Skip to main content

Afternoon Hang-out

I have time to kill between my noon-time doctor's appointment downtown and my late-afternoon appointment at church and so I'm trying out a new place to hang out for the interim.

The establishment is an open, airy bookstore and café on a main thoroughfare.  Through the large front windows I can see the tall iron fence of a cemetery.  Inside, the three women who had gathered for lunch around a small round table have gone.  Their very audible conversation has been replaced by three volunteers around another table where one is reading and commenting on a book that was translated from Russian.  Many of the Mennonites in Manitoba came here to escape the Bolshevik Revolution a hundred years ago and some continue to have ties to that country.  Other volunteers pass between the back of the store and the kitchen pushing a trolley of dirty dishes in one direction, and freshly cleaned dishes and food in the other.  Presumably the cold storage and dishwasher are outside the kitchen.  It's a strange set up and odd to see such things passing back and forth between shelves of books.

Business is slow here.  The other customers have been a young man at the table in front of me, using his computer.  To my left a young woman with long, shiny, dark-red hair is gathering up her books from an afternoon of studying and reading.  A high school student just entered, obviously recognised by the volunteer at the counter.  "What are you doing here?" he is asked.  He must be another volunteer because he needs a note to verify to his teacher that he performed 15 hours of service here.

I love the quiet guitar music on repeat.  Moonlight Sonata is playing now but earlier were more contemporary tunes on the same guitar.  I'm having a hard time restraining myself from singing along--everyone would hear me if I did; not that I have a bad voice, but I don't want to bring attention to myself.

A large komodo dragon holds pride of place atop one of the low-level bookcases and, taking considerable space, is a slightly elevated stage, barren but for a couple chairs, two stage monitors, an old guitar hanging on the wall and a single, bright red cowboy boot on a small shelf against a pillar to the side of the stage.  It matches a music stand in the opposite corner that is also bright red.

I haven't checked out the books yet, except for a glance at the ones near my table.  They include books in French, Spanish, Polish and who knows what other languages.  I see Horses of the Camargue, Book of the Eskimos, and a thick volume of Christ and the Fine Arts that looks to be at least 60 years old.

A sprite arrangement of daisies in a one-of-a-kind ceramic pot, several live leafy plants and lamps with white shades and brass stands dot the area.  I was assured that all along the wall where the tables are, are electrical outlets for computers but all I found was a white extension cord strung along the edge of the floor with one free opening.  It is enough.

I shall return, though not for the beef stew or the much-too-sweet apricot bars.  The books intrigue me and I want to become acquainted with them.  I'm sure I'll find a few to bring home any time I visit.


Popular posts from this blog

In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of f…