Monday, 30 October 2017

How do you show compassion to yourself?

Good morning and welcome to this week.  Yesterday's scripture is a passage that is core to the Christian life.  It invites us to love God and to love neighbour and implies that there is an inseparable link between these two actions.  Yet, I have always been intrigued by the end of the passage which reads, "Love your neighbour as yourself."  My life experience suggests that most of us carry around negative messages that hinder us from truly loving and valuing ourselves.  The Gospel of Christ is filled with stories of liberation - liberation from oppression, liberation from injustice and liberation from those negative self-messages.  In the context of the sermon (found at:  ( ) I attempted to apply Jesus' message of personal liberation to individual lives.  I'm wondering what you think about God's encouragement to forgive and accept yourself.  What have you learned about self-compassion in your own life?  I'm be glad to hear from you.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Well the blanket exercise went well in worship last week and we all got a small taste of the experiences Indigenous people have faced in the last 150 years.  We recognize that becoming educated about Indigenous experience is a step in reconciliation but action needs to be a second step.  I imagine that such action involves at least three steps: a survey of our own attitudes; an attempt to meet and genuinely know Indigenous persons; and participation in institutional change wherever possible.  I received an email from Bonnie in which she was connect concern with needed action and I am posting it below (with her permission) for your information.

When Crown land is sold we extinguish Indigenous rights. Put in the context of the Blanket Exercise our provincial government continues to yank away blankets. How can we voice our opposition? A resolution to Presbytery? Letter writing campaign?
Copied below is a link to Trevor Herriot’s blogspot:

see Oct 16,2017 grass notes

I have also copied below the final paragraphs. Please feel free to share and consider a response to this bewildering situation.

Thanks, Bonnie

Our Crown lands—already so scarce in the south because 85% of the land has been privatized—are the last shadows of the prairies we were entrusted to share and protect together under treaty,
 the closest thing we have to land held in common for the benefit of all treaty people. 

If we stand by and let this government sell them off, we will be abandoning any possible renewal of the spirit in which the treaties were signed, and inviting a new form of colonization 

taking us even further from any legitimate social contract with the land and its first peoples.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Good morning.  I'm delighted to see some people taking up the invitation to blog.  On Oct 15 and 22 St. Martin's is considering the call to reconciliation during our Sunday Worship.  On Oct. 15th I reflected upon what I had learned from a friend and aboriginal Elder about residential schools, stereotypes and the need for reconciliation.  My own journey was a movement from stereotype to justice, yet I still had uncertainty about how to engage with Indigenous people and whether they would hold anger towards me.  Although every encounter is unique I have mostly experienced an openness to dialogue.  On Oct. 22nd we will be presenting a version of the blanket exercise during worship to help us understand the variety of historical factors that have shaped the experience of Indigenous people of the the centuries.  I am keen to learn about your thoughts on reconciliation and experiences you have had with Indigenous persons.  Please consider blogging!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Good morning.  I hope that Thanksgiving Weekend was a blessing to everyone with sufficient food and bountiful friendships.  Three important insights came to me as I was preparing the sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday.  They are included in the sermon itself which can be found on the website.  I wasn't pleased with the structure of my sermon this week but believe that the highlights bear repeating.  First is the amazing story of Jody Mitic, a former soldier who lost his legs in combat.  His drive to recover and thrive is most inspiring and can be found on the web in the W5 program on the Invictus games.  His closing comment that he "wouldn't trade the events of his life" caused me to ponder on the idea of living gratefully.  Did he really mean that he wouldn't trade the pain and hardship?  A Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast helped me understand Jody's view a little better.  His quote "You cannot be thankful for every moment, but you can be thankful in every moment" was inspiring and challenging.  He went on to say that in order to be thankful "in" each moment you have to be willing to stop in each moment of your life and truly experience it. You can find this inspiring monk on You Tube. It left me with the conclusion that in order to be grateful "in" each moment we really do need to live an awakened life, being attentive to the opportunities and insights of each moment, even the difficult ones.  What is your experience with living a life of gratefulness?  I'd like to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Power tempered by humility

Thanks to those who are beginning to post.  It is still my hope that this blog could be one of lively dialogue.

In preparing the sermon for Oct. 1st, the word 'humility' stood out for me.  As an introvert I have always found it easier to relate to someone who exhibited reasonable humility.  It feels easier to come alongside such a person.  It can seem more difficult to dialogue with someone who is boldly claiming their accomplishments.  If you've had a chance to watch the sermon you will know that humility soon led me to think about power and how we use it.  Power is neutral - it can be used for empowerment of the self, empowerment of another or, unfortunately, as 'power-over' others.  There are too many examples of people misusing power so that they have 'power-over' others.  

If we are not aware of the ways in which we possess power, we might inadvertently exercise power-over others.  This is where I think humility comes into play.  By advocating for humility God is inviting us to manage our personal power so that it does not become power over others.  Can you identify ways in which you have personal power?  What do you think about humility?  What are the strengths of being humble and are there potential pitfalls to being humble?