Let's not go Postal

Once again we as Canadians are able to send and receive mail by regular post and the story of this labour dispute will likely fade from our newspaper pages.  For me, this is unfortunate, since the whole story to me is much more interesting than whether or not there is something in my mailbox each morning.  Those following this story were treated to a discussion on labour negotiation techniques.  We got to see the new NDP offiicial opposition in action as they engaged a filibuster tactic to delay the process, and we got a reminder of what a filibuster is.

The Narrative of Holy Violence

I agree that narrative is a major part of human reality. As Paul Loewen said here, the stories we tell make up our worlds. This can be "our" story which shapes our identity and ties us to God and the faith community. Yet, just as easily, humans seem to be able to adopt stories which justify the evil and sin in our world in which we participate.

At the corner of comedy and tragedy

About ten years back I was the caretaker of an apartment block that a church had renovated to provide low-rent stable apartments in Winnipeg's West End.  The visionary and work-horse of this and many other projects was the late Harry Lehotsky.  I can still remember coming back to the apartment one evening seeing two faces peering out of what should have been an empty basement suite.  I went to check it out and there was Harry and the superintendent who oversaw all the blocks.  They were on a 'steak-

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Slowing Down

Sometimes I think I need to slow down. What do I mean by this? I mean that life goes very quickly. We rush from one thing to the next, glancing at our watches and depending on the calendar to make sure we don't forget things that are happening. I'm very guilty of this, and I would make tons of mistakes if it weren't for Google Calendar. 

Proximity and resources

Winnipeg experienced its tenth homicide last week.  The shooting took place around the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation parking lot at Portage and Young.  We were likely just leaving our house at that time to run a few errands.  I am trying to retrace the moments to see if anything comes to mind.  We would have been close enough to hear the shooting.  Learning about the shooting does not seem to phase me personally, despite the proximity.  In the larger media and civic perspective this will of course

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Seeing the Other Side

How resilient are people? Do we really fall apart in every situation of grief? How is it that we can recover from horrendous trauma to life normal lives again?

In his book The Other Side of Sadness, George A. Bonanno explores mourning and the nature of human resilience in the face of grief. He suggests that the idea of people getting stuck in grief and overwhelmed by loss to the point of being unable to function over time is actually less common than people may think. The norm is actually resilience.

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New Eyes

When I went downstairs near the beginning of In-House (our local drop-in) to get the dodgeballs, two young boys were sitting on the stairs outside the washrooms, eating watermelon. We jokingly fabricated a great big tale of how the seeds ended up on the carpet, since they claimed they didn't do it. When I opened the door to the basement, they asked if they could see what was there. I decided to give them a tour. 

Prayer and a Paper Shredder

I just read through my "morning pages," looking for nuggets to blog about and ripping out pages to shred.

"Morning pages" come from a class I took last year. It focused on "Disciplines for the Peacebuilder" and maintaining balance, and emotional and spiritual health when involved in the intense work of peacebuilding. The instructions were to write three pages every morning of whatever came to mind. It should be handwritten freewriting - not putting the pen down until the three pages have been filled.

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Mennonites are so hot right now

A while ago I was standing in the bookstore, staring at the magazine rack and found a few publications that dealt with the subject of writing.  As I flipped through the articles on how to write a good first sentence and how to find an agent that won’t rip you off, I found a profile on Canadian and Mennonite author Miriam Toews.  A few years ago her book A Complicated Kindness was on the Canadian top ten books list for a number of months, it won the CBC Reads contest and sold a tonne of copies.

Justice and Love Collide

Yesterday evening I asked the Junior Youth to picture a world in which God's one and only characteristic was love. "Chaos," "Hectic," "Covered in foam" were some of the answers. Okay, so that last one is a little confusing. But I compared it to Jeanette and I letting them into the church, giving them massive doses of sugar, and saying that there were no rules. One of them said there would be at least one fire somewhere, and another said that we'd all be covered in fire extinguisher foam.

The Attraction of Community

A couple who had been a part of our church community in the past and who had moved to Ohio to become part of an intentional community, returned for a visit and shared about their experiences.

Hearing the words "intentional community," my ears perked up. I'm both attracted to and challenged by the concept of living together, sharing possessions, and reaching the point of connection in which extreme learning cannot help but happen.

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Is this heaven? . . . No its the 44

A few weeks ago in the first Sunday of Lent I challenged our congregation to fast from the fruits of privilege.  One minor act on my part has been to ride the bus as often as possible.  As a country-boy the bus has always been a source of fascination for me and this spiritual exercise paid dividends this last week as my experience ended comprising about half the sermon

Dishonouring the code

If you're reading this article on this page, then you are probably far too pious  to put five dollars into a pot and fill out an NCAA March Madness bracket.  I play so cautiously and there have been so many upsets this year that my bracket is completely shot already.  I've generally done quite well though, so I feel quite willing to share some of my secrets.  In the first round I always pick two ninth seeds, two tenth seeds, and one each of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth seeds to win.

Celebrating the Power of Lent for 25 Years

Every year around this time, a lot of Mennonites across Canada do something very un-Mennonite, they give something up for Lent.  The idea behind the modern Lenten fast, where people give up something they like, so that when they feel the urge to have that thing, they are supposed to think about God and their reliance on God.  It's usually most effective if the thing you're giving up is something you've sorta convinced yourself that you need or are semi-addicted to.  The problem of course is that it requires you to admit that you are half addicted to something.


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