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Slagging on the Olympics is a good way to make people think you’re a kook. Nobody likes a party pooper, especially one at a worldwide pageantry that’s bringing 82 nations together in peaceful competition. It’s definitely not in keeping with the nebulous concept of “Olympic Spirit,” which is, let’s face it, only rich in sentiment.

Nevertheless, such sentiment serves as a convenient rallying cry for corporations that stand to profit from the rapacious development of Olympic venues and public consumption of events, schwag and advertisements. It’s a feel-good moneymaker. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Unmarriage until gay marriage, no marriage until gay marriage.”

That is the phrase that will chime through the streets, Feb 14th in central park. Rev. Billy and his gospel choir are at it again. This time they are inviting married couples to unmarry. Ditch the vows. Shed the rings. No marriage until all can marry.

A mass ceremony, conducted by Rev. Billy himself, will unmarry those who are standing up for the rights of the gay community. Is this really official? I don’t know if you can actually unmarry, but who says you are married anyways? Or what defines marriage since it varies from culture to culture and religion to religion? It seems unconvincing that by a simple ceremony you are deemed fit to cohabit until death, produce offspring, receive certain tax breaks and share toothpaste.

My cousin and her partner are sincerely committed to each other, have lived together for ten years and have never participated in any sort of ceremony that declares them legally married. Then there are those who have grand ceremonies declaring their commitment and love for each other and they don’t make it past raised toilette seats and maxed-out visa cards. If a ceremony is so trivial in both these instances why is it being withheld from same-sex couples?

Unlike Canada, there are still states in our neighbor country where gay marriage is illegal. For details about same-sex marriage in the U.S. see here. Same-sex marriage has been legal everywhere in Canada since July, 2005.

I don’t know what I think of the whole thing as you can see from the scads of question marks. If you are like me and have more questions than answers you can check out freedomtomarry.org and see what questions they are answering. – megan kamei, editorial assistant

I asked Aiden what his thoughts were and here is what he said:

I like the references to your cousin and other attitudes to the marriage ceremony, but I’m left with the feeling that you think it’s just a ceremony and not a powerful institution of control: of men over women, of dominant culture over those who don’t choose partners of the opposite sex. I look at how institutions attain, retain and abuse power. In the case of the institution of marriage, it’s a very tangible expression of the “family values” that are so problematic for many people. Feminists, women who suffer, singles, childless couples, men who don’t identify as heterosexual, young people who are dating: each of these (and other) important groups of people are invited (often coerced) into conformity, at the cost of their humanity and the loss of diversity in our community. – Aiden Enns, editor

Have questions about the church? I know I do. Is the church really living up to the example Jesus gave? I don’t have all the answers, heck no one has all the answers. But a good starting point is to start talking about it. Roy Peters, a friend of Geez, is doing just that. Read on to hear some of his thoughts on church. – megan kamei, editorial assistant

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“So, what do you do?” As a late twenty-something I get asked this question by the load. I always infer that the questioner wants me to divulge something beyond, I exist or I make peanut butter sandwiches before bed. They’re after my profession – my remunerative contribution to society, which is a giant window into my identity as a person.

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When I was in the Geez office a couple of weeks ago I asked Aiden why he was a vegetarian. His answer included nutrition, compassion and something about connectedness. It got me thinking about eating meat. The more I thought about it the more my chicken drumstick became unappetizing. Meat was grossing me out and I grew up on a cattle farm. What would my parents say? Read the rest of this entry »

All I wanted to do was get some groceries, a bite to eat and then head back to the Geez office for a board meeting. I had conquered the grocery-getting and was working on satisfying the rumbling in my stomach when my oh-so-simple plan was interrupted.

Yesterday at Safeway an older woman in a navy windbreaker, sweatpants, neon skirt and torn sneakers shuffled her way around the tables by the Starbucks station. She held out her hand that contained a quarter and a dime to a guy enjoying a coffee and a newspaper. He looked up at her with wide eyes and then furrowed brow as he tried to make out her slurred words and muffled sounds. He soon looked back at his newspaper and the woman became invisible.

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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

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

Cincinnati 2009 RegisterPAiden, our Geez editor, has taken flight! He is off in Cincinnati Ohio at the CCDA National Conference learning about simplicity, subversion, solidarity, synergy and symphony.

The conference has been going since 1989 and presents Christians with a challenge to actually live how Christ lived.

If you all the sudden want to see Aiden, just fly on down. He’ll be sitting at an exhibit booth next to the book store. – Megan Kamei, editorial assistant