Saturday, July 21, 2007

Note On Harry Potter

Well, I've just finished it. No spoilers here. It was an enjoyable day, and I'm happy to report I was not disappointed. What courage and confidence it must have taken to have written it and to have ended it well. I hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One Toilet at a Time

Just a note to share the marvellous work being done by some young people, near and dear to my heart, whom I and my children have been blessed with knowing since they were babies. The last two winters, they visited Cambodia with their parents. Naomi and Jordan came back and, along with others from the trip, and created this website about what they learned and experienced: Doors 2 Cambodia.

One project that come out of it was Naomi's One Toilet at a Time. Read it all, but here are some of Naomi's words:


Toilets are something that people take for granted. Do you realize how many times a day you use the restroom? Some people use the restroom as a place to get away, to take a couple of seconds to catch their breath. Well, imagine not having a place to relieve yourself during the day. Many people don’t have sanitary bathrooms, especially in third world countries. Cambodia is one of those countries where, in some cases, the field is the bathroom for many people. When I discovered this, I knew that I wanted to help out in some way, so I created the project, “One Toilet at a Time.”

. . . .


During January of 2006, I had the chance of a lifetime: I was able to be apart of a delegation that went to Cambodia through RCTC. The purpose of the delegation was to see if it was possible to bring students back to Cambodia as a service learning class. I had a blast being with the people, working and learning. We did many things, such as visiting Angkor Watt, touring the cities and visiting schools. My favorite part of the trip was traveling to some of the provinces to visit the rural schools. While we were at the schools, our group of around 6 people (plus a monk or two) would talk with the teachers, play games with the students, and we would ask the school as a whole how we could help them to succeed. Some of the students asked for school supplies, but more often than not, the young women would ask for sanitary bathrooms. When I heard this, my brain started to turn. We went on to ask other questions, but the subject of bathrooms kept coming up.

. . . .


When I returned home from Cambodia for the second time, I realized that things didn’t have to stop just because I already accomplished one task. The way that I thought about it was this: What if everyone worked for a cause and volunteered some of their time? I also thought of what could happen if people like you spent maybe 2-6 hours each month volunteering for some cause. Volunteering is not necessarily spending money, but instead spending some of your time. Even participating and volunteering in your local town could make a difference in someone’s life or living style! I ask you not to give up your life to try and change the world, but to instead help out and make a difference in one person’s life by starting out small. Eventually, you will end up with something bigger then when you started. You can continue the vibe by picking up the phone and just talking to your elderly neighbor, or better yet- you can make even more the difference in your elderly neighbor’s life by brining her or him cookies. If a 15 year old girl, with the help of others, can raise $3,700, just think what a bunch of adults and children can do together, if everyone decided to work together to make a difference!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Readings on the Gnostic Peril

No time to write, but came across some great things to read.

First, Christopher (Betwixt and Between) offers this in the context of describing his work on his novel and his past writings on Christian cults:
A Christian tradition or parish can be cultish and theologically orthodox! But never for long. Often a dualism arises that so sharply divides the world and church, that Christ's work is lost in the push for some kind of gnosis or want for spiritual knowledge as the Good News to the entire world is lost in the shuffle and some sort of escape begins to define the movement.
(From “Test the Koolaid”).

Second, in his prior essay, “A Shitting God” (thanks Mad Priest for calling it to everyone’s attention), Christopher cites Jason Kuznicki’s incredible “Love and Lust, Selves and Bodies” (at Postive Liberty). I recommend it in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

This, to my mind, is the wonderful thing about romantic love: It unites the body and the soul, and it affirms them both. It doesn’t allow you to reject either one of them. It means that when we are in love with someone, we have to look unflinchingly at who we really are, and at who they really are: a soul. And a body. And you have to say yes to both.
That’s just the beginning – Kuznicki goes on with the implications of this insight, in terms of both human relationships and God. The whole explains better than I ever could why homosexual love is a critical issue not just for the sake of those involved or for principles of justice (as important as both are), but for all humankind.

Put together what Christopher, Jason, and Mad Priest have said and juxtapose it with the view that we are all objects of God’s wrath rather than, by nature, his children (see ”A Matter of the Cross as a stark and fearful warning” - main text and comments), and you have (or at least I have) a much clearer picture of what is dividing Christians. Unfortunately, the division threatens to leave Christ’s real work lost in the shuffle. Time to stop shuffling and get to work.