Tuesday, August 7, 2018

On homelessness, hopelessness, and the culture we live in

I’ve had opportunity this past while to hone in on homelessness. 

My definition has needed sharpening.  I once asked what we could do for homeless people.  The reply was – “Put them in a home.” 

Simple but true.  Then there would be no homelessness!

. . . Not so simple!

The homeless find shelter on other’s couches or in short term residences.  They are not homeless by definition.  But they are homeless by lifestyle and circumstance.

At the same time, the subculture has a whole set of rules.  We all live by law – the rules that surround our culture.  A subculture lives by two sets of laws. The dominant culture’s and their culture. 

Often the laws clash. 

Our next door neighbour’s house is in foreclosure –they are now homeless.  The commandeered house contents are now sitting in a trailer ready to head to the town disposal site. 

This is where determining the spirit of the law and the letter of the law becomes vital.  In a poverty situation, where the dominant culture is dispensing of “junk”, is that junk then open for retrieval?  When is that retrieval stealing?  When do we argue law and when do we argue grace?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Moved by a moved house

Well, I’ve been off the grid on this blog site for over a month.

Not because I haven’t been busy writing.  I’ve done a number of articles for our local social media – www.kindersleysocial.ca.  I’ve also written an updated marriage ceremony for those who are divorced.  And prepared funeral services.  And written in my daily journal.  And lost of to-do lists!!

That which has occupied me most is the renovation of a house.

The pictures have been on this website and my Facebook account.  The interior has been gutted and renewed.  The exterior has new windows and doors – with a complete new basement.  We like the house enough to consider moving across the street.

What I have found is that I am good at demolition.  Not so excited about the finishing touches.  I enjoy the flow of work but am frustrated by interruptions.  I’m easily distracted by the many items that need cared for, but when focused I drill down into the job.

Learning each day!  Not a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The house obsession

Well, I’ve finally gotten back to my blog site.  I feel like I’ve been away for months – and I have! 

Our current obsession has been a house move.  We brought a farmhouse into town and placed the house on a basement foundation. 

The process has been time consuming and somewhat costly. 

The product has been amazing!  We hope to have the basic renovations done by September.

We’ll see.

See you later!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Good Words to end a concert

I was asked to give the benediction at our community choir presentation on April 15, 2018.  Here is what I said:

    • May the flood of God’s love encompass you.
    • May the support of God’s presence hold us close.
    • May the peace of God keep our hearts and minds safe.
    • May Christ be seen, known, and heard in all we say and do.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cannabis and Me

My latest editorial for Kindersleysocial.ca – March 15, 2018 issue


Cannabis and Me

My Grandmother was a faithful member of the Kindersley chapter of the WCTU. Most of you will have no idea of what WCTU stands for. Let’s just say politics, women’s rights, social equality, all were a part of the WCTU. This movement has been branded as the first women’s rights movement in Canada.

As the Canadianencyclopedia.ca explains: “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) . . . [believed] that alcohol abuse was the cause of unemployment, disease, sex work, poverty, violence against women and children, and immorality, the WCTU campaigned for the legal prohibition of all alcoholic beverages.”

Alcohol?? In the 21st Century, that sounds like a non-starter!

Now that Cannabis (we used to call it marijuana) is about to be legalized, I think I’m a step closer to understanding her passion to limit a social ill!

This past decade I sat on a community committee called KDAWN. Membership over the years included social workers, RCMP, town administration, ministerial and other interested individuals and agencies. We cooperated with the P.A.R.T.Y. program (a secondary school educational program dealing with alcohol), sought to find a way to bring a drug and alcohol rehab center to Kindersley area, and provided educational resources and events regarding drugs and alcohol.

If I didn’t realize the depths of the problem before joining KDAWN, I was soon filled in. While alcohol has been regulated for some time, the social cost has been enormous. While some drugs have been illegal, and others (such as cigarettes) have been legal, the social cost has been enormous.

An attempt to restrict drugs and alcohol in relation to children/youth has met with mixed results. While we claim that this age bracket is too easily influenced and unable to responsibly partake, adults have sometimes served as poor role models! Maybe the adults need to be regulated more stringently as well.

In a recent email circulated to the Kindersley Town Council, I addressed the issue of cannabis. I understand the Council would like to have others provide feedback.

In my email I asked that, while medical cannabis has a place in pain management, the recreational use of cannabis has been documented as harmful to our society (and the second hand smoke has much the same effect as cigarette smoke). I do not think we need a dispensary for recreational use of cannabis in our town – and if individual grow-operations are allowed by the legislation, let’s find ways to make sure both regulation and enforcement are sufficient to restrict harm to our citizenry. Finally, I suggested that the Town Council consider proclaiming a day of mourning for those whose lives are adversely affected by drug and alcohol addictions.

And here I thought Grandma was merely “pushing against” alcohol use. Some will think I’m merely “pushing against” cannabis use.

The truth is, I’m “pushing for”! For a citizenry who are seeking to live healthy lives. For a culture where the heart is set on loving others and not harming them. For an opportunity to be an example, as a region, that we not only seek harm reduction and rehabilitation for those who are addicted, but that we want to be proactive in producing a citizenry whose heart is set on the good of all and not just the pleasure of the individual.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Reflecting on Society

Proverbs 14:9 says:  Fools make fun of guilt.  The godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.

I’m not sure how our society looks at guilt.  I sense we are interested in coping with guilt more than addressing guilt. 

One approach is to completely do away with guilt.  There is no wrong if there is no standard for wrong.  By redefining morality as the erasure of all wrong, we are most likely to end up seeking “my happiness” as our goal.  If happiness is the final and ultimate goal, then the only “guilt” is whatever stands in the way of that happiness.  We are victims of those obstacles – not sinners!

My own approach is to admit that there is a “God”, and that that God has a definite standard of deviation from what is right.  My “happiness” is defined by God’s desires for me, not by my own desires.  If God’s desires are the ultimate goal, then guilt is based in God’s standard.  We are sinners when we stray – not victims.

In the first case, the victim laughs at guilt – dismissing it as a cruel joke of a misguided deity.  In the second case, the sinner recognizes guilt and seeks a way to approach the rule-giver for reconciliation.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

On puns and puzzles

A great thread of comments on a picture of a puzzle rife with shells and ocean beauty.

This is lovely, it makes we want to clam up!

I guess that would keep you from shelling out your resources! (my wife was just waiting for your comment – I think she likes to see what we will flood the ocean of vocabulary with)

Every puzzle holds the pearl of a pun…

. . . I think that you have won (note the rhyme in time).

I have a knack for this, it’s how I have… fun!

Thou are a wordsmith and a punster’s . . . son

With a good pun, oi’ stir it up …hon!

And with that, I have to . . . run

Hmmm….I wonder if they sell pun-free puzzles???
What would they be called???

That’s a puzzling question.

Pun free puzzles? I don’t understand the question. Up is this jig, saw past the pieces to the whole picture.

LOL. Just couldn’t resist asking

Pondering punless puzzles can be a perfectly, perplexing yet precisely, pleasing priority.  Go alliterations!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sitting in Ambrose University Research Library

I love libraries.

They are somewhat sterile areas – protecting the treasure of units contained therein.  They are moving into an internet age, and yet house rare paper volumes.

I’ve been working on a research paper on Funerals.  I believe that the rites and custom of funeral practice give us a good insight into our current and future society. 

We tend to revere, or disregard, the body of the deceased. 

We dispose of the body in sanitary ways (according to government regulation).  We may have them buried, burned, chemically disintegrated, plasticized or used for anatomical study.  We may not have a specific location in which the remains are placed.  We may not visit gravesides.  We may not even care to make “death commemoration” an ongoing practice.

All of this is undergirded by your philosophy of life – and death. 

As a society turns more towards existentialism, secularism and individualism – an afterlife is disregarded.  A body is just another mass of cells comprising an animal mass.

Or is it? 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

While reading through Lent

I love the writing of David Timms (I have mentioned that before on this blog).  We are currently reading through his Lenten devotional (2017) at home (Reflections through Romans – you can pick this up on US Amazon).

I’m also reading this year’s devotionals online.  Today he talked about our faith – and how we sometimes misread the story of Peter – where Jesus says, “Oh, you of little faith, why did you doubt.”  Here are some of those thoughts – you can check them out at https://davidtimms.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/little-faith/

“Little faith” in the gospels is not a criticism but a commendation. Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed (that’s very small) they could move mountains (Matthew 17:20) or uproot mulberry trees with a word (Luke 17:6). Little faith is not a bad thing; no faith is.

Indeed, Peter’s little faith saw him walk on water. The story is not so much about Peter’s failure — which is how we tend to read it — but of Christ’s grace, power, and responsiveness to faith of any size. Perhaps the tone of Jesus’ voice was not frustrated disappointment but gentle admiration.

What happened to bass singing?

I popped onto a marvelous piece of acappella music (https://www.facebook.com/Musicianary/videos/2022499804432042/) reading through Facebook.  As I am listening, I can hear the bass singing away, comfortably making a foundation for the other three parts. 

I moved my computer away from the speaker system that I use to give full-bodied sound for my listening pleasure.  I played the song again.  The small speakers could not take the extended vocal range.  I just heard a trio singing.

Much vocal music that we listen to today is only in the higher frequencies.  Trio parts are featured.  Seldom do you hear a good bass voice. 

Did the transition to three part harmony come because of poor speakers on computers, or . . . ??

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