Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wendy's Words of Wisdom

"pain is pain"

we were in discussions with someone who is going through a hard time and that person tried to minimize her problems in light of the stuff that Wendy has had to deal with. i was astounded by the depth of grace, empathy and strength Wendy showed as she wouldn't let someone else's pain be minimized one iota. i was proud of Wendy for "weeping with those who weep".

how often i've heard people minimize my suffering by wondering out loud what pain i could possibly have had to endure. in truth the depth of pain is irrelevant because pain is pain however it is experienced.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween one-upmanship

there has been talk over the decades about how the world likes to scare one another at Halloween. i've never been part of that crowd and after i read this story i was VERY thankful that i'm not.

check this out:

"At this point fear began to grip me, and, though I fought against the notion, I began to worry that this was no longer a game nor a fantasy ride for haunted entertainment. I worried that I had walked into the trap of some profoundly disturbed individual. I was sweating and my heart was racing.

The casket was lowered into a hole in the ground, and I heard dirt landing on top of the lid as sounds from above grew muffled.

I began to cry."

seriously, how can you be sure that this is a joke when its happening to you in the moment? i'd be freaking out and yelling any and all safe words or threats that i could find my in my head.

go read the rest of the story. really, if you like me at all this is a good find so go read that. i suppose if you have some heart troubles or you're a child then maybe you don't want to go there but everyone else go check it out.

via Jordon Cooper

Thursday, October 28, 2010


just think about how many people this represents and the level of need across the board.

via 22 words

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i emailed Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren is coming to Winnipeg next February. he'll be one of the talking heads at the Refreshing Winds Conference held at Canadian Mennonite University from Feb 3-5, 2011. in the past our church community has invited other speakers from this conference to come join our community for worship on the Sunday morning after the conference. let me tell you it kinda freaks out a worship leader on that morning if they realize that someone the calibre of John Bell is sitting amongst us as they lead worship. anyway, i just wanted to invite Brian to join us for worship on that morning, just to see if perhaps he might want to do that. i also would've pitied the homilist on that day at our community.

it was a bit of a difficult experience to find out how to contact him but there was a contact icon that i could follow off so i began with an email. Brian McLaren doesn't know me from any schmoe off the street so i had to figure out how to send an email to him that if it ended up in his spam filter he still might actually read. the contact email icon detailed that if you wanted to invite Brian to speak at your church you could contact him through his representative.

so i fired off an email.

the subject line said "i don't want you to speak, i just want you to join us for worship". i thought that the idea of having no responsibilities on a Sunday morning while he engaged in worship might be of some value to him. here's my email to Brian.


My name is Ian Fergusson and I'm a member of a small ecumenical church community called Grain of Wheat Church-Community in Winnipeg, MB Canada. I'd like to invite you to join our worship service on the Sunday morning that you're in Winnipeg speaking at the Refreshing Winds Conference on Feb 3-5, 2011. The Sunday in question would be on Feb 6/11.
We have a small group of folks who are presently going through A New Kind of Christianity and I might add that I'm enjoying it immensely.
Since you'll be in Winnipeg I was thinking that you might enjoy sitting amongst us for worship. John Bell and Marlene Kropf have both done this very thing with us in the past.
You can respond to me if you like but I just wanted to put the invite out there for you. We'll have many people at the conference that weekend anyway and if you're willing I'll make the arrangements for someone to pick you up and return you to your accommodations after worship.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you're curious I also have a blog where I've posted about you a couple times when some of your thoughts have impacted on me in the past. You could find that at


Ian Fergusson

i didn't know if i'd ever receive a response and if i didn't i wasn't going to take it personally at all. yesterday i received a response from Brian through his representative.

Thanks, Ian - I wish I could come. Thanks for your invitation - it sounds like a great opportunity. Maybe another time! - Warmly - Brian

oh well. i still think it's cool that he took a moment to respond to me personally. he won't be able to join us for worship but still it was appreciated that he considered the offer.

Brian, if you ever read this ... you missed out buddy. i'm still planning on attending the conference so i'll probably mention this interaction to you at that time if i can get anywhere near you.
at any rate, i just appreciate the man and how he has helped me make a little more sense of how i'm viewing my faith. it's not about hero worship or whatever, i just appreciate how the man thinks and i'm willing to debate those areas where we disagree or agree.

so, i emailed Brian McLaren and he was thoughtful enough to respond. cool and peace to you my brother.

Friday, October 22, 2010

the future of the church?

i just found this to be intriguing and thoroughly interesting. it was also very cool to hear from a handful of men that i respect a good deal.

via holy heteroclite

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Staying Alive/Another Brick in the Wall Mashup

Jackie is a Bee Gees fan but this kinda "mixes" it up a bit. you could really confuse some people if you played something like this.

via 22 words

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

i believe ...

i believe ... there is one body and one Spirit; just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

i believe ... that animals break through to your life much more than you think they do. that they ingrain themselves in your soul so that you never forget. never.

i believe ... that dogs are light years better than cats.

i believe ... that its perfectly ok to be an introvert and that means that i don't have to speak up in meetings even when some think that we HAVE to hear from everyone.

i believe ... that the designated hitter isn't truly necessary in Major League Baseball. if you can't play defense then maybe you can't play ball anymore. at the same time Vladimir Guerrero is my fave baseballer who spends a lot of time at DH.

i believe ... that you should absolutely keep your phone away while you're driving and the idea of texting while driving is beyond insane so that i wonder how stupid you could possibly be.

i believe ... that it's rude to point out a mistake when it happens in public. if you think it's funny to tease a busboy by applauding when he drops some dishes then you should try being the busboy.

i believe ... in the breakout pass, the dipsy-doodle, the no-look, the 2-1 fastball, the tight end slant, the kick save (and a beauty), the ground ball with eyes, the duck snort, taking the extra base and hitting it on the screws.

i believe ... in being as honest and frank as i can be, hopefully without sounding like an ass for my frankness.

i believe ... that a person should work for his pay and be paid for his work.

i believe ... that those with multiple barriers need help toward self-sufficiency.

i believe ... we're all in a search for community, for belonging, but few realize it and just call it a desire to be loved.

i believe ... that you mourn with those who mourn and you rejoice with those who rejoice, even if you all you feel is the opposite of the other.

i believe ... that playing the guitar helps me adapt and relieve some stress. i also believe it is not unreasonable to bring along my tunes for a 2 minute walk to the store.

i believe ... that i get absorbed in whatever is happening to me and i routinely forget or neglect to think about how things are affecting those i love. i have to remember to listen and feel more.

i believe ... in giving respect.

i believe ... the Philadephia Phillies are the best team in baseball right now because their pitching is head and shoulders better than any other team in the playoffs. i also believe that the Texas Rangers are going to give the New York Yankees a SERIOUS run at the AL championship.

i believe ... that the Toronto Maple Leafs will NOT go 82-0 this season but i'm still not giving up on the idea that it's possible.

i believe in riding my bike or walking instead of taking my car if at all possible.

i believe ... that my wife loves me deeply despite how dweebish i can be.

i believe ... that God redeems. God takes worthless things and makes beautiful things; that life is being found in me.

i believe. i just believe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Maddie remembered

she was a beautiful thing to behold and she knew it. she was a prancer but she was also fast and streamlined. most of her dog friends have been large but that was no matter, she would leap over them and run circles around them.

we didn't know her birthday so we counted back 15 weeks or so and picked a day in March to be her birthday. the day we selected was actually St. Patrick's Day but we had no clue if she was Irish or not, it's much more likely that she was your typical Canadian. it was a sunny day in June when Wendy asked me if i wanted a dog and i didn't have to think longer than it took for the sound to register in my brain.

she would hang her head out the window in the car and when we'd go for a walk she would want to smell everything and everyone.

she loved and she was good at it. people liked her first because she was a pretty thing and she wanted to be greeted.

she was scared of big trucks, biters, vacuum cleaners, brooms, and being left alone. she was a decent guard dog when she warned me about someone trying to steal my bike and when someone tried to break in the front door. a simple bark was all she needed since the burgler couldn't see that she was mostly harmless.

we'd take a walk everyday before work and she'd chillax in the backyard with Wendy several times a day. when we were away for a couple hours she'd jump in the air outside the window so that all we could see was a bobbing puppy head. when she was a very young pup she would twist her ears so they looked like horns (no i'm not joking) whenever she got excited.

she left us gently during a nap. it was the day after Thanksgiving 10 years after she joined our family. the doc gave her a sedative and she fell asleep as we both comforted her. when she was asleep she was given another injection to stop her heart. she didn't feel a thing which is loads more than the constant pain and discomfort she has been in for the last 4 days.

i cried today and i've cried a lot over the last few days as we said goodbye. i'll always love that little pup.


Maddie is in pain and her situation hasn't improved. when we saw the vet this weekend we were able to get a little pain medication to go along with an antibiotic just in case this was only the case of an infection. this is more than an infection though. the vet has indicated the cyst is necrotic and vascular ... i had to ask what that truly meant and i learned that the situation is dark.

the best decision for Maddie is the worst scenario for me. we have an appt this afternoon where we'll say our goodbyes.

i will always love this soul that has touched mine in so many ways.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

how she saved my life

i was in the deepest darkest emotional hole that i had ever seen in my life. i'd known bouts of depression before but this one was by far the worst i had ever seen before or since.
i was working as a counselor at the residence of an Aboriginal High School in Northwest Ontario. that meant that i was a general all-around parent for 14 adolescent Aboriginals for the duration of the school year. the job was pretty cool actually, they paid me to play road hockey and help with homework. the drawbacks were that i had to eat my own cooking and i was 5 hours drive from home for 5 days at a time.
my depression centred around the thought that i felt i was missing my life when i was not around home to enjoy it. it got to the point that i was weepy all the time, with little or no interest in what was going on in my life. eventually i called the boss from home and said ... "i just can't do it. i'm not coming in to work."
that began a 4 month stint of hiding out in my basement trying to make some sense of my life.

into those depths came a 4 legged angel of mercy. Maddie, my dog, saved my life. on occasion we'd go for long walks during the cold of a Winnipeg winter. we'd walk beside a frozen river while she wandered off leash with so much to see and sniff. you could see the excitement in her body as she ran back and forth, never too far to be away from me but far enough that she could sample the world down by the river. at other times we'd drive to the big park in the middle of town and we'd watch her leap into fluffy snowbanks and jump around like a gazelle on the Serengeti. it was joyful to share in her joy and i was honoured that she was sharing her life with me. when we'd get home she'd happily climb into the cuddle chair with me and she'd fall asleep in my lap as i watched tv.
she saved my life by showing me how to live. she showed me joy and allowed me to share in it.

Maddie is sick. she has had a cyst on her stomach for some time now but it has never been problematic. recently the cyst grew to 2 or 3 times it's normal size and it seemed obvious that it isn't the harmless thing that it used to be. she saw a vet last night and we heard the dreaded "C" word. we don't know if indeed this is the end but it could go either direction ... with what looks like it could very well go the wrong direction. Maddie is bleeding from her cyst and it doesn't look like it's improving.
i've wept a lot today. i've held her and i've been thanking her profusely for all that she has meant to me over the last decade.
she saved my life and i'm mourning that i cannot seem to save hers. i love her immensely.
the joys of life have been significant with her around. i want to be alongside her if this our her last walk together.