Wednesday, September 20, 2017

flourishing: an introduction


Flourishing. According to one online dictionary, flourishing means ”grow and develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.”

Much is said these days about diversity and inclusion. Diversity, of course, is about numbers and percentages, about homogeneity and heterogeneity, but is no guarantee of good relations. A jungle has a diversity of wildlife, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a food chain and that some kinds of animals eat other kinds of animals who in turn eat other kinds of animals. That’s not the kind of world we want.

Inclusion has to do with people being included and respected. As Royal Bank put it on their D&I page, “In simple terms, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.” However, inclusion can potentially be perceived in other ways, such as the idea of including someone within an existing structure which remains unchanged or, in the case of the Borg, assimilation into the collective. Some people also add the concepts of justice and equity, to address the more systemic problems that are experienced by many people who belong to minorities.

Flourishing is like diversity and inclusion and justice and equity all together on steroids.

[co-posted on September 13, 2017]

Friday, August 25, 2017

[jasper diversity project]

Jasper Diversity Project banner on streetlight. Photo by rob g. Sign says, "Jasper Diversity Project. Embrace the uniqueness of your fellow community members."
I came across this diversity project while on vacation in Jasper. Banners featuring various Jasper residents, and some with sayings, hang on the street lights along the main shopping street. Here is how their website describes it:

"You're different? That's awesome. You're just like the rest of us!
The Jasper Community Team's Diversity Project showcases the value that Jasper's unique peoplescape brings to the community. The Diversity Project reveals the beauty in Jasper's human surroundings - something that can easily be overlooked in a place that is constantly on display for its world renowned natural landscape."

What I really appreciate about this project is ... how diverse it is! The people on the poster and the street signs represent a wide range of community members and a broad range of differences.

Along with sayings like the one seen in the picture below, people hold up signs about themselves. The poster to the left gives some examples; the signs on the street have more:
Jasper (Alberta) Diversity Project poster, from their website. Text: "You're different. That's awesome. You're just like the rest of us". "Jasper embraces diversity". Images show different groups of people holding up signs about what they love, related to diversity.
  • I love my freckles
  • Drama king!
  • Proud to be brown!!
  • Nous parlons francais
  • Proud to be newlyweds!
  • I'm proud to be native!
  • We are blessed to be in a blended family
  • I love being Christian
  • I love being gay
  • Winning my battle with depression
http://jasper-alberta.com/2439/The-Diversity-Project

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

[the dream we form by being together]

The Caller of the Morning Prayer, by Dale Auger. Seen at Borealis Gallery "The Dream We Form By Being Together" exhibit. Photo by rob g. Image of yellow and black bird, perched on a stick, above smoking smudge

"As part of Canada’s 150th year, the Borealis Gallery opens The Dream We Form By Being Together. This exhibition centres on the theme of reconciliation and emerges from the awareness that art can play a central role in the process. Drawing from indigenous practices and understandings, the show seeks to rebalance colonial narratives within the much larger story of this place we now call Canada."

The exhibit runs until October 1, 2017. If you are in or near Edmonton, check it out!

More info

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

[starbucks as social assistor]


Here's a very interesting article I came across on Fast Company, about Starbucks opening locations in struggling communities as well as military towns, and being intentional about hiring, training, and promoting local people.

Screenshot of top of article with title: "Starbucks is bringing hope - and profit - to the communities America has forgotten" and image of two youth, one drinking a Starbucks beverage.


My initial reaction is to be skeptical -- after all, big corporations are only interested in profit and the bottom line. However, while obviously these stores do have to be profitable, it does seem that they are serious about making a difference.

On a related note, and I say this as someone who works in government, it's quite amazing to see the serious targets they set and how they reach many of them early...

Read the whole article yourself, and comment below!

Friday, June 09, 2017

[open your world]


So Heineken put together an interesting ad about getting people with very different views and beliefs to interact and see each other as human beings.



Watch on YouTube.

What if your church did something like this? How might that help the members learn how to relate to people who have different beliefs and behaviours than they are used to?

...

Why should a church even have to do such a complicated thing to help people to get along with one another? Shouldn't the life of Jesus as we see in the Gospels inform us and change us?

Or we could look at it like this: the church is full of all sorts of people. On our journey of following Jesus and becoming more like him, wouldn't it be reasonable and right for the church to be helping people with all aspects of that? Including how to better love one another? How to see all people as well-loved by God?

Perhaps it's time to try some innovative ways to break through our prejudices...




More on this:
Huffington Post article on this ad

humanlibrary.org is the organization that Heineken worked with to create this ad.

"A Worldwide Movement for Social Change
Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover


The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.
The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers.
A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered."

Friday, May 12, 2017

bread, stones and parents


picture of jesus praying in the garden. he prays, "Heavenly Father, I  know that St. Matthew and St. Luke will both be quoting what I said about fathers not giving stones to children who ask for bread... but will that be enough?  I fear that some who claim to follow you will in fact give stones and snakes to their very own children, all the while claiming to stand for righteousness and believing they are remaining faithful to the gospel while in fact missing me entirely." cartoon by rob goetze




Which daughters and sons are being given stones and serpents?

Which daughters and sons are being stoned 
instead of fed and nourished?



Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV)
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 11:11 (NIV)
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?




Wednesday, May 03, 2017

[why i left, why i stayed: book]


cover of book "Why I Left, Why I Stayed" by Tony Campolo and Bart Campolo.
In Why I Left, Why I Stayed, Tony, a renowned Christian teacher and apologist, and Bart, a humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California, seek to provide a safe space for anyone wrestling with their own—or a loved one’s—decision to stay in or leave the church, providing compelling arguments in both directions and modeling for everyone how to strongly but lovingly disagree about the things that matter most.

For anyone who has questions about the viability and truth of the Christian life or wonders what life looks like after Christianity, this book promises to be challenging, inspiring, and highly informative. Read a sneak peek excerpt here.
(Source: Red Letter Christians email)

I haven't read this book, but it looks like a great example of how people with very different views can get along and, in fact, like and love each other as people.


Click here to watch on YouTube.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

disco spirit

jesus prays about the holy spirit. cartoon by rob goetze. image of jesus praying, with text: "Father, I have seen the future and that itty bitty red light the Anglican churches have to symbolize the presence of your Spirit. It just seems so insignificant compared to the Spirit! I'm wondering if you could lead them to use disco balls instead, to symbolize the way our Spirit is everywhere and always moving and active... and besides, I hear it might help those followers of mine from Elgibeeteacue feel more at home..."


Oh look! Jesus' prayer has come true at St. Mark's in the Bowery (NYC):

picture of disco ball above parishioners at St. Mark's in the Bowery (NYC). Photo from their FB page?
image source

Try suggesting this to your church council...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

[happy easter!]





Friday, March 17, 2017

[heathens and the church]






Really love the song Heathens by twenty one pilots, and then found that Richard Beck, one of my favourite bloggers and authors, has just written about them in his blog. Here's a snippet of what he says:
"Heathens" makes many of the points I try to make in Unclean. The speaker and audience of "Heathens" is unclear, but I'd like to read the song as Jesus speaking to the church, as TØP preaching to their fellow Christians. Read this way "Heathens" is both a prophetic rebuke to the church as well as an invitation into Jesus' lifestyle of radical hospitality.

Read the entire post:
Lovin' On the Freakshow Sitting Next to You: The Church According to Twenty One Pilots


If you haven't heard the song, you can hear it in this video. Note that as the song was used for a movie soundtrack, the images in this video are not related to what Richard Beck is speaking about!


Watch on YouTube.

Lyrics:

All my friends are heathens. Take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don't make any sudden moves
You don't know the half of the abuse

All my friends are heathens. Take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don't make any sudden moves
You don't know the half of the abuse