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This Saturday at Aqua Books, 7:30, I’m “debating” the topic of Christmas celebrations and shopping with “Mr. Christmas”  (details below). This is part of the Idea Exchange series coordinated by Jamie Howison and St. Benedict’s table.

 I’ve debated with Gerry Bowler before and he’s very good at the standard “shop to show your love” approach. It’ll be hard to compete with author of The World Encyclopedia of Christmas (true!), but I love discussions like this in the public square (well, it’s a private public square).

Event details:
 Keeping the [Christmas] Feast
Idea Echange with Gerry Bowler and Aiden Enns
Saturday December 5, 7:30 p.m.
Aqua Books, 274 Garry Street, Winnipeg

Fyi, previously, Gerry Bowler and I have “faced off” over Christmas:

The Mall or the Alley, Dec. 1, 2008
ChristianWeek, a discussion conducted/edited by Josiah Neufeld,
(See the full transcript here, which includes more comments on capitalism, scroll down to see pdf.)

 Christmas Shopping debate, November 30, 2008
CJOB’s GodTalk (podcast). I had a slow start in this one.

This is part of my involvment in Buy Nothing Christmas. – Aiden Enns, editor, Geez magazine

 

(Photo: squareamerica.com)

 

Usually I just send my call for pitches (see below) to writers and artists. I thought readers might want to know what’s coming down the editorial pipe, so read on to see what we’re up to.

You’ll see some of new “departments” (news, culture, reviews, etc.). After four years of the same more-or-less unpredictable format, we’re going to introduce a few regular sections. This gives readers something familiar to anticipate and helps us inlcude items that wouldn’t normally fit a tight theme-based issues. Such sections also allow me to work with section editors, which helps with the load.

When the new issue ships in February, let us know what you think. – Aiden Enns, editor, Geez magzine

Here’s the call for pitches… Read the rest of this entry »

The annual peak of consumerism is just around the corner – Black Friday. Shop till you drop, max out all your credit cards and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Forget about road rage, we now have consumer rage. People are so intoxicated with the desire for stuff that they actual are lashing out at fellow shoppers and retail workers that somehow prevent them from having what they want in the exact way that they want it.

I worked in a retail store for eight months and I tell you, I have never been yelled at so much and felt so degraded in my life – and I am a nice person! Usually people don’t scream at nice people. Read the rest of this entry »

HCNbanner15A couple of years ago, I walked into one of the biggest churches in Calgary and was greeted with a handshake and a smile by “greeter.” (Do you think the role of greeter is a paid position?) I did not blend in with the crowd with my over worn jeans and under done style. After I was in the church for a total of two minutes I didn’t know where the heck I was. Can you blame me – They actually had one of those huge pedestal maps that you see in malls, which so nicely pointed out that I was “here.” I was looking for Chapel three so I could attend the “college and career” Sunday school. I walked down hallway one and back, then went upstairs, opened a door and walked in on a choir rehearsal, went back downstairs, couldn’t find the map to try and reorient myself and then gave up. Defeated, I asked a teenage girl for some assistance. After a were-you-born-yesterday-you-can’t-be-telling-me-you-are-actually-lost look she politely told me that Chapel three was right around the corner.

After Sunday school I spotted a coffee shop right inside the church, complete with barrister and chai lattes. With a bible in my left hand a caramel machiatto in my other, I was ready for the worship service. The sanctuary was fully loaded with a massive sound system, multiple screens, cameras flying around on mechanical arms, lights and a smoke machine. I figured I was in for a real show.

When did church become so complicated?

I grew up going to a church that was a renovated mechanic shop with a congregation of about 60 people (on a good day). No one ever had the name tag, “greeter” because everyone said hi to everyone. Growing up, I often dreamed of going to a “cool” church, thinking that my small country church was so lame. Now that I have been a part of some bigger churches and seen a number of other ways of doing church I am beginning to think maybe my church was not so bad after all.

There is a movement of people that are throwing out the mega church model and getting back to basics. Simple church, commonly known as “house church,” is not new and actually looks a lot like church did a couple thousand years ago. No need for a fancy degree to start one, just a desire to follow Jesus and passion for people. There is a great video at  that gives some insight into what simple church is all about.

You can see more here too, http://whatissimplechurch.com/ . I like the first interview in this series about simple church.

The Simple Way has been doing house church for ages. Their magazine, Conspire, is distributed by a network of house churches and other groups, see their listing here: http://www.conspiremagazine.com/index.php/pickup- Megan Kamei, editorial assistant