Slow Church Worth Lingering Over

I’ve been looking forward to reading Slow Church ever since I first heard about it on Facebook.  Written by Chris Smith and Jon Pattison, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus, is a clarion call to the body of Christ, to hit the brakes and reconsider the direction it’s heading.

The ethos around Slow Church has been very much informed by the Slow Food Movement. This movement asks us to take the time to appreciate all the elements of our meal.  This starts with how and where the food is grown.  How it is harvested.  How it is prepared. How and with whom it is consumed.

This approach is given in contrast to what the authors refer to as the McDonaldization of church.  The term McDonaldization was created by George Ritzer and refers to how the principles of McDonald’s as a business have been applied to other parts of life.  The four dimension of McDonaldization are: efficiency, predictability, calculability (quantifiable results) and control-or at least the illusion of control. (15)

The opening part of Slow Church lays out how we to where we are now. How the church developed into a place where these characteristics are among the most highly valued.  After showing how this has hurt the church, the authors move on to describe ways in which this can be undone. Continue reading

Lent Study St. Philip’s Norwood

Lent Study textbook

During Lent St. Philip’s Norwood Anglican Church will use Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together to help us focus our thinking and practices.

Life Together:

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. During Lent St. Philip’s will be hosting a Lent study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together

Lent Study Details:

Life Together consist of five chapters.  We will take a chapter a week.  Our first session will be held on Wednesday, March 12.  The time is 7:00 pm.  Location is St. Philip’s Norwood Anglican Church, 240 Tache Avenue. Continue reading

New Year Bringing New Adventures in Ministry

The year is slowly coming to an end.  While we still have the rest of Advent and Christmas, it won’t be long until the new year is upon us.  For me, the new year is going to me new adventures.  In particular, these new adventures will be in the area of ministry.

New Year collarless me

Going collarless that day.

In other words, I will have new ministry positions beginning February 1st, 2014.  While the positions will be new, the people I will be serving as priest will be people I am already familiar with.  My position is going to be .6 time, which will be .5 at St. Phillip’s Anglican Church on Taché, and .1 at St. Mark’s Anglican Church on St. Mark’s, just off of St. Mary’s Road.

St. Mark’s will have the greatest continuity for me, as for the last two years I have provided supply ministry for Ian Peterson, as he bravely fought cancer.  Last month Ian’s battle with cancer ended as he entered into glory.  I am honoured to be able, in any small way, to build on the legacy of faithful love and service that Ian gave to St. Mark’s.  It has been good working with the people of the parish so far, especially Rev. Deacon Steven Scribner, and I hope to be able to assist in building on a solid foundation that has already been laid at St. Mark’s. Continue reading

Mother of the Year – Book Review

“How can you condense a 14-year relationship with a diagnosis of profound autism into a manageable sound bite?” That’s the question that lies behind the book Mother of the Year: and Other Elusive Awards, written by Winnipeg author Kalyn Falk.

Mother of the Year: and Other Elusive AwardsThe front cover blurb states: “Sometimes, even if you’re smart enough, strong enough, pray enough, and love your child enough…you still have a child with autism.”

This statement, combined with the  one at the top, gets to the heart of Ms. Falk’s book. The sound bite question, asked after Noah, Ms. Falk’s autistic son, had jumped into the river, and aftermath to his burning down their house, is designed to get at a neat answer.  A neat answer that will put the viewer at ease.  One that will offer an explanation and yes, assign blame, even if only by association.

As the second statement states, this is just too easy an answer.  Throughout the rest of the book Ms. Falk shows, by opening up her life in honest, humorous, and heartbreaking fashion, why this is so. The chapter titled “Things That are Wrong With Me,” does a particularly fine job of deconstructing the easy answers that are often thoughtlessly piled on the heads of anyone who is dealing with a difficult situation in their life.

She also shows what love truly means. Falk quotes author Kelly Jo Burke who says “Autism isn’t a bad life, it’s just relentless.”  As Falk documents her life as the mother of an autistic child, she also documents a love that is as relentless as the disease.

Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds:  Mental Illness and the Mission of the Church, writes of how silence is one of the biggest barriers to people who are either living with or supporting other people who are living with mental health issues. How there is need to be able to find a way to articulate what it means for them be living daily with such issues.  More than that, people in such a position need to be encouraged to stand up and have their voices heard by the wider community that they are part of.

Silence, however is a two-sided coin and one of the things that Ms. Falk’s book does so very well, is remind us, is that it does very little good if we allow someone to speak their piece, but are not silent long enough to hear what they are saying.

In the end, Mother of the Year, is the story of a mother loving her child through thick and thin.  If that’s not the definition of Mother of the Year, I don’t know what is.  Buy this book.  In fact by several copies and hand them out to friends and family.  Maybe keep one on hand to give to the well-intentioned but ill-informed bus passenger who feels the need to intervene, etc., etc.

If you want to find out more about Kalyn, you can visit  You can check out Noah’s artwork at his Noah’s Art Winnipeg Facebook page

Fido Mobile Zeroes, Cellular Walk-In Heroes

From a product point of view, there is perhaps no better symbol of our disposable, consumerist culture than the smart phone.  Generally speaking they are not cheap. There is a constant push to encourage people to upgrade to the latest and greatest, (have you pre-ordered your iPhone 17 yet)?  Fiinally, when they break down, the cost and annoyance of repairing is designed to push you into buying a new one.  Take for example, what I call:

The Fido Mobile Experience:

While the Fido Mobile Experience may sound like a really bad jazz-funk band, it’s simply a summary of what I recently went through.  Last week, I went to slip the SD card back into my phone after transferring some files via adapter to my netbook.  Unfortunately, I accidentally slipped it into the SIM card slot.  I took it over to the Fido Mobile kiosk at Portage Place and they removed it for me.

When I later tried to re-install it properly, I got a message that my phone was recognizing the SIM card.  So I took it back the kiosk where they proceeded to bend over backwards to be helpful, while in the end being no help at all.*

*To clarify, it’s not a function of the people themselves, but of the Fido Mobile approach to customer service, which is find any way you can to get them to buy something new.  This also is the credo of all Cellular companies. Continue reading