Friday, June 29, 2007

Ethiopian Restaurant

I was checking my blog stats this morning to see who has come by lately. It is cool to see the hits from around the world. Hello Peter in Japan! There was another hit from someone looking for the new Ethiopian restaurant in Lethbridge. I forget the name of it but I ate there and really liked it. So if you are looking for it (and lots of people must be because I get regular hits from people googling it) it is on 5th St. in the cigar building next to the alley in the spot where Miros use to be before they bought their new building down the street.

Hope that helps!

Update: Just drove by and it is called the Abyssinian.

Further update: ate there again today with the kids and it was delicious. I highly recommend #14. It is 313-5th St. South and the phone number is 327-3315. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Music

Somewhere on some blog I was reading someone mentioned this guy's music and I checked it out and love it. I wish I could give credit to who ever put me on to him but thanks is going out to the blogsphere for this.

His name is Idan Raichel and his music is fascinating:

The Idan Raichel Project burst onto the Israeli music scene in 2002, changing the face of Israeli popular music and offering a message of love and tolerance that resonated strongly in a region of the world where the headlines are too often dominated by conflict. With an enchanting blend of Ethiopian and Middle Eastern flavors coupled with sophisticated production techniques and a spectacular live show, the Idan Raichel Project has become one of the most unexpected success stories in Israeli music today. Read the rest here

Hymn for Compline

Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe
That we no sinful thought may know.

O Father, that we ask be done
Through Jesus Christ, your only Son;
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath
Our souls are raised to life from death.

A favourite hymn of mine from the Common Worship (C of E) service for compline.

Lord Jesus Christ,
when scorn and shame besiege us
and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands
and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our Lord and God.

Another prayer from the same service.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I really like walking around cemeteries. It is always moving to see how people honour their dead and to read the history of a community by looking at who died and when. Real Live Preacher has an interesting post a few days ago about a cemetery he found in Mexico.

I explored a cemetery in Dollard, Saskatchewan on my last trip there that was unlike any I had ever been in. It was huge - it looked to be about 5 acres - but all the graves were along the edge and there was about 4 acres of open grass in the middle. Those white spots across the grass are actually graves - many of them were covered with rock. There were only a couple of graves right at the centre and a statue of Joan of Arc, the church bell and a plaque remembering the clergy and sisters from the parish stood next to them. I've never seen a layout like this. It just seems better to have our dead huddled together instead of spread out like this.

The church is no longer functioning, the only parishioners apparently a flock of pigeons. I didn't go in but I did take some photos of it. There is something really sad about finding a church that is no longer functioning. But so many of these rural communities are shrinking as agriculture is transformed. Some of the small communities in the west end of Alberta and the east end of Saskatchewan are experiencing a real estate boom because Calgarians are buying up inexpensive houses. Folks from Calgary have driven up prices along the BC Alberta border to the point that only the very wealthy can buy there. So now people are looking to Saskatchewan for cheap summer or retirement homes. Who would have anticipated that? It isn't Winnipeg but it is the next best thing.

T. S. Eliot

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Choruses from the Rock, I

Quoted by Richard Burridge in his article "Wisdom, Spirituality and Community in the University,"
Theology 104(2001)169.


So the city has decided that trying to put a new line in might cause more problems than it solves so they aren't going to do it unless we have problems. Yeah! And the deadline for the piece I'm writing that I thought was this weekend has been extended to the middle of August. Yeah! And the toothache I've had for two days is gone this morning. Yeah!

The push to bring order to the chaos in my house is still on, however, and to that end I've been cleaning while watching Battlestar Galactica. It is a fascinating show and as I get closer to the end of it I'm beginning to have grief issues. I guess I will have to start rewatching the Sopranos when this is done. And then I'll look forward to September 18th when the 3rd season of Boston Legal is released. Already have it pre-ordered!

BG touches on all sorts of really interesting issues including whether or not is ethical to torture cylon prisoners since they aren't human. The show also has many religious symbols/themes running through it. The cylons return after a 40 year absence, the humans are searching for the promised land, they are led by the stars. Yet, I've decided that at its heart it is anti-Christian. The cylons are the ones who worship the One True God. It seems they aren't able to reproduce successfully and since their god has commanded them to be fruitful and multiply they capture and rape women and put them in baby farms in order to fulfil the commandments. The humans are either atheists or worship many gods like Zeus and Athena. The only human who worships the god of the cylons is the traitor in their midst who is collaborating with the cylons. I guess you could argue that this is a rejection of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Watching this is a bit like reading Philip Pullman's novels. You know they don't like your faith tradition but they are such good story-tellers you get sucked in anyway. Only two disks more and I'm done. Let's hope the house is in order by then!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No One is Happy

Having looked over some of the blogsphere it would seem no one is particularly happy with the decisions of either General Synod of the ACC or the National Convention of the ELCIC. A divorce seems likely.

On the home front my next door neighbour is building a new house and we discovered last night that he and I share the same sewer line. We discovered this when he cut into it. So the city came by today and told me I can have a new sewer line and it will only cost me $200-300 and ripping up some lawn or moving everything in storage in my basement so that they can come through there. Needless to say I was not a happy camper. I didn't have a problem with my sewer line two days ago. My neighbour has offered to pay half the costs if they can do it easily and all the costs if I have to empty my basement. He's being really nice about it but then as he said, he's the one causing the trouble.

Houseprices are going up about 3% a month in Lethbridge so buying a house four years ago was the smartest move I could have made financially. Owning a house does have its downside though.

Oh well. I have indoor plumbing and clean water which means I'm more fortunate than most of the world's population. And my friends would say I needed to clean out the basement anyway.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blessing of Same Sex Motion Defeated

Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 -- The General Synod of the Anglican Church of
Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses
to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.

Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to
53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the
motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders
to pass.

The motion read:

"That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any
diocesan synod,

1. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
2. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the
will of the parish,

to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions."

The results aren't surprising and will probably disappoint most people. People opposed to same sex blessings will be unhappy that the majority of people were in fact in favour and the issue isn't going to go away. People in favour of the motion will be disappointed that it failed to go through. On the other hand, while this puts the issue off for another three years it seems it will eventually pass.

There are some interesting comments over at Father Jake's site interpreting the fact that the clergy and laity were in favour but the bishops weren't. The Anglican Church in Canada's polity gives every active bishop a vote but clergy and lay delegates are chosen proportionally to represent their diocese. So the larger, urban, more liberal dioceses get more lay and clergy delegates but the same episcopal representation as the smaller rural and northern dioceses which tend to be more conservative on this issue.

On a happier note we had our Sunday School picnic this morning after an outdoor Eucharist. It was a blast until our Sunday School superintendent yelled out to all the kids with water balloons in their hands, 'let's baptize the minister!' :-) I got drenched! Good thing it was a warm day. We are blessed with some really committed teachers and a wonderful group of kids. They did the readings, prayers, music and helped with the sermon. Love it!

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Primate

I was a little surprised by the results only in that I thought it would be Bishop Hiltz and Bishop Matthews in the end but I thought she would be elected. I don't know him but I've always been really impressed by her. My friends from the East speak very highly of Bishop Hiltz and I have friends in Edmonton who will be very relieved not to lose their much loved bishop.

Bishop Fred Hiltz elected Anglican Primate
Winnipeg, June 22, 2007 -- The Anglican Church of Canada has chosen Bishop Fred Hitz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as its 13th Primate or national leader.Bishop Hiltz was elected by the church's General Synod, meeting in Winnipeg, on the 5th ballot, from among four bishops nominated last April by a gathering of all Canadian bishops.
Bishop Hiltz, 53, will succeed Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, elected three years ago, who announced earlier that he would retire at the end of the General Synod gathering now underway.
Bishop Hiltz was elected assistant bishop of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 1995 and elected diocesan bishop in 2002. He was a member of the Council of General Synod from 2001 to 2004 and, since, 2006, has served as the Anglican Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.
In a statement after his nomination for the primacy, Bishop Hiltz described the Primate as "a servant of the people of God (whose) ministry is the gather the Church, to unite its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love, and to inspire them in the service of Christ's mission in the world."
He is married to Lynne Samways and they have one son.

Bible Study

I've been reading reports from General Synod taking place this week in Winnipeg. I'd love to be in Winnipeg visiting friends but I'm glad I'm not at the meetings. I really don't enjoy meetings unless they are very action oriented and short. These kinds of meetings bring out every ADD cell in my body.

It is much more satisfying to spend my time like I did last night. We had our last Revelation bible study and while most of them still aren't so keen on the book we did have a really interesting discussion. I had read Barbara Rossing's excellent book The Rapture Exposed and she convinced me that the fundamental message of the book is one of hope but my parishioners remain unconvinced. The thing is that they are such kind, gentle people that they can't really believe God can be wrathful.

It is hard to do justice to the Book of Revelation in three sessions but on the other hand I didn't want us to get lost in it either. Not with summer coming on. It took us two years to do our study of Mark. I learned a lot from that but it is a long time to do one thing. In the fall we are going to do some study of the Torah which should be interesting. Like many Anglicans they have a better knowledge and appreciation of the New Testament than the Old Testament.

I'm looking forward to preaching on some of the challenging texts of the Torah in our Unchurch service in the fall. My friend Becky and I are doing some planning for the service and I'm getting really excited about it. Here is the blurb she wrote to explain who we are and what we are doing:

We are a community of people who wonder who Jesus Christ is for us today. Some of us are Christians and are active members of Christian churches. Some of us are not Christian, but continue to find merit in wondering what value Jesus’ message and life have for us and our world. We meet weekly for study and discussion led by those steeped in the Christian tradition, but the aim is neither to push people towards faith nor away from faith. Our goals are explicitly spiritual: what beliefs and actions will increase our love towards others, peace within ourselves, and peace for the world? We are inclusive: if you share these goals you are welcome here. We also believe that our learning occurs not only through thought but also experience and so worship and the worship arts will also be present in our community.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Back Home

I spent my study leave in my favourite place in south Saskatchewan - a little piece of paradise. It was great to be able to read and think and write without easy access to my email and with my cell phone turned off. The local Co-Op brings in cilantro now and there is a really nice coffee place that makes a good latte so it is no hardship to be there. I rent a cottage from a super guy and we had some great conversations over some delicious meals. I've met some really interesting people through him too and had a chance to see some this trip. A friend of mine drove out for a couple of days and that was really great and of course I checked in with friends a bit via email and the aforementioned cell phone. Mostly though I feel quite cut off there - tv is limited and I didn't see a newspaper for two weeks.

Now I'm back to the reality of my van being in the shop again and an incredibly messy house - reality is crushing in again!

One thing I was really happy about though was being able to go to the movie rental place to pick up some more episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I'm hooked. I watched it in the '70s when it was fun but cheesy. Now it is really very dark with lots of sex and violence. Little kids watched it when I was a kid. Now it is hot enough that it set off the cottage's dvd player's parental controls.

It started out as essentially cowboys and indians in space. The bad guys were the cylons, robots invented by humans to do their grunt work. The cylons eventually rebelled and became the classic 20th century enemy - the faceless, emotionless horde that threatened to take over because when you killed one another just stepped forward to take its place. Maybe it was a metaphor for a time of war with an enemy that never seemed to give up and never seemed to diminish. Or maybe it was a way of talking about the dangers of the emerging technology - a kind of more popular (and much more enjoyable) version of 2001 a space odyssey.

In the new version the cylons have developed the ability to adopt human form so the war now is with the enemy within. They still fight cylons in space but the real threat is the cylons living next to them. A show about war has become a show about terrorism. Certainly this reflects the age we now live in.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Evening Reading

I've been spending evenings watching some wild movies and reading some great books. The other evening I read Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. I love her books - they have such an interesting rhythm. She writes:

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

Barbara Brown Taylor said something similar at our clergy conference a few years ago. She said you should always preach with the idea that someone in the congregation has less than six months to live and you don't want to waste their time.

One of the films I've watched this week is Y tu mamá también . I don't know if I knew that I had only a short while to live that I would want to go on a road trip with two sex crazed teenagers and try to teach them how to be better lovers but it was an interesting movie. Okay, so I'm stretching for a connection here. But the film is worth seeing if you can handle the sex and language (I give this warning because I got blasted once for recommending a movie in a sermon and not clarifying that it had rough language).

Don't know what I'll watch tonight. It is summer time and I haven't watched the Godfather trilogy yet. It is usually my ritual to welcome summer. That and Mr. Baseball, Field of Dreams, and Bull Durham. I'll let you know.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


It has been a fruitful week. I'm doing some really interesting reading on doing theology in the university and on religious activity generally in public life. I'll write more when I'm done my study weeks. Right now I'm trying to digest it all.

In the midst of all of this though I had another health crisis with Robbie. He developed an infected anal gland which probably burst inside. The vet shaved his posterior and he looked like one of those baboons with the purple bums. Poor little guy is now on 8 pills a day and I'm feeling frazzled. He's doing pretty well but oy!

More later! I'm going back to work!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Golf Tournament

The golf tournament was a huge success! Fantastic weather (well maybe a little hot), a great silent auction, delicious food and the biggest crowd we've ever had. We honoured Mary Shillington as well for her 10 years service as the chair of the golf tournament committee. It was a grand day!

I'm starting two weeks of study leave and have a major project with a looming deadline so I may not be blogging much. So later 'gator!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Wheels and Pup

Well my van is running beautifully and it was only $1000 more than we originally thought it would be...choke...but it is running beautifully and safely so alles gut. And best of all Robbie is doing really well, hardly coughing at all. It is amazing how that puts everything else in perspective.

Tomorrow is ECM's big fundraising golf tournament so I'm running around today getting some stuff ready for it. We have an amazing group of volunteers who have been working on it for months to get it all together and it should be a blast. My job is to bless the golfers on the first tee and take their team pictures. Best of all tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful sunny day.

If you get the chance be sure to check out this great video on how to select a new Primate for the Anglican Church in Canada. Preludium has the video uploaded on his blog but I'm dealing with dial up right now so just follow the link or check out his blog.

I'm not looking forward to the General Synod because I don't enjoy what's happening in the church right now. Mostly I want to keep focused on my parish life which is full of joy and good energy. I know these issues are important and that I should probably engage in them more but I also find they suck the life right out of me. I go through times when for the sake of my spiritual life I have to give up reading Anglican blogs. Working also for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada I'm getting a double dose of it and some of the Lutheran conversations I've been a part of have been even more unpleasant. So mostly I'm trying to do my own work faithfully and to love the people in my life faithfully and that's enough for me right now.