Saturday, January 31, 2009

I wonder ...

Many years ago I had the privilege of having breakfast with one of the saints who have helped direct the course of our Church and our society into places the "good" church people didn't want to go ... He shared openly the pain of his experience seeking justice in the Church, and shared candidly the contempt he faced over and over as he spoke about his experiences and the pain of his journey ...

At the age of 6 or 7, he was taken by force from his family and his home and transported thousands of kilometres to a strange environment where he was not only prevented from speaking his language, he was sodomized repeatedly FOR YEARS by one of those appointed by THE CHURCH to care for these young children ...

The abuse was simply and utterly horrendous ... but what followed is unspeakable in its arrogance and callousness ...

He sought justice ... he tried and tried and tried to share the story of his journey - the truth about the pain and suffering he had endured ...

Not only had he lost his language, his culture and his connection to his people ... he lost the connection to his family ... he lost the ability to trust ... he lost the ability to believe ... he lost his innocence and his safety ... he lost much ...

And over and over "The Church" refused to hear his story ... they refused to believe him ... they refused to listen ...

He was accused of making it up.
He was asked - "what did you want the church to do?"
He was challenged that he was exaggerating.
He was called a liar.
He was vilified and ridiculed.
He was pushed aside and ignored ...

Then one day, when he was close to giving up hope and his life was spiralling, his whisper was heard and things began to happen ... he was heard ... he was listened to ... he was believed ... an investigation was launched ... charges were laid ... a trial was held ... and a monster named Plint went to jail for sexually, physically, emotionally and spiritually abusing the children in his care in a place called Alberni ... and the great United Church of Canada was brought to its collective knees, and forced to confront its past ...

The problem was - NO ONE EVER TOLD Willie Blackwater - "I'm sorry ..."

He sat through weeks of trials and no one uttered those words from an official stance ... the lawyers said - "the risk is to great. We could be sued ..." and silence was invoked ...

So he went back to court to DEMAND an apology.

In time he got it ... it's called "vicarious liability" ... and it resulted in the Church and our Government formally saying - "I'm Sorry" for the excesses and abuses of Residential Schools ...

I'm no Willie Blackwater, and I would never compare his journey and his experiences to mine ... the things I've experienced pale in comparison to what he endured and survived ...

I wonder though ... if the utter nonsense I experience when I speak about what happened in Minnedosa is the SAME REACTION that Willie encountered when he started talking about a dorm supervisor "fucking him up the ass" as a scared lonely 7 year old boy???? (His words by the way)

I wonder if anyone in the Church asked Willie if he wanted prayers, a pot luck or what???

I wonder if anyone in the Church would say to Willie - "oh your story hasn't changed ..."

I wonder if anyone in the Church would dismiss Willie so blithely and force him to experience a disciplinary process while Plint, the monster who abused him was allowed to go on with his life??

The abuses I experienced were MINOR and insignificant compared to Willie's ... but looking back I realize that the same forces of injustice that denied Willie his proverbial day in court are the same forces that STILL minimize what I've experience and deny the unfairness of what I've experienced ...

I'm glad I met Willie and was able to know others who never found the courage to step out of the darkness that consumed their life because of the abuse of Plint ... one of my cherished memories is sitting along side a river and having a beautiful native man share his story with the words - "I've never told any one this ..." and he spoke openly and honestly about what Plint had done to him ... and when he finished, HE THANKED ME for listening ... I have shed many tears over his story ... and the fact that he later carried his story with him to the peace and healing of the Spirit World ...

The Church, in failing to own the abuses that it is capable of inflicting serves only to deepen that abuse and perpetuate it ...

I have to wonder if Willie and my friend by the river would have been told that THEY WERE the reason for the conflict and abuse they found themselves in??

I would like to think that wouldn't happen ... but in the modern church, and from what I've experienced - THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. That's how I've been treated ... and the more I dare to speak out about it the more I get blamed ...

And the powers and principalities dare to ask "what justice are you looking for??"

Isn't it obvious yet ???

Silly me ... expecting the blind to see ...

Foolish me for wanting to hear the words - "I'm sorry ..." and to have the truth told instead of the toxic lies that continue to be perpetuated and spread.

Only in The Church ...

It's funny ... after everything I have been through in the Church, I continue to find it remarkable, in a less than positive way that my COLLEAGUES continue to deny the reality of what I endured in Minnedosa ... they continue to shake thier heads and BLAME ME for the violence I've endured, and they even stoop to ridiculing me for raising my voice to protest the bad behaviour of OTHERS, particularly the Church and Community Leadership, that marked the last three years I spent in that community.

I wonder if my esteemed colleagues would be the type to blame the rape victim ??

I wonder if they would tell the family of the lynched black man that he "really had no one to blame but himself"??

I wonder if they tell the homeless First Nations guy on the street to "get a job"??

I can't help but wonder ...

The list of happenings that I posted the other day are not made up - THEY HAPPENED, and yet repeatedly the local leadership, and those in Presbytery and Conference brush such events off with a - "oh, they can't be connected to the Church ..."

To that I say - BULLSHIT, - just because you deny something doesn't make it so ... just because you've cozyied up to the toxic leadership and stumbled over the boundaries that you're so good at telling me to observe doesn't make them innocent nor relieve them of their responsibility.

Justice demands a courageous stand, and such a postion begins by no longer blaming the victim ... it is increasingly obvious that The United Church wouldn't know JUSTICE if it tripped over it ...

Thank God there are still those out there who not only know what justice is - but are working hard to bring it into being ... to bad they are outside the Church ...

108 ...

Sapper Sean David Greenfield,
a member of 24 Field Engineer Squadron,
2 Combat Engineer Regiment
based out of Petawawa, Ont.,
serving with the 3rd Battalion of the
Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
He was age 25.
Lest We Forget

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hmmm ... maybe it's time ...

Let's see ... slashed tires ... shots at my house and my vehicle ... anonymous calls to Children and Family services levelling false accusations of beating and abusing my children ... hate-filled anonymous emails accusing me of all manner of action and sin ... gossip and lies being told and re-told around a community ... a shattered reputation and the loss of my job to say nothing of my career ... bearing the lions' share of the blame when small minded toxic souls are allowed to continue thier reign of terror and error unfettered ... and a totally unresponsive and uncaring Presbytery and Conference when these things are occurring ...
Then like a cherry on top of a nasty unpalatable sundae, my colleagues continue to BLAME me for all that occurred in Minnedosa rather than hearing the voices from within the community and those who have experienced the EXACT same thing over and over ...
Today I had a conversation with someone who not only understands what I've been through, and the experiences that the last three years represents, they have first hand knowledge of the places and personalities involved ... and they came inviting me to re-consider my opposition to the Unionizing of the Clergy of the United Church of Canada ... after a long and frank conversation and the reflective review of what I had endured at the hands of a "caring, inclusive and liberal" denomination, I can't help but wonder if it may be time ...
Time to seek justice in the Church.
Time to cast my lot in with the Union movement ... if the last three years have taught me nothing else, it has taught me that Clergy are disposable in the eyes of the Church, and there is simply no justice in that ...
And JUSTICE is foundational to our faith ... and perhaps the ONLY way for that to happen is by Unionizing the Clergy and protecting others from the abuse and violence to the body and soul that I and others have endured ...

"Mommy Don't"

The story of Karissa Boudreau's horrific death at the hands of her own mother has left me absolutely sickened today (click here to read the account - 'Mommy, don't,' Bridgewater girl pleaded in last moments of life ) ... The 12 year old's disappearance last year and then the discovery of her body followed months later by the charging of her mother in her death left me appalled ... but to learn today the circumstances of this beautiful young girl's death at the hands of her own mother leaves me weeping ...

But to hear that Karissa's last words were the plea - "Mommy don't ..." leaves me sick to my stomach at the depravity that is revealed by such a bone-chilling action by her own mother ...

The death of a 12 year old is bad enough ... but the circumstances of this young girl's death are beyond description ... there are simply no words to adequately describe the horror and the outrage that this represents ... happenings like this represent the deepest darkest moments of humanity's total depravity ... I pray that Karissa is given a special place in whatever lies beyond this life - she deserves no less!!

Hug your kids ... appreciate them ... and thank God for them ... THEY deserve no less from their parents, guardians and care-givers!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"What shall I do today ????"

It would appear that Flute's theme song has become Pippi Longstocking's "O What shall I do today" along with the mischievous nature that the red headed cherub brought to life both in print and on stream. It's a safe bet though, that Flute could teach Pippi a few things ...

Last night Flute was savagely attacking the love seat in my living room. Our first thought was that one of her chew toys had fallen into the crack at the back of the cushions ... WRONG!!!

The digging continued after we searched in vain for a toy ... investigating it further I was HORRIFIED to discover a wide assortment of crumbs, vitrified food stuffs and other unidentifiable detritus ... three children claimed innocence on the chunks of toast (or dried bread) that came up out of the deep dark recesses of the love seat ... Thinking about it this morning, it is possible they are indeed innocent ... Flute's list of consumed and otherwise chewed on items is nothing short of impressive:

- four loaves of bread (three whole wheat and one raisin)
- one jar of Nutella
- one jar of Peanut butter
- four (and counting) bran muffins (THANKFULLY, NOT all at once!!)
- one pair of winter boots (Ms. H's)
- one pair of hiking boots (Mine)
- one pair of running shoes (Mine)
- one blanket (Flute's - a two dollar ValuVillage special)
- one package of croissants
- one bowl of chicken fat and skimmings (at M's - did in the bowl too!!)
- one set of Build-a-Bear fancy dress shoes (Ms. H's)
- one wall map of Canada
- one gift package from the Veternarian
- one bag of dog food (obviously she thought it was self serve THAT DAY!!)
- many bowls of cat food
- one extension cord (it was PLUGGED IN at the time!!)

... and then of course there was the four day fiasco of the baby gates:

I wanted to keep Flute penned in while I went to work, and she would have NOTHING to do with the two kennels we have for that purpose ... the metal kennel is bent from her frantic fight to escape (something she managed to do on the first day by pulling the latches apart with her teeth!!!)

Wanting to be a bit more civilized, I penned her in the back room with a baby gate ... a single baby gate was a waste of time ... she was over it no doubt seconds after the front door closed ...

So, a second baby gate was purchased and placed firmly on top of the first ...

At lunch that day I returned to find Flute lying happily on the love seat, awaiting my arrival. The gates we pulled down and lying on the floor in the hall way ...

Naive to the core. That night I installed wooden strapping to hold the gates in place. The next morning I admired my handiwork and left Flute behind TWO baby gates held firmly in place with wooden strapping firmly affixed to the wall !!!

Oh, what a fool am I ...

At lunch that day I returned to find Flute again sitting happily on the love seat, and the gates seemingly untouched ... at the end of lunch I returned her to the back room and closed the gates ... I turned away from her momentarily and when I turned back she was staring at me over the TOP of the two baby gates ... her tail wagging almost three feet from the floor !!!!

With comedic timing, she blinked then looked up and side to side as though to reassure me that she wasn't about to climb over, but was merely inspecting the gates and the surrounding walls and ceiling ...

"Get down!!" I growled, and she complied with haste equal to that she had exhibited in attaining her perch.

I then foolishly secured a metal mesh over the top of the gates and left for work, confident that I had finally prevailed in this battle of wits ...

BOY, was I wrong ...

My phone rang at the end of the afternoon and Ms H informed me that Flute got out ... "leave everything alone, I want to know how!!!!"

Later, an examination of the gate and metal mesh revealed the metal mesh was bent and mis-shapen by her egress ...

Still undaunted, I bought several yards of clear acrylic that I then secured to the gates with glue, and staples to prevent dear sweet Flute from climbing the gate. I presumed that if she couldn't get her claws into the mesh of the gates she couldn't climb over ...

The next morning I left for work having feeling very very confident that she would be securely ensconced behind the gates when I returned home at lunch time ...

As they say - Pride precedeth a fall ...

I returned home twelve minutes later.

TWELVE MINUTES !!! I checked the clock when I pulled out of the drive way and when I came back ... TWELVE MINUTES later I stood in the hall way and was confronted with the image of Flute surrounded by the shredded remnants of the acrylic plastic that has been stripped from the gates !!!!!!

Twelve minutes for her to reduce two hours of work to trash !!!!

Twelve minutes to show me that I had well and clearly lost the battle of wits !!!!

Twelve minutes ...

Now Flute spends her days on the above mentioned Love seat surrounded by an assortment of chew toys and other items that are HER'S, and thus far she has not wreaked havoc on my house while we are away at work and school ... but no doubt as the front door closes, the song - "O what shall I do today??" begins to play ...

Life with Flute is many things, but boring is not an apt descriptor ...

(oh - the photo is Ms H's!!!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just for fun ...

This song is just plain fun ... leave it to an Irish Band to come up with THIS !!

25 years ago today ...

While filming a Pepsi ad, Michael Jackson suffered serious burns to his scalp when his hair caught fire ... Today, Jian Ghomeshi connects the precipitious decline of Michael's career and personal life to this incident, noting that he never really regained the "charm" he had prior to this happening ...

I wonder ...

But for now, I find it hard to imagine that it was 25 years ...

As they note in The Bucket List - "like smoke through a key hole" ... time goes too fast ...

The BBC notes Michael's mishap by looking back: click here

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wisdom from his mother ... dare we listen??


In his book "The Audacity of Hope" President Obama notes:


"For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness."


It's funny, in a very profoundly sad way - but when I read that this weekend I found myself agreeing with that simple and direct statement. It summarizes the experiences I've had in the United Church of Canada ... but most depressing and disheartening of all, when I've spoken out against such things I have consistently been bullied into silence, been threatened, and have been blamed for the problem ... my colleagues - those who should be numbered among the enlightened and the aware will say - "you're the problem" or "you can't change people" or they will simply close their eyes to the problem and continue to be complicit in allowing the toxic behaviours to continue.


For those who minister with closed eyes there is no room in the modern church for afflicting the comfortable and as a result, the words of the Prophets warning the fatted cows to change their ways fall on deaf ears ... blind and deaf, the Church stumbles towards oblivion under the leadership of those who are enamoured by the ways of the world and who will not speak even a whisper against those who are so aptly described by the likes of President Obama's mother and thousands of others who have no such venue to speak their Church experience ...


Thankfully God has not given up on the Modern Church, and the prophetic voice is not lost ... Chapter Six of President Obama's book speaks prophetically if we dare to listen ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congrats ...

Today on the Noon Show on CBC Radio One in Manitoba, Chipperfield Coffee Company was featured as a 'Must See' point on Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe's tour stop in Minnedosa Manitoba, with proprietor and owner Ross M, sharing some of the delightful attributes of this corner of rural Manitoba.

I'd like to think I had a small part in helping make it happen with my invitation to Stuart on his last tour through Western Canada that saw him travelling from Saskatoon to Brandon (look on a map Hwy 16 goes right past Minnedosa!!). 'Stop in for a cup of coffee and a visit,' I urged him on behalf of the owners and staff of a once cherished place in my life ... and my call last week to CBC plugging Chipperfields as "a place for Stuart to visit." I wasn't alone in naming Chipperfields as the "must see" place ... but I started that campaign months and months and months ago ...

I honestly hope that Stuart takes time to stop in and meet the real life inspiration behind the character J--, who featured so prominently in my stories over a The Chipperfield Chronicles, and I hope Stuart gets a chance to see the many good things in Minnedosa, and meet some of the truly wonderful people who call that town home ...

I wish Ross and Bonnie well on this upcoming visit, and I hope it brings them and the good folks who stop by Chipperfields lots of good things ...

Chipperfields is still a place I miss deeply, and this wondrous coming together of one of my favourite radio programmes (complete with the books and cds) The Vinyl Cafe and one of my favourite places - Chipperfield Coffee Company, fills me with nothing but profound sadness that I simply can not be part of it ...

Such is the vagaries of life ... for now - Congrats Ross and Bonnie - I truly hope everything goes well!! You've earned it.

A Little Housekeeping ...

I've been busy with a bunch of different stuff going on lately, and so have been a tad remiss in keeping up with my postings here ... there have been a number of things that I wanted to blog about, but didn't for one reason or another ...

Today though I've been cleaning up some things and realized I had missed out on linking my latest contribution to the Wheat City Journal. It was a bit of a response to the piece in the Brandon Sun I had commented on previously (click here for that article)

To read my latest column in the Journal - click here.

And stay tuned, I'm in the process of posting some of my sermons from the last few weeks over at Meditative Moments ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What if ...

Last night the coverage on CBC Radio lead to a whistful conversation about Canadian Politics between Noahkila and I ... we mused on the popularity of Obama, and the wish of Canadians to have a leader like him ...

Then we mused about the possibility of Canadian voters writing the words "Barack Obama" on the ballot in the next election ...

Imagine the Constitutional Crisis that could result if all 308 seats in the Canadian House of Commons went, by a write-in campaign, to Barack Obama ...

"Gee we didn't see that one coming ..." would be an understatement !!

The bottom line is that we need a Barack Obama on the Canadian political scene ... maybe a write-in campaign might be a good place to start ...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Truth will always prevail ...

In the past, I've been accused of being anti-American ... it's an accusation that has been thrown around fast and furiously at times ...

It is an accusation that is simply untrue and without basis in reality ...

I have never been a fan of soon to be FORMER President George W. Bush, or his restrictive, conservative, and regressive policies.

I have been open in my contempt and dislike of Mr Bush and what his presidency represents in the world ...

I have said SINCE SEPTEMBER 11th 2001, that I didn't fear another terrorist attack so much as what Bush's administration was capable of doing in response to the horrific attacks that day ... history has borne that fear out ...

I have many wonderful and cherished friends who are American.

I have a love for many things American.

Just not President Bush and what he has done to his nation, his people and our world.

Today I can and proudly say - I AM NOT ANTI-AMERICAN !!!

Today I am proud to be a neighbour to a nation that is about to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama !!!!

Today I can say only: "God Bless America, and President Obama !!!" and I say it with great joy!!

Moving Day ...

I found this yesterday - it kind of says it all ...
Thanks to Bill Gallagher and for this astute commentary on what has been ...

He had political pedigree and little else. He was a child of privilege and entitlement. His name, not his merit, brought him to Yale and Harvard where the affirmative action of legacy provided him slots denied to the more accomplished lack ing his royal family's wealth and heritage.

For him, life was like an elite box of chocolates where he always knew what he would get. Just ask daddy and it's done. Do what you like, fail and never face the consequences.

He cut in line to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the perils of a war he said he supported but others- those with no influence or money- should bleed and die for. He skipped officer candidate school, got a direct commission and become a pilot, just like daddy.

Duty quickly bored him. Neglect and dereliction marked his service. He has yet to explain his whereabouts for the entire year of 1972. He mothballed his flight suit and spent hard hours working on the Houston nightlife, snorting cocaine in the company of his dearest friend, Jack Daniels.

In business, he failed consistently. His M.B.A degree was of little use in the oil business as he bet on dry hole after dry oil. Bankruptcy would look bad on his resume so his daddy's friends consistentl y bailed him out.

In one of his business ventures, he used inside information to unload stock that was about to tank. He got caught. A friend of his daddy's at the S.E.C. slapped his hand and he promised he wouldn't steal again from the other shareholders. The report on the dirty dealing remains sealed to this day.

He failed in his first flirt with politics, loosing a race for a congressional seat. If only it ended there. But the family's political gene is never recessive. Politics is power and power means money. We must protect our investments. Besides, the glory and comfort are fun.

His daddy's run for the White House pumped up his campaign adrenaline and he chose to hang out with political thugs and right wing religious leaders, a foretaste of his own climb to the top. Daddy had to settle in as Ronald Reagan's Veep until his turn came later.

His boy wanted to cash in on his daddy's success and have some of his own. Brain damaged a and tired from decades of hangovers, he gave up the booze and found Jesus. But he never treated the demons and they still gripped his soul.

He became a textbook dry drunk, no longer drinking but still lost in clouded thinking.

He was unyielding, inflexible and extreme. The stinking thinking made him testy, prone to erratic behavior and mood swings. He followed his gut resulting in delusions and deceptions.

Single-mindedness and grandiosity drove him.

He refused to listen to anyone who disagreed with him. Later, in departing the public stage, he said," I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right." In fact, he could never admit error and is incapable of remorse. That would require reflection and introspection, abilities beyond his damaged mind. Daddy's pals set him up with a piece of a baseball team. No capital of his own, just a famous name and backslapping style. He liked the game and through public subsidies-welfare for the wealthy- his shares blossomed into millions of dollars, his own private fortune.

He longed to become Commissioner of Baseball. The owners wouldn't have him, worried that he lacked management and executive skills. Oh their prophetic souls! But really how much harm could he have done to baseball? Instead he went out to bring great harm to a nation and world.
With money, a famous name and willingness to spread rumors that the incumbent Texas Governor, Anne Richards was a lesbian, he won his first elective office. Running Texas was easy. He didn't have to do much. The State constitution gave most of the power to the legislature and Lieutenant Governor.

He could sit back, enjoy his title and grandeur, reward campaign contributors and polluters, and sign execution orders that included many people with demonstrable mental disabilities and illnesses.

But now, his resume showed he was a leader and he set his sights on the office from which the voters had unceremoniously booted his daddy. He was confident he could bring the family restoration and the Republican moneyed interests, especially from oil and insurance companies, quickly rallied around the candidate with the familiar name. They trusted him to protect their interests. They were right.

He didn't win the election but his daddy's friends on the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote count in Florida, spit at democracy and selected a manifestly unfit man to become President of the United States.

He promised decency and compassion, but delivered division and cynicism. Every policy, every decision was based on politics, not on what the facts indicated. He coasted and enjoyed the trappings of office and the game of politics. He was a superb fundraiser.

He gave huge tax cuts to his rich friends, paying for them with debt he passed on to working class Americans. Wages dipped, poverty grew and millions of jobs disappeared. Millions more would loose health care.

The environment meant nothing to him. Climate change did not exist. He handled natural disasters with indifference and stunning incompetence. The poor and dispossessed suffered greatly under his watch..

The defining moment of his presidency came- not on September 11th as he likes to think- but the month earlier on August 6, 2001. That's when a CIA briefer told him the agency was getting fresh information and presented him with a report entitled: " Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

In his usual flippant manner, he told the briefer " Okay, you covered your ass." There is not a scintilla of independence evidence showing that he did anything about the dire warning. No heads up to airlines, in spite of other intelligence indicating al Qaeda had plans to hijack airplanes and use them like bombs. No summoning of the National Security Council. No consultations with allies.

He went back to playing video games and cutting brush at his Crawford, Texas ranch, the Potemkin village his handlers urged him to buy to polish his image as a regular guy.
The episode brought all his inadequacies to the forefront-incurious, disinterested, intellectually lazy, visceral, glib and supremely confident, above all else, in his own ins tincts.

He had surrounding himself with a fawning set of simpering sycophants. If they had worries about his grasp of matters of great importance, they wouldn't dare tell him. He didn't like hearing uncomfortable truths. Those who dared to quickly departed.

The preventable tragedy of September 11th became an opportunity that would not be missed. His negligence and malfeasance- with the shameless compliance of the slavish mainstream media- would be transformed into the image of the brave leader who would heal a wounded nation and seek revenge on those responsible for the carnage.

Fear and cowardice were his greatest allies. Congress gave him authoritarian powers. Others, he seized in secret, spying on tens of millions of Americans outside the law. He trampled on a Constitution he considered a quaint nuisance. He approved torture and committed war crimes.

He deceived and lied about the threat of a nation that had nothing whatsoever to do with September 11th but with the unabashed complicity of the media he peddled a propaganda campaign that convinced a majority of Americans that the threat was real and imminent and involved nuclear weapons.

The war was a breeze and in no time mission accomplished. When the insurgency began he said, " Bring 'em on." He created more debt to pay for the war that would soon cost a billion dollar a month. Military contractors raked in fortunes for shoddy and phantom work.

More than one million Iraqis were killed or maimed and, so far, 4200 Americans were have died. When his lies for waging war were exposed all he could say was that it was " a disappointment."

He has done nothing to help the Palestinians or work for peace in the Middle East. He has insulted and ignored our neighbors Canada and Mexico and alienated nearly every other nation in the Western hemisphere.

The United States is now viewed as the world's bully and hostility toward our nation has grown dramatically. We are less secure. Our allies are few and he created more enemies.

The American people ultimately must bear the responsibility for the incalculable damage done to the nation. Most of them bought the big lies and, when given the opportunity, failed to boot him out of office. One of every four still approves of the job he did.

He's shutting down the Crawford ranch, moving to a swank, gated community in Dallas and returning to his base- the country club set. He'll drink again, write a book, ride his bike, play golf, make tons of money and try to get his relatives elected to office to carry on the family business.

This week brings us hope. But, tragically, the consequences of vile deeds will live on for some time. The long national nightmare George W. Bush brought our nation is far from over. History will remember him as the worst president in our history. We must pray to never see another like him.

This article is borrowed from here

It's ALL about one word:

and with this one amazing word
so much more ...
For many years there has been talk of
changing the wind.
Today it seems inevitable ...

Monday, January 19, 2009

And the dream lives on ...

Today is Martin Luther King day,
a day to reflect,
a day to remember,
a day to commit ourselves
to making our world a better place.
the dream continues:
(What an amazing time to be alive !! )

Friday, January 16, 2009

One of those moments ...

Last night President Bush tried to put a positive spin on his Presidency, by saying that the United States has been spared a Terrorist Attack since September 11th 2001 ... he failed to mention the thousands of casualties that have resulted from the wars he started in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the untold suffering the civilians of both countries have experienced in his so-called "war on terror" ...

My lasting memory of 9/11, the dramatic collapse of the towers not-with-standing, is the 343 Firefighters who died that day ... 343 heroes who were climbing the stairs, directing the rescue effort, and DOING THEIR JOBS ...

Yesterday juxtaposed against a lame-duck president posturing for posterity was the lasting image of the New York City Fire Department doing wjhat they are trained to do once again ... beyond the startling images of a jetliner floating in the murky waters of the Hudson River, what has stuck with me is the beautiful image of New York City Fire Department rescue boats and vessels standing by and doing what they are trained to do ...

Today I thank God for two things ... that we have only four days left of Mr Bush's presidency, and that in spite of chaos people like he and his administration create, we have real-life heroes like the New York Fire Department who continue to do thier job and help keep us safe, and aid us when bad things happen ...

The Flight Crew of the US Air jet are heroes, as are the many Ships' Captains, Police, Coast Guard and FireFighters who arrived on scene and helped enact the Miracle on the Hudson as it has been rightly dubbed !!!!

Thank God for Heroes, wherever we find them !!

A man of great character ...

I just read online that British writer SirJohn Mortimer
has passed away at the age of 85.
While his face may not be known to many,
his name likely rings a distant bell ...
... in addition to a number of delightful novels,
Mortimer is the creator of many memorable characters
who lurked the halls and back alleys around the Old Bailey.
Mortimer is perhaps best known for the crotchety
old lawyer played to perfection
by the late actor Leo McKern:
Farewell Sir Mortimer,
farewell Rumpole,
She Who Must be Obeyed,
and the
many other characters
Sir John Mortimer
brought to live in his writing.

YEAH !!!!

Last night I played around with my new-ish coffee maker (I got it in late November, but have never had a chance to full utilize its programmable features!) and with my fingers firmly crossed I set the timer to brew fresh coffee for 7am ...

This morning I crawled out of a warm bed, ventured into a chilly kitchen and was greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee !!!

The hot mug of coffee was a beautiful way to start the day ... sometimes it's the small things that make things better !!!

Today it was waking up to a lovely cup of steaming coffee !!!

It was of course - FAIR TRADE !!!
What a great way to start the day !!!

What the HELL ??!!??!!

Yesterday's temp: a whooping -37C
The temp at this moment: a mild - 27C
Predicted HIGH for today: a balmy -6C
Tomorrow's predicted high: a positively tropical -1C!!
That's a 40 degree change in 24 hours !!!!
Time to break out the shorts and golf clubs !!
Okay, maybe it's NOT that warm,
but it's a helluva lot warmer than it was,
even Flute lingered in the backyard this morning
rather than her typical squat and dash !!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Yeah, but it's a dry cold ..."

If you're easily offended - STOP READING NOW ... I'm going to talk about my maternal uncle - known as Drake, and use the terms he used, and that I am known to use from time to time ...

Uncle Drake, the eldest of the seven children born to my maternal Grandparents prided himself on being a SHIT-DISTURBER ... he used to quip that he wanted to be buried face down so the world could "kiss my ass" ... and underneath the crusty and crumudgeonly exterior beat a heart of gold ... he was far from perfect, but he had a heart that was big and generous and loving ... he just liked to stir the pot ... (seems to be a familial trait ... along with the loss of hair !!??)

But what I remember about Uncle Drake on days like this, with the windchill close to minus 50, was his reflection on the time he spent working on oil derricks in Southern Alberta, and logging in south-eastern BC ... the temps the winters he spent in Alberta bottomed out in the minus 50's BEFORE the windchills kicked in ... (My late-father in law used to muse about the same winters he spent in the Chilcotin ranching - his descriptions of cold matched those of Uncle Drake, though the two never met ...)

Drake once described the experiences of watching steel snap in the cold, and oil derricks collapsing as girders shattered and snapped in the extreme cold ... he ended the story by saying:

"Then I get home to Ontario and people would say, 'yeah, but that's the dry cold of the prairies. You don't feel it the way you do here. The damp cold of minus 20 here is like minus 50 out there ...' "

Drake would grin and say - "Dry cold or damp cold, when it's cold enough to snap steel, it's just fuckin' cold !!"

Today was a Drake kind of day ... it was just F-----' cold !!!!

This morning ...

This morning,
the sun is shining,
the wind is blowing,
the MINUS 35 temps
felt like
minus 50 !!!
I am very very very thankful
for the Kelsey Trail
Arctic Parka I gladly wear on days like this!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Farewell to Khan and Number 6 ...

Khan, Mr.Roarke, former Chrysler spokesperson,
and star of numerous films and tv shows,
actor Richardo Montalban,
dead at 88.
Known for his number rather than his name,
Number 6 actor,
Patrick McGoohan
dead at 80.
Today, the Trekkies and the cult following of The Prisoner,
have lost their icons ...
(I'll proudly confess to being fans of both)
Alas, thanks for the memories from these gentleman actors!!

Chalk it up to cabin fever ...

Outside temp: -34C
Wind chill: - 45C
Inside: four people in a tiny little house and one very hungry dad ...

I found the tortilla chips, but couldn't find any dip ... because of a tomato allergy, salsa was out and the usual container of spinach dip was empty ... what was I to do??

I won't even begin to explain the circuitous route that took me there, but some how the notion of dipping the tortilla chips in the 2kg jar of crunchy peanut butter seemed viable ...

The outcome: Not a bad snack option ... very good on a very cold day !!

Oh, and for the record - Nutella and Tortilla chips are not quite as good ... but nutella AND peanut butter and tortilla is vaguely reminiscent of peanut butter cups ...

I'll keep you updated on any further culinary creations that may result from the remainder of this winter ... I'm sure you're thrilled !!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is JUST wrong ...

On CBC this morning I found the story: "Atlanta thieves nab 2 bicycles from ex-president Jimmy Carter" ... Now, there are some people in the world who shouldn't experience such things ... and Jimmy and Rosalind, rank pretty high in that list ...

I have no doubt President Carter is shrugging this off with a smile ... but it is STILL wrong.

I hope if they catch the guy(s) responsible, they are sentenced to working alongside President Carter at a Habitat for Humanity worksite - THAT would be about a just response !!

50 years ago yesterday ...

It was fifty years ago (yesterday) that the journey began ... and the music world has NEVER been the same since ... the list of stars that came through Detroit's Motown is nothing short of IMPRESSIVE !!

It's FREAKY cold !!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a mere minus 34 C this morning,
with extreme windchills across
most of the province taking the temps
to the range of MINUS 44 !!!
The upside is ...
it is only minus 29 F!!
It's ALL just a matter of perspective !!
The downside is that in Fahrenheit,
the windchill is minus 47!!!!
No wonder Flute kept the morning
constitutional brief!!??

For your listening (and viewing) pleasure ...

I got this by email last night ... it is beautiful ... through music, we can INDEED change the world ... enjoy !!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just for fun ...

Can't go wrong with a little bit of Hee-Haw ... (REMEMBER that show?)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

An Intermission featuring a little Flute ...

Exploring the reef at Grandma Beach's

"I'm NOT auditioning for a part in Blue's Clues!!"

" When you can't find the scraper for the frost, a tongue will work!"

"Sometimes a puppy gets very tired."
pssst ... "don't tell 'dad' I'm up on the new couch!"

Life is cool ...

"Google her ..."

Yesterday I was sharing a story about a friend from my University days and as I ended the tale I mused, "I've always wondered what happened to her ..."

And that is when the suggestion was made ... to which I replied merely, "hmmm ..."

Later I did ... and discovered my "old" friend not only on the web, but on Facebook as well ...

Today we exchanged brief messages of greetings and began the process of filling in the almost 19 year gap since we left the hallowed halls of McMaster University ... it's hard to imagine that it has been 19 years since our days around the tables at Togo Salmon Cafeteria playing euchre, poker and drinking far too much coffee ... 19 years since we sat in class and trod the stone lined hallways of University Hall ... 19 years since we left the place that for four wondrous years had challenged our intellect and our view of the world and forged new understandings with the seemingly boundless knowledge available to us ... 19 years ...

And with a few quick keystrokes the wonder that is the internet allowed for a reconnection ...

Her greeting of namaste rang a bell (and I'll admit that I HAD to look it up to remember what it meant) ... and in the process the meaning of the Hindi Blessing seemed so apt to the moment ... sometimes the simplest of suggestions can be like a tiny stone thrown in a pond ... and the ripples will flow ever outward ...


Trooper Brian Richard Good
of the Royal Canadian Dragoons
stationed at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.
Thoughts and prayers for his family,
his circle of friends,
and his comrades.
Lest We Forget.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dry Bones Hear the Word of God ...

The text preached on was Ezekiel's vision of the valley filled with dry bones ... Then came the Spirit to breath life into the bones and return them to life ...

18 Months ago I preached my last regular sermon in a pulpit of The United Church of Canada ... after the six months of disciplinary proceedings, my name has sat on the Pulpit supply list for Assiniboine Presbytery and I've had exactly ZERO offers to preach within the Presbytery that I once served as Chair and Secretary ... fortunately, I've been invited a few times to preach in one pastoral charge outside the Presbytery - but for 12 long months I've waited for a simple phone call asking if I would be available to preach in one of the MANY vacant pulpits across our presbytery ... and no calls came ...

This morning as my day began, I was mindful not of the Babe born in a stable in Bethlehem, but rather the followers of the babe now grown, who huddled behind locked doors, lurking in the shadows and shuddering with fear following his death at the hands of the Romans ... Rather than boldly heading out into the world to proclaim the Gospel, and to continue to share his radically inclusive message of Hope for ALL PEOPLE, they locked the doors and in fear and grief huddled in the shadows, reliving the horrendous events of that first Easter Weekend ... the empty tomb scared them into quivering inaction ...

For 12 months I've waited for a call inviting me to preach from a pulpit in the presbytery I have called home for EIGHT years, a Presbytery I am supposedly a member in good standing within ... but instead the fear and quivering of those who have bought into the BULLSHIT and LIES that have been told about me, has prevented an articulate, intelligent, well versed and passionate voice within the Church from speaking ...

So today I accepted an invitation from a non-United Church Congregation to join them in ministry for the next six months, and to engage in an intentional process of discernment to find what the Spirit wants for us ... rather than fearing the boldness that I bring to Ministry, this Community of Faith has opened the door and welcomed me in, and WANT me to bring the gifts and talents I possess to our mutual ministry ... rather than remaining dry and dying bones bleaching in the prairie sunshine, this community of faith feels the winds of the Spirit and with open arms has invited me to "come and prophecy to the dry bones" ...

The rest is up to God ... but with the blessing of the Greater Denomination, a small rural congregation and I began a journey together that will be many things but definitely NOT boring ... I am sad to be leaving the United Church - but like many strong United Church friends have said repeatedly over the last six months: "Why stay when the United Church has been anything but kind to you???"

"Go!!" they counsel, "and shake the dust from your sandels, and follow your calling ... "

I've not taken the step lightly, nor without great wrestling of my heart and soul ... but today, I know that the Spirit is with me in this journey ... and in this time of discernment AND MINISTRY !!!

It feels good to be back where I have been called and ordained to be !!!!

2009 is definitely starting better than 2008 did ... Thanks be to God AND Dayenu !!!