Climactic Climate LaLaLaLaLaLaLaLa–I Can’t Hear You!

tarsandschristmas A few things crossed my path this week, in the wake of Copenhagen perhaps, where I was embarrassed by the title of “Colossal Fossil” that was bestowed upon my country. And then a friend of mine said he “got grumpy” and made up his own Christmas greeting card, which I thought was worth sharing.

Then there was this video about climate change, “The Big Ask”.

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According to the video, it’s not all that complicated, but still on MSNBC this week there was this yahoo claiming that global warming was not man-made and was not a serious problem on which we need to act.

Compassion, Justice, and the Manhattan [Project] Declaration

ecumenical-canoe-trip_david-hayward.jpg One of the things about the way I’ve been reading blogs lately is that I often get summaries after-the-fact and reactions from others on various topics and happenings, which offers me a shortcut to catching the drift of some notable posts. And sometimes in this exchange I feel perhaps I’ve missed something important. Often I let it just slip by, but then there are times when I find my feet just instinctively digging into the sand adjacent to home plate as my eye fixes itself on the ball. This time it’s internal bickering among some who insist that any bickering on these points could not be classified as internal, because It’s fun to exclude others.

Radio Hymns #4: By the Rivers of Babylon

boney_m_-_rivers_of_babylon_1978_single In our now time-honoured Sunday tradition, we turn to music. This week in my new series Hymns from the Radio Dial, we get political with a call for social justice from Psalm 137. It is most likely that we all remember Rivers of Babylon as a late-70s song by German disco group Boney M. In fact, the song was written and recorded in 1972 by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of The Melodians (1965-73), a Jamaican group in Kingston, the birthplace of reggae.

“Rivers of Babylon” was recorded for reggae record producer Leslie Kong (Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley) and became an anthem of the Rastafarian movement which, among other religious convictions, rejects western society as entirely corrupt, referring to it as “Babylon”, which is considered to have been in rebellion against “Earth’s Rightful Ruler” since the days of the King Nimrod. Rastas avow that “Zion” (to them Africa, especially Ethiopia) is a land promised to them.

Jon & Kate Tempt Fate

jon-kate.jpg The idea was brilliantly conceived. Faced with the economic and logistic realities of suddenly having six extra mouths to feed, the two hatch a plan: get a bunch of television cameras to follow them around and film the whole thing for a television show as a way of earning some extra cash. Maybe the plan went over too well. You all know the story better than I, perhaps… family portrayed as devout Christians with a deep faith in God and down-home family values. You can sense trouble brewing already. It’s too much of a setup, isn’t it?

Would Have Been 80 Today

anne-frank.jpg The author of the second-best-selling book in history (next to the Bible) would have been 80 years old today — June 12th — had she not died in March of 1945. Ironically, on June 20, 1942, she wrote, “It seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old schoolgirl.” This was one of the earliest entries in the Diary of Anne Frank, who wrote offhandedly on May 11, 1944, “Just imagine how forgetful I’ll be when I’m eighty!” The innocence with which she wrote and the unthinkably tragic way in which her story ends are a jarring contrast, and perhaps this has somehow contributed to her diary becoming one of the key texts of the 20th century. Events are planned to commemorate the occasion. I’ve mentioned Anne Frank before, but it seems to me that she is one of those standout voices that somehow resonates with us all.

Navigating Changing Times

day-night-transition.jpg I think I mentioned an event coming up here this October featuring Phyllis Tickle speaking on her book The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. I’m one of several people who have been asked to present a workshop and sit on a discussion panel over the course of the one-day conference. At the moment, October 31st seems such a long way off, but I’ve been asked for a topic and a brief description of the workshop I will present.

You mean I have to plan ahead? Oh, of course — I knew that. I fired back saying I’d do something on “Navigating Times of Change” to offer a description of some of the characteristics of liminal space and its effect on leaders and churches. I need to flesh that out a bit further, which will take some digging and reflection to know what’s important to present and what to cut. I think I’ve selected a good topic though, so that gives me a good start.

Theology by the Glass: ‘Aftermusings’

theologybytheglass.jpg This week saw the start of the summer series of Theology by the glass, now meeting at Confusion Corner Bar and Grill, just around the corner (sort of) from our most famous street sign. Our first conversation of the season began with a CBC podcast of The Age of Persuasion where Terry O’Reilly discusses church marketing and related matters.

Recasting the Good News™

goodnews.jpg JR Woodward is about 2/3 of the way through his Good News Series, where he puts a question to 50 bloggers, asking them for an article explaining what the “good news” is — but the article is to be about 500 words and written as though for publication in each blogger’s local newspaper. It’s quite a good series with a variety of responses and approaches posted so far. Today’s post is Jamie Arpin-Ricci in Winnipeg, which is also my city. I found it very poignant and compassionate approach to presenting the good news, opening with the account of a suicide that did feature very recently in our local media. Jamie takes an approach which is not theology-first, something I appreciate and attempted to do as well. My contribution was the sixth in the series. It didn’t generate a lot of discussion, perhaps because it appeared on a weekend, but I thought I would post it here as well now that it’s run on JR’s blog for a while. In the disclaimer that ran with my article, I said that I wanted to write early in the series “to get it out of the way before reading what so many astute thinkers would write so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to come up with anything so profound. This way as I follow the series, I’ll only have to say, ‘Gee, I wish I’d written that…’.” As I expected, a number of such approaches and statements have already appeared in the series. In any event, what I said follows below.