Friday, 11 May 2012

if i put abortion in the title i'm sure you will read this........

If you want me to have all the answers. I won’t
If you want to tell me that you know better. Go ahead
If you want to try to change my mind. I’ll listen
If you won’t listen to me. Don’t engage.
If you think that I’m weak in my faith. I am strong
If you are unwilling to be challenged, intelligently. This won’t go anywhere.
If you are going to judge me. I’m okay with that

This blog is a conversation on paper. One that I would love to have in person, one that I’m sure I’ll start to have in person. In the last couple days I have been reflecting on my faith, legislation, public service and how much I really don’t know in regards to the vastness of this beautiful journey we call life. (note: I’m not having a crisis of faith, not reflecting on if what I believe is true or not, not doubting the values I live my life by). I’m just being honest. These are my feeling. My thoughts. My questions.
Yesterday on Parliament Hill there was a rally. An anti-abortion rally.
“People who call themselves Christians need to take another look at what Christianity means to them and what it means to life,” Ms. Kearney said, standing with her friends under a light drizzle and cloudy skies. The Prime Minister calls himself a Christian, she said. “I’m not judging him because I don’t know the man. But, if you call yourself a Christian, then you should believe in life from conception.”
And what if he does? What if he calls himself a Christian? What if he does believe life starts at conception?
I believe in creation. I believe that there is a place for each of us. I believe that we are all broken. I believe that Eden was going to be perfect, we were perfect and than that all changed and since then there has been, is this huge void that we all fill with anything to try to make it right, to try to feel even just a bit of what Eden may have felt like. That complete-ness that love, that perfection.
As I type this, type my thoughts on a piece of paper, I’m not really scared – more preparing for the responses I’ll get back, being ready if you will for the conversation to continue.
Can I say this? Would you allow me the space to say this……that I believe that life begins at conception, that for each human being there is a plan for our lives. I look at the complexity of the human body and cant’ help but marvel at creation.  I also believe though that every single time that we suggest abortion is a sin or work so hard as to make sure that there is a punishable law, we seem to forget the people that are connected to – attached to the policy.  We seem to ignore the fact that for some reason, (insert factor here - and yes one being the individual in question was just irresponsible and didn’t want to have a kid or maybe they felt scared to admit they messed up, maybe they didn't want to be judged) an individual given the free choice irrelevant of our definition of right and wrong – choose to have an abortion.  But all of these choices, for whatever reason, just show how broken we are and should evoke in us, those of us who say we live differently a response of love.
Why have we as the evangelical church taken to two issues so passionately when the Bible isn’t just a two issue book. I feel as though sometimes we are missing out on what our faith is about. I can’t help but try to reconcile that line Jesus spoke saying “you be the first to cast the stone”.  Maybe this can help:  Tony Campolo suggested that “Those issues are biblical issues: to care for the sick, to feed the hungry, to stand up for the oppressed. I contend that if the evangelical community became more biblical, everything would change”……. And that’s what I want. I want to live differently. I want to extend grace. I want to honor my belief without dishonouring my neighbour.
Could it be that many of us just don’t have the words or even the assurance to enter into this conversation. Similar to the conversations going on in the USA right now about marriage, I am really curious as to why the debate only seems to be one way. If we as Christians believe that God’s laws are not man’s laws and than why is it so important for us to change the laws now. And why is it that we ask for separation of church and state but only for certain issues?  Another good quote that really captures my thinking:
“I don't know of many evangelicals who want to deny gay couples their legal rights. However, most of us don't want to call it marriage, because we think that word has religious connotations, and we're not ready to see it used in ways that offend us” Tony Campolo. And this makes me look more deeply into the mystery of the love and grace that has changed my life, of what I believe.
These are things that I know to be true in my life
-          We are created
-          There is purpose in this life
-          I don’t have all the answers
-          I want people to know that I care about their story
-          I want people to know that I’m not better than them
-          I want to live my life differently.
So for right now, while I ask these questions and engage in conversation and take each day to choose love over hate, I will choose what I will be for…..

"to work in the world lovingly meand that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against" - christina baldwin.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

it's not easy being GREEN.......

A very famous media icon once said “It’s not easy being green” and while that rings very true in many ways in relation to the Green Party of Canada (GPC) and the Green Party of Ontario (GPO), I’m very quickly realizing that in so many ways it really isn’t that hard either because of the amazing people connected to the work being done.
The summer of 2011 was for me, one that saw me move (again?!). It was a bit hectic limiting my time for rest, required me to leave those beautiful connections that I made and re-integrate into community-  but for those of you who know me, what many may suggest is just the way Brenda does it.
I came back to Kingston, one of two cities in Ontario that have won over my heart (that other place being Waterloo) to start a new job and to reconnect in community. Lucky for me there was a provincial election waiting to greet me.
Since I can remember I have been connected to politics. So many times when asked the question “why do you like this stuff?” or “how can you find this a good vocation?” my response was “there is just something that beats a bit faster in my heart when I’m about this work”. Time has allowed me to find the words to clearly articulate that for me politics is the place where we weaves together the possibility of influence and change, where we fight for those who at times can’t fight for themselves, where we create and invite others to thread together those values that define us as a community.
I’ve never had party status. I’ve watch every major party convention since I can remember, every leadership race. I was just not in a place where I was prepare to align myself and commit so intentionally… least until I started to feel (yes feel) and observe that I needed to stop sitting in the background and that I needed to get involved. I was realizing how quickly my beautiful Canada wasn’t the country that I had grown up learning about, how much of those core values that shaped this beautiful nation were being repealed without even a thought given.
And so after some reflection, asking myself those questions that needed to be asked, and one last read through much of the party’s policies, I picked up the phone and called the local Green Party of Ontario office to tell them that I wanted to volunteer.
I saw my heartbeat written in the pages of values and policy for the GPO and GPC. Of course, not 100%, for nothing is every that deeply connected, except for me, my faith, but it was those values of community - supporting local farmers, healthy food, local economic growth for the economy, smart jobs, creative solutions for energy and business. There was a chord of connection to the idea that people shape our policies.
I decided to, because of an invitation; use my leadership capacity to contribute to the Kingston and the Island Greens as VP this year. In this capacity I have listened to and been engaged in so many community conversation that re-affirm to me I am in the right place, right now – that being using my talents and energy to contribute to the GPO and GPC, to sharing with others why I’m okay with being GREEN.
and so, as I have just returned home from my first, of what I suspect will be many GPO AGMs (that was held in Niagara).  I find myself reflecting on that experience.  I was encouraged to keep company with so many caring, thoughtful, smart people who want something more. I was able to observe a leader who is redefining what politics will look like in this Province. I listened to, and engaged in thoughtful debate around policy that considers people first. I was thankful for time I had to develop new connections, to engage in meaningful conversation & to contribute to moving us forward.
And it’s that last piece, the idea of moving us forward that I’m more connected to right now. As I look at the actions of the government I am more resolved to stay in it for the long haul. I think George Bernard Shaw captures so eloquently my feelings and thoughts:
 “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.”
So I acknowledge that in many ways “it’s not easy being GREEN”, but I’m okay with not taking the easy road……..