• Picture of a five year old child holding a protest sign.
    goals,  politics,  the ethical life

    Making a difference

    Sometimes I feel helpless in the face of all the problems of the world. Then I remind myself there’s lots I can do to make a difference. I can: write a letter to the editor to try to change others thoughts on an issue and to let those who share my beliefs know they are not alone. pick up garbage beside the road. reach out to a friend and let them know I care. encourage good discussion in a world where we don’t always think things through. donate to organizations that are doing good work. volunteer with organizations. stand on a street corner in support of causes I care about.…

  • homeschooling,  politics

    teaching civics with reflections on a small town council meeting

    It is Saturday morning and I’m watching a video recording of a town council meeting that took place several provinces away. I’m taking notes to write the story up for my dad’s newspaper. The strange thing is, I actually find counsel meetings kind of interesting. I love the little details of small town life. The minor hockey club asked for their meeting notices to be displayed on the town’s signs. This would add to the frequency of which staff would have to change the text on those signs. The administration is willing to do it but want permission to draw up a policy, because presumably if they put the hockey…

  • climate change,  politics

    “500 climate change denying scientists” – yeah, no.

    I’ve been bothering to engage with some of the climate change deniers on the Sudbury Star’s Facebook page. They link to a Brietbart article saying that there’s over 500 scientists that are petitioning the UN to say there’s no climate crisis. I start looking up the scientists who signed the letter. I’m going through the top names, the ones who started the petition. From Wikipedia: “Guus Berkhout (born 1940) is a Dutch engineer. He has worked for Shell in the oil- and gas industry and served as professor of acoustics, geophysics and innovation management at Delft University of Technology between 1976 and 2007. From 2000 to 2002 he was chair…

  • Biblical history,  politics

    Biblical history and Israel

    Did you know there’s a political component to the question of the literal truth of the Bible? There are people who argue for it being true not just because they want it for a spiritual guide, but also because they want justification for the nation of Israel to be a Jewish nation? Part of the politics of the question of “was there a King David?” and “How much land did he control?” is about whether or not that land should be Jewish now and how much land. I don’t talk about this much in my classes, partly because the situation with Israel is incredibly complex. I want to comment about…

  • history,  politics

    On the Trail of Ella McLean

    As a child growing up in Smoky Lake, I remember my dad, newspaper editor Lorne Taylor, taking me up to the graveyard off Victoria Trail. We pushed through the bushes to find a big pink granite stone, the text of which read: “Ella A. McLean Devoted Missionary. Born June 24, 1881. Died July 6, 1912. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” “This is the grave of the woman whose husband built our home,” my dad would tell me. We lived at 4924 50th Street, the old Smoky Lake Signal Office. Miss McLean had been a missionary first at Wahstao mission and then Kolakreeka mission. She…

  • politics

    Independant Media and the Canadian Budget

    Today on Facebook I noticed a story about how the Trudeau government is creating “newspapers and websites deemed reliable.” That makes it sound like the government’s creating a serious official list of which papers are trustworthy or not. Except that isn’t what is really happening. The article in question was by the Post Millennial and it had little information but a link to an article by Blacklocks Reporter blog.  So I go to that and read that, and they’re talking about how the Federal Budget Bill C-97 has some funding for journalism. This is good. Local newspapers are losing out on advertisements as everyone advertises online and they lose out…

  • politics

    Coded language of the Yellow Vest Mission Statement

    I wrote the following specifically for a conversation in a Facebook group, but I suspect that conversation might be deleted and I thought I’d like to share these thoughts here: The Yellow Vest mission statement there and the conversation here has gotten me thinking about coded language. When do words have different extra meanings? I’m thinking about things like when someone talks about “the sanctity of marriage” in American media, they’re probably talking about promoting certain types of marriages and not others. They don’t have to come right out and say that. I’m trying to think of other examples of coded messaging. The Yellow Vests ends up using coded messages.…

  • history,  politics

    Reflections on reading a book about Richard the Lionheart

    Whenever I read a book, I try to spend a bit of time reflecting on it. I try to choose the most important details of it to retell to myself, so I remember them. I try to think of what I’ve learned from it. Today I’m reflecting on the book Richard I by John Gillingham. I’m thinking about the huge role political relationships and personal negotiations played at the time of Richard. When he went on the crusades, Richard the Lionheart left his different castles and estates in the hands of individuals who had to have the strength to defend them. If he chose the wrong people he would have…

  • how do we know what we know is true,  politics

    Today’s Personal Epistemological Crisis

    Today I’m having my own little epistemological crisis. My inspiration for these thoughts are a New York Times article talking about a theory on the recent pipe bombs sent to Democrats.  The New York Times reported on this theory: The bombs, this theory went, were not actually part of a plot to harm Democrats, but were a “false flag” operation concocted by leftists in order to paint conservatives as violent radicals ahead of the elections next month. The inability of people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their own political party includes some violent radicals is amazing. It boggles my mind that others can believe that somehow this…

  • This picture shows a Minecraft village built in the style of Catal Hoyuk
    history,  homeschooling,  politics,  religion

    Searching for Justice and Equality in Ancient Times

    One of the classes I’m teaching these days is a secular Bible study class. I treat the Bible like a work of literature. We discuss the different historical periods and the theologies within the Bible, but I’m not trying to convert them. I use the textbooks I had from university to help me, but simplifying stuff for children. I’m having wonderful fun with the class. Then on a different day of the week I teach an ancient history class that is looking more at other ancient cultures of the Middle East. So from this study of ancient times, what fascinates me is the frequency in which the different texts and…