Monday, December 29, 2008

Demons of Hope - ATN Fall 2008

The new issue of All Things New is out!

You can access it here.

I highly recommend the article "Demons of Hope" on page 12. Should win a pulitzer, or something. Plus, the author is really hot.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Stars and old dudes.

So every Christmas it seems to happen that I really connect with one part of the Christmas story. Last year it was Mary – her faithfulness, her willingness, the bizarreness of the entire situation for her. I felt her story was one which I have often overlooked.

This year, I am struck by the story of the Magi.

I am struck that God orchestrated this amazing celestial event to mark the coming of Jesus. This makes me consider the wonder and meaning of the stars up above. And I am struck by these men – non-Jewish men who saw this star and did not ignore it, but pursued it to a faraway place with extravagant gifts for the Jewish Messiah. The faithfulness and dedication of these individuals is not only admirable but inspiring.

This picture gives me great hope and joy for my own journey. I want so badly to follow that star that I see, even though it sometimes takes me to places which are really scary and unfamiliar. I want my life to reflect the faithfulness of the Magi – to follow God’s leading at all costs and to wherever I am lead. I want my heart to be open to new ideas which may seem crazy at foreign but are filled with Jesus.

I see that star today, and it is so bright and it is so clear. And it is so beautiful. And I intend to continue following it with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Merry Christmas, yo.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

John Maynard Keynes: "Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ParticiPaction a la Hal Johnson

I received this Newsweek article from a friend, and thought it really thoughtful and well-written. There's lots I could say about it, but am more interested in your thoughts and reactions . . .

Gay Marriage: Our Mutual Joy

Monday, December 08, 2008


Religious silence is silence that is undertaken as an act of worship. Whether I hear God or not makes no difference.
- Thomas Merton

Merton’s a pretty wise dude.

For the last few years, thanks largely to my Anglican friends as well as my Pastor, I have been offered many opportunities to engage God through more traditional forms of worship. These include fasting, lectio divina, meditation, liturgy, and many different forms that I was never exposed to in my evangelical upbringing.

I have found much meaning in these times of worship, and credit much of my spiritual development to thoughtfully engaging in and pursuing more traditional types of sacred ritual. I have been able to experience God in new and real ways, and for that I am thankful. And during those times where God is silent – when I seem to be unable to encounter Her – these rituals allow me to remember that much of that meaning lies in the act of worship – in my choice to offer God that moment and that sacrifice. Whether I feel Christ’s presence in that moment is not necessarily the point. Christ and I are connected regardless of my feelings.

Monday, December 01, 2008

In Christ Alone

Hey all,

We played this at church this week, and as we played I found the words striking. A good song of hope, and of our life in Christ.
Perhaps it will affect you as it affected me . . .

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
*Getty & Townend

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

monster lament

What has cancer taught me? That I am an ordinary man. It has liberated me from any illusion that I am chosen, or elect - that the faith I have embraced since a child has inured me from suffering; that I am deserving of special treatment. So, I come to the church and offer my sacrifice of woe. I run towards God to shelter under the shadow of the Creator's wing. I seek refuge there and wait until this calamity passes . . .
We enter into community because suffering makes us dependent upon one another. And it is there that we learn to forgive each other. In community our sockness, sins, failings and petty squabbling stand out in high relief. The monster from within is exposed. There is no such thing as faith in isolation. Together, the halt and the unlovely stumble toward the dawning of a new day, a day of healing and redemption.
- Greg Randall, "Monster Lament," Geez Fall 2007

Monday, November 17, 2008

yet another rock and roll podcast

Hey all,

David and I did another podcast. our podcast skills have definitely improved, although they're not quite as professional as we hope to be someday.

Check it out at It's like an hour long, but worth it because David is awesome.

Here's the blurb:

The second podcast of SCM Movement Radio, featuring voices on Western foreign policy in Latin America and how students can take action. Includes an interview with SCM Mexico activist Juan Luis Loza, Br. Thomas Novak with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and development studies student Anneliese Schoppe. Hosted by David Ball and Bre, with music by Anti-Flag, Bruce Cockburn and Dar Williams.

Friday, November 14, 2008


but let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled withjoy.
For you bless the godly, O LORD;
you surround them with your shield of love.
- psalm 5:11-12

Monday, November 10, 2008

ahhhhhh . . . this one hurts

We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us, so we talk in order to straighten out thier understanding. ... One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let our justification rest entirely with God.
- Richard Foster
from Celebration of Discipline

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I could have been a priest instead of a prophet. The priest has a book with the words set out. Old words, known words, words of power. Words that are always on the surface. Words for every occasion. The words work. They do what they’re supposed to do; comfort and discipline. The prophet has no book. The prophet is a voice that cries in the wilderness, full of sounds that do not always set into meaning. The prophets cry out because they are troubled by demons . . .
If the demons lie within you they travel with you.
Everyone thinks their own situation most tragic. I am no exception.

- Jeanette Winterson, “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit”

Friday, October 31, 2008

I would never claim to know the secret to life, but I have a hunch it has something to do with love, community, joy, and purpose -- not the size of your mansion or the brand of your watch. Further, I think it probably has something to do with alleviating suffering and inequality, encouraging people to think about changing the systems which keep them poor or in danger, not internalizing their failures -- financial or otherwise -- as proof of their own anemic imaginations.
Courtney E. Martin

Monday, October 27, 2008

one more solar revolution

Y’know when there are moments of clarity in your life, moments of passage, significant times of reflection, and all of those deep things?

Well, my most recent one happened at the Feist concert. Which was weird, but not uncommon, at least for me. I’m a bit weird.

I won’t go into details, because I think you’ll all think me wacky. But details aren’t the point anyway.

There was this poignant moment of reflection, of contrast, between who I am and where my life is today and who I was and where my life was 3 years ago. So different. It felt good, really. Lately I seem to be in this season of “WTF, where is my life going? What the hell is going on? All of these things are happening and I don’t know what they mean . . . “ Which is an uncomfortable season, but valuable and exciting and confusing and sometimes fun. Sometimes stressful. But I realized yesterday at the concert that I am so happy with what is going on. I am so happy with the commitment I made years ago to constantly change, to constantly allow myself to be molded by God and by my community, to always strive to a place of discomfort and sometimes pain to really live. To continually discover Christ’s place in and intention for my life.

It’s almost my birthday and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Like, more than usual. And I am just overwhelmingly thankful. For the journey I have been placed on, for the people in my life. For the fact that my life looks so dramatically different than my life looked like 3 years ago. My core and my foundation stays strong, but everything else is negotiable. That is the life I believe Christ has called me to. A place of continual discomfort, which sometimes sucks, but a place of radical living, of continually challenging assumptions, and a continual process of changing and stretching and growing. In super surprising ways.

I am happy. I will be 28. And I used to be 25. And I am very different now. And I will be so different in 3 years.

And I got a rock star new haircut.

Bring it on, year 28. I’m ready.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rituals and Anglicans. And stuff.

This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you’re craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God.
- Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

I used to think that rituals were old, outdated things. I got bored at my old Lutheran church when we lit the candles, said the same words a million times, bowed to the same old traditions.

But as I grow older, I have found that I crave the deep meanings inherent in these and other traditions. In fact, I have found, like Elizabeth Gilbert, a need for more rituals than my own faith community and my culture seem to make room for. I crave a life and an existence which is full of meaning and meaning-making. Some days I rely on it to finish the day. So I have created prayers, rituals, other methods of filling this need in my life – in intentionally connecting my daily (sometimes drudging) tasks with the Divine. To consciously accept and remember that all of life is spiritual – even the boring and mundane parts. And especially the exciting and vibrant parts.

This is why I sometimes attend Anglican churches, even though I don’t always understand what is going on. This is why I love and connect with SCM Canada – we ritualize almost everything in a really joyful and meaningful way. National Conference was full of rituals. Local meetings, when we had them, were full of meaningful rituals. SCM, those wonderful Anglicans, and others have recognized the need to assign meaning to both trivial and spectacular life occurrences.
It’s cool. I dig it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Boo yeah

Oppressive theology, or a theology that welcomes those who fit a normative definition of the dominant culture while excluding those who do not, is a ball and chain on the heart of the body of Christ, and with it we keep each other in bondage. The church of Jesus Christ is in the midst of change, not all of it for the better. Any theology that suggests that God receives some and rejects others is not reflective of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
- Yvette A. Flunder

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

On the banks of the Euphrates find a secret garden cunningly walled. There is an entrance, but the entrance is guarded. There is no way in for you. Inside you will find every plant that grows growing circular-wise like a target. Close to the heart is a sundial and at the heart an orange tree. This fruit has tripped up athletes while others have healed their wounds. All true quests end in this garden, where the split fruit pours forth blood and the halved fruit is a full bowl for travelers and pilgrims. To eat of the fruit means to leave the garden because the fruit speaks of other things, other longings. So at dusk you say goodbye to the place you love, not knowing if you can ever return, knowing you can never return by the same way as this. It may be, some other day, that you will open a gate by chance, and find yourself again on the other side of the wall.

- Jeanette Winterson in “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit”

Monday, September 29, 2008


hey everyone

i know my posts have been a bit formal lately . . . a bit impersonal, especially considering what this blog once meant and once said about a year ago.

things have been moving so fast in life, and so dramatically . . . many ups and downs and turns. it is sort of overwhelming at times. for a while it was exciting, now is sort of disheartening. i am not sure where it will take me.

so, sorry for the impersonal posts, and such. though i long ago committed to intentionally communicating the hard thoughts and feelings to friends and out in the blogosphere, it has become obvious that some struggles are not appropriate for such a venue.

today i feel lost, and stuck, and somewhat directionless. even in this post.

anyway, just wanted to say i am still here. still wrestling/dancing/fighting/laughing with God and trying to find out our way together in this world.

i am antsy

is that even a real word?

to all of those who have helped on this journey . . . thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Romans 14

This really struck me this week, along with other passages of ecumenical acceptance and celebration. I struggle with knowing what to say here about this, because this struggle is planted so deep in my heart.
Though our theologies may differ, though the way we look, act, and speak may differ, we can be unified in Christ, and we can live in ways which celebrate our theological differences and respect the dignity of all.

Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right.
5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honor their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat.

7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says,

"I swear by my very life

that everyone will kneel down

and praise my name!"

12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do.

13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blessing the Thorn in the Flesh

Blessing the Thorn in the Flesh

Bless you Wise and Holy One
For your Word made
Thorn in the flesh
For answering No when I prayed
To have my thorn removed

Bless you
For the thorn of alienation that
Drives me deep into inner desert
To face my need to please –
The desert where you recreate me
Deeper than popularity
Wider than the majority
Truer than hypocrisy

Bless you
For the thorn of hardship that
Helps me get the point –
That my thorn can serve
As another’s therapy
That the best healer
Is a wounded healer
That the hardship I cannot change
And that threatens to embitter me
Can change me – for the better

Bless you Wise and Hoy One
For this epiphany –
That praying away Good Friday
Prays away Easter too

Bless you,
For answering No when I pray
To have a thorn removed
Bless you Wise and Holy One
For your Word made
Thorn in the Flesh

-Norm S.D. Esdon

Monday, September 08, 2008

Some excerpts from the 2006 Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus . . .

Grameen Bank and I are deeply honoured to receive this most prestigious of awards. . . .

All borrowers of Grameen Bank are celebrating this day as the greatest day of their lives. They are gathering around the nearest television set in their villages all over Bangladesh , along with other villagers, to watch the proceedings of this ceremony.

This years' prize gives highest honour and dignity to the hundreds of millions of women all around the world who struggle every day to make a living and bring hope for a better life for their children. This is a historic moment for them.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
By giving us this prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has given important support to the proposition that peace is inextricably linked to poverty. Poverty is a threat to peace.

World's income distribution gives a very telling story. Ninety four percent of the world income goes to 40 percent of the population while sixty percent of people live on only 6 per cent of world income. Half of the world population lives on two dollars a day. . . .

Peace should be understood in a human way − in a broad social, political and economic way. Peace is threatened by unjust economic, social and political order, absence of democracy, environmental degradation and absence of human rights.
Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.
The creation of opportunities for the majority of people − the poor − is at the heart of the work that we have dedicated ourselves to during the past 30 years.

I became involved in the poverty issue not as a policymaker or a researcher. I became involved because poverty was all around me, and I could not turn away from it. In 1974, I found it difficult to teach elegant theories of economics in the university classroom, in the backdrop of a terrible famine in Bangladesh. Suddenly, I felt the emptiness of those theories in the face of crushing hunger and poverty. I wanted to do something immediate to help people around me, even if it was just one human being, to get through another day with a little more ease. That brought me face to face with poor people's struggle to find the tiniest amounts of money to support their efforts to eke out a living. I was shocked to discover a woman in the village, borrowing less than a dollar from the money-lender, on the condition that he would have the exclusive right to buy all she produces at the price he decides. This, to me, was a way of recruiting slave labor.

I decided to make a list of the victims of this money-lending "business" in the village next door to our campus.

When my list was done, it had the names of 42 victims who borrowed a total amount of US $27. I offered US $27 from my own pocket to get these victims out of the clutches of those money-lenders. The excitement that was created among the people by this small action got me further involved in it. If I could make so many people so happy with such a tiny amount of money, why not do more of it?

That is what I have been trying to do ever since. The first thing I did was to try to persuade the bank located in the campus to lend money to the poor. But that did not work. The bank said that the poor were not creditworthy. After all my efforts, over several months, failed I offered to become a guarantor for the loans to the poor. I was stunned by the result. The poor paid back their loans, on time, every time! But still I kept confronting difficulties in expanding the program through the existing banks. That was when I decided to create a separate bank for the poor, and in 1983, I finally succeeded in doing that. I named it Grameen Bank or Village bank.
Today, Grameen Bank gives loans to nearly 7.0 million poor people, 97 per cent of whom are women, in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank gives collateral-free income generating, housing, student and micro-enterprise loans to the poor families and offers a host of attractive savings, pension funds and insurance products for its members. Since it introduced them in 1984, housing loans have been used to construct 640,000 houses. The legal ownership of these houses belongs to the women themselves. We focused on women because we found giving loans to women always brought more benefits to the family.

In a cumulative way the bank has given out loans totaling about US $6.0 billion. The repayment rate is 99%. Grameen Bank routinely makes profit. Financially, it is self-reliant and has not taken donor money since 1995. Deposits and own resources of Grameen Bank today amount to 143 per cent of all outstanding loans. According to Grameen Bank's internal survey, 58 per cent of our borrowers have crossed the poverty line. . . .

This idea, which began in Jobra, a small village in Bangladesh, has spread around the world and there are now Grameen type programs in almost every country.

It is 30 years now since we began. We keep looking at the children of our borrowers to see what has been the impact of our work on their lives. The women who are our borrowers always gave topmost priority to the children. One of the Sixteen Decisions developed and followed by them was to send children to school. Grameen Bank encouraged them, and before long all the children were going to school. Many of these children made it to the top of their class. We wanted to celebrate that, so we introduced scholarships for talented students. Grameen Bank now gives 30,000 scholarships every year.

Many of the children went on to higher education to become doctors, engineers, college teachers and other professionals. We introduced student loans to make it easy for Grameen students to complete higher education. Now some of them have PhD's. There are 13,000 students on student loans. Over 7,000 students are now added to this number annually.

We are creating a completely new generation that will be well equipped to take their families way out of the reach of poverty. We want to make a break in the historical continuation of poverty. . . .

Three years ago we started an exclusive programme focusing on the beggars. None of Grameen Bank's rules apply to them. Loans are interest-free; they can pay whatever amount they wish, whenever they wish. We gave them the idea to carry small merchandise such as snacks, toys or household items, when they went from house to house for begging. The idea worked. There are now 85,000 beggars in the program. About 5,000 of them have already stopped begging completely. Typical loan to a beggar is $12.

We encourage and support every conceivable intervention to help the poor fight out of poverty. We always advocate microcredit in addition to all other interventions, arguing that microcredit makes those interventions work better.. . .

We get what we want, or what we don't refuse. We accept the fact that we will always have poor people around us, and that poverty is part of human destiny. This is precisely why we continue to have poor people around us. If we firmly believe that poverty is unacceptable to us, and that it should not belong to a civilized society, we would have built appropriate institutions and policies to create a poverty-free world. . . .

I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social system that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.

Poverty is created because we built our theoretical framework on assumptions which under-estimates human capacity, by designing concepts, which are too narrow (such as concept of business, credit- worthiness, entrepreneurship, employment) or developing institutions, which remain half-done (such as financial institutions, where poor are left out). Poverty is caused by the failure at the conceptual level, rather than any lack of capability on the part of people.

I firmly believe that we can create a poverty-free world if we collectively believe in it. In a poverty-free world, the only place you would be able to see poverty is in the poverty museums. When school children take a tour of the poverty museums, they would be horrified to see the misery and indignity that some human beings had to go through. They would blame their forefathers for tolerating this inhuman condition, which existed for so long, for so many people.

A human being is born into this world fully equipped not only to take care of him or herself, but also to contribute to enlarging the well being of the world as a whole. Some get the chance to explore their potential to some degree, but many others never get any opportunity, during their lifetime, to unwrap the wonderful gift they were born with. They die unexplored and the world remains deprived of their creativity, and their contribution.

Grameen has given me an unshakeable faith in the creativity of human beings. This has led me to believe that human beings are not born to suffer the misery of hunger and poverty.

To me poor people are like bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed of the tallest tree in a flower-pot, you get a replica of the tallest tree, only inches tall. There is nothing wrong with the seed you planted, only the soil-base that is too inadequate. Poor people are bonsai people. There is nothing wrong in their seeds. Simply, society never gave them the base to grow on. All it needs to get the poor people out of poverty for us to create an enabling environment for them. Once the poor can unleash their energy and creativity, poverty will disappear very quickly.
Let us join hands to give every human being a fair chance to unleash their energy and creativity. . . .

Thank you very much.

- from

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Celebration of Mennonite-ness

Starring my friend Kurt.

Pay careful attention to the lack of dancing ability among the crowd.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

jello, everybody.

been listening to some old radio programs (including commercials) and that line is my favorite.

what to say? so much has been going on. what an incredible summer. full of change, surprises, many many blessings. i ws away from winnipeg for 5 full weeks this summer! montreal, st. john's, minneapolis, halifax. its been good. i am feeling so refreshed, so focused. so ready to kick some ass for jesus (like, in a godly and compassionate way).

i feel good - i feel back on track. i feel happy and light and free and all of that good stuff. ready to dig into some intense ministry again, ready to celebrate life and all of that. confront past hurts, look forward to the future. what a wild ride.

i am thankful for friends, Christ, family, curry, good weddings, coffee, my job, the people in my life. i could go on.

i am gushing.

thanks for sticking by me, everyone. you are dear to me.

too cheesy? i mean it. warm fuzzies, everyone.

Friday, August 08, 2008

so i am sitting here . . . right now . . . in Montreal.

it is incredible here. i am at the General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation. Reps from over 100 countries are here, hashing out church controversies, praying, worshipping together, dealing with conflict. it is so cool.

today the African delegates lead us in worship. Last night I was at a party with people from so many countries, hanging out together, laughing, singing beer songs, and learning what they call a dog's bark in like 18 different languages.

i don't think i make sense, but that is because i am a little bit tired.

i love ecumenism. i think my place is here, working among the different, diverse streams of Christianity. though it causes problems (SO MANY PROBLEMS) I find it so valuable, so beautiful. I have grown and changed through this work. I am thankful to be here.

i am having an incredible time. it is so encouraging, so cool, to be around such a diverse group of passionate people.

i am happy.

just wanted to say that. thanks for listening.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hate, may I bring love;
Where offense, may I bring pardon;
May I bring union in place of discord;
Truth, replacign error;
Faith, where once there was doubt;
Hope, for despair;
Light, where was darkness;
Joy to replace sadness.
Make me not to so crave to be loved as to love.
Help me to learn that in giving I may receive;
In forgetting self, I may find life eternal.

- St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

yeah. i do this stuff now.

Greetings, cyberspace comrades.

So things are shaking in the Social Justice World. And I'm sticking my nose in wherever possible.

Last week my friend David and I recorded two podcasts - one with Shane Claiborne and the band the Psalters, the other with David and I talking about SCM.

I am no radio expert. And some of the things I said I now consider to be mildly embarassing. But you can check out the podcasts here.
Warning - For you Shane Claiborne fans, the Interview is mostly with the Psalters and Shane only speaks briefly. Plus, the first 10 minutes or so are newsbriefs, so feel free to skip past them to get to the real good stuff.

Another warning - it's all pretty heavy and political. Deep stuff. I switched topics a lot because I often didn't know what the hell they were talking about. They talk too fast. Crazy Psalters.

In solidarity,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"I must learn to love the fool in me - the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool."
- Theodore I. Rubin

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yay! Published!

It's no Macleans. Or New International. Or even the National Enquirer. But my article was chosen to be published in All Things New, the publication of SCM Canada.

Page 11! Check 'er out.

I am so pleased . . .


Monday, July 07, 2008

too bold maybe. don't care.

hey all

i'm in a weird space today. yep, my trip out east was awesome. powerful. life changing. but i am left today feeling lots of random things. sadness, excitement, hope for the future, fear, anger, resentment, confusion, sore eyes, love, broke, stress, joy, laughter, grateful, weary, unsettled, anxious, rejected. unequivically myself, for better or worse. depends on who you talk to. i like me.

in the grip of God's grace, which is a good place to be. that's important to remember.

give me a few days, i'll work it out.
thanks for your love.

Monday, June 09, 2008

New Learnings

Found this quote. It really resonates with what I have been learning on my year of Sabbath.

There is a perverse form of contemporary violence (that is) activism and overwork . . . The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our inner capacity for peace. –Thomas Merton

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ask the loveliness of the earth, ask the loveliness of the sea, ask the loveliness of the wide airy spaces, ask the loveliness of the sky, ask the order of the stars, ask the sun, making daylight with its beams, ask the moon tempering the darkness of the night that follows, ask the living things which move in the waters, which tarry on the land, which fly in the air; ask the souls that are hidden, the bodies that are perceptive; the visible things which most be governed, the invisible things that govern—ask these things, and they will all answer you, Yes, see we are lovely. Their loveliness is their confession. And all these lovely but mutable things, who has made them, but Beauty immutable?

- Augustine
Sermons 214.2

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The man behind me in the checkoutline has but one item, so even though I'm racing to meet a print deadline, I wave him to the front. He shuffles past the display of chocolate bars and bottles of fruit spritzers to the till, and drops a largely empty bag of quick oats on the scale. As I finish unloading my shopping cart, I hear him fumbling for change.

"Just add it to my bill," I tell the cashier, impatient.

The oat-buyer thanks me.

"Don't mention it," I say, and am vindicated to see the oats ring in at 25 cents, well worth the time saved.

He continues to express thanks, thanks that are out of proportion to my unsolicited generosity. For teh first time, I look at him rather than his purchase. I look at him, I don't comprehend, my stomach clenches. His arms are the diameter of his bones; beneath tightly stretched skin there is scant sign of flesh. Our eyes meet and he nods, perhaps he smiles. Cane and oats grasped in the same hand, he maneuvers his skeletal frame out othe door.

"That guy comes in every couple of days," the cashier says, interrupting my staring. "He buys a cupful or two of some staple food from our bulk bins. His tab rarely breaks a dollar."

I wish the oat-buyer's bag had been full. I wish he'd suddenly pulled out from behind his back a basket loaded with food for a week, a basket representative of all the food groups in the Canada's Foog Guide. I would invite him to put it all on my bill, who cares about the hurry I'm in, or the cost, this man urgently needs to eat, and eat more than oats.

A question from Michael Moore's latest movie, Sicko, echoes in my mind. What have we become, if, in one of the wealthiest socieities of all time, we are unable to show solidarity to those most in need? I don't know what ails this very conservative shopper. But I do know I can't feel good about my society, when a sick man is only able to buy oats, one cup at a time.

- Tom Green
As appears in Adbusters #74 November/December 2007

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Year o'Plenty . . . Sabbaths

May 12th began my exciting “Year of Sabbath.”

This last year has been especially intense in terms of my schedule – I found it difficult and disheartening trying to balance work, my university class, as well as my numerous volunteer commitments. I slowly let go of my large volunteer commitments one by one so that I would be able to walk my talk and live the simple life I have been talking about for so long.

My plan this year is to not take on any extreme volunteer commitments. I can push a broom, or drive people around, but nothing which entails leadership or responsibility for a group or event.

The purpose of this year is threefold. First, to rest. It feels like I have been on overdrive for the last number of years, ever since working with a small church plant. There have been some moments this past year where I thought I was going to crack, and it really wore on my soul. Rest is important.

Second, to explore. To take the careful and intentional time to explore myself in different ways – time to have new experiences, meaningful conversations, to invest in a number of different relationships. I am so blessed with wonderful people in my life, but it got to the point where I was not able to invest in them, and was not able to allow them to invest in me because things were so busy. I had to schedule in a weekly Sabbath – evening off – in my house, or else I would never be home. Even now I struggle with having time to be home and to be still. But the year just started . . . I’ll figure this out!

Finally, to allow God to move in ways which I have not allowed him to move before. Through nudgings, conversations, God-moments on portage or in the park. It is difficult to listen to God speaking through the wind when you are too busy to take a walk outside. I have not been leaving room for God to move in my life in unexpected ways. And I want to do that. I want to be His daughter and His servant. And both of those entail taking time to just be. So refreshing!

I look forward to being.

To continuing this wild journey . . .

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What a life-changing week. I feel so refreshed, encouraged, challenged, confused, joyful.

Spent this week at SCM Canada’s yearly conference. Such a dynamic mix of people – people from all different backgrounds of faith, life choices, life un-choices, perspectives. The first few days I was unsure of how I really fit into this group – I struggled with feeling somewhat disconnected from the group due to my more evangelical-leaning background and passions. But by about the third day we were all so bonded together. It was truly a dynamic community. We laughed and cried together, expressed joys and pains. Supported one another, learned and were challenged by one another. I feel so blessed to have been part of this community. Conference was over on Sunday and I definitely feel the loss of not seeing these exceptional people anymore.

I am so happy. So many good things. So many surprising things. Surprising relationships, surprising friendships, surprising revelations about myself and how I fit into this world and how my faith fits in with Christ. Surprising questions (VERY surprising!) about who I am and where I fit and about my beliefs about a number of issues.

I am happy. Thanks muchly to everybody who impacted me this week . . . you know who you are. Thanks for your love and support and patience with my moments of ugliness. And thanks being stellar T-Rex’s and pirates. You're so cool.

Thanks, SCM-ers. I’ve been changed. And I think I like it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Up, Off, and Away

I am off to Halifax! So won't be posting until I get back - I will return May 12th.

Here's a little something to tide you over:

Rapture Wreaks Havoc On Local Book Club

I thought it amusing.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

A lighter note . . .

"To be born, or at any rate, BRED in a handbag (whether it has handles or not) seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life."
-Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest

Monday, April 14, 2008

perhaps a bit too honest

So . . . she’s ok. Mom was involved in a car accident last week. A young man was turning left in front of her and thought that if he gunned it he could make it through the intersection in time. He was wrong, and smashed into her buick – hard – right near the front left tire.

She’s pretty bruised, but no broken bones or anything. They released her from the hospital after a few hours. She is very sore, and has lots of colorful bruises. It could have been worse – I feel very thankful.

But I also feel very angry.

Forgiveness is not an easy thing. I harbour great resentment and anger towards this man who unnecessarily caused pain to my mom. It was such a senseless and stupid collision.

I believe in the power and necessity of forgiveness. Everyday in my Mennonite workplace I hear of stories of forgiveness and reconciliation, of both wonderful and terrible things happening in this world because of the existence of or refusal of forgiveness.

I truly believe that humans can get nowhere without the presence of forgiveness. I believe that I screw up lots and am thankful for the forgiveness offered to me for those sins from Christ. I believe that living a life of grace and peace is essential to our well being.

But this guy has really pissed me off.

So I am struggling with forgiving this stranger whom I have never met. I know I must. Living with anger like this is not healthy, and in order to live a life of grace and of hope in the future I must forgive this dude.

This really makes me think and consider places where there has been countless atrocities against humans– acts which aren’t even comparable to this or anything else I have ever experienced. My mom will be ok. I haven’t watched somebody murder my child, or have witnessed my family being burned alive. In the grand scheme of terrible acts, this isn’t among the worst.

Yet even with this I am truly struggling to forgive this man. I can’t imagine how this battle would be for those who have had unspeakable acts committed against themselves or their loved ones. I can’t imagine the strength needed to forgive a person in these cases. I don’t think that I have it. It makes me truly think about how much work there is to do, and how deep these hurts are, in conflicts such as the Israel-Palestine conflict where there is such an intense and painful history of bloodshed on both sides.

I know there are people actively working for peace and reconciliation in these areas, and I know that there are some amazing individuals who have been able to stand up and forgive offenders in situations like this. That’s cool.

So I know my place and I know what I must do. But I’ll struggle with it for awhile, and perhaps there are some learnings here for me. In my struggle and my calling to become more Christ-like, this seems to be my next hurdle. It might take awhile, but with Christ’s help I’ll clear this one. And then see what’s next in store.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears [their] grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do not clear a decent shelter for your sorrow, and instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge - from which new sorrorws will be born for others - then sorrow will never cease in this world and will multiply.
--Etty Hillesum
quoted in Marc Ellis, "Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cannes Lions

Went to the commercial awards last night. Here are my top picks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blessed. Like, lots.

Thanks to all of the manly men, womenly women, cute children, family members, cars, trucks, gas emissions, pizza picker-uppers, and everything else which helped with my last-minute move this weekend.

Never did I imagine so many people would come to my aid with only 48 hours notice! Even more surprising was the commitment of the kitchen unpackers.

Thanks to all. I am humbled and touched by your help. I am blessed by your love, large muscles, and giving spirits.

I am officially in Old St. Vital, with a rose-colored living room carpet. Sweet.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Going Gren Fair

Saturday April 19, 1:00-4:00 pm at Crestivew United Church, 316 Hamilton Ave.

1:15 – Free Organic Lawn Care Workshop by Manitoba Eco-Network.

2:30 – Free Composting Workshop by Resource Conservation Manitoba. Free Admission. Proceeds to Neighbours Helping Neighbours.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Winnipeg to dim lights for Earth Hour

Have you heard of Earth Hour? It's a campaign - worldwide - to turn off all lights for one hour on March 29th. Why?

According to the EarthHour Website, EarthHour is
"A global climate change initiative which calls on individuals and businesses around the world, to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday March 29 2008 between 8 pm and 9pm.
The aim of the campaign is to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better.
The event itself will clearly demonstrate in participating cities, the connection between energy usage and climate change, showing that we as broader community can address the biggest threat our planet has ever faced.

The campaign started in Sydney and 2 million individuals and businesses participated. this year it's going global.

What I like about this campaign is that everyone is working together, showing that they will take a stand and actually do something tangible. A small commitment, symbolic of bigger commitments, I think.

Winnipeg is doing it. I'm doing it. What about you? Do you think it's a dumb idea?

Some Links:

Winnipeg's participation
Earth Hour Website
Kairos' Re-Energize Campaign
Plus, check out this Earth Hour Order of Service. Cool idea. Anyone interested in marking the occasion with a little prayer? It'll be dark . . .

Monday, February 25, 2008


The Psalms defy our notions of profane and sacred, proving that everything we feel, witness, do unto others, and have done to us is acceptable subject matter for conversing with the Divine. They invite us to bring every part of ourselves into our houses of worship. If we omit expressions of faith lost, of rage, of disdain, and of the desire for revenge, we leave parts of ourselves at the door.
-Kari Jo Verhulst

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a new low in lameness


In the spirit of crappy Facebook plug-ins, it’s time to play “Which Star Trek Character are you?”

1. It is mating season. You . . .
a. Go crazy and try to kill your captain ‘cause you think he wants your chick
b. Get bitten on your face by your sexy lady
c. Procreation of the human species is inefficient.
d. Dammit, Jim. I am a doctor not a sex therapist!

2. You are fighting an enemy. You . . .
a. Pinch him on the neck
b. Cut off his head with a bat’leh
c. Assimilate him. Oh, wait. You don’t do that anymore.
d. He’s dead, Jim.

3. It is supper time. You would enjoy
a. Anything that doesn’t involve animal flesh
b. A bowl of live worms
c. An efficient pill which contains all daily nutritional requirements.
d. Fried Chicken.

Answer: If you're still reading this, you truly are a geek. Congratulations. Let's celebrate together by watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I have been bothered lately by how few REAL life skills I have. If suddenly there was no Safeway or IGA or Harry’s Foods (sniff, sniff), how would I eat? Honestly, I would starve. So I have been striving to learn about gardening, canning, baking, and other skills which everybody used to know.

This has been both fun and frustrating. But mostly fun. So yesterday I decided I should at least attempt to make a dietary staple of mine – a loaf of bread.

I don’t actually know anybody who makes bread. Or if they do, I don’t know that I know. So I grabbed an old Mennonite cookbook and went at ‘er.

And, to my surprise, they turned out. 4 loaves (well, 3 and a little one). They rose. They baked. Were a bit dark and crunchy, but were basically very edible and tasty. I am so pleased with myself. This is a really weird life marker, but it is important to me.

I took pictures of my wonderful loaves (mental note: don’t say that out loud). It’s a bit of a drama loading them onto my work computer, so I am having trouble sharing them with you. I’ll give you an idea of what it looks like:

That’s a bit deceptive. Here is an artist’s drawing of my loaves:

That’s more like it. So thanks for reading my tale of the loaves. One step closer to being a truly self-sufficient human being. Yay!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Food Freedom Day

Canadians enjoy one of the lowest-cost food baskets in the world. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture calculated that in 2007 it took just 37 days to acquire the income needed to cover annual food expenses, on a per capita basis. In observing Food Freedom Day those that support farmers can acknowledge their role in providing one of the safest and most affordable food supplies in the world, despite the decline in their share of every food dollar we spend. Visit
to find out more about Food Freedom Day 2008.

Monday, January 28, 2008

radio suits my pallette...palete . . . pilates? i don't know how to spell that

OK, so I will be on the stellar UofW Radio Station, CKUW, on Wednesday morning (Jan 30th) to promote MSC's Social Justice Fair.

the show I am appearing on starts at 8 am, but I don't think I'll be on air until like 8:10 or so. probably 10-15 minutes worth of airtime.

i really hope I don't sound like a dork.

You're welcome to listen, if you are even up at that time. 95.9 fm. If you are outside of Winnipeg, you'll have some problems listening as the signal strength is pretty low. But you can listen online, if you wish.

First time on radio. Let me know if I sound semi-intelligent.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On The 23rd Psalm

In “pastures green?” Not always; sometimes He
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

And by “still waters”? No, not always so;
Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow,
And o’er my soul the waves and billows go.

But when the storm beats loudest, and I cry
Aloud for help, the Master standeth by,
And whispers to my soul, “Lo, it is I.”

So, where He leads me, I can safely go,
And in the blest hereafter I shall know,
Why, in His wisdom, He hath led me so.

- Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anarchists in the Aisles?

Check out this article - super interesting, amusing, and thought-provoking. Enjoy. I especially liked the part about the Bible-moving.

The medium is certainly the message.

Until next week,

Sunday, January 06, 2008

truth (?)

God is hidden in suffering. The great gift of God to humanity is that Jesus is present in the sacrament of the poor.

This is a true sacrament, and like all sacraments, It is a question of believing in this mystery. The tragedy is that the world doesn’t know that the poor are a sacrament. They (do not) see the poor as those who arrange and bring order. That is why the rich, the “have’s,” remove themselves far from the poor. They don’t see the poor as the sign of God, as sacrament, as the presence of God-with-us, as those who will free us, heal and illuminate us, as those who will bring the interior unity we crave, lead us into the heart of God.

Jesus came to serve the poor. So he became poor. The good news is announced not by the one who serves the poor, but by the one who becomes poor.

- Jean Vanier

(as published in Geez Magazine, Spring 2007)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

pretty cool christmas gift

Christmas Day! Meet Tegan Zion Woligroski.

She's cute. So am I. So are Ryan and Crystal.