Sunday, March 19, 2006

Photo Incognito

I can't get that photo in my profile to display. I don't know if it's a location setting or a size issue.
If anyone has an answer I would appreciate hearing from you.

The Wonderful Cross

Here is the chorus from the hymn, "Thge Wwonderful Cross."

O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless
Your name

We sang this at church this morning. It humbles me to think of the agony that my Saviour endured for my sake.
He carried God's judgement on my sin; that I should be baptized in his blood to "truly live." Oh how "Sorrow and love flow mingled down," from the torture of that rugged cross.

You will note my use of the term "baptized." It is so as I witnessed a baby being baptized too. I have adhered to the sacrament that baptism should be restricted to older children and adults because of their cognitive ability to discern the significance of the agreement that they are participating. How, I used to think, can an infant be cursed by sin? It is said this sin comes by nature. Physically that infant has done nothing that is sinful. However, humanity is all tainted by the Fall -- that sin which was conceived by Adam and Eve. So just as I am sinful, and was the reason why Christ went to the cross, then it bvecomes less repugnant to understand why infants share in that state. The water of baptism, the blood of Christ, signifies that we are raised with Him and to live as co-inheritors
to share in his glory (Col. 2:12) (Rom. 8:17).

Monday, March 13, 2006

Estevan Miner's Strike: Did The Horsemen Club Innocents?

Did you watch Prairie Giant on CBC last night? Tommy Douglas stands huge in the Canadian historical landscape. Prairie Giant documents through a fictional story his life and impact on the social and political life of this nation.

I was surprised in the depiction of the Estevan Miner's Strike of 1931 to see what appeared to be Mounties on foot and on horse attacking miners. It blew the bubble on my idealized view of the Horsemen. At first I thought perhaps at some point in Saskatchewan history a provincial police force had been in place, and it was them that was being included in this teleplay. Sadly, it was not. A search of the Internet brought up this fact from the University of Saskatchewan Library online archives, Toil and Trouble an account of the industrial unrest in the Estevan-Bienfait coalfields. And there is more. A history of the strike is provided at here.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Evening at Nick's

I graduated in 1979 from Bedford Road Collegiate Institute in Saskatoon, SK. As it happens I lost touch with a lot of classmates. Yet since our twenty-five year reunion in August 2004 I am making an attempt to gather those whom share Calgary or Alberta as their home to have occasional dinners so we can stay in touch. There are about ten of us living in the immediate area. Last November Six of us met at a restaurant in town. called Pescatore's.

I have assumed to keep everyone in contact thus becoming the social secretary. It took some work the last time to select a date when everyone could agree. In the future I will announce a place, date and time to meet. I'll show up, and hopefully others will too. No pressure on anyone to attend. Not to sound selfish yet at the very least I will have picked a restaurant I have wanted to eat at for a while and have a good meal with good company. The next locaton will be something new.

A week ago I sent an email invitation to the group to join me on Saturday night at Nick's Steak House on 14th Street (across from McMahon Stadium). The weather was a bit blustery, as snow whipped about when I pulled into the parking lot. Ther were a lot of cars. "Who knew" how busy it would be. I surely hadn't expected it. At the door people were lined up waiting to get in. Inside every table was packed. People were eating and having a good time cast in this amber glow from numerous carriage lamps. I had heard that the place had recently gone non-smoking. Sure enough, a number of the smoking crowd were congregating by the front entrance like grapes hanging on the stem. Eyes were shifting between other shivering smokers taking drags on their coffin nails and the woman calling guests to their tables. You could see her barely through the throng packed near the maitre d' desk. I was in that space between the outer doors and her post. What better place to be to await others who might attend?

Who would attend? I had called Jay to confirm. I wanted to book a table earlier in the day. The restaurant said they wouldn't reserve for groups less than ten people. I had no assurance so I went with my hunch to just show up. By looking at the crowd I question whether I had made the right decision. What if we all arrive and there is no space? After a twenty minute wait, Jay arrived, and our table was called. My satisfaction was certainly delivered with my friend's arrival. I would have felt nakedly foolish sitting at a table for four and being the only one.

We caught up. Jay had been to Belize for Christmas. I hadn't known that he was a certified SCUBA diver. He regaled me with his tales of dives taken on the reef and off of the coast.

I kept my eye on the door in case any of the other grads made an appearance at the front of the restaurant. I have to apologize to Jay. I am sure my alertness for their entrance was annoying. Eventually we had our meal. I like my steaks medium-rare. My friend though that my steak looked a little underdone. I admit now in places it was. But I was satisfied that it was tasty and complimented the two rye and sevens I had eariler. Let me assert that I usually don't drink. So if you read this don't think I am a lush.

Dessert was certainly out of the question. Due to the noise of the crowd I wanted to escape to some place more suitable for conversation. We agreed to meet up at a Tim Horton's over by the Foothills Hospital. A coffee and donut later we resumed our discussion.

Due to the fact its getting late as write this iwil just wind up by saying it was a good evening. I hope you'll join me in the near future. Hasta Leugo.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Stage Manager

I have an hour before I go into work. I am tired. At my church I volunteer as an audio tech. Recently I had an opportunity to participate in a audio production workshop at Centre Street Church also in Calgary.
If you are unfamiliar with this latter church it is one of the biggest
evangelicals in the city. They recently did a fundraiser on Friday night
that featured the likes of Paul Brandt, George Canyon, Toby McCoy and
Aaron Lines. After the workshop I made it known that I would like to
volunteer there to gain more knowledge through experience. I received an
invitation last week and showed up on Saturday. We laid down some mike
cord and did this and that. Then I was thrust in the role of the stage
manager during the evening service: cueing people to go on stage,
handling remote mikes, and bringing the podium up onto the stage at the
right moment. It went alright. Before you know it seven hours was gone.
It was fun and quite a learning experience. I must have been on
adrenaline for a bit of the time. I woke up yesterday very tired and my
muscles ached. But, I had to do it again only at my church and on a much
smaller scale. I survived. I will do it again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Aquacize

Last night I went down to the local indoor pool to take part in an aquacize class. I did so because of the body weight that supposedly I left in Mexico, it seems to have taken a bus back and found me here in Calgary. I had participated in some classes long ago, so I anticipated how it might go along. However, it was different. The instructor was in the water along with the rest of the class and we are out in the middle of the pool. During the other time we situated in the shallow end while the nstructor was on the deck.

It going great, swimmingly you might say, until the instructor asked us to start jumping up and down in the water. As I was trying to go for some height I could feel the water tugging at my swimming trunks. Any more exertion, I thought, and they might come off. Well, I don't have that great of a butt to be flashing to a pool of women anyhow (or presently). So I cooled down my efforts. Needless to say I think I am in need of finding some better attire. Nothing happened ( are you disappointed??).

I didn't think he could do that

I haven't been checking other blogs on the matter, but my understanding is that there are many Canadian conservatives who are flabbergasted with the appoinment of Michael Fortier to the new Canadian federal cabinet yesterday by Stephen Harper. First, I didn't kow that the Canadian constitution allowed for that kind of a move. Second, I got to admit I didn't like it after having thought it over.

As it was explained in the news stories that followed, Harper did it because he needed representation in Montreal. Okay, fair enough. However, this seems to be the wrong way to get it. As Andrew Coyne, of the National Post stated, it doesn't pass the smell test very well.

Friday, February 03, 2006

(Re-)Start Me

I took to starting this blog a year ago. For whatever reason: lack of interest or too many other outside interests I failed to keep it going. So, this is where I re-start me up:
If you start me up
If you start me up I'll never stop
I've been running hot.

- "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones

Running hot, I did a lot in 2005. The highlight was to travel to Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico, as a part of a missionary team to deliver free healthcare service to the rural poor. I took some photos. As soon as I get flckr restored to my machine and figure out how to get them on here I'll show you.

The trip was back in July. Two weeks of heat and humidity like I have never experienced. I lost nearly twenty pounds -- well, maybe fifteen. While that is important, what struck me was how beautiful the land and the people were; how at peace I felt from being removed from the noisy distractions, the in-your-face advertisements (esp. the sexually subliminal) that bombard us in this part of North America. I was also quite aware of how lucky I am to be born in Canada. As my sister has a fondness to say, "You and I won the lottery when we were born." There doesn't seem to be much of a saftey net in Mexico. You either work or you starve. The housing standards to which I was a witness are like nothing I have have ever seen. Yes, we have poor. Yes, we have homeless. I have yet ever to see in Canada a home made of whatever floatsam is at hand that housed a family on a mountainside. Or maybe I haven't been looking?

I went with an excitement and a eagerness that maybe I would learn of a calling to minister or become a pastor. Yet, when I got down there, and I went with a group of thirty Calgarians of various ages and backgrounds, I had no desire to do either. When I came back I enroled in a course in my church that would explore calling and its place in individuals with a stong sense of God-filled spirit. I felt nothing. However, I was sure of one thing I had a passion for taking photographs. There, yes there, could that be my calling?

I have been a hobby photography for twenty-five years. I have principally owned a Nikon EM since that time. I have periodically been drawn to look at taking pictures seriously; something more than just snap & shoot. I believe that God has given me a talent that can be summed up using the words of the minimalist filmaker, C. Bresson, "Make visible, what without deed, might perhaps never have been seen." God's creation has so much to reveal. In today's world where everybody and their ferret are taking digital photos, a lot of it can just be more information overload. I know that sounds arrogant, and please accept my apologies. But, I am drawn to view the honeysuckle like the way Georgia O'Keefe painted flowers; I am drawn to see a person not from from twenty feet back, but with all the pains and laugh lines revealed. I want to show you an urbanworld in a shadow or a light like you have never seen because you were too busy talking on your cellphone. I hope that I can. I hope that the images I will post will remarkably change your day.

Well, that is a lot of words for a rebirth. I will continue I promise with more reflections on 2005.