• 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…

  • meaning of life,  religion

    Reading Ancient Sumerian Poetry

    I’m reading little bits from four thousand year old poems about Inanna, a Sumerian goddess, as translated by Betty De Shong Meador. Here are a few small samples.   She shifts a god’s curse a blight reversed out of nothing shapes what has never been her sharp wit splits the door where cleverness resides and there reveals what lives inside   ….   to smooth the traveler’s road to clear a path for the weak are yours Inanna   to straighten the footpath to make firm the cleft place are yours Inanna   to destroy     to build to lift up    to put down are yours Inanna     ….  …

  • Two dwarf hamsters were in my hand.
    depression,  meaning of life,  parenting

    Letting Myself Off the Hamster Wheel

    As a homeschooling mom, one of my goals it to ensure that my kids don’t think their worth comes from how many projects they do or how much schoolwork. It doesn’t come from how many books they read or how many friends they have. Recently, I’ve been realizing that goal has to apply to myself as well. One of the easiest things for me to do is to slide into believing my worth comes from what others think of me. No, that isn’t quite true. I slide into believing that my worth comes from what I assume others think of me. I start thinking my value comes from how much…

  • communication,  goals,  meaning of life,  memes,  the ethical life

    being wrong, accepting criticism and imperfection

    “No, friendship is NOT about ‘supporting your friends even when you know they’re wrong.” That’s not friendship. That’s being an enabler. That’s being an accomplice. Friendship is loving someone enough to tell them to stop being an idiot before they ruin their lives.” I saw a text-in-a-box thing on facebook today with that text. I read it, re-read it, and thought about a time when I acted as an enabler, supporting someone as she got back together with an abuser, and how I wish I had handled it differently. I had been so scared she’d stop talking to me that I didn’t really say what I should have. If you…

  • meaning of life,  religion,  the ethical life

    making peace

    As a child one of my favourite records was one produced by the Mennonite Central Committee. It was called “I can make peace” and it had a mix of stories and songs. One of the stories was about a family getting up to go to school and how one person’s grumpiness was passed on to the next person until even a friend’s family was affected, but then the reverse happens where someone’s joyfulness is passed on person to person. One story was about an elephant family. The stories and songs start off focused on families and move out to talking about adults, including one about Muriel Lester. I don’t have…

  • meaning of life,  politics

    Happy Things

    It is freezing cold outside here, and I couldn’t get my car to start so I wasn’t able to help out a book sale I was hoping to help out at. (Nor could I buy books from the sale!) But that means I have some extra time at home, and that is good too. Sometimes it feels like facebook and twitter flood me with bad news, but today I’m noticing quite a few good things. Some of them are the sort of little happy warm things that don’t bring systematic change but are nevertheless good for restoring hope in people. Here’s a small list of ones that I heard about…

  • God,  how do we know what we know is true,  meaning of life,  religion,  the ethical life

    in pursuit of an academic religion

    I’ve been thinking about religion again. I think about the good things, like the way it can support a person’s ability to acknowledge their mistakes or the inspiration to care for others. Yet I’m also think about the problems with religion, particularily of finding a religious interpretation that can be a source of healthy challenge neither constructed to meet one’s own wants or to justify one’s oppressive situation. Inspiring me to write this post is, partly, a post titled Can reason and secularism protect kids from anti-science rhetoric (and build a better society)? over at a blog called Boreal Citizen. The post speaks about Democratic anti-science rhetoric being centered around unsupported fears…

  • environment,  food,  meaning of life,  the ethical life

    costs both hidden and obvious

    I wrote before about how I enjoy playing coasterville because I break everything down in my mind – a quest isn’t really a quest, it’s a matter of eight clicks, three clicks from a friend and two clicks at two hour intervals. Well my same love of breaking things down makes me fascinated by looking at what goes into creating real things. What all goes into feeding a family? Occasionally I keep track of what my family eats for a week and occasionally I think about laying out an equivalent amount of food in the style of the What the World Eats Photo Essay. When I was a teenager, I…

  • communication,  how do we know what we know is true,  meaning of life,  the ethical life

    thoughts about thoughts

    I just started reading the book The Curious Feminist by Cynthia Enloe and the first page includes this gem: I have come to think that the capacity to be surprised – and to admit it – is an undervalued feminist attribute. To be surprised is to have one’s current explanatory notions, and thus one’s predictive assumptions, thrown into confusion. In both academic life and activist public life in most cultures, one is socialized to deny surprise. It is as if admitting surprise jeopardized one’s hard-earned credibility. And credibility, something necessarily bestowed by others, is the bedrock of status. … Better to assume the “Oh, well, of course it would turn out like that” pose. …