Category Archives: Life

Lenten Blitz

I got a little behind in these posts- but I’m caught up now… for the sake of efficiency though I’m going to blitz “week one day three” through to “week two day four” in one post. I will clearly demarcate them though.

Week One Day Three

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4: 9-10

The first thing I am drawn to when I read these verses is the words “that we might live through him”. It makes me think that even though our opportunity to participate in the Divine is entirely unearned and definitely undeserved– #grace — it is somehow a symbiotic relationship. Christ lives in the world through us, even though it’s entirely unnecessary- Christ could and has entered the world in other ways, but chooses to also experience and act through us.

The other thing about grace in this passage is the timeline. God cleaning up our mistakes = normal grace (still amazing, but also normal). Giving us the desire to pray and participate in God’s love though, BEFORE we do it. That is “prevenient grace”. And it is why the phrase is not simply “God loves us” but rather “God is love” because our own ability to love and be love goes back to the image of God within us.

Week One Day Four

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

What do we fear being condemned for? Why do we often think we’re not good enough? This day’s reflection was very difficult for me; it is short, simple… and very very hard. I can acknowledge my own sins easily enough- I know when I’ve messed up and done wrong- I confess, apologise, and attempt to reconcile. What is difficult is setting aside all the voices that say I’m not good enough, just letting them exist- not trying to defend, fight, or eliminate- just letting them exist while simultaneously remembering that they don’t define me- they don’t determine my worth.

Those voices will always be there- from inside and out- but it is up to me to decide whether they be the prevalent source of my self-worth, or if I let God be that source. I may be hurt when someone says I’m not good enough, I may be angry. Those feelings don’t magically go away. The pride of doing something well doesn’t magically go away either… but neither of these things should be the source we draw our value and worth from… God is love, and it is unconditional- self-worth comes from there.

Week One Day Five

“… to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” John 1: 12-13

I was born of blood, I was born of the will of flesh, I was born of the will of humans… but I was also thrice born of God. I was born of God first when God placed that will in those humans (my parents). I was born of God when I was baptised and welcomed as a fully fledged member of Christ’s Church (at only 3 months old). The third time I was born of God was when I came to believe and experience God, rather than simply sit and listen to stories that were, for all I knew, just as real as the Disney Princesses.

Prior to this third moment, just because they were stories to me, didn’t mean they didn’t have value. I am fully aware of the fictionality of many characters including but not limited to Disney Princesses… but that doesn’t mean their stories don’t have value, or a moral. What is important about being born of God though is not the “realness” … it is in finding our identity in it. Identity is found in many things- and those do not stop being real places of identity… but just like a candle does not diminish by lighting another, so too identity does not diminish by gaining another source- rather in both cases, the light grows. We can give hierarchy to identity though, and that #1 spot is reserved for “child of God”.

Week One Day Five

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18

I have little belief that I will, at any point in the near future, stop fearing spiders. Br. Jonathan Maury from SSJE is right though- our truest, deepest fear is losing love- from those close to us and from God. When we recognize our own words or actions to be a root cause of a loss of regard, we immediately cause a self- inflicted wound in addition to any that might come from outside ourselves.

When our souls are troubled, we should take a leaf out of Jesus’ book- and instead of praying “save me”, instead we can recognise there is a reason- even if we don’t know what it is, and instead pray “I love you God, and you love me, let’s walk awhile.” By this we submit to perfect love and our fear is cast away.

Week Two Day One

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

I always get really energised when I hear this verse- the Word, it was itself, and it was with God, and it was also God. BOOM- mic drop- nuff said…

But actually I couldn’t put it better than Br. Mark from SSJE:

“Maybe the wisest [way to pray about this verse] is simply to sit silently before the great mystery and paradox of God. Or reflect on our own humanity as made in the image and likeness of God. Incarnate in flesh, the same as Jesus. And ask ourselves, if our own life were to speak one word- what would it be? Love? Light? Life-Grace-Truth? Something else?”

Week Two Day Two

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of  a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

God became flesh- not man, not body…. flesh- the totality of humanity… just… like…us. Jesus had a family, had friends, knew pain and anger and joy and hope and fear and needed affection and love- just… like… us. When people say “God knows what you’re going through” – I’m not always sure they are aware of the intense truth of their own words. God knows- because God experienced it, both “then” through Christ and “now” through/ within us.

The parts of ourselves that we don’t want people, and especially don’t want God, to see- God already sees them and loves us anyway… so why not bring them into the light so God can reshape them into something holy and new.

Week Two Day Three

“Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethzatha… One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?'” John 5: 2, 5-6

I’ve never doubted God’s value in my well-being. There is too much evidence to think otherwise. Even now, living with clinical depression my happiest times are when I’m paying attention to the presence of God- in my own life and in others. The stories of Jesus’ healing though have always struck a chord with me- in particular one’s like this where Jesus asks “do you want to be well?”.

There have been times when I have thought yes, but wasn’t willing to put the effort in… there have also been times when I have admitted to myself and others… “no… I don’t want to be well” because it meant leaving the familiarity of where I was, it meant facing my fears, it meant potentially losing what I felt at that point to be a core piece of my Self. When you’ve been down for that long… you start wondering about what makes up the core “you”, and if you remove all the masks and fears and illness… what will be left?

Thankfully there have also been times when God would firmly and lovingly, and in spite of all my resistance, re-orient me anyway- whether I liked it or not. Sometimes parents have to do that- firmly and lovingly put their child to bed or give them a bath, even if they scream and resist, because the parent knows better- they know that the child needs to sleep and be clean.

I once read a version of the poem “Footsteps” that went a little differently: The person asks God: “why is it that when I needed you most there are only one set of footprints?” and God replied, “when you needed me most I carried you- that long groove there is where I dragged you kicking and screaming.”

Week Two Day Four

“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14

Jesus teaches us through words, but more through actions and presence… because, after all, why would he need words- he IS the Word. Most of the things I have learned over the years, the ones I do best I learned by doing. I don’t claim ability simply on knowing the theory (which is why I don’t drive stick shift, I know the theory but have had little opportunity to practice).

I think though, a lot of the time we struggle with remembering to let God act through us, but more often we struggle with what the disciples did… entirely willing to serve, but not as willing to BE served. Over the past few years it has come to bother me slightly that I am hoping to one day be ordained as a minister- and yet there are a few services given by priests that I have never received- the first being confession, and the second being anointing for healing. I came to remember that there are a few times I actually have received anointing, but I have never been comfortable with it– and that is something I want to explore… Confession– I have confessed plenty of times directly to God, and in community with a liturgical prayer– but I am thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to become comfortable with the form that is individual and also involves a priest.

I’ll hopefully remember to post on Monday

Until then

Tash’oni Shantomeye (Brittany)


Why let a good homily go to waste?

Every Thursday morning I offer a discussion group called Tea and Questions (and coffee too for those so inclined). Before heading into discussion, I also offer a morning prayer service with a short homily. Unfortunately due to various life circumstances and weather and all that- nobody showed up this morning.  one person showed up and we went right into discussion. I figure though, why let a good homily go to waste- I’ll post it on here.

For those who would like to read the bible lessons ahead, they are: Isaiah 60: 1-17 and 2 Timothy 2: 14-26. For reference to this homily I used the 2 Timothy passage.

I speak to you as a sinner to sinners, as a beloved of God to God’s beloved, and as one called to bear witness to those called to bear witness. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening… Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”

I imagine all of you have some idea of what gangrene is, if you don’t it is defined as the localized death and decomposition of body tissue. If left untreated the causal infection can spread and cause the gangrene to spread as well.

There are two kinds of problematic quarreling going on in this letter. The first mentioned is when an argument is started by one saying that another is wrong and then stating what they believe the truth to be. Believing differently, or correcting bad teaching is not the problematic aspect, it is when people begin to quarrel over things they cannot know. A good example here is predestination theology… fighting over things they cannot know is often what theologians do best. Theologians, like myself, are often well- intentioned and begin simply by writing or examining a theory to find its truth or lack thereof. It is when we forget about the larger picture and create factions over theories, theories that only God can truly know the answer to, that is where we go astray.

I admit I chuckled a bit because as a Trinity College student, I am aware of a longstanding rivalry with our fellow Anglican seminary across the street: Wycliffe. We wrangle about words like there is no tomorrow sometimes. 21st century Anglicans in the wider Church could sometimes use a reminder of this letter too. Differences divide us it seems on almost every issue: “High Church” vs “Broad Church” vs “Low Church”… liberal vs conservative… democratic vs socialist. These differences and perspectives are important to discuss, and discuss honestly but discussing and arguing are two different things… with an unfortunately thin and emotional line dividing them.

The second type of arguing that goes on in this letter is arguing or talking about holy things in a way that does not treat them as holy. Profane is the word Paul uses, which also means desecration- to make something that is sacred… not sacred. How then do we combat false teachings if we are not to secularize them, and we are not to argue them? Paul answers this in metaphor, he likens us to utensils in a kitchen- some are made of common materials and are for common use, but some are made of more precious materials. Most likely in your own homes you have dishes that you bring out for special occasions, and dishes that you use day- to- day and remain behind- the- scenes. Think of this though, if you went to someone’s house, and needed a glass of water; you go to the kitchen and notice that there are many glasses but all are dirty- maybe a lipstick stain here, maybe some hot chocolate residue or coffee grinds in others. Behind the sink there is a sparkling clean jam jar. Which one are you more likely to use?

When we follow Christ we are cleansed and transformed from being ordinary, everyday, behind- the- scenes into something more special. Then we use our gifts, bestowed by the Spirit and a part of what makes us special, to be kind, patient, and correct those false teachings with gentleness. Nobody’s heart was ever turned by yelling at them, but by gentle and loving discussion. Go and do likewise. Amen.

Until next time

Shantomeye (Brittany)


I think Sabbaths are probably the hardest part of living a rule of life. Everything from our culture has always either shouted or subliminally messaged us to think “never rest”.

Did you know though, that the Chinese character for “busy” combines the characters for “heart” and “death”. Kinda says something about constant busyness doesn’t it?

Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is that I know what I’m not supposed to do on the Sabbath (work), but what AM I supposed to do? The thing is Sabbaths look different for everyone, because everyone leads a different life. A hallmark of many modern sabbaths for instance is to turn off all electronic gadgets such as cellphones. Here’s the thing though, at least for the stage of life that I’m in, that isn’t restful. Some of my relationships with friend occur primarily via my phone, and friends are good for the Sabbath. I also would be constantly thinking about all the people that could potentially be trying to reach me, for crisis reasons or anything else. Constantly worrying over who might be trying to reach you is not restful. The silly thing is, I leave my phone on, hardly anyone contacts me, and I find rest, don’t even know where my phone is half the time because it hasn’t gone off. So for me, turning off my phone would actually be the opposite of a sabbath, that might change later on in life but it is the case right now.

I’ve been reading a book about rules of life lately, it is called “God in my Everything” by Ken Shigematsu, in particular I want to talk about some things that are written in the fourth chapter, the chapter on sabbaths.

“You may be mentally consumed with … a nagging sense of self- doubt, or are troubled by a vague anxiety that you are not doing enough.” (43) — These notions sometimes bother me during the week, but they bother me most on my sabbath, I realize that is an aspect that I need to learn to get over- but saying “get over it” isn’t gonna get me there, I need to figure out why it bothers me, and why it shouldn’t.

“Perhaps you agree that Sabbath is a good thing, even important, but actually practicing it on a weekly basis is more difficult… Sabbath requires surrender.” (44) — EXACTLY KEN!! That is exactly it, I know rest is good, I know that renewal is important, weekly practice is harder. I will full- on admit that that surrender piece, that has never been something that comes naturally to me, to quote a Ke$ha song: “We were born to break the doors down, fight until the end!”. Now I’m not saying I never surrender, but it is a learned skill not an innate one.

“We need to ask ourselves WHY we are so busy. Sabbath helps us to question our assumptions.” (45) — Ok, you’re talking my language, let’s do this!

“We feel a need to validate our worth. Sabbath gives us a chance to step off the hamster wheel and listen to the voice that tells us we are beloved by God... The Sabbath heals us from our compulsion to measure ourselves.” (45) — Good, we’ve identified the why that makes sabbaths bother me, and we’ve identified the why it shouldn’t, BUT how do we move from the former to the latter?

“Sabbath offers us a ‘sanctuary in time’.” (45)– A “sanctuary in time” eh… so the same reverence should be paid to the Sabbath as is paid to worship. And when possible, Sabbaths should include worship.

So all of this is great for theory, but what do I DO? Some suggestions are to eat different foods, engage in creative activities, notice the differences- like how sleep is better quality during a Sabbath, because it is intentionally restful.

One question… is honoring the Sabbath, and keeping the Sabbath the same thing? I’m not sure how to answer this at this time, but I’m gonna keep thinking about it.

Oh wait! Another question! What constitutes work? Aside from sleep, I can find a way to classify pretty much any activity as work in some way or another. If a Sabbath is about refraining from work then can I go the gym- after all that is physically work, can I create art- after all that involves the mental capacities and physical capacities of creating, can I meditate- after all meditation doesn’t always come easy?

One way I have come not to dwell on this (as much) is by realizing that 1) not all work is the same, and 2) some work is restful for some people. Do I work on the Sabbath, well I breathe ergo I work. But the work is restful, and I indulge in the opportunity to work (no pun intended) through things mentally and spiritually that I don’t always have the opportunity to do during the rest of the week. Is every Sabbath the same? No, sometimes I go to a cafe while my laundry is in the machine, sometimes I go the gym, sometimes I stay home and read books and watch movies, sometimes I draw. I don’t plan, I just do whatever comes to me in the moment, as long as it is not schoolwork or church-work.

Back to quotes: “leisure alone will not bring us the deepest and most profound kind of rest… we need more than simply the absence of work… [we need] rest from the inner murmur that says we are defined by what we do… we need to be free from the voice of self- condemnation.” (51) — I get this, and some days my Sabbath will consist of surface rest, because my Sabbath is not rigid, it is for me not me for it. (paraphrase of Jesus: The Sabbath was created for the people, not people for the Sabbath.) I have at times got caught up in the thought process of what exactly constitutes work, trying to analytically formulate a Sabbath by removing anything that could be interpreted as such… but much like turning my phone off, that isn’t restful, and quite frankly unless you can sleep through an entire day and not feel overslept… its not possible.

In the back of Ken’s book there are some sample rules of life, but I found one that is an awful large coincidence if it isn’t the Spirit moving.

Her name is Brittany… my name is Brittany. She is a graduate student… I’m a graduate student. She is in her 20s… I’m in my 20s. Her overall rule of life is extremely similar to things I already do but don’t have written down as “rules”. I think with some tweaking, her rule of life could easily become mine, though I will continue examining others and adapting to make mine personalized.

Happy resting!

I’m famous?

I thought I would post here the link to the Undergraduate Award “Where are they now Wednesdays”.

I was featured and I kid you not, the  other day the Dean of Divinity at my college emailed me saying I was famous and that students would be asking for my autograph.

Now I don’t actually think that is true- and I don’t think the Dean was being entirely serious (as he likes not to be), but never the less I think it is important to highlight the achievements of young intellectuals who are coming up in the world. This was and is an international competition, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the people I met there grow up to be the next generation of world leaders, university professors, famous artists, and more.

Or maybe they won’t, maybe they will choose to pursue less limelightey careers- maybe they will switch paths entirely. But let us all acknowledge that they worked incredibly hard on research that might change the world- maybe it already is.

So feel free to check out my little blurb- it probably won’t tell you anything you don’t already know about me, but while you are on the site, go through some of the others who have been featured as well- maybe you will recognize a familiar face, or maybe you will remember the name and face as familiar in years to come.


There is but one…

There are a lot of quotes that start with the title of this post. “There is but one…”

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide…” Albert Camus

“There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him…” 1 Corinthians 8:6

“There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted” Frank Underwood

“There is but one Paris…” Vincent Van Gogh

“No cause is lost if there is but one fool left to fight for it” Unknown

“There is but one secret to success: never give up” Ben Nighthorse Campbell

“There is but one crime: to be untrue to ourselves”Francis Parker Yockey

“There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily” George Washington

I could go on forever… but rather today I am applying it to a place where you may have heard it before (or maybe not…). There is but one body of Christ.

Something has been on my mind of late and it is how the world seems to be constantly splitting into binaries. I hate binaries… I really do, it only ever seems to get people into trouble. Our culture is obsessed with figuring out who and what is right and wrong, and don’t get me wrong, it is a noble pursuit in a sense. In other ways however it isn’t, to know right from wrong is ethics, but to pursue universal binaries and demonize the “other” in the process… well there is ironically something very wrong with that.

Someone I know was recently telling a story about an encounter he had with some people who asked him “What type of Christian are you?” To most Christians this question is a bit puzzling at first; they then clarified “y’know, do you hate gay people or not?” (I am paraphrasing). If this was me I could say “oh no… I love them, they are just as much a part of this community as I am” or “I have no problem with gay people” or something else along those lines. Instead, to all the people asking that question “What type of Christian are you?” I’m going to say… “there’s no types”.

Christianity should not be split into two opposing groups, there are many “issues” one can take a stance on but there aren’t two “types” of Christian. I support LGBT people and their marriages, lives, rights, etc… but I don’t condemn those who don’t to being non-Christian or other-Christian. There is no hyphen, they are just Christian.

Don’t believe me? Check out Romans 12:5

“So in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”

or how about 1 Corinthians 12:12

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ”

One Faith

One Baptism

One God and Father of ALL

Yours in Christ

This year…

I’m just gonna jump right in and say… it is exhausting trying to explain how you are “sort of a first year, and sort of a second year”. Don’t get me wrong, with practice the response can roll right off the tongue… but why does it even matter what year I’m in? This past year was my first year as a Master of Divinity student… but because I did my Bachelor degree in Theology- I came in with almost a year’s worth of credits. Hence “sort of first year, sort of second year”. That aside, this year has been crazy!!!!

The year was FULL of changes. I have never lived in a city as big as Toronto before, and it can be highly overwhelming at times… and I haven’t even strayed THAT far away from where I live. When I say overwhelming I mean to the point where I rarely leave the house without ear buds in because it can focus at least one of my senses away from the external stimulation. Where I was living too was a big change, it was an intentional Christian community house, a ministry of a Presbyterian church. Intentional living… is not easy… oh and I’m Anglican. Due to factors beyond me I also lost a roommate and got a new one halfway through the year- but hey, at least the new one came with a cat. Such a cutie-pie and she lets me snuggle.

On top of all of that, a master of divinity degree has elements that are really hard stress-wise. I’ve never had a problem managing on an academic level but there are so many other factors. It probably doesn’t help that this degree leads to a job that goes beyond being my dream, one might even say it’s a “call”. Some of you might think that actually makes it easier… but YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!!! You see, being that emotionally invested in your future and the degree that leads to it can make the smallest mistake or dumb moment feel like a HUGE setback… and a bigger mistake?- well that makes you feel like you are a failure at anything and everything that is important to you.

I have to be honest and apologize here… I used to hang out with other master of divinity degree students while I was doing my bachelor degree. At times it seemed to me like some of them made a really big deal out of really small things. I never said anything but I thought it… and I get it now, I really do… so I’m sorry for thinking that you were in any way exaggerating.

Thankfully through all this I had a lot of support, some friends were familiar faces that I knew from before I came to Toronto, some were new but just as welcoming. I got a spiritual director to help with bringing more focus and attention to my spiritual life, and I had a field ed supervisor who was very supportive and helpful during my time at his parish. I even got to make use of a counselor for the stress/ anxiety that had a few pretty high spikes. Talking about things, even if that is all I did was just talk, really helped because it got a lot of stuff off my chest- sometimes things that I was struggling to admit to myself but once the words tumbled out of my mouth into the open I could recognize them for their truth.

I am glad to say that even though this year was hard, I didn’t just survive- I grew, and there were a lot of moments that brought happy tears to my eyes instead of frustrated ones. I look forward to this coming year and all the ones to follow.

Yours in Christ

Shantomeye… Tashoni… Brittany


Is “religion” a bad word?

Somebody I know (who is entirely well- intention-ed I’m sure)  posted a picture on my Facebook feed. It was one of those motivational-esque meme-like images. Candles illuminating the dark with cursive writing over the image that said: Christianity is not a religion… It is a relationship with God.

Here’s how I responded (saying in my head “here’s the sitch Melody Bostic”)


“while the second half of that statement is true… the first half is not. Christianity is a religion, in fact its an institutionalized- organized- religion. The word religion is not a bad word- it comes from the Latin “religio” which in turn can be broken down to re + ligio… it essentially means to repeatedly perform a bonding activity. So in the end– the word religion embodies the relational aspect of Christianity… relationship with God, and relationship with the people around you. In a way the statements contradict each other: if the first half is true, the second half can’t be.”


Some might try to jump and say “but wait, couldn’t someone have a relationship with God without the ritualized activity” … and this is a common misconceived argument. The “spiritual but not religious” debate if you will. I have already thought of this though, so hold on to your hats- because you’re about to be blown away.


You see above how I broke down the word religion into it’s parts… well you can do the same thing with the word relationship. And we will assume for a moment that if you call yourself “spiritual” that you have something that you might call a “relationship” with a supernatural entity- whether it be emotional, mental, physical, etc.


You might also be able to see that in fact the words “religion” and “relationship” begin with the same two letters (alright yes the first three are all the same but we’re gonna focus on the first two). RE as in return, redo, reconcile, religion, relationship, re-acclimate, reacquainted, reaction, and the list goes on and on and on… get a dictionary, go to the section where the words beginning with re start… and read (ha didn’t even plan that… read)

Re means to do something again… it is where we get repeat from (another re word, would you look at that). So… if you have a relationship with God– it means you have to turn to God (or should I say return) over and over and over again. Which means even if you are not bonding yourself to other people, even if you describe it as an individual faith, you are bonding yourself to God through your repeatedly turning to Him. Re + ligio… religion. It is etymologically impossible for you to be spiritual but not religious.


Religion is not a bad word, stop treating it like one. Begin to recognize that it is (certain, not all) people that turn you away. Don’t blame humanity on God- it’s not His fault.


never the less… religion is not a bad word


What ruins Christmas…

Call it a rant… call it a refreshing perspective… call it whatever you want. I’m talking now.

I got my first virtual “Christmas Card” today, or at least that’s what the subject line of the email said. The problem being is that it wasn’t a greeting, it was a complaint. It wasn’t merry, it was annoying, exclusive, and negative. It was sent by my grandfather, or at least forwarded by him. It got me thinking though, how I see these emails, memes, articles, etc- they crowd my social media feeds so that any ounce of joy that was left in the world at this season is suffocated.


Which is why I’m writing this: what ruins Christmas, at least for me, is not the people who say “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas”. It’s not the people/ companies who try to be inclusive of those who don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s not the menorahs- be they for Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. It’s not any of these things.


What ruins Christmas for me? It’s the people who don’t seem able to move past the diversity in order to celebrate their own season of joy and hope. The people that abound with negativity, instead of looking to Christmas with expectation… I mean, I’ve always been told that’s the point of Advent… expectation and hope. This is also an aside but guess what “holidays” means… “holy days” – as in reference to Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Advent, Epiphany, Christmas, etc.


And I’m sorry if this seems hypocritical because I’m complaining about the complainers- but I’m sick of it. Stop bickering about other people expressing their own seasons of joy, and just enjoy the joy. Oh and if you think you’re being clever by writing these emails in a way that makes people subconsciously read them to the rhythm of an old Christmas story or carol… that’s not clever, its exploitation of nostalgia… and its not working. I find your complaints and negativity just as annoying and pissy when they are set to a tune as when they are in a cartoon, or a meme, or any other format.

If I could have just one Christmas wish… just one… it would be for people to embrace love, instead of spreading hate.


I highly doubt I will get my wish, but if I do– this virtual Christmas card will be the first and last of its kind.

Thank you for your consideration… rant over.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Article One

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Article 2

Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3

Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4

Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 6

Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Article 7

  1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

Article 8

  1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
  2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct                             peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or                     resources;

(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or                                   undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

(e) Any form of propoganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination                           directed against them.

Article 9

Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

Article 10

Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 11

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
  2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Article 12

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.
  2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 13

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Article 14

  1. Indigenous peoples have the rights to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
  2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
  3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

Article 15

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
  2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Article 16

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 17

  1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.
  2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.
  3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their indigenous decision-making institutions.

Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Article 20

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.
  2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

Article 21

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health, and social security.
  2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22

  1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.
  2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Article 23

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.

Article 24

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services.
  2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.

Article 25

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
  3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources, Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independant, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
  2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Article 29

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.
  3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

Article 30

  1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned.
  2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

Article 31

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural  heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
  2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Article 32

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
  2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.
  3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Article 33

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Article 34

Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

Article 35

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities.

Article 36

  1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.
  2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 37

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
  2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Article 38

States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

Article 39

Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40

Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

Article 41

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42

The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

Article 43

The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44

All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45

Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

Article 46

  1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.
  2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected, The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society.
  3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

… waiting

Waiting has to be one of the biggest pains of life… just waiting.

I had to wait to find out what my graduation present was, I have to wait for my niece or nephew to be born, I have to wait to hear back from housing applications, I have to wait to hear back about the camp job, I have to wait for my orientation package that comes with bursary forms, I have to wait to hear back about scholarships/ awards I’ve already applied for… I have to wait.

They say patience is a virtue, and I can attest that it certainly is, and not an easy one. Everybody has virtues that they find easier than others– patience is not one of those for me. Even if I appear patient on the outside, I’m telling you full disclosure that it feels like a fiery worm is eating away my insides. Waiting is hard, and as an adult I know that sometimes it’s necessary… but its sooooooo hard (imagine that in a adult but whiny and petulant voice).

The seven virtues: chastity (doable), temperance (again doable… although harder with emotions), charity (not easy resource wise as a student but still doable), diligence (easy peasy), kindness (soooo easy… though slightly harder when it is someone you don’t like), humility (easy at times, hard at others), and patience… never easy, always hard.

Normally I do not rely solely on scripture, but something is telling me this time I might start there; so what does the bible have to say about waiting…

Genesis 29:20 “so Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” **and the girl in me says “aww isn’t that so cute and romantic”… but this isn’t really helping me, the kind of impatience I’m talking about means the more you want something to come to fruition- the longer the wait seems.

Romans 8:24-26 “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

** Okay I think we’re starting to get closer here… Pointing out the obvious irony of patience… it shows passion and desire, because you wouldn’t hope for something you already have- it gives people drive- maybe even a spiritual one.

Hebrews 11:13-16 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

** they did not receive the things promised… okay- so maybe impatience is really just fear; a fear that you won’t receive what you expect to receive. Another part of this passage touches me as well “they were longing for a better country…”. It speaks to me because of a recurring feeling of not being home. I type these words as I’m sitting “at home”… but, while this is only slightly related to patience, it’s not really my home. Home is more than just a house- it’s cliche but its true, but its more than just a house and family as well. I grew up in this house, from 4 years old onwards to 18, I have fond and not-so-fond memories of my time here- and while I might have once called it home, I feel I am in constant limbo now. I am waiting to find a new home, a new community.

And so we’re back to waiting… although with this particular waiting- I don’t seem to be that impatient. Somewhere inside of me there is a sense of peace that comes from faith. Faith in God, and faith that someday I will have a place I call home. So I guess worldly short term patience is hard… really hard. Abstract, long term patience– its not easy, but its not hard either.

But hey… maybe the answer isn’t in trying to find a way to get rid of the desire to know… but rather in trying to live in the moment and let things come as they come.


Till next time, I guess you’ll just have to wait…