Friday, April 29, 2011
It was laugh rather than cry earlier this week as I tried to avoid "news" which was about the royal wedding today. I surfed from channel to channel to no avail --all wedding, all the time.You might think that I would be drawn to William and Kate's nuptials since Diana was in hospital in Britain giving birth to her first-born son while my wife Ruth was in a Newfoundland hospital giving birth to our son. Nope.
I have been thinking about the infatuation with royalty we have witnessed, comparing it to the earnest efforts of the United Church in recent decades. We have done our best to expunge royal language from our liturgies, feeling that terms such as king in reference to God and Jesus would be incomprehensible and even offensive. What do we care about royalty in this modern age, and who understands it anyway? I am careful about the language I use and avoid hierarchical terms. Well, so much for that line of reasoning. Billions, so we are told, took time to tune in this morning.Confession: I was up early to go to the gym and ended up watching the wedding with Ruth before I left. The music was sublime, the homily was excellent, Kate's brother read splendidly, and the prayers --well, patriarchal and exclusive. Hey, you can't have everything.
Did you roll out of bed to watch the wedding today? Are you comfortable with kings and queens, princesses and princes? What about when you come to church? Would you prefer that God not be addressed as a monarch, or are you okay with that language?
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This Sunday will be an usual first for our family. My wife Ruth will be in the pulpit of another church in Durham region, giving a Christian perspective to her important work as an outreach counsellor in a women's shelter. I will be at St. Paul's preaching sermon number...well, somewhere between thirteen and fourteen hundred in my ministry, not counting messages at weddings, funeral, nursing homes, etc. And our son, Isaac, will be offering his first message from the pulpit of the congregation he will be serving in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. He doesn't begin officially until after his ordination at the end of May, but he is doing pulpit supply in the meantime. We had a long chat on Sunday afternoon which touched on worship preparation, and Ruth and I have talked about what she will do as well. Ruth is a PK (preacher's kid,) as am I, as is Isaac. So maybe it is just in the genes.Isaac is already a veteran, having preached dozens of times through his Green Church Project work. He is the only preacher in our family to have delivered sermons in both official languages.
Preaching is an unusual enterprise in this time of visual presentation and short sound bites. I figure churches are virtually the last venues outside of college and university classrooms where an individual "holds the floor" for so long. In some congregations the minister isn't actually there, with simulcasts to several churches at the same time. We even tone the title down a little, often referring to messages rather than sermons. The expression "he/she was preachy!" is always a condemnation after all.
So, at the risk of setting myself up here, is it still worth it to listen to a sermon? How has preaching changed over the years in your experience? Does it help to have the visual images as well?
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Wesleyville, Burning of the Methodist Church David Blackwood
The TV ads for Newfoundland and Labrador are clever. They present the gorgeous scenery at its best and they never depict a rainy day (of which there are plenty) or mosquitoes (of which there are billions.) In reality the arms of the guy in this photo would be a blur of swatting anytime in the summer. Newfoundland is beautiful, but it is also fierce at times. It has a history of destroying the weak and even today the weather can be frightening.
The current exhibit of art by David Blackwood at the Art Gallery of Ontario gives the counterpoint to those idyllic television spots. His work is often dark and brooding and even the images of celebratory and playful events such as weddings and mummers in the night have an ominous quality. We love it because it reflects another reality of this often harsh and unforgiving land.
Blackwood now lives in Port Hope but his early years were shaped by the stern Methodism of the Straight Shore and the town of Wesleyville (named after John Wesley.) The preachers were fiery and the biblical stories were vividly told. I had the good fortune to sit next to Mr. Blackwood at a dinner party and we chatted about Newfoundland's religious heritage.
Churches show up in a number of Blackwood's prints and when we were at the AGO we were surprised to see a sketch book with a drawing of Frederickton, one of the outport communities I served. I preached from the once Methodist pulpit of that little church again last summer, although I'm sure that I never came close to ramping up the hellfire and damnation to the satisfaction of some in the congregation.
Do you know the work of David Blackwood? Have you experienced the wild beauty of Newfoundland? What about scary religion? Has your experience been fairly benign or was there an element of fear in your upbringing?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It's not easy for clergy to assess what happens through Lent, Holy Week, Easter. On Thursday evening we had the best-in-my-ministry attendance for the service, strong on Friday, rather disappointing on Easter morning. Certainly everyone who played a role of leadership in all the services from Palm Sunday to Easter did a splendid job. Our choirs and Loaves and Fishes were dedicated, as usual, the young people led as though they were born to it (thanks Laura), and our behind-the-scenes Worship and Music committee and office staff made everything look effortless.
I sat outside for a while on Saturday afternoon, a blessedly quiet interlude, and read a novel. My camera was by my side and I caught the Goldfinches at the feeder. With the late Easter this year I watched these finches go from a rather dull pale brown to brilliant yellow as the mating plumage of the males came into full glory. Lent means "lengthening," as in lengthening days, and we all appreciate the movement toward light in the season. I had never really thought about the brightening feathers of a tiny bird representing the movement toward Easter brilliance before.
And wouldn't you know it, the Google homepage tells me that today is the birthday of the ultimate bird nerd, John James Audubon.
Add anything that strikes your fancy good readers.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Crucifixion Graham Sutherland
Our 24-year-old daughter Emily watched the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral recently and it was so old (1994) that it was new for her. She was moved by the W.H. Auden poem recited at the one funeral of the film. There is such a sense of desolation in the poem, called Funeral Blues, and the mood strikes me as suitable for Good Friday. We are meant to be bereft in the midst of loss, even though we know the end of the story with the hope of the resurrection.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with the juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and, with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin. Let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message: “He is dead!”
Put crepe bows around the white necks of the public doves.
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my north, my south, my east and west,
My working week and Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one.
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can come to any good.
I hope this day will have deep meaning for you.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Holy Week and Easter tend to dart around the calendar from year to year, thanks to the lunar connection, although in 2011 Easter is just about as late as it can be (April 25th is the latest possible date.) So this year Earth Day, which has the fixed date of April 22nd, and Good Friday coincide for the first time ever. Some have suggested that this is fitting because as an innocent Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities, we humans are torturing the planet to death. http://www.ctsnet.edu/files/documents/GoodFridayGoodEarthDay.pdf It is also meaningful in that a year ago this week an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico ruptured and began spewing crude, becoming North America's worst environmental disaster.
For years many congregations including ours have celebrated Earth Sunday, usually the Sunday closest to Earth Day. This year we will wait until May 1st since pre-empting Easter didn't seem like a wise choice.
I do hope that there can be a note of resurrection in our Earth Sunday acknowledgement. Yes, we make a mess of our earthly home, but we have the choice as people of faith to make a difference in the care of creation. I share again the painting by aboriginal artist Blake Debassige who lives on Manitoulin Island. This painting called The Tree of Life is a crucifix but the cross is a tree festooned with living creatures. It hangs in the chapel at the Anishnabe Spiritual Centre and while living in Northern Ontario I sat in that space on a number of occasions and quietly contemplated the image.
There is a concern that interest in Earth Day is fading, even as the assault on the ecosystems of the planet continues. Do you still care about Earth Day and Earth Sunday? Are you uncomfortable with the connection between Good Friday and Earth Day or welcome it?
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
When I was at seminary I did an essay on a book by scholar Annie Jaubert which suggested that the Last Supper occurred on the Tuesday evening of Holy Week rather than Thursday. The scholar offered that Jesus and his disciples were following the calendar of the Essence sect (Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls,) giving two more days for the final events of Jesus' life to unfold. To my surprise I read recently that Pope Benedict, in his book on the last week of Jesus' life, has said that this might work. The supper, arrest, and then two trials before the crucifixion just don't seem to fit the time frame from sunset Thursday evening to Friday morning. Apparently some scholars have whipped around Jerusalem with stop watches to figure out whether it all could have been crammed in to those few hours.
A new book claims that Maundy Thursday should actually be Maundy Wednesday. Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University says discrepancies in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke as compared with John arose because they used an older calendar than the official Jewish one. He concluded the date was 1 April AD33. This would support the idea that Jesus' arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place on one night only.
In this book, The Mystery Of The Last Supper, the metallurgist and materials scientist uses Biblical, historical and astronomical research to address the fundamental inconsistency about the event. While Matthew, Mark and Luke say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John seems to offer that it took place before Passover.
It would make sense because the gospels don't say anything about the events of Wednesday, or Tuesday for that matter. In the end there probably aren't many of us who care when the supper happened during the week, although I have been curious about the compacted schedule. What is really important is that it took place and that it was a gathering that may well have included women and children, along with the disciples.
Is this historical stuff a yawner for you, or does it pique your interest?
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This week is about God's passionate love for us in Christ, the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. So, it's appropriate that PBS is offering the first of a two-part series called Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate tonight on WNED. In some areas it broadcast this past Sunday evening, but around here is will be on successive Tuesdays.
From what I can gather the series will look at forgiveness from both secular and religious viewpoints. Of course the title draws on one of the couplets from Ecclesiastes 3 which tells us that there is a time and a season for everything.
There are several online clips available, including an interview with producer and director Helen Whitney. I think it will be worthwhile. http://www.helenwhitney.com/
Do you connect the drama of Holy Week with forgiveness? Is it about the forgiveness you receive in Christ, the forgiveness you extend to others, or a combination of both?
Monday, April 18, 2011
Yesterday we celebrated Palm/Passion Sunday and the service included that reminder that Jesus, the Jew was in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of deliverance called Pesach, or the Passover. The passover part has to do with the "passing over" of the homes of the people of Israel by the angel of death while they were slaves in Egypt. When Jesus joined with his disciples for what Christians call the Last Supper is was for the commemorative Pesach meal or seder and he linked his act of deliverance with the ancient story, using the unleavened bread and wine as symbols of his own broken body and shed blood.
Tonight is the beginning of Passover as well as being the second day of Holy Week and I always find it helpful that the two coincide. I may not have been paying attention, but I don't recall much emphasis in the church of my earlier years on the important connection between the two. Yet it is almost impossible to understand one without the other. On Maundy Thursday we will hear the stories of deliverance from both traditions and we will join around a table of communion which we hope will recall that unique Passover meal of long ago. I avoid recreating seders because I feel that it is disrespectful of a living religion, but the two are intertwined.
What about you -- do you remember hearing much about Passover when you were younger? Does it help to know what our roots are as Christians? Will you attend a Maundy Thursday service this year?
Friday, April 15, 2011
I regularly speak with people who feel rather bewildered by the state of their lives. Sometimes it is because a sense of promise has been dampened by a dead end or three or ten. Other times it is because of choices that have proven to be destructive, bringing relationships to an end or causing pain to those they love. Often the conversations are "post mortems," an attempt to figure out where things went wrong or why the values they thought were rock solid slipped away in the midst of temptation. It seems almost quaint to speak of a moral compass in this day of the GPS, but these conversations are about revisiting moral and ethical bearings. Of course forgiveness and God's abiding love tend to come into the conversation.
We saw a film recently which is both playful and serious, a story of several people who are trying to find those ethical bearings. Win Win is a...well, a winning film starring Paul Giamatti, an actor who can play the hapless schlepp to perfection. In this story he is a lawyer who is feeling the squeeze of the economic downturn in his practice and makes decisions which are contrary to his sense of right and wrong. He and his family are churchgoers but the pressures of maintaining the image of the middle class lifestyle prove stronger than whatever he hears on Sunday mornings.
Win Win has a great ensemble cast, laugh-out-loud funny moments, and some thought provoking story threads. It is also untidy at times and a little too tidy in its ending, but really enjoyable all-in-all.
Has anyone else seen this film? Have you had those moments when the moral compass is hard to find? Do you feel your faith helps you keep on track?
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Suddenly the natural world around us is stirring with many signs of life. At Second Marsh the birds are returning: kingfishers, herons, red-winged blackbirds, and many more. The other day I saw a small orange butterfly, the first of this year.
The creatures in and around the water are active as well. The fish are carp, I think, and were thrashing around near the edge of the marsh. The frog? One of hundreds in an astonishing, raucous, creaking symphony of life in another spot. They all quieted down when I approached them but resumed when I stood still for a while.
I love that the resurgence of life around us corresponds with Easter this year. My spirit lifts with these signs of renewal and they prepare me for the resurrection promise in Christ.
What are you seeing that says Spring has sprung? Deb, I hope you have something you can report from Saskatchewan!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I hope it doesn't sound irreverent to say that there are times I look at the caskets of those I am about to commend to God's care and keeping and think they look better than any piece of furniture I own (believe me, that wouldn't be difficult.) Honestly, it seems like a lot of expense for a container which will be covered in earth and expected to eventually decompose. Oddly, the rather gentle picture of cemeteries above ground masks the environmental mess of concrete vaults and chemicals "six feet under." Decomposition doesn't happen in a hurry.
You may recall an earlier blog about the use of bamboo caskets in Britain. The latest in the UK is the woolen casket, seen above. They are very simple, yet elegant, cost about $1500 Canadian, and are made by the same company that weaves Hudson Bay blankets. I may like this idea even better than the bamboo -- so Canadian, eh? Now if they came up with a colour scheme that looks like a HB blanket...
This is really about the bigger picture of how we dispose of our mortal remains. I am all for dignity in funeral services, including the commital. Surely, though, these alternatives make more sense.
What are your thoughts? Would you be okay to be buried in your "woolies?" Buried at sea in a piece of sail cloth maybe?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Election promises from political parties of all stripes intrigue me. Of course the parties have to tell us what they stand for but the multi-billion dollar promises drawn from our pockets often strike me as a strange game with monopoly money. I think the Tory promises which will come only when they balance the budget may be a first.
One Conservative promise which might get lost in the shuffle is the proposed creation of an office for religious freedom within the Foreign Affairs department. I certainly see religious freedom as one aspect of human rights. Religious freedom is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact it is listed at the beginning under Fundamental Freedoms. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/charter/page-1.html#anchorbo-ga:l_I-gb:s_2
This is not the case in many countries around the world and I have yapped about this on a number of occasions. Last weekend a Christian group met on a bridge in China to protest the harrassment of a congregation which didn't follow government guidelines. Although the congregation had grown to 1000, only about 100 gathered because of fear of reprisal. Police dispersed the group and detained a Toronto Star reporter, although in Chinese government fashion they insisted he wasn't under arrest.
While the Conservative proposal is interesting, it seems to me that our government needs to speak out about human rights violations wherever and whenever they are evident, regardless of religion or creed. A week ago The United States through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chastised the Chinese government for its lousy human rights record and it was gratifying to hear. Canada gave up on speaking out against Chinese repression during the Liberal government and the Conservatives haven't done any better.
Did you notice this campaign promise? Does it matter to you -- would it influence the way you would vote? Should Canada be more bold in addressing human rights violations around the world?
Monday, April 11, 2011
Last week I got a phone call from my wife, Ruth, who was outside a courtroom in Oshawa. She advised me that her client through Bethesda House, the women's shelter in Bowmanville, was in for a long wait and so Ruth might miss the event we were going to in the evening. Ruth does court accompaniments with women who will often face their abusers in the courtroom without benefit of family or friends at their side and they are terrified. There have been a few times when she has called to explain that she will be late or go directly to another appointment.
This happened the same day the Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, admonished an Alberta candidate who made inappropriate comments about sexual assault. It was unsettling to hear that he is a former judge, although he has seen how domestic assaults get ugly from both sides and are often a confusing mess.
What people don't understand, though, is that even when women seem to "give as good as they get" this is almost never actually true. In violent arguments women are sexually assaulted, or end up in hospital, or the morgue, exponentially more often than men. For the most part we guys are bigger, more aggressive, and more deadly. Deaths from domestic violence are more than 90% women.
It's not as though this message has come through with clarity in churches. Ruth will speak in a church soon and when she met with the planning group a man asked "where are the shelters for men?" While some men may need them, it is nearly always women who flee violence, with their children, often with their partners in angry pursuit. The photo above is of a Brampton woman who left her husband with their four teenagers. On April 1st he found her and stabbed her to death. The windows at the local shelter are bulletproof glass for a reason and the doors are all reinforced.
I appreciate that this isn't a cheerful topic, but because most of us don't see this side of society we need the reminders from time to time, other than a few grisly news items.
What are your thoughts about this, both as women and men?
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Last week Christie Blatchford, a no-nonsense crime reporter for the Globe and Mail, reviewed a new book by a colleague at the Globe about Russell Williams. Tim Appleby covered the Williams trial and has concluded that while the former armed forces major did horrendous things, he is not a psychopath. In fact, he uses interviews to demonstrate that for all his brutality Williams also demonstrated that he could be compassionate and understanding toward co-workers, and had a conscience. To quote from the article which in turn quotes the book:
“Williams was not that kind of murderer at all.” The rising military star “had feelings, emotions, attachments of all kinds: he cared about his wife, he cared about the military; he was devoted to his cats, and he also appears to have a moral compass …”
This may seem beyond belief to you, but I understand the point Appleby is making. When I began working at Kingston Penitentiary as a chaplain intern thirty odd years ago it was not the crimes men committed that unnerved me. It was that even knowing what they had done, I began to see that they were humans rather than monsters. It is tempting to move people into the realm of the monstrous because it is actually easier than asking how real people -- people who may have positive traits like ours -- could descend into evil. I was intrigued that Blatchford appreciated Appleby's "take" because she is no bleeding heart herself.
During those months at Kingston Pen I was pushed to ponder the nature of evil and ask whether the "monsters" were redeemable through the grace of God. It was one of the most important few months of my preparation for ministry and in ministry itself.
So what do you think? Too tough to swallow? Makes sense?
Friday, April 08, 2011
There are times when important subjects just get away from me, even though I intend to blog about them. An example is a Toronto Star article from three weeks ago that included our Jonathan Marsellus, a teen from our congregation who has a sharp mind, a quick smile, and a strong Christian faith. Oh yes... a ton of curly hair: http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/education/article/956500--a-look-inside-ontario-s-controversial-student-clubs
Jonathan is included in the piece on gay-straight alliances, the controversial clubs(at least in some schools) which build bridges between gay and straight teens. This is a risky choice for young people at an age when sexual orientation is a highly charged issue. Jonathan is quoted in the article:
“I know kids at other schools who get pushed into the lockers because they’re gay,” said Grade 11 student Jonathan Marsellus, who said he is trying to stamp out the insult “That’s so gay” because some of his family members actually are.
Courage to live out one's faith convictions and Christ's compassion takes many forms, and I'm proud of Jonathan.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I listened to an interview with Mike Berners-Lee, the author of the book How Bad Are Bananas? which is really, as the subtitle states, about the carbon footprint of everything. It turns out bananas aren't so bad. They come in their own wrapper and they don't need to be flown. Of course the way they are grown is scary, and they sure don't raise bananas here in the Frozen North, so they must be transported. An ever-increasing amount of our food is brought here from somewhere else and that is reflected in that relatively new phrase "carbon footprint."
The Canadian lifestyle spews about four times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the planetary average. And while our car-driving serves up about 10% and our home-heating another 10%, our food consumption is responsible for about 20% -- the other two combined. This surprised me to be honest. So, the source of our food really does make a difference.
Here in Bowmanville we are surrounded by rich farmland which is steadily shrinking because of suburban sprawl. Fortunately we can still get local produce, but how long will that last. And we do like our fresh fruit and veggies in winter, along with variety. There aren't any locally grown mangoes either.
Last year we shared a community garden plot with reader Brian but we have been informed that, come Fall, the school board will be planting a French immersion school where our tomatoes have been growing.
Thanks to reader Larry I was introduced to an interesting video produced by Hellman's --yup, the mayonnaise people. Take a look.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRfjMOjrfnI
Since we are people of faith we can ponder where our food comes from, not as a God-given right but as a gift of abundance. We can join Jesus in walking lightly on the Earth.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Rob Bell is the youngish pastor of a whopping big congregation in Michigan called Mars Hill. He is one of the new evangelicals, a bit edgy, very engaging. He has been something of a darling in evangelical circles, although you can see from the magazine cover above that he does rub "keepers of the true faith" the wrong way. Recently he published his latest book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived. The book is controversial in his theological sphere because it challenges the notion that all but a select group of Christians is in hell, because they haven't accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour.
The event that prompted the book was an art show at his church which was on the theme of peacemaking. A woman included some words from Mohandes Gandhi with her work and someone attached a piece of paper which said "Reality check: He's in hell." Bell wonders how the anonymous writer knows this for sure, and asks whether we really want to be part of a religion which proclaims the love of God in Christ but adds that there is little or no hope for most of the billions of people who have populated the planet, presumably all created by God. What kind of God is this?
Bell takes a fairly cautious approach to this subject but he has been slammed anyway. It doesn't surprise me. I have met plenty of Christians who only seem happy when they imagine most of the world's people in eternal torment. I just don't see that God would be guilty of such shoddy workmanship (workpersonship?) with 99% wastage.
To be fair, even though the United Church abandoned this notion long ago, our "whatever" approach to heaven, hell, and eternity is hardly theologically rigorous. I have spoken on both heaven and hell, which generated a fair amount of discussion.
I just got my copy of the book, so I may report back. What are your thoughts, or do you give much consideration to eternity?
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I was disturbed a few weeks ago when I heard that a Toronto Police officer advised a university crowd that if women didn't dress "slutty" they were less likely to be sexually assaulted. The officer was disciplined, as he should have been, but it was unsettling that this view would be expressed publically in this day.
Strangely, I was also disturbed when I heard of the "Slut Walk" which took place in Toronto this past Sunday to protest what happened. Now, I get the nature of the protest with its confrontational approach. Some women in the march wore short skirts and low-cut tops to make the statement that they should be able to wear what they want without fear of attack or comment. One mom was celebrating this with her fourteen-year-old daughter.
Still, it seems to me that our society has become incredibly confused over issues of sexuality and dignity. I have taken part in a number of Take Back the Night rallies and walks, so I thoroughly support the freedom of women to live without fear in circumstances men take for granted. I have done this in part because of my wife Ruth's work at a women's shelter, but I participated in earlier years because as a Christian I affirm Jesus's respect for all people and the biblical witness that he treated women with respect in a patriarchal society.
So why respond to offensive and inappropriate comments by sexualizing the event? We raised our daughters to have a sense of personal dignity and resist the relentless peer pressure and emphasis from early childhood to look "hot." And we still have those conversations, even though they are in their twenties.
What were your thoughts about this sequence of events? Is the response okay from your perspective, or were you unsettled as well?
Monday, April 04, 2011
Toronto Maple Leaf fans are a little bewildered this year, myself included. We are in the final week of the regular season and games still matter. Well, we are in the praying for a miracle stage, but there is still a faint hope of getting into the playoffs.
The reason? Enthusiastic, gritty play from a team of young players who refuse to quit. While it is a collaborative effort, the play of the young "come out of nowhere" goaltender, James Reimer, is a key. Not only has he played extremely well, the rest of the team is playing well in front of him. And the sports writers and pundits love him, in part because he is such a nice guy. He is perpetually polite and smiling, he doesn't cuss, and he goes to church with his wife whenever he gets the chance. Reimer grew up in a Mennonite hamlet in rural Manitoba and the Christian values stuck.
In this morning's Globe and Mail there is an article about Reimer, front page of the sports section, with the headline James Reimer has Faith in his Game http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/leafs-beat/james-reimer-has-faith-in-his-game/article1969274/ which is a specific reference to his low-key but important Christian faith. Nice to see when there is so much about prima donna sports figures and a wonderful witness on his part.
Friday, April 01, 2011
Oil Sands country, before and after
The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has crept up steadily through the weeks since this tragedy occurred. Estimates are that 20,000 people died. Now workers who are recovering bodies in some areas must wear Hazmat suits to protect them from radiation.
Twenty thousand dead is a grim count, but did you know that more than 50,000 Russians died last summer as a result of the protracted heat wave and fires which affected that country? What we call natural disasters are often catastrophic and immediate in their impact. Events such as the Russian fires may be brought about by climate change, which is affected by human activity. And because it happens over an extended period of time we don't notice the effect to the same degree.
I have to wonder whether we are incapable of addressing the real issues of our time, for the sake of the wellbeing of people today and generations to come. I doubt that climate change will be much of an issue in this federal election, yet President Obama is pushing reducing dependence on foreign oil, with the exception of a stable neighbour -- Canada. You might be surprised to read that Canada supplies more oil to the US than Mexico and Saudi Arabia combined, the next two largest sources. China is financing the development of coal fields in Northern British Columbia. So what is our national strategy on climate change and the part we play in it? It really doesn't exist.
As a Christian -- I emphasize Christian in light of a recent blog discussion -- I want provincial and federal governments to act responsibly for this generation and the generations to come. I also want them to be responsible because "the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."