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

 

Advertisements

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”)

mqdefault

“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.”

contradiction

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.

hats.jpg

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.

sbutnotr

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.

re.jpg

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

thereisnowaronreligion

My UA experience

Now is crunch time- so naturally the perfect time to write a blog post.

A few weeks ago (November 10th to the 14th) I flew to Dublin, Ireland to take part in the Undergraduate Award Summit. At first when I learned that I would be joining 149 other award winners/ highly commended people in Dublin (let alone fully paid for by my university) it was daunting. I was beyond excited that I had been selected, but I felt completely inadequate.

Suddenly I was going to be found out- I’m not as smart as they think I am.

I decided nevertheless to go, if nothing else it would be a great networking opportunity. When I got there I was completely surprised at how… normal… everybody seemed. The conversations that occurred were intelligent and passionate, but above all- they occurred naturally. Now of course when I say we’re “normal”– what is normal? We all have our quirks, I still consider myself a very strange person. When I say we are normal I mean I wasn’t faced with a daunting group of geniuses who I could never in my wildest dreams have a meaningful conversation with. You could say in a sense that: mypeople

You would think, that when you are spread across 25 categories, and you’ve spent the last 4 years of your life gradually developing your knowledge in one or maybe two of those, you are going to run into people with whom you have nothing in common with. *AWKWARD PENGUIN*

imgonnago

The thing is… that’s not the case at all. You have a ton in common with these people– for one thing, you’re all here (most of you for the first time). You all took a chance by submitting your work to this academic competition, and you all have been decided by panel of judges to be the top of your fields. I also noticed that I was not the only one that felt intimidated by the thought of meeting my fellow summit attendees… Maybe self-doubt is more common than we think in high-achieving people.

I think its important to acknowledge that that is how I felt (and how others felt)- and to reflect on why. However it is also important to acknowledge that I was wrong- I did fit in, as did all these attendees. I encourage people to submit their work- whether they think it will go anywhere or not, if its eligible- put it in. I submitted 3 pieces and the one that made it was not the one I thought might have a chance. Some other people submitted to three different categories and was highly commended in all three.

The Undergraduate Awards though is really an embodiment of that age old expression: “you will always miss the shots you don’t take”(Wayne Gretzky– there I’ll just say it because I’m Canadian). Normally I’m not one for sports metaphors, but it works. What have you got to lose?

sports.gif

As a bonus: who doesn’t love having their intellectual self basically get flirted with for four days straight? No seriously- you really feel the love from the UA team- if nobody else makes you feel at home, they will at least tell you how brilliant you are non-stop until the end of the conference.

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.

christmasdead

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.

7-8-12

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.

holydays

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.

happy

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.

Tonight…

Tonight was one of the most wonderful nights, and one of the most horrible. Tonight was the last night of the Undergraduate Award Summit in Dublin, Ireland- we went out to Johnnie Foxes, the highest pub in Ireland. We had a blast. As we boarded the bus to go back to the hostel, many of us pulled out our phones, and filling our news feeds were reports of the mass killings in Paris, France. As I write this, the death toll is over 100 and France has closed its borders, calling a state of national emergency.

Just yesterday, at UPresent, along with other top-of-their-field scholars; I presented my research on radical ideology- focusing on the conflict between ISIS and everyday Muslims. While no official explanation has been given- people are saying the coordinated shootings and bombing in Paris were the acts of Muslim extremists. Please do not believe this. They are radicals, they are extremists, they are terrorists, and they might even say they do what they do in the name of Allah or Islam… but they are not Muslims.

I don’t agree with France and how they treat the situation HOWEVER I will not blame the victim. And I certainly won’t stand by and say that these innocent people deserved to die for living in a country that has questionable policies.

Please, I beg you, as you read your news stories… as you reflect on the situation unfolding… as you think about responding…

really think about and know what you say… words can’t be taken back… and actions can’t either. Join the movement, Muslim or not. Don’t be a bystander. Don’t let this continue. It is neither your fault and you might not even be directly affected– but it is the world you live in- and as a member it is your responsibility to help shape it. Do not think that your voice doesn’t count– it does.

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.

A World in Crisis

There are two current crises I’d like to talk to you about tonight. The first is the refugee crisis Canada, and the world, is facing. The second is very close to me, the death threats made towards students and professors at the University of Toronto.

Last week, as you probably already know, the world was thrown into turmoil and outrage when a 3 year old boy drowned and his body was found washed up on a shore in Turkey. If you haven’t seen the video already, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko-LsHE3lxo

There was once a time, within my lifetime, that Canada was #1 in the world for peacekeeping and the compassion that is associated with it. We are now #67. John Davidson, the man who walked across Canada (twice) in an effort to raise funds for muscular dystrophy (you might have heard of Jesse’s Journey– Jesse was John’s son) has come up with another challenge for Canada: the #RedTapeChallenge. Inspired by the video of the drowned Syrian boy, John is challenging every church, every synagogue, every mosque, and every temple across Canada to each raise a goal of $30,000 to sponsor a refugee family. It is also a challenge to the government to cut down on the amount of red tape involved in these claims.

All you have to do is make a donation at your local place of worship, and write “refugee fund” on the memo line. Then when you are done take a piece of red duct tape and rip it, you can make a video of it if you choose. Put the duct tape somewhere visible (on a mailbox, a door, a backpack, a tree… etc) so people can see you’ve put your money where your mouth is. Then pass the challenge on to someone you know.

Please consider joining this cause.

Now to switch gears. Anonymous online threats have been issued stating that people are going to walk into various classrooms this week as classes start at the University of Toronto and shoot professors and students alike- in particular anyone who calls themselves a feminist. Instructions on where to get access to a gun has been given in the threat. As you can imagine this does not create the most ideal atmosphere to walk onto campus tomorrow. Security has been increased on campus as a response but it does little to ease the tension. Police are saying there is no credible threat, but how many stories have we heard about people who weren’t taken seriously and then ended going on a shooting spree– too many for that statement to give me any peace of mind. Another article reveals that similar threats were made in June, ones that took an alarmingly long time to become public– so this isn’t the first time…

The very fact that threats like these are still made in today’s culture disturbs me. As a woman, as a feminist, and as a student of the University of Toronto, I’m not feeling the greatest about walking onto campus tomorrow- and I will probably be uneasy for the days to come.

I have a request for you all- keep the refugees and U of T campus (especially women) in your prayers– if you’re not religious, keep us in your thoughts.

… 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.

liferain

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

My Friend Andrew

My Friend Andrew was asked to guest write on a blog:

http://www.belowthetreeline.net/life/it-may-be-guest-andrew-kuhl

As you can tell from the post, he’s a pretty cool guy. He’s also really smart, and kind. I’m writing this as a testimony to his character, and to our friendship. So thank you Andrew- for “speaking for the sake of justice and truth”.

I still remember the day I met him, it was my first year at Huron University College, in fact it was my first day. I had never ridden public transit before- and we happened to be on the same bus. He sat down beside me and asked if I go to Huron. I was surprised- how would he know that- and then I looked down- oh right I was wearing my Huron UC orientation t-shirt. LOL And what a surprise- we were both in Theology as well!

Strange coincidences bring people together and Andrew has remained supportive of my endeavors via facebook even while at Wyclliffe. He is a great friend, one I hope to re-connect with and keep for some time to come.

Plans for the Summer

Hi y’all

A lot of people have been asking me “What are your plans for the summer?” Well let me tell you:

1) be a junior leader at the annual Anglican Lutheran Youth Conference, as I have for a few years now (minus last year because I was in Bangladesh)

2) go to Diocesan Synod as a youth delegate representing the Deanery of Huron-Perth (alongside the other youth delegate from my area)

3) have conversation regarding postulancy

4) submit a paper to a contest that I shall leave nameless for the time-being so as to avoid bias in judging

5) GRADUATE!!!

6) turn 24

7) pending on whether I have a job or not yet: go to Michigan for the Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous

8) take a road trip to Detroit with my good friend Benjamin

9) become an Aunt for the first time– shoutout to my sis and her baby bump

10) get ready for the newest step in my journey in Toronto

11) all this time I will probably be helping my parents renovate what is currently their room, my room, and the laundry room — hopefully by the end of the summer it will be 2 larger bedrooms

WOAH– that’s actually more than I thought.  This is going to be a big summer for me, my family, and my friends. But I have those jittery feelings that just tell you its all gonna be really really good. I’ll keep you updated on how all the things unfold and hopefully will blog some more about my adventures in Bangladesh as I haven’t finished those yet… wow- actually I just realized as I was writing- it was a year ago today that I left Canada… although because of the flight length and time-zone change it was the 9th when we got there. Anyway- like I said- will post more soon