Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Modern Haggadah

This made me laugh!

Thanks Tim!

Monday, March 30, 2009

African Supper at Ascension

We've been developing a new Sunday school curriculum for our senior kids at Ascension using materials from Peace Jam. We've been integrating Bible study and discussion with a study of a number of issues like clean water and now AIDS. As a part of it we took the kids to a benefit concert for the Harambee Grandmothers last month. The Harambee Grandmothers are the local chapter of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Over two hundred groups have formed across Canada to raise support for the grandmothers of Africa raising their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Since they've formed the Harambees have raised $30,000 in our community as well as making many groups more aware of the issues facing the millions of children orphaned in Africa. They are one kick ass group of women!

Every lent our Sunday School chooses a project to work on and this year they decided that they would do a fundraiser for the Harambees and then collect bottles and do a garage sale for the Canada Foodgrains Bank. So Saturday night we put on an African dinner at the church, decorated the hall, played African music and listened to a presentation by Maureen Ebel, one of our Harambee grandmothers. It was a blast! The middle school kids decorated and the senior kids cooked and a grand time was had by all!

Maureen told us that the Stephen Lewis Foundation is talking about how to connect to young people and that our little parish was cutting edge!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Witness of St. Francis

A moving post about St. Francis and L'Arche over at Faith and Theology. Read it here.


Ben Myers has another posting on L'Arche here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Powerful Funeral Sermon

Last week I went to a funeral for a lovely man who died after a very full life and a struggle for five or six years with dementia. I really only knew him these past few years as he lost more and more of himself but I had heard many stories of his rigorous life from his dear friend. I found it a little disconcerting at the funeral, however, when no mention was made of these last few years. The man who was eulogized was the healthy, active, vital man who had been a huge part of this community for so many years. And maybe that was appropriate for those who had known him during those years. But for me who had only known him in the years of his vulnerability it was almost as if we didn't say goodbye to the man I had known.

I found this funeral sermon for a very vital man who died of dementia very moving and thought of C as I read it. It raises some interesting questions about 'knowing' and being 'known.'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feast of Oscar Romero and the Martyrs of El Salvador

Today we remember the courage and the faithfulness of Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador and the many martyrs of El Salvador, those known by name and those known only to God.

Resources here. And here. And here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Words to make us uncomfortable

Lamenting that the great, flowing milk of divine beneficence had all but dried up in the hands of the church, Hildegaard said, "Woe to those who are given a voice and will not shout, woe to those who have breasts and will not nurse God's children!"

Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Undermining of the Humanities

The ever increasing emphasis on technical and professional education within the university and the associated undermining of the humanities has been building for over a century. It is a serious problem. Patrick Deneen's post on this is excellent. You can read it here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another One that Blows Me Away

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love this blog!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Walking and Falling with the Velveteen Rabbi

I love this! The whole post by the Velveteen Rabbi is lovely:

Like Laurie Anderson says:

You're walking. And you don't always realize it,
but you're always falling.
With each step you fall forward slightly.
And then catch yourself from falling.
Over and over, you're falling.
And then catching yourself from falling.
And this is how you can be walking and falling
at the same time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Blog

Front Porch Republic, a new blog by a group of writers is going to look at how we might rethink ourselves in the midst of this economic crisis. It has just started but already I'm interested. This posting reflecting on Lent really grabbed me.

In the end, we are all exiles here below held captive by our fallen state and desires, and we are remembering that state of exile during this Lenten season and calling to mind our true home in the Heavenly City. Yet in our earthly existence we have accomplished another very strange thing, which is to exile ourselves voluntarily from the places we have called home and to condition ourselves to think of this cycle of repeated exiling as normal and even desirable. Not only do I suspect that most Americans would find this hymn strange, but for a great many of us there is no longer a Jerusalem for us to forget, for it has already been forgotten if it was ever there at all. In this, we have not renounced our own wills, as monastics do, but have increasingly cut ourselves off from others for our own sakes in almost inverse proportion to our ability to communicate with them.

Read the rest here.

7 Things I Love

Crimson Rambler has her list of 7 loved things and has tagged her readers so here it goes:

1. Puccini (Madama Butterfly this Saturday at the Met)
2. My work
3. Reading
4. Movies
5. My pup and my kitty
6. My family, birth and fictive
7. Fresh bread with butter

If you want consider yourself tagged.

Facing our own violence

I'm reading Frances M. Young's book Brokenness and Blessing: Towards a Biblical Spirituality as a part of my Lenten reading and I'm really struck by these words of Youakim Moubarac connecting the experience of working in L'Arche and the desert fathers:

In as far as I understand Jean Vanier, daily dealings with people who have handicaps makes those involved face their own violence. Confronted by the irreducibility of the other, the one whom they mean to serve but whose condition they cannot ameliorate, they discover with horror that they are capable of striking them, or even wanting to do away with them. It is this, then, that I call a privileged desert place. The ancient anchorites took themselves off to the desert, they said, to fight with Satan on his own territory. We know now that is is enough to pay attention to the most defenceless people among us to find ourselves given up to our interior demons. But if only we force ourselves not to lose heart, if only graces comes to the aid of our weakness, we apprehend that to spend time with the poorest of all is not to do them charity, but to allow ourselves to be transformed by them and to apprehend God as gentleness.

Young relates this to her own experience of caring for her disabled son. I'm finding the book engaging and challenging and look forward to reading more.