Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Return to “Normal” (10)

What do we want “normal” to be when our society is stabilized after the pandemic has passed? How will we treat each other differently, ask just who our institutions serve, and how will we source and use “energy”?

The following “look forward” been composed by Emily Eaton.


The day after there will be a transition to a new normal. Economies that were fundamentally extractive, linear, and based on theft will be transformed. We will dislodge the power and interests that profit from the extraction and theft inherent in our pre-COVID carbon economies and rebuild ourselves based on reciprocity: caring for one another, both human and non-human.

This transition will be three-dimensional working towards decolonization, democratization and decarbonization.

1) Decolonization will not be understood as a metaphor. It will mean, quite literally, returning land, jurisdiction, and environmental decision-making to Indigenous Nations and communities. We will start with ‘crown lands’ and move on to consider how to return private property. We will manage the commons as if our children’s futures mattered.

2) Democratization will also require redistribution. We will wrestle our economies and our workplaces away from a small elite who are enriching themselves off of our labour and our environments. We will tax and redistribute their wealth, we will strengthen solidarity, cooperative, and socialized economies. We will recognize and value the labour of so many people who had been unpaid and poorly paid (women, undocumented workers, frontline service and care workers, racialized workers, and so on).

3) Decarbonization will be necessary to rescue a habitable world. Climate change is the next curve we will flatten. Supply chains, kin networks, and production will all become more local. Private sufficiency will be augmented by public luxury: fare-free, accessible public transit and low-carbon public amenities. Fossil fuel production will be phased out in a way that allows workers to stay in their communities and enjoy dignified lives.

The day after, when this transition begins, we will draw on the lessons we learned from caring for one another during the COVID-19 pandemic and we will recognize the need for a transformation in all three dimensions.

Emily Eaton is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Regina whose currently research focuses on the influence of the fossil fuels sector in Saskatchewan.



Canada Day ?

How did you celebrate Canada Day – July 1st?

The message below comes from a First Nations person and represents one of the BIG issues that Canada still has to deal with – honouring the treaties that were made with First Nations.

Let’s educate ourselves as Canadians and make the choice to stop this from happening in Canada.

Posted July 30, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Superfluous plastic wrap

Can anyone explain why patio paving stones are shipped in single-use plastic wrap?


Posted July 27, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Jean Vanier

A eulogy for Jean Vanier

By Jim Taylor – published on Sunday, May 12, 2019


The news on Tuesday that Jean Vanier had died hit me like a punch in the gut. Tears welled up, unbidden.

I can’t claim that I knew him personally. But that’s not quite accurate. Because everyone knew him personally. That’s the kind of person he was. He wasn’t paying attention to the person behind you. He didn’t care if you were a prime minister or a corporate CEO or Mother Teresa — you, as you, mattered.

I only heard him speak three times. At a United Church General Council in Saskatoon, in 1972, he offered common sense to 600 people struggling to resist the pressures of a consumer culture.

  • It’s not about what brand of car you drive, Vanier said. It’s about who gets to ride in that car.

  •  It’s not about how big or modern your refrigerator is, he said, it’s about who gets to eat out of that refrigerator.

An unprepossessing speaker

The second time I heard him was at a multi-denominational Festival of Faith in Ottawa. speaking to several thousand people.

He was an unprepossessing speaker, by conventional standards. He ambled on stage, almost shambled on, 6-feet-4-inches looking as if he had slept in his clothes, with a great hooked nose that hung over the microphone.

 And a smile that stretched from here to eternity.

He talked as if there was only one person out there — and it was you. He switched from English to French, and back again. He didn’t repeat himself in the other language. I knew little French — high school French doesn’t stick very long — but his French was so simple, so concrete, so practical, that I had little difficulty following him. Francophones, I gathered later, had the same reaction to his English.

And he told stories. Not about great adventures.  Not about meeting with illustrious people — though he had certainly done that. Indeed, he was one himself, once. As the son of  Governor-General Georges Vanier (1959-1967), the Queen’s senior representative in Canada, he had once moved in the highest circles of society.

No, stories about the most ordinary of people. The kind of people most of us overlook. Or ignore. Or even deliberately avoid, because we find their presence uncomfortable. People with intellectual and physical disabilities.

The meaning of beautiful

 When Vanier met a small group of men with disabilities he was so moved that he invited some of them to come and live with him. And that was the beginning of L’Arche, now a network of 152 homes around the world, 29 of them in Canada.

 Vanier talked about his friends as if they were holy. And in his eyes, they were. He described bathing men who could do nothing at all to bathe themselves. He called their bodies “beautiful.”

 I didn’t understand that. I couldn’t understand it, until some years later when our son was dying. He had cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that afflicts the lungs. As thicker-than-normal mucus clogs up the tiny passages in the lung that transfer oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide, the lungs have to work overtime  to draw in enough air to do their job.

Cystic fibrosis also affects digestion, making it harder for the body to absorb nutrients. So our son was, by any conventional standards, a caricature. Massive barrel chest. Arms and legs like Tinkertoy creations, all skinny bones and knobby joints.

But as I rubbed his chest, in an attempt to ease his breathing during his final hours, I remember thinking, “You have a beautiful body. Not beautiful because it matched any external standards. Beautiful because I loved it. And that was Vanier’s point. His helpless friends had beautiful bodies. Beautiful because he loved them.

Standards worth aiming for

 I can’t help comparing Vanier to other public figures.

Almost two thousand years ago, Christian missionary Paul wrote a letter to one of the churches he had established. He concluded, “Finally, dear friends, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy …keep doing these things.”

I can’t think of one thing that Donald Trump has done that matches any of the qualities Paul commended. I can’t think of one thing that Jean Vanier did that doesn’t fit those qualities.

If Jesus was — as Christian doctrine has long asserted — God incarnate, embodied as a human, then Jean Vanier might qualify as Jesus embodied for our time.

 And so I cry. For him. For me. And for the world that must now do without him.


Copyright © 2019 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups encouraged; links from other blogs welcomed; all other rights reserved.

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Posted May 13, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #16, 2019

” Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope.”

Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, page xi



Posted March 31, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #15, 2019

“One of the most important roles a leader plays is to guide team members into a deeper experience of community.”

Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, page 81

  (CORRIGAN / PATRICK CORRIGAN) – The Toronto Star, March 23, 2019


Posted March 26, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #14, 2019

“There is a deep, intrinsic JOY in giving.”

Rev. Alexa Gilmour, March 19, 2019



Posted March 21, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #13, 2019

” I believe music and love are the most enduring and powerful forces of good in the world.”

Corey Hart, March 17, 2019 at the Juno Award ceremonies



Posted March 20, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #12, 2019

“Awe is the antidote to boredom.”

Matthew Fox, in Creation Spirituality, page 91


Posted March 17, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Lenten quote #11, 2019

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.

So, all of us here have the power to bring hope through our actions.

So it is up to us to make hope happen, all of us.”

Olivia Chow, October 27, 2014



Posted March 17, 2019 by allanbaker in Uncategorized