Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Eye for an Eye?

A Canadian 3RCR Battlegroup sniper walks up a hill to his position during a mission near Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003.

A couple of years ago the film American Sniper was a huge box office success. It glorified the sharp-shooting exploits of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. Ironically. Kyle was shot and killed by another serviceman suffering PTSD after his return to America.

There is a mystique surrounding snipers who must combine rock-steady nerves with mathematics while in the midst of combat. Canadians are reportedly amongst the best snipers in the world, and recently a Canadian sniper working alongside Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS successfully struck a member of the militant group from a distance of a little more than three and a half kilometres away. This is now the record for a verified sniper kill, and may never be matched.
This has been all over the media and it seems grisly to me. As Tom Mulcair of the NDP points out we are supposedly not involved in offensive military action in Iraq. And while combatants kill the enemy in any conflict, the fascination is macabre, in my estimation.

As a Christian I constantly wrestle with Jesus' teaching to be peacemakers, to turn the other cheek, alongside the realities of evil in our world. While there are occasions where lethal force must be used, in policing and in situations of war, glorifying the death of human beings doesn't fit with my sense of the gospel. This may sound naïve, but really, has the message of Jesus ever made sense in the ways of the world?

Thoughts?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Loved

Through the years but particularly the past six months I've blogged periodically about my mother, Margaret, whom a number of you know. Some of you have interacted with her as a senior and witnessed an intelligent, engaged woman whose faith issued in action well into her eighties. In recent years her Parkinson's Disease has become more of an issue, with her mobility and balance affected. In these past months the slow progress of dementia has become a freight train which we are scrambling to address. She never complains, but she is increasingly anxious in the afternoon and evening, evidence of Sundowners Syndrome.

My brother Eric is a constant support to Mom, taking care of so many practical aspects of her life. I've made a point of visiting more frequently, usually reading scripture, saying a prayer, and even wonkily warbling a hymn or two with her. We both want to affirm her personhood, her essence, even as her memory betrays her. And she continues to surprise us. In the past couple of visits she has asked how I feel in retirement and wondered when we leave on vacation. When I showed up with son Isaac and his family recently she was delighted. She was downright playful with her great-grandsons and beamed in a way we simply don't witness anymore.

The other day she got word that she would be visited by Dr. Paul Thistle, a medical missionary in Africa. Years ago Mom paid for a nurses residence to be built, at considerable cost. Paul has always been grateful for her support and visits when he's back in Canada.

Margaret Mundy is a person, loved by God, loved by her family and friends. Is she diminished by age and illness? Yes. But she continues to love us and teach us, in her own way.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

National Aboriginal Day


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Finally! Yesterday the issues accessing my computer were resolved.

This morning I listened to CBC from Toronto and their live National Aboriginal Day broadcast from Nathan Phillips Square. It seems an unlikely setting for a sacred fire yet city hall in the heart of Canada's largest city was once Native land. The organizers say that this was the largest crowd yet, hundreds of people gathered at five o'clock in the morning.



There are days when I wonder whether we will very get beyond the indifference and systemic racism of a country where we pride ourselves on inclusion yet continue to treat our first nations as second class citizens, at best. Yet today's recognition across the country is encouraging. As always we have to ask if this will translate into the honouring of commitments by our federal and provincial governments to eradicate poverty, provide decent water and education, and protect the most vulnerable.

I pray that the United Church and other communities of faith will provide leadership in keeping these issues before the governments and that Canadians will understand that these are matters of justice, not charity.

Thoughts?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's Not You...

Hey folks, it's not you, it's me. No, really! I'm
bedevilled with computer challenges as I get
established at home. So, please be more
patient than I am and keep visiting my Lion Lamb blog. Thanks!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Admiration & Lament for the Oceans

Three weeks from now we will be in a house by an ocean, God willing. We'll be on Change Islands, adjacent to Fogo Island, a place of wild beauty and warm people. As my ministry draws to a close we'll be back where we started, a short distance by water from the communities I served in the early 1980's.

We'll be there during the recreational groundfish fishery which allows Newfoundland residents to catch cod for their own use. Homes on Change Islands which are empty are other times will be filled with those coming home for this opportunity. This personal fishery has expanded over time after a total  moratorium on cod fishing when it was established that stocks were plummeting toward extinction. There is now a controlled commercial fishery as well.

For the longest time it was considered a God-given  right - literally - to take as much as ships could haul in. The ships got bigger and more efficient until an abundant species all but disappeared. It was reckless plunder rather than careful management. It ruined a way of life for many.

On this World Oceans Day we can lament the emptying of the seas, even as we marvel at them. We can pray that it's not too late to change the course of our species when it comes to conservation and care. We can admire the diversity of the oceans enough to allow them to revive.

Comments?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Christians and Muslims:  Caring for our Common Home

I hadn't realized that the Vatican sends a message each year to Muslims during the month of Ramadan, and 2017 marks the 50th anniversary. How appropriate that days after President Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change this letter has been issued. Although it is dated May 19th it was issued June 2nd, the day after Trump's announcement. Here is the text of the letter

Christians and Muslims:  Caring for our Common Home

Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,
We wish to assure you of our prayerful solidarity during this time of fasting in the month of Ramadan and the celebration of ‘Id al–Fitr that concludes it, and we extend to you our heartfelt best wishes for serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts...

...The experience of both our religious communities affirms the value of this Message for promoting cordial relations between Christian and Muslim neighbours and friends, by offering insights on current and pressing issues.For this year, the PCID offers a theme related to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’– On Care for Our Common Home”, which was addressed not only to Catholics and Christians, but to the whole of humanity.

Pope Francis draws attention to the harm our lifestyles and decisions are causing to the environment, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings. There are, for example, certain philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives that present obstacles which threaten humanity’s relationship with nature. To take up this challenge involves all of us, regardless of whether or not we profess a religious belief.

The Encyclical’s title itself is expressive: the world is a “common home”, a dwelling for all the members of the human family. Therefore, no one person, nation or people can impose exclusively their understanding of our planet. This is why Pope Francis appeals “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet…, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all” (n. 14).

Pope Francis states that “the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion” (no. 217). What is needed is education, spiritual openness and a “global ecological conversion” to adequately address this challenge. As believers, our relationship with God should be increasingly shown in the way we relate to the world around us. Our vocation to be guardians of God’s handiwork is not optional, nor it is tangential to our religious commitment as Christians and Muslims: it is an essential part of it.

May the religious insights and blessings that flow from fasting, prayer and good works sustain you, with God’s help, on the path of peace and goodness, to care for all the members of the human family and for the whole of creation.
With these sentiments, we wish you once again serenity, joy and prosperity.
From the Vatican, 19 May 2017

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Anglican Power!

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The dismal decision of the US government to opt out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement affects the fate of untold billions of Earthlings, including non-human creatures. The bizarre focus on economic gain over the wellbeing of our planetary home is sinful and wrong. I find this deeply discouraging.

There was encouraging news at the same time, although it was overshadowed by the decision of the Trump administration. ExxonMobil has decided to offer more transparent annual reports which will make shareholders and everyone else aware of the effects of their polices on climate change.

I celebrated this news, unaware that this was an initiative of the Church of England, the Anglicans. In these days of diminishing influence in world affairs by shrinking faith communities we might despair of making a difference. This is evidence of the importance of persistence and not losing heart.

Here is the description of what transpired from the Anglican Communion News Service:

Shareholders of the oil giant ExxonMobil pushed through a resolution on climate change at the company’s AGM yesterday despite strong opposition from the Board of Directors. The motion, tabled by the Church Commissioners, the financial arm of the Church of England, with the New York State Comptroller, will require the company to provide annual reports on showing how the business will be affected by global efforts to reduce climate change.
The moves comes as US President Donald Trump prepares to signal whether or not his administration will pull out of the Paris Agreement, in which global political leaders agreed efforts to cap global temperature rises at two degrees Celsius.
A similar motion last year was rejected when only 38 per cent of shareholders supported the motion. This week, the motion won the support of 62.3 per cent of shareholders.
In a speech to shareholders, the Church Commissioners head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, criticised the company’s non-executive directors for their stance. He highlighted that they had supported climate change policies in their main businesses, including Xerox, Merck & Co, and Johnson & Johnson.
He asked: “Members of the board, do you leave your understanding of climate change at the door when you attend ExxonMobil board meetings?”

Well done!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Contemplating Creation

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Apparently this is the first day of the rest of my life. While my official retirement date is June 30th, I finished work after worship yesterday. Last week I saw this online course offered through Shalem Institute in the United States. It intrigued me because I am trained as a spiritual director and this is the sort of program I would love to offer in retirement.

Does this interest you? What would you think of a "Made in Canada" approximation of this sort of retreat, either online or in person?

Contemplative Earth Awareness

An online retreat day with ShalemWake up to the wonder that is all around you.

This is a time of awakening and connection. As we hold Earth and one another in prayer, we have an opportunity to stretch our contemplative awareness in new ways.
Shalem’s online retreat day with staff member Ann Dean is an opportunity to notice the loving Presence all around us and to deepen our awareness of the oneness of life. Using poetry, meditations, reflection questions and invitations into silence, Ann creates a special space for seeing and appreciating our connection to the natural world.
Whether you are a volunteer at your local watershed, a parent or grandparent wanting to teach the next generation about Earth care, a pastor who wants to bring more Earth-friendly practices to your congregation, or simply a lover of nature—you are invited to join us.

Intent: to deepen contemplative Earth awareness by opening more fully to the divine, loving, unitive Presence in all living beings.
This online retreat day consists of video and audio teaching, which you can access on your computer or tablet, poetry for reading and contemplation, guided meditation audio, reflection questions and invitations into silence.
Ann Dean, a spiritual director and nationally-known leader of retreats and conferences for deepening the life of prayer, invites you to deepen your contemplative Earth awareness by opening more fully to the divine loving Presence in all living beings.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Pentecost, the Great Outdoors, & the Gift of Ministry



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This is my last Sunday at Bridge St. United Church as I retire...except that we're not at Bridge St. today. Originally I asked that May 28th would be my last Sunday for worship leadership, but that proved to be the Sunday of  the annual meeting of Bay of Quinte Conference in Brockville. Our nephew Michael Putnam was ordained during last weekend's Sunday morning service, so we made the change of date.

God moves in nifty ways. Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church in the liturgical calendar. It's a wonderful reminder that we are called to be the faithful community of followers, whomever might be leading. This is also our annual Outdoor Service and Picnic Sunday. You may have figured out by now that I love being outside in the beauty of God's Creation. In retirement I hope to offer opportunities for people to gather out-of-doors for worship, so today is a meaningful start.

You can also imagine that I've been doing a lot of pondering about past, present, and future in ministry, having served six pastoral charges in three different provinces, and five Conferences, during 37 years. I've been preparing for ministry and active as a pastor since I was nineteen. I haven't really known anything else in my adult life, so I'll have to figure out the next stages.

As I have dismantled my study I took down a page of Principles and Assumptions from an Episcopal congregation in New York City called St. Bartholomew's. They still ring true for me today, and they give me hope for "disorganized religion."

Grow or go
Radical welcome
52 equal Sundays
Powerful worship
Loose around the edges, solid at the core
Bias toward the next person through the door
Not a club
Belong before you believe
Add staff before growth
Growth, not maintenance

I like 'em all, some more than others. I'll let you figure which ones I appreciate most.

I figure I'll still write my Lion Lamb blog, although as a civilian now. I'm not sure how often, but you'll see.

Thanks to you all. My life has been immeasurably better as a Christian who has also served Christ in ministry. And I have been blessed by those I've served.

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Saturday, June 03, 2017

Deliver Us From Everyday Evil

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lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil...

Many of us have mumbled our way through these phrases so often through the years that we aren't actually paying attention to our own voices, sad to say.

I wonder if we have all but given up on the notion of temptation. And what about evil? Isn't evil off there somewhere, perhaps in the genocide of Syria?

Could evil reside in a supposedly meek nurse from  a seniors' facility? Elizabeth Wettlaufer has confessed and pled guilty to murdering eight elderly, vulnerable people, and attempting to kill others. "I honestly thought God wanted to use me," she told police, and she spoke of the exhilarating feeling she experienced when she knew she had been successful in murdering a patient. Chilling.

Wettlaufer has been called a monster repeatedly, but what does that really mean? She has been diagnosed with bipolar illness, but the vast majority of people who are bipolar would never consider harming others. She is a sick human being who was tempted to do grave harm to others. She succumbed to what is truly evil, taking innocent lives. God does not use persons to be the angel of death.

How have you reacted to these events? What do you think about Wettlaufer's confession?

Friday, June 02, 2017

Global Weirding & President Trump

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At the beginning of this week a fierce storm raged through Moscow, killing sixteen people and injuring nearly two hundred. Thousands of trees were knocked down, and buildings were destroyed. In the aftermath the mayor said that he had no recollection of a storm which was so powerful and destructive.

We are hearing similar statements from officials and leaders around the world. The worst flooding in memory, the largest forest fires, the deepest droughts afflict communities. These are the dramatic events which sometimes overshadow the insidious changes such as thawing permafrost and rising sea levels. It's what some are calling "global weirding," the extremes of temperature and weather which are indicators of climate change.
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And what happened at the end of the week? The United States, aka Trumpsylvania, has decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. President Obama entered into this agreement in 2015 in recognition that climate change is a pressing global issue. President Trump, who has dismissed global warming as a hoax, was not convinced by other G7 member countries last weekend to keep the US in the agreement. Trump is certainly not alone amongst Republicans to exit the Paris Accord. He has been influenced by a letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This is bizarre given that only 28 percent of those who voted for Trump say the U.S. should not participate in the Paris agreement
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President Trump is a disaster as a world leader on nearly every front, but this could be his most destructive decision to date. We can only pray that the other nations which signed on will be strong in their resolve to fulfill their commitments. Honestly, I'm dubious about the practical resolve of our federal government here in Canada, but we'll see.

Thoughts?



Thursday, June 01, 2017

Fifteen and Fairness

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For months I've been reading tweets about the Fight for $15 campaign in the United States. While it seems to be gaining traction now, it actually began in 2012 when two hundred fast-food workers walked off the job in New York City to demand $15 an hour, as well as union rights. The initiative has spread across the States and around the world. Amongst those affected by low wages are fast-food workers, home health aides, child care teachers, airport workers, adjunct professors, retail employees – and underpaid workers everywhere.


Many of the tweets are about the unfair wages at McDonald’s, a corporation which makes billions of dollars yet pays employees so poorly that many employees in the US must rely on forms of social assistance to get by. On the Fight for $15 website it says "We can’t feed our families, pay our bills, or even keep a roof over our heads on minimum wage pay." Some states have brought legal action against employers who pay meager wages because it puts pressure on governments to make up the shortfall. In Canada the movement is Fifteen and Fairness -- more Canadian sounding?

This week the Ontario government announced that they will work toward a $15 wage over the next two years. There are business leaders who claim that this will make some employers uncompetitive and may push some businesses under. We can hope that this is not the case and it can be tough to be an entrepreneur in a competitive market. Still, the Ontario economy is thriving and a lot of workers -- roughly one in eight -- are trying to survive on a minimum wage of $11.40. Thirty percent of Ontarians make less that $15 an hour.

When we have interviewed those who come to Bridge St. UC for our meal ministries we discover that some of our guests are amongst the "working poor." They are so strapped by the end of the month that the nutritious meals we serve are a Godsend. Often guests go back for a second "heapin' helpin'" because this will be the best meal they'll get in the week.

A living wage is something Christians need to support, individually and collectively. We want it for ourselves, so surely we want it for others.

Comments?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Beyond Platitudes with the MMIW



Yesterday Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau had an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The meeting was cordial and the PM asked the pontiff about an apology to aboriginal people in Canada for the misery of the residential school system. Many denominations including the Roman Catholic church and the United Church of Canada colluded in what amounted to cultural genocide, as well as abuse of every form.

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Apparently Pope Francis affirmed the dignity of all people without making any commitment to a formal apology. A tweet described the meeting as platitudes without apology. I responded by saying that the Canadian government has apologized, but has offered only platitudes rather than substance.

Today the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women begins, already dogged by delays and criticism that those who should be able to speak won't be given the opportunity. The inquiry begins in Whitehorse NWT, and this morning I heard a woman from the region note that some of those affected live without internet or even television, so they may not be aware of what is transpiring. They won't tell their stories of loss because they aren't aware of the opportunity.

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The "truth gathering process" began yesterday with the lighting of a sacred fire and an opening ceremony closed to the media. I hope that the inquiry gains purpose and strength as it progresses across the country. We can pray that this is so. It's the least we can do as members of faith communities which did not live the love of Christ with First Nations peoples.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Legacy of Rachel Carson

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This past Saturday, May 27th, would have been the 90th birthday of Rachel Carson, had she not died an untimely death from cancer in 1964. Carson wrote books which allowed people to appreciate both the science and the beauty of the natural world and she was deservedly popular. This popularity was challenged when her Silent Spring was published in 1962. She became the lightening rod for the anger and dismissal of the chemical industry and politicians who defended the use of pesticides and herbicides, including DDT.

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Whatever her personal religious faith might have been, Carson gets at least honourable mention as an eco-saint. As her biographer Paul Brooks rightly points out, “her attitude toward the natural world was that of a deeply religious person.” She was selfless in upholding her position, even though she was very ill at the time Silent Spring was released. Her courage and scientific integrity changed the worldview on use of chemicals, although we continue to foul our own nest with Bisphenol and Atrazine and Roundup and...It is discouraging, although this shouldn't dampen our gratitude.  I've included a few images here to celebrate her legacy.

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Image result for rachel carson eco saint



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sleepless in Belleville

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Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray to Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.


I don't sleep. At least I don't sleep long, or well. It's rare for me to achieve six consecutive hours of shut-eye, and all too often I'm roaming the house rather than fretting in my bed while my partner Ruth is in full restoration mode. I've watched some really interesting documentaries in the wee hours, and I'm always right up to speed on sports.

Part of my somnambulance is age, I'm sure, while some is the stress of work. I'm always thinking ahead, which is both gift and curse. I am also less resilient when it comes to silly and nasty people. Most congregations I've served have a handful of meanies, but they tend to "punch above their weight." I think I used to handle the petty nonsense of ministry better, but now it literally keeps me up at night. I probably have poor "sleep hygiene." which is a strange phrase. Maybe if I start brushing my eyelids...

I also pray in the darkness but I appear to have flunked out of Nocturnal Prayer 101. The irony is that I pray more at night yet too often experience God's presence less.

This is a long-winded preamble to a little piece entitled The Theology of Sleep which arrived in my email inbox recently.
  I was surprised to find that the Bible has much to say about what John Ballie called the theology of sleep. Sleep is a gift from God: "I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for You alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety." (Psalm 4:8)
 
It is an act of trust: I am reminded when I go to sleep that the world is in God's hands, not mine. The world will get along very well even though I am not awake to try to control things. At the appropriate time, my eyes will open and I will receive the gift of wakefulness once again.

"I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me." (Psalm 3:5)

--
John Ortberg in “The Life You've Always Wanted” 

I suppose that I could find these observations discouraging, but I won't. As I move into retirement I may find new things to be anxious about, but I plan to do a lot of letting go and trusting that the world is in God's embrace. I will continue to try to make a difference as a follower of Jesus, but I'll try to trust and sleep on it as well.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
His Love to guard me through the night,
And wake me in the morning's light.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Positive Change in World Religions

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Yesterday our Syrian sponsorship group heard that a Mothers Day gathering for the women was a big hit. There are six moms amongst our 23 family members and they were as animated and open as the women who offered the event has ever seen them. Wonderful. Now, what about Fathers Day? The challenge is that this celebration falls during Ramadan. This means no food and a less than celebratory atmosphere. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. It is a time of increased prayer and charitable deeds.

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I heard Ziyaad Mia interviewed on CBC radio yesterday about the Give 30 campaign he began in 2012 to give Muslims and others of good will the opportunity to be systematically generous during Ramadan. This morning I received an email from him which included this:

I am inviting you to join Give 30, a grassroots movement against hunger and for positive change that's inspired by Ramadan.  The 2017 campaign launched recently and runs until September 5 (Ramadan is May 27 - June 24).

Once again we are reminded that all of the major religions of the world encourage generosity and compassion as part of authentic faith.

Thoughts?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hey, you...pay attention!

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“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
 
― Mary Oliver

Hey...yes, you...over here! Please pay attention to this blog entry. The Christian Century magazine did a cover article recently on poet Mary Oliver called An Invitation to Wonder.
We have a number of  Mary Oliver's volumes of poetry and have been intrigued that in her later years Oliver has included more overt Christian imagery, although it is subtle. What we have always appreciated is her awareness of the world around her.

The author of the article, Debra Dean Murphy, observes:"a mystic of the created order, Oliver listens to moths, trees. and other nonhuman neighbors."  As someone who has revelled in mystical experiences in creation I like this description.

I appreciate that Oliver invites us to "pay attention," a phrase in each of the poems I've included here. In this time of generally accepted distraction and inattention it is often when we put away our devices and walk in the world, beautiful and fierce that we enter into the presence of God.

As I read the article Murphy makes reference to Robin Wall Kimmerer, a plant ecologist and I was intrigued. So, instead of reading on I pulled out my smart phone and made the dumb move of googling Kimmerer. Then I was off on the "snakes and ladders" search for...what was I searching for?
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                                                                             Iris in Galilee

Jesus invited us to look to the birds of the air and to consider the lilies of the fields (Matthew 6) to give us a perspective on worry and anxiety. I have walked amidst irises on a hillside in Galilee, so we can include them in our gaze as part of a spiritual practice of attentiveness.

Comments?

“Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”

--- Mary Oliver


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Climate Clock is...Ticking?

2017 Tick Night

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.  Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate;  and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”
Genesis 7:1-4

I receive Twitter and email info about upcoming events from Quinte Conservation. The seminars cover a range of subjects and I have a sense that they are doing their job well. I can't bring myself to attend next week's Tick Smart event, just the same, even though I know that ticks are a real and present danger. When we lived in Nova Scotia both of us ended up with ticks on our bodies and we weren't thrilled, to say the least. We weren't aware of illnesses such as Lyme Disease at the time, and that was probably a good thing.

When we talk about the effects of Climate Change we tend to think of catastrophic weather events and melting glaciers. Yet migrating, disease-bearing insects such as ticks are a threat as well. Those of us who are Canuck baby boomers hadn't heard much about ticks until twenty years ago. Now we are warned, justifiably, that they are everywhere. A group of hikers in Manitoba this past weekend figured they removed at least 400 of them during and after a hike. That is unimaginably gross.

Were there ticks on Noah's Ark? I don't see any mention of insects. Okay the story of the ark in Genesis is likely a myth rather than factual, yet life on God's Earth is about the intricate balance amongst the passengers on this planetary vessel. It's good to learn about being "tick smart," and even better to learn how to "live with respect in Creation."

Has anyone developed a nervous tic(k) reading this? What are your thoughts about a planet that is out of kilter?

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