Friday, July 23, 2010

Final Post Until September

In less than 24 hours I will be leaving this great continent for another, and will most likely not have internet access for the next month or so. That being said, this is my last post for a while. Here are some things I've thought to share:

-I flew to Vancouver six years ago, and only saw it briefly. It was good. This time around I have settled in for two and a half weeks. I think it is safe to say that I have become enamoured with the place. It will be hard to leave.
-Climbing mountains, hiking trails, and going running, are not a part of my regular Ontario routine. I am wishing that could change.
-The summertime is the perfect time for enjoying buskers.
-I finally, after years of false starts, have the beginnings of a novel going. And I am confident that though it will be a labour of love over the next few years, I will have something of substance to share with friends, family, and the like.
-INCEPTION!!!! I counted six levels.
-Extroverts need Introverts, and Introverts need Extroverts.
-Though I currently don't have a home to return to in Toronto yet, this does not bother me. I actually have a lot of peace about it, and full faith in God and my community.
-If you visit Vancouver, go to Gene (which is a small coffee shop) at Main & Kingsway. You'll see the view and immediately see how I was able to find inspiration to write.
-I have been blessed by western hospitality, and more than anything else, will take that back to Ontario with me.

See you in September.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stuff Christians Like

I'm not always hip to the latest trends, but I guess I should try to be if I want to be missionally relevant to a PoMo-Starbucks-drinking-wear-my-faith-on-my-wicked-American-Apparel-original-silk-screen-T-shirt kind of generation. Or maybe not? Questions, questions...

Disclaimer: One of my biggest pet peeves is the way Christians often absorb culture, chew on it a bit, and then spit it out as a lamer, more embarrassing, way that ruins both. Two examples: (a) Those red T-shirts that say Counter-Culture on them in the Coca-Cola font style; (b) the majority of Contemporary Christian Music, which is neither contemporary nor original. If anything, both of these say that Christians are only capable of being boring, unoriginal, participants in our culture. But I digress...

Regardless, I'm not hip to the hipness of the Stuff Christians Like (SCL) website, but I did come across a book of the same title while checking out the Regent College Bookstore. Here's where the disclaimer comes in. For a moment, I got caught in the broad generalization mentioned above, and lumped the SCL website in as a lamer version of Stuff White People Like (SWPL), the latter being a brilliantly witty take on whiteness, and on more than one occasion, dead on in its depiction of white, North American, culture. This alone could have kept me from purchasing the book inspired by the website, but I am glad that in this case, it did not. The SCL website makes it pretty clear that it is inspired by SWPL, and gives credit where credit is due. Great, my conscience is clear.

Alright, so this book is probably the funniest thing that I have ever read out of the Christian world. Seriously, so hilarious that I was literally crying while reading it to some friends, and had my voice break several times while trying to read through some of the chapter headings. A small smattering of such headings look like this:

"Complaining about not being 'fed' at church."
"Watching R-rated movies... but only if they're violent."
"Using "I'll pray about it" as a euphemism for no."
"Falling in love on a mission trip."
"Ranking honeymoon sex slightly higher than the second coming of Christ."

So yes, I broke my fast from purchasing new books, and I bought this book. It was/is worth it. There is a treasure trove of teachable anecdotes here that I will no doubt use when I return home. Also, I doesn't hurt to laugh (a lot) at yourself. I think that if I was to contribute a chapter heading, mine might be,

"Letting people know that you're wrestling out your salvation by blogging about it."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vancouver, Je T'aime

I don't know what it is, but every time I visit Vancouver I end up getting blessed with beautiful weather. The locals say the current stretch of hot, sunny, and cloudless days is not the norm, but it's the same weather as when I came here the first time six years ago. Perhaps this province really just wants to show me a great time - to woo me into picking up from Ontario and moving to these parts. I wouldn't be the first.

You needn't worry, my Ontario brethren, I will return to you safely in a few months time; but in the meantime I will enjoy everything this beautiful province has to offer.

Initial thoughts in the few days that I've been here: (1) I am jealous of the UBC campus, as I drove, open-jawed, around the perimeter; (2) walking around Granville and Emily Carr made me wish I was putting my creative potential to good use; (3) the world needs more mountains.

Though I am technically on vacation right now, it still seems to be a working vacation, as many things still need to be set in place for the GP next month, and there's an endless list of things to take care of for next year back on campus. However, I must say that working in Toronto during the heat wave, and working in Vancouver during the heat wave, are world's apart. I am pleased with my choice.

Finally, I've embarked on reading the last (well, last one for me to read) complete Fitzgerald novel of his oeuvre, The Beautiful and Damned, and am being inspired for the creative writing that is itching to begin here.