Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waters of Blessing

I am back in Bowmanville again, after my time in New Mexico. Once again I was struck by the unique beauty of the American Southwest. I would have written this yesterday except that my flight from Santa Fe was cancelled on Monday because of severe thunderstorms and rain in Dallas, my transfer point. So I was stuck in Santa Fe for another day, although it is hard to use the term "stuck" for a city with such interesting opportunities. It almost happened again yesterday, and I had a nail-biting dash for my connecting flight. At six last evening I was boarding a plane in Santa Fe, flew through Dallas and was in my home by one in the morning.

My course, Water and A Baptismal Life was excellent, with superb leadership and a group of 45 participants from across the States (I was the lone Canuck) who were worth the trip in themselves. Such bright, informed people. Our Ghost Ranch location, pictured above, was interesting because it is arid, yet formed by water millions of years ago. The tops of the mesas were once submerged beneath a great sea.

Some of the guest presenters were water experts from the area, and they told us that water is so scarce in the region that every drop of H20 is accounted for, and that even the fish have to buy water rights (okay, humans do it for them.) Every public washroom has reminders of the scarcity of water and the need to treat it with respect. It is so different for us with our abundant fresh water which costs us next to nothing.

The baptismal part was provocative as well. The theologians reminded us that the early church included the creation aspect of the waters of baptism and the importance of celebrating it as a gift from God. I will share more about my time away as the week goes by and I catch up with life at St. Paul's.

Monday, June 21, 2010


If events unfolded as they were supposed to yesterday I am kicking around Sante Fe New Mexico today, waiting for the shuttle which will deliver me to Ghost Ranch, the Presbyterian conference centre in the high desert of this state. This time I flew through Dallas rather than Minneapolis or Denver. I am becoming familiar with a number of big airports, if not the cities they represent. Sante Fe is a cool town filled with artists, galleries and museums.

Ghost Ranch is in the midst of marvelous landscape and this evening I will begin a weeklong course called Water and the Baptismal Life. The leadership will include religious types who can remind us of the spiritual signifcance of water in our Judeo-Christian tradition, along with water specialists in different scientific fields. I think it will be an excellent few days in a setting I have come to love.

Maybe I will discover the Mel Blanc museum which celebrates the guy who gave us the Roadrunner and Coyote. i have been to the Georgia O'Keefe museum, but I may go back.

Pray that I don't take the wrong turn and end up in Albuquerque!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father Knows...?

I am willing to "out" myself as old enough to remember the television show Father Knows Best. Can you imagine a show with this title today that wouldn't be a comedy with a dad who doesn't have a clue? Somehow we went from the benignly paternalistic image of Robert Young arriving home from a day at the office to help solve family challenges to an endless succession of goofball dads in a state of arrested adolescence.

Today's Father's Day is actually the one hundredth, after a young woman listened to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909 and reflected on her appreciation for her father who had raised her after her mother died. The next year the congregation celebrated Father's Day and the rest is history, as they say.

I have spoken with a number of dads in recent weeks who are addressing the challenges of fatherhood in a changing day. I really like these guys, and respect their desire to navigate their way through a variety of aspects of parenthood. They are all fathers of children in our congregation and I am grateful that they are "bucking the trend" in our society of dads who are not active in the spiritual development of their kids.

Did you know about the anniversary and history of Father's Day? Have you noticed the trend toward portraying dads as rather hapless guys? Any good thoughts about fathers today? Much love to my three adult children, who make me a proud father today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rogers Made Me Do It

I have been getting a real kick out of the Toronto woman who is suing Rogers, the media conglomerate for ruining her marriage. In what looked like a skit from This Hour Has Twenty Two Minutes she appeared at a news conference in wig and big sunglasses saying that when Rogers consolidated her cell phone bill with other family tech services without her knowledge or permission her husband discovered she was having an affair by looking at the list of calls. So, of course, Rogers destroyed her marriage and she deserves compensation. Okay, maybe it is more along the lines of Geraldine on the old Flip Wilson Show whose punchline was "the devil made me do it!"

I laugh and shake my head at the same time. What happened to people taking responsibility for their own actions? Should her husband launch his own suit against her, even if they choose to reconcile? Or should he also sue Rogers for...well, nothing I can think of, but a lawyer will surely come up with something.

There are so many New Testament passages which invite us to take responsibility for our sins and transgressions and then "get on with it" in Christ. I hope this case comes before a judge with a moral compass and a boatload of common sense, so that this is over in a hurry.

What was your reaction when you heard about this?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberry Flavoured Christianity

Next week our pastoral care committee will host a Strawberry Social for our seniors. When the committee first made up the list of invitees I was asked about the age of some of our members, to see whether they should be included. I was the "artful dodger" on this one. I didn't want to take the heat for making anyone older than they actually are!

As of today there are about 65 registrants, which is fitting because those invited had to be over the age of 65. This event may sound pleasant but not particularly Christian in focus. I have a different perspective. I see how something such as this social, or the monthly "Lunch Out" program at St. Paul's gives folk an opportunity to connect with those they may not see from month to month or even year to year because of their restricted mobility.

Mainline denominations are often called Oldline these days because they have an aging membership. The emphasis for a thriving church is youth, and some evangelical congregations are predominantly young and the implication is that young is better. Well, no congregation can survive or flourish without younger people but I am convinced that our "olders" should be treated as "elders," that is with respect and opportunities to gather. Kudos to the pastoral care committee once again, and all those who practice hospitality to our elders in Christ's name.

Any comments?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Complicated World

Some of you have been to Amish and Mennonite country, perhaps in southwest Ontario, or in Pennsylvania. These conservative Christian orders are different, yet both have their origins in European persecution. That persecution caused the groups to flee to North America and establish new communities which have always kept themselves separate from the prevailing culture.

As most of us know, they are based on a simplicity rooted in the gospel -- it is their goal to live without the trappings of a materialistic culture. Nearly all the communities have chosen agriculture as the means to support themselves.

Even simple Christian communities can make mistakes. Lancaster county in Pennsylvania has one of the worst records for polluting the watershed which empties into beleaguered Chesapeake Bay. Why? Because the Amish of that county depend on farm animals for livelihood and transportation and they produce manure, and lots of it. The government is now educating and giving grants to Amish farmers who manage their manure so that it doesn't end up in streams and rivers. This education is a challenge, because most of the farmers don't have telephones, let alone something as dubious as the internet.

A reminder that modern practices aren't necessarily bad and old ways aren't always healthy for the environment.

Any reaction to this story?Does it seem as though caring for the planet is just too complicated at times? Are you encouraged to hear that these farmers are willing to comply?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting to the Truth

Today is the first national event for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to listen to the aboriginal people of Canada who were victims of the residential school system . Who knows how long this will take or how much it will cost. the budget is sixty million dollars over five years.
There are critics in the Native communities across the country who feel that the money would be better spent compensating victims. Yet there is a lot to be said for hearing the truth from those from those who were voiceless for so long.

An important question is whether the churches who were a part of running these schools should be represented at the commission. Christianity was foisted on the children who were taken to the schools and much of the abuse was perpetrated by those who were representatives of the different denominations, a gross violation of trust. It breaks my heart that children as young as six were removed from their homes and sometimes taken to schools in other provinces. Yet two thirds of aboriginal people in this country consider themselves Christian.

We were asked to pray for the work of the commission this past Sunday, and while St. Paul's was involved in the ecumenical service, Rev. Cathy did include this important work in her prayers at that service. I should mention that the United Church has officially apologized to Native peoples on two occasions, the first in 1986 in Sudbury, Ontario, then again in 1998.
What do you think? Does having a Truth and Reconciliation Commission make sense? Should those who taught and provided religious leadership be permitted to attend our speak?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Living Wage

I was impressed to discover a couple of years ago that Eleanor Clitheroe, the former head of Ontario Hydro was studying to become an Anglican priest. The television profile suggested that her family was living modestly as she worked toward ordination. I admired her resolve to move from a life of privelege in many ways to some of the sacrifices associated with ministry.

I got a jolt back to reality recently. Have you read that Clitheroe is currently suing the Ontario government to increase her pension from about $300,000 annually to $450,000? She claims that this is in line with her salary during her time with Hydro, which exceeded a million a year for several years, including a final year at 2.2 mil.

I have no idea whether her claims about her entitlements are accurate --the government moves in mysterious ways. I do try to imagine how she could preach about simplicity to a congregation, whether she is raking in her more "impoverished" pension or what she believes is fair.
This case does raise the question of what constitutes a "living wage" for clergy, whatever the sources may be. On the one hand, anyone going into the ministry for the money is delusional. On the other hand, we live in the real world and pay real bills. In my case I have two university degrees and thirty years of professional service. So what is fair compensation, knowing that Christ called us to be disciples and eschew unreasonable wealth?

Would you be comfortable with Eleanor Clitheroe as your minister? Do you have a problem with her claims to a higher pension? What is a fair wage for clergy?

Monday, June 14, 2010


In keeping with the earlier blog from the day, here are a couple of recent photographs. The kildeer eggs were pointed out to us by an excited boy who found them on the beach at Lake Ontario. On a walk a few days later Ruth spotted mom incubating them. To assure you, the latter picture was taken with a telephoto lens. Both eggs and mom seem clear in the photos. They were virtually invisible when we were walking.

Simple Goodness

A few years ago we planted a serviceberry tree in the front yard of the manse, thanks to the generosity of a St. Paul's member. We liked the tree because it produces blossoms in the Spring and berries later. Here is the delightful thing. We never see cedar waxwings in our neighbourhood, except when the berries begin to ripen. They are around now, checking out the not-quite-ready berries. How do they know to show up in time for this treat?

This time of the year is full of simple pleasures. We were sitting in the back yard recently when a cardinal landed on one of our birdbaths for a drink. A blue jay came to the other and splashed around until thoroughly drenched. During a bicycle ride on a section of the Waterfront trail we came upon two whitetail deer who didn't vamoose until the squeak of the brakes startled them.

On a walk at Second Marsh not long ago we saw a bald eagle. Eagles are occasional visitors to these parts as they pass through in the Spring and Fall.

The simple goodness of the world is worth celebrating. As I have said before, I have no problem with evolutionary processes bringing all these creatures into their various ecological niches. I'm just grateful to God they exist.

Any sightings and occurences for you lately?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Charter for Compassion

I know I'm supposed to feel that the World Cup is a wonderful event and that it brings people together from around the world. Actually, it probably does, but I am just not a soccer, or football, fan. Why is it that these incredibly fit athletes can't get that little ball into that great big net more often? I think it must be some sort of conspiracy to keep fans in bars for hours on end, only to console themselves with drink when the game ends in an nil nil draw.

I did see former archbishop Desmond Tutu in the crowd for the opening ceremony in Johannesburg, shakin' his groove thing. What an amazing man. Tutu is currently promoting what is called the Charter for Compassion, which calls on people from various religions around the world to support and live by basic common principles of compassion.

While this sounds like a rather simple call to action, religious people often fail miserably at this. The charter is the brain child of author Karen Armstrong who writes about world religions and believes we do have common ground. One of the reasons Tutu supports the charter is because of continuing tensions between blacks and whites in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as growing conflict with the four million Zimbabwean refugees who have flooded into a country with an unemployment rate of 25 percent.

My reason for writing is to seek your reaction to the charter but feel free to scold me about my churlish, ignorant attitude toward soccer! My own bairns did play, bye the way.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mother and Child

Absolutely ridiculous. I heard this morning that hospitals will join businesses, museums, and virtually every other organization in essential shut-down during the G-20 meeting later this month. The federal government has managed to create a billion dollar ghost town to host leaders from around the world. What is the sense in this?

In our disgust we might miss a laudable goal of this meeting which is to discuss maternal healthcare in developing nations. The trouble is, Canada is spending 1.2 billion on a four-day conference and is proposing to give one billion to this important cause over the next five years. The U.N. has asked us to contribute two billion, which we could have done if there weren't excessive costs for security and everything else. You may have heard that the Bill Gates foundation is contributing 1.5 billion to the cause.

I am grateful that the Harper government has brought this initiative forward, and I think that as Christians we should feel that this is an essential justice issue. After all, Jesus was born to a peasant woman in less than ideal circumstances. The Madonna and Child images of art are often pristine, but they could be so much more earthy, and representative of the dangerous realities for women in our world, even to the present day.

What is your reaction to this conference? Did you know that this initiative was on the agenda? Are you glad it is?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Hope of the World

Today is the official 85th anniversary of the United Church of Canada. In some congregations, such as ours, that event has been recognized a couple of times in recent weeks. I heard yesterday that one area UCC congregation has done nothing to celebrate or acknowledge this milestone.

Last night our board met to consider the goals and objectives we set last year for St. Paul's, our expression of the United Church. Our first goal is Matching Christian love with Christian commitment. The objectives are:

Developing a measurable plan, including financial
Communicating strengths and opportunities effectively.
Developing governance and infrastructure that serves our current needs.
Commitment to intergenerational involvement in every aspect of congregational life.
Regularly assessing our community outreach and mission to a wider world.

I appreciated a number of things from last night's meeting. First of all, 32 people attended, a remarkable number, with nearly half being men. Not bad on a Stanley Cup Final game night!

I was impressed by the level of conversation, and the recognition of the important of visioning at a time when we are in transition. I pointed out that churches can either plan for succession or extinction, and we agreed that the former was definitely preferable. I noticed that about a quarter of those participating last night are parents of young children and teens. They represent our succession group.

I began by speaking of Peter's Pentecost sermon in which he promised that in Christ people of all ages will dream dreams and have visions. Then I shared this anonymous nugget:

A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery.
A vision with a task is the hope of the world.

A number of readers were present last night. Comments?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Global Peace Index 2010

When Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers" we assume that he was speaking of much more than the absence of war. He invited and still invites us into shalom, the peaceful balance of every aspect of our being.

The people who create the annual Global Peace Indicator would agree because they use 23 criteria in their ranking of 144 nations. Canada is in the top ten percent of peaceful nations at number 14, but last year we ranked 8th.

New Zealand is apparently the most peaceful place on the planet and I would love to go there and find out. Iceland and Japan were close behind, although that whole volcano thing would make a difference for me. The United States is 85th. It doesn't surprise me that Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan rank at the bottom. Just above them is Israel.

You might be interested to know that I wrote about this index last year and a few weeks ago I got an email from the organization asking if I was going to do so again this year. Big, Peaceful, Friendly Brother is watching!

Do you find these indexes interesting, or a snore? They fascinate me, and I wish we had crept up rather than down on the list.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lost There, Felt Here

This summer we will visit friends in Newfoundland, parishioners from our earliest days in ministry. They are remarkablyl hospitable people, and not only will we stay at their beautiful outport location on the "mainland" of northeast Notre Dame Bay, we will hide out in an old saltbox style house they own on Change Islands for a few days. These two connected islands are adjacent to the famous Fogo Island and have a population of about 350 people.

This used to be a thriving fishing community but the cod fishery is gone and those who catch crab must go farther and farther out to sea for success. Young people choose to move elsewhere and a fledgling tourism industry has largely replaced fishing. It is a wonderful place to visit and we have stood on the crest of the hill behind the house watching humpback whales and gannets and even an iceberg or two. As far as we are concerned this is "God's Country" and we are alive to the Creator as we muck around the tidal pools or walk the shore paths.

Today is the second annual World Oceans Day and it's hard to know whether to celebrate or mourn. We continue to see the gutwrenching film footage from the Gulf of Mexico, with oil-soaked seabirds and other creatures struggling to survive. Now we're told that the oil spewing from the wrecked rig may be picked up by currents and cause damage in distant parts of the world for years to come. Although projections suggest the oil will miss the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland, who knows for sure?

I choose to thank God for the beauty of the oceans and to mourn the destruction caused by humans. An organization called Conservation International has the motto "Lost there, felt here."

It seems so apt in these sad times.

Thoughts about our oceans today?

Monday, June 07, 2010


This past Saturday a Bowmanville man organized a procession of motorcycles making their way from Trenton to Bowmanville. The goal was to honour the soldiers who have died of injuries after returning from Afghanistan and therefore were not recognized in the way those who died overseas have been.

We were in our backyard when we heard a bagpipe band and realized the motorcycles were coming...and coming... and coming some more. One newspaper estimated 1000 bikes rolled into town, although there were reports of much higher numbers. Whatever the case, it was an impressive display. A couple of my photos are above.

I found that I had a lump in my throat which was certainly encouraged by the pipe band playing The Maple Leaf Forever. I was overwhelmed with sadness for these young soldiers and their families. To my surprise I also felt anger. I am angry that these soldiers are dying in a cause that is the source of mixed feelings, even amongst staunch supporters.

I am angry because here we are in Canada, where the majority of us still claim Christian roots, and speak about upholding noble values in distant places, yet we continue to be addicted to the principles of "might makes right."

It has been a while since I have written anything on this subject in part because I feel overwhelmed by it all, and realize it is a "no win" situation. How can anyone be against supporting our troops?

I suppose I figure that if we are upholding Christian principles we should listen to the Christ who told us to be peacemakers. I don't want to see another funeral procession on the 401 and I want my heroes to be alive rather than dead.

Did any of you go downtown to see the bikers? Were your emotions stirred? Any other thoughts?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

In the Ballpark of Forgiveness

A so-called Perfect Game is the ultimate goal for any baseball pitcher, a feat so rare at the major league level that it has only happened fifteen times in over a hundred years. A perfect game means the pitcher throws a complete game facing the minimum twenty seven batters with no hits, no walks, and no runs scored. Curiously, perfection has occurred twice this year, and in reality, three times, although the third occasion did not go into the record books.

In a game where Armando Galaragga had retired twenty six batters, a trip to the record books was one out away. The batter stroked a ground ball, fielded by the second baseman, relayed to first base just in time to record the final out. Except that the veteran umpire, Jim Joyce, blew the call and said the runner was safe.

Almost immediately Joyce realized that he had been in error, but the call had been made. The replays showed clearly that the first baseman stepped on the bag before the runner, yet MLB officials decided not to overturn the umpire's ruling.

Pitcher Galarraga took the high road and accepted the call, and umpire Joyce did what officials rarely do in pro sports, he admitted his mistake. In fact, the following day he tearfully apologized to Galaragga in front of a crowd.

This should be textbook stuff (literally) for contrite apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It's been good to hear that many people have supported Joyce for his honesty, although the usual crazies have threatened his wife and children.
Forgiveness is a sermon topic which always gets plenty of response for good reason. So many of us struggle with authentic contrition and reconciliation. Well, one of these days the story will be a sermon illustration!

What are your thoughts about this story and forgiveness in general?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Praise for My Maker

I have admitted to you before that while I am not a "sing out loud" guy, I often find myself singing a hymn, or whistling while I am walking outdoors. There is something in the experience which elicits praise, and the hymns tell me that I instinctively connect this praise with my Maker. I came across this poem by Tony Hoagland in a recent issue of Orion magazine:


The deer they said would be there at dawn
never appeared but the dawn mist instead.
Always something instead
like the little brown pebble on the porch
that turned out to be a frog.
Things that arrive on their own
like the domed Conestogas of afternoon cloud,
fat as senators from Mississippi.
How there is always a truth, and then underneath that
another somehow more elusive truth —
All before the pell-mell education of dying
when things will be fast but at the same time slow,
like the loud dripping of a clock.
Instead of the quiet you never noticed
hailstones of rain on the roof,
after which you could hear the wind.
So praise instead;
praise the word instead like a treetrunk
that falls across your path.
Like a bridge that leads away from your destination.
You had expected to be dead by now,or living in New York.
Mist suspended above the meadow:
pale and gauzy, in rumpled sheets;
where you have come with so much readiness.

- Tony Hoagland

Friday, June 04, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We took a few minutes this morning to sit in our backyard and savour the beginning of the day. We took a stroll out to our garden to check on the progress of our vegetables. Because of the warmer weather we are already eating our own lettuce and everything else is thriving. We also have a plot in the community garden near Bowmanville high school and it too is doing well. There is such a sense of well-being in growing food, and it shouldn't surprise us since our faith story begins in a garden.

Did you notice last week that farmers in France turned the Champs Elysees, one of the most famous and magnificent urban vistas in the world, into a massive garden? At considerable cost they trucked in soil and brought vegetable plants, fruit trees, and of course grape vines to create a veritable Garden of Eden in the heart of chic Paris. People came in the tens of thousands and the point was made about the importance and the plight of agriculture. Instead of folks going to the farm, the farm came to the people. What a clever idea. We all need reminders that food comes from somewhere other than the grocery store.

How are your gardens growing? Do you feel a little closer to God when you are getting dirt under your fingernails? What do you think of the Paris initiative?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Darndest Things

Many readers are too young to have firsthand memories of Art Linkletter, who died last week in his nineties. Linkletter had a number of television programs in an earlier era and one popular segment had him asking questions of children who often answered with delightfully unexpected observations. Linkletter parlayed this into very successful books in a Kids Say the Darndest Things series.

I am regularly delighted by the observations and comments of the children in our congregation. I am careful about a "cutesy" exploitation of children, but sometimes I can hardly contain my amazement. A couple of weeks ago I was attempting to explain the mystery of the Holy Spirit using a fan. One six year old piped up and offered that the breeze from the fan represented something else. I was amazed. How does a little guy that age grasp the notion of one thing representing another? After the service a girl came up during the fellowship time and asked if I knew anyone who makes balloon animals. What a great opening line.

Last week another child, a young girl who was doing the Call to Worship, admitted before the service that she was struggling with the word"calm," wanting to say "clam." Her honestly was earnest and charming.

Later that same day I bumped into a parishioner from another time, someone I hadn't seen in roughly twenty years. He asked after our adult children and said that he had thought of our son Isaac only that morning in worship when they were singing the hymn The Church is Wherever God's People are Praising. Apparently Isaac, at age five, had been confused when we sang the same hymn. Why would we sing that "the church is wherever God's people are crazy?"Well, you don't have to be crazy to go to church, but it helps!

Children are wise, unpredictable, thoughtful, disarming and downright funny. Oh yes, and faith-full. What difference do they make for you in the life of your faith community?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Truth and Justice

The United Church of Canada has been working to mend fences with the Canadian Jewish Congress after that organization accused us of anti-semitism. The UCC has been critical of Israel to varying degrees at different times for what often appear to be unjust actions toward the Palestinians around them, including the impoverished and virtually incarcerated residents of Gaza.

I have always supported the right of the state Israel to exist and I have no illusions about the difficult realities for Israelis who often feel that they live in a state of seige from hostile neighbours. At the same time the sometimes draconian measures taken to keep those neighbours under control lead to great hardship for Palestinians.

The recent incident during which nine people were killed by Israeli commandos on their way to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza has raised the ire of the international community. While Israel has argued that the commandos were acting in self defense, the government hasn't explained why they had to board a ship which was in international waters with obvious readiness to use lethal force. Nor do they really want to address the circumstances which led to this convoy of relief ships in the first place.

I'm glad that the United Church has moved to heal the damaged relationship with the Jewish community in Canada, but I hope that it doesn't stop us from offering a measured and honest response to this situation.

What has your reaction been to this story?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Last week Toronto Star sports writer Damien Cox suggested that it is time to get rid of the Chicago Black Hawks name and symbol, which he says is akin to the old cigar store Indian. It's a great time to raise this, given that Chicago is in the Stanley Cup final.

Personally, I love the retro look, but I agree that the logo developed in 1926 to honour a WW1 fighting unit is long past its "best before" date. Pro teams such as the Blackhawks and the Washington Redskins are being pushed to rethink logos and monikers that were serviceable in their day but are now offensive. Can you imagine if there was a team called the Chinamen? And teams can make these changes. In Washington, where there is a lot of gun violence, the name was changed from the Bullets to the Wizards. I imagine some fundamentalist Christians make the sign of the cross at that alteration.

This debate can be brought closer to home. I grew up in nearby Brooklin, Ontario and the championship lacrosse team was called the Redmen. Still is, for that matter, and the logo looks a lot like that of the Blackhawks. Arguably using that moniker makes more sense for a lacrosse team since aboriginal people invented the game, but appropriating the culture may be just as unreasonable.

Many sports associations have banned the use of aboriginal nicknames. Other organizations including most churches have changed and challenged stereotypes and even offered apologies. So why shouldn't athletic teams get with the program?

An online Star poll asked readers if they agreed with Cox's position and about three quarters said no. What are your thoughts? Do we accept that this is just tradition, or should these teams realize that they are in the twenty first century and develop more respectful sensibilities?