Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Ethics of Camping.

Well, I'm back from holidays and ready for fall... or at least I hope so.
This last weekend Juanita, Kaleb, and I were in Alberta (Red Lodge Provincial Park) for a family camp-out/reunion. We actually had every single person from 3 generations of my mom's (Klassen) side of the family there. Good times.
Anyway, as I mentioned, this was a camping trip. I love camping. I love the simplicity of it: nature, close friends/family, camp fires, waking up with the sun and getting bacon and eggs going on the camp stove; I love the sound of crackling bacon in the morning... and then some good strong tea or coffee... ahhh!
So as we were driving out to Alberta this thought struck me: everything that I need to survive is with me here in my car. In our little Mazda Protege there was me, my wife, and my son and all of the things that we would need to live a simple but completely satisfactory life.
In North America there are millions of people like me who will, for fun, simplify their lifestyle for a week or two each summer. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the population of this earth lives like this (or far worse) out of necessity.
Maybe there's something wrong with my brain when I start questioning the ethics behind camping. I think maybe Juanita thinks there's something wrong with me...
What do you think? (about camping, not my sanity)
What do you love (or hate) about camping?
Oh, yeah... in my opinion RVing is completely different than camping. I say that small campers and tent trailers still count as camping but anything beyond that is just cheating (and taking up valuable campsites for me and my tent)!
While we were there we found some nice diamond willow and so as a little project I cut a good length and have been hand carving myself a walking stick that will, hopefully, end up looking something like these.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Being an Atheist must be insufferably dull.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Fransiscan Benediction

So, last week I spent a couple of days at Leadership Summit. As always, it was a great time of being challenged and refreshed.
One of the speakers ended his session with this old Fransiscan Benediction:

May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


I'm not even sure what I'm getting at with this post. Somehow I've always been fascinated by the faith of "old-school" (I don't know what else to call them) Christians like Frascis of Assisi, Brother Lawrence, Thomas A Kempis, etc.
While they certainly made mistakes just like any of us they had a knack for understanding what it meant to be completely counter-cultural in their faith. I have to admire that.
What would my/your life look like if you daily prayed that God would bless you with discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Social Commentary

Sorry for the lack of posts. This past week I was up at Silver Birch Bible Camp as the speaker for their Teen Camp. I did it last year as well. It's always a great week. I loved it.

When we got back Juanita and I went on a date. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you but this was the first time in approximately 11 months that Juanita and I had more than 4 hours straight just to ourselves. We went to a restaurant we had never been to, had appetizers before our entree, had a liesurely meal (none of it ended up on the floor... Kaleb), and went to a movie. I loved it.

We saw Wall-E.

I loved it.

I've always been a fan of movies with social commentary. To me art has to have a purpose; it has to say something. That's what divides the art of "film-making" and the entertainment of "movies." What I'm trying to say is that Wall-E is a piece of art. It is film that artistically portrays a timely message.

I really should clarify, though. The second half of the movie, while still very enjoyable, degenerates into a typical Pixar family friendly (and slightly preachy) animated movie. But the first half of the movie is astounding.

With essentially no dialogue whatsoever Wall-E visually tells a story which makes you both think profound things and feel profound things. And it's still fun.

Anyway, I've always loved the genre of science-fiction because it has the ability, more-so than other genres, to speak about the "effects" that are being "caused" by today. Anyone who has read H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, or Robert Heinlein, or has seen films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Contact, or even to a lesser extent something like I Am Legend or I Robot will know what I'm talking about.

So while we were at the theatre for Wall-E I saw adds for a new remake that's coming out this December, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Now, I remember watching the original 1951 movie quite a while ago and it was sweet. So initially I was kind of excited. The original had all the things you'd look for in a well thought out old-school sci-fi film.

But then I saw that this new version is starring none other than Keanu "I couldn't act my way out of a wet paper bag" Reeves. Sigh.

The original was a film; a piece of art. The remake will be a movie; a piece of cr... uh, entertainment.

It happens all of the time. H.G. Wells wrote a number of amazing stories: The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, etc. Both of these have been made into big budget movies in the last decade. All of the intelligence, wit, and poignancy are sacrificed at the altar of entertainment.

OK. I'm done now.

What other movies have you seen this happen to?
What did you think of Wall-E?