Tag Archives: Musings

@RichardDawkins

I’m always on the lookout for new people to follow on twitter and quite regularly pop over to their page of suggested people for me to follow.  Today I was rather surprised to find @RichardDawkins suggested on the list.

I have nothing against Mr. Dawkins.  We’re all entitled to our own opinions and views on the world and the fact that Twitter thought I should follow him interested me enough to make me click over to his site.  As I was reading through a few articles and statements there was one thought that continually struck me…

Athiests seem to spend a lot of time talking about a God they state doesn’t exist and discussing religions they don’t believe in.

It’s a little weird, right?

On top of this they seem to have created organizations where they discuss and affirm one another in their own beliefs.  Kind of a hold each other up scenario if you will.  Sounds an awful lot like church to me.

As the saying goes, no matter how things change they remain the same…

It all begins with an apple…

This July I thought I’d do something a little different.  Last year I did a mid-summer project that involved families and God.  It was great!  We loved it and I am glad we did it.  This year I thought we would spend the month of July dealing with food and faith.  A sort of quick glance at what the Bible has to say about the food we eat and how in today’s world we process it all.

Why faith and food?  Ultimately we all need to eat.  It’s an important function of survival but in today’s day and age when processed cheese has replaced the small batch cheese from years of old and cookies are bought instead of made it can be difficult to figure out how to relate to the gift of food that God has given us.  We are made to enjoy food {as we have all these wonderful senses} but perhaps we have taken things to the extreme with our extra large slurpies and low-carb diets.

This month I pledge to seek a more balanced approach to food as enjoyment and fuel.  I will endeavor to provide delicious recipes, healthy tips that I’ve found from reputable sources and food for thought as I dive into the Bible to discover a little more of what God says regarding food.

Every Monday throughout the month of July I’ll be writing about this and I’d love for you to join me.  This week our journey begins with Adam, Eve and Temptation.  After all it all began with an apple, didn’t it?

Monday, Monday.

Today was not a stellar day in terms of accomplishments for me.  I’m usually a zombie on Mondays due to having been in the pulpit on Sunday but today was particularly challenging.  I did however have some interesting moments.

One interesting moment was pulling up the bulletin outline for the church I’m working at on Sunday and discovering that they have a statement of faith following the sermon from ‘Living Faith’ the PCC’s little green book on faith.   I am not sure if I’ve looked at Living Faith since I was a student at this church so it was fun to dive back in.  The copy I used was given to me when I was confirmed at 12.  I can’t believe it was that long ago and that I’m so old now that 12 seems so young to me.  Where did the time go?

Sensibly following the read through of Living Faith I gave up on work.  My focus was just not there.  Anything I wrote down would likely have to be redone so I headed out to the grocery store to grab some corn tortillas and cucumbers.  On the way home I drove by the lake.  It was beautiful.  The combination of wind and waves is something I thrive on.  It was a perfect scene.

Following dinner my son and I goofed around with my iphone and took photos of one another.   His way of taking pictures was laughing at me when he saw my face through the screen and this was one we caught.  I think it might be my new social media picture.  I read this week that my picture should be clear and recognizable which mine currently is not.

There are worse ways to spend a day I suppose.  Other activities involved crayons and tickles.  We also had lots of laughs.

How did you spend your Monday?

Saturday afternoon

Over the last month weekends we spent in celebration.  I went to my brother and sister’s university graduation in Sault Ste. Marie, I attended a Bridal Shower, a Bachelorette Party and managed to squeeze in a birthday party for my husband. We’ve been busy.  This weekend I’ve been able to relax a little.  It’s been nice.

I’ve not been able to relax too much however as I do have to work tomorrow. That being said I’ve never been a person to allow a little work to ruin a beautiful afternoon.  I took my laptop out on the patio and sat in my backyard oasis while I did some editing.  It was heaven.

As I sat out on the back deck, enjoying the sunshine and sipping on some Iced Pomegranate Green Tea that my husband brought me I started thinking about how much work went into creating this lovely environment.   Over the years we’ve added to the garden, installed a retractable awning, hung baskets and fought against a particularly stubborn colony of carpenter bees.  We’ve cleaned and scrubbed and called for help when it was needed.  A backyard garden is not something that can be ignored.

That’s the way of things, isn’t it?  You cannot ignore something and expect it to remain perfect and functional.  Our garden, like our home needs maintenance and care. We must tend to things in order to keep things working the way we would like.

As maintenance is required in homes and gardens, so it is required in faith.  In order for us to function well we need to perform constant maintenance.  We need to fill ourselves with God’s truth by reading, discussing and examining scriptures. We must pray and open ourselves to a relationship with God.  It’s not easy, sometimes it’s work but it’s incredibly rewarding.

For the past 55 days I’ve been getting up around 6 to read the Bible and pray. Some mornings are more productive than others.  Some days I read more than I pray and other days it’s the exact opposite.  There is but one constant, God. There is one thing that matters, my relationship with God.  This personal time, this private time with God was not something I had allowed for myself on a regular basis before.  Often times my private reflection time was overwhelmed by Sunday preparation.  I wasn’t a diligent as I should have been about personal reflection.  I had forgotten to do regular maintenance and was in jeopardy of breaking down completely.

I have discovered much about myself these past 55 days.  I love the quiet time in the morning and am grateful for a chance to give thanks and embrace the stillness before the day begins.  In adding this activity to my already busy life I’ve actually found more time.  I’ve discovered peace.  I’ve shifted my priorities.  I’ve embraced a life with fewer worries and have found that going with God is a heck of a lot easier than fighting him.  It’s been wonderful, challenging and incredibly rewarding.  Much like tending a garden I’ve watched my own faith grow and change.

Maintaining our faith requires work and this is something we in ministry often forget.  We think we’re doing maintenance when really we’re helping others on their journey.  In order for us to function well we need to set aside time for spiritual development and reflection.  I think the same can be said for those sitting in the pews.  It’s easy to attend church on Sunday and expect the minister to do the work for us.  We want to come into a pretty garden, not do the work to help create it.   Faith is work.  Faith requires some effort.

This morning I ran across a passage that says it all:

“…In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15

We need to make time in our busy lives for God.  We must return to God’s presence frequently to find strength and peace.  In that quiet time we will discover who we are.  In that quiet time we will find God.

How will you find your quiet this week?
How will you meet God?

How an iPhone comes to power

This is the story of a girl who longed for the one thing she could never have. Well that’s not technically true, she could have had one but she refused to pay for it…

On Friday the last person to ever use a Palm Pre Phone ceased using it.  I should know as that person was me.  I had really been fighting getting a new phone.  My phone didn’t always charge, wouldn’t get messages for a few days and often disconnected from towers.  Regardless I persevered as I hate paying money for cellphones.   I sometimes wonder if there is a chip inside them which causes them to self destruct six months before your contract ends but enough with the conspiracy theories.

On Friday after finding my phone dead while sitting in the charger and discovering that the only place my phone would charge was in the car while I was driving I knew I needed to do something.  My phone was antiquated, unreliable and I do have a need for some connection with the outside world.  After making this decision I got the best news ever, my cell phone company decided that morning that I was eligible for an upgrade and I should just come in.

I did not rush in immediately.  There were other, more pressing things on my list of stuff to do.  My Gran and I needed to get our grocery shopping done.  We absolutely had to enjoy iced chai lattes while talking about our upcoming plans for my cousin’s wedding.  These things were of the utmost importance but once my day with Gran was done I marched my little family into the cell phone store and came out with an iPhone.

Friday was a glorious day that fed into a marvelous weekend {technologically speaking}.  I used my cell phone everywhere.  I unhooked my Nano from the car stereo and used my phone in its place.  I checked stats from basement while watching Game of Thrones.   I took pictures on Instagram.  We marveled at how slow and outdated the old phone was and contemplated selling my old iPod as I no longer had a need for it, after all my phone does everything right?

My phone does almost everything it seems.  It can schedule me, connect me, chronicle my life and even help me with work.  It can entertain me, sing to me and even become a book.  The thing my phone does not do is check the pockets of my shorts before I throw them into the wash.   Remember how I unhooked my nano and put my phone into the car stereo system?  I tucked that nano into my pocket and because it’s so small, forgot about it.

As a result my nano is currently sitting in a bag of rice on my desk and my prayers of thanksgiving to God for convincing the cell phone company to cut me a break have now turned to desperate cries for the life of my beloved nano.  My iPhone seduced me into thinking it was the only piece of technology that mattered.  It’s glittery features and quick upload speeds distracted me from other, equally important things.

It’s often the way in life, isn’t it?  When we move on to bigger and better things we forget the people and places we’ve left behind.  We really shouldn’t as they helped shape us into who we have become.  But I digress as that’s really a story for another day.

I present to you now a picture from my new iPhone.  The first of many to come I’m sure…

My garden and a bunny got me to thinking…

This past weekend my family and I travelled up to see my brother and sister graduate from University in Sault Ste. Marie.  It was a wonderful weekend, we had so much fun and I’m so proud of them both.

Of course while I was away there was a heat wave here at home.  My garden sprung to life while I was away and so today I thought I would check out the progress in the clear light of day as we got home fairly late last night.  The change was phenomenal.

My clematis was gorgeous and in full bloom

My tomatoes exploded

My herbs were happy

…and the bunny was happy.

This bunny is one of a family of bunnies.  I know what you’re thinking.  Bunnies aren’t good because they eat your strawberries.  You weren’t thinking that?  I was.  They eat my strawberries!  Nevertheless they are in our yard this year more than any other and I discovered why.  While we were away this happened to my grass:

A patch of clover decided to multiply while we were away.  We’ve been battling this clover for a while but it’s gotten out of hand lately.  My husband has been working hard and removing it.  He is constantly outside digging it up, spraying some kind of natural iron compound on it, yelling at it and giving it the look.  So far nothing has worked.

The bunnies love clover.  They come into the yard and eat away all day.  It’s paradise for them.  Unbeknownst to us we’ve created a perfect paradise for bunnies free of dogs, quiet and removed from traffic with plenty of their favorite foods.

As I stood outside marveling at the determination of the clover to survive and the never ending stream of bunnies which seem to find their way into my yard I got to thinking.  Lately I’ve read quite a number of blogs by people in their thirties who are searching for a church and desperate to find a place where they fit in.  They long to find an environment they feel comfortable in.  They long to find a place that offers community, is recognizable to them and doesn’t exist simply for themselves.

Unfortunately they are struggling to find a place that they recognize as church and I’m not really surprised.  Church as most of us practice it today is unrecognizable to most people in their thirties.  There is no organization that they belong to, no place they go where people behave as the church does. Meetings are held at coffee houses or at a round table.  Gatherings are informal and relationship is the primary focus.  People come to church expecting to find relationship and connection but do not see it because we do not present it in a way they understand or can connect with.

My backyard is an accidental paradise for the bunnies.  A safe haven from the storms of the world.  A place where they are fed, nourished, protected and given rest.  Maybe we need to create an intentional paradise for the people of this world.  Maybe we should be creating safe places for people to escape the storms of this world. We should feed them, nourish them, protect them, empower them and allow them to be.

If we did that imagine what a ministry that would be, what opportunities we would have to serve others in our world. I’d love to know what you think.  What would your paradise look like? What do you need in a church?

And then there was silence.

At present I am unoccupied on Sundays.  It’s a glorious thing.  There is nothing forcing me anywhere at any specific time.  I can go anywhere I want, to any church I want or even not to church if I’m so inclined.  I’m currently on a three week break and I’m really enjoying it.  I was a little burnt out, tired of always being the cheerleader and I needed some time alone.

As a serious introvert I do need time away.  I need quiet time in the day to relax and unwind.  When I’m working I often loose that time as I keep X. company during the day, visit with my husband at night and manage to cram work in.   On top of that I am apparently an empath {or at least my husband jokingly calls me that} and I have a tendency to feel the feelings of the people around me.  This can be a good and a bad thing at times.

Usually I have barriers in place to keep myself happy and at peace.  Lately it’s just all gotten to be too much.  Every church I went to had some type of anxiety, fear, worry or hesitation.  So many voices.  So many questions.  So many demands. I know it’s the way things are but it was wearing me down so I took a break.  And then there was silence…

The silence has been wonderful.  With the voices gone, I’ve sunk into life.  I’ve felt God’s presence.  I’ve embraced comfortable jeans, watched movies with my husband and dug in my garden.  I’ve prayed and prayed.  I’ve read and debated.  I’ve sat in silence and marveled at the world around me.   The anxiety and fear are not present here.   There is no worry or hesitation.  In my house there is peace.

I love peace.

Feeling peace is incredible.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of passion or heated debate.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t questions or moments of wonder.  It just means that through it all you know things are ok, God is there and will continue to be there. I wish the church could feel this peace, could embrace God’s presence and feel peace as it walks through this time of transition.

I will continue to enjoy my time.  I will watch my brother and sister graduate, enjoy picnics in the park and maybe take in a show or two.  The time will pass to quickly and soon I will be back to work.  Until then I’ll exist in the silence, I will embrace the gift of time that God has given me.

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I’d love to know how you recharge when you’re feeling overwhelmed?  Leave a comment below…

Annoying…

Annoying.  My son loves that word.

Breakfast is ‘annoying’ as it takes time away from play.
Getting dressed is ‘annoying’ as it takes time away from play.
Going potty is ‘annoying’ as it takes time away from play.

Are you noticing a theme here?  My son loves to play.  He likes to engage with the world and really be present in the moment.  Things that distract or take away from his experience are not acceptable.  He rejects that which does not belong. There’s much we could learn from this.  We should really engage with the world and be present in the moment.  We should reject that which distracts us from our calling or purpose and turn away from things that lead us in the wrong direction.

What distracts you?  What tears you away?  For some it’s a cell phone or an iPad.  For others it’s work and overtime.  We are told by society that we must be accessible at any time, in any moment just in case.  We are told that work is what makes us.  That what we do defines us.

I would argue that it’s what we don’t do that defines us.  Like X. we need to reject the things that don’t belong and start to prioritize.  Our faith and our families should come first.  Can we disconnect from things that are ‘annoying’ long enough to enjoy the life we’re living right now?

Find some time today to disconnect from that which is ‘annoying’ in your life.  Use that extra time to enjoy things that bring you bliss and connect you with God and others.  You only get one shot at life.  Don’t waste on things that are annoying…

I’ll always remember…

Before my son goes to bed we read a few books to him and help him wind down from the day.  When he was little I would occasionally sing to him but he wasn’t always in need of it and quite often would fall asleep quickly cuddled in my arms. Singing became something we did on nights when it was tough to sleep or during the day when we sang silly numbers that made us both giggle.  Last week while my son was battling a cold I sang to him as he fought to get comfortable at the end of the day.  The song I sang was the song my Dad sang to me, Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral.

I have strong memories of my Dad singing to me.  I can hear his voice clearly in my head and if I close my eyes I can see him playing his guitar around the campfire.  Simple moments are often the most memorable it seems.  I remember time spent together as a family.  I remember feeling like I was part of something special.   I hope that my husband and I can find a way to give X. something similar, something special he can look back on with a smile.

I’m happy to say that as X has gotten better he hasn’t wanted me to stop singing. After we finish reading his stories he climbs into my lap, turns and looks me in the eye waiting for me to start.  It’s a lovely moment and another one I’m sure I’ll always remember.

On the edge…

I just spent a lovely afternoon with a beautiful cousin of mine celebrating her soon to be wedded bliss. It was a fantastic day with a great group of people.  It’s always fun to get together and celebrate a joyous occasion.  As I walked into my house tonight I was met by a sense of contentment.  I was home, my feet were free and life was good.  It had been a good day.

After a quick snuggle with my little guy and a visit with my husband I got comfortable and waited my husband’s work in the laundry room to be complete.  I grabbed some apple cider, sat down at the kitchen table and began to read. I read a little about the future of the Church, about the PCC’s upcoming General Assembly and of course a little news.   It was a little disturbing to say the least.

In a short time I had read about a shooter at the Eaton Centre in Toronto who killed 1 and injured 7.  I read about Churches and their lack of desire to find ways to connect with new generations as it often means change and discomfort.  I discovered that the pension fund of my church has serious issues and I’m very grateful I am not relying on it as a source of income for retirement {but I worry about those who are}.  There were also cannibalistic killers, teenagers addicted to ‘Bath Salts’, governments struggling and people being oppressed.  It was not a good day for reading.

How do we deal with these things?
How do we deal with trouble that surrounds us?
How do we cope in such a broken world?

In truth, lately as a ‘church’ it seems like we’re not dealing with it very well.  There is so much out there that is troublesome.  So much out there that we cannot cope with.  We have turned our heads inward.  We have sought a safe place.  We have hidden from the world.

This week I am afraid that my denomination is hiding from the world.  Hiding from the reality that what we’re doing isn’t working anymore.  This week Wynford Drive will ask for more money from churches who are struggling.  This week the Pension and Benefits Board will let us know that costs will rise, there isn’t enough invested and something bad might {perhaps will} happen in the future.  This week as I tune in to watch the sederunts online I will likely be frustrated as I watch people argue over rules and structure, phrasing and form.  I will watch people get stuck in the process instead of ministry.  I hope I am wrong but I’m afraid that’s where we’re at.

As a people we’ve been blessed with a great message and mission.  We need to be spreading truth in the world. We must be blessing it in our actions.  We can’t be holed up in a room arguing about protocol and procedure, we need to be out in the world doing mission, living the message and sharing the Gospel.

It is my hope that we start to deal with the things that are happening around us soon. We need to invest in our communities so people know someone cares.  We must recognize the power in shared moments.  Our children need us to invest in them as opposed to maintaining for ourselves.  The people outside our doors need care, attention and grace.  They need good news and someone to share their life with.  If we would stop worrying about ourselves {and our books/rules/order} and started moving out into the world to actually do the ministry of Christ, I think we would be far more Christ like than we presently are.

That said, I have faith.  I believe in the power of God.  I trust that the Holy Spirit still moves.  So this week:

I pray for change and inspiration.
I pray that new ways to minister will be discovered.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will descend upon the gathering and breathe new life into a gasping organization.

I pray for truth to be revealed, for grace to be offered and for passion to be felt.

If you’re the praying kind please pray with me.  The world is desperate and struggling.  It needs good news and we are a people who have it.  It’s time we realized this as the gift it is and start spreading it into the world.

It’s time to move out.  We need to move in.  Let’s live on the edge…
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