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Showing posts from September, 2014

the power of YES

The note on my calendar for last Saturday read: 3:30 Montreal Improv. A few months ago I had discovered that a local improvisation group offered free workshops, so I scribbled this note on the calendar to remind myself to check one out. I hoped it would be informative and relevant for my research on theatre practice. At the time it sounded like a fun thing to do on a weekend. However, on Saturday morning when those words glared at me from the calendar, the thought of walking into a room filled with strangers and making things up off the top of my head activated the anxiety tarantulas in my stomach and head. I immediately found a bazillion excuses for not going. And just as promptly decided that I would not be held hostage by fear and anxiety.

Dean offered to drive me to the workshop and on the way there, I talked to God about the upcoming nightmare. I was mainly afraid of two things: freezing when it was my time to speak or act and being thrust into a scene which was going places I d…

Names of God: Out of Egypt

This past Sunday I continued my series on "Names of God" by exploring the ideas associated with the phrase, "I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt."

First, a bit of back story: The family of Jacob came to Egypt to escape a famine which was happening in the land. Joseph, Jacob's son, was already in Egypt working as a high-ranking official who was managing the food stores during the famine. The famine ended, time passed, and the descendants of Jacob became numerous. The officials who had known Joseph and treated his family with kindness were now dead and the new rulers saw the many descendants of Jacob (Israel) as a threat, as outsiders who would surely take over the land. They began to treat the Israelites as second-class citizens and eventually forced them into slavery. This subjugation lasted over 400 years or 17 generations.

God then called Moses to deliver his people out of slavery, and through a dramatic process (10 plagues and an exodus thro…

Life is Beautiful!

This past week, while I was on a research trip at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, I received news of another suicide. This time it was not a celebrity but someone close to my family. News like this cuts like a sharp knife. Breathing becomes more difficult when that heavy, dark stone has been dropped on your chest. Anger, sadness, despair, hopelessness, regret. These emotions flit through your soul with speed and sting. Without warning, your mind dives into dark thoughts and morbid scenes flash before your eyes. You have no words, no answers, no reasoning, nothing but silence and sighing.

I received the shocking news about fifteen minutes before I was scheduled to attend a performance of Medea, a Greek tragedy by Euripides in which a mother exacts revenge on her unfaithful husband by killing their children. I didn't know if I had the fortitude to see tragedy heaped upon tragedy, but it was a unique opportunity to see a world-class production and I didn't w…

Names of God: The God of Abraham

Sorry for the lag in posting. It has been the season for house guests, family events, starting new courses, various meetings, and travel. So it's a week later than it should be, but here is a summary of the second talk I gave on Names of God. This time I decided to tackle the recurring phrase, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," which appears often in the scriptures, especially the Hebrew Bible. Once I got into it, I realised that I could only really cover one name at a time, so here is my take on what "The God of Abraham..." means.

The first task when exploring this phrase, at least in my mind, is to familiarise ourselves with the story of Abraham (who starts out as Abram). You can read it in Genesis 11:27 to the end of Genesis 23. After this, the story switches to focus on Abraham's son, Isaac. It would be best if you took the time to read it yourself, but let me offer a very brief summary here. God called Abram (then aged 75) to engage in a covenant…