Monday, October 29, 2007


How long will it be until I, a well-worn piece of gossip, am finally thrown away?
When will I no longer devour the generous ears?
How many times can I, a mere morsel, echo throughout empty halls?
Was I such a good story to last so long? Not a bit!

I am a doubt more persistent than waves before the wind.
I also wreak havoc wherever I'm driven, a cowboy no bull can buck.

Connecting with nature

I have often observed with wonder the way that relatives and friends who many would consider to be "country-bumpkins" circulate seamlessly among the ranks of high-society guests, such as ambassadors and executives. They do so effortlessly neither changing their relatively unsophisticated manner nor their unrefined speech. What holds their audience are the embellished accounts of hunting, fishing and farming. Their rapt audience is usually either an urban/modern who distantly admires those upon whom their society has been built or a person born and raised in the woods, but since detached. The refrain if uttered would be "oh the good old days!" I like many city-folk straddle this divide: I love working outside in the wild, but am compelled by conditioning and a number of factors to remain near the jobs and institutions. Every now and then I experience a bond with fellow nature-lovers, e.g. while splitting fire-wood this weekend a neighbour remarked, speaking to the legitimacy of my endevour, "Now there is a man at work". I frequently feel like giving it all up and returning to the hills, but am always discouraged by the nagging feeling that I may not really belong there either for any period of time. So for now I'll awkwardly observe the country-folk in action at various parties and visit them as often as I can.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ponderings - Why I don't have to be right (always)

In the same way that the flood may have been a local event that the residents of the Levant thought encompassed the earth, so may a person's religious views, which he thinks of as applying to everyone, be local (specific to a faith community rather than universal). Instead of justifying them, claiming they are the Truth, is it not better to hold onto them because they are your own or because they make up who you are? With this approach there is no need to over-ride others. Could they really be Global? Is Krishna Das' belief, revelation, and worship any less sincere, honouring or right than mine? I too see a wall around my heart that separates me from true love. Am I speaking a dialect of a common tongue, a tongue much like music where different styles and learning blend into the beautiful (only with mastery though can a tabla player jam with a banjo player)? How much of the one, true way is caused by power struggles? Although my entire being rejects Dawkins et al.'s notion we would be better off without religion, I agree with his assertion when the journey of belief becomes one hollow institution at war with the other. Why do questions of authenticity (to use a catch-phrase) evoke such a harsh response? Because on one level a piece of a person's identity is assaulted. That is why it can often hurt. Everyone's identity is valid though, so be specific about religious practise. Respect others and peace may really happen on earth and it will be seen if God can really live among men.

After having traversed the wide expanse bordered by fundamentalism and liberalism at various times I wonder at my faith journey, all the turns I have taken. I too wish to break down the wall one stone at a time, a wall certain conventions have encouraged me to build in the name of righteousness. Nevertheless, I can hardly breathe. How can something that is so natural be so stifled? Some of the thoughts that I journaled years ago reflect this:

The Trinity can be compared to elements in the universe: space (omnipresent Father), matter (Son), and time (unseen Spirit). The three dimensionality of space also reflects this. A single dimension rendering reveals a scant part of the picture, the second shows everything, but in a flat manner and the third combines to provide an experience.

I now venture to extract the pure essence of being and live true to myself and my god with as few constructs as possible (some framework for interpretation is always necessary). There are, however, no easy answers, no hastily spoken quips to consider the depth of faith.

Dialogue #2

"Listen to me, Dad! I am the police!"

"That is fine Honey, but the police is answerable to the government."

"Dad, I am the government!"


Lately, I have come across a lot of good music courtesy of Calabash music. They now offer 10 free tracks a week and if you buy credits you only pay 80 cents on the dollar for songs. This is a great way to get introduced to World music. This week I downloaded a bunch of Ernest Ranglin's work; he is an amazing guitarist that blends fluid lines with cultural voices. Past favourites are Hoya Hoya by Bole2Harlem and DJ Disse's Walk on the Wild Side. Vusi Mahlasela is a wonderful human being and inspiring performer; check out his amazing performances at TED.

I am an early adopter of technology, ideas and values and, given the fact that I had counted down the arrival of iTunes Plus to free myself of the antiquated DRM, I bounded to download In Rainbows. I favour the artist and not the label, so I paid them the equivalent of $8.00 to support this move to direct access. Although I would have rather previewed the album and then decided on the amount, I arrived at this amount by considering the amount they would profit from in a regular release and doubling it. No album artwork was included with the download, so I did a search and found a number of good entries at this site. I attached my favourites to each song. I have played the album a number of times but it is Reckoner that I put on constant repeat and can't get enough of.

Graphic novels and a surfing Jesus

On Sunday I had a cool time hanging out with my son. First I took him to his acting class and then we cruised around some shops. One of these was Curious Comics. I was glad to hit this store because it gave me a chance to check out Casanova, which GQ had favourably reviewed but I found passable at best. It was not charged with the historical and political brilliance of Pekar's Macedonia or the comical cross-cultural charm of Delisle's work. Neither did it have the ingenuity of other adaptations, namely Sienkiewicz's Moby Dick. I also found this great book for my son, Lost in Skookum Valley. It is published and set in B.C. and follows the Herge style. Check it out.

In this shop I also encountered the Fishermen. Given the sincerity of the founder's message I feel bad finding them so funny. I can see his point, but NFL Jesus comes off like Toyota's "what would Jesus drive". These are definitely of higher quality than the ridiculous Testamints, but they only serve to push forward capitalism's agenda that it is the best mechanism for serving everything (since it defeated Communism) including democracy and religion. The "access" that Capitalism brings is often a cheapened one. Today the remark came up in jest that religious services will soon be offered in a pay as you go format: 1 visit by the priest $40, one by a deacon or elder $25; much like getting your fortune told. Well I'll sign off with, D€r€k given all this talk. Just remember that a free market is not the same thing as freedom; yeah prosperity fosters choices, but equality -- come on!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Finding a voice

For the last while I have been trying to return to blogging and have been working on many topics, but have always felt restrained by the events of the last year. Without going into detail about all the things that have happened I have finally begun to learn that approval must come from within first. Circumstances can suck, more importantly people can really suck: it really amazes me how vulnerable my being is to some people under certain conditions. People who don't give others the benefit of the doubt suck. Nevertheless for every person who at a moment in time choose destruction there is another who breathes life. Really it is through vulnerability that the good can shine through. Today I had the pleasure of meeting Margot Van Sluytman who shared her story at coffee at the Centre. Her journey to find her voice and her ability to express it so passionately spoke to me (and others) on the deepest level. Victimology really is a trap, an imposition on yourself. There is no question that it defined(s) you. Circumstances and blunt, pessimistic, blind or similar type of persons should in no way make you lose your voice. There is such a deep well to drink from in life, so many good souls. There is no question that community is an ecology; other people will impact you. Nevertheless, only a weed thrives on poor soil. The noble, good and beautiful not only often go deep, but they also respond, practically depend upon, nurture. This ethereal connection to the living rather than surviving transcends corporeal form: it embeds itself in the expressions of people who in moments of time breathe the deep breath of life: the story, song or poem that makes you cry. The real mystery is how happenstance governs this realm. How does it all come together?
Obviously much of life is toil. There's little escape from that: even the most privileged make their own toil. One essential part of transcendence must be communing with others, on one level or another. The discordant joy of those in the impoverished regions of the globe has always struck me. How can they smile. More importantly, why do if feel a deep connection with these people? How do they access my heart so readily? How do they change lives? How can they so readily look you in the eye without demanding anything or revealing shame? How do they disarm one so well protected?
One answer is not by having a larger house, iPod or car because they don't. I love gadgets, convenience and comfort so I will never really give them up. It is not the items themselves, rather the false expectations these items bring. Sure they bring happiness, pride and wonder. What they are, however, is a symptom (and vehicle) of a culture of isolation and disconnection. As I stand waiting for the bus or riding my bike on many a morning the smell of pollution sickens me. Yet, as I am passed by so many cars I wonder if the drivers know. I cannot believe how sick I feel after cycling on a rural road when a car that has just been started goes by me. Now I know there are naysayers on global warming and the responsibility of humans, but get out of the car and breathe. That red glow on the horizon really is pollution!
What are we plugged into? Community? Anything that centres us? Now life is often presented as a battle from which me must unplug ourselves to once more enter the fray. Live 1 week (a three week vacation yields one week without toning down or ramping up) out of 52? Yet, many I have met swim with the current. The nourishers, what is it about them? Those with a community, those who fit in their own skin, you know them. Moreover, what about children and the child-like natures of those who suffer most. What really nourishes the soul?
Other humans: I am sure that every individual (even those I hate) has shown at least one act of kindness, which nourishes others.
Self: navel gazing aside, a deep realization of the wonder you are. Check out these guys: one suffering and one a comic.
Nature: as a model, but more of where we belong.
The mysterious wonder that governs (or created) serendipity: enough said.
Breathe deep!


Reverb plug-in