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Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category


This book, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett, describes Amanda’s life and her early years as a reporter/photographer.  I remember when she was captured in Somalia and followed her story through Canadian media.  I have read her articles in the United Church Observer, so I knew she had been released.  However, reading about her imprisonment, and how she managed to survive the years of deprivation and torment, has been fascinating to me.  She didn’t give up.  She persevered.  She has a phenomenal memory, and her descriptions of attempts taken and lost mesmerized me.  She found ways to cope, and eventually envisioned living in a house in the sky that sustained her.  At times I was frustrated by her early naivety and her youthful confidence, but I realize that’s because I am old and hesitant to risk.  She wasn’t.  She paid a huge price.    I

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After I read ‘Away’ by Jane Urquhart I phoned my friend Carolyn Pogue to see if she had read it.  Not yet, but she suggested her latest read, ‘Confessions of a Pagan Nun’; by  Kate Horsley.  She teased that the central character seemed similar to her and I, so I was intrigued.  Fortunately the library had a copy available, so I have read it.  Perfect!  It follows a woman through her life living in Ireland at the time of the transition from Druids to Christians, so it’s dark ages, historical, full of impoverished hungry people and dramatic changes.  A sobering read, and makes me realize anew all the horror stories about the Christian doctrine, including the stupid practice of celibacy for priests and nuns.  What a sad history.  Well-intentioned, but inadequate to meet human needs.   Ever thus, I fear.

 

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I watched Theo Fleury being interviewed on Global’s Morning Show today, and he talked abut his new life purpose.  I read his earlier book describing his life as a hockey player and disclosing sexual abuse.  It was called Playing with Fire and was a huge wake-up call for readers – and the whole country.  Now he has written another one, which I didn’t get the name of, but one can find it easily by googling him.  However, in the interview he said that now he has a new life purpose: to tell his story.  He believes by telling his story that others will learn and be encouraged to share theirs.  I think he is right.  That is a purpose for each of us.  I think about my book Your Invisible Bodies: a reference for children and adults about human energy fields.  I am frustrated that the website for that book has a virus and I haven’t yet been able to remove it.  However, this website still works, so here are my thoughts about telling my story.

I wrote that book to explain to children how Healing Touch, and energy healing generally, works.  In it I incorporated everything I’ve learned in my 70 years, including child & adult development, school guidance theory, energy healing, feminism, and Christian theology.  It is a wide-eyed book, and after it was published, I felt that I had fulfilled my purpose.  I told my story.  Funnily enough, even though I attend Knox United Church in Calgary, AB, I don’t call myself a Christian.  Too loaded a term, I think.  However, it is a child-centered book, and I’m happy for that.  I tell children to trust themselves, and to learn from their experience, and to be open to learning new discoveries.  Learning goes on all our lifetimes!

I am grateful to Theo Fleury for telling his story, and encouraging other people to speak up about their own experiences. I think he speaks for all of us when he says his purpose now is to tell his story.  He has been a professional hockey player, an advocate for children, and now is a healer and author.  Thanks be to Theo.  Thanks be to truth.  Thanks be to the wondrous spirit of newness that comes with sharing with another our personal truths.

 

 

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It’s springtime and I have been gardening and reading.  However, my friend Jen stopped in with a bunch of books she was taking to donate to WINS, and I chose several of her books for me to read before she donated them.  Jen has similar taste in reading to me, so I knew they would be good reads.  As well, I found a used book at WINS and read it.  It was called Sins of the Wolf by Ann Perry, and was a mystry novel about Inspector Monk and his accused side-kick Hester Latterly. I liked her social commentary on morals and cultural standards of a century ago.  Fun to read!  I figured out who was responsible for the false charge, about 1/3 through the book, and kept reading to learn in the last 2 pages that I was right.   I also read The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult.  This is the third Jodi Picoult book I’ve read, and I found it hard to read.  Again, I figured out the true culprit one-third through the book, but I liked its use of graphic novels as well as the Alaskan landscape.  An interesting read!  Then before that I read The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner.  It was very amusing, and reminded me of how much TV I watch, and what goes into creating a successful TV show.  Too much pap!  Before that I read The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.  This is my favourite of the four books.   It was much more literary, spell-binding, and evocative.  Parts bothered me, as I saw similarities to my own life, and I was confronted by my daughter’s reality within the protagonist’s viewpoint.  However, I got past that, and had an interesting conversation with my partner Deb about taking on the viewpoint of the protagonist.  She reminded me that it’s totally unnecessary, and it’s a choice.  Not all books are meant to be life-changing!  Some are pure entertainment.  So four fiction books are enough.  Now I am reading a non-fiction feminist treatise by Susan Brownmiller, Femininity.  It is making my knowledge sharper and clearer.  A good read.  I like non-fiction books.  They are life-changing, after all.

 

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I have recently finished reading A Geography of Blood, by Candace Savage. My friend Mary told me it made her think again on being a Canadian, as it is historical and tells about native people in Canada.  The book  focuses on the native tribes that lived here before white settlers arrived, but dwells on recent past, only 150 years ago.  Given that native tribes have lived and flourished in our land for thousands of years, only 150 years is nothing.  However,  the way the tribes were treated is shameful.  I learned more of our country’s story, particularly the area around Cypress Hills, where the prairie has told its story.  Savage writes about her ancestors and those like them, in the small town of Eastend, Saskatchewan. From there she and her husband explore the prairie and Cypress Hills to the west.  It is a sobering book.

We are not innocent, we descendants of white settlers.  Our country’s forefathers are generally considered to be ‘white men’, and the native tribes that lived here (and helped the white settlers initially) were considered inferior beings who needed to be  subdued, oppressed, and assimilated as a last resort.  The book describes the treatment of the tribes from records in Hudson Bay Company, the NWMP, and the museum at Fort Macleod.   No white man who dealt with them on behalf of the Canadian government considered the tribes worthy of respect, so  they were lied to and starved.  The lands they asked for as reserves were denied them, and the government rations did not arrive.  Both the American states and Canada acted to do away with ‘the Indian problem’ through deception and greed.  I knew this before, but the book brought it home stronger than I had felt before.   Perhaps because it follows me reading ‘The Inconvenient Indian’ by Thomas King the book has hit me harder.  Or perhaps I am older now, and questioning more.   In either case, reading the story that the prairie has left, and that Savage has recovered, has changed me.  Thanks be to good books!

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This book by Chris Turner talks about the present Canadian government and how its policies have affected science in Canada.  The subtitle is : Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada.  I was interested to read a glowing review of it in Alberta Views (my second favorite magazine!) last month.  I was likely one of the first to buy his book from Amazon, for it arrived before Christmas.  It also reminded me of the Scientist’s Lament, sung by the Calgary Raging Grannies on Youtube.  The Grannies are sure hip to what is current!

This book is well-researched, hard-hitting and certainly inflammatory to a member of the Conservative party.  However, to any informed Canadian, the book simply confirms what we have witnessed during Harper’s tenure as Prime Minister.  This is the greatest reason for the opposition parties to unite to defeat him in the  next election.  Not that we needed another reason, but this book explains Harper’s rationale very clearly.  Here is an excerpt (p. 124):

“Even scientists working at Canadian universities have seen some of their most critical funding shift away from basic long-term research.  NSERC, for example, has long been a critical funding pipeline for academic scientists.  Its budget shrank by 5% in the 2012 budget, which included a moratorium on the Major Research Support program.  As a result, the Bamfield Marine Science Centre,  a 43-year-old research station on Vancouver Island, lost the funding that shared its critical data on ocean conditions with researchers around the world.  The observation post survives, but its role in the larger scientific project of understanding the world’s oceans has vanished at a time of climate crisis. As NSERC funding priorities have shifted to business-oriented research, Bamfield’s formerly stellar international reputation – and its ability to attract world-class scientists – has ben radically diminished. ”

The most worrisome phrase in the above paragraph, to my mind, is “funding priorities have shifted to business-oriented research”.  No wonder Bamfield isn’t to continue its former stellar reputation!  Harper wants no more research into oceans that may be polluted from future  oil tanker spills!

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This book, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, was published in 1996.  I have had it for a few years, but didn’t get around to reading it until recently.  A few of her chapters are dated, but overall, what Hillary says is still relevant to Americans and to all readers.  Her voice rings loud and clear about what children teach us, and how the global village is responsible for them.  The children are not responsible for bringing themselves up.  It is the village of parents, grandparents, siblings, and the extended family that form the core.  However, it is the system of governance that allows all children to grow and prosper.  In her work as governor’s wife, First Lady, then as a US Senator, then as the Secretry of State for the U.S., Hillary shows her commitment and her vision. Some chapters may be dated, but I am really happy I read her book.  I am also really happy that she is being touted as the next leader of the Democratic party in the US, after Barack Obama leaves the Presidency.  I like this woman a LOT!

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