Income Tax in Canada

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It’s been a while…

I haven’t blogged in a while.

Self-reflection is a practice that is heavily stressed in Teacher’s College – to the point where its value is often depreciated.  Many complain.

But today was the second day in a row where I took time to listen to music for the sake of listening.  As a musician and music student teacher, I rarely make time to enjoy or use music as therapy (un-wind, relax, comfort) and I seem to forget how affective and wonderful it is to listen to music.

I have a forty-five minute subway ride back downtown from my teaching placement and its been refreshing to listen to Iron and Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days these past two days.  Soft guitar playing and relaxing melodies with the occasional heavier bluesy track, it has brought peace and calm to my busy and restless heart and mind.

Writing reflections on my day in this mood is a very effective use of my time.

Take some time to listen to what you need to.  Take some time to reflect.

A Thought on Excessiveness:

Quote

We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs and strive with all our power not to exceed them. For once we are carried a little beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is then no criterion by which to check our onward movement, since no bounds can be set to that which exceeds the necessary.

– Fifth-century monk Nilus of Ancyra

I am regularly inspired by the thoughts of “ancient” folks.

I remember being humbled in a grade 11 English class when my teacher posed the question of whether we thought of ourselves as more intelligent or knowledgeable than people in ages past.  We have different knowledge, not a greater knowledge.

Nilus here is talking about living simply.  Something that is often thought of as faddish.  But it is something that I strive for.  I like his observation that there is no way to gauge excessiveness — anything beyond the limits of our basic needs is excessive.

Summer Time

Well.. it’s now August 9th, and:

I’ve had a summer that started with a road trip, followed by a 3 week internship at a High School (music classroom helping), and now I’ve got a month left of working at a tractor dealership (which has lent my name to being published in a local periodical).

I’m at the point where I’m stoked to go to Toronto for school and meet up with all my school compadres.  Yet, I know I’m going to miss looking out at 6 acres of peaches out the window and living at home.

Working in the shipping/receiving and parts department of a tractor dealership has been a mostly unrewarding job.  There’s not much to look forward to… other than some very hilariously inappropriate comments and incredibly creative uses of curse words by the mechanics (one in particular).

Moving to and living in Toronto will be really great.  I’m joining MoveIn – intentional Christian community living in poor and densely populated areas.  I’ll be living with 2 other guys in an apartment in St. Jamestown, and we’re part of a ‘Patch’ that includes another 2-3 girls who will be living in an apartment nearby.  We’ll meet for weekly prayer meetings, and be a presence in the community.  (I will be blogging about this soon, and will give much more detail).

I also might be doing an internship at a church in Oakville.  We shall see… updates to come.

Sportianity: Sports instead of Jesus

Sports as religion?

Sports like religion?

Though I would mostly disagree with the claim that sports are literally a form of religion, as some scholars would attest, I certainly believe that sports – specifically professional sports – have characteristics of and fulfil some religious functions.

Myths, legends, ritual and tradition, sacrifice, sacred sites, ineffability, and community. These words conjure up thoughts of experiencing religion just as much as they do of sports.

I’m curious if Christians are aware of and if they should participate in the “religion of sports”.


Following a team: the stats, scores, and players (and their twitters’), being glued to the TV, Internet, or a smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that) for the latest information on trades, rumours, news, prospects (reading the paper and sports magazines works too), wearing a jersey (or something more extravagant), regularly attending games (often with a rather high ticket price),

making an event or a whole day out of a game and the traditions/rituals that come a long with it, having a sense of belonging, ownership, friendships and community built around a team, and an emotional connection.  All these things, and more, are the ways that people invest their time, money, and energy into sports or a specific team.

None of these things seem inherently bad.

But, as a Christian, I question whether professional sports are taking too much our time and if it is a god – how much do these things mean to us?

I question whether we should be proud of, cheering for, and supporting organisations that: spend (tens or hundreds of) millions of dollars on players salaries, commodify people (athletes), promote violence or suffering of self for ‘winning’ (though making money is actually the goal of the organisation), as well as promote the sexualisation of women, the achievement of stardom, and the ethic of winning above all else.

What do you think?


To note: I’m very much in favour of sports on a local and/or amateur level.  Fitness is important and there is plenty of fun to be had!  I love playing intramural hockey and ultimate frisbee.

A Story from Somalia

The following is an excerpt from James Orbinski’s An Imperfect Offering.  I’ve just begun the book, and I’m intrigued to read more of what he has to say: both of the extremely despairing and beautiful, his work as a humanitarian doctor, and his views on politics.

Here, Orbinski describes his first act as a humanitarian doctor.  In October 1992, after arriving in Baidoa, Somalia (known at the time as the City of Death), assigned as MSF’s (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders) medical coordinator, he noticed some movement within one of the morgue tents.  After first turning away and not wanting to know what this could mean, he looked and saw that the wind was strong enough to move a tent flap.  But then the man’s eyes fluttered.  He was laying among the dead.

He weighed less than 70 pounds, and I thought him light as I tried to catch his arm from falling.  I did this without thinking.  I acted not as I thought I should but as I had no choice but to do.

All the beds inside the medical tent were taken, so I laid him on the ground.  A helper put a blanket over him.  She was irritated and told me impatiently that he had been moved to the morgue because there was not enough time or people to look after all of the patients, and in any case, he was going to die anyway.  At that moment, I felt rage at the efficiency of placing the living among the dead.  And I felt despair – for him, for myself.  I could be him, dependent on the actions of a stranger for the hope of at least dignity in death.

His eyes opened and closed.  He shivered under the blanket, and soon he was dead.  This was the last violated remnant of a fuller life.  I didn’t even know his name, but I knew he had been someone’s son, someone’s friend and possibly someone’s husband, someone’s father.  What choices led to civil war and famine, leaving hundreds of thousands of people like this man to suffer in this way, at this time, in the last decade of the twentieth century.

These kinds of stories are atrocious.  But they also must be told.  For our world is filled with choices, Orbinski sees humanitarianism “as a challenge to political choices that too often kill or allow others to be killed”.  If we do not know the effects of such choices – the real life stories of people and their communities – we have little motivation to change political choices, to raise our voice, to speak out against injustice, violence, dehumanization, or genocide.

The Rich DO have more rights!

They have more of a right to help those who are in need, suffering, and without resources.

They have more of a right to help the poor, homeless, and hungry.

They have more of a right to help stop violence, war, and genocide.

They have more of a right to help stop pollution and protect the environment.

 

They, we, do have more rights, don’t you think?

 


Message or comment to add what rights you think the wealthy are entitled to, and what you’re doing to help make our world a better place.  – I’ll add it to the list.

Want some ethical shoes?

I suppose that shoes aren’t something we buy as often as groceries or coffee or tea, but they are something we invest a reasonable amount of money into.

nice… right?

The last pair of shoes I recall buying were my Adidas sneakers.  If I recall more correctly, my mom bought them for me and they probably cost around $60.

They’re nice: black suede, and orange rubber sole, and the classic 3-stripes in bright green-yellow — I like them.

But I don’t like things like this:

Indonesian factory workers producing clothes for the German sportswear giant Adidas are subject to forced overtime, physical abuse and poverty-line wages, the European parliament heard yesterday.

– The Guardian, Thursday 23 November 2000

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