Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well the only thing that changed last night was the amount of scotch left in the bottle. Two decent-sized tumblers did nothing to change the outcome of the election -- we still have a minority conservative government whose values are clearly at odds with compassion and concern, that is anti-environment and pro-business (and the bigger the business the better) and whose arrogance (epitomized by the way the party parachuted hand-picked candidates into ridings [that they didn't win, by-the-way]) and negativity throughout the campaign produced the feeling that is someplace between slight motion-sickness and a mild hangover.

The other thing that happened yesterday was that barely fifty percent of eligible voters actually turned up. The pundits will dissect that fact for a while, but I think it shows that we, as a country, are uninspired, not apathetic. The negativity of the Conservative and NDP campaigns, the inability of the Liberals to show a vision that actually touches hearts, the regional interests of the Bloc Quebecois and the perception that the Green Party is still a fringe -- even as I write this, I can see why nothing changed.

I wonder if the same thing goes for church attendance. If we, as church, are not presenting anything for people to get excited about, is it any wonder that they won't show up? I don't have the sense that people are against anything (which is why negativity won't work), but are simply well-intended but uninspired. In Rob Reiner's movie, The American President, when speaking of leadership, Lewis Rothschild (played by Michael J Fox) says, "People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand." Substitute the word 'vision' for 'leadership' and I think I'll find a bunch of Christians -- and Canadians -- with mouthfuls of sand.

Theologically, it's like longing for the kingdom that used to be, and hoping that a great king will emerge. Except that Jesus says we are the kingdom and it's here now. Let's spit out the sand and get inspired.

Today's weigh-in: 231 lbs. Unchanged.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Day

Okay, I haven't been faithful about keeping the blog. My bad -- I can wear it with grace. With all good intentions, I thought I'd be able to write at least weekly, since I'm used to that weekly kind of discipline in other aspects of my vocational life (as in, the inevitability of Sunday), but somehow, unless somebody holds me accountable, I'm not likely to succeed.

The reason that I decided to revisit the blog today is because of the federal election. It's just over two years since our last federal election (see my earlier post, "The Uninspired") where I noted the apathy of the voting public.

It seems to me that politicians and I are not that different (and I'm not sure who should be less flattered). If somebody doesn't hold our leadership accountable, there really doesn't seem to be much that changes election-by-election.

Holding left-of-centre views, my heart is with the New Democratic Party or maybe even the Green Party. I am not frightened by social democracy, and understand that the role of the majority is to protect and uphold the rights of the minority and the individual. Nevertheless, our riding has been well-served by a Liberal Member of Parliament who lives out his personal convictions with great dignity, and will likely get my vote.

Which leaves me pondering how I might hold our soon-to-be-elected new government accountable. Parishioners are not shy about letting me know when I'm not living up to expectations -- maybe that's a lesson I could learn!

Today's weigh-in: 231 lbs. Uncommitted.