Cabbage Days
Opinion

Cabbage Days

February. Who can think warm thoughts in February? It’s bleak, grey and hard to get through, despite its brevity. Margaret Atwood described February in a poem as the “month of despair, with a skewered heart in the centre.” I know what she means; I, too, come from Ottawa. But maybe it’s healthy to remember that poets like to exaggerate. Cold February might be less about grim despair than simply keeping going. In Old English, February was called kale-monath or cabbage month. It’s a month for persistence and daily, ordinary life.

Lighting Candles In Smoky Times
News | Politics

Lighting Candles In Smoky Times

A new year and the same old aches. The headlines change, and the photographs are different, but we still watch and worry, adding the names of far-off places to our church prayer lists. This year began with Australia’s massive bush fires. How do we answer? With prayer? Grief? Action? Donations? As with news of any disaster, it can be hard to know where to start. In October, I wrote in my column about trying to find a faithful response to the world’s hard news.

New Year’s Light
News | Theology & Spirituality

New Year’s Light

After all the gifts, one more. A new year ahead. A fresh start, if you want that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to change anything. You can just keep going. There are loud voices at this time of year crowing about all the changes we can make. Be stronger, be thinner, be greener, be better. But newness comes with or without our effort. Newness is a gift.

Love Up Close
Opinion

Love Up Close

My mother came to visit. This was a big deal because these days we live five thousand kilometres apart and I hadn’t seen her since I was home last year when my dad died. We email and video-chat fairly regularly, but that isn’t the same. It isn’t face-to-face. She came at the end of September and stayed with us for a month. When I told friends about this visit, they paused, then asked rather deliberately how it “actually” was. A whole month with your mother in your house?

Where is the faith in bad news?
Opinion

Where is the faith in bad news?

Bad news on the radio. Breakfast on the table. We sit together and drink coffee. Listen. Morning after morning. The news might be local or international and these days, it’s often tense, sometimes shocking so it can be hard to take in. Sometimes we get angry and the kids ask questions that we try to answer, and we try not to rage. Then more bad news: bad decisions, bad outcomes, bad weather on the horizon.

Lenses and Ladders
Uncategorized

Lenses and Ladders

I spent one day last week tidying our bookshelves because they needed it. They were a jumbly, unstable mess of books and papers, everything balanced horizontally and pushed in the wrong spaces. The poetry shelf threatened to collapse. The travel books had found their far-flung ways everywhere, appropriately enough, and the novels were on the march.

The Gift of Welcoming
News

The Gift of Welcoming

When I write my column The Messy Table, I focus on identifying and shaping spirituality within my family. That was also the subject of “The Spiritually Vibrant Household,” a Barna Group webcast last month in which they introduced their new study, Households of Faith. Their aim was to share new research on the rituals and relationships that turn a home into a sacred space, asking the question: what does a spiritually vibrant household look like today?