Friday, March 28, 2008

I Had the Day Off

Today, being Friday, I had the day off. Set apart of the usual mundane stuff one does in the morning of a day off I had a massage at my chiro office. Greg, the masseuse, was very good in working a lot of the tension from my joints and muscles. I have a bad back -- some damaged discs from a couple of decades of abuse. Not to mention there has been some tension building up in my shoulders. So the whole idea is get these areas worked out. This session lasted a whole hour, and I am scheduled for another in a weeks time. Afterwards I came home and relaxed for the rest of the day with a warm bath and a nap.

Yesterday during lunch I went to the library downtown to return some CDs. I never leave empty-handed. So today i am listening to Shari Ulrich, the Temptations, Martin Simpson (oh this guy is so good), Tim Hus, Willie Nelson, and U2. I support the Calgary Library through my my fines. O h heck, being a trained library tech doesn't omit me from being late with materials. I am human. I was told yesterday that our fines don't go into general revenue of the library, but is directed to new materials. I could never afford the diversity and many, many CDs that I enjoy through the library. What I pay (I could tell you because I track these things) is small in comparison to what I enjoy.

Thoughts of the week: 1) I could have attended Robert Laboucaines aboriginal awareness workshop at his invitation, but didn't for loyalty to my work and it being end-of-year. Yet quite a few admin. asst. took the week off. Hmm. 2) There is a United Church of Canada minister in Toronto (Ms. Rev. Vosper) who is advocating that church/denomination drop Jesus Christ from their worship and theology. I used to be a member of that church long ago until it got hijacked in the late 80's. This news caused two reactions: it doesn't surprise me for the United Church of Canada whose liberal leanings make a mockery of what that church used to be, and yet it is outrageous too. Mankind has always found ground to believe that God was secondary to invention. Just look at what the minor prophets warned Israel about in the Old Testament. So this is just a throwback to another time (lest we not forget either the Pharisees). But what is hurtful is that if there is any Old Guard left to defend the faith of this denomination that there are too few to be a bulwark against this sad turn on the road of good intentions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cellphone Bans

The bans on cellphones and driving are starting to catch on fire. Here in Canada it is already law in Newfoundland & Labrador, and I believe in one other province. The story you fond below is from Bangkok. You can also refer to List of Countries that Ban Cellphone Use While Driving. How soon before Alberta gets on board?

I know that before I bought a cellphone I was quite adamant that I would not talk and drive at the same time. I was quick to become indignant when I saw a driver yakking (I still do when I am a pedestrian). OTH I know how easy it is to do. So maybe a ban is the right thing to implement. Just think the world existed before the cellphone came into being. It surely will do well for the 15-20 minutes one is compelled to drive without another distraction.
clipped from www.bangkokpost.com
Police Get Tough on Law Against Mobile Phones

A police officer stationed with the Special Branch Police say a huge publicity campaign will soon be launched to prepare the public for the new law.

(BangkokPost.com) - Motorists have been warned that they have until May 8 to get used to the idea of not talking on their mobile phone while driving.

A police officer stationed with the Special Branch Police say a huge publicity campaign will soon be launched to prepare the public for the new law.

Police are warning that they will get tough as soon as the law officialy become effective on May 8. Motorists were advised to use hands-free talking devices instead to prevent road accidents.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Seagull

I just saw my first seagull for this year. In the past a robin was always my first indicator of spring.
It's a far prettier and more tuneful bird for sure. But, I'll take the seagull as a sign that better weather is ahead.

Monday cometh...

I have been blogging for about an hour now and have caught myself up to the moment.

I was quite surprised to wake up and find snow (about several centimetres) all over the place. Dang. I wanted to go bike riding today. Well, its supposed to go up to five degrees Celsius. So maybe this will cause all the snow to disappear.

For time being I'll have a bit to eat (like I need more food after this weekend), go out and get a paper and read for a while.

Easter Sunday

Yesterday morning I went to church. According to someone who took count we had 176 people in attendance.That has to be a record for Covenant. Coinciding with it being Easter we had a newborn baptism. So there is probably a strong connection there with the attendance record.

The emphasis of the sermon was that Christ's sacrifice was not just a project (put that in contrast to what Prof. Brown wrote in her homily). Rather that it was consistent with the whole story of the Bible. The Gospel of John reads that Jesus was present in the Beginning. From Creation forward the themes of obedience and sacrifice are consistent. Abraham, Issac, Noah, were obedient to God often when it was disadvantageous to do so. Jesus Christ was obedient in that he followed his Father's prompting knowing of the suffering he would endure. Yet, the cost was worth it given the salvation that would be gifted back to mankind.

The message also tied into the baptism too. Water is a prominent prop in the biblical story, it is often portrayed as chaos which one comes through, the message showed relevantly how we can come through baptism as cleansed, obedient and sacrificial people.

Fellowship and lunch with my pastor and his family followed. We had a great conversation assessing the service and the many ongoings of the world. I had to scoot for home very soon afterwards.

Later in the afternoon I drove out to Strathmore to pick up my elderly friend, Leona. I have been coming to her family's events for nearly twenty years, so that we are almost like family now. Easter dinner was being held out in Nightingale (north of Strathmore). After picking up some ice we headed there. Dinner was good, prepared by Leona's grand-daughter and her fiance. All the usual suspects were in attendance. The day ended nicely with dusk settling upon the land as I drove back to Calgary. I was tired by the time I got back home. I immediately went to bed.

Postscript: Saturday

Just a recap on Saturday: Lunch didn't go as planned. The Chinese restaurant I had picked out for my cousins to join Linda and I was closed upon our arrival. Lloyd, Paula and I agreed on Earl's just up the street. The food was good (I had roasted chicken quesadilla with greens). However, the noise of the crowd that comes with Earl's has me thinking not to return. Perhaps I am just getting too old for that scene, and just enjoy a good conversation where I can hear what's being said. Of the foursome we were I was the youngest. We talked about grandkids (theirs -- with a recent addition just last week), travel, etc. My thanks to Lloyd and Paula for buying us lunch.

After lunch I took my sister to Zellars and then home. After I got back to my place I walked up to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Having bought a new bike recently there were some accessories I needed to buy: lights, a lock and fenders. MEC is a reasonable place to get stuff like this as other bike shops in the vicinity are very expensive. MEC also stocks merchandise for hiking, canoeing and almost anything else connected to enjoying the outdoors. Most goods are often quite more durable than found at other stores. So I got those things and returned home. By which time the afternoon was pretty much shot, and I didn't get my bike ride in. So I installed the accessories I bought, read my Globe & Mail newspaper (I look forward to the Saturday edition), and did laundry.

I also watched True Grit. I have it on DVD. Its a fave. Probably the best John Wayne movie ever made. Wayne's portrayal of Deputy Marshall Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn is so authentic. Each time I watch it I seem to catch a nuance of the way he moves or says a line that I never noticed or appreciated before. He won an Oscar for this role.Kim Darby who played the girl, Mattie Ross, seeking justice for her father's killer really did a bang-up job too. She had to due to who her co-star was. She doesn't look like it, but according to her IMDB profile she was twenty-one at the time. Hereto, I grow more appreciably for her acting skill every time I watch True Grit again. I cannot be too generous with Glen Campbell. The director's choice was ill-advised. It appeared that he never acted before (although I guess he had). His hairstyle was totally out of period. Perhaps he was there as foil for the other two professionals. I don't know. Note: As I was writing this paragraph I came across a Wikipedia entry for True Grit that gives more detail to where the story comes from. It's worth a read.

It was past 1 A.M. when I went to bed.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tonight and the Morrow

Tonight our Tenebrae Good Friday service was nicely done. As the service progresses with various readings and music the lights in the sanctuary are dimmed to where there is none other than ambient light. The congregation is dismissed and leaves in silence (at least until they hit the parking lot).

Tomorrow should come as a sunny day. I need to buy a card for a cousin (second-removed) who I learned had her third child. Her parents, who are visiting from British Columbia, are taking my sister and I out for lunch. We going to a Chinese restaurant. Afterwards, I hope to go riding my new bike.

JAPB

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.

It is not a TGIF Friday. It's Good Friday. It commemorates the beginning of Easter, which is the most important Christian holiday. For it commemorates the ending of one ministry and the beginning of another.

Jesus Christ, God incarnate, born into the lineage of King David; raised to be a Galilean carpenter put his hammer down at age thirty and began to disassemble a corrupt religious system and started building up men and women's hearts. The culmination of which was enunciated with the words, "It is finished." Barbara Brown Taylor, a professor of religion and philosophy, eight years ago, wrote:
"... that [what] was finished was the project he had begun, way back when he first saw what kind of explosion it would take to break through the thick rock around the human heart. Teaching would not do it. Neither would prayer or the laying on of hands. If he was going to get through, he had to use something stronger than all of those, and he had to stake his own life on its success. Otherwise why should anyone believe him?"
Jesus Christ, whom on this Passover Day more than two thousand years ago, was violently flogged, ridiculed, led to his place of sacrifice like a lamb, and slaughtered. As Taylor further notes, Jesus' death was probably not as merciful as the doves, goats and lambs being killed in the Temple in Jerusalem that day. Crucifixion is one of the most excruciating forms of execution humanity has ever invented. In the end death "came as a friend and not as an enemy. Death is not painful. It is the dying that hurts."

Jesus died so that he could blot out all sin once and for all. No more transactional animal sacrifices: one dove equals one or ten sins kind of thing. No more division of superior and lesser men. It was never meant to be like that in the first place. Jesus died so that you and I could live out righteous lives: honouring God with all of our being, and loving each other as we would love ourselves. Flesh in Harmony with Spirit.

The great part came when he rose from the cross..."He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!"

Jesus did not just die as a man. He died and rose again as he was in the Beginning. Pneuma = Spirit. First in flesh to prove to his disciples who he said was. Second as God just as it was prophesied by all the earlier heralds. Thus began his next ministry, embodied by the saints and counselled by the Holy Spirit, leading people to recreate themselves.

He has been calling us to get it right.
We can still get it right.

For several years now I have made it my tradition to observe Good Friday with a solemness, by staying home other than for travel to church for service. I meditate on the day, and try to keep most distractions down to a minimum. I am okay with how others (believers) observe Good Friday. This is just my way.

I enjoy Christmas, but feel it is getting too pagan with all the emphasis on materialism. I will take a thousand Easter's over a thousand Christmases.

He Lives!

JAPB

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am Thankful for My Parachute

Last summer two friends, Malcolm and Ginny, and I hiked Mt. Yamnuska out near Canmore. As experiences go it was one of the best in my time as a hiker. As you approach The Yam from the highway its sheer southern face greets you. It reaches for the sky to a height of some five hundred feet. The secret to its ascent is to go up the back of the mountain, and it really quite fun to do. Eventually after two and half hours you reach the eastern outlier where you can sit , eat your lunch and admire the view. If you wish, and many do, you can go higher. You can see from the picture on right the magnitude of the perch I am on. Notice the smile on my face.

Now fast-forward to the present. The last time I posted here I was quite exuberant over a development in my personal life. Although I didn't say so at the time I had found love. Figuratively, I was on the peak of a mountain again. The view was incredible. I had no plans of going back down to get back in the car.

However, that was not to be. Two weeks ago the fairy tale came to a crashing halt. Its more akin to jumping off that cliff to be the first back at the car, and having the hard landing to boot. This journal is not the place for which I want go to into the details.. It is not necessary. Because that story has been told and re-told to those who need to know. Albeit, there was an emotional crash for which I am grateful to my friends for providing me a parachute: their time, their ears and most of all their compassion. It has proven to be quite the experience. Its not over. There still is some climbing to do. This time by myself. Yet, I have been shown the way by friends and by my Lord. Good role models each and every one. Again, I just want to say thanks.

I'll see you at the top.

JAPB