Archive Page 2

Searching For Don Knows What

At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I liked Donald Miller before he was famous, and now––thanks to my friend Amy––I fear he’s selling out.

First, my true-blue-fan cred: I met him 3 years before Blue Like Jazz was published. Great guy. He came to speak at a Summit College reunion at my childhood camp in Huntsville, Ontario (Summit was a one year outdoor adventure/Bible/leadership program that I did after high school). I liked his talk so much––about how we carry around needless baggage like giant rocks in our hiking packs (a talk well suited for us outdoorsy folk)––that I bought his first book called Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance (later released as Through Painted Deserts). As I read though this journal about his road trip from Texas to Oregon in a broken-down VW van, I remember thinking this guy is wonderful. He had such a unique, laugh-out-loud funny, comforting voice, and told so many great stories, that I was sad when it was finished. I later I lent it to a boy I liked, trying to impress him with the fact that I read cool stuff, and never got it back. Which sucks because in addition to being a great story, that first cover was way better than the re-published one.

I was ecstatic when Blue Like Jazz came out 3 years later and gobbled down every delicious, witty, insightful morsel. Continue reading ‘Searching For Don Knows What’

Advertisements

God as Mother: Julian of Norwich and Our Language for God

The following is a paper that I wrote for my Christian Thought and Culture class at Regent College. It was a challenging and rewarding topic to research. And my prof, Iain Provan, liked it – enough to give me an A! 🙂 Although he was not completely convinced by my argument. Hmmm, what do you think??

——–

‘Who is like Yahweh’…judge, king, warrior, father!
‘There is none like Yahweh’…artist, gardener, doctor, mother, shepherd!
There is none like Yahweh, who lives inside a rich, open, generative rhetoric, whose character arises from daily life, and who refers back to daily life in governing and sustaining ways. (1) -Walter Brueggemann

All language we use for God is analogous and inadequate; there is no perfect metaphor that would sufficiently capture all there is to know about the multi-faceted nature of our indescribable God. In addition, language is not static; it has morphed over time to reflect changing culture. Because God uses our own language to communicate something to us, God naturally accommodates God’s ways and ideas to use language and images that we are familiar with within the limits of our particular culture and place in history.(2)  In this paper I would like to focus on this latter aspect of the language we use for God: accommodation. I will argue that just as God chose to accommodate to a less-than-ideal patriarchal Hebrew society by revealing Godself using masculine imagery and language, God also chose to accommodate to certain 14th century medieval concepts of motherhood and medical physiology to reveal Godself, using maternal imagery and language, to the English mystic Julian of Norwich. Julian’s portrayal of God as Mother should then serve as an example to contemporary Christ-followers that as culture and language morphs over time, for better or worse, God will continue to accommodate to our own cultural perceptions in order to meet us where we are at. Some will argue that this issue raises several concerns, including whether or not we are permitted to ‘invent’ language for God, and while I am sympathetic to them, I believe they are unwarranted and can be eased by a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of our language for God and its relationship to changing cultural contexts. Continue reading ‘God as Mother: Julian of Norwich and Our Language for God’

It’s Rather Complicated

The following was an assignment for my Christian Thought and Culture class at Regent College in Vancouver, which is quickly becoming my favourite class. We had to answer the question “Who are you and why are you here at Regent?”

I am a passionate, curious, and tortured soul. I long to understand a million different things, and feel most alive when I am learning, discussing, writing about, and teaching ideas that really matter, that are central to the beautiful, eternal meaning of the human experience. Unfortunately, this also means that I often feel like there is not enough hours in the day or years in this life to do and learn and experience all the things that I want to. I often get depressed when I feel I have no time to read all the books and articles I want to, see the all the films I’ve been told are brilliant, or learn how to play the instrument or perform the artistic skill I can sense I would love.

For this reason, I am fairly undecided as to what I want to do with my life. Up until this point, I have wanted to be a lawyer, teacher, writer, humanitarian worker, photographer, counselor, theatre actress, backpacker-hostel-owner in Northern India, and Anglican priest. Just last night, when I heard the lecture on reading film, I wondered if I should leave Regent and go to film school, as I realized that the art of telling stories is so fascinating and important. After taking Dave Diewert’s class in the Downtown Eastside this summer, I wanted to become an addictions counselor. Continue reading ‘It’s Rather Complicated’

Subversive Sexuality: Why Sexual Sin is a Social Justice Issue

“Recently, the younger generation in the Church has been so focused on issues of social justice – poverty, inequality, oppression  – that it has forgotten the dangers and damages of sexual sin.” –  Iain Provan, Old Testament prof, Regent College

At first this statement offended me. I was sitting in a lunch-time open lecture on Old Testament ethics, and I remember thinking that the wider Church, as I have witnessed it, has NOT been focusing on issues of social justice as much as it should. And how could such a personal, behind-the-doors choice like ‘sexual sin’ – whatever that entails – possibly be as dangerous and damaging as forgetting the poor?

I was raised in a church whose youth group stressed the dangers of ‘sex, alcohol, and partying’ and totally neglected teaching me that being a follower of Christ was more about living a radically alternative lifestyle to that of our dominant culture – a life of community, simplicity, compassion for the weak and marginalized, and fighting against the injustice in our world.

But I’ve learned since my youth group days that there are WAY more Scriptures that talk about poverty and injustice than sex and alcohol. Jesus himself said that he would separate the true followers from the false ones by how they treat “the least of these” (Matthew 25). Continue reading ‘Subversive Sexuality: Why Sexual Sin is a Social Justice Issue’

And you thought abortion was a right-wing issue…

And by you I mean me.

But recently I’ve learned of such organizations as Feminists for Life and Consistent Life Ethic that dialogue about the abortion issue in refreshing and deeply insightful ways that make total sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been personally against abortion, being one who believes because of my faith that life begins at conception. But I have struggled with the idea that my personal beliefs should be forced on others who may not hold them, especially in a democracy.

Until now. I’m completely convinced that abortion fails women. I believe it is symptom of a society that cares more about profit than it does about taking care of it’s weakest and most vulnerable members of our society – the unborn, and their mothers who feel they might not make it if they have the child.

Jen Ziemenn, a member of St. Chiara Community (where I’ve been hanging around as of late, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside) was arrested years ago for protesting at an abortion clinic. Her statement below to the judge is one of the most passionate and convincing I’ve heard on the issue: Continue reading ‘And you thought abortion was a right-wing issue…’

The People Vs. Jason Kenney: Why this Racist should be Deported

I received the following ad for a protest rally in an email from Dave Diewert, my prof of the two-week class i just took at Regent called Solidarity, Resistance, and Liberation: the Way of God in the World. Didn’t make it to the rally today, (I had to write a paper), but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about how horrible this man’s policies are!

“I plead guilty. I am a racist” – Jason Kenney, Montreal 2009.

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney is
known as the Minister of Censorship and Deportation because of his record
as one of the most repressive immigration ministers in Canadian history.
Deportations have increased, while the number of people accepted as
refugees and sponsored family members have drastically dropped. Instead,
Kenney has increased the number of temporary workers who are constantly
exploited for their labour. His new refugee bill creates a racist two tier
system based on nationality, and he has called a wide range of migrants –
from Mexicans to the War Resisters “bogus”. Under his regime, an Eritrean
refugee committed suicide from fear of a pending deportation, and a young
woman was murdered upon her deportation to Mexico.

Kenney is also a staunch supporter of imperialism, stifling anti war
voices such as George Galloway and the Canadian Arab Federation. Kenney’s
neoconservative values are obvious in his comments and actions: pulling
Canada out of the Durban World Conference Against Racism; introducing a
citizenship guide that omits the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans
and queer (LGBTQ) communities; defending Quebec Bill C-94 that
discriminates against women who wear the niqab; and stating that
immigrants are not integrating well into (colonial) Canada.

Join the People’s March Against Jason Kenney on July 24th to demand an END
to censorship of dissenting voices. An END to detentions and deportations.
An END to the exploitation of temporary migrant workers. An END to
military occupations from Afghanistan to Palestine. An END to
discrimination against women, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, and
racialized people.

We are rising out of schools, neighbourhoods, and workplaces to reject
Kenney’s agenda; join this grassroots movement and rise up with us!

The People v. Kenney
Freedom to move
Right to stay, and to Return
We are many.

ENDORSED BY: Alliance for People’s Health, Anti-Poverty Committee,
Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society,
Battered Women’s Support Services, Bolivia Solidarity Committee, Boycott
Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Building Bridges Human Rights- Vancouver,
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Canadian Islamic Congress,
Check Your Head, Coalition of South Asian Women Against Violence, Comuna
of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca, East Van Abolitionists,
Friends of Women in the Middle East Society, Grassroots Women, Indigenous
Action Movement, Industrial Workers of the World, International Federation
of  Iranian Refugees, Iran Solidarity Vancouver, Justice for Girls,
Justice for Migrant Workers, Network of Sri Lankan Law Students, Next Up
Vancouver, Press Release Collective, Progressive Nepali Forum in Americas,
Purple Thistle, Rabble.ca, Radical Art In Nature, Rain Zine, Rhizome Cafe,
Salaam Vancouver, Seattle Vancouver Womyns Action Network, Sikh Activist
Network – BC, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group, Siraat
Collective, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Solidarity Notes
Choir, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Stopwar.ca,
Streams of Justice, Submedia, TarSandsArt, The Purple Thistle Centre,
Trikone-Vancouver, UBC Centre for Race Autobiography Gender and Age, UBC
Law , Social Justice Action Network, Vancouver Action, Vancouver Catholic
Worker, Vancouver Community Mobilization Network, War Resisters Support
Campaign, Workers Communist Party of Iran, Workless Party.

* TAKE ACTION!

1) Participate in the People’s March Against Kenney by organizing a march
in your city on July 24 and always confront Kenney if he rolls into your
town.

2) Download leaflets and multilingual pamphlets from
http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=2034 and spread the word.

3) Plan a community forum to raise awareness about the escalating attacks
by Jason Kenney.

4)  Comment on online news stories, send a letter to the Editor, or write
your local MP regarding Kenney. Keep it short: “Minister Kenney is a
racist, anti-immigrant, war-mongering Conservative. The Minister of
Censorship and Deportation has got to go!”

5) Write Kenney at kennej@parl.gc.ca and bmq@cic.gc.ca and tell him what
you think!

* Read more about the People v. Jason Kenney Campaign:
http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=1027

* For more information, email noii-van@resist.ca or call 778 885 0040

Sweat-ships: Why I’ll Never Go on a Cruise and Nor Should You

“Cruise Ships are a microcosm of our world.” – Craig Greenfield, Servants Vancouver

I’m currently in a class called Solidarity, Resistance and Liberation: The Way of God in the World that’s located in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver – an area that’s been called ‘the poorest postal code in Canada.’ It’s taught by Regent College’s Dave Diewert, who’s like the Brian Walsh of the West (my favourite-because-he’s-radical-and-creative prof at Wycliffe). It’s been freakin’ awesome.

We’ve gone around to different communities in the DTES, learning how they are engaging in solidarity with the poor, resistance of the oppressive political and economic powers of our age, and liberation for all of God’s children.

Today we learned why we should resist the injustice that occurs on cruise ships.

Because they are a microcosm of our world. God hates injustice, as unjust structures that maintain the status quo – the rich benefiting from the sweat of the poor (see the entire book of Amos, the Torah, most of the other prophets, the life of Jesus, and yes, even the Pauline epistles). This happens on a large scale in our current exploitative economic system, but happens on a smaller (but equally as unjust) scale on cruise ships.

The upper levels contain the wealthy elite, relaxing and enjoying the sun, the entertainment, and indulging in rich foods.  This “paradise” is made possible by the hundreds of poor workers laboring in horrid conditions on the lower levels of the ship.

95% of these workers, from the Majority (3rd) World, are working 7 days a week (no day off!), for 17-20 hours a day, for as long as a 10 month period. They are paid as little as $42 / month. It’s outrageous.

These shocking videos from Pirates of Justice reveal the untold horror story beneath the decks.

To learn more, visit http://www.waronwant.org/past-campaigns/sweat-ships


Follow jen_galicinski on Twitter