Relaxation by snow!

These pictures are of our backyard. We’ve had at least a foot of snow in the last 24 hours. Pretty rare for still being November. But hey, it’s hard to argue with nice BC snowfall!!! What’s really good is the imposed relaxation due to the fact that we don’t really want to venture out driving too badly (yes, us BC drivers are wimps in the snow, but I don’t care…). As you could probably tell by my last post, I haven’t had much time to relax, and when I do, it seems like my mind is still racing. So a snowfall is a good lesson in slowing down and taking a breather.

So if you have a chance, look out the window, or go for a walk, or have a game of “Life” tournament with a special someone (like I did this afternoon!). Just don’t let this beautiful weather just pass us by like we do with so many other things in life. I know it sounds corny, but this snowstorm is just what I needed. A time to prioritize and remember that my life is more than just all of the things I do. Sometimes it just takes a snowstorm to point that out…


self-portrait...

Here is a picture of what I have been up to lately... Yes, my life right now consists of typing papers. What has been nice, however, is that in my spare time I have been able to do some typing...

I feel like a "castaway" in my office, only all I have to look at is trees... Perhaps I will be able to drum up enough energy to return from my deserted island and actually "type" a real post...

More government!!!


Ah yes… Last night I encountered an example of the “Ratchet Effect” at work. It came with the hot topic of global warming. I watched the investigative news show “The Fifth Estate” and it presented the approach that American and Canadian governments have taken towards the global warming issue. It actually ended up being quite depressing in its survey of both governments lack of definite action to fight this very real problem. It has become a game of words allegedly protecting the “bottom line”, rather than a fight for what is “right.” Anyway, my point here is not to critique North American government responses, or lack thereof, but to point out how it is the government that is the central focus towards fixing the problem. The main thrust of this news story was that we need the government to act! The interesting twist was that it was a former government communications expert (who finally admits to the reality of global warming) who challenged this over-reliance on the government, pointing out the need for individuals in society to start making a difference. While I know that government policies could regulate the amount of emissions put out by large companies, is it not also possible that their emissions would drop if our consumption was lowered?

Perhaps more government action isn’t the only solution…

davewear


I came across this website a little while ago. For some reason I liked it... (if you're name isn't Dave, you may not understand). Anyway, my favorites are "tough dave at the office" and "what a difference a dave makes."

Check it out...

Bobble-Head Jesus

Hey, what do you think of the new advertising campaign for the United Church? Perhaps the fact churches feel the need to advertise raises questions in itself…


"Ratchet Effect"

A class I had this week was discussing government in our present society. A concept that stuck out to me was something that could be coined as the “ratchet effect.” What this is implying is that in the response to issues, and particularly times of crisis, there is an expectation that government will respond in an official manner. The interesting thing, however, is that once the crises have been averted, the official response of government remains. What results is a growing government, even when the original issue has been resolved. In fact, we have become so dependant upon this system of government we don’t necessarily even judge the effectiveness of this government response. As long as the government is doing something, the majority of the population is satisfied. Basically, government is being “ratcheted-up,” becoming bigger and bigger.

Ok, here are some examples to support this “ratchet effect” (the links go to government websites)

-U.S. Department of Homeland Security

-this department was created in a response to 9/11.
-Is American society on a whole questioning the effectiveness of this government response to a crisis, or to most people just take it for granted?

-Hurricane Katrina

-The immediate reaction was to ask what the government is doing?

-Social assistance (welfare, EI, etc…)

-This one is more subtle, but coming out of the recognition of social crises in our society, the government has created certain programs to respond.

Well, what’s the point of all this you are wondering? On one hand, it is simply an interesting reality of how our governments function. Recognizing this is not to say it is good or bad. On the other hand, it forces us to consider the degree to which our society is dependant upon government to solve our problems. With government growing bigger and bigger, our lives are increasingly influenced by government institutions. At what point do we become too reliant upon government? Especially in the face of catastrophe… What would happen if humans simply responded out of the reality of our connectedness as humans, rather than a government sanctioned response?

Anyway, I am not implying that we don’t need government or that we need to bypass necessary channels available for crises response or social issues. The question that I am faced with, is to what level do we as society rely on government? Do we possibly rely too much? Also, what role should family, friends, or community take in social issues we face? Then again, perhaps turning to the government is the best response?

Well, something to think about…

doing or being???

Recent discussions have led to me reflecting on the Christian life. More specifically, I have been wrestling with the constant need for us to package faith into a specific list of things we do. And if we get this list just right, well… then life is good, right? Um, I am not so sure…

Unfortunately the biggest cause of anxiety for many people is the question of “what do I need to do to get to heaven?” Well, I have difficulties with this question. Firstly, is the Christian life really summed up with getting to heaven? Perhaps when Jesus talks about his “kingdom” he was referring to a faith that involved life here on earth beyond just some sort of other-world reality. While I am not at all suggesting that heaven will not be a reality, I believe that the Christian life is concerned with now. Secondly, this question centers around the idea of us doing something in order to attain some level of acceptance before God. While our thoughts and actions do impact our faith, they are only a part. Rather than doing “Christian” things, I wonder if God isn’t more concerned with us being Christian… Could the Christian faith be more about being than doing?

How does this look? Well, with the distinction of being over doing, there is the implication that faith is more than just part of our identity, but actually is our identity. Obviously this kind of faith is more than just an intellectual agreement, or a simple trust placed in some sort of greater reality. Faith is life!

Now, making this distinction is just the beginning. How this looks for life or the Christian faith is a question that needs exploring. Hopefully I can discuss this more in the future, and in the meantime if anyone has suggestions, feel free to comment!

buy something to give something?

Some of you may have noticed the link I have to a project called (Red)emption. A friend of mine at Regent College just happened to be watching Oprah (I am sure he was watching just to see Bono...) when they were presenting Product (Red) Campaign. Basically, the point of the whole thing is to get major companies to sell specific products, and then to send a portion of the proceeds to Africa to help fight AIDS. My friend Mike points out that it is great that money is being sent to this very worthy cause (don't feel guilty if you have supported this project!), but he also wonders how it is that we have to be enticed by the prospect of getting something "cool" in order to be motivated to give money. Good point!

Anyway, Mike and a friend of his have decided that perhaps it is possible to raise some money for Africa without having to buy products that we perhaps don't need. Hey, maybe we will actually think about the process of giving money, and not just the prospect of getting a shirt or a pair of "Bono glasses" (direct quote from our good friend Oprah). This is where project (Red)emption comes in. The idea is to get 1000 people to donate $10. All of the money raised (yes ALL) will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. If you aren't too sure about donating $$$ to some guy that Dave mentions on his blog, or you think $10 is too much money, or that AIDS in Africa is a helpless cause, well then go here to listen to Mike's response to some of these concerns...

If you interested in making a $10 donation, go to Mike's website and click on "make a donation" on the top right corner.