Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Your Score: Fennel

You scored 50% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 0% craziness!

You are Fennel!

You're a cool cat. Crisp, clean, fresh, and extremely complicated. You're like quantum physics or modern jazz. Think Niels Bohr meets Ornette Coleman. You may look normal now, but once you sprout, you look kind of, uh, funny.

Thanks to Tobias.
Take test here

Monday, April 28, 2008

Font Quiz

Just for fun.

Take font quiz here.

thanks to Musashum.

Over at What I Saw in America

Patrick Deneen has been posting some very interesting reflections these days on what is happening with oil prices, food, and the American economy. His latest on the development of monocultures is particularly interesting to me, especially because of his observations about the development of a monoculture in university education. Check it out here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Soooo Homesick

We moved to Winnipeg in 1969 and I lived there until I went away to grad school. Between degrees and jobs I've gone back to live there and I still try to make holy pilgrimage once a year. Now you can see on line all the reasons to love (and maybe hate) Winnipeg. Check out this great new blog Winnipeg: Love and Hate. The photography is incredible.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Poor Robbie

Meet Moses the usurper of Robbie's bed. Fear not, Robbie has reclaimed it and sleeps in it even as I write this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Song-writing Story Tellers

Just off the top of my head:

Peter Seeger
Peggy Seeger
Eric Bogle
Tom Paxton
David Essig
Stan Rogers
Grit Laskin

now I have to go give an exam....more as they come to mind

Monday, April 21, 2008

Narrative in music

Tim over at Tale Spin has a really interesting quotation from a folk singer about a lot of contemporary song writing. Essentially the point is that much of contemporary song writing focuses on "the personal landscape" and it gets boring.

I was thinking about this last night when I went to a concert of well known Christian singer-songwriter. I like a number of his songs but realized last night that there are two big differences between singing a couple of them at church and listening to twenty of them in a concert. The first is that in concert you have all the extra keyboard/electric guitar/drums and reverb and frankly that gets old fast (or maybe it is just me getting old fast). The other big difference is that when you get 20 of them in a row you realize that none of them tell a story. They are all about the personal relationship with a mighty God and they don't even tell a story about that relationship. And after a while they all start to sound the same.

New Music

My music guru Scott put me on to this new band and I'm really enjoying them. Check them out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Showers

Over the years I've heard many comments about Winnipeg weather from Southern Albertans reveling in mild winters. Well it is warm and sunny in Winnipeg today and this is what it is like here:

Friday, April 18, 2008


During Holy Week we had a service for the blessing of the oils and the renewal of ordination vows up at the cathedral in Calgary. I took some friends along with me because all are welcome and I thought that they would enjoy it. Although all are welcome the congregation is predominately clergy so they stood out a bit.

After the service many of the clergy said to me, 'you brought people.' And I guess they said the same to my friends because my friends started to laugh and call themselves, 'Erin's people.' This got abbreviated to Erin's Peeps.

This week, knowing things have been a bit stressful lately, they presented me with this gift:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ordered Ministry

The more I have to blog about the more overwhelmed I feel by it all and the less likely I am to do it. So I'm choosing one thing to get me started again.

A couple of Saturdays ago I went to a fundraising dinner for the United Church seminary in Saskatoon, St. Andrew's College. This isn't my seminary, nor my denomination, and if I'm honest I would say I wouldn't have gone except that we've had students from the chaplaincy go through there and the people putting the dinner on are huge supporters of the chaplaincy. So, out of a sense of communal support I paid my $100 for roast beef and a talk by Lorne Calvert. I knew Calvert had been the NDP premier of Saskatchewan but didn't realize he had been in active ordained ministry in the United Church before entering politics. And lets be really honest here, I was expecting the same old social gospel/United church/NDP message I've heard many times before. Don't get me wrong - this is a message that has shaped me profoundly and I find it a bit like comfort food, warm and nourishing, if not exciting.

It was a surprising delight when I heard one of the most encouraging articulations of the place of ordered ministry (he began by saying he didn't know what to call it since the United church has all sorts of different forms of ministry - licenced lay, ordained, diaconal.... - but he was talking about the person 'up there' who everyone knows is the 'minister'). He used three passages of scripture for his talk:

Isaiah 52:7 - how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news

Romans 10:14-15 - How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Mark 2:1-10 - A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

He started by suggesting that the church has so emphasized the ministry of the many that they haven't articulated an understanding of the ministry of the few. He pointed out that Paul certainly understood the many gifts of the entire body of Christ but that Paul also understood the role of some who are set aside for particular ministry. The heart of that ministry Calvert understands to be being the servant of the servants of God.

He said people working in the world have multiple portals to the world. He described how he has multiple sources of information/advice as a politician and suggested that this isn't that unusual. He went on to say though that he doesn't have many portals to the holy. The image he used was of the four men who carry the paralytic to Jesus and have to create an opening in the roof through which they can lower the man to Jesus. This is what he suggests ordered ministers do: we create openings to allow people to encounter the holy that they seek. He went on to talk of the ways in which the proclamation of the word and the administration of the sacraments are critical is allowing people to encounter God. And he told us that we should never underestimate the value of what we do on a Sunday morning. Take the eight hours to write a sermon, take the time to work with the music team, because that may be the one place in a person's week where he or she will become aware of the holy.

It was a really encouraging talk and I wish more clergy had heard it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

yes I'm alive

Thank you everyone who has inquired - I am still alive... I just haven't had any time to blog lately. It is a combination of end of term busy-ness, preparation for Confirmation in the parish, filling in for the last few weeks of class for a prof at the university, watching a lot of movies now that my lenten fast is over, spending time with sick friends and some medical stuff happening in my own family. I have lots to write about but tomorrow is my last lecture and I have to finish it so it will have to wait for the weekend.
Thanks for continuing to check on me....