Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today ...

In a chilly and relentless wind,
we pause at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,
to remember ...
those who have fallen,
those who came home changed,
those who stand proudly in uniform.
Today we remember.
Lest We Forget.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Weekend of Remembrance ...

This weekend we pause at the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month simply to remember ...

To remember the cost of our freedom ...

To remember the sacrifice of too many young men and women ...

To remember the futility of war ...

To remember the bravery of those who serve our Country in uniform ...

And most of all:

To remember the precious gift that Peace truly is ...

This weekend we pause to remember ... and to live that remembrance:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place;
and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.

Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lieIn Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch;
be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tis the Season for Generosity ...

It is interesting ... today I've been sitting listening to CBC radio and so far I've learned a few things worth considering ...

The first is - with the Canadian Dollar being higher (finally) than its American cousin, people are seemingly heading south in pursuit of bargains ... cars, stereos, food, computers and a HUGE number of other consumer items that are cheaper "over the border" is motivating people to head south on weekend shopping trips ... what offends me MORE in this conversation is the simple fact that CBC Winnipeg is doing a "where's the best bargain" segment on the early morning show to promote the exodus of our capital to American markets ...

The second is the Stats Canada revelation that the median donation of Canadians to CHARITIES is 250 per year - 250 dollars per year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's outrageous ... in a nation as wealthy as ours, we should be ashamed of our LACK of generosity, and our skin-flint ways ...

Those two realizations made me think about the season we NOW find ourselves in ... Tis the Season of Generosity wherein we find Christian Churches busily assembling shoeboxes full of useless crap (western consumer stuff) to send to "poor underprivileged" children in the third world through:

I have LONG had a problem with this programme ... I object to their insistence that those children who receive the boxes have to be part of a CHRISTIAN church, leaving countless children staring from the outside as the boxes are distributed ... I object MORE strongly to the lack of infrastructure that comes with these boxes ... Showing up once a year and handing out stuff that is NOT part of the indigenous culture, and is dollar store crap that is NOT needed, is NOT an ACT of CHARITY ...

Instead I have advocated the support of on the ground agencies who address issues of hunger and poverty by building up the community rather than focusing on conversion and handing out presents once a year and calling that adequate.

The other day I had a conversation with an employee of the Mennonite Central Committee in Winnipeg who shared with me his frustration with the Operation Christmas Child - he said - "they don't prioritize schools, or health centres, or helping the other 11 months of the year. Their objective is converting them to a specific form of faith, and convincing people here in Canada that that is MORE than enough ..."

Amen, I said ... We talked about how as a culture we fail to be generous, we fail to think about the full impact of our decisions ... Our conversation turned to the cross-border shopping and we agreed that no one searching for a "bargain" in the US considers the loss of tax money and the lack of real money that is NEEDED to sustain things in Canada like our health care and education systems ...

I can say honestly that I have ALWAYS prioritizes shopping locally, and keeping as much of my money in the LOCAL economy rather than even spending it in the nearby urban centre, and I have NEVER gone shopping over the border, even when we lived a mere 40 blocks from it in Langley ... I want to keep my Canadian money in Canada wherever and whenever possible. I enjoy our education, health care and all the things that come from our tax dollars - and I make my decisions accordingly.

I'm also proud to look back over the number of school kits I have watched assembled and donated to the Mennonite Central Committee in recent years, and knowing that along with each school kit comes a commitment to Community development, I can say that I have through my tiny contribution made a REAL difference without promoting a specific form of "Christian" faith, and sharing needless and pointless consumer culture with children who need food and education first and foremost ...

Hmmm ... makes me think ... maybe one day people will think about being both a conscientious and ethical consumer ... right now we've become a culture of selfish and short sighted people who have forgotten how to use their wealth in proactive and healthy ways ... instead we look out only for numero uno, and ignore the widows and orphans among us ... Today perhaps like never before the words of a wandering rabbi might well be heeded - before it's too late ...

One can always hope ...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

We're Back ...

Effective Immediately,
this blog will have
absolutely NO association
of any kind with
Minnedosa United Church,
The United Church of Canada,
or any formal religious
group, agency, or organization.
This site will be a place where
musings are offered,
thoughts are shared,
and comments are made
ME !!!!
and only me.
I tried to do something different here,
but too many people weren't ready,
the direction along with the name,
will change
and new courses shall be charted,
Not sure what I'll do here ...
but I just want to make it clear:
Today is a NEW day!!!!