• activism,  meaning of life,  music,  religion

    Reflection on a Linnea Good Concert

    Last night I took my children to a Linnea Good concert. Linnea Good is a United Church singer, songwriter and storyteller. I took my very-atheist children to her concert because her music was a big part of my teenage years. This was my second time attending a concert of hers, and the first was way back when I was younger than my oldest is now. So, why was the music meaningful to me? I think the most amazing meaningful part was that Linnea was willing to show some of her own vulnerability. She talked about how after thirty years of performing she’s really good at being nice, but that she…

  • activism,  meaning of life,  religion

    Remembering we all have work to do

    I’ve been reading a book called Liberating Jonah: Forming an Ethics of Reconciliation. The book has a lot less about Jonah than I had hoped, but it has lots about reconciliation, which is good too. The starting argument of the book is that the miracle in the story of Jonah is not so much the storm or the fish but that Jonah was called to go to the Assyrians in the first place. Assyrians were the evil ones, the murdering empire bent on oppressing everyone. Yet the Bible says that God called on them to repent and would forgive even them. The bulk of the book is an argument for…

  • activism,  politics

    free speech and fair play

    I’ve been fascinated by discussions of free speech recently. Now even a right-wing American group has decided to uninvite a horrid right-wing troll from speaking at their event. The topic of his speech was supposed free speech and how the left is trying to curtail it, but apparently since it has come out that he advocates pedophilia even the right wing want to limit his freedom of speech – or at least, not to host his speech. So apparently there are standards, after which a person is disgusting enough they should be no-platformed. Dru Oja Jay said it wonderfully: “The fall of Milo is heartening, in that it shows that…

  • activism,  history,  politics,  the ethical life

    Optimism vs Hope

    I’m thinking about the difference between optimism and hope. One can be optimistic because one believes things will go well. In some cases optimism is good and natural. However optimism can also be due to a lack of information about the potential problems or because one deliberately rejects the facts that disagrees with one. Therefore optimism itself is not a virtue. We should not be trying to “choose optimism” when the situation does not warrant it. I picture NASA scientists preparing for a rocket launch. We want them to be optimistic because all the tests, models and simulations suggest they will be suc…cessful. We would not want them to “choose optimism”…

  • activism,  homeschooling,  politics

    the day after the American election

    I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics. Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed the name of the blog to “Houseful of Chaos” reflecting…

  • activism,  politics

    staying involved in activism while focusing on the homeschooling

    The election is over and I am trying to think again about how I can be involved in making change in the world. I would like to be involved in one of the local organizations but I cannot see that happening right now. I withdrew from the anti-poverty organization I used to be involved with some time ago because it moved in a direction I didn’t like. I am teaching minecraft math on Monday evenings and I don’t want to take more than the one evening a week away from my family. Then the kids are old enough I find I have to shelter them from the political activities because…

  • activism,  politics

    #BarbaricCulturalPractices

    Just when I think this election can’t get more disgusting, it gets more disgusting. Apparently the Conservatives want to take a tip from the Spanish Inquisition, when neighbours court report each other. (Did you know that during the Spanish Inquisition Christians of Muslim descent were required to leave their doors open on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings to prove to their neighbours that they weren’t bathing? Because you know, that was considered a ‪#‎barbaricculturalpractice‬.) This isn’t about domestic violence. If Harper wanted he could announce more funding or domestic violence shelters and for programs for victims of domestic violence. But he’s not. He could be trying to promote education about…

  • activism,  politics

    There are so many election issues that matter.

    One of the reasons that an eleven week election period feels like a drag is the that politicians and the media focus too much on the wrong things. They focus on mud slinging, on scandal and on just a small handful of controversial issues, when there are much more interesting issues at play. Eleven weeks might seem like a long time for talking about the Duffy trial or to hear politicians bashing one another, but if a person is trying to get a handle on what the different political parties are actually doing or speaking of doing, 11 weeks doesn’t seem that long. Let’s talk about housing strategies. Harper has offered his three ideas. One involves…

  • activism,  politics

    dreaming of a good government…

    I am withdrawing from an organization I have been very involved in for about three years. There is some sadness to leaving and some relief. This whole last half a year I’ve been stepping back big by bit. I wrote during the summer about my difficulty trying to care about things while still maintaining the emotional calm necessary for caring for the kids. Worries about the issues – poverty, environment, violence, destruction of democracy, etc – are hard enough. On top of that there is another challenge, that of trying to find efficient, effective methods of creating change. Different people have different ideas on how things should work. I have…

  • This is my daughter's hand reaching out to touch a thistle. It seemed strangely appropriate.
    activism,  parenting,  politics

    How does one homeschool, with all the intensity that involves, and be a compassionate, informed person at the same time?

    Sometimes it is really hard to keep balance. How does one balance parenting with everything else? I don’t want to undervalue my husband’s contribution to our family life – his is amazing – but I suspect I’m the support pole the children lean on and there are times when the burden of having them lean on me feels to tough. I feel all hollow and empty and like I have nothing to give them and then I’m so keenly aware of them pulling on me, talking to me, seeking approval and asking for attention and I don’t know what to do. There are people in the world whose houses are…