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Encouragement ... More than Words

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Flattery is telling someone what you think they want to hear in order to manipulate them to your way. Compliment is telling someone something positive about them and may or may not have self serving motives behind it.  Perhaps you genuinely do think they have the best laugh or nicest smile and you simply want them to know that, no sticky motives about it. Neither of these is encouragement. Encouragement is defined as the act of giving someone support, confidence or hope.  There is a strengthening component to encouragement.  Someone is downcast, discouraged and about to give up and you come along with support, which strengthens their confidence and helps instill some hope in them.   Renewed confidence and hope equate to courage, so in a sense, encouraging someone is giving them courage. I used to think that this sort of encouragement had to be done with words, words that spoke truth and life and went to the core of someone's soul, shining light into darkness, compelling t

Re-launch

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It's been over 2 years since I last posted a blog  on here. In that time I've moved to a small interior town in the province where I live.  My new town is nestled at the end of an arm on a large lake.  The lake fronts the town while a mountain has it's back.  It's lovely here, and quite the change of pace from the big city. In that time I completed a post graduate diploma in Christian studies from a theological seminary only to be bitten by the bug so that now said diploma forms the first half of another MA.  It's occurred to me that sustainable and transformative peace building entails more than understanding the theories and being competent at the practices of conflict management; on the contrary sustainable peace building need involve the heart, spirit, soul of a person.  Hence, the integration of spiritual formation and spiritual direction into my peace building practice. In that time I stopped colouring my hair and am now a white haired grandmother who

Subtle Insidiousness of White Privilege

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The first time some one suggested that I, as a white female settler person, experienced an inherent privilege, I was offended. My instinctual defensiveness rallied to assert that I came from a broken home, a violent home, certainly not a well-to-do cushy home.  The circumstances of my childhood and teen years led to poor choices, including substance use and not finishing school; for a period I was homeless - not roofless - but homeless nonetheless and unemployed and living off the good graces of family and friends.  How did that make me privileged? Several years later, when pondering my violent history in comparison to the violent histories of my First Nations female friends, I came to the conclusion that my whiteness lent my experience of violence and sexual abuse a different, more positive, more strengthened outcome. You see, in my case the violence and abuse were not systemic; I may have been caught in the quicksand of  familial violence and sexual abuse, but had unlimited, un

Stories

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Was in an Alternative to Violence community circle not that long ago. Talk about a mixed crowd. Talk about a smack up the side of the head kind of learning experience. Talk about walking out of a room never quite the same. I met a woman who most would label a crack head. She told me a story about how when she was on the streets, one day she felt an overwhelming sadness and despair. She sat on the corner of Hastings and Main and cried and cried and cried, and people walked past. She said if just one person had of stopped and looked at her, seen her person hood and ask her how they could help, she would have felt like she was not so alone. She would not have attempted to take her life that day. Now many years later, she has found her purpose, and the love of another, is in recovery and struggling to recapture the dreams she once held, intentional about making them come true. I thanked her for honoring me, for letting me into her circle and telling me her story. From now on I will ste

Racism...about that...

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This week things got ugly in Charlottesville, NC, less ugly in Boston and Quebec City, and only slightly ugly in Vancouver. All 3 cities had alt-right, white supremacist rallies, allegedly spurred by the removal of confederate and/or colonialist monuments (so then why the shouts against Jews?),  and immigration. These protests and counter-protests got me thinking about being white, about being an egalitarian white woman who "prides" herself on appreciating the diversity and uniqueness of each human she meets, regardless of where they were born or the colour of their skin. But is that true? Am I really that? Having been born in 1962, in a decidedly  WASP neighbourhood, my first recollection of "others" were the Italian new immigrant family that moved next door. While I played with Anna-Maria and her brother Joe,  I recall my step-father saying what seemed like mean things about their father, but as a 6 year old, had no grid for standing up to him or up for ot

The Disappointing Things

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She hears His voice He says she is dreaming That's not how God does things You have it all wrong Confused Second guessing Heart pressing In On old wounds She discerns a call He says she is wrong God doesn't call women And if He did it wouldn't be you Hurt Second guessing Heart pressing In On old angers She was a high school drop out, sexual assault survivor, who spent years in the healing trenches, living life severed and scared, but nonetheless Raised two children who are vibrant and life and love and laughter Built a career that gives and gives and gives Went  back to school the late bloomer that she is...becoming Completed graduate school Jumped before any nets appeared Intent on being an instrument of the sort that brings life Not much by way of grand accomplishments but something she cherishes nonetheless And yet... He's never read one of her papers, essays, short stories or poems. Has never said she looks pretty or that he thi

Kingdom Come?

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You ever get a single thought that pops into your head during the most mundane task, and suddenly you're downloading an entire theme seemingly out of no where?  This morning, while coiffing for church, the idea of a king's court popped into my head... followed by a barrage of thoughts that suggested today's present way of gathering for church emerged directly out of the king and court culture of Christendom, and beyond. Hope you can track with me here... Picture today's typical evangelical church.  There's a head pastor, surrounded by a team of associates, surrounded by a team of elders and/or board members, surrounded by a team of engaged, involved volunteers and supportive members, surrounded by church-goers, the common folk who remain, for the most part, relatively disengaged, more like spectators in an audience. Generally speaking, evangelicalism emerged out of the Reformation. Picture yesteryear's typical European  country where the Reformatio