Monday, November 25, 2013

Difficult Beginnings: Living After Loss

Taanshi! Anosch ga-achimon apishiish por ma parantiiy, por la nasyoñ di Michif, pii toñ nistwer-inaan, la bataayd  batosh, lii zanii nwer, pii taanshi kaa-ishi-pimaachshiyaahk avik ooma listwer.  Apre, ga-wiitamaatin por kotak li mooñd - nitshiyiniwak eekwaniki wiishtawaaw, maaka pahkaan - lii adventist, pii taanshi kaa-kii-ishi-machipayihk soñ nistwer-awaaw.  peeyak keekwaay itaakwan daeñ lii deu - li vaeñ deu li mwaa'd oktob - maaka sa praañ kiyawiya chii-peehtaataman!

Hello! In this podcast we look at the question of founding trauma - the impact a difficult beginning can have on a people later on.  We have an idea that the beginning is a very good place to start for a very good reason, and that as communities, we often don't look at our own beginnings critically enough in terms of considering the negative consequences those beginnings can have on how we function in the present.  We do this through bringing together two stories, two communities, that come together on a single date.  These communities are both important to me, in fact, I am a part of both of them - the M├ętis Nation, and the Adventist Church, and the date that brings them together (slightly roundabout) is October 22nd, 1844. From here on in the stories continue on the recording.

     Difficult Beginnings

(Note: At one point I said "wife" when I meant "daughter".  There's probably other errors as well, but I figured this one was worth clarifying).

(Note 2: The top half of this post is in the Michif language - relevant considering the subject matter of this podcast.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thinking about Community: Applying Lessons from Language Revitalization to Faith Communities

I (Dale) spent the last two weeks recording Nuxalk in Bella Coola, while also working with language teachers towards understanding the steps to making the language a part of everyday life - making a community around the language.  The process brought to my mind many questions about community building in general.

Some communities are incredibly resilient in the face of outside pressure, while others melt away. Yes, you can blame the pressure, but when you look at a range of situations, the key factor seems to be not the amount of pressure on the community, but the stories that the community uses to hold itself together.  Kill the stories, and you destroy the ability to resist.  Take away the language, take away a voice, then teach a new language and a new voice--new stories--and recovery becomes very challenging.

This means that the strength of a community is in its mechanisms for passing on stories, for using them, for speaking--the strength lies in the community's ability to make those stories central to life.

In this podcast, we look at the idea of "church"--asking why and if church is working, assuming that the role of church is to build and strengthen a different kind of community rather than just be a window dressing for an already-existent community. I bring my experience working with language revitalization to bear on the question of the purpose of education, community, and what a recognition of this purpose means for how we regard gathering together.

   Listen to "Thinking about Community"

A question to get us started - what is the "work" that we do at church? what is it we accomplish, what are we trying to accomplish, how might we better pursue those goals?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spectrum Review Part 5: Reflections on the Journey

This podcast closes our coverage of the 2013 "A Third Way" Spectrum Conference.  We've already covered the meetings and highlighted some of the ideas and speakers that stood out to us.  This week we decided to just share our stories and reflections on the journey across the border to Chattanooga--being Canadian in the South, the effects of sleep deprivation on Dale, observations of America from the outside, and finding yourself among family on the other side of the continent.  This was definitely the most fun we've had recording in a while.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

I don't know what we'll be talking about next week, but we already have a list of topics stored up from the conference and before.  Needless to say, we'll probably be referring back to our time in Tennessee for sometime to come.  In the meantime, enjoy.

Spectrum Review Part 5

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spectrum Review Part 4: The Difficult Paradox of Interfaith Relations

This week is our last discussion about the Spectrum Conference.  In it, we talk about the last set of presentations: Ryan Bell's discussion of the limitations of interfaith work (which turns into a complex analysis of the value of defending a particular (form of) community without undermining the very basis of its existence), and a panel discussion of lessons learned in interfaith work.  The discussion ranges across a number of topics including pacifism, community values, openness and respect for difference.


Spectrum Review Part 4

Next week, we'll post part 5 which is a collection of stories from and reflections on our experience travelling to Tennessee.