Monday, April 25, 2011

How not to Campaign

This is the second time I've seen Baird's signs torn down. I was able to snap a picture. Much as I want to see Baird defeated in my riding (and ultimately Harper), I cannot approve of tearing down each others signs. It is almost as bad as the hateful attack ads that Harper's Conservatives have been using. Seriously, this is not the US people.

Now this is more like it - my buddy Richard made me a shirt with this logo on it. How long would I last at a Conservative rally with this bad boy on? Would I even get in? I am appreciating that this current election seems to have motivated folks to reflect and hopefully act! I am also encouraged that the Green party is doing well in several ridings - I really believe we need this important voice in the mix. Frankly I'd like to see even more options enter the fray. I'm hoping for another minority or even a coalition. I want to see politicians govern democratically, not dictatorially. That is what my country is made for (despite the lies Harper spins about our government structures).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Preparation Thursday

Tomorrow is a PD day - which means I will have to keep the kids from messing up all the cleaning I do today to prepare for our annual Good Friday Sensory Service (7PM @ 122 Pinetrail Cres, all are welcome). Click here for a sample of what we've done in the past. This is one of the high points in our communities liturgical year. I am hoping this will not be an exception.

We've had a bit of a turbulent year, both personally and as a community. Last year we celebrated quite a few highs which is always encouraging - but since Christmas there have been quite a few unexpected twists for us. Recently I announced that I would be stepping back from leading kinships (small groups) until at least September. In a sense I feel like this Good Friday we will reflect on the end of one season and prepare our hearts for what comes next. I feel like the contemplation in the garden will have a new significance for us, as well as the reflection on the tomb.

I am hoping to do six stations this year: The Stations of the Cross (hall), the tomb (laundry room), the cross (dining room), the passion (living room), the garden (kitchen), the Eucharist (dining room), and prayer (living room). The tomb is a new one that I'm hoping will work. I am going to blanket off part of our laundry room so that it makes a small closet. I found a website that plays white, pink, and brown noise - I'm hoping that this will allow me to create a sound barrier so that when you go inside this make-shift closet and close the door - you are in the dark of the tomb. I will put a chair in there for those with mobility issues and a small table with aromatic oil (probably oregano). I'm hoping to get the kids to make a huge picture of a stone to cover the outside of the door.

This year I'll be switching out the clay for a cross craft that Sarah put together. I'll leave the mirror intact. She has been good at making little take aways for these services, the belonging book marks from a few years ago were awesome.

If you are free Friday night and want to experience something a little different - please join us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting my Head Around Complicated History

I'm prepping a course for May on Pentecostal/Charismatic movements in the 20th century. The frustrating thing is that I'm not sure I'll get the numbers I need to run it. I need 10 students minimum and am pretty close. The thing is I've spent most of this week intensely preparing for the course and will probably use most of next week doing the same. It is fascinating and all - but if I end up not teaching the course then I basically wasted a lot of time prepping something that isn't going to run. And it is complicated - just getting my head around all the different holiness groups that predate classic Pentecostalism is a job and a half.

I did try to choose something strategic in proposing this course - but I might have had an easier time putting together something I've been researching recently. Over the years I've tried to keep up on Pentecostal scholarship - and there is some good scholarship to keep abreast of - and I do take a particular eschatological focus in my own theology that I owe in part to my own Pentecostal heritage. But it is one thing to read Dayton's Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (for instance, it's one of the many I've been re-reading) for interest and quite another thing to read it to flesh out lecture material.

Hopefully I'll find out soon if the course will go or not. What to take a history course May-June? It is going to be a lot of fun. If I don't then maybe I can pitch the course to another school. Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Voting - Green and Proud

I'm thinking a lot about the election this year. It is another chance for us Greens to get some representation. I am convinced, especially talking with young people, that it will be a watershed moment. Even if we just get one in - it will give a sense of legitimacy to the party for those on the fence about voting Green. I keep hearing the tired old - you are going to waste your vote speech, and it is simply untrue. First off, much as I think Harper is a slimy PM - voting to get someone out is irresponsible. We should take democracy much more seriously. Weigh the issues and vote someone in who represents our views. If no one matches - do what I did and join the party you most align with and be party of their policy development. Second, our system might not be proportional representation but it does reward every vote with money to improve the parties chances on the next election. And finally it sends a message - the more votes that your party gains the more people will realize that any party can make it. Heck if the Alliance party can make it (devouring the Conservative party in the process) then why not Greens?

Much as I dislike the idea of Harper anywhere near the Hill - I'm voting Green because I still believe in democracy.

Whoever, you decide to vote for - I encourage you to vote.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shifting Priorities

It has been a year since I left seminar to write my doctoral thesis. I know that some people take many years to do it, but I need to get it done fast. But a year later and I had not even finished my first chapter. My director kicked my butt a bit and I made some hard decisions.

First I took a sabbatical from the church. I broke the news last night and it seemed to go ok. I know that once the kids get out of school then my time to work will become much more precious. Family has to be a priority - my goal is not just to get a PhD, but to do it and still have my family at the end. Both of those take time and with Sharon working it means that we'll have to keep to a schedule. I also think it will be a good experience for the church. I've been at this for ten years now, without a break. The church needs to see if they want to be church enough to do it without me. My intention is that in September I'll gather whoever wants to come over to my place and pray about what God might want to do next with us. It is also a good chance for those who are struggling with the Vineyard aspect of our church to pray about whether or not they belong in Freedom Vineyard. I am proud of my denomination and so whatever the community that forms around me looks like, it will be in relationship with the Vineyard.

The other thing I have done is cut my gaming in half. I was DMing every week and it was getting to be a bit much. It is fine when I have lots of material to use, but when they start getting through it I can lose up to a day getting the next bit prepared. Richard is going to take over DMing in one of my groups so I will get to play for a change. Best thing about that is I just have to show up with my character (and it will still be at my place).

On the more busy side though - I am prepping my first full course. What a lot of work! I have a literal pile of books to read and I've got slides ready for the first two lectures. Only nine more!

And the best news is that yesterday morning I mailed a complete draft of my first chapter to my director! It was a great feeling, I know now this is doable. I also was able to map out the work ahead of me - which is helpful. Chapter 3 is the only one right now that I have a lot of reading for. I'm going to read Tim Harvie's Ethics of Hope for that one - I'll definitely post a review.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ubuntu FTW!

What a frustrating day! We've been having a string of things breaking. Our car's tensioner rod broke (as if I know what that is, it has to do with the belt and costs way too much!) One of my kids broke the stair railing, I fixed that already. And I suspect it was also one of the kids that has broken the back of one of our dining room chairs??? This is all on top of Sharon's mom still not healing properly from her hip operation. I wee bit stressful here. Oh and my parents are coming tomorrow so we've been cleaning up a storm - you should see how tidy my office is!

With all of that I was not prepared for today. Actually it started last night. Sharon called me in because the computer would boot just so far into WinXP and then the whole machine would reboot. In safe mode it kept dying on the same .sys file - so I thought I'd just kill that file and see if that helped. Of course I can't find a way to get onto the computer because it will not boot. I found a bootable disk image with all kinds of rescue tools - $10US. An hour or so later I am ready to get the machine up. Only problem is that the files I want to save are all on an NTFS partition. OK so NTFS4DOS to the rescue and I manage to move them to the partition that I know is good. But I still cant get anything off the computer??? I think it was 1:30 when Sharon came down not able to sleep - I was a zombie so I shuffled off to bed.

Soon as I get the kids off I go to work. I have a few IDE drives around, but again NTFS and I realize the xcopy is not doing more than one file at a time - even with wildcards. Thus my backup? Who knows how effective it was. This is when my friend Becky tells me she has a SATA/IDE to USB device I can borrow. It is a pretty cool tool. Too bad neither WinXP nor Win 7 would mount the drives properly. So I need more options.

I was looking at Ubuntu the night before, but thought this could be a lot of time for nothing. I downloaded the .iso for a bootable CD and what do you know - I waste my only 700MB CD-R and about 8 DVD-Rs before giving up. I couldn't get the faulty machine to boot off a USB key, so I formatted an SD card. It was an option. But it wouldn't actually boot from it??? In fact after the first failure the machine refused to boot at all! So I brought the thumb drive into the office, loaded Ubuntu onto my netbook. Plugged in the hard drive with Becky's gadget and managed to copy the church financial records and music database. I even snag mine and Sharon's doc folders! But then the drives crashed and I couldn't remount them??? Oh well, at least I had the most important stuff.

Relieved to get that much I packed everything up and went to make supper. That was my whole day. So much for getting work done on my thesis.

After supper I tried the evil machine again and managed to get Ubuntu up and running. I even have full access to the hard drive! I am letting people check their mail.