Sometimes I think we don't give stories enough credit. I, for one, love stories. But by the time the public education system has had its way, people lose their imagination. And they relegate stories to children and teenagers. Or to illustrations to be explained. But there has been a loss along the way.
I recently had a conversation with an atheist that did not fit the narrow conception I had of how that should have gone. It was a helpful and constructive experience. In any event the encounter spurred me to do a little snooping around on the internet for local atheist blogs and see what was happening around Winnipeg. In the process I ran into The Winnipeg Skeptics. One of the contributors has his own blog Startled Disbelief. I started reading various
Recently we had a whole weekend of hockey here in Calgary. I attended three of the four games. An AHL game indoors on Friday, a game with NHL alumni outdoors on Saturday afternoon and then a WHL game outdoors on Family Day Monday. I couldn't afford the NHL outdoor game on Friday, but those three games I did go to seemed to get me to my hockey threshold anyway. It was a media and tourism bonanza for the city.
I have never been so excited to get a pair of shoes. Let me tell you, I'm not the kind of person to care about clothing. To me, clothing is always functional. But I gotta tell you about something cool I've discovered. Basically, humans were born to run. For thousands of years humans have been much better at running than any of us joggers are nowadays. We used to run to survive. Now we run to keep the weight off - or for fun. But over all these thousands of years, we've run barefoot through the forests and jungles, and had much better success.
Three times in one day, I was reminded of the need to listen. Worship in the morning focused on listening for God's voice, trying to calm our own voices and chattering to hear what God says.
Later, a social gathering with voices overlapping in a crowd of people needing to talk told me the importance of having someone to listen and the human need to express one's voice and be heard.
Yesterday I swung by the University of Winnipeg to pick up a book. On my way back to the car I noticed a flash of colour standing out against the dirty white snow on the curb. Lying there, as though nestled on some heavenly cloud was a bundle of cash. There lay $100 dollars staring up at me with no indication of ownership. I suddenly found myself in some sort of poorly contrived morality sketch. What should I do? Some of thoughts that ran through my head;
In grade 7 I met a particularly tall kid whose nickname was 'Moose.' One day I asked one of the guys that went to the same junior elementary school as him when this nickname came about. I assumed it would have been soon after he hit a growth spurt. The sarcastic answer surprised me. A few years earlier, as I was told, Moose had started asking people to call him that. Moose had created his own nickname, a major social faux-pas.
I can't tell you much about the experience. I signed a paper swearing me to secrecy, and allowing them to use anything I said.
Maybe it's one of the most top secret organizations in Harrisonburg?
It's called "Rosetta Stone."
If you haven't heard of the company, they create computer-based language learning programs that they sell to anyone willing to learn.
This past Sunday I preached on Ephesians 4:4-16. I wanted to draw attention to two themes in the book. First is the abundance of language about abundance. Believers are filled with riches, power and wealth. Second, this is set within the context of the body of Christ which (who) fills all things. A broad theme in my recent reading is on the notion of capitalism as that body which currently (and rapidly) seeks to fill everything. From last Sunday’s sermon,
To start off the school year, I decided to make the first week a personal prayer week. Although I usually prefer this kind of commitment together with others, like Will's efforts with reading through the Bible, the crazy-ness of getting back to Harrisonburg, starting a new semester teaching, and trying to finish off data collection with my research project make meeting with others regularly a challenge, and creating space for my own time of re-centering a must.
In the book Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life, Henri Nouwen, with co-authors Donald P. McNeill and Douglas A. Morrison, describe the current society's obsession with news. All day long, people can access news about events locally and across the world.
I suppose I need to apologize for my relatively long absence from blogging. Things have been busy around the Loewen household. Last Monday we welcomed Jaden Timothy into our family - and life has been a little less sleep-filled but wonderfully enriching. Reflecting back on this past week, it is almost impossible to remember life without a baby. I'm not entirely sure what I used to do with all my time and all my sleep. But there is remarkable joy in being a parent. I now understand why every parent feels the need to brag incessantly about their child.
After a refreshing and relaxing Christmas holiday in Canada, my spouse and I have returned to Harrisonburg, VA to continue our studies at Eastern Mennonite University. While going north in December does not really align with my climate preferences, the draw of family and friends during the Christmas season is strong.
I am detecting a consistent trend in my preaching. I am targeting the individual. This comes in part from my own experience and formation in existentialism but also in my experience of the Mennonite church in which it is easy for individuals to point to our good works in social services and non-violent initiatives. And then when the individual is called to account it is typically with some moral leveraging or slightly shamed response of what else we could be doing.
Reflecting on international students and culture the other day, a colleague commented on how a group of students who had been struggling in classes refused to blame anyone for their failing grades, took responsibility, and made no excuses. He was surprised because U.S. students usually go on and on with excuses, blaming roommates, teachers, the school, society, but not accepting their own part in not meeting the expectations for the class.
Top 5 Books of 2010
Worthy of Mention:
Faith Begins at Home - Mark Holmen
Last summer, we were camping at Crabtree Falls in North Carolina. It was a new experience for us. We'd been through the state before, but had never spent a night and had never tented in that area before.
One night, after a relaxing evening around the campfire, I was peacefully dreaming, curled up in my sleeping bag. Suddenly, a strange sound broke the stillness and woke me from sleep. In half-conscious confusion, I tried to identify the source of the sound. An animal? But I couldn't tell what kind.
I remember the first time I heard of the idea of reading the Bible all the way through. It seemed weird that this book I had only read verses or short stories from could be read as a single document. Then it suddenly hit me; the chapter and verse designations make it easier to find what I’m looking for and it helps me to memorize stuff, but they actually made me read less. Reading a few chapters of a novel or a few pages of a newspaper or magazine is pretty normal, but reading a few chapters from the Bible doesn’t sound quite so normal. It may sound quite intimidating and overwhelming f
Recently, I've been asked a lot of questions about "things" in Korea. It's hard to know what to think about the recent violence on the peninsula from the English and Korean media I read and the comments from friends and family around Seoul. I may write more in the future, but I wanted to share an article that was in the Washington Post several weeks ago. Carlin and Lewis, two U.S.
I have never gone shopping on Boxing Day. I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps in some families it is tradition. In mine it wasn't, and I never showed any interested myself. Last year on Black Friday an employee was killed when trampled by the mass of people entering the building. I can hardly believe that the people were that determined to get inside that they didn't notice they were stepping on a human being.
So as the end of the year approaches it seems that I will successfully live out my promise not to eat at McDonald's this year.