Thursday, March 17, 2011


Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. And he said to him “I will give you all of these, if you fall at my feet and do me homage.”

Then Jesus replied “away with you Satan! For scripture says
          The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage,
him alone you must serve. (Deuteronomy 6:13)
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels appeared and looked after him.

It was a lunch break in a three day conference in Winnipeg. The Samuel and Saidie Bronfman Foundation paid my ticket – I was one of their investments in community-based sustainable urban economic renewal.
I ended up in the lunch line beside one of the few “suits” in the crowd. He’d been introduced earlier as the Provincial Minister of Native Affairs for the current conservative government.

I’d asked him about his last name and whether he was related to a veteran community activist from Sudbury?
“That’s my little sister” he replied.
We sat together and ate our boxed lunches.

He told me about a meeting he’d recently attended. “the greatest minds in the world” had been gathered by the Shell corporation. They were on the payroll working out the planet’s economic and environmental sustainability plan. His message to me was “so you guys don’t really need to worry yourselves about it.”

“What a relief!” I said appreciatively. “Have you let your sister know about this?” His eyes went up to the left perhaps remembering the last family thanksgiving political discussion. He shrugged, grinned and shook his knotted eyebrows. “No, I haven’t.”
I probed a little further. “Have you consulted with the Spiritual elders of the Native groups you work with? Not the political leaders – the Spiritual leaders?” He gave me a quizzical look.

I remember this little twenty minute encounter every time I hear “experts” pronounce their foolproof plans.

Like our Provincial government marching on with their investments in nuclear power in the face of Japan’s disaster.

Like the United Nations deliberating the way to untangle foreign interests while freedom fighters get slaughtered in Libya.

Like the devil offering Jesus the means of solving the world’s problems by putting the world’s reigns into his hands.

Jesus gives the reigns back.

Then goes and starts telling people that the reign of God is at hand. Right after he’s just been given the chance to reign and passed on it.
What gives?

How to discern Satan’s solutions from God’s?

GOD has put the question of ambition on my heart this week. What is my life’s ambition? When they write a paragraph about me for the newspaper obituary (if there are newspapers then?), what will it say?

Is my desire to do something remarkable
…of GOD or his devil?

Row across the ocean for Chinese food?
Be the fastest descender of mountains on rollerskates?

These are stories I could sell.

How bout becoming Peterborough’s Mother Theresa?
Discover the cure for what eats us inside out?

Stories to change a million hearts.

What is the path for the best body, best heart, best minds of the world?
...since what GOD gave me is the best (I’ve got).

If I choose to follow the path of a son of god
instead of chasing the sun on one of the king’s horses

I turn towards the night
go into the dark
where blind I see
with heart

ghost’s hope

a drop in the ocean’s hungry bucket
a moment in history’s cruel returning curve
a story that’s never been truly heard
and never forgotten
by them that’s got all it takes
to laugh at the devil’s promise
tell Jesus “thanks for nothing”
  and mean it


Heard a story this week – a friend of a friend’s entire Japanese family - who just happened to be celebrating a family reunion on a mountaintop when the earthquake and tsunami hit.
These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.  Psalm 32:6

More than this, when they all returned to their various homes in different places, they found that all of their homes had been untouched.

I have three questions.
Was it their ancestral prayers that called them to that mountaintop?
Was it Satan’s curse that all of their homes were spared?
Was it GOD’s miracle or Satan’s coincidence?

And one question at the heart of the three…
Was it Neither, or Both, or simply One in the same thing?

Mountain top salvation
comes along with valley’s curses
Duality of the whole
-does it tickle or sting?
Make you giggle or cry?
Wonder what answer
could undo the puzzle why

No answer have I found yet…
Just uncovered a suggestion…
Psalm 32:11Celebrate God.
Sing together—everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

No comments: