Thursday, February 28, 2008

Got Nothing ...

Been a long day ...
Ms H had a dentist appointment at 8 am,
and another one at 4:30 ...
had to be up by 6:30 to get everybody ready ...
... drive back and forth to Brandon twice today ...
... just a weird energy day ...
I've got a sense of foreboding a mile wide.
Tonight pulled a shift at Chipps...
... I'm bagged ...
just gonna curl up and go to sleep,
otherwise I will just lie on the floor weeping ...
Maybe I'll blog tomorrow...
... for the moment,
I GOT NOTHING TO OFFER.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Mid-Winter Visitor


The Budget Day Images that WON'T Make the Headlines:

A soon to be gone Single Room Occupacy Hotel,
home to many who will now need to move ...
Lunchtime for many in downtown Brandon
for whom this is the one dependable meal a day:

"fresh" fruit and veggies awaiting pick up in

the food hamper line ...

I wonder if Mr Flaherty would consider sleeping HERE???


For somebody - THIS IS HOME.

AND

IT'S WRONG IN A COUNTRY OF SUCH AFFLUENCE!!

Yet, there is no money for the homeless,

and minimal amounts for the poor.

Oh well, MORE tax breaks ...

that's ALL that seems to matter.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Meme Challenge ... recieved and accepted ...

For some reason I feel like I did when I was 6 or 7 and playing Duck, Duck, Goose in the gym at Bedford School back in Stratford ... the hand has touched me with the words "Goose" and the chase is on ... I've been tagged by "My Own Woman" from The Perpetual Search for Personal Nirvana.


Her instructions in this are simple:


"Everyone does these Meme things and I've decided to start one. It's easy so don't get your panties all up in a bunch. Here are the rules: List ONE desire that you have if you could live in a perfect world, then send a link to ONE person who will then copy your desire and add ONE desire of his won that he/she would want in his/her perfect world. He/She will then link ONE person who will add his/her perfect world item.....and on and on. Make sure you leave the name of the person you linked so everyone can see who you linked and what the perfect world will contain."


"In My Own Woman's perfect world people of all sexes, creeds, race, and sexual orientation would live in perfect harmony with each other. Hate crimes against such people would be a note in a history book so as not to be repeated. "


So ... now I have to come up with my one desire ... and pass it on to someone to add to it ... (I like this Meme ... I'm definitely up for it!!) ...


Let's see ... in The Prairie Preacher's perfect world, I would definitely and absolutely affirm what My Own Woman has offered ... but I would add as my one desire that instead of easily speaking words like respect, care, faith, love and so on, EVERYONE would live out those words through thier actions ... if we claim to be a person of faith, our lives will reflect that faith in ALL things ... or if we join a service club with a code of ethics or a value statement we don't just speak the words and ignore them, but we LIVE them with every action, and every breathe ... My desire in a perfect world would be to see ALL PEOPLE live the words they speak and no longer be so hypocritical.


Now, I pass this on to my blogger pal Shauna over a "Up in the Night" to use her creative powers to add to this Meme ... (I would like to have sent it to Jaydee, Blake, Candyfliesgirl, Dina AND a dozen others to see what they would add ... but My Own Woman said ONE ... so I did some creative randomizing and Shauna came out on top...)

So ... let's sit back and see where this goes ... and maybe if enough of us join in, this perfect world we all envision could be a step closer ...

Peace y'all !!

An Ode to Give Thanks For ...

Today over at The Perpetual Search for Personal Nirvana I found an absolutely beautiful offering about homelessness ... it was breath-taking and inspiring ... as I read it the only words I could offer was "May it one day be so ..."

I warned My Own Woman, the creator that I might borrow it ... by the time I posted a comment my might turned to a "ah heck - I WILL borrow it!!!" ... so below is the beautiful call to action from true prophetic voice:

I should be my brother's keeper because we now share the same air,
I should be my brother's keeper because we once shared the same womb.
How can I live in peace and harmony knowing my brother lives in despair?
How can I live in happiness when I know that soon his fate will be a sealed tomb?

Once when I was young, I did not give a care,
To the inequality that now possesses my room.
I am my brother's keeper because we now share the same air,
I am my brother's keeper because we once shared the same womb.

Here I sit all nice and cozy within the confines of my lair,
While they feel the chill of the elements that whips deep within their gloom.
My children close beside me as I stroke their gleaming hair,
The homeless not so lucky to have by their feet their children loom.

I hear my brother calling, he begs, how can I not care?"
I would not be in this predicament if I could only share your room.
I must be my brother's keeper because we now share the same air,
I must be my brother's keeper because we once shared the same womb.

I drop a nickle in a tin cup and feel I've done my share,
While I brush the crumbs that fall to the floor into the garbage with my dustpan and my broom.
Oh the waste I see around me; some I've made with my own hands I do declare.
Yet I've never seen a homeless man drop a spec of food from his tomb.

I should be my brother's keeper because we now share the same air,
I am my brother's keeper because we once shared the same womb.
I must be my brother's keeper because we now share the same air,
I WILL be my brother's keeper because we once shared the same womb.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Joke ...

Cruising far out in the ocean the capitan of ship notices spied smoke coming from one of three huts sitting on the shore of what was an uncharted island. He ordered a boat send over to the island to investigate.

When the crew went ashore to they were met by a shipwreck survivor.

“I’m so glad you’re here!” he yelled “I’ve been ALONE on this island for five years.”

“If you’re alone,” the captain said, “then why are there three huts?”

“Well, I live that one," he pointed to the middle hut, "and I go to church in that one," he pointed to the hut on the left of his home.

“What about the third hut?" asked the Officer pointing to the third hut standing to the right of stranded man's home.

“Oh,” the man said dismissively. “That is where I USED to go to church.”

Thanks to Grandpa Norm for sending me this gem. He said HE posted it in the Church Library where he volunteers his time, energy and interests ... Way to Go NORM !!!

Yup !!!

Can't argue this ...

Too true !!!

I LOVE this commercial ...

The "huh?" moment when she walks in on the dog ...

TOO FUNNY !!!

The World's BIGGEST Burger ... WHY???

A Restaurant in Detroit Michigan has just announced it has the world's largest commercially available burger on the menu ... with 24 hours notice and $350 you can get the "Absolutely Ridiculous" 61 kg (134 lbs) burger on a 23 kg bun along with bacon, cheese and all the fixings!!

They throw in the pop and fries for free ...

But it all begs the simple question - WHY ????

In a world filled with poverty, hunger, and homelessness ... why is there such a focus on such grotesque displays of excess??


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Remembering ...

Today I was getting caught up on reading some of the blogs I frequent, (when I have time) and I found a story over at Following Frodo that reminded me of a moment in time when I realized how important it is to have family and friends ...

Gord mused on presiding over the second memorial service for an individual who had no survivors ... I've done my share of very very small memorials ... I did one once where I needed to to do double duty as the fourth pall bearer to carry the casket in and out of the chapel ... but I remember vividly standing in a cemetary in the Lower Mainland one sunny afternoon waiting for family or friends of the the deceased to arrive ...

None came ... there was only myself and the two employees of the funeral home standing waiting ... Finally at the appointed hour the city employees who tended the graves came over and said, "This ain't right. No one should go out alone ..."

Removing their ball caps, they stood along with us - five in all, and we bid the gentleman good bye ... five strangers who didn't know him ... but who in that moment were there for him.

I've never forgotten that moment ... or the men from the city crew who overcame their brusk jaded nature and for a moment stood respectfully as another human being was laid to rest ... their words have stuck with me - "This ain't right ..."

They spoke a truth that day ... but more than that, they lived a truth ... NO ONE should die unmourned and un-noticed ...

This makes sense to me ...

In the neighbourhood where I grew up the boys and the girls played together, and never really worried about gender differences ... the boys brought out Gi-Joes and Big Jims and played along side the girls' Barbies ... and the girls were out playing street hockey, pick up baseball and roaming the fields and forests around building forts and hide-aways with us boys ... we ALL did things together and did't worry about being boys or girls ...

Why is this idea so hard for the Olympics???

I say - include Womens' Ski Jumping !!!!

Including Womens' Hockey only gave some of us something to watch after the pros took over the mens' game ... The spirit of the Olympics and Ski Jumping is best embodied by Eddie the Eagle Edwards (remember him??) who reminded the world that it is about the COMPETITION, not the placing nor the profits ...

This should be a non-issue ... Let the women JUMP !!!! It only expands the sports' possible field of competitors by 100% and helps to include about 52% of the human family ...

Friday, February 22, 2008

What would Jesus DO ???

One day out in the countryside of Galilea, Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."

Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost."

So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets ...

Now, I wonder how Jesus would be recieved for doing this in some modern cities???

Today I was doing some online researching for my day job, and I discovered a study entitled "Feeding Intolerance" from The National Coalition for the Homeless in the USofA ... it is an exploration of the limitations being placed upon food distribution programmes and initiatives across the United States.

Among the findings were the following:

- the Las Vegas City council passed an ordinance that bans "the providing of food or meals to the indigent for free or a nominal fee in city parks."

- the city of Willington N.C. passed an ordinance that prohibits the sharing of food on city streets and sidewalks.

- the Orlando Fl city council passed and ordinance that prohibits sharing food with more than 25 people in city parks without a permit, and limits groups to doing so TWO times a year

And for punishments, the report noted:

- in Orlando Florida, police arrested a man who served food to 30 people in a public park without a permit - he could face a fine of $500 AND 60 days in jail !!!!

- in Dallas Texas, anyone caught sharing food with a homeless person without a permit may be fined up to $2000 and/or be jailed for up to SIX months !!!

Kind of makes me wonder what Jesus would do in such cities ... but it makes me think seriously about a ROAD TRIP to engage in some acts of civil disobedience ...

So, what do you think ever happened to the concept of "just as you do it for one of the least of these my brethren, you do it for ME ..."???

Yup ... It's winter ...

I came out the door this morning to head to work and ... whoomp !!! I went down the front steps with a sliding crash ... The only casualty (thankfully) other than my pride and my derriere, was the case carrying my sunglasses that took the full brunt of the fall and was flattened accordingly ...

But as I thought about it, since moving to Manitoba in 2000, I have had no less than TWO slips EVERY year - and usually in the stretch from February to March ... some like today, have been minor, but a few of them have been spectacular and subsequently kind of painful ... I had one a couple of years ago on the ice in front of Minnedosa's Co-Op store that had Noahkila wishing he'd had a camera at the ready to record it ... "It was awesome the way you went up, THEN down dad ..." was his mantra ...

Oh well ... such are the risks of living in a snowy land and being out and about rather than hunkering down inside and praying for spring ... It's a risk I happily take ... one or two spills a season is a small price to pay ...

But like the old desk sargeant Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues used to say - "Hey !! Let's be careful out there !!"

For your morning smile ...

I went looking for a picture today for something I am working on ... and somehow found these (and several more) ... they made me smile ... and I thought they would be worth sharing ... the top one cracks me up ...



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In Honour of the Lunar Eclipse ...

I tried a dozen different ways to take pictures of the Lunar Eclipse tonight ... and they ALL turned out BLURRY ... SO, instead of pictures of the celestial event that had many of us staring skyward at the same pale moon light ... I can think of no better song to offer than this beautiful love song from An American Tail ... it offers the whisper of 'maybe' ... a simple something many of us need to hear ...

Keep Moving Forward ...

I've been quite taken with the Disney Movie "Meet the Robinsons". It is simply a sweet film with a powerful message ... KEEP MOVING FORWARD !!! echoes throughout the film ... and the result of dwelling on past events is illustrated and repudiated ... The unfolding of a timeline that curls back on to itself, then sets itself right is a poignant reminder that we need to truly KEEP MOVING FORWARD !!! ...

Today I read two powerful posts about life and its transitions ... The first (actually there are two) comes from Shauna who periodically offers her wise and wonderful comments around here ... Reflecting on the end of her marriage she offers the following poignant reflections on a life moving through a time of transition to a place of wholeness ...

Up in the Night - The Anatomy of Divorce ...

Up in the Night - Roof Update #1 ...

The from Shauna's blog I linked to the entry she cites from the blog "Fully Caffeinated" that puts into words the "Why?" behind the "what happened ?" that too many relationships experience ... It's a hard place to be ... but it does happen ... and Carrie describes it well ...

Fully Caffeinated - What Happened?

And finally in honour of these two brilliant writers sharing their eloquent thoughts, and for all of us who find ourselves in a places of transition, be they relationships, work, or any other aspect of life ... I offer a new favourite song ... Little Wonders by Rob Thomas ... a piece of music from Meet the Robinsons ...

Remember: Keep Moving Forward !!!

My wish tonight ...

I have a friend I care about deeply ... their life has been in a place of profound change and turmoil ... Over the last couple of years they have experienced more than their fair share of life's ups AND downs ...

But through it all they have been maintained an amazing disposition and have shown such strength it is truly amazing ... to say they have been an inspiration to me is an understatement ...

My one regret is that we keep stumbling over our words and instead of being able to say how proud I am of ALL that they have achieved and continue to accomplish, I end up consistently saying the WRONG things ...

My wish tonight is that I could somehow find the words to tell a very precious friend how much they mean to me, and how fortunate I feel to have them as a friend ... I am truly in awe of the evolution they are experiencing, and I constantly stand amazed at the person they not only are, but continue to be ...

Maybe tonight I'll find the words to say that ...

The Merry Go Round of Denial ...

The process Friedmas identifies may be best summarized in the attitude that says erroneously - "Whew !! Now that she's gone, everything will be ALL better ..." and things can return to the comfort of the status quo ...

The only problem is that when a system has been riddled with anxiety, fear and conflict, the problem is seldom the cast out individual who is being scapegoated for all that ails the situation ... instead, casting out the leader, or the outsider, or the newcomer merely allows the Merry Go Round of denial to continue to spin, and at times pick up speed ...

Personally it amazes me how many so-called leaders in Christian Denominations will place in the hands of thier parishoners resources from groups like AA and AlAnon that speak so accurately and eloquently about breaking the cycles of denial in pursuit of wholeness and health, yet when those same toxic cycles appear in the lives of our congregations we chose to close our eyes and let the cycles continue ... It's sad ... but fortunately, there are voices like Friedman's that are whispering to us that there are better ways than what we've been experiencing ...

The only way to stop the very non-Merry Merry Go Round of Denial is by recognizing it ... Friedman speaks a truth:

The displacement of blame on leaders may be even more salient in churches and synagogue than in the political area. Over the last ten to fifteen years I have witnessed a tremendous increase in the collective reactivity of religious congregations to thier ministers, irrespective of gender or belief. As America's emotional regression has deepened, the clergy of every denomination have been increasingly thrust into a panicky national game of musical chairs, as each minister leaves one disappointed congregation only to be eagerly snatched up by another in the false hope that this new one will be better than the last. The former minister, in the meantime, has now found a new opportunity to be a displacemet focus for a congregation that has become disaffected with its previous minister, whois presently about to take the place of the first, the anxiety still unabated and the focused issues still unresolved ...

And on and on it goes ...

The only way to break the cycle and stop this foolish Merry Go Round is by HELPING congregations deal with this crap ... otherwise ministers are picked up and cast aside like tissues ... and congregations continue on unchecked, unchallenged and incredibly unhealthy ...

And ALL of it happens in the Name of God ...

Bet God is proud of us all !!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Kinda like the guy ...

I'm sure this will put me on the radar of some intelligence agency ... but I can't NOT comment on today's announcement that Fidel is retiring as President of Cuba ...

I, for one like the guy and what he brought to the tiny island country of Cuba.

I think back to a study tour we took of Cuba in the early 1990's. We saw much of Cuba beyond the Resorts and Beach front hotels and talked to innumerable ordinary citizens ... over and over we heard about how beautiful Cuba had been prior to the revolution. BUT, when we asked if they would rather live in Cuba today, or the pre-Castro Cuba, the answer was ALWAYS the same:

"Oh Cuba isn't perfect today ... Brother Fidel could do better ... but it is SOOOOO much better today than it was then ..." and the litany of education, medical care, and food for EVERYONE rolled out ... then the line - "we might be poor, but we ARE all poor, BUT we ALL have enough to survive ..."

It was NOT just mindless parroting of the official Party line ... it was a deep appreciation of what the Revolution brought to the island as it drove out the excessive wealth that used the island as a sunny play ground ... farmers, factory workers, teachers, nurses, and ordinary folks in the street all shared their DEEP love for their country, and their commitment to the values of equality, justice and sharing that were embodied by the bearded revolutionary who stepped off the Gramna five decades ago ...

Love him or hate him ... he left an impression on Cuba ... and for many, life DID get better because of him ... and that is a simple fact that too many narrow minded Politicians have lost sight of over the last 50 years ... George can talk about the high ideals of democracy, but for the average Cuban forgoing some freedom is acceptable in the name of community ... that is something guys like George just don't get ...

Today's realization ...

Today I realized what a wonderful gift it is to have a person with whom you can pour a glass of wine and kick back while sharing your day ...

Not having such a person in your life is a tough and lonely place to be ...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Theology I REJECT:

We all know the nursery rhyme about Little Jack Horner:

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,
eating his Christmas Pie.
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum,
and said "what a good boy am I!"
.
Sadly, this little childrens' ditty, has become symptomatic of the dominant theology of Mainstream churches today, even as they go through the motions of trying to reach out to those who have, for a diversity of reasons, walked away from them ...
.
The church is blithely sitting in its corner eating its version of Christmas Pie and delighting in the selfishness that has taken hold and prevented it from seeing past the so-called "plum" it is happily holding aloft for all to see ... not that any one is looking ...
.
The evidence of this theological delusion comes from the words of Martin Luther King himself who in 1963 said eloquently from a jail cell in Birmingham Alabama:
.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
.
I openly reject the Church of Jack Horner that ignores the need for change ... and instead blames the "outsiders," "the agitators," and dubs people like me who can see a better way of doing things as "troublemakers," and the other phrases cited in the previous posting ...
.
I reject the Church that values the way things are (the status quo) MORE than spiritual growth and ensures everything is okay with lawyers rather than making sure it is okay with our faith ...
.
I reject the Church that values niceness and complacency over action and faith ...
.
I reject the Church that sits rubbing its hands together in distress and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the problems that are gripping it ...
.
In short, I reject the Church the way it is ...
.
For too long the agenda has been set by people for whom the Church is a bobble to show "what a good boy am I" rather than a spiritual reality that engages in life affirming change in our world ... For too long the immature have set the agenda and bullied the rest of us into silence ... and as a result the Church has been slowly dying ...
.
Today we start to live ... Today the Church reclaims the action of faith that lives change and transformation rather than sitting idly hoping things will get better all by themselves ...
.
And it begins by living our faith ... and I can't think of a better image than the one below with Rabbi Abraham Heschel and Rev. Martin Luther King standing in solidarity with each other ...
..

The Non-Jack Horner Church will NEVER be afraid to live its faith and to confront those who want to maintain the status quo ... the status quo MUST change ... and it will ...

.

We can thwart many things - but we can NEVER thwart the Spirit ... waiting is no longer an option ... it's time to claim back OUR church from the unfaithful leadership who have done nothing to move past the toxic complacency that keeps them planted in their corner proudly prodding their pie and doing nothing constructive ...

Dysfunction, Anxiety and Failure ...

" We will hear of no problem ... we will see no problem and we will speak of no problem ... our family, our congregation, our community and our society are JUST FINE thank you ..."

Such is the sentiment operating widely across our society in places where chronic anxiety has become the dominant experience, be it in business, in families, in volunteer organizations, in faith groups or in political parties. The anxiety has allowed the unhealthy among us to hold the entire system hostage ...

Friedman cites the example of a presentation he once did where a woman stood and began to berate the presenters, the audience and the greater society while NO ONE did anything to stop her and silence her ... She used the "right words" to drive others into silence while abusing not only the opportunity before her, but those around her ... Sadly, people like that are NOT new ... Not only does Friedman cite numerous examples in his work, almost all of us can think of people who have been nothing short of bullies in imposing THIER personal agendas on others ...

Today as I read the five characteristics of a Chronically anxious system, I couldn't help but see many of those characteristics on the journey I've been treading over the last couple of years ... Many of the very symptoms that Friedman has named have been operating in the life of Minnedosa, both as a community, and within the micro-cosom that is the United Chruch here ... Perhaps most startling of all is the total unwillingness of ANYONE to admit to this and to deal with it ... identifies

Friedman identifies the five characteristics as follows:
1) Reactivity
2) Herding
3) Blame Displacement
4) A Quick-Fix Mentality
5) Failure of Nerve

He explores the impact and the outcome of these characteristics, and I will share some of the insights he offers in future posts ... but for the moment I would like to share one quotation that stands out as an ACCURATE description of EXACTLY what I experienced in Minnedosa as a toxic, dysfunctional individual began to spin the web of lies and half truths that the anxious members of the community lapped up likedogs ...

Friedman writes:

... the herding family will wind up adopting an appeasement strategy towards its most troublesome members while sabotaging those with the most strength to stand up to the troublemakers. The chronically anxious, herding family will be far more willing to risk losing its leadership than to lose those who disturb their togetherness with their immature responses. Always striving for consensus, it will react against any threat to its togetherness by those who stand on principle rather than good feelings. The herding instinct will move and emotionally regressive family to a position where it edeavours to accomodate the disruptions of the immature and of those who think in terms of their rights rather than their responsibilities.

So rather than take stands with the most disturbed members and support those who stand tall, the herding family will adapt to the symptom-bearer (alcoholic, delinquent, substance abuser, gambler, hot tempered one) and at the same time undercut anyone who attempts to define him or herself against the forces of togetherness. They will often characterize that person as "cruel," "heartless," "insensitive," "unfeeling," "uncooperative," "selfish," and "cold."

Actually, this tendancy to adapt to immaturity and to sabotage strength is so often characteristic of chronically anxious systems that a good rule of thumb for leaders who are trying to pull any institution out of its regression is that when people start calling you "cruel," "autocratic," "heartless," "hardheaded," "unfeeling," "uncooperative," "selfish," and "cold" there is a good chance you are going in the right direction.

I read these words and found them resonating with the experience here in Minnedosa as a chronically anxious system sought to maintain the status quo rather than deal with itself and struggle to become something more than it is ... I wondered about the accuracy of these words, so I shared the above quotation with 13 year old Noahkila ... as I finished reading he smiled and said:

"Sounds like what you've just gone through in the church ..."

We then discussed the name calling and how ALL of those phrases Friedman identifies rolled off the lips of those who sought to reject me and my ministry ... So desperate to maintain the illusion of cohesive togetherness, they HAD no choice but to posit the blame on the outsider ... I couldn't help but wonder why - if a 13 year old can see this - why than can't the esteemed leadership of the Greater Church open their eyes to it ??????

Sadly, as Friedman goes on to explore this topic he notes that often denominations are so emeshed in this dysfunction that they lose the ability to see it and deal with it ... and ministers find themselves being bounced from congregation to congregation as the failure of the Pastoral Relationship is placed on THEIR shoulders rather than placing it where it belongs. I made mistakes - but my mistakes pale in comparison to the incompetence, dishonesty and fear that runs rampant in the leadership of this community and this church ... and NO ONE IS willing to hold the others to the same standard they so willingly held me to ...

Hearing Board members say - "wait, wait, wait," while they did nothing to address the problems that were becoming apparent, then hearing the voices call on the return to a fictious place of unity and togetherness (that's the WHOLE point of Friedman), by simply eliminating ME as the minister simply underscores the depth of the dysfunction that is gripping this community ... what worsens the situation is the unwillingness or inability of the Greater Church to open their eyes to what is really happening here (and in other communties as OTHER colleagues find their pastoral relations severed by THEIR Churches) ...

Maybe one day others will FINALLY read the words of Friedman instead of dismissing him and his wisdom (I've yet to meet a colleague in West Man who is at all familiar with Friedman and his work - and for the last two years it has been what my colleagues across the nation (And the continent) have urged me to read as I've struggled to wend my way through this morass - THAT simple fact alone explains a great deal about why the United Church in West Man is in the state it is in - but no one wants to HEAR THAT either!!??) ... But when reading Friedman and taking his words seriously truly begins to happen, the toxic dysfunction that has marked the lives of congregations like Minnedosa United Church will finally be addressed and the healing these places desperately need will finally begin ...

But first it requires - NAY - it DEMANDS the courage to say to the immature and unwell people who say things like "If this doesn't happen, we will no longer attend or give money ..." - "GO ahead, there's the door. Don't let it hit you on the ass on the way out ... See ya !!"

And then we can let the healthy and strong among us get to work creating the faith communities we need to truly live the Gospel.

Maybe one day ... maybe one day ... in the meantime the chimps still sit ... and the lies being told continue to roll around ... and everyone pretends it is all better ...

Come O Holy Spirit Come !!!!!! There's so much more work to be done here ...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What were you thinking???


I have to start by admitting that I love Micheal Buscemi who has played many memorable roles in movie after movie ... I just couldn't think of a better visual to go with this posting ... his look in Mr Deeds summarizes the scattered and borderline crazy thinking that has run rampant in places like Minnedosa for too long ... thinking serves only to hinder and hold back the community in its attempts to achieve something more ...

As way of illustration, I would cite the criticism that was lobbed at me a while back after I spoke out about the "work" of Boards and volunteers in the community ... the person calling me down offered the blatant implication that because at the time I was the Minister - I should not have offered any comment about the work of groups in the community that could be construed as critical about the effort of "hard working" volunteers ...

It is an interesting quandry to consider ...

My first thought was to dismiss that notion as foolishness ... but ...

I then wondered if jealousy and envy played a roll ... that may be a possibility - one learns to fear and attack that (and those) which we don't understand ... in short - ignorance often leads us to savage those who are smarter, more articulate and better spoken then ourselves, rather than opening our minds to the possibility that there exists more than one way to view the world ...

The reality is that volunteer boards often lose their way, and become SO focused on what they are doing that they DESPERATELY need fresh perspectives - but in small towns, too often that fresh perspective is blocked and actively denied ... in short - they become gridlocked and are unable to envision creative and NEW solutions. The status quo becomes defended at ALL COSTS and no contrary opinion is welcomed.

Witness as an example the Chamber of Commerce in our own little town ... they've publically stated that perhaps the economic path of salvation for this town is by attracting businesses like a Pizza Hut or a Subway ... blithely ignoring the sweat and devotion a half dozen small restaurant and food service enterprises have invested in their place of businesses that would suddenly find themselves in an even tighter battle for survival. The actions of the Economic Development Officer and the Chamber is NOT only counter-intuitive, it runs counter to EVERYTHING out there about Community and Economic Development (something they would know if they had an EDO who had even a little bit of training in the field)!!!!

Today I read a comment by Rabbi Edwin Friedman who points out that often the grid locked systems display three dominant traits:
1) an unending treadmill of trying harder (with less and less achieved)
2) constantly looking for answers rather than reframing the questions (and thinking outside the box)
3) the predominance of either/or thinking that creates and perpetuates false dichotomies

Today I realized that I live in a community (thankfully I no longer have to work in it) that is totally GRID LOCKED ... it is dying, no longer incrementally, but rapidly ... Those of us who want to see change are NOT welcomed ... those of us who want it to be better than it is are excluded and shunned ... and those of us who actually care about seeing the community prosper are criticized and cast out for it ... the treadmill of destruction is fully engaged ...

Thankfully though ... there is a small and very dedicated group of people who not only want to see this community - THE TOWN OF MINNEDOSA - live, we are working actively to see it happen ... the funny thing is - the majority of them are not long term residents - we are outsiders - ... and we have never been integrated into the life of the community beyond a superficial "welcome" that left us like the last kid picked for a school yard game - standing wondering "WHY?"

Yet as outsiders, WE WANT TO BREAK THE GRID LOCK AND SET THIS TOWN FREE FROM ITSELF !!!!

AND we won't take no for an answer ...

We will work that much harder to illustrate the short-sightedness of those who want to maintain the status quo ...

We will set our goals and work to inspire others to join us so that Minnedosa will become more than it is now ... instead of rubbing our hands together in distress and taking our hard earned dollars down the highway to spend them in Brandon (like too many of the voices who have spoken out harshly against me and others) we will continue to invest our time, our energy, our enthusaism and our committment into this beautiful little town ...

We will NOT let Minnedosa simply wither away ... instead we will raise our voices and speak out and WE WILL bring the change this town needs ...

There is more to this town than the hockey rink and the golf course ... there is HUGE untapped potential all around us ... the problem is:

MINNEDOSA isn't a WARM and WELCOMING Place like it thinks it is ... so, instead of waiting to be welcomed in, WE (the outsiders and the newcomers) will create our own place of warmth and welcome ... and in the process WE WILL CHANGE THE VERY FABRIC OF THIS TOWN, and make it BETTER.

Who says you can't criticize a volunteer on a Board who has been there too long, and who has only thier own interests at heart, and not the best interests of the community OR the group they are volunteering with ??? The last time I checked Canada was a free nation where our right to speak was guaranteed in the Constitution ... and as part of that right to speak, we have the obligation to hold Boards, Committees and our elected officials responsible for the TRUST we place in them ... they ANSWER TO US !!!!

So, not only will I continue to speak up ... I WILL encourage others to do the same, and together WE WILL CHANGE THE WAY THINGS ARE TO THE WAY THEY ARE MEANT TO BE !!!

... and so, let the revolution begin ...

Oh, and to those who take offense to what I've said here - instead of huffing and puffing about what I wrote here, either piss or get off the pot ... you either part of the problem or part of the solution ... and so far the so-called solution isn't working ... SO make your choice ... but first - JUST STOP TALKING !!!

One life ...

Gandhi is known for saying - "Be the Change you seek ..."

This week I've been finding myself in places where the change I seek is not only present in the moment, but is unfolding around me in exciting ways ... This week I've helped Chipperfield Coffee Company join in Fair Trade Manitoba's One Month Challenge, and as of last night (two days in) our expectations have been exceeded, and our customers have asked for more Fair Trade Products that we were prepared to offer at the present time ... a quick chat lead to a dozen emails and we're moving towards expanding our Fair Trade selections sooner than planned - NOT A BAD THING !!!!

Yesterday I spent some time walking up and down the back alleys and the out of the way corners of downtown Brandon exploring the places where some of the shelterless folks find themselves sleeping at night ... under bridges, behind dumpsters, in abandoned loading docks, and in protected entrance ways, the ingenuity is startling ... but the very fact that humna beings - people like YOU AND I are sleeping in such places at all in a country overflowing with resources, wealth and possibilities is APPALLING !!! But getting a sense of where it is happening is part of understanding the broad solutions needed to address the problem to begin with ...

That walk came on the heels of several provedential encounters with folks who may prove to instrumental in helping actualize some of the solutions needed for Brandon ... over coffee, in the produce aisle of a grocery store, and on a cold and windy street corner, I've come to appreciate that the Spirit has guided me to those moments for a reason ... I'm not sure yet what the reason is, but I have no doubt that in the fullness of time I will look back on those moments and see their importance through the unfolding of future events ...

Overall, though it has helped me realize the impact that one person can have ... often we underestimate the impact that a single person can have ... yet over and over in history we see individuals who manage to do astounding things by living their values and principles and helping others ... Last night I started reading the latest book by the late Edwin Friedman entitled "A Failure of Nerve" where he examines leadership in the modern era ...

His early book has been a constant companion in the journey I've been on over the last two years ... but this new book challenges us to not only re-vision leadership in an era filled with fear and cowardice, but to consider the way to lead IN SPITE of the fear and cowardice that has too often sacrificed leaders in the pursuit of the status quo.

As I read Friedman and thought about the things I've been busy with in the last couple of days I thought more about the impact a single person can have ... right now my goal is to encourage and empower folks to realize the impact they can have in the areas of Homelessness, Housing and Fair Trade ... but then I thought about the toxic nasty people who have had profoundly negative and hurtful impacts because people of Good Faith have done nothing to stop them ... Too often we underestimate the viciousness people are capable of, and by the time we begin to realize just what lies in their heart the damage is extensive, wide spread and perhaps irrecoverable ...

Gandhi's statement - "be the change you seek" MUST be connected with that change being reflective of your heart ... I look back on the presence in my journey of people who were toxic, nasty and vicious and marvel at the trust OTHERS (and myself at times) have placed in them and wonder how we could be so incredibly stupid to believe their intentions were even remotely nobel ...

The costs for that folly have been simply enormous ... I pray that one day others will see their folly and REAL and SUBSTANTIVE change can begin ...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Starts TODAY !!!!

It starts today ...
The One Month Challenge,
a 30 day commitment to use and promote
FAIR TRADE Products at home, at work and at play.
To learn more
and consider joining the Challenge.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Breakfast I'll Never Forget ...

It was early one morning at the Train Station/Bus Station on Hastings in Vancouver ... I had just dropped a friend off to catch his bus home, and was heading back out to my van when a gentleman whom I assume was homeless, or atleast economically challenged approached me and said:

"Some spare change so I can get some breakfast?"

I stopped and looked into his face and said with a smile, "I won't give you change, but if you need breakfast I would be happy to buy whatever you want from the restaurant inside." I motioned to the McD's franchise just inside the door.

"Really?" came a surprised reply as the extended hand was withdrawn.

"Really," I said still smiling, "what would you like?"

He thought for a moment, then answered, "I would love a sausage and egg McMuffin with hashbrowns and a coffee with cream and sugar."

"Just one?" I asked.

"I don't want to be a pig," he said looking down and whispering.

"Two it is," I replied, "would you like an orange juice to go with it?"

He nodded as I turned and went in and bought two sausage and egg McMuffins, hashbrowns, an extra large coffee and a large orange juice and carried it back out to the gentleman who was waiting by the bench in front of the entrance way.

When I returned he had been joined by a friend and the two of them were talking excitedly. The first gentleman turned to me and apologized saying he was going to share his breakfast with his friend because they both were pretty hungry.

I handed the first man his breakfast and said, "You don't have to share," as I asked his friend what he would like.

The second man said, "Just an egg McMuffin would be fine."

"I'll get you the same as your friend," I said, "How do you take you coffee?"

When I came back with the second breakfast the two men settled in on the grass not far from the Memorial to the victims at Polytechnique, and happily enjoyed thier bounty. As I turned to head to my van they both looked up and smiled and said "Thank you."

I smiled back and said, "NO, Thank you for letting me do this ..."

I was out less than 12 dollars, but for a brief moment in the sunshine of a summer morning, two men feasted like kings and made me feel like I had done something worthwhile ... the smiles of contentment they shared with me and each other meant more to me than I can even describe ...

When there is a problem in the world ...

I found this image last week as I was beginning my new work adventure ... It struck me then, as now as an ICONIC visual of what homelessness in Canada can truly mean ...

The mean streets are down right vicious when it is in the minus temps, the snow is falling and the wind is howling ... and yet for thousands of people across this nation, this is the simple reality they find themselves having to endure ... We need to stop asking "WHY?" ... and embrace fully the notion of Housing First, in our collective efforts to address not just homelessness, but also hunger, poverty, and the housing crises that are gripping our nation ...

As I've considered this image, and shared it with those I am working with I keep recalling the words of Palestinian Melikite Priest Father Elias Chacour, who in his book Blood Brothers, shared the following story:

My mentor shared the story; "... if there is a problem somewhere , this is whathappens. Three people will try to do something concrete to settle the issue. Ten people will give a lecture analyzing what the three are doing. One hundred people will commend or codemn the ten for their lecture. One thousand people will argue about the problem. And ONE PERSON - ONLY ONE - will involve himself so deeply in the true solution that he will be too busy to listen to any of it ... NOW," he asked gently, his penetrating eyes meeting each of ours in turn, "which person are you?"

It remains a question that haunts me ... which person shall I be ???

Which person are you ???

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Two Years Ago Today ...






My day began at 5:58am with the telephone ringing in the kitchen ... as I charged down the stairs to answer it I smelled smoke (not a good thing in a 100+ year old home) ... my first thought was it was something INSIDE the house ...

.

Then I answered the phone to hear the news that Minnedosa United Church was on fire ... by 8 am it was a loss ... by 11 am it was a smouldering foundation full of shattered ruins ... that day we broke bread, shared the cup and set our face to the future ...

.

It was a journey that would be fraught with more grief, more losses, and more hurt than I could have ever imagined ...

.

Now 2 years later ... the vacant lot remains ... the pastoral relationship has ended ... and Minnedosa struggles ... and I am left feeling spiritually homeless ...

.

There is no way to count the tears that have been shed in the last 24 months ... nor to account for the hurt that has been inflicted ... or to tally the losses that continue to mount ...

.

Today I am mindful of just what has been lost since that day two years ago ... Maybe one day the healing will really begin ...

.

For now I can only weep at what has been lost ...

A reply from a friend ...

A long time ago ... seemingly half a lifetime away, we used to shop at a wonderful jewel of a general store that carried a dizzying selection of just about EVERYTHING imaginable ... it was a favourite place to go for a wander with a then toddler Noahkila who LOVED the toy section ... and urgent gift needs were seldom unmet in the amazing breadth of items the store carried ...

Last week Ms. H noticed a price sticker on a deck of cards and asked where "that store is?" and we told her about it ...

Yesterday, or more truthfully, early this morning the proprietor of that business sent me an email in reply to my posting about the product recalls ... I was delighted ... thanks to the internet in recent months our family and his have been able to reconnect and get caught up on the events that have transpired over the last 11 years ... BUT the latest email caused me pause to proclaim a hearty - "AMEN !!!"

Sharing his experience with the aforementioned product recalls, he rightly posits the blame where it belongs ... I bear no grudge on any small business owner just trying to make a living ... I don't even begrudge them buying products - afterall, THEY do have to make a living in a global market ... but like my businessman friend I DO place the blame for this at the feet of the manufacturers who have embraced the race to the bottom a little too eagerly ...

So in support of small local businesses anywhere - I offer the following quotation as a reminder that what WE chose to do with our hard earned dollars has an impact ... it's our job to seek a positive impact:

I'd also like to offer a little more information on your item today about the lead paint recall issue. Those of us who read newspapers (yes, there are still some of us out here) have been well-informed on this matter for months. It WAS in the headlines, and all responsible retailers have long since pulled these products. In our own case, our suppliers sent us lists, they gave us full credit for any goods on the lists, and we checked every product made in China, whether it was on the list or not.

The problem has arisen because lead paint (banned in Canada for at least the last twenty years) dries in 1/4 the time of non-lead paint. The manufacturers have put so much pressure on the factories to deliver larger orders faster and faster, that many Chinese factories started using lead paint because it dries faster. In principle, of course I completely support your "buy local" position, and other aspects of concern about people shopping only for price. However, in this case I think the blame has to fall with the manufacturers (Mattel, et al) who have moved their facilities offshore, and with impossible delivery demands create bad results. I believe that they are the real villains.


Once again: "AMEN!!"

Monday, February 11, 2008

Are YOU In ?????????

Valentines' Day marks the beginning of Fair Trade Manitoba's One Month Challenge ... for 30 Days you make the pledge to drink ONLY Fair Trade Coffee and Tea, and consume Fair Trade Chocolate and OTHER products wherever feasible ...

You agree to participate in some surveys to track the success of the Challenge, and you do you bit promoting Fair Trade Products amongst your family, friends, co-workers and others you may meet during the challenge ...

For me personally, the One Month Challenge isn't really much of a challenge - I drink only Fair Trade Coffee at home - my favourite is Cafe Awasa DARK - an Ethiopian Coffee from Level Ground Ltd. And to switch to Fair Trade Tea would not be a HUGE leap ...

I've been helping the good folks at Chipperfields gear up for the Challenge by introducing a Fair Trade Coffee Selection EVERYDAY for the 30 days ...they've broadened their selections and with the help of their staff, will be promoting Fair Trade Products throughout the month as they introduce to Minnedosa Coffees supplied by four marvelous Fair Trade Roasters from ACROSS Canada.

Stay tuned ... I'll share more as we move through the challenge ... but for the moment I have to ask - "ARE YOU IN ???"

Click here - to learn more, and to consider signing up for the One Month Challenge ...

Changing the world is as easy as your morning cup of coffee !!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

WHERE ARE THE HEADLINES ABOUT THIS ????

Today while checking the latest news on the CBC website I noticed a link on the side bar that made reference to "recalls and consumer advisories". Intrigued I clicked and discovered a web page that is nothing if not FRIGHTENING.

The web page (click here) has 194 Childrens items on a recall list over the last couple of months - the VAST MAJORITY of them as a result of concerns over the level of LEAD contained in them. From building blocks to buttons - there is a dizzying array of everyday childrens' items, some that my own kids have likely played with in the past, that are on the recall list because the manufacturers saw fit to USE LEAD IN THE PRODUCTION !!

As I read through the list I couldn't help but wonder WHY ???

Not only why is lead there at all, but why as consumers do we have to DIGGING to find this information???

One of the items is a baby sleeper and bootie set sold at Zellers that has lead in the BUTTONS!! How many of these sleeper sets have been wrapped on children across Canada?? And how many of those parents have the TIME and ENERGY to go LOOKING for the recall notice buried in a subcategory of the CBC web site????

I found it because I'm confortable with the technology of the web, and today as I contrinue to recover from whatever bug has thumped through our house, I have little else to keep me occupied - so clicking a few side bar links was EASY ...

But I seriously doubt many people even KNOW this link exists, and if they do, I doubt they go looking very often ...

I don't dare to offer a solution here ... but I think there needs to be MORE AWARENESS out there about the dangers lurking in the toy bins ... handing kids lead tainted toys just ain't on ... ALL of this is the direct result of consumers' foolish desire to get the lowest price - the race to the bottom has its costs ... but I'm not willing to tolerate that cost being exacted on the backs of our children ...

Spread the word ... tell your friends and neighbours - the more who know about the sheer number of recalls the better ... maybe when we wake up and realize that the world isn't getting better through shopping, then we can really address the issues facing us and our planet ...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Today ...

This morning we awoke to highways closed across Manitoba,
the wind gusting heartily bringing with it extreme windchills,
and weather warnings to stay off the roads and indoors.
It all sounded like good news in this household ...
the bug that has been making the rounds of town
has hit us HARD ... I lumbered through yesterday
and today have been sipping tea, juice, and cup'o'soups
while trying to stay warm ...
Unfortunately we're NOT the only household
struck with these bugs ... it's running rampant!!
The only healthy one here is Beetle ...
I wonder what she'll cook the rest of us for supper !!

Friday, February 08, 2008

It doesn't matter ...


In the last week I've read a dozen or more studies about
homelessness and the housing crisis we're facing Nationally.
Over and over the authors have mused on how such an
epidemic can exist in a time of unprecedented economic growth.
And over and over
they have insisted
(both the left and the right wing commentators)
that the time for studies and conversations is OVER.
NOW is the time for ACTION.
It doesn't matter why they are HOMELESS,
the very fact they ARE in our nation is appalling.
It's time ALL OF US DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

With eyes to see ...

The other day Beetle came to the front door very excited about something ...

"Look, look ..." she said holding up a chunk of snow, "it's shaped kind of like heart."

"Hmmmm," said curmudgeonly me.

But she was insistent ... and she won me over ...

I think I learned in that moment that it is sometimes all about one's perspective, and one's openess to see ... Beetle saw a heart in a chunk of snow ... I wonder what other amazing things she'll find as she journeys through life with her eyes and heart wide open ...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Not quite THAT BAD ... YET !!!

One of the first things I've been busy doing is researching, accessing, reading and printing recent and current studies into poverty and homelessness in Canada ...

I've spent time the last couple of days reading a HUGE variety of web pages, studies and research papers about the state of poverty and homeless across Canada and I was absolutely blown away by how bad things really are ... my desk is awash in print versions of these tomes and I've begun pulling pertinent bits and pieces out of them to undergird the work of the committee I'm now working for ...

It's a daunting task ... it's a far reaching problem and there are no simple solutions ... but along with stacks and stacks of paper work I have begun to connect with a multitude of people who want to see more than words offered as a solution ...

Stay tuned ... in the coming days I will share some of the links and papers with you ... and who knows? Maybe together we can ALL be part of the solutions that are so desperately needed ...

Your vote is needed ...


And the winner is ...
Come on loyal readers ... while we've been enjoying a mixed bag
of weather across the lower reaches of North America,
my dear friend Indigo has been truly "going Native," or
in this case "going Inuit!!" to stay warm in the far north.
NOW, she needs your vote to pull ahead in the poll at
Head over there and cast a vote for
INDIGO
THANKS.
Check out the other fun and funky postings there too !!

Monday, February 04, 2008

In the hands of the Cosmos ...

The other day I offered up a post reflecting on the importance of a song by Elton John to my life's journey, both past and currently ... The song "I'm Still Standing" is, as I said a personal favourite since the first time I heard it many years ago ...

Today, coming back from appointments in Winnipeg I decided to call a friend I hadn't talked to for awhile on my cell ... as we got caught up on life and the happenings in our respective worlds we talked about the challenges our life journeys sometimes toss our way ... we laughed, we danced along the edge of shedding a few tears (at least I did), and we reaffirmed a friendship that has been a gift and a blessing ...

The conversation covered a lot of territory ... As I hungup I had the realization that life is best lived entrusted FULLY to the hands of the cosmos while focusing on the potential of today rather than getting hung up on the battles of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow ... we said our good byes and I tucked my phone in my pocket. I reached over and turned up the radio in the van only to hear Elton John's song "I'm Still Standing" playing on the Winnipeg radio station I was tuned to ...

You can't tell me THAT song in THAT moment wasn't a sign from the cosmos ... Like Sir Elton says - "I'm still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. I'm still standing after all this time !!!"

I AM still standing ... and after the last couple of years, that counts for A LOT.

AND a HUGE THANKS to my friends for helping make THIS possible !!!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

It's ALL Just a Ride ...

It's funny ... in the coming days I begin a new job in a new area of MINISTRY that lies beyond the structure of the Church ... while my heart yearns to be in the day to day ministry of preaching and pastoral care, I know that this is simply not possible for me right now in my life ... I am a round peg being forced into a square hole ...

And so my departure is bitter sweet ... I will miss the "WORK" that is the day to day reality of Pastoral Charge ministry ... but I have become increasingly aware that my theological take and my insistence (thanks to Martin Luther King) that the ENDS and the MEANS must not just connect but be in synche with each other, as pushed me from the fold of the United Church ... My read of the Gospels and the source material that motivates us is that the nice words are pointless if we fail to live them out ...

I do, as I've said a dozen or more times here - believe that we can change the world ...

We just have to believe it is possible ... and make BETTER choices as we journey forward ...

To me the greatest irony is that THIS SIMPLE message is running rampant ALL OVER THE world - voices raise this cry over and over and over ... BUT in the institutions we have become defenders of the Status Quo, and we resist change while speaking hollow words that proport to be transformative ...

I AM A BELIEVER IN THE RESURRECTION ... not a narrow view of "Get Right With Jesus" and have your life altered ... but a BROAD COURAGEOUS view that says - "With GOD all things are indeed possible ..." and we then open ourselves up to the transformative power that comes from THAT kind of FAITH.

The Resurrection is about rocking the boat and getting those in the boat wet while we tray to make our way to a safe harbour and pull in those floating on the waves around us ...

The Resurrection is about comforting the afflicted and offering them more than empty words ...

The Resurrection is about afflicting the comfortable and like the Biblical Prophets of Yor, calling the wealthy to task, particularly when they sit in their comfortable pews and nod to the words that call us to DO MORE ...

The Resurrection is about LIVING YOUR FAITH ... clothing the naked, caring for the sick, picking up the downtrodden, sheltering the widows and orphans and seeking justice, compassion and love in ALL THINGS ...

These concepts have been said in countless ways by countless people ... and sadly, our world still struggles ...

Today I realized that perhaps the clearest message of "FAITH" comes from a voice outside the Church ... I've used this clip before ... but in the coming days, I will hear these words in a different way ...

When Bill Hicks says - "It's all just a ride ..." and goes on to elaborate on this ... he speaks a profound (and for many: uncomfortable) truth ... the power of Hick's vision comes when at the VERY end he speaks of HOW we can change the world ... it really IS that simple ...

With over 400 BILLION Dollars spent in Iraq alone by the US Government, we can't help but pause and consider what incredible transformations COULD be possible if that money was used for health, education, food and shelter around the world ... but instead the ride continues ...

Maybe one day we'll have the courage to listen and follow these prophetic voices instead of setting out to destroy those who can see what life really is

Bill Hicks - "It's ALL just a ride ..."



Another song ... Crank That Kosher Boy!!!

Crank the volume and ENJOY !!!!



Saturday, February 02, 2008

It Ain't Tuesday - BUT ...

I know it isn't Tuesday but ... the revelation of what new path is unfolding for me has begun to seep out, so it is time to reveal all ...


The keys pictured above ARE THE KEYS TO MY NEW OFFICE IN THE CITY OF BRANDON!!!

As of Monday morning, I will officially become the Homelessness Project Co-ordinator for the City of Brandon, working out of the office of Brandon Neigbourhood Renewal Corporation.

I accepted a 13 month contract for the position this past week, and I unofficially began my new job yesterday with an all day meeting with the Homelessness Steering Committee, and I truly hit the ground running ... my first formal day will be on Monday !!!! I'm very excited by the work before me and what has been laid out by the committee and the community of Brandon.



To learn more about The Brandon Homelessness Project and Committee - click here.

To learn more about The Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation - click here.

It will be an interesting and exciting, and no doubt challenging 13 months ... but I'm looking forward to EVERY minute of it ... for the first time in since 1990, I am working outside the United Church of Canada, and it feels more than alright ... it is what ministry REALLY is !!

Thanks BE to GOD !!!

Just for fun ...

These guys are HILARIOUS ... they play up ALL the stereotypes and use them to their comic advantage ... this video is just plain SILLY ... their website (click here) has a pile more videos that range from the uttlerly brilliant to the utterly stupid ... check out Pari and Harvin ...

Don't drive angry ...

Last year, Minnedosa Mildred was confronting a wind chill of -38C !!!! on Groundhog Day ... today's temps of -22C(that's -7F) seems downright balmy ...

BUT ... Mildred is a bit confused ... early this morning, as the sun reached the bottom of our valley home she saw her shadow ... six more weeks of winter ... Then later as the morning unfolded, the clouds came and her shadow disappeared ...

So, Mildred decided to hit the highway like many Minnedosans and try to find a warmer environment to wait out the next six weeks and leave the outcome to the fates, the weather and the rest of us left shivering in the cold ...

Bon Voyage Mildred ... drop us a line !!!