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    The Morning After Blog

    From our Minister, John: Welcome to the Morning After. Preaching is created and offered and it’s a little awkward because you 'bare your soul' and it’s like you stand there buck naked, share what’s important to you, people get to peek and then walk away! It’s hard because it feels 'one way'. That is, I speak, people listen, and then choose to walk away or wander back, often with little comment one way or the other. 

    So here is a chance for me and our guest speakers to clarify, and for you to comment and for all of us to learn together! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, questions, or wonderings. This is a free space to engage!


    Spiritual but not Religious?

    We tried to cover a huge topic this past Sunday - spiritual/religious, spiritual, but not religious. I took a stab at it, but there are so many ways the conversation could have gone and could still go.

    I've heard from some people that the theme really hit home and that many conversations were had after people left service. I think, as a preacher, that all we can hope for is sermons as conversation starters.  

    In our new post-Christian, spiritual, but not religious world, so much more conversation is necessary. We have a lot to work out as "the church"; how we stay relevant, how we engage and challenge, how we provide a space for people to go deeper in their spirituality and live out their faith. 
    I worry that many churches are so stuck in the tradition that they're not open to the Spirit's movement and prodding. 
    I didn't talk much about our own spirituality...does the idea that we can be spiritually independent within a religious framework sound interesting to you? Does it scare you? Does it bore you? What might that look like?
    Always happy to continue the conversation…
    - Sheena


    Thanksgiving is a tough time for many. Family, loss, disappointment, an inventory of thanks going on in our heads...

    I think there is a difference between thanks and gratitude and that was my point this Sunday. Gratitude is deeper and humbler, something we connect to emotionally. I think the one leper knew this and therefore knew gratitude.

    I shared some examples of gratitude in my life and then invited people to write a post card of gratitude. I hope that was well received.

    I laughed after hearing someone say, "it's better to have turkey on the table than turkeys around the table...". 

    - John


    The Happiness Project: Reflection

    My sermon this past Sunday was simply a reminder that reflection leads to happiness.

    We spent time inviting people to practice reflection on happiness by inviting them to illustrate (literally, on the bulletin cover) significant periods of happiness in their lives. The reminder that we need to 'digest' happenings, is important. It is important to create that space in our busy lives.

    The music, conversation, video, and reflection are valuable pieces of the happiness project. The monday evenings were rich too. All in all it's been a good series.

    What mattered most in this series for you?

    - John


    The Happiness Project: Belonging

    There’s so much you can say about belonging. With too much to say in a 15 minute reflection, I chose to talk about kinship and belonging to God and to one another. There are lots of other ways we could’ve gone Sunday.

    After church someone mentioned that she heard a statistic that the average Canadian feels he/she has 0.7 people in their lives who are confidants – that’s not even 1 person! Wow. Who is it that we confide? Do we just rely on ourselves? The dog? 

    I read that the rise in numbers/demand for psychologists is at an all-time high – the implication is that we are paying for confidants. I think it’s super-hard to find really deep friendships, especially as an adult. It seems that childhood friends, or college friends, fit that bill. I suppose we’re much better at cultivating those friends earlier in life – or, we have more in common. When we’re adults we probably put up a lot more walls around ourselves. What do you think? What’s been your experience? 

    - Sheena


    The Happiness Project: Committing to Common Social Projects

    This past Sunday felt like it was a duty of sorts but there were so many obvious connections in the world and
    I wanted to affirm the people who do common social projects already so it also felt like a no brainer.

    I received one email that saw it as a bad sermon after a great one! Oh, the joys of diversity.
    We are God's hands, feet and voice in the world...only we can make change. I know it can be hard to believe.

    But boy do some people not like that climate change topic!

    As an old Alzheimer's patient told me "we are all a part of it." When I disappoint people at HUC I sure feel it!

    I'm still happy though!