Thursday Aug 14th
We made it to Sault Ste Marie for a late dinner last night and up the eastern shores of the mighty Superior after a quick breakfast. By noon we were at the place named after the sound Canadian geese make. You know – where all Canadians on the trek west stop to photograph the giant goose.
As we whizzed by scenic stop after scenic stop, driven by the dealine of our destination it made me think of all the meetings I’ve sat in where there’s never time to stop and pursue a trail of thought, hear an anecdote, question an assumption because of the agenda we’ve got to finish before the clock strikes.
When I drive, Lynn reads. Articles about how Short Term Mission trips (or STMs) have become so popular in North America that they’ve earned the name Mc-missions. In the seventies, hundreds of do-gooders travelled to third world destinations to help out the needy brothers and sisters. they’d never met. By the nineties, hundreds of thousands of us joined the STM crowds. Today it is estimated that over 4 million people a year are choosing STMs as a vacation alternative.
When Lynn drives we listen to her favourite podcasts. Father Greg Boyle, Nadia Boltz-Weber, and Bishop Mark Macdonald from the Anglican church of Canada’s Indigenous people’s diocese. They are all great story tellers and they all have a great sense of humour.
Mark Macdonald talks about how when first nations folks read the gospels they hear things that westerners don’t. He told a story about being asked which parts of the Bible indigenous peoples would find offensive? He said he couldn’t think of any – that the stories of God moving through history were something they recognized in their own stories. In another story he recounted a small group exercise where they were asked to pick parts of the Bible that spoke of the earth. One member of his group said “I thought the whole book was about that!”
The land, to his people, is so much more than the rock and soil and things that grow. “For God so loved the Land…” is the way the Ojibway translate the John 3:16 passage. The Land encompasses the whole eco-system – and more.
And Macdonald spoke of how elders will talk around a subject at length. How they approach each question from at least four directions. Instead of the European way of pursuing the one true path, the four directions invite at least four different approaches to each question – if not twelve!
My hope as we approach our destination, travelling across this wonder-full land, is that my answers will be questioned and my questions deepened by who I meet and what my heart is able to absorb.