Thursday, August 29, 2013

R. Murray Schafer's Apocalypsis

As the history of the world unfolds, and the United States and possibly other Western nations ramp up their war god rhetoric; threatening to intervene militarily in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons; I think there is a need for those of us who have been given the gift of faith to pray for a peaceful and just resolution to the civil war in Syria. 
   So, with that in mind and heart, I turn to one of our more prolific Canadian composers, R. Murray Schafer, and his Apocalypsis "Credo," which is 45 minutes in length. Schafer, in my humble opinion, is one of our most creative and gifted composers. He is, in part, a self-taught composer, although he did study under others. One of his significant contributions to the contemporary Canadian and international music scene is the "Soundscape Project," which combines music with mysticism, and the environment. Apocalypsis is one of Schafer's more ambitious projects, involving around 500 performers. 
   Schafer's composition gives me an inkling perhaps of what "all the company of heaven" might sound like; as well as what human creativity is capable of when intermingled with the grace of God; when God's kingdom comes and will is done on earth as in heaven.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Roy Bonisteel dies at 83

According to a Winnipeg Free Press news article, CBC broadcaster and journalist, Roy Bonisteel has recently died at age 83. Bonisteel hosted the current affairs program Man Alive from 1967 to 1989 and became a public speaker, writer and citizenship judge. The above book, although published in 1980, is well worth reading. We shall miss you Roy, God grant you peace eternal. You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Thought and Photo

A Longing Deer  
"As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (Psalm 42:1-2a)
   I took this photo around sunset and edited it with the help of Picasa. The deer's ribs remind me that we long to stay alive; we hunger and thirst for our physical health and well-being. In a similar manner, as Jesus said in John's Gospel 6:35:"Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." May that hunger and thirst be fulfilled both physically, mentally, and spiritually for all of humankind.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A brief thought on contemporary music

Cartoon credit: Far Side by Gary Larson 
Gary Larson Far Side cartoons occasionally had banjo players in them. In this one, the conductor seems rather surprised and upset or offended by the sound of the banjo. The cartoon, I think, is quite profound in that it underscores how "foreign" music can sound to those who have their preconceived views of what it should or should not be. I appreciate those in the music world who are willing to risk and experiment and break new ground. When I first began listening to 20th and 21st century classical music, I was rather offended by the atonal sounds. However, I kept listening, and now I have come to a deeper appreciation of how creative several of our contemporary composers are and how they incorporate into their music the sounds of everyday life. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Prayer of the Day/Collect for 14 Pentecost Year C

LORD God, you are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We praise and thank you for showing your healing mercy and grace to a bent over woman long ago. May your healing touch, mercy and grace be poured out on us whenever we feel weighed down and bent over by the troubles of this life; through your Son, Jesus the Messiah, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit; one God, now and forever. Amen. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A short, short story

Abraham Shapiro was animated. He was making the most of every second that night over at the home of his best friends Ole and Ingrid Pederson. The conversation was long and lively. Abraham had many details to share.
   He was the only member of his family left. The others had either died, or had gone to unknown destinations. It was too risky to try and track them down right now. He had to make each moment count now. Ole and Ingrid had to know where everything was, all of his earthly possessions.
   In exactly one hour, he had to say good-bye to Ole and Ingrid. He didn’t know if he’d ever see them again, since he didn’t know if his flight into exile would work.
   The hour passed far too fast, they spoke of intimate things: the memories of joyful times together hiking in the mountains, studying together to prepare for their final university exams, singing in the community choir, sharing special events like birthdays and anniversaries. Attending weddings and funerals of family, friends and neighbours in the synagogue and the church.
   Finally the time was up. “Good-bye and thanks for everything Ole and Ingrid. Shalom my friends,” Abraham said tearfully.
   Ole and Ingrid responded, saying, “Good-bye Abraham, we will miss you. May God go with you.”
   The years came and went. Ingrid had died, and Ole was in an old folks home. Every once in a while he’d think of his younger years, and his best friend Abraham—was he dead or alive? Did he escape the death camps? After all of these years, he wondered what to do with Abraham’s possessions. “Who knows how much longer I’ll be around?” Ole said to himself.  
   One morning, as he arrived at the breakfast table, there was a new gentleman there. “Hello Ole, long time no see,” Abraham said, as he extended his hand out to Ole in a gesture of friendship. Abraham continued: “Have I a story to tell you!”  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ann Southam

Ann Southam, have you ever heard of her? One of our Canadian traits is our modesty in the face of giftedness. Ann Southam was, among other things, a minimalist 20th century and early 21st century composer. Most Canadians have likely not even heard of her, let alone her compositions, and the respect and reputation that she gained as a contemporary composer.
   She composed chamber music, works for piano, and electronic music. Some of her works definitely reflect how creative and sometimes surprisingly unconventional she was. She died at the age of 73 years in 2010, and left behind over a 14 million dollar legacy gift to the Canadian Women's Foundation 
   One description of Southam's works is "lyrical atonal." One of my favourite pieces is "Rivers No. 8," performed by Christina Petrowska Quilico, which you can watch and listen to on Youtube.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

God's true nature and activity

This morning's devotional and prayer-time centred around Psalm 103. The words have always been among my favourite in the Hebrew Bible. In verse 8, over against so many folks who think that the First Testament promotes only a war God of punishment, hellfire and brimstone; the psalmist declares the true nature of God vis-a-vis how God has been present and active in the psalmist's life and in the lives of the Israelites: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." The psalmist goes on to give us a dose of reality concerning our mortality too, by contrasting the grass and flower, the latter of which is beautiful, yet very short lived; and the everlasting nature of God in verses 15-17. So appreciate and make the most of your flourishing today and rely on God's steadfast love to be all-sufficient and everlasting to carry you into the future.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PBS Documentary Series

Last night I watched the documentary marathon series called ‘Life of Muhammad,’ narrated by journalist and author Rageh Omaar. All-in-all, I have a rather mixed response to the documentary series.
   The series, starting with Muhammad’s early years as a poor orphan, running through to his life in Medina, and eventually his return to Mecca, is interspersed with commentary from a variety of scholars and others interviewed by Omaar emphasising how Muhammad’s life and Islam has been and is being interpreted and practiced.
   For the most part, I think the documentary is an endeavour in apologetics. Those interviewed and Omaar put a positive spin on Muhammad’s life and on Sharia law.   
   For example, one woman they interviewed wearing complete head-coverings said it was her free choice to do so rather than viewing it as required by law. One of the female commentators also insisted that Muhammad didn’t require head-coverings for women. However, if that is the case then one wonders why Muslim women make such an issue of the head-covering—if it’s not required, then why all of the fuss?
   Another example of the apologetics at work in the series was the discussion of violence in relation to Sharia law and how it is interpreted. One commentator claimed that Sharia law was not to be interpreted to refer to use of violence unless Muslims were being oppressed—but he did not go on to cite any legitimate illustrations of or define what he meant by oppression. He did however admit that Sharia law has been abused and radicalised by Muslims today to justify terrorism.
   Yet another example of apologetics was a female commentator towards the end of the program stating that at the end of Muhammad’s life he promoted peace and tolerance towards everyone in Mecca. If that is the case, then why were these among Muhammad’s last words allegedly to have been: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of the prophets.” (Bukhari, Vol. 1, #427) Further to such a curse, there was a short video clip included in the program of a present-day Muslim praying to Allah and cursing the Jews, followed by a commentator who claimed this is one example of misinterpretation and the incorrect practice of Islam.  
   The documentary series also cited events in Muhammad’s life where he either was personally involved in violent acts or approved of violence by his followers. More than once, it was emphasised by the narrator and commentators that the use of violence and barbarism must be understood in light of the original context of Muhammad’s time. Ultimately my impression of the documentary series was that at best it was a public relations effort to promote the most idealistic version of Muhammad’s life and Islam and critique, ever-so-cautiously, of those who misinterpret Muhammad and Islam.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sociological tidbit: Where do conductors get their batons?

Baton photo credit:
This morning that was the question and wonderful article answer found on the CBC website. To find out, I encourage you to read the whole article.
    Maestros all over the world use a baton, the magic wand that transmits their smallest gesture to the back of a symphony orchestra. But where do they get them? Is there a special Diagon Alley especially for conductors? We posed the question to Bramwell Tovey, conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Never a man of few words, Tovey provides a little history on how he found the perfect baton. The whole article can be read here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rant: Do we need a Canadian Senate?

Cartoon credit: Yahoo website  
Do we need a Canadian Senate? That question has become more pertinent by the day as our nation struggles with the controversial expense claims of some of our senators. It is supposed to be Parliament's "sober second thought," however a growing number of Canadians have sober second thoughts about the purpose and benefits-or presently, the liabilities-of a Senate. For the most part, the Senate consists mainly of old, wealthy, famous-and now not so famous-Canadians. They have already "made it" in society, they don't really need the job or the money. Usually they become a Senator because they are friends of the governing political party, which means they are there because of political patronage. Their contribution to the well-being of the nation's tax payers and society as a whole is debatable.  The money spent on Senators' salaries and perks could do much good to assist our nation's poor and needy, and to promote a more egalitarian and just society.
   So readers, if you have an opinion on the Senate feel free to comment here. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jeremiah and the prophetic life

Jeremiah laments by Rembrandt  
Jeremiah had a most difficult life. He was called by God to be a prophet not only to the people of Judah, but also to the nations. His life was filled with suffering and rejection by his own people. Many of his prophetic oracles were "bad news." They were words from the LORD God that the people did not want to hear. Who, in their right mind, wants to be a bearer of bad news?! No one, that's who. Yet that is precisely what Jeremiah was called by God to do. 
   His was a lonely life because so many failed to accept him or the message he proclaimed as a servant of the LORD. There were times in Jeremiah's life when he was angry, depressed, and filled with grief and sorrow. In short, he was not "a happy camper."  Moreover, Jeremiah was not afraid to spill all of his thoughts and deepest emotions out to God either. In fact, there were times when he wished that God had chosen someone else to be a prophet.
   Yet, in spite of all the hardships and sufferings, misunderstanding, judgements and rejections he had to endure he could not give up the prophetic life. God's word was burning in him like a fire in his bones. A fire that, in all of its consuming power, destroys one's selfish, egotistic interests and purifies one's whole being so that God's will be done, come what may. Why? Because Jeremiah had one of the most engaging love affair relationships with the LORD God ever to be recorded in the Bible. A relationship that, come hell or high water, would stand firm, thrive, grow, blossom and flourish to the end. The integrity of Jeremiah comes shining through. Would that more of God's people have the courage, love, and faithfulness of Jeremiah.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A brief prayer: The radiance of light

May the radiance of your light, O Christ, that bathes these trees and shrubs with life bathe me with life today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sociological tidbit about computers

Canadian children and computers

Ever since the introduction of computers into homes and schools, the lives of Canadian children have changed immensely since the childhood days of their parents and grandparents. Is this a good thing? As the old adage has it, you can’t stop progress. Yet the progress in the world of computer technology is moving so fast that the average person can’t keep up with it. What the long-term consequences of a computerized world are remains to be seen.

Here is a sociological tidbit from the CBC Digital Archives: 
. Canada ranks highly among nations for children's access to computers at home and school. In 2000, close to 90 per cent of 15-year-old children had access to computers. This was above the rate in the United States and just below the rate in countries such as Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden.
. Also in 2000, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian children had use of a computer every day or at least a few times a week.

. Children in Spain, Greece and Germany had to share one computer among 20 students in 2000.
. The first advertised personal computer called Scelbi (scientific, electronic and biological) was created in Milford, Conn., in 1974, and contained one kilobyte of memory.
. In 2003, a powerful home PC had one gigabyte (1 million kilobytes) of RAM (random access memory).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A short, short story

Elias offers a prayer at the wall in Jerusalem for his people, especially the ones who live in daily fear of yet another bomb in the living room and children dead. 
   Abdulla throws rocks at the IDF soldiers who clear a path for a bulldozer to destroy his olive grove. He prays to his God too, that his enemy would be defeated and pushed into the Mediterranean. 
   A Coptic priest, named Joseph, prays for the safety of his parishioners, as their non-Coptic neighbours become increasingly suspicious by the day with the escalating conflict between the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood.
   Jews and Christians living for centuries in Arab nations are being ethnically cleansed and wonder what to do and where to go. Meanwhile, the Western media ignores them.
   All over Africa, Asia, and Latin America the little people like Lee and Kim, Seti and Ette, Jose and Maria are homeless and jobless thanks to large Western corporations developing natural resources for sheer profit, without any thought of the environment or the well-being of the peoples of these nations. 
   In the Western world, citizens like Harry and Janet continue to take their democratic freedoms for granted, shop til they drop, and buy cheap condos in warm and exotic places for the winter.  They can do this because they pay the least amount of money for groceries and clothing that come from nations that exploit their workers in sweat shops and slave labour agricultural estates owned by billionaires. 
   Meanwhile God continues to shed tears of sorrow at a world divided and falling apart, ignoring his love and super-abundant grace that envelopes the universe.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Railway Station

I took this photo yesterday of our local railway station. Railway stations have been a source or inspiration for musicians over the years. One of my favourite songs is by the Swedish group Abba, called "Another Town, Another Train." It brings back memories for me of travelling by train through the mountains and out to the ocean. The song also brings back memories of the melancholy or joy and expectation one feels at a railway station when you have to say "Good-bye" to someone, or you welcome and meet someone. The Abba song alludes to a love gone awry, hopes dashed, and the need to keep moving on in life. After all life is a journey and oftentimes the journey is as important as the destination. So with that in mind, hope you enjoy this Abba video.

Lyrics | Abba lyrics - Another Town, Another Train lyrics

Abba Another Town, Another Train

Day is dawning and I must go 
You're asleep but still I'm sure you'll know 
Why it had to end this way 
You and I had a groovy time 
But I told you somewhere down the line 
You would have to find me gone 
I just have to move along 

Just another town, another train 
Waiting in the morning rain 
Look in my restless soul, a little patience 
Just another town, another train 
Nothing lost and nothing gained 
Guess I will spend my life in railway stations 
Guess I will spend my life in railway stations 

When you wake I know you'll cry 
And the words I wrote to say goodbye 
They won't comfort you at all 
But in time you will understand 
That the dreams we dreamed were made of sand 
For a no-good bum like me 
To live is to be free 
Just another town, another train 
Waiting in the morning rain 
Look in my restless soul, a little patience 
Just another town, another train 
Nothing lost and nothing gained 
Guess I will spend my life in railway stations 
Guess I will spend my life in railway stations

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life -Quality or Quantity?

C075 - click on strip for high rezIn serving as a chaplain for many years, I witnessed so often how folks were willing to spend all of their money on staying alive. They may have quantity -more and more folks in our society live to 90 years and beyond-but alas, the quality is really not there. As the cartoon suggests, we are a death denying society and some folks will pay as much as they can to postpone it. I hope and pray that if I get old and unable to make decisions that my loved ones will not choose expensive, heroic measures to keep me alive.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Short Story

That damn phone, always rings at the most inconvenient time! You're in a hurry, late for work, over tired, have ten thousand things on your "to do" list - without fail, at times like these the phone rings. What to do, answer or let it ring? Finally, you convince yourself to pick it up.
   "Hello," you say with a slight tone of irritation in your voice.
   "Is this Sam?" the voice on the other end asks expectantly.
   "Yes, this is Sam, who I am speaking to?"
   "This is your long lost friend John." 
   "Which John? I know several by that name," Sam said, wondering by now if the unrecognized voice was some deceitful telemarketer trying to rob him of his time that he needed to spend other than on the phone.
   "Sam, you remember me, don't you? I'm your old friend from university days long ago, we graduated in the same class. You remained in Canada and settled into your teaching job in prison. I went overseas as a teacher-missionary at a church-college in Romania. I thought I'd be back in Canada after my three year contract was up. However, 30 years later, here I finally am." 
   "John! how good to hear from you after all of these years!" Sam now speaking with joyful surprise. "I had lost track of you, didn't know what happened to you."
   "Sam, I would really like to see you. I'm back here in the city hospital. Can you come up and visit me? I'm on the third floor, room seven of Compassionate Redeemer Hospital. Can you come today?" 
   Sam, again a bit surprised at both the location and urgency of his friend John, responded, "Why of course I'll come John. I'll see you in about an hour."
   Now in the hospital Sam is sitting on a chair close to John who is laying in bed. They have been reminiscing for almost an hour. Suddenly John abruptly changes the topic. 
   "Sam," he says with utter solemnity, "will you forgive me for that time when I took all of the credit for that research project we did together in university? Remember I was given an A+ and you were given a C+. That wasn't fair. You lost a scholarship over that and you had to take out a loan. Moreover, you even got rejected for that dream teaching job you had hoped to get because they chose another grad who had solid As. Please forgive me Sam!"
   At first a bit of the old hurt surfaced in Sam's heart. However it left almost as quickly as it came. "Of course I forgive you John!" Sam said with conviction. "In the long run, that episode in my life worked out for the better." 
   "What do you mean?" John asked. 
   "Well, as the saying goes, when God closes one door, he often opens up another one. That's exactly what happened for me. I thank God that I got that C+, and that so-called "perfect dream job" didn't work out. Instead, after my brother struggling with all of his personal problems and ending up in jail, I would go to visit him there. Eventually, I realised how much they needed teachers in jail. So, I applied for a position, and well, the rest is history. I was blessed with a three-decade teaching job in prison. If I hadn't worked there, who knows whether we'd be having this conversation John. After three decades of prison work, I've learned how important it is to forgive. Forgiveness has transformed the lives of so many prisoners. 
   "Thank you Sam," John replied with a sense of emotion and relief in his voice. "Now I can die in peace." Later that night, John fell asleep peacefully, never to wake up again.   

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jewish-Arab-Palestinian-Christian Relations and 'free speech'

What are the limits of free speech? When does free speech cross the line and turn into a hate crime like, for example, anti-Semitism? It appears that here in Canada a case may come up in court regarding the limits of free speech. This is a delicate and important matter for the Jewish people, since what happened in Germany prior to World War II was really an escalation of speeches against the Jews. These speeches escalated into the dehumanization of the Jewish people and the legitimizing of violent acts against them, which led to the death camps, resulting in the Holocaust. The following article, if anything underscores the need for a more friendly, respectful, peaceful-nonviolent approach to Jewish-Christian-Arab-Palestinian Relations. As both Jews and Christians, we are given the Commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves, and not to bear false witness against our neighbour. Next time Elias Hazineh and others inclined to employ inflammatory language would do well to remember and practice these biblical injunctions.     

‘Inflammatory’ remarks at Palestinian event put McCallion challenger on the hot seat

Toronto Police are reviewing an Al-Quds Day speech by Elias Hazineh, who took on Mississauga’s mayor over conflict of interest.

   A Mississauga resident says a speech he made at a videotaped pro-Palestine rally in Toronto, now the focus of a police investigation, has been taken out of context.

   Elias Hazineh, who made headlines after taking on Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion in an unsuccessful conflict of interest case, acknowledges making the “inflammatory” remarks at an Al-Quds day event over the weekend.

   “I did give a speech in Toronto that generated some controversy, it’s true,” he said. Read the whole article and watch a video of the speech here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Edvard Munch's 150 birthday celebration

This year-2013-Norway is celebrating the 150th birthday of its most famous artist, Edvard Munch. Munch in his earlier years relished controversy, and developed the reputation of Norway's artist-bad boy.  However, by the time of his death in 1944 at age 81, he had become part of the "establishment" in that he lived on an 11-acre estate outside of Oslo, and willed his entire estate to the city of Oslo, including 1,008 paintings, 4,443 drawings, and 15,391 prints.
   After the sale of a version of "The Scream," purchased by American billionaire Leon Black in 2012 at Sotheby's for the mere $119.9 million, and setting the record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at public auction, Oslo City Council decided to go ahead with the building of a new Munch Museum in the Bjorvika neighbourhood, next to the Opera House along the Oslo waterfront. Spanish architecture firm, Herreros Arquiterctos will design the new museum shaped like a leaning glass tower. For more on Munch, check out the following website here.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

An Excellent Bruce Cockburn Concert!

Last night I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the concert of one of my all-time favourite Canadian singer-songwriter musicians, Bruce Cockburn. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, Bruce gave us something of what heaven must be like! I marvelled at the quality of this live concert. Oftentimes the live concert performances don't sound as good as the mixed, engineered, and tweaked studio performances that you listen to on a CD - not so in the case of Bruce. The quality and beauty of his voice and guitar style shone through radiantly last night. I certainly appreciated his performance of this song last night too, one of my faves with it's precise analysis, critique and lament of the way of injustice in our world. May God bless Bruce with long-life and health to continue to be a trustworthy contemporary voice for truth, justice and love. Visit Bruce's website here. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head in Germany

In an article from the Jerusalem Post, it appears that anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head in Germany with the publication of a paper which, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Rabbi Marvin Heir violates German law by glorifying Nazism.
   The German Interior Ministry is contemplating banning Der Landser, a magazine accused of glorifying Nazism by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, according to a report by news outlet Der Westen.
   Der Landser is a historical publication focused on the “hardships and sacrifice demonstrated” by German troops during World War II.
   Last week, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the SWC, wrote to both German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to request that the government investigate the magazine for violating a federal statute prohibiting the glorification of Nazism. 
   A ban would show “neo- Nazis, skinheads, and jihadists other than the bare truth that there was no honor or nobility ever attached to the Third Reich,” Heir wrote. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center believes that by presenting members of the Waffen SS, members of the infamous Totenkopf units and Nazi war criminals as German heroes, Der Landser is desecrating the memory of the Holocaust and glorifying Nazism.” Read the whole article here. 
   One would hope that the German authorities and the people of Germany would have truth and justice prevail. The last thing Germany needs is to be a breeding ground for more anti-Semitism and Nazism!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rant: The tragedy of living in a violent society

The police shooting of teenager Sammy Yatim in Toronto last week raises many questions about the police use of force/violence to maintain and/or enforce law and order in our nation. The popular video by an observer-citizen of the shooting does not help matters in terms of public confidence and trust in the police.
   Why did the police officer who shot Sammy pull the trigger so fast? There appeared to be no emergency-threat to anyone, even though Sammy had a knife, nonetheless no one was reportedly close to him or in danger at the time of the shooting. Moreover, the fact that way too many shots were fired leaves the public worried about the excessive use of violent force by the police in this shooting. Why could the police not keep peacefully negotiating with Sammy and why could they not call in trained crisis personnel to negotiate in order to do everything possible to end the incident peacefully? What kind of training did the police officer have in resolving conflict situations peacefully? Violent force should only be used by police as a last resort after they have tried and failed at using all other peaceful method of resolving the situation. These and other questions need to be explored by the authorities who monitor and police the police. 
   In addition to this shooting, over the past weekend there have also been shootings by police in Alberta that also are cause of concern for the public. 
   I think that the society in which we live has evolved into a more violent one. I know the counterpoint of view is that crime rates, including violent crimes are down in numbers over the past year or two, yet looking at the mass media one wonders what the future holds. So many T.V. programs and Hollywood movies are obsessed with violence. It is far too often glorified and glamorized as the way to resolve differences and conflicts. Furthermore, many if not most of these shows and movies almost never focus on the long-term consequences of violent acts upon the spouses, families, friends and neighbours of the deceased victims. 
   There is "a higher way," and "a better way," the way of Jesus who taught us: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) However, he pressed the matter to the maximum for human beings in the pursuit of peace and non-violence by teaching us to: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven." 
   Such radical teaching and living can only lead to a more just, peaceful and non-violent society for everyone; and yes, to the fulfillment of what we pray in the Lord's Prayer: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven." Believe it, practice it, and see what happens.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today's Writing Prompt: Middle

Today’s Writing Prompt: Middle over at TheOne-Minute Writer   
Tell us about the middle of something, anything!

Here is my contribution

I was in the middle of a writing project when the phone rang. It was an old friend from far away and long ago. What a surprise! We had a great conversation about this and that, and we and us—catching up on our lives. After the conversation, things went quite well with my writing project. The call made my day. What a blessing!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Coffee & Norwegians: A sociological tidbit

Ranked as one of the most java-loving nations year after, Norway is known for its brew. Here's a look at some of the country's coffee stats. 
  • Norwegians average 5 [five] cups of coffee per day.
  • Norway's most popular brand is Friele Frokostkaffe.
  • Norwegians consume about 12 million cups of coffee daily.
  • Norwegians prefer simple BLACK coffee. 
Source: Viking: Celebrating Norwegian Heritage And Culture, August 2013, p. 9.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Coat of arms/crest for Eclecticity

I created this coat of arms/crest especially for this blog. The blue background symbolizes hope, loyalty and strength for life and living. The open, vertical-directed hand symbolizes faith, sincerity, and justice. The open hand may also symbolize a helping hand up, or a hand of warning to avoid some sort of danger, or a hand of acceptance and good-will, symbolizing that you are welcome here. I encourage you to learn more about coat of arms and family crests, or to make your own at the following website:  

First post

Greetings readers! Welcome to my Eclecticity blog. You can read more on my About page.