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Showing posts from January, 2016

the unexpected retreat

In early January I came upon an interesting symposium put on by the wonderful folks at City Seminary in New York City. The topic, Women in Leadership and Ministry, wasn't what really grabbed me, but I recognised one of the speakers and read up on a few of the others scheduled to give talks and thought I would really like to meet these people and hear what they have to say. Part of Saturday was to be spent on a prayer walk (what they call Pray and Break Bread) in Harlem. I really wanted to get in on that since we have done something similar in Montreal. So I made my plans (which took nearly a whole day because I had a tight schedule I was working with and a limited budget) and contacted some friends who said, yes, we'd love to see you when you come, so I decided to arrive a day early. Everything was set for an enriching time in New York City from January 21-23. And then winter storm Jonas appeared on the scene.

On Thursday I was about 5 hours into a 10-hour train ride when I g…

a philosophy student's prayer

This afternoon I was doing my reading for a Philosophy course I am auditing this term (pretty dry, heady stuff at times) when I came across these few paragraphs from Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). The first sentence released a bunch of mental tension that I didn't even know I was holding on to. The second sentence caused me to breathe deeply and acknowledge my longing to be unburdened. The third sentence undid me. This is my prayer as a student, this is my desire as a teacher, this is my constant necessity as a church leader. Pray it with me, if you like.

Come on now little man [one], get away from your worldly occupations for a while, escape from your tumultuous thoughts. Lay aside your burdensome cares and put off your laborious exertions. Give yourself over to God for a little while, and rest for a while in Him. Enter into the cell of your mind, shut out everything except God and whatever helps you to seek Him once the door is shut. Speak now, my heart, and say to Go…

all that Jazz

"Me and you, Jazz," I often said to my furry, feline companion as I approached another day of working on my doctoral dissertation, "We're going to get this thing done." She was polite enough not to correct my horrendous grammar (it should be "you and I") and most of the time, listened patiently whenever I fretted about a troublesome paragraph or an uncooperative source. To the uninitiated, her frequent yawning during my theological diatribes and her habit of avoiding eye contact by engaging in incessant grooming might have been interpreted as boredom or a lack of interest, but I knew better. She was personally invested in my academic progress. Late on December 17, I handed off a good draft of my thesis. Job well done, kitty.

Serving in a support capacity for a doctoral degree was not the only accomplishment of this extraordinary feline. In her 17.5 years on this earth, she lived in two provinces, moved four times, took two road trips to Manitoba (eac…