Monday, November 30, 2009

what's out there?

an open letter to President Obama from Michael Moore as linked by Mike Todd and agreed to by me.

Climategate. i don't think i agree but i'm willing to allow for the difference of opinion so i've been reading this blog for a bit now.

i love clever blogs and this one is definitely well done.

Jesus needs new PR will make you laugh out loud in spots as you laugh at yourself (well ok, you laugh at other Christians). don't take yourself so seriously.

crazy church signs by Chad Estes. some of these made my skin crawl.

even if you only read the Background story to this blog you'll be hooked but there's lots more to be checking out at Jesus or Squirrel?

best i can tell Of Wool and Water seems to be a buddy of Of all the Liars in the World. both blogs are honest and beautiful in their own way.

another tongue in cheek blog. can you tell i like this sort of stuff?

with our American friends just past Thanksgiving i LOVED this post at You had me at Idiot about the observations of a non-praying person around prayer and Thanksgiving. it's funny and again, don't take yourself seriously.

Grey Cup 97

that is why the officials count the players on EVERY play. it's heartbreaking for the Rider fans to lose like that but at the same time the Alouettes came back from 11 pts down in the last couple minutes of the game.

it's been a great year for football, and for many it'll be an UNFORGETTABLE year and an unforgettable play to end an unforgettable year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

prayers for the first week of Advent

found in "The Book of a Thousand Prayers" compiled by Angela Ashwin

Christ our Advent hope,
Bare brown trees
Etched against a wintry sky,
Leaves fallen, rustling,
Ground hard and cold,
Remind us to prepare for your coming:
Remind us to prepare for the time
When the soles of your feet will touch the ground,
When you will become one of us,
To be at one with us.

Kate McIlhagga

Your coming is like freedom to the prisoner,
Like the return of those long captive.
You are the movements of the dance I had forgotten,
You are the face of satisfied desire.

My soul is stirred for you, my beloved,
I cannot contain my heart:
For you have seen my longing,
And your eyes are dark with love.
Your love is stronger than death,
Your passion more relentless than the grave.
You will but speak the word, and I shall be healed;
Though your touch is the touch of a stranger,
Yet is your voice my home.

Janet Morley

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jordon Cooper - end child poverty in Canada

Jordon Cooper is one of those blogs in Canada that people need to be reading. he works for the Salvation Army in Saskatoon and sometimes the dude just hits stuff on the head so hard that it cannot be ignored. i work as a welfare worker but by comparison Jordon has a much better feel for the pulse of the poor in Canada than i do. i think it must be because he sees it every day and he must have a heart for the poor.

you absolutely MUST READ THIS POST by Jordon, part of which quotes Ed Broadbent.

i'm serious, go read that.

what are you still doing reading this, go read that.

Jordon just plain owns. well done.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

dark dreams tonight

i woke especially early this morning, the only morning this week where i could actually sleep in, because i was disturbed by the direction of my own sleepy thoughts. i don't take much stock in dream interpretation except that i see dreams as an indicator of what i'm pondering while awake ... and that's why i'm bothered by my dreams. the thoughts i've been pondering during the day have not been particularly dark and yet my thoughts at night, well they were dark. i won't get into it because it wouldn't enlighten you and it'd only embarrass me.
i cannot let fear take ahold of me. i am loved and i am supported much more than i know. i will be prayed for today just like i was prayed for yesterday. even if i'm in the dark i am not alone. Jesus is there and the Spirit will bring light where there has only been darkness.

Abba, speak truth to the dark spaces of my life. bring light where there is only confusion and darkness in my life. show my path to me and even if i cannot see the path then hold my hand and lead on.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

22 days til Copenhagen

very very soon World Leaders will meet in Copenhagen to address climate change issues in this world. the Kyoto Accord will need updating and my own country will need to take responsibility for its own share of the mess we've created with our greenhouse gas emissions. you'll find below a letter that i, as well as many in my community, will be sending to my Member of Parliament so that these matters can begin to be addressed. i'm also seriously considering firing this same letter off other MP's and perhaps to the Prime Minister himself.
it should be noted that actual letters carry more weight in caucus as opposed to an email since its more labour intensive to write and send in a letter. my own letter will pretty much look the same as the one i post below.

Proposed Letter to
Pat Martin, MP Winnipeg Centre
892 Sargent Ave
Winnipeg, MB
R3E 0C7

Dear Sir,

I am writing you to urge you to call for immediate federal government action to substantially reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific evidence indicates that we must reduce these emissions by 25-40% based on 1990 levels before 2020 if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Canada has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Canada is also standing in the way of a meaningful global agreement on reducing these emissions which will diminish the future of our children and our children's children. Other wealthy oil producing northern countries such as Norway have made these commitments. Canada must not be left behind - part of the problem rather than part of the solution. This is not the Canadian way.

I am committing to doing my part. I am personally committing myself to:

1) Walking or using the bus to travel to work rather than using my car (1 tonne/yr CO2).
2) Improving the heating efficiency of my house by at least 25% (1-2 tonnes CO2/yr).
3) Purchasing organic produce (to reduce the use of GHG producing fertilizers)(unknown but substantial).

But this won't be enough. We need Canada wide policies. As my representative in the Federal Government, I urge you to make a similar personal commitment and to insist that Canada become a leader rather than a problem in facing the greatest challenge of this century.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Fergusson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stand by me

i won't be afraid, just as long as you ... stand by me

it gets me every time.

i've seen this video several times actually but most recently it was posted by Post Modern Pilgrim

Friday, November 20, 2009

there is enough

Judas used to hold the purse. he was the money man at a time when we didn't have or need much money in the first place.
the boys were all relaxing away the hours when Mary came in. she had a "history" apparently and i wasn't the only one who got a little uncomfortable whenever she came on the scene so she could hang around Jesus. we all wanted to hang around Jesus so i get that she wanted that too, i just got queezy whenever she showed up. she's a nice person i suppose but i just couldn't get past the shivers that went down my spine when i thought of her life before Jesus. Jesus talked a lot about forgiveness and how those who are forgiven much have more to be thankful for but it was always too much of a leap for me to look past the history of this woman and see her forgiven future.
i found myself agreeing with Judas on this occasion. i can't believe that i'm admitting that.
Mary broke into our serenity scene. the boys were all enjoying our meal, our time with Jesus without all the bustle that seemed to happen whenever we weren't sequestered away somewhere. Mary came in like she owned the place and she went straight to Jesus. she didn't bother to ask any of the "boys" if we thought it might be ok, she just barged in and immediately went to see the master. she carried a little glass jar, i didn't know what it was until she broke it open.
the smell filled the room. it was a beautiful. the windows were open so i'm sure that people passing by must've smelled it too. people stopped and lingered nearby. it's not at all often that you come across a smell like that in your daily battles. in most scenarios a perfume like that is a burial perfume so people save up all their lives to have something like that available when the time comes that it's needed. who was supposed to be dead anyway?
Judas was indignant. hey, we were all indignant, Judas was just more vocal about it. Judas was saying (i was agreeing) that this stuff could've been sold for a year's wages and we could've really helped the poor with this. he was right, we could've done a lot with the money that came from that perfume. now it was splashed on the master's feet and she had dried things up with her hair.
don't get me wrong. we later all learned what Judas was about but we still could've helped some real folks with the funds that came from something like this. i was most struck by Jesus' reaction.
he said, "there is enough". his Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and there is enough for this and for more. Mary would be remembered for lavish praise and the gospel is about much more than good news for the poor. she is remembered for lavish praise and that is not a waste.

Jesus was saying, "you're not poor; you're not rich either but you're not poor." you have an inheritance and your Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God has more for you and there is enough to cover this expense and much more.

Jesus wasn't saying that God wants you to be rich, he was saying you're not poor, and there's a difference there. if the Father can care for a sparrow and a lily then He'll definitely be able to watch over you too.
it just hadn't occurred to me that Jesus' riches went a lot deeper than whatever coin was carried in Judas' purse.
there is enough. there is more and your Father has enough to meet your need.

i can still smell that perfume and i hope the smell of that worship lasts for millenia.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Octopus love

h/t to centuri0n for finding this

Shane writes to unbelievers

i read Jesus for President last year ... and it started to change how i do some things. it changed me a little bit politically, it reinforced some already existant views toward peace and most importantly it opened my eyes more toward the poor. Shane is recognized among evangelicals and emergent alike as a guy who rocks the boat, and rightly so because the boat needs more rocking if you ask me. he writes an incredible treatise on what the gospel REALLY is instead of what is seen in our supposed Christian culture. he apologizes to everyone who doesn't believe or no longer believes because they have been turned away by those who claim they're following Christ.
it's an incredible read and it'll only take you a minute.

h/t to captain estes for finding this

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

what happened to the Prodigal's boss?

time's are hard. i'm fortunate enough to have a little set aside but really ... there's a famine going on. it's a miracle that i can keep a few farm animals alive as i find some meager things to feed them. it's even hard to find servants who'll work with them. who wants to sink so low as to work with pigs? i was lucky to find this Jewish kid, at least i knew that he wouldn't kill and eat the pigs, he just doesn't want to go that far.
funny story. this kid was actually carousing around town for the last year or so. he was spending everything he had as he trolled from bar to bar and went from woman to woman. since i happen to own one of those establishments where he's spent much of the last year then i've been a happy recipient for all that coin that he's been throwing around. he kept my other business interests alive as he spent his way toward my pigpen.
man oh man has this kid fallen a long way ... but what do i care? it's gotten my other interests into great stead and it's on its way to getting my farm interests into another good stead.

what do you mean he's leaving? he can't leave, i've got him just where i want him. just where i need him. the fact that he's miserable is just his own fault.

what am i supposed to do now? how's a guy supposed to support himself in a famine when i don't see any other young punk out spending his inheritance? well, there's lots of poor folk around, i'll be fine. won't i?

God's Economy

I want to introduce you to a guest poster, my buddy Craig who is a fellow member of my church community, a pastor type, a bright light, and my guitar teacher. Craig leads our adult teaching time called Definitely NOT Sunday School (you can see a link to the right under "my church community's blog") and this past Sunday we welcomed Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove into our circle for a little story telling and mutual equipping. It was a brilliant hour that I loved and it has already given birth to a couple other post ideas that I hope to run with down the road.
I know that the experience of sitting and listening to Jonathan during our DNSS time has caused me to want to go out and read his books. I plan to start with "The New Monasticism" before moving on to "God's Economy" and I expect that both are going to be great reads.

and now, here's Craig.

I have long believed in the power of story, I've always been a voracious reader, and eventually I became a writer. I think this happens a lot. What captures me in a book is the writer's voice - and I don't mean "tone" here, I mean the choice of words, the way the sentences flow, the cadence, all the things that allow me to disappear into the story. When I am reading a great book, I sort of forget that I am reading - rather, the events are just unfolding in front of me. It is like I am sitting on a porch and listening to a really good storyteller.

I've read some of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's work, and was captured by his gift of story. He could talk about Martin Luther King, the story of Mary and Martha or his mom's chocolate pies, and he had me... right there on the porch, engaged and leaning in. What a delight it was to actually hear him speak this Sunday. I love seeing someone using a gift with such joyful abandon. Some storytellers fall in love with their own stories, and it shows - they delight a little too much in the cleverness of the tale, or put a bit too much of themselves into the telling. It is difficult to articulate what I mean - but I think you have probably heard this sort of storyteller.

What I love about Jonathan's stories is that he might know he is a gifted storyteller, but he understands where that gift has come from. He speaks with a gentle ease, and you get the sense that he just came upon these stories, and said, wow, look at these... these are beautiful little morsels. I think I should share them. And that is the grace part. Jonathan's faith shines through his stories, and it's not a fairytale kind of pious faith where everything is beautiful and shiny. Listening to him at DNSS, and then later as he preached at St. Benedict's table, I knew that he struggled just like we do. He didn't have all the answers, and didn't pretend that he did. He was just a storyteller, going down the road, talking about the world, the things he's seen, the people he met, and the God he knows. He knew where he got his gift, and I am delighted that he shared some of those beautiful morsels.

Check out Jonathan's website at:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

football season ends

that's me, front row 3rd from the right. i was the Side Judge at the Division 3 High School Final. the game was relatively uneventful but it was a ton of fun. the referee (the guy in the white hat) is my buddy Tom who is probably my closest friend in officiating and the guy who roped me into officiating football. just to be assigned to a Final is significant but to get the white hat is a special plum that indicates the type of season you've had. i'm happy for Tom and i'm happy for me.

til next year boys.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Larry Norman

i still miss Larry Norman. he's moved on to much better things ever since he passed in Feb 2008 but my mp3 is still full of his music. i found this embed at The Thinklings and thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i have some "issues" with the CSI franchise

CSI is running a trilogy this week, and i've been watching. they've been involving characters from all 3 series in order to tell an ongoing story. the main character so far has been Dr. Ray Langston played by the wonderful Laurence Fishburne. i've been watching and enjoying, if i ignore those things that i don't like about the franchise.

1) everyone is gorgeous and brilliant - i have NEVER seen a work environment where everyone could be a runway model and yet they're portrayed as the most brilliant of geeks who would've had to spend their first 25 years surrounded by testtubes and bunson burners. seriously, how am i to believe that Natalia Boa Vista is supposed to be a scientist? you mean she gets to be brilliant AND she stops traffic just by walking around outside?

i suppose i could understand if there was ONE pretty scientist in the franchise but they are ALL pretty scientists. even the dudes are pretty. the only normal looking folks on any of the shows appear to be the Lieutenant types in Las Vegas and Miami. i say that because Flack in New York is also a pretty boy. i've NEVER seen a work environment even close to any of these work environments. i mean, i've fairly average looking but i might be the among the best looking folks in just about any work environment i've been a part of, and that says nothing of the level of brilliance that is around me in any of the plethora of jobs i've had.

2) Horatio Caine is the new James T. Kirk - remember all the jokes that used to be made about how mono-syllabic William Shatner was as he played Jim Kirk on Star Trek? Horatio is just plain smarmy. how do writers get away with these one-liners as he puts on his sunglasses and says, "that's not a threat, that's a guarantee" (cue the screaming music).

3) this is beneath you Gary Sinise - Sinise has got mad acting skills. he was Christoper Walken-bad-guy good in Ransom if you've ever seen that. he had a very interesting cameo as the Marshal in The Quick and the Dead; i thought he stole the show in Apollo 13 and of course he was phenomenal as Lt Dan in Forrest Gump. it's a shame that CSI: NY may be what he is recognized for at the end of the day.

4) Laurence Fishburne is no slouch either - when i think of Fishburne i think the Matrix flicks, where he was amazing. he's also done Shakespeare on film where me played Othello. he played an excellent Sheriff alongside Sean Connery in Just Cause which i really enjoyed and he had a bit part in one of the most underrated movies of all time, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

5) they've gotten rid of some of their best characters - Warrick Brown may've been their most human character. he had a gambling problem, he made very human mistakes, he had a son he hadn't known about and he knocked heads with many in authority. and they killed him off. incidentally, that dude was gorgeous too. Gil Grissom wasn't gorgeous and his quirkiness added to the franchise much more than any other character in all 3 series.

6) they seem to be showing a lot more violence ast the seasons go on - my wife and i agree on this point. i've always been a bit queezy when they do the medical closeups of bones snapping or bullets ripping through flesh or something and there are regular times that i just avert the eyes. i guess i'm saying that just because you have a cool technology doesnt mean that you have to show it for all the world to watch.

so ... this doesn't affect the fact that i keep watching all 3 shows, because i do. i'm a bit bummed at losing Warrick, Grissom, Delko and even Tim "Speed" Speedle but i'm still watching. i've enjoyed this trilogy as Dr Ray (Fishburne) has been the main focus trekking through Miami, New York and finally returning home to Las Vegas tonight. in general i like the franchise, i have my issues but i still watch and enjoy. i hope you do too.

and now shallowfrozenwater is proud to close with Horatio Caine; "at CSI Miami, we never close" (puts on his sunglasses and cues screaming music) and we bloggers never close either.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the prophet Jeremiah

y'know how some people remind you of Bible characters as you interact with them? there's one believer in my community that when i hear him speak and when i interact with him on our journey together i often think of the prophet Jeremiah. it is traditionally held that Jeremiah wrote the books that are attributed to his name, in particular i want to shed some light on the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
i went to lunch with Jeremiah today, he treated and he additionally blessed me as we discussed our life and how the walk can get dark but there are are also moments of hope. my Jeremiah said to me today, "it is during the times that are darkest when you feel like you are completely alone that God most desperately wants to break through into your life and provide you with the hope that you so desperately want". we discussed hope and faithfulness and how they are related since the darkness breeds a need for faithfulness and faithfulness will bring about hope. as i think about my own struggles i very literally said that faithfulness can be a strength for me but hope is still a desperate need. Jeremiah built me up as i considered my own need for hope.
we discussed the cloud of witnesses that the writer to the Hebrews (whoever she was) wrote about. i expressed my own joy at the thought that saints gone by could be cheering me on even though i believe a better interpretation of the passage talks about how the testimony of faith of those saints gone by is the example we need to emulate. i mentioned that i think it may be a Catholic thought but i'm ok with the idea that my grandparents, that St. Francis, that St. Stephen could be cheering me to the finish line. Jeremiah quickly pointed to saints who haven't passed yet and yet they provide light and hope for the journey everyday. he mentioned one of "his" saints who has not passed yet but has been a reservoir of hope for him. i told Jeremiah that i loved him and i thanked him for bringing hope to my life. he had an abysmally rough week and yet he found the strength to minister to me today.
you have people like this around you. they lament and they find hope and joy in the faithfulness of God.
thank you Abba for saints gone by and for saints who surround us with light everyday. bless Jeremiah, grant him peace and bring continued hope to his walk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GoD and DoG

hattip to Following Frodo

Hate it here

Wendy's halfway across the country in Victoria while i waste away here in Winnipeg. this clip is Wilco and it tells the story of a guy who's partner has left. the story actually refers to a partner who isn't coming back and that isn't the case in my situation if you know the song and were about to panic for my sake. the song was introduced to me by guys like Craig and Andrew who are both big Wilco fans and well, i just love some of the lines in the tune. i truly do hate it here when Wendy's not around, my life feels like it goes right to crap if i don't have her steadying influence around me.
i had football all weekend so there was no time to think for the first few days she was away but then Monday came and the anxiety was palpable as i rode my bike to work. my own insecurities and loneliness caused me to worry about what things would be like without Wendy in my life and how i truly would Hate it Here in some senses, but then i remember that i don't have to live in those depression and anxiety moments and i am not alone.

i don't know how helpful it is for me to dwell on this thought but i truly do miss her when she's not around.

dispenser of hope

i loved the tv show MASH for a lot of years. near the end it got way too political in an attempt to be relevant but whatever. as the series ended Hawkeye had a bit of a mental breakdown and i remember a metaphor from that time of the show that just struck me. Hawkeye said that his job was to "pull bodies out of a sausage grinder without going insane" and i've sometimes thought about how that relates to my life and my job.
i'm a welfare worker. i see desperate people everyday and i see all sorts of need everyday. most of the stuff that i can provide within my job is the band-aid solution of "here's a pittance to keep yourself alive, now the best thing for you is to go find some work so that you don't have to rely on income assistance any longer". that's definitely just a band-aid though (in it's best light), the best medicine that i have for folks who are desperate ... is hope.
i pull bodies out of a social sausage grinder, hopefully without going insane. i want to be encouraging, i want to provide hope, but it's so hard when things are so very bleak and folks have little to no options and a plethora of barriers.
i wish i could tell you stories but i can't, i have to protect people's confidentiality.
this concept extends to my blogging practices also. i try to leave encouraging comments when i visit your blog. sometimes i'm blind to what is the encouraging thing to say and how it is that i can try to send some hope your way but know this, when i don't know what to say then i still try to say a little prayer of thanks that i've found you amidst the struggle. i understand that some folks must think that it's creepy or flirty for a stranger to leave a comment that tries to speak to the darkness that they're in but that is not my intent. we need to spread hope in whatever corner we are in and it doesnt matter to me if i've actually met you or not. i want to encourage because we're in the struggle together, we belong, and we all need hope.
give hope. people need it. they want to hear encouragement and they aren't hearing it anywhere out there in dark and cold. pull bodies out of social, spiritual and emotional sausage grinders. be a dispenser of hope.

i pray for a blessing of grace, peace and hope in your life.