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Haiku: lilacs

Pregnant air – laden,
seeping out royal fragrance.
Bursting forth, then gone.

Recent posts

The advent of spring

It seems to me our common weather proverbs – particularly relating to spring – are not necessarily inaccurate, merely geographically misapplied. Climatic sayings from England’s sea-bound coasts don’t describe the conditions in continental extreme very well, and my skepticism of weather dictums extends to the calendar dates of spring and winter. Usually, winter-like conditions are long established by the time December 21 rolls around, and rarely is spring in the air yet on March 20.
Except this year.
Not only has the snow been disappearing and the temperature playing above zero even before and certainly since, but the air itself has had a refreshing warmth suggestive of the actual arrival of the marvellous season called spring.
So, on April 1, with several days of rolling on dry roads already behind me, I’ve already got the Skyline home from the shop.
Both my girls will stay in my living room, close at hand, until April has proved more definitely it will not bring snowstorms yet.

Jingle, jangle, thump, jump

Twenty years after the dance at Banff sparked a year of consternation, dancing was again on the mainstage at convention.

It wasn’t teenagers spontaneous gyrating this time, though. And it performance, not participatory. First two jingle dancers filled the room with tintinnabulation and invitation, then the hoop dancers wove their figures imbued with energy and passion.

Contrary to what my straight-laced upbringing tried to instill in me, I don’t believe dancing is dangerous or sinful, and tonight was no exception. I tend to agree with the elder who introduced the drum as a sacred circle and dance as healing. God gave us bodies, not just minds. There is something sacred about rhythmic, artistic, creative movement: the interplay of physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects in dance make it a rather wholesome activity for the restoration of the soul.

Could it be possible that this time we would allow the dance to invite us to something new? Will we have the humility to walk toward…

Manger scene

Enough with the innkeeper!

I was still a youth the first time I heard the “poor baby Jesus, rejected before birth and born in a stable” narrative called into question. Would first-century Middle Easterners really fail to fulfill their cultural and familial obligations to host even a distant relative?

Later experiences and study reinforced the suspicions about the historical accuracy of our favourite Christmas pictures. There weren’t really inns at that time in the way we think of them now, and the word used in the nativity story isn’t the same one used for a caravanserai in the Good Samaritan story, but rather the one translated as “upper room” in the Last Supper. If memory serves correctly, a Palestinian priest explained that the whole setting was quite normal: often women would move to the part of the house where the animals were stabled when it came time to give birth because it was warm and private there.

But perhaps a manger scene serves a function other than education. This is …

The gospel in few words

The concept of an elevator speech for the gospel is almost offensive to me. Is it not antithetical to the gospel (God with us) to lob it at a random stranger and leave?

Furthermore, I wonder whether the gospel is far less a proposition to understand and believe, but rather the things we do.

Even more than that, the gospel is almost a force all its own, a subtle power that quietly transforms.

But I did start to think about the challenge to express the gospel in 10 words, not to accost people with and demand a response, but because if one understands something, it should be possible to explain it simply.

So I lit on this: God’s self-giving love works wholeness into all aspects of being.

It’s open to revision, but that’s one phrase for it at this point in time.

Winter? bike

A speaker at a climate change event last weekend said what I've often thought: on the Canadian Prairies, it can be hard to be concerned about global warming because it mostly only means good things for us.

I chuckled ruefully at the irony last year when even the participants spoke positively about the unseasonably warm weather for a Dec. 1 climate protest march.

When climate change means shorter, warmer winters, and longer growing seasons that allow a greater diversity in crops, how can one complain? So we have a few more close calls with twisters. (Actually, the thought of tornadoes terrifies me, so if given a choice, I might just take -30 over terrifying and destrutive columns of wind). We're in no danger of losing winter altogether: who really wants to argue with fewer days below -25?

All this to say that after a gorgeously beautiful, mild fall, snow fell Nov 22 -- the latest recorded snowfall ever -- and even then it is acting like southern Ontario or something.

The fatgi…