Skip to main content

3 blog time stealers

Things have a been a bit slow in my blog-world lately because my usual schedule has been disrupted by wonderful but time-consuming events. ONE: I opened my first exhibit of photos this week. It is kind of a strange sensation to see ones art displayed in a public setting and have people study it up close and offer their comments. I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of all and am always amazed by the wonderful support of the folks in our church group and my friends from all walks of life. One of them even compared the dilapidated old stone church basement with fluorescent lighting where the exhibit is being held to the humble beginnings of some famous artist whose name I can't remember right now. I like the concept of humble beginnings because it is something Jesus loves as well. And beauty shows well in humble beginnings. TWO: I have been helping a far-off friend search for an apartment in Montreal. She emails me the details of a place she is interested in and I go scout it out, take some pictures, and tell her all about it. Among other things, she wants a view. I have seen several apartments for her in the past few weeks.

One had a view of trees out the living room window, but you had to get past the busy street and hydro lines between you and them. Oh, and the kitchen was just sad. One had a view of a parking lot and since it was a half-basement, the grills of various cars were staring into the bedroom. One had the view of another brick building across the alley. Another had a view of the freeway when you stood at the front door, but on a good note, the stark concrete landscape was offset by the various articles of furniture on the sidewalk that people had abandoned. One had a gorgeous park just to the left. That was a definite possibility until we learned that two other people had already applied to make it their home. One lovely apartment had a quiet view of well-manicured lawns and quiet backyards framed by mature trees. Truly wonderful, but the owner was unwilling to rent it to someone he had not met. Yesterday I saw two more. The first was above a Chinese restaurant with a view of fire escapes, brick walls and to top it all off, one of the bedroom had no windows. The second one was in the funky, trendy part of Montreal called the plateau with a ginormous old church just across the street. The rear balcony offered a view of the neighbour lady hanging her laundry not twenty feet away, wondering why I was taking a photo of her wet clothes.

I understand the importance of a view. What we set our eyes on, we become like. And if the things we are always looking at are unlovely and contrary to our value system, they in some way become our focus and we find them seeping into our souls. And so the search for the view continues.

THREE: We had our first house guests in the new place. Shane and Alli graced our home for three action packed days of shopping, sleeping and serious eating. We consumed bagels and French toast and apple pie and talked for hours and climbed Mont Royal and had a beer overlooking the Old Port and Shane even tried to overthrow our home group with his radical ideas, but we just agreed with him which takes the wind out of any radical's sails (you know I'm just messin' with ya, Shane). Brave Alli fed the cats one night in my absence despite much hissing (on the cats' part). They were the first friends to see my exhibit and offer their, "Well done, Matte." The house seems a little quiet right now without their Irish accents.

photo one: me looking like a deer caught in the headlights on opening night at the exhibit. Photo credit to Shane.

photo two: some lady's laundry, view from the back balcony of an apartment on St. Urbain.

photo three: Shane and Alli and me from the lookout on Mont Royal. photo credit to some random kind stranger.


Shelley said…
congrats on your 'show' Matte!

You know what I would love? a glossy beautiful coffee table book (but not too huge) of your photos and your posts. It would be hardcover so that the pages could sit open, (I hate how you can't open a paperback all the way) and have shiny thick pages rich in colour and feel. I would pick it up and drink bits in here and there and now and then (but of course I would read it front to back when I first got it, stealing for myself the time to do so, like sneaking chocolate) to lift and challenge my spirit and just to revel in beauty and truth. and I would buy 5 copies (at least) to give to people i love when the occassion warrants something beautiful. and on the back jacket (if it even had a jacket, I love hardcover books that don't need one - that are beautiful enough to be naked) you could have your blog address there, so they find more when they had the book pretty much memorized. :)
Matte Downey said…
so kind, Shelley. and to be compared to chocolate! truly humbling.
Shelley said…
:) dark chocolate...70% cocoa...not that waxy easter bunny crap...


let me know when the book comes out...I know David Hicks would buy a copy or two as well... ;)
shane magee said…
you're a legend matte. we had such a blast with you guys. give dean's sick head a wee rub from us.
Anonymous said…
Earlier I thought differently, I thank for the help in this question.

Popular posts from this blog

fun with hermeneutics

I am a reader. The stacks of books in my bedroom, living room, and office, many of them still waiting to be cracked open, testify to this fact. I love to read, but I also know that not all reading is the same. Some is more work and some is more pleasure. A light work of fiction requires little of me but to engage my imagination and be carried away by the story. Online reading requires a bit (or a lot) of discernment to make sure the sources are reliable and the facts check out. Academic reading requires me to reason through the arguments being made and connect them to what I already know or have read in the field. Reading an ancient text requires that I suspend my 21st century perspective as best I can and learn a bit about the worldview and language of the time. Acknowledging a text's context, intent, and genre enables me to hear the words and ideas in such a way that my view of history and the world are enlarged.

Reading, interpreting, and understanding the Bible are important …

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…