Showing posts from May, 2013

"Brian Day" - Thursday

Thursday we welcomed a pair of Brian's to our group. The first, Brian Carwana, was from the Encounter World Religions Centre .  He took us through a session called "To See, To Be, To Do" that gave a very concise explanation of many of the world's religions.  He grouped them into three categories Middle Eastern: Muslim, Judaism, Christianity Indian: Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism Balance: Aboriginal, Shinto Each family have many similarities and are quite different from the others.  It was a very broad stroke kind of presentation but was quite fascinating. After a break this Brian then lead us through some of the symbols of 5 religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Muslim, Sikh.  In many of them he actually dressed a volunteer in the clothing that is part of the tradition at hand.  What I found fascinating was the symbols that drew me toward my own tradition or may have even come to my tradition. After lunch we were joined by the second Brian, Brian Lisson fro

Wednesday - a different kind of day

Wednesday had a very different kind of feel to it.  Most of the participants went off to Bible with Bill but I stayed behind to have a very powerful conversation with one of the participants who is going through a difficult time.  We shared stories, cried a bit together and I anointed her for healing, wholeness and peace. Shortly there after we were joined by The Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba , Archbishop of South Africa and Bishop of Cape Town.  His Grace was just that, full of humble grace, dignity and joy.  It was profoundly moving to sit with him for almost two hours to hear some of his stories and he wanted to hear some of ours.  He told us that if any of the clergy wanted to come to spend a term, or a year, in his diocese he would welcome us put us to work to share the gifts we have with the people of his diocese.  I have to say the idea of spending a year in a place like South Africa is, well its intriguing and bears praying about... though I'm pretty sure my wife and child

Two Days Worth - Tuesday

Today we returned to the classroom and once again engaged in Bible with Bill.  Today we looked at a some passages that people had problems with (Matthew 10:34-39 for instance)  And we looked at a couple of parables (the Prodigal Son, and the King's Wedding Guests - Matthew 22 and after). The also unpacked for us the Myth of Redemptive Violence.  This is something else I have written about before in this medium but bears repeating.  This myth is an etiology and Bill taught us today that "Your etiology forms your moral universe."  It goes like this: Everything is fine... until an agent of chaos asserts itself... then an act of violence against that chaos... causes everything to be fine again... It is pervasive in our culture - every sitcom, novel, short story, comic book has this form.  For instance: Everything is fine in Gotham... until the Joker comes and makes serious trouble... then Batman swoops in punches the Joker and takes him to prison... then everything is

Two Days Worth - Monday

Apologies for not posting yesterday... it was... busy... Monday we began our classroom work.  First on the spot was the Reverend Bill Cliff for "Bible with Bill".  Bill taught us as only Bill can teach, "Cliff's Rules of Biblical Interpretation". 1) The Gospel is always astonishing and if it is not astonishing you're not reading it right. 2) In the Gospel God always acts first. 3) The Gospel is never fair. I have posted these rules here many times before but they always bear repetition. Bill also talked about the need for our liturgy to be true acts of celebration, to quote him, "Liturgy is meant to be a celebration of our freedom."  I'm pretty sure this brief sentence is going to be working on me for some time and I know it is going to surface in my work and preaching (stay tuned). Our second presenter was Dr. Bill Acres who spoke about salvation history in his lecture "What is Religion? What is History? Who are You?"  Dr

So... Onions...

Monday was a day of exploration and meeting.  All of the participants arrived and we began the "formal" sessions.  We began with some "get to know you" games and we discussed the nature of community.  Community, we discovered, has 8 major characteristics. Community  is a place of: - Safety - Shared Wisdom - Inclusion - Commitment - Intimacy and Vulnerability - Contemplation and Self-Examination It is a place with the ability to Fight with Grace and a place with A Spirit After the classroom portion we all returned to the house and met our Onion.  Yes our onion.  There was much wondering as to why we found an onion on our beds.  Judy then took us through a meditation on the nature of an onion and how it can connect us to the Divine.  The process is extremely visual and difficult to describe in this medium.  It came to us from a book called The Supper of the Lamb  written by a monk who became a chef.  It is a great book, from the chapter that we experienced


I have arrived and have moved into my room in Brough (pronounced "bruff") House.  It feels like I've come home in many ways.  The familiar house, the amazing staff team, the sights and sounds all helping to settle us in. Last night we spent in another residence and it left me feeling a bit off... the bed as extremely uncomfortable and the pillow... well to call it a pillow is going a bit far... the ziploc bag for a pillow was horrid.  Let's just say I was very glad to find a hot cup of coffee with my pumpernickel bagel. This morn, after coffee, we set up the house.  Name tags on doors, keys, lanyard and onions on beds. Yes, I said onions... we'll get to that later... Groceries have been purchased for the day and food is being prepared even as I type. All in all the universe is unfolding as it should. Now, I'm sure there is something I need to be doing so I had better go find out. Anon!

Dusting Off the Ol' Blog

So, once again I have been blessed to be asked to be part of the Ask & Imagine Program . This time I will be a mentor/chaplain for the Adult Scholar Program. Being part of the team for A&I is always a blessing. I get to work with amazing people who are filled with love.  I will meet 16 people from all over Canada who are doing similar work as I do. It is humbling to think that I will be part of a team that will form other adults (some of whom are older and wiser than I) for youth ministry. I prepare for this journey with joy and hope.  I ask your prayers for the staff team and for the participants as we journey together to learn more from each other and to broaden ourselves so that we can be more than we think we can be.  I will be posting as often as I can throughout the week.