new yak podcast episode

There is a new episode of the yak (Young Adult Koinonia) podcast now available. This one features a story done by yours truly about some of my church friends who are parents. I had a ton of fun interviewing them and then piecing together a little story about them. I still have a lot to learn about how to do this sort of thing well, but I think that will come with time, I just have to practise more!

Lessons learned from doing this story:

-interview people in a quiet room and then layer in low-volume background noise later if necessary, especially when there are four-year-olds running around and chattering in the background

-I know more about Garage Band than I thought I did, and a lot can be learned just by playing around.

-general background noise that sounds cool to me might not sound cool to others who weren’t there and don’t really know what’s going on

-be careful about cutting and pasting chunks when your recording is, like, an hour long, bits can get unexpectedly left behind creating mysteriously long recordings….

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home is where the table is

My TableThe last box has been unpacked and my dining table has finally been assembled, and my new apartment is actually feeling like home. Like my home. I have never had my own home before, so this is at times strange and very novel. Sometimes I feel like this is almost too much space for just one person. I’ve lived so long out of one room of my own that having multiple rooms of my own almost seems greedy.

But then I think of one of the main reasons I decided I really wanted my own place: so I can provide hospitality for others. My sister reminded me of this when she was helping me shop for dining tables. As I was looking at settling for one of the less expensive four-person tables, she said something like “but isn’t part of the point of moving so that you can have people over for dinner? Don’t you want to be able to seat lots of people?” She was right, why shouldn’t I set myself up right away to be able to provide the hospitality I long to offer?

Also exciting this week was beginning to fill my fridge and cupboards with food, a primary sign of life in a home. I still have a fair amount to do before things feel completely settled, but I am well on my way. I think it will really feel like home, will really feel like a sacred space, when I first cook a real meal and have people over. In a small way, that has already happened. The first thing that made the space feel a little like home, was when my moving helpers and I ate our fancy lunch of chicken nuggets and french fries heated up in the oven on foil baking trays, eating standing-up at the kitchen counter. Despite the informality of it, it was something that made me think “yes, this is my space, this is a gathering place, this can be a holy place.”

Food has a wonderful way of bringing people together and making our being-together a meaningful experience. This, I think, is why food and religious ritual go hand-in-hand, whether it is eating together or abstaining from eating, together, food is something that teems with life and with meaning. The table (or the picnic blanket, or the bar, or the floor) is the centre of a shared life, the place where friends and enemies can gather to be nourished and sustained, challenged and comforted.

Perhaps this is why the process of buying a table was difficult for me, more than any other piece of furniture, it had to be just right, the right object to put at the centre of my new home. Perhaps I will never be quite satisfied with the table until it takes on the life of this place, until it has had spills on it, until it has been dented by chairs, until its surface takes on the feel of me and of the various conflagrations of communities that will sit at it.

Welcome to my table.

ps: I have a new job that I adore, working here. That’s all I’ll say about it.
pps: Yes, that’s a picture of my table.

steeped in the burning layers of the divine

By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers . . . This palpable world, which we are used to treating with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association, is a holy place.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

bone-deep tiredness

I try not to write too much stuff that is just catching up, but I feel like I should explain why I haven’t written much lately. Well, for starters, I’ve been moving, which is a process, and I’m only just now feeling like the end of that process is in sight. I was astonished, and am still astonished, by the amount of books I have. It’s frightening. I guess that’s what happens when one spends eight and a half years in higher education.

I also have travelled (yet again) to Independence for a church meeting earlier this month. It was a great meeting, I came away feeling very optimistic about the work of that group.

The other thing that is occupying my time is a new job, which I am just adoring. It’s kinda still a hush-hush thing though, so stay tuned for details.

So in general a ton of things have been changing and I think that my mind, body and soul are all a bit exhausted at this point! More writing will come soon though.

creating a home

This Wednesday I will move into my very own apartment for the first time. It’s both an exciting and overwhelming process, but one that I am incredibly happy to be embarking on. There are so many decisions to be made (do I buy all four dining chairs now, or just two and wait ’till next month to buy two more?), so many arrangements to finalize (when exactly will the mattress set arrive?), and so many little things to get (dish towels, toilet paper, a shower curtain), that sometimes I feel like the whole process is too much for one person to handle.

And yet it is also something that is really important for me, creating a space that will feel comfortable and safe and homey, so I’ve asked for help a lot, and sought lots of advice and I think I will be ok in the end. It has also been an enjoyable process, finding furniture that I like and that feel like home to me, discovering what my own priorities are, and learning about my own abilities. As per usual, I’m trying not to let money be my only decision-making factor but trying to make decisions that I will be happy with for making the space my home.

I’ve been thinking about how I could make the space a holy space as well, and am wondering if anyone has ideas for that. How do you make your home holy?

courting myself

Inspired by the “Pink of Perfection April Project” and sorely in need of some serious self-care as the duties of being a pastor weigh continually more heavily on me, I decided to take some time to treat myself well this month.

I took myself on several dates, some fancy, some not. I took a mini-vacation to visit a friend in Nanaimo, and the courting-myself part was in taking a ferry ride. A work colleague told me that he and his wife used to have dates by just taking a ferry ride together over to Vancouver Island and back (of course this was at a time where there was a nice dining room on the ferry with actual table linens and real dishes, rather than fast-food-like tables and take-out containers). The journey across the water is always a little bit magical, a little bit romantic, an opportunity to sit, enjoy a book, and enjoy the scenery, which is what I did, and had a lovely time.

The second date was to my favourite little Italian cafe near where I work. They have beautiful rustic Italian food, good coffee, and sparkly Italian sodas. I enjoyed a gorgeous grilled panini while lounging on the comfy benches the line the wall of the cafe. This is actually perhaps one of my most favourite locations for meeting friends, dates, family or just myself in downtown Vancouver. It was a joy to rest there awhile.
My last date is the less fancy one. I have a particular weakness for MTV reality television, and so on several Monday nights this week I indulged in kicking back with some crochet and watching The Hills.

I do find sometimes that as my social calendar fills-up I forget that I actually really enjoy just savouring life by myself. I love visiting craft stores, fingering wool, rifling through bins of recycled supplies, visiting cafes I’ve never been to before, walking paths through the city that I’ve never walked before, getting off the bus and checking things out as I pass through. My most regular favourite date is when I choose to get off of the skytrain one station early and walk up the always-dynamic main street near my home where there are a myriad of different fun shops with interesting window displays.