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Sunday May 15, 2022
The small congregation to which I belong, Winfield United Church, got national attention in Broadview, a national magazine.
Winfield is a relatively successful congregation. It is not, for the moment, threatened by closure or amalgamation. It raised more than half the cost of its new building, right beside the famed Okanagan Rail Trail, by donations. Its Thrift Shop provides outreach to the whole community.
But the Broadview article didn’t deal with any of those. It was about a woman “emotionally and sexually abused” by her minister -- 37 years ago.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: crime, sexual abuse, corporate defence
Sunday May 8, 2022
Small stories open up into bigger stories. The CBC’s Go Public” series investigated a small incident where an Uber driver called one of his passengers a nigger.
When the passenger’s girlfriend defended him, the driver ordered her to shut up.
All captured on video.
It should have been an open-and-shut case. The girlfriend sent the video to Uber.
But Uber didn’t apologize. It shifted into corporate defence mode.
Tags: corporations, Uber, apologetics
Sweden is building a road that recharges batteries on an electric bus, as the bus passes over it.
The project is an experiment.
I gather that transmitter will be buried in the asphalt. When the designated bus passes over a transmitter, it will emit a blast -- sorry, I can’t think of a better word -- of wireless radiation that will boost the bus’s battery storage, much like the wireless charging devices for your cell phone. Or your hearing aids. Only much stronger.
Promotional blurbs released about the Swedish experiments gloat that this process -- if successful -- will eventually eliminate the need for charging stations. The highway will recharge your Tesla or Ioniq as you drive.
Wait a minute… What about the humans in those vehicles?
Tags: Wireless, radio frequency, ionizing, cell phones
Sunday May 1, 2022
Sunday April 17, 2022
The sun has not yet risen. It’s Sunday morning. A small group of Jewish women straggle along a path towards a cliffside cemetery outside the city walls. Gravel crunches under their sandals. Their breath makes little clouds in the chilly morning air.
The sun has not yet risen. It’s Sunday morning. A small group of Ukrainian women creep from the underground bunker where they have been imprisoned for the last few days. Even underground, they could feel the earth tremble aa bombs showered on the city above them.
Tags: Easter, Ukraine, women
Sunday April 10, 2022
The world changed last Friday. Pope Francis asked Canada’s indigenous peoples to forgive his church.
Indigenous leaders have kept the residential school issue before the public. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Justice Murray Sinclair heard more than 6,500 testimonies from survivors. Ground-seeking radar identified close to a thousand bodies buried in unmarked graves on lands around those schools. Court cases documented physical and sexual abuse.
So we were kept well informed about the need for an apology.
But we have not heard how – or if – theological understandings have been changing in the Vatican.
And that, to my mind, is the overlooked news from the papal apology.
Tags: Pope Francis, apology, confession
Sunday April 3, 2022
I won’t offer excuses for General Jonathan Vance, Canada’s former chief of defence staff. Earlier this week, Vance pled guilty to a single charge of obstruction of justice. He was under investigation for sexual misconduct with a subordinate officer.
There’s no question about the sexual liaison with Major Kellie Brennan.
After their affair became public, Vance tried to get Brennan to deny their relationship.
There’s no question about that, either. Because Brennan recorded his phone calls.
Vance’s attempts to protect his reputation indicate that he knew he had done wrong. So why did he do it?
Tags: sex, macho, Gen. Vance, army
Sunday March 27, 2022
Some magpies in Australia proved themselves smarter than a group of scientists. Magpies are known for their intelligence; they belong the corvid family which also includes crows and ravens.
A month ago, Australian ornithologists hoped to learn more about how wild magpies socialize. So they devised miniature backpack transmitters, weighing less than a gram, that they could strap onto individual magpies.
They designed the backpack so that the magpie carrying it couldn’t possibly remove it.
They reckoned without the intervention of other magpies.
Tags: altruism, Magpies, Australia
Sunday March 20, 2022
For St. Patrick’s Day earlier this week, I wore a green T-shirt and an Aran Islands sweater. And orange underwear. Covering all my bases, so to speak.
Ireland, as I’m sure you’re aware, has been troubled by conflict between the orange and the green. The Protestant and the Catholics. The north and the south. Monarchy and republic.
Today, Ireland is relatively peaceful. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 largely eliminated the violence of “The Troubles” – 30 years of bombings and shootings.
Unfortunately, bombings and shootings continue in other places. Most notably these days in Ukraine.
And the suspicion, the ill-feeling, that plagued Northern Ireland for generations now shifts to other groups.
The CBC’s National newscast reported a few nights ago that over 600,000 people who have Russian connections, or Russian names, or who sell Russian products, are finding themselves treated with same suspicion
Tags: Russians, internment, suspicion