how I was reading it it was a good match.  But it wasn't something I would call a "must read".

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Hope or Fear???

That is my sermon title for tomorrow. And here are some thoughts I think I will use to start it (or interspersed throughout)...

There was a support group for mothers of young infants, a chance for adult conversation and to share stories/ideas/hints about that sometimes challenging period of life. One day a new, quite young, mother joins with her young baby. The group goes through their regular routine and then starts to break for coffee when the new mother yells out “Wait! Wait! You haven't talked about it yet”. Seeing how upset she was the group sits back down and says, “OK, tell us what it is you need to talk about”.
"When?  When? When?"  is all she could say
"When what?  What are you wanting?"
“When? Tell me when life gets back to normal?!?!”

Some changes mean life never gets back to normal.  In our heart of hearts we know that.  But still we have that part of ourselves that wants it to get back to normal again.  Even if the change is something wonderful there is a part of us that wants life to get back to normal again.

At its heart Christmas is about birth.  Both as a narrative (the story) and as a metaphor Christmas is about something being born.  And in the end there are relatively few things more life-changing than birth.  And how do we approach a change we know is coming?

Those of you are parents, think back to the day you first learned that a baby was on the way.  How did you feel?  Was it a long-expected and hoped for child or was it a surprise? Did you think you were "ready" to be a parent (at least as much as anyone is ready for such a task)?  And, be honest now, during those next 9 months were there moments when the thought of caring for child left you totally terrified?

There is a commercial on these days with new parents taking their newborn home from the hospital and driving very "carefully" -- in fact so slowly and "carefully" as to be an impediment and danger on the roadway.  That commercial always reminds me of a question my (then pregnant) sister asked the first time I called her after Sarah was born.  "Weren't you afraid to drive with her in the car?"  [For the record no I wasn't.  Driving was not remotely high on the list of parenting fears in my mind]

AS we approach Christmas each year we are encouraged to, in the words of the Dead Dog Cafe, "Stay Calm, Be Brave, Wait for the Signs".  The Scripture passages we just heard have talked about a promise to be kept, have talked about the world going to be changed, and have talked about the signs to look for.  And as we wait and watch will we be calm and brave or will we be anxious and fearful?  Do we look ahead to the  birth that comes with Christmas with hope or with fear?

It strikes me that hope and fear are two sides of the same coin.  I just asked you to think about waiting for a child.  So much hope and dreaming goes into raising a child.  There are so many possibilities about who he or she could be.  The world ahead is full of maybes and unknowns.  And at the same time as there are hopes and dreams the thought, if we ever had time to sit and think about it, maybe between feedings and diaper changes and looking after ourselves and working to earn a living, is terrifying.  There are so many possibilities and unknowns about the future.

There is nothing wrong with hopes mixed with our fears.  That is natural.  That is part of being aware of our surroundings.  Many years ago I was in a musical version of The Hobbit (one I am sure is nothing like the movie about to be released).  At the end of the play Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarves, returns to Hobbiton to give Bilbo his reward.  And he says these words:
A fool never cares when he's risking his life,
for excitement or thrills or for fame.
And if he survives other fools call him brave.
to the wise he's a fool all the same.
A wise man knows fear when there's danger to face.
So he's serious thoughtful and grave.
He'll do what he must in the best way he can.
And THIS is the one who is brave.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Today we begin looking ahead to a birth.  Today we begin the road that ends with angel song and shepherd adoration as God become human yet again.  Today we begin waiting for the world to be changed, indelibly changed.  There are signs (there are always signs that birth is coming) to be seen.  We watch see the signs and we are filled with hope and know that we can trust in the promise.  We see the signs and know that the change means things will never be "normal" again and we are anxious and fearful.

But we can choose which reaction we will feed.  Will we choose to feed our fears and fight against the changes being born?  Or will we choose to feed our hopes and embrace them, not denying our fears but in spite of them, so that we can embark on a new and exciting adventure?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Pictures

Our Jack O'Lantern

THe Neighbours made use of the plentiful October Snow!!!

The Scooby Doo gang -- Scooby, Scrappy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred (I was Shaggy)

Some Halloween Videos

and of course the classic of all halloween videos...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book 15 of 2012--A Nation Worth Ranting About

(Is it just me or has this pretty much become a book blog????)

I decided it was time for a light read.  And so this was an obvious choice.

Canada is a country with a strong history of political comedy.  For many of us the high water mark in this field was set by the Royal Canadian Air Farce (though admittedly their last few seasons were relatively poor).  But I think that many would admit that the current Clown Prince of Canadian political comedy is Rick Mercer.  Each week on his show The Rick Mercer Report he has a rant about some topic or another.  Here is the latest one:

Yes, sometimes Rick takes himself too seriously.  Far too seriously sometimes.  Sometimes he is just too earnest.  ANd certainly those wild camera movements get distracting at times.  But for me the weekly rant is one of the reasons I watch the show.  Which leads us to the book.

This is Rick's second book.  (here is the first)  Like the first it is a collection of his rants, but this one also includes some larger articles/stories and a selection of pictures from the show (pictures don't work so well on a KOBO though).  When I heard it had been released I promptly went looking for it.  And I am glad.  It was good for many laughs, but also (as is the nature of well done political comedy) is a source of thought provoking commentary.  Even non-Canadians would likely appreciate much of the book (though there is a lot of the content which requires a knowledge of the Canadian political and social scene).   And of course a memory of recent history certainly helps (in fact I could almost remember watching some of the rants--especially at the end of the book when the rants were from the last 12 months)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book 14 of 2012 -- The Poems of Jesus Christ

This is one that popped up in one of those "others who bought this book also bought..." links.  Usually I ignore those lists completely but the title of this one intrigued me.

The author's base concept is I think sound.  Barnstone suggests that Jesus of Nazareth, like many great oral teachers, used poetic speech forms to help his words "stick" but that in the progression of translation (from spoken Aramaic to the Greek of the written Gospels on through the plurality of translations available today) the poetic nature of these teachings has been lost.  I agree.  I think that is a valid supposition.  Of course it is also unprovable and un-disprovable.  Barnstone then claims that this volume will return the poetic form to the words [commonly assigned to] of Jesus.

But In the end I am not sure it succeeds.  Poetry is based on the rhythm and conventions of its home language.  Poetry is very hard to translate and maintain the effect.  And just putting the English translations into lines doesn't quite do it.  Sometimes it works but other times, well not so much.  Still it will be a handy volume to have on hand for when I want a different translation or impression of a passage.  {Barnstone also include the Gospel of Thomas}

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  And so I decided it really was time to finish off the garden (well almost, we still have 2 tomato plants [which are really full of tomatoes] in the front flower bed to deal with -- anyone out there want some tomatoes????).  So this morning I went out and dug the potatoes.  Normally we dig them around Labour Day but this year we left them, other than a couple hills we dug and ate earlier:
 Lesson learned:  when you leave them in the ground that long potatoes can get REALLY BIG!  some of them are big enough to be a meal for us with one spud.

Here are the 3 biggest (or at least 3 of the biggest) beside a pair of gloves for comparison purposes:

I also finished off the carrots (which we had been digging as we used them thus far):

And I knew this already but sometimes garden carrots take on some really odd shapes:


Monday, October 01, 2012

Book 13 of 2012 -- Evolution Of the Word

A few weeks ago I saw that this book was now available.  And I resisted for almost a week before I bought it.  (one of the dangers of an e-reader is that it is oh so much easier to buy books).

In the end there was very little here that you would not pick up from other Borg books.  And half the text in the book is in fact the text of the New Testament books--text that is really quite easy for most of us to access after all.  The difference of course is the order that the books are in.  Also Borg gives an introduction to each book, which at the least includes an explanation for why he has placed that book in that part of his chronology.  But there is also some background to many of the books, and some commentary on the content.  Interestingly Borg, even while acknowledging that it is a minority opinion (whereas for most of the other books he claims to be going with the consensus/majority of scholarship), places Luke-Acts as very late, post 100 CE, one of the latest books to be written.

Overall it was a worthwhile book to get.  But, as I said, no earth-shattering new revelations (even the late date for Luke-Acts is something I heard suggested when I was in seminary and so was not new to me).

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Book 12 of 2012 -- Made to Stick

In a FB group this summer folks were sharing what they were reading.  Wanting something new to read, I took a look at the titles in the list and this one looked promising.  And so I clicked and downloaded it. 

THis is a book well worth reading by any of us who regularly try to convey information to others.  The authors lay out an acronym to help structure their argument -- SUCCESs.  This acronym stands for Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories; 6 characteristics of sticky messages (each characteristic gets a chapter of its own).

The book is an easy read.  There are lots of stories and practical examples.  Frequently the include a "Clinic" to push the reader to delve into the characteristic being discussed.  And then at the end there is a summary chapter.  I liked it so much that I have also purchased another book by the same authors to read later this fall.

Friday, August 31, 2012

10 Years...and 20 Years too!

This picture was taken 10 years ago today -- before the actual wedding!  If they weren't in a box downstairs I would dig out the better ones--like the side view of me couched behind Patty holding the veil so it wouldn't blow in her face (slightly windy day up in Hillcrest Park) or the one taken at the church between pictures and service of Patty wearing an apron as a bib as she had a hamburger.

10 years, 4 daughters, a neurotic dog and a move across the country later she still puts up with me!  Happy Anniversary beautiful!

ANd now the 20 years...
As we enter into Labour Day weekend I realized that on Labour Day weekend 1992 I was getting to know my way around a new neighbourhood.

I had just moved to Saskatoon a week earlier, and was getting ready to embark on the next adventure.   Time to start studies at this school.  And it only took me 9 years to finish that!  (admittedly there were a few other adventures and a side trip or two along the path).

mmmm, What adventure shall we start this decade???   A new degree maybe???

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Testify! -- A Newspaper Column

I am in Grade 11; one of my classmates turns to me and says, somewhat derisively, “do you go to church?”. Sensing that to say yes would open myself to ridicule, I hesitate and stammer out a “No” – at which he laughs saying “Yes you do”.

Do you go to Church? Why? What do you believe? For many people these are hard questions to answer. It has long been said that the only topics not appropriate for public discussion are Sex, Politics, and Religion – with the reality being that Sex and Politics are becoming more and more acceptable. But still there is a sense that Religion should not be discussed.

And yet, we are called and encouraged to share our faith. If we truly believe that we have found a way to experience the presence of God in our lives, if we truly believe that we have found the path that leads to abundant life why is it so hard to share?

Part of the answer, for some of us, is that we have an image of how sharing our faith happens. In our mind we see the street corner preacher, or the person at the party who aggressively asks, “Do you know the LORD?” and we know that we would never be caught dead doing that. But that is only one way to share testimony, to share our faith (and many of us would argue that it is a highly ineffective method at that).

I would argue that most of us would be most comfortable sharing our faith in the context of a pre-existing relationship. Where there is a level of trust between people we are more willing to share what is important to us. And it may not be in the interest of converting the other to our point of view. In fact I would suggest that simply sharing where we are at and allowing others to share where they are at is the most effective way of giving testimony. When we accept each other without trying to convert then we can move the discussion deeper – and I believe that is why we share our faith (this attitude is needed in other areas of life than faith, say politics for example).

There are other ways we give our testimony. Earlier this month the General Council of the United Church (this is our National Body, which meets every 3 years) met to discuss the life and work of the United Church of Canada. As a part of that meeting there were multiple examples of testimony. The Commissioners shone the light of faith on questions around the Northern Gateway pipeline, Oilsands expansion, our relationships with Aboriginal and First Nations people, how we as a church can push for a just peace in Israel and Palestine, gossip, and a variety of other topics. While there is great debate within the church and within the wider society on all of these questions making a statement, any statement, is a form of testimony. They are ways we talk about how our faith interacts with the world around us.

Testimony happens in fun ways too. Check out this video: A group of teens and young adults on Parliament Hill dancing to the song “Testify to Love”. I have no doubt that this event was seen as a way to raise up a different way of living in the world. This was Testimony to the difference it makes to take seriously the words “love your neighbour as yourself”. We don't have to be solemn and serious when we share the wonders of our faith. In fact, I would suggest that if we find joy in our faith then that joy should replace the solemn and the serious more often. Sadly this is not how many people see the Church. What does that say about our testimony thus far?

St. Francis of Assisi is reported to have said “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” and also “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”. The Saint implies that our greatest testimony is how we live our lives. The best way we show people the difference faith makes in our lives is by living it out. What does our lifestyle say about our priorities? How do we treat others? Do our actions show that we have allowed ourselves to be changed by the love of God? Do we, as people of faith, make others think that maybe faith makes a difference in life? This is our testimony, this is the testimony we make every day.

So how do you testify? How do you share what is important in your life? If someone asked you to share your faith, what would you say?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book 11 of 2012 Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible

I was freely browsing through the website when I came across this book.  THe concept intrigued me.  What would one find if one read the Bible with little to no background and little to know recourse to commentaries???

THis is a book to read.  It is a book to talk about in a group--as long as the group members also read the Biblical book being discussed (hmmm, do I sense a study group opportunity......).  One of the benefits of a book like this to those of us who, perhaps, have become a bit more jaded at biblical study is that we have forgotten what it means to read a book with fresh "untainted" eyes.

In the first week of my intro to NT course in seminary (a class whose student body was a mix of seminarians and Religious Studies students from the University) we did an exercise where we were to read the letter to Philemon and then discuss it.  But we were to assume that this was the ONLY piece of Christian writing we had ever seen.  For some it seemed it may have been.  And that was a real eye-opener.  It shows us what assumptions we tend to make when reading scripture.  THis book reminded me of that exercise.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Book 10 of 2012 -- Kisiskaciwan (Saskatchewan): Tracing My Grandmother's Roots

This is a follow up to this book.  In researching his earlier book Vern Wishart came across the scant records of his third great grandmother, a Cree woman named Kisiskaciwan.  Because of the nature of the times, there are few written records of a Cree woman who entered a "country marriage" with an employee of the Hudson's Bay Country near the end of the 18th century.

Wishart has taken what information he was able to find about his ancestor and has placed them into this work of "creative non-fiction".  As he weaves an educated guess about the life she led he shares much about the times in which she lived and the attitudes she likely encountered among the Europeans who were taking over the continent (with a degree of editorial comment evident about those attitudes).

Wishart takes us from a Cree camp on the shores of the Kisiskaciwan-sipiy (North Saskatchewan River) to a trip down to York Factory, to a series of fur-trade posts, to the Red River Settlement, to the West Coast, and back to Red River.  Many adventures along the road.  Many meetings with people whos names are much better known.

A good read.  If you want to get hold of it this link might help.  It is one of those volumes unlikely to be carried by the major chains.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Book 9 of 2012 -- The Rob Bell Reader: Selections from Love Wins, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Drops Like Stars, and Jesus Wants to Save Christians

I was browsing through the Kobo site recently and came across this little teaser volume.  And, thinking it would be a way to see if I wanted to read more Rob Bell (specifically Love Wins, and possibly the one he has just released on creativity) I thought I would give it a try.  And after all--it was free!  {note to self, must check out more free books, especially if I get an actual e-reader}

Did it accomplish the purpose (which is to sell more books)?  I think so.  I will probably get Love Wins at least.  And possibly more.  I like what I saw.  ANd hey, a free book is always worth the money.

Book 8 of 2012 -- A New Day

Holidays means time for reading. Today I read "A New Day", a free book by Canadian sociologist Reg Bibby. Much of Bibby's career has been spent looking at issues around religion in Canada. I am going to suggest this as a book study/discussion this fall. (At first I was going to suggest that with Council but I think a wider audience would be good). The book is a quick read--the whole .pdf file is only 76 pages and that includes cover and table of contents and copywright page etc. You can download a copy here.

Bibby starts off by saying that all those who forecast the death of religion in Canada were wrong.  Religion is not dying.  Nor is it likely to die any time soon.

But the landscape has changed.  And so the book helps explain how the landscape has changed, and how faith communities could react to those changes.

Good book.  Easy read.  And free.  What else can one say?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book 7 of 2012 The United Church of Canada: A History

I first learned about this book when an announcement about its release came through my e-mail a few months ago.  And at the time I knew I wanted to read it.  A month or so ago I got around to getting it (in e-book form).

IT is a good read.  As a part of my MDiv I took a course in the History and Theology of the United Church.  This would be a good book to be included in the reading list for that course, possibly the best one in years.

The first chapters are a historical sketch of the UCCan, with choices made by the authors to focus on specific issues (otherwise the task would be incredible).  The last section of the book is a series of essays on specific topics.  As one who has followed from a bit of a distance (rarely reading the full reports but staying abreast of what is being discussed at the last few General Council meetings) I found the essay on the theology of ministry in our denomination very eye-opening [I particular found it interesting to learn that until 1966 call forms, which are signed by/on behalf of the congregation, included a promise to be obedient to the clergy person.  Imagine how far such a proposal would get today!]  Given the amount of press the last several meetings of GC have received around the Israel-Palestine question (one that is coming again next month) the chapter on that issue was very helpful.  And Don Schweitzer's concluding essay about the social imaginary of the UCCan in 1925 and now was very well done.  He notes not only that we are lacking a vision but is able to point out WHY we are lacking a sense of vision.

This is a good book to read by UCCan ordered and lay folks alike.  And should end up in congregational libraries!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Don't Understand...

Ok, admittedly there are lots of ways I could finish that sentence.  But I have one particular ending in mind today.

Yesterday we took advantage of the bright sunny weather (and the beginning of holiday time) to head down to the Street Performers Festival.  It was an enjoyable activity (although the bright sun in a crowded street is VERY hot).  Lots of poeple out for the day.  And here's the thing, dogs.

Dogs of all sizes (including a St. Bernard).  Dogs in the crowd, dogs in the food court.  But in my opinion it wasn't a dog-type activity.  Is it unusual to suggest that maybe there are places where taking your dog just does not make sense?  Same thing with the Canada Day Parade and festivities in the park.  Large crowds, people everywhere, and lots of dogs [including one I saw during the Canada Day parade last year that was muzzled, which suggest the owner has reason to think this may not have been the best environment for that particular animal].

I know pets are a part of the family.  And I know that most dogs are very friendly.  But why do people feel the need to take dogs everywhere they go?  I read on a FB page today a thank you to a local food establishment for having water dishes on their patio for customer dogs.  Really?  no one sees a problem with this?

Maybe there are times to walk the dog in another place?  

Sometimes I don't understand people's choices.

Monday, July 02, 2012

ANyone know about trailer wiring?????

In order to go tenting and not have to take bothe vehicles we needed more cargo room.  And so we got a hitch added to the van and started looking for a utility trailer.  LAst Friday we purchased this one.  Marked down and sold "as is" because one of the side lights was broken (and because they no longer carry that trailer according to their website).  The broken light was even replaced!

The only problem is that none of the lights work.  Not one.  First step will be to check with the dealership that the wiring harness on the van is working properly.  ANd then teach myself about trailer wiring................
[Then again, Trailer wiring often seems to be an issue, as I remember my father almost annually having to work at gettting all the lights to work on our utility trailer]

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Someday, Maybe, When we have MOney....

Ever since we moved here we have wanted to change the back yard.  SOme of it is already done as we created a nice big vegetable garden and then late last summer we removed the sidewalk block pads at the back of the yeard and spread grass seed this spring.  But the big possible project is...

We want to change the yard right by the house.  Currently it looks like this:

But the deck just doesn't work for us.  In part it is too small for that size of a table (an effect magnified by the railing on the one side -- a railing that is not needed for safety because the deck is essentially at ground level).  Bu also the current layout leave these tiny little strips of grass/weeds by the fence, then by the deck, then over by the shed.  Since the back door is at grade level we are limited in terms of height. 

When we redo the fence we plan to move the gate from right beside the house to approximately a spot even with the BBQ in this picture.  And so we have a plan.  Take the deck right out and put a patio with paving stones (not sidewalk blocks) from the fence all the way to the shed.  The patio would come out as far as the blocks are now to give more space.  Possibly some plant boxes along the edge?

Another issue is this space between the two sheds.  Nothing really grows there anyway.  So maybe some more pavers here?  Or River Rock?  Probably pavers because it would be nice to be able to hang laundry in bare feet which might be uncomfortable with River Rock.

ANd finally there is the back corner of the yard.  With the large full canopy of the Mayday (which is very mature, I wonder how many years it has left?) nothing really grows well there either--except Mayday suckers.  SO Patty has a dream of some river rock and a few stepping stones.  Maybe a piece of yard art (I think the real dream is a small fountain)

Someday, maybe, when we have money....  But the first priority back there is redoing the fence.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Asking For Help -- A Newspaper Column

15 years ago I was working at Kids Kottage, the crisis nursery program in Edmonton. Every day we interacted with families in crisis. Every day we talked with parents asking for help. Prominently posted on the wall of our intake office was a poster which read “Asking for help is a sign of strength”.

Another memory. It is my first year of University and I am taking a Canadian History course. My 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 and boys 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.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

Countless sermons have been preached and books written and songs sung about what it means to love each other as Jesus loved his friends, on how to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. But surely one of those ways is to be ready to help. One way we love our neighbours (friends or enemies) is by being there to support them when they struggle. But look at the last two words in that Luke quote. We are to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

There are many people out there willing and able to offer help, willing and able to work to ease the pains of the world. But we (and we all need a hand at some point in our lives) need to be able to ask for and accept the help if it is to be of any use. If we truly love ourselves we will be able to recognize that sometimes the most loving thing we can do for ourselves is seek the help we need. I am the first to admit that this is hard. 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 Grande Prairie and area there are people who are hurting. There are people who are struggling with various things in life. Some are children, some are teens, some are adults, some are seniors. In Grande Prairie and area are people and agencies willing to offer help, living out God's command to love neighbour. Turning to one of these people or agencies is not a sign of weakness. Asking for help is not a failing. It is a sign of strength, it is a sign of loving ourselves as God loves us.

In the end, 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, those who struggle and those who are out there to provide assistance.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When the Pain is too Much?

This week I have a funeral. Nothing unusual about that of course, but this one is a bit different.  A teen suicide.  ANd while such a service is a challenge for any clergyperson, I found myself with an additional piece of work.  Processing/revisiting memories.

You see 28 years ago it could easily have been me.  In fact it was closer than I truly want to admit a couple of times in my life.  And I know that there are things that could possibly take me back there, they would have to be fairly horrific/major/tragic things to be sure but I could see mtself on the verge again.

From grade 4 til 9 school was a most uncomfortable place for me, with grades 7-9 being worse and grade 9 being pretty much unlivable.  I did not feel like I fit in (and really in retrospect I didn't really fit in, for a variety of reasons) but I kept feeling like I should be fitting in.  I was unmercifully bullied by many (most days it felt like ALL) my classmates.  And my poor work habits just added to my stress and my feeling of being a disappointment.  On top of it all I had a feeling that no one understood me or how much I was hurting, or really wanted to make it better,  For years I have told myself that I was borderline suicidal for the last half of that school year.  But this week I realized that was need to be honest and name that I was over the border.

I have a memory.  One day I found myself in a closed locked bathroom tying a housecoat belt around my neck.  Had I thought of taking the next step and tying it to the shower rod....

The fact that I didn't tells me something (other than suggesting a lack of creative thinking).  I never fully got to that point where life was something I had given up on.  In hindsight (and to a degree I knew this even then, although I may not have been able to name it) there were 2 or 3 things that kept me from that place.  One was the church.  For several months in Grade 9 our confirmation class met every Thursday.  The church was always a place where I was at home, a place where I had friends, a place where I was safe.  Another was the local theatre.  I was part of groups called the Arts Renaissance Troupe and St Albert Children's Theatre (the membership of both was pretty much the same).  The theatre was like my second home some weeks.  Again it was a place of safety, of friendships, of comfort.  The third was the knowledge that I truly wasn't alone, even if it felt like it at times.  I had supportive parents (who were at a loss about how to improve my scholastic habits), and that year I was blessed with a life-changing teacher.  She actively cared about her students and used the subject (English/Language Arts) as a way to teach us life lessons.  But without those three things....

A little over a decade later I danced with the precipice again.  For a year after my first internship crashed around my ears -- and while it was crashing -- I moved back and forth.  There were days when I was moderately at ease.  There were also times when I remember standing looking over the railing at the floor several levels down.  But still I never got there.  Still there were enough other forces around me that pulled me back.  And it wasn't me pulling back, at least not consciously.  I was pulled back from the edge.

In retrospect I would guess that I was plausibly suffering from depression (situational more than bio-chemical in nature) at both those times in my life.  But they have left their mark.  I have no problem understanding how people can get to that point of thinking there is only one way out.  Some people find that an impossible thing to understand.  I remember years ago when taking suicide intervention training that I seemed to be coming at the discussion from a totally different place than some of the people in the group.  I am no longer any where close to the precipice.  YEars of life, and eighteen months of work with a counsellor, have seen to that.  But I still remember, even if only sub-consciously tying that belt.  I still remember looking over that railing, or the temptation to turn the steering whel sharply as I crossed the bridge.  And because of that I simply can't look at suicide the same way as others do.

This week reminded me of that.  This week made me work through it again in a new way.  And I really think that is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Book 6 of 2012 -- Any Day a Beautiful Change

Over the years the blog by this author is one that I have read from time to time.  And so, when I saw one of my FB friends noting that this book had been published I went looking for it.

In fact just reading this book was a change for me.  When I went looking at it was (and still is apparently) only available as an e-book.  Since I had just the day or two before set up a Kobo account [although I do not actually have an e-reader, just the virtual one for the computer] to get a resource I may need for an upcoming meeting [nothing exciting, I agreed (God help me) to be Parliamentarian and so wanted a copy of Bourinot's Rules of  Order] I thought it would be a chance to try reading something in that format.

This is a great book.  Sort of memoir-ish in feel.  Sort of reflection on life.  I often wanted to engage the writer in dialogue about various parts of it.  I was touched by the stories shared.  I heartily encourage others to read this one.  In fact I will likely go back and re-read some of the stories and reflections.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book 5 of 2012 -- Not Your Parents' Offering Plate

I picked this one up at a book display last year, read a bit in the summer but then got distracted.  Today I picked it up and read it (which shows that it is a fairly easy read). 

The subtitle is "A New Vision for Financial Stewardship".  My thought is that a better subtitle would be "HOw to Fund Raise in the Church". And that speaks to one of my main objections.  This is a how-to of fundraising, cometimes (but not always) couched in stewardship language.  There was no discussion of a theology of stewardship other than saying that a pastor has to have one.

There are many helpful things in those hints.  THere is much in this book that I can utilize (though much of it was a restatement of things I had read elsewhere).  THe book is well worth working with.  BUt it is also flawed.

In addition to the flaw mentioned above, I found myself vehemently disagreeing with Christopher's understanding of how the church actually operates.  The church he describes has not been the church of my experience.  Certainly we can learn from what other non-profit organizations.  But the church is NOT just another non-profit organization, no matter how many times he wants to intimate that we should act the same way.  And part of that is the role of the clergy.  I am not "in charge" or the CEO or the person best able to make the congregation's vision come to reality.  I have a dream for what this congregation could do.  I play a major role in helping them work out how they will live their vision.  But I have little actual authority or power (beyond being persuasive).  In fact in some  congregations the clergyperson has the least authority in these things.  Some of that may be due to the fact that there are radically different models and understandings of church polity between different denominations.

OTOH, I agree that the clergy should be acquainted with the giving patterns in the church -- but not nearly to the degree he suggests.  ANd his words about the clergy needing to be involved in preaching stewardship, in taking a lead role in addressing monetary questions in the church need to be required reading (or at least words like them) for all in ministry.

I also take issue with the claim, made repeatedly, that a person who does not give monetarily to teh church is spiritually sick, that the soul is jeopardy.  My objection to this goes along with the assumption that we can assess the giving capacity of an individual/family merely by looking at where they work or live.  We do not know, unless it is shared with us, what the real financial situation of anyone is.  We also do not know, unless it is shared with us, where else a person may be directing their giving.  At the beginning of the book Christopher does a wonderful job of explaining that churches need to do a much better job of re-learning how to convince people to give or else they will be convinced to give elsewhere.  The church does not "deserve" people's money.  SO to turn around and say that they are spritually sick when they give nothing (which they may literally not be able to afford, or they may give elsewhere out of a sense of mission, or they may give anonymously [yes that happens, in amounts big and small], or they may not feel they can give "enough" to make it worth while) seems contradictory.  THis is where a better explication of a stewardship theology would come in helpful--particularly a theology of stewardship that is far more inclusive than money raising.

But on the whole I would recommend this book.  THere is a lot to use here.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Book 4 of 2012 -- Still

A while back there was a post on this blog inviting members of the blogring to put their name in for a free copy of this book. And since a free book is always worthwhile...

I am glad I put my name in.  This is a hard book to describe.  It isn't a narrative.  It isn't an academic book or treatise.  It is a collection of "bits".  Yeah that seems to be the best description.  A collection of bits about working through what Winner calls a "mid-faith crisis".

I am not sure what it was about this book that grabbed me so strongly.  I think it is because I know what it feels like to live in the "middle".  Near the end there was a piece about the middle tints, the colours that are neither really bright or really dark but which make up the majority of the picture.  Winner suggests that thisis where life is lived.  I would tend to agree.

If you get a chance take a look at this book.  Not something I would say "you should really read this!" but something that I think many people might resonate with.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Biblical Assumptions....

We all make them.  And they can cause "issues".  As is proven quite regularly in this forum (most recently for me in a debate about whether there are 2 separate Creation stories or not).

Do we assume that the words we read in Scripture are direct from God or another person's (people's) account of their experience of God?
Do we assume that we are interpreting as we read?  Do we assume that our interpretation is the only way to see the passage?
Do we assume that everyone has the same assumptions about the nature, history, and content of Scripture that we have?  Or at least that they know what our assumptions are?
Are we willing to be open to the assumptions others make as we attempt to see where they are coming from? (whether we agree or not)
Do we read the passage for itself or do we carry understandings from other experience of Scripture with us?

And perhaps most we ourselves know what our assumptions are?  Can we explicate them to others in the interests of clear communication?

A memory surfaces that deals directly with assumptions we bring to the reading of Scripture.  And how those can radically change what we see.

In my first year introductory course on the Christian Scriptures we had a mix of students.  Some of us (maybe 2/3 of the class, likely closer to 1/2) were seminary students from the United Church and Anglican colleges.  The rest were Religious Studies students from the University--some of whom, it became obvious as time went on, had little or no background experience with Scripture.  The task in the first class, once we went through the syllabus and the list of required texts etc, was to read and discuss the letter to Philemon (a good choice because it is so brief).  There was an extra limit though.  We were to read and discuss as if this was the ONLY piece of Scripture we had ever seen.

That was a challenge.  It is harder than you would expect to forget everything you "know" about the story(ies)  of Scripture, about the background from which Paul is writing.  One person in the class, who honestly had no background but was very eager to learn, took the "brother" language as referring to actual blood relatives and the "slavery" language as purely metaphorical.  And in fact you can make sense of the letter with that reading.  It was a great way to begin the course because it showed us how much we assume we "know".  The next realization was that some of that needed to be unlearned, or at least challenged as the course progressed.

We all make assumptions.  But we are often better at naming the assumptions we see others making than the ones we make.  ANd that can get in the way of open and clear discussion.  Refusing to
acknowledge that there is more than one valid approach to Scripture also get in the way of that discussion -- and people on all sides of the Christian spectrum can be guilty of that.

Some of the assumptions I bring to Scripture are:
  • it is impossible to read Scripture without interpretation, none of us simply takes the words of Scripture as they are and applies their plain meaning (all the more so since we are reading translations and every translation includes interpretative choices)
  • there are things we can learn from historical, source, redaction and literary criticism/analysis of the Scriptures--even (or perhaps especially) if that analysis causes us to rethink how Scripture came to be in the shape we now have it
  • Scripture does not tell one story, or one version of the same story.  It sometimes contradicts itself, it sometimes offers mutiple versions of history (even in the same book), it sometimes offers theological visions that appear mutually incompatible (the passage in Ezra where foreign wives are to be put aside in the name of cultural purity and the genocidal passage in Joshua vs a book like Ruth or Jonah which are openly welcoming of foreigners being part of GOd's community.)
  • there is no one proper interpretation of any passage.
  • what we see in Scripture is shaped by our background:  what have we been taught before, how widely have we read within Scripture, what life experiences do we bring, what are our political opinions, how do we understand God, how do we understand human nature, what is our understanding of this collection of books we are reading
Those are some of my assumptions.  On specific passages there will be specific assumptions.

What are some of the assumptions you bring to Scripture?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Education: PArental vs Society Rights.

Let me start with a very clear statement.  It is my belief that in the vast majority of cases (95%+) homeschooling is not the best option for the good of the child or for society at large {remembering that part of the basic reason for public education is that it benefits society by creating good citizens--whatever that means}.  I do not think it should be outlawed because there are instances when it is the right (or possibly only) choice but it should be subject to quite stringent guidelines and oversight.  I just wanted to name my bias from the start.

Currently the province of Alberta has a new Education Act before the Legislature.  Within the act is language discussing how the Alberta Human Rights Act interacts with the educational system, including those who choose to home-school.  And this has caused some distuption because parents feel that their rights to decide what their children learn (particularly among the home-schooling crowd but to a lesser extent with parents who want to object to/have their children excused from portions of what is taught at school) are being infringed.  Today there was a protest on the steps of the Legislature Building (story here or here).

Well yes, because heaven forbid we require that every child in the province is taught in a way that upholds the human rights act.  Yes that means you have to teach them that different religious expressions have the right to be expressed and that information about them presented as if they were valid.  Yes that means you have to expose your child to accurate (and potentially life saving), if uncomfortable, information about human sexuality.  Yes it means that your own biases may have to be counterbalanced on some issues.  And yes, in my opinion that is a valid limiting of your parental rights in favour of the general good of society.

AS it happens we are about to go into a provincial election so this could become an election issues, depending on whether the bill passes before dissolution.  Here is the far right party's (IMO misguided) take on it.  When it comes down to it, the province giving in on this issue does not further the cause of education in this province.  In fact it weakens the idea that there are certain things that we believe EVERY student needs to learn.

I truly hope that the government does not give in on this one.  Mind you I also believe that every student in this country, as a condition of receiving his or her high school diploma, should be required to take at least one year of comparative religions/world religions.  I also believe they should be required to travel, by land (probably rail) from coast to coast as a part of their high school education.  SO what do I know.

Monday, March 12, 2012


In chapter 8 of  For The Love of Cities (see previous post) Peter Kageyama talks about the importance of co-creators in creating lovable cities.  For much of the chapter he discusses two cities (New Orleans and Detroit) that have been decimated in recent years, almost to the point that one could honestly wonder if a come back was possible.  {and in the case of NOLA it seems reasonable to ask if making a comeback in that particular location is a truly good idea anyway--history aside}.  NOLA was of course devastated by a single day.  But there are signs of people making a big difference in that city.  Detroit was the victim of "death by a thousand cuts" rather than one event.  But after the crash of 2008 and the bottom falling out of the auto industry ithe city's decline became most evident.  And there too people are making a difference.

Kageyama points out that in cities like NOLA and Detroit it is alomost easier for co-creators to make a real difference--simply because they are fish in a smaller pond.  But he also points out that there is a big difference.  People in NOLA know that a total rebuild is needed.  People in Detroit maybe not so much.  On page 184 he writes:
If you talk to people in New Orleans. there is a sense that they are on a mission.  And that perception is reflected in public awareness.  The small group of co-creators I have met in Detroit are also on a mission, but that mission has yet to be understood across the city.
Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League said to me, "Many of our leaders are trying to recreate the economy we had here in the 1950's and 1960's.  They still believe that is possible.  And until we break from that thinking, we cannot move fully forward."  Gilmartin is representative of many up and coming leaders who are battling with decades of tradition and industrial era thinking.
While I already thought that there was much in this book that applied as much to the church as to cities, this sunk it for me.  HOw many of us who are leaders in the church have run into what I once heard someone call "Golden Era Syndrome", that belief that we can return to what once was [note that it is my belief that GES also involves a whole lot of false or selective memory which blinds us to the flaws of that time].  There is a belief that if we just do something, or some set of things we can recreate the church, or the economy, or the community that we had once.

Of course it is not that simple.  Things have changed.  Detroit will never be what it once was.  It may avoid becoming a Robo-Cop world.  It may rebuild itself.  But it won't be that anymore.

I lived for 9 years in a community that suffered from the same problem.  There was a recurring desire to bring in the next big project that would employ hundreds (at high paying jobs) and bring the town back to what it was when the mines were running {currently that community is banking on a proposed gold mine, although it has a lot of work to do if it hopes to fully benefit from that project as this editorial points out}.  There was little appetite to hear those voices that pointed out that such mega-projects were more and more unlikely, that the town needed to find something other than rocks or trees as an economic base.

Currently that discussion is happening, to a large extent, throughout the province of Ontario.  That province was Canada's manufacturing heartland.  ANd as such it was, for many years, one of the two major economic engines of the country (the other being the oil industry, mainly centered in Alberta).  Now, due to a combination of factors, this is no longer the truth.  And yet the politics of the province tend to revolve around which party is going to bring those days back (the answer is none given that provincial/state or federal governments have much much less control over the economy than people like to believe).  There is less of an interest in figuring out what the next economic engine for the province might be and more in restarting the engine that has stalled.  A government which pledges to (and actually does) invest in new, risky, endeavours is called out for taking too many risks and spending money foolishly (especially when those risks don't pay off within the election cycle) when what they "should" be doing is investing in old-style mills/plants/factories. {Of course if they don't invest in new ideas they are then lambasted for that too -- sometimes government is a no-win propostition.}  And to a degree I understand.  THe new economy doesn't bring jobs that pay at the same level or the same number of jobs.  ANd we have led ourselves to believe that we can only survive with what we know.  After all change is always a challenge.

In our churches, the same thing happens.  New-style programming is looked on, all too often, with askance.  And that assumes that there are people with the vision of a new-style program.  Many of us are not naturally co-creators.  Many of us are not naturally people who can envision a whole new way of being the church.  But we need to give those co-creators room.  In our churches, in our community groups, in our cities, in our provinces/states, in our nations we need to give room (and possibly $$$$) to theose people who see a new way forward.  We can't go back.  The table has turned.  Which way are we going now?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book 3 of 2012 --For the Love of Cities

A while ago I went to this event:

At the event I got a copy of this book.  It is a book I heartily encourage people in leadership positions in the church to read.  Why chuirch leaders and not just community leaders (who I also encourage to read this book)?  Two reasons.

One reason is that I believe that much of what Kageyama says about cities holds true for churches.  If we view the church as a community the we need to talk about what makes us love our churches -- and how to grow that love.

The other reason is that I strongly believe that one of the roles of the church in the larger community is to help that larger community grow into a more lovable place.  Can the church be a locus for co-creators?  Historically the church has been a big (sometimes the biggest) force for both creativity and community development.  Historically the church has also done the exact opposite.  We have to choose which way we will go and act.

There was one line from near the end of the book that expecially struck me.  But it will get its own post.  Maybe tomorrow evening while watching the Brier final that post will get written????

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Miss Boulevards

In the community where I grew up (and the community where I lived from 2001 to 2010) residential streets all had boulevards.  Your front yard would go down to a sidewalk and then between the sidewalk and the street would be a strip of grass with trees planted at intervals between the driveways.  This community does not have these.  And I miss them.

Boulevards are a blessing. In the winter they make snow shoveling easier (both by allowing one to pile snow on both sides of the sidewalk and by providing a buufer to keep people from driving on the sidewalk and packing the snow down before one can clear it).  They make street cleaning more effective because plowed snow can be piled on the boulevard without blocking foot traffic or needing to be hauled away.  Year round they make it safer for pedestrian traffic, particularly children, by keeping them farther awayfrom (and less like to stray onto) the street.

But more than that boulevards, in my opinion anyway, have a civilizing effect on a neighbourhood.  THere is a far different feeling to walk down a street with grass on both sides of you and trees shading the path than there is to walk down a street where cement and asphalt just run together.  In a mature neighbourhood, where the trees have grown tall (and in my experience boulevard trees are generally deciduous so you have the canopy effect rather than evergreens with branches reaching out all the way up the trunk) it almost gives a park sensation in a way.  A community which mandates boulevards is making a statement about green space, about priorities.

It is my belief that developers don't like boulevards.  They take up space, even that 4 ft width adds up over a few blocks.  ANd that means fewer lots can be fit into the same area.  Knowing how much prime farmland has been lost to urban sprawl I can have some sympathy for making best use of urban space.  Some residents grow resentful over boulevards.  They feel that it is unfair to be responsible for the maintenance of the grass on city property.

But on the whole I miss boulevards.  They make a city more livable somehow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book 2 of 2012 -- New York

When I was a teen I went through a phase where I read many James Michener novels.  ANd I found that I liked that historical epic novel style.

As an adult I discovered Edward Rutherfurd, whose works are the same style.  The first of his that I read was Sarum, about the area around Salisbury in England.  New York is the first novel of Rutherfurd's I have read that is set outside the British Isles (though not the first he has written, as he has one about Russia).

The historical epic is an interesting animal.  The author has to decide how to balance historical detail with the fictional detail of the story.  And has to do so in a way that the story works without doing violence to the facts.  When well done (and I am sure that these authors do some pretty good research) they are a joy to read.

I liked this book (as I expected to).  It may end up being a bit of a love song to the city --something I have noted in Rutherfurd's other works-- but it names some of the less lovely aspects of the history.  In this book we mainly follow one family's line from the Dutch era through to the Epilogue set in 2009.  Over the course of time there are other families who appear, disappear, and reappear.  And in a nice piece of bookending the first chapter and the epilogue both speak of freedom--one of the holy grails of USan culture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Day

Today was Family Day.  Alberta was the first province to have this February holiday, although many have followed the lead (Manitoba actually calls the day Louis Riel Day to honour their Father of Confederation but it still follows the logic of "we need a holiday weekend in February").  In Alberta the third Monday of February has been a "sort-of stat" [in that workplaces had the choice of taking this holiday or the civic holiday at the beginning of August so it was not automatically adding in another day off to the year--largely to appease the business lobby] since 1990.  For example, we had mail delivery today.

Mind you in Alberta all stores are allowed to remain open on a stat holiday, and most choose to do so.  Is that a Family Day activity?  OTOH, I hear about more organized Family Day activities now then I remember when I last lived in the province 13 years ago.  So maybe the idea of a holiday to get families together (unless one or more of them is required to work of course) is catching on.

LAst week I read this article.  It speaks to the mixed message of family day in an economy that so often pushes people into workaholism.  It also questions how family friendly Alberta really is--without even getting into the question of why the richest province in Canada has such an abominably high rate of child poverty.

So is Family Day all hype about the importance of family with little to back that up in the rest of the year?  After 22 years I am still not sure.  ALthough I do remember a degree of suspicion that Don Getty was using the holiday as something of a distraction from other issues when he first announced it.

But I did avoid working today.  And even when I went to the church to do a bit of stuff the girls went with me to "help".

Friday, January 27, 2012

Are We Odd?

Often I hear people complaining that they have mountains of laundry each and every week.  Sometimes I hear (or read) people saying that they have enough laundry to do a load every day.

There are 6 of us.  In a regular week we do 6 loads of laundry [3 of clothes and 3 of bedding/towels] plus a pail of diapers every 3rd night.   Now granted that is partly because it is a good-sized washer and sometimes it is quite well filled.  But still, that is half a load of clothes per person [although lets be fair the adult clothes take up a whole lot more space than the toddler clothes].  so are we just odd????

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Spirituality of Money -- A Newspaper Column

Several years ago the Bare Naked Ladies mused about what they would do “If I had $1 000 000”. AS I sit down to write this column the Western Canada Lottery Corporation website is advertising possible jackpots of $25 million or $30 million. Their commercials invite you to dream what would be possible if you won the “big money”. Over the next few weeks both the Federal and Provincial budgets will be unveiled. But did you know that all this money talk is a spiritual issue?

In many ways there are few documents more spiritual than a budget. After all, a budget talks about what we think is important, and shows that importance with money and resources rather than just words. And so we have to ask ourselves what our financial decisions say. Do tax cuts show an attempt to favour the rich or an attempt to provide for the poor? Is increased spending a waste of money or an active provision of needed service and support? Do our personal finances focus on our own wants or what is best for the society as a whole? Do we, in fact, put our money where our mouths are?

Note that the answers to these questions are rarely straightforward. There is nothing wrong with watching out for our own needs and wants. There is nothing inherently wrong with being rich. Scripture suggests that wealth can get in the way of following God's Way but Scripture is at best ambivalent on whether it is a sin to be wealthy. At the same time, the Law, the Prophets and the Gospel are clear that being wealthy while your neighbours starve (especially if you become wealthy by taking basic necessities from your neighbours) is a moral problem. Money is morally neutral. It is the choices we make that have moral or ethical value. Scripture always calls us to use what we have for the betterment of God’s whole Creation.

So I took time to think about the question asked in the lottery advertising. (Of course in my case the question is purely rhetorical since you can’t win when you never buy lottery tickets.) What would be the thing to after winning the jackpot?

Some things are obvious. Provide for the girls now and in the future, create education savings for them. Replace both vehicles, pay down the mortgage, take care of some of those “if only” projects around the house and yard, help out our families. But that doesn’t take nearly the amount of money we are talking about here. So what else?

For me some of the “what else” would be to support ministry in various places and ways (inside and outside of the church). Give to worthy causes, nationally and internationally. Do those things that allow people of all sorts of backgrounds find the abundant life that is the hope of us all. Find ways to help pick each other up out of whatever hole we find ourselves in.

But I would also set aside money to support other parts of creation. I would take time to set up a fund for building ultra-high eco-efficient, LEED certified, houses and buildings. I see a fund for a wide range of public and private and public/private projects to improve our ecological quality of life.

And yes, I would happily pay taxes on my taxable income and investments, I would avoid the temptation to find ways to hide that income in tax shelters. Because that is part of how we support each other, part of how we build a better society.

That, in part, is what I would do. What would you do?

Oh and lets be honest. In all our minds part of the answer is given in the end of the song:
If I Had $1 000 000, If I Had $1 000 000
If I Had $1 000 000, If I Had $1 000 000
I'd be rich.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book 12 of 2011/Book 1 of 2012 -- Ordered Liberty

I started this one last fall and have been working away at it for a few months.  The first half of the book (which went more quickly for me) is excerpts from Primary sources in the history of UCCan liturgy/worship.  The second half is excerpts from secondary sources in the same area.

I found this to be a very worthwhile book.  Maybe not a "must read" but very worthwhile.  The various sources give one a feel for how worship was being discussed over the years.  And the introductory blurbs Kervin puts before each one were quite helpful.  Then Kervin finishes with a concluding essay that I personally found would have been very worthwhile as a standalone piece.

I do recommend this book.  But I think a non-worship oriented book is called for next.