I spent last evening with an exceptional group of folks having some great conversation. Among the nine of us, it was billed as a debrief session for The Great Emergence conference with Phyllis Tickle a few weeks back. The four of us panelists/workshop leaders (Jamie Howison, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Lesley Harrison, and yours truly) met together with the organizers (Christine Longhurst, Kara Mandryk, and Michael Boyce along with spouses Rachel Twigg Boyce and John Longhurst) to discuss the event just passed. I have to say it was some great conversation, both when it was on and off-topic.
This past weekend was the The Great Emergence one-day seminar in Winnipeg with Phyllis Tickle, sponsored by FaithForum (and others). Clearly, the event centered around Ms. Tickle’s book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. A few of us (Jamie Howison, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Lesley Harrison, and yours truly) were invited to participate in a panel discussion and present a workshop, leaving two plenary sessions for Ms. Tickle, the last of which included a good Q&A session.
So I took my oldest daughter down to the Christian bookstore to buy an “Adventures in Odyssey” CD for my youngest daughter’s birthday. The first store, subtitled a “Christian Store” (Er, I’d like to buy a Christian, please) didn’t have any, so we went downtown to the second, a much older long-established store. It’s the largest such store in the city.
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.
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.
Things have been tense here in Manitoba for the past week or so… longer, for some. In recent days, the provincial flood forecast has been changing frequently, and almost hourly at times. When people have been sandbagging frantically to build a dike, it can be rather disheartening to hear that the anticipated water level just went up another eight inches, or two feet. The present forecast suggests that the water level will be second only to the legendary “Flood of the Century” in 1997, ranking this flood second over the past hundred years. To make matters worse, the two rivers that meet in downtown Winnipeg are projected to crest at the same time.
We spent a good part of the evening with friends playing glo-mini-golf. I’ve heard of glo-bowling, but this was an interesting twist, and a very different kind of activity to do during one of those “let’s get together over the holidays” kind of affairs. Original, you have to give it that.
Okay, the gift itself wasn’t that much, unless you add in the $190 traffic ticket… about which I’m exceptionally annoyed. We dropped by the MTS Center in Winnipeg today to pick up tickets to “Disney on Ice” for the kids for Christmas. Arrrgh. In this day and age, can anyone explain why they can sell tickets for all kinds of events online — even airline flights — over the phone, or at any one of a hundred remote outlets around the city (or country!), but if you want tickets for Disney on Ice, noooo, you have to come right downtown to the box office at the event venue and get them there. Noplace else will do, they won’t sell them that way. I’m miffed at them first. So we make a special trip downtown and my wife runs in while I circle the block twice. By “circle the block” of course I mean a 6-block radius given the negotiation of one-way streets in the area. At the second revolution when my wife gets back in the car, I follow the vehicle in front of me, turning right from Portage Avenue onto Donald Street to head back toward home.
Update 7-Oct-08: If you’re arriving via the link from Kelly “Beefcake” Hughes’ weekly email update, welcome. And just so you know, cat blogging is *not* the norm around here. Poke around and see for yourself.
I was going to post this earlier this morning, but none of it had happened yet. This morning I was groggy-headed and bleary-eyed staring at my computer monitor. I had nothing to say and was too tired to say it… don’t know why, really. so I had a nap and then went out with my wife to do “errands”. You know those miscellaneous days when you both have odds and ends to get done?
- Returned library books and picked up one that was on hold; the waiting list was two months.
- Bought dog food.
- Washed the car.
As a peace-loving if somewhat mild-mannered apologetic Canadian stereotype, apparently I like murder victim Tim McLean, have “lived an immoral and godless life, just like all other Canadians.” The signs and placards said so. It doesn’t matter that the “lunatic sect” has never met or even heard of McLean before now — it turns out that Westbro Baptist Church, the continent’s self-appointed demonstrative repository of information concerning who God hates this week, has determined that the Tim McLean’s murder last week was “a gift from God.” WTF??? Tim McLean was the recent victim of an apparently random killing on a Greyhound bus, wherein another passenger went rather berzerk and suddenly began stabbing him repeatedly, eventually decapitating him. The crime was particularly gruesome: once the bus driver had pulled over and everyone had fled the bus and locked the attacker onboard, he was seen carrying the knife in one hand and the head in the other, apparently sampling the taste of human flesh. Clearly the man was not quite right in the mental capacity department. I might point out that he was born in China — for what it’s worth — simply as a way of noting the fallaciousness of Westbro’s account of the “facts.” Adding Canada to their hate-list, their news release, which refers to McLean as “The Headless Canadian” states,
I read Jamie Howison’s new book, Come to the Table on the weekend — or part of the weekend, as it’s only 76 pages. It actually began as a paper exploring the basis for the practice of “open table” at St. Benedict’s Table. Open table refers to the practice of serving communion to people who present themselves to receive the elements, regardless whether or not they have been baptized. Now, this is not a very Anglican thing to do, since strictly speaking, traditionally those who expect to receive communion should have been baptized and confirmed. None of this is really an issue in evangelical circles, but in others I understand it’s pretty much grounds for scandal. Indeed, “from my evangelical days, baptism is not viewed as inherently for regeneration,” so the question seems a little farfetched to some, but with a bit of thought to the subject, one realizes that the communion table has actually been the dividing line between many a denomination or church group.