Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just one more reason why I love this time of year

Bags collected by Ascension
This is what approximately $10,000 in groceries look like!
Two of our student volunteers!
The line-up
Checking out the goodies
Maureen Mahon, whose husband is the new president of the U of L, helps out!

Yesterday was the day we handed out campus care parcels at the university. For a month my admin assistant has been distributing grocery bags to south Alberta churches. The university has had a bunch made for us but this year the budget didn't allow that so Safeway generously donated a lot of their bags. Last week Beth started gathering up a lot of bags and some of the churches started dropping theirs off to Immanuel Lutheran who graciously offer their hall for our depot. I brought in the bags Ascension donated and some that were dropped off at my house from one of our rural congregations. Then Saturday a bunch of us sorted the bags. Yesterday was the day we distributed them! IVCF staff and students came and helped Maintenance load them all up and drive them down to the University where they unloaded them and then the fun began.

Students began lining up a half hour before we began the hand out and we managed to hand out 442!!! bags in 20 mins. An hour later when I checked my email there were two lovely messages from students thanking us for the food and the encouragement. I love my job!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Canada's Sweetheart

I had the opportunity last night to hear Canada's Sweetheart, Jill Barber in concert. What a delightful evening! I don't know how to describe her music - sort of singer-songwriter, sort of folk, sort of jazz, sort of '50s something. Sort of awesome though! She had us singing, she had us swaying, she had us in the palm of her hand. She's delightful and her band was amazing. What a great time! and it was a fundraiser for Womenspace, an organization that does all sorts of education and advocacy for low income women and that lost its federal funding last year. The church was really full - it was great to see. If you want to check out her music you can find her site here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Communal values not valued

A study has confirmed what many of my friends have claimed: when it comes to academic jobs candidates with good social skills are at a disadvantage. Further the study finds that since women are more likely to display communal values women are disadvantaged in academic hiring. Read a report on the study here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Writing

I wasn't much of a writer in high school and didn't get a lot of encouragement either. Fortunately I fell into the hands of a great prof at university who believed students needed to learn how to write if they were going to learn how to think. Tom Graham taught us how to read and how to write and in the process to think. I will always be grateful to him for his fourth year methods seminar, one of the hardest courses I ever took and one of the most helpful.

Now Ben Myers has written this wonderful post on the writing life and I recommend you check it out.

I still struggle with this aspect of writing:

4. Writing and discipline. The self has a tendency to leak and dribble. Left to itself, it loses all definition, becomes a shapeless puddle. Writing, like ritual, is a cast into which the self is poured. Writing is care of the self. ‘He who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem’ (Milton). A book is a few seconds of inspiration plus a few years – or a lifetime – of discipline. You cannot have a campfire without the first spark, but the spark is useless without the slow labour of gathering wood, building the fire, and maintaining it when it begins to die.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reading Lists

In the latest issue of Christian Century there are lists of theology books the contributors think are essential reading if you want to know what has happened in theology for the past 25 years. The lists are interesting - you can read them here. Although the preamble is that these are essential for understanding what has been happening in theology I think they are more revealing of what has been happening intellectually for these contributors. But that's okay. I liked reading the list and have added a number of the books to my list of what I want to read. I also spent some time thinking what five books have influenced the way I think about things in a significant way so here is my list:

Daniel Boyarin, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity
Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
Sarah Coakley, Powers and Submissions
James Alison, Faith Beyond Resentment
Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, Resident Aliens

and what would your list be?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Food Production in Canada

This ad is making the facebook rounds and is really worth watch. I spend a lot of time with farmers - in most cases they are the last generation to work their family farms.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Italian Heritage

Having just been to the home of Armani and having spent much of that visit in churches and museums considering the art and architecture of the Christian tradition I really appreciated this article. And now I have another reason to go to New York.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Letterpress

Here is a story about a person I admire and a craft which interests me. In the process of watching a documentary about a craftsman still keeping alive the craft of the letterpress Evan notices that one of the jobs is an invitation to the ordination of Sarah Coakley. I'm fascinated by the letter press - I love the look and feel of what it creates so the documentary is interesting in its own right. But I'm also a great admirer of the theologian Sarah Coakley. So check it out and maybe check out some of her essays!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


More from Berry on the University

The thing being made in a university is humanity. given the current influence of universities, this is merely inevitable. But what universities, at least the public-supported ones, are mandated to make or to help to make is human beings in the fullest sense of those words — not just trained workers or knowledgeable citizens but responsible heirs and members of human culture. If the proper work of the university is only to equip people to fulfill private ambitions, then how do we justify public support? If it is only to prepare citizens to fulfill public responsibilities, then how do we justify the teaching of arts and sciences? The common denominator has to be larger than either career preparation or preparation for citizenship. Underlying the idea of a university — the bringing together, the combining into one, of all the disciplines — is the idea that good work and good citizenship are the inevitable by-products of the making of a good — that is, a fully developed — human being. This, as I understand it, is the definition of the name university.

From “The Loss of the University,” in Home Economics.

hat tip to Bill

More on Berry

Discussion of Berry on the university here. Hat tip to Bill.

Wendell Berry pulls papers

Wendell Berry has pulled his papers from the University of Kentucky in protest of the university's growing emphasis on research and their cozy relationship with the coal industry. Read about it here.
Thanks to Front Porch Republic.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reflections on laptops in the classroom

I found this piece arguing that laptops should be banned from the classroom convincing although I had students using them this term and it didn't seem to be a problem. Perhaps it was because the students using them tended to be highly involved in the class discussion and perhaps it was because of the size of the class and shape of the room but I didn't mind them. I do remember in another class, however, making a joke about them watching hockey and realizing when I saw the look on their faces that that was exactly what they were doing. So generally I agree with this argument but didn't find it to be an issue this term. But then, this term I had a wonderful group of students and enjoyed teaching immensely. I'm just sorry the term is done!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Book

The latest Christian Century came in the mail today and there is a reference in it to Sara Miles, author of Jesus Freak. I had a moment of excitement that the author of Eat this Bread had a new book, an even bigger rush of excitement when it turned out Chapters had a copy of it, and 40 glorious minutes reading it while sitting in the hospital emergency room. I can't wait for tomorrow's three more stints hooked up to an IV to read more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Steve Bell, Jean Vanier, Avatar and Seeing

Just read this and felt the immediate need to share it. May we all be see-ers and seen.

Thanks Dale for the link.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It has been distressing seeing the pictures coming out of Haiti this week. Donations can be made on-line, including by interact, at Canada Helps. The Primate's World Relief and Development fund is accepting donations ear marked for Haiti as is Oxfam. It is easy and it means so much.