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Showing posts from November, 2009

sick

So...I have a cold. It is not pleasant. I means that I dream about not being able to breathe. It means that there is a damp spot under my nose when I wake up. It means that my chest is tight and I get winded climbing the stairs to my bedroom. It means that my throat is scratchy and I am always thirsty. It means that everything seems like a bigger deal than it really is.

This morning, the doorbell buzzed while I was still in bed, sleeping the open-mouthed, sweaty sleep of the sick. I woke up, a bit groggy, but aware enough to know who it was. The mailman was delivering books which I had ordered. Yeah! I was waiting for this shipment and was happy to receive it before the Friday deadline. The mailman usually just leaves the package in the hallway of our condo building when I am away, so because I was feeling kind of rough and certainly looking like someone's nightmare (plus, I didn't want to infect the poor man with whatever I had, I reasoned), I decided not to answer the door. I…

decoration

What is a decoration? The dictionary lists it as "an addition that renders something more attractive or ornate." It is something you can do without, but it sure is prettier with it there. We have made a whole industry out of the art and science of decorating in our culture. These decorations are not necessary, but really nice. They make life more pleasant and beautiful.

I was typing a post for an online forum on Wednesday about some writings by Richard Rolle. The topic was the fire of love, and Rolle relates the first time that he felt this physical warmth and heat in his heart; he was taken aback and delighted at this sense of being internally on fire. It brought him unexpected comfort, fed his soul, spread an interior sweetness in him, and left a hunger for more in its wake. [1]
The last line of my post read: God is a consuming fire, not a decorative candle. And as soon as I wrote it, I was convicted that I myself often use God as a decoration in my life. I splash God on at …

awkward place

I don't like awkward situations. Like when one person in a group expresses an opinion quite forcefully and in a way that belittles any other position, and yet, you know that a number of people there hold to a different viewpoint. Like when a friend tells you that they are not sure they want you to meet their other friends. Like someone trying to uninvite you from a party. Like making a comment about how unattractive something is and then realising that your conversation partner is really into that particular thing.

The awkward feeling goes away after a bit, but that doesn't mean that it is resolved. These are the situations where I feel most inept, wondering whether to inject a comment, try to smooth things over, expose a misunderstanding, apologise, make light of the situation, or clarify by a few well-directed questions. I have let things lie and many times, that feels like the issue is never dealt with but remains lurking under the surface. I have tried to clarify and ended …

step in

I attended a seminar at the American Academy of Religion annual conference in Montreal on Monday. For those of you who don't know (like me before Monday), it is a "learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars" boasting over 10,000 members who "teach in some 1,500 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad." My professors had encouraged us to check it out, so I perused the offerings and found a round table discussion on Monday morning that piqued my interest: Practicing Faith in Graduate School. They promised free coffee and snacks, so how could I go wrong?

There were only three of us that showed up for this particular session, and that was fine with me. I prefer a small group discussion to a person reading their paper to me from a podium any day. I grabbed a juice and a cinnamon pastry and sat down at the table. The facilitator was a pleasant fellow from Pennsylvania who worked as a pastor and ad…

that just don't sound right

There are things that I hear people say that just don't sound right to me, but sometimes I don't know exactly why. One of them is that "my Christian friends are not as much fun and way more high maintenance than my non-Christian friends." Hmmm. While there may be some element of reality in that statement, especially when you are viewing a small slice of someone's life, I believe at its very foundation, this is a lie. And here is why:

1. People who follow and love God are committed to transformation. This is a slightly more taxing goal than having fun and going with the flow (understatement), but definitely more rewarding. A friend of mine said that it was very easy to hang out with his old friends, drinking and passing around a joint, but much of the time it was to avoid having to do the hard work of taking responsibility for one's life and to numb the pain that inevitably comes from this bumpy road we all find ourselves on. Being committed to transformation i…

together

Yesterday I spent 3 hours at my university campus. It is interesting how one can be surrounded by thousands of people and still feel quite alone. I ate my supper in a large student lounge area and tried to prepare for a Bible study later that night. Nothing much was inspiring me and God seemed remote and distant. I have been living with a sense of displacement lately. I am not exactly sure where or with which group of people I belong. I enjoy my studies and my colleagues, but I don't feel totally at home there. I love the people I encounter in my faith community, but we are in flux right now as well, changing places and dynamics and comfort zones. Many of my friends are at a crossroads or on a bridge in their lives and that affects how we relate to each other.

So I was walking towards the library yesterday afternoon and talking to God. I began my usual litany and realised that my heart just wasn't in it. If I was going to be talking to the most powerful and interested party in …

coming out of the closet...kinda

I voted on Sunday. Montreal was having its municipal elections and we got to vote four times. Once for the mayor of Montreal, once for our local borough mayor (St-Laurent), once for the city councilor and once for the borough councilor. I am not all that up on municipal politics, so I decided to inform myself. In case you are not aware of the plethora of intricate and complex issues at stake when you vote in Montreal, here are a few of the things going on:

1. The current mayor and his party have been plagued by scandal. There have been numerous accusations about crooked contracts, bloated costs, Mafia connections, and political pay-offs. It seems to be the way we do business in this city.
2. The main opposition to the current mayor was from a woman who has spent 39 years working for the Parti Quebecois (the political party dedicated to promoting Quebec sovereignty and separation from Canada). She was one of the main forces behind the mega-city merger and wants to centralize power and ta…