semantics sleight of hand

March 22nd, 2015

For the past many years, I’ve been struggling against the power of the Christian story within the traditional church and outside of it. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Baha’i, and so many other religious streams ply stories of a cosmology that includes either a deity residing in a supernatural realm or a life that is more (or less) rewarding after this reality. They are all stories which, I do admit, can have a positive influence by controlling masses (through fear) and keep… Continue Reading…

All Roads

March 21st, 2015

pathsFor this Sunday, the service is looking at privilege. So my hymn writing challenge veered off in that direction. An abrupt shift in the first verse might be disconcerting but it evidences the kind of “scales falling from our eyes” reality that consciousness raising so often is. And I hope that the song ends with a sense of cooperative movement toward a positive goal. The tune is Crusaders’ Hymn most often sung… Continue Reading…

we the only authors

March 20th, 2015

Royal Botanical Garden sunflower

Royal Botanical Garden sunflower

Too often, as I begin the process of creating for a Sunday service, my mind and heart slip off the disciplined road defined by the theme chosen for that week and into the areas in which I am most comfortable – the consideration of time, of words, of meaning, of our relationships. It seems there simply aren’t enough words or images to exhaust the breadth and depth of… Continue Reading…


March 17th, 2015

Who really uses that word anymore? Really?

Andy Oudman of Talk 1290 in London, Ontario, that’s who. A listener had alerted me to Oudman’s remarks about the United Church yesterday and said that the radio host planned to return to the topic today. So when he began to talk about the inappropriateness of my leading a congregation in The United Church of Canada, I gave him a call.

He was surprised but not put off his game enough to forget that he… Continue Reading…

on being an atheist minister

March 17th, 2015

Had an opportunity to share some ideas with AM640’s Jeff McCarthur this afternoon.  Here is the clip.  Enjoy!

Jeff McCarthur

Continue Reading…

to the glory of good

March 17th, 2015

On Sunday, March 15th, Eric Andrew-Gee of the Toronto Star joined us in our weekly gathering. It was a busy morning. We’d removed half the pews that Saturday in one of our first efforts at continuing our work toward creating a barrier-free community, this time focused on the challenges that traditional forms of gathering as church pose to those not familiar comfortable with them. The one side of the Gathering Hall was filled with an assortment of chairs gathered from different… Continue Reading…

before words settled between us

March 14th, 2015

Amanda crop

A quiet moment with my granddaughter, Amanda.

Do you sometimes wonder
what you thought
before you had words
to think it with?
If, perhaps, you were a poet, then,
linking images, one to the other,
beauty, inexpressible, cascading
through the wonder of your forming mind?
Or what it was
what drove you –
well, drove almost all of us –
beyond the exquisiteness
of what we’d had
before words settled between us
and… Continue Reading…

women rock

March 8th, 2015

Photo by user pedrojperez

Photo by user pedrojperez

It might seem a bit cheeky, but I thought that since rewrite for this week’s traditional hymn should focus on women and we’ve had a Women Rock service at West Hill several times, that I’d use the tune Toplady to which Rock of Ages is most often sung so here it is!

This year, in addition to focusing on women for International Women’s Day, our Women Rock program… Continue Reading…

there isn’t a moment goes by

March 7th, 2015

This coming Sunday falls on International Woman’s Day. The week has been filled with stories on the challenging realities women face – the New York Times front page article, “A Thin Line of Defense Against Honor Killing,” on the work of Women for Afghan Women, an organization that rescues girls and women from the horrific and ongoing tragedy of honor killings; the announcement that Tennessee will become the first State (how’s that for prophesying an increasingly troubling future for women?) to… Continue Reading…

’til all, in truth, are free

February 28th, 2015

softened pixelated knot footerThe nature of truth is a long conversation. We often, in the church, speak of it as though it is an exact thing that we can define or capture between the covers of a designated book. Outside of the church, it’s a philosophical tome or a microscopic film. We can’t capture truth. It is not to be nailed down.  More and more I become convinced that… Continue Reading…