Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

My Song is Love Unknown

 

For me this is the hymn that makes Good Friday. I am only sorry that they don’t sing all the verses. Take a moment and listen and reflect on the loving actions of Jesus and hope for resurrection.

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How to make sense of it all……

This week has been pretty rough here in Canada. There is a lot of bad news going on. It has been a rough week in other parts of the world as well. A dear friend of mine from Regina, put this up as her Facebook status recently:

Sometimes I think we live in a world gone mad! Schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria to face God knows what horrors – five innocent students stabbed to death in Calgary for no apparent reason – and on and on. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to live life in a vacuum oblivious of what is happening all around us – even in our little city of Regina. But life comes with its horrors along with its joys.

The question that has been rattling around in my head the last couple of days is how to make sense of it all. Where is God when homes are getting flooded in Quebec? Where is God when a young man for unknown reasons at this point kills 5 other young people in Calgary? Where is God when a 15 year old boy stabs random people in a mall in Regina? Where is God when a woman is beaten again by her partner? Where is God when another family is forced to leave their home because of the violence in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine? Where is God when a child, an adult, is sexually assaulted by someone they know and trust? Where is God when communities are wracked by generational violence? Where is God?

Then I remember that we are in the midst of Holy Week. The most emotional, violent, horrifying, upsetting, crucifying week of the Christian year. A week where Jesus’ friends thought the world they were living in had gone mad. They arrested Jesus! They beat Jesus! They made Jesus carry his own cross! They crucified Jesus! Where is God? Where is God?

Crucifixion

The answer is, at least for me, is that God is in the midst of all that messy, ugly violence that can overwhelm us. That God in Jesus hung on that cross, for us, because of us, with us. That God is with us, no matter what, no matter how badly we screw up, not matter what, no matter how much we hate, no matter what, God is with us.

Tonight begins the great Triduum. I along with Christians around the world will be remembering, watching, praying the acts of Jesus. We will be singing, lamenting, confessing and making our way to reconciliation. We will ask ourselves where is God and we will find God in the midst of us, in the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, in the betrayals and denials, in our world gone mad. This is how we will make sense of it all. Just this. It will be enough. It will be Grace.

 

 

I feel a rant coming on…

The dear one would tell you to watch out. For when I say I feel a rant coming on it usually means that some injustice has just smacked me in the face again and I have to , have to say something about it to someone and that someone is usually him. Today I am going to share my rants with all of you. These are in no particular order, just what has been on my mind lately.

caution-rant

1. I am so tired of adult women in television programs, movies and any other media you can think of being called girls! Call them young women if they are under 30. Call them mature women if you want. But please, please don’t call them girls. I have two adult daughters  – they are young women, they are not girls. They are adults who make adult decisions everyday. I also have an adult son – he is a young man. You can make a bet that you don’t go thinking of him as a boy, I sure don’t! So why on earth do we accept that it is okay to call women girls – we are not girls, we are WOMEN! (Yes I am shouting now!)

2. People who tell indigenous Canadians to just get over residential school trauma. As if that kind of trauma that was caused by 7 generations of children being taken away from their families can just be gotten over. I mean, really, if we had 7 generations of children taken away no one would be telling us to just get over it. That kind of trauma will take generations of recovery, the hard work of reconciliation and we all of us in Canada better get on board with that.

3. People who don’t vaccinate their kids because they think it might cause autism (disproven folks, look it up!) and then complain when there is an outbreak of measles or whooping cough or polio or whatever. Vaccinate your children, I did, many of us did and it is time for us all to step up on this one. I am sure none of us want to see thousands and possibly more children dying of preventable diseases!

4.When the leadership of the Church of England or the leadership of any church spouts nonsense that it is because of Christians in North America or the United Kingdom who support the rights of LGBTQ people that this is the cause of sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians in Africa and that by our support we are putting the lives of Christians at risk. This is such bollocks that it makes me want to spew! Please, can we not name sin when we see it as sin (violence of any kind) and not try to triangulate and blame people who are acting in good faith in other countries for it. I will, and I know many other straight Christians who will as well, continue in my support for LGBTQ folks and their rights in Canada and around the world.

5. Can we humans just get over the whole climate change denial thing? We created the problem, now let’s use all the amazing intelligence I know is out there and fix the problem. We need to figure out how to stop putting some much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and we have to get better prepared  for all the changes that are happening. Whose with me on this one?

I can think about whole bunch of other things to rant about – mental health stigma, domestic violence, rape culture, the state of mainline churches today, why evolution is important, why science is important, why poverty matters – but they will have to wait for other blogs.

What gets you ticked off and ready to rant? How do you want to change the world for better today? What do you need to stand up and shout about today?

P.S.  There should have been links to fill in some of the gaps of what I am ranting about today, but I know you are all intelligent readers and can go find that out for yourselves.

 

 

 

Truth & Reconciliation: Are we up for it?

Teepee & Sacred Fire I spent three days at the national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in Edmonton recently. Three long days. Three hard days. Three amazing days. I am just beginning to process those days and one of the ways that I can do that is by writing about it.

I am a white person of British stock – born in England to be exact – whose family moved to Canada when I was a little girl. I am a settler that came with a family to have a better life than they could have back in England. We got that better life. I got a good education, I married a good man, I raised with him three good children. I have seen a lot of this country. I have been privileged by the colour of my skin and I know it.

I learned about ‘Indians & Eskimos” when I was in primary school and when I took my one required Canadian history subject in high school. I did not learn about residential schools. I did not learn that the Canadian government wanted to ‘civilize the savages’. I did not learn that children were forcibly taken out of their parents arms and sometimes didn’t come home for 10 years. I didn’t know that the education they received was less than adequate. I didn’t learn that children were physically punished for speaking their own language and that some of them were sexually abused by people they were supposed to trust. I didn’t learn that the church that I was growing up in had been complicit. What I did learn growing up was that you couldn’t trust an ‘Indian’. That all ‘Indians’ are drunk. That ‘Indians’ are given a free ride by the government. I learned racism and stereotype.

It was during the late ’80’s and ’90’s that I learned to unlearn much of what I had been taught. That I began to have my eyes opened to the horror of racism and in particular the horror of residential schools. I was shaken to my core and realized that I like many other Canadians and in particular Anglican Canadians had much to repent of and much to learn. I knew that it was time for me to listen and not to speak. Time for me to absorb and then figure out what I had to do.

In 1993 then Archbishop Michael Peers made this apology on behalf of all of us in the Anglican Church of Canada to the indigenous peoples of this land. We have all been on journey of healing, forgiveness, truth and reconciliation since then. I was challenged then and have been challenged since to live into this apology and to live into a way of reconciliation. I truly believe that this was a turning point for the church that I belong to. It was a turning point for my church and for me. I realized I had to pay attention and to learn. I am fortunate that because of where we used to live, Kenora, Ontario and the work I had there that I had access to some wonderful indigenous teachers who shared their stories with me.

Now we come to Edmonton and the final national event. A time for truth telling, honest listening, tear sharing, laughter, humour, honesty and oh so much more. I sat in on panels, was available at the Churches Listening Area, listened during a sharing circle, heard people give their testimony to the commissioners, ate food with people. I found hope, forgiveness and a real willingness to change the story of Canada. I also found determination that this story not be forgotten. I was reminded that there were seven generations of children who went to residential school and we shouldn’t expect 5 years of a truth and reconciliation process to fix that or for all the brokenness to just go away. I witnessed survivors children and grandchildren telling about their own resilience and their own healing. I heard about resilience of cultures, languages and people who did not give up and were not destroyed despite what past governments may have desired.

I saw our church be present, be available as listeners, volunteer and take part in conversations. I witnessed our church give its expression of reconciliation. I saw heartfelt moments of forgiveness. I saw grace being offered by those who had been hurt and  grace being accepted by those whose institutions had done the hurting. I came home tired, feeling grateful, blessed beyond measure and feeling purposeful.

I am aware of how much work needs to be done. I am aware of so many relationships that need to be restored. I am aware of how much I still need to work on my own racism and privilege. I am aware of the work that my church is doing and will continue to do. I am aware that truth sharing and reconciliation making is hard but necessary. I am also aware of the people who out there who say isn’t it time for ‘them’ to get over it and that is one of the reasons why I will continue to speak out and do this work. I am committed to keeping my church’s toes to the fire and reminding them why this is important.

I am for truth sharing and reconciliation making. Are you as a Canadian? Is your church community? Is your hometown? Are we up for it?

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