The Ninth of Av

fire dove

When my mother, of blessed memory, was in her mid-fifties, she attended a self-help psychology workshop. Afterwards, she said, “This isn’t for me, it’s for people with problems. I don’t have any problems. I mean, I have some problems that are so big they are the foundation of my entire life, but I don’t have any problems.” Of course, I knew what she meant: twenty years earlier our brother had […]

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Tantric Sex

CK and LDK at Gabriola

What is Tantric sex? Can you learn it in a year, for $5750, as some teachers have claimed? Probably not! Hindu and Buddhist literature offer multiple interpretations of the word “tantra.” The Dalai Lama defines it as “continuum.” Tantra, he says, is a continuum of practices that help us access the continuum of consciousness. “Everyday mind” is the first level on the continuum. Understanding it is the first level of practice. […]

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Culture Clash

Ashley at UBC Gardens

You can’t take a course called ‘The Land is Sacred’ in the Native Ministries program without going out on the land! — Rev. Ray Aldred, explaining why our VST class was taking a field trip. Our class visited the UBC Botanical Gardens for a tour of Indigenous Plants. Tamara, our guide, stressed the survival value of knowing your local plants. I was flooded with a recognition of the immensity of the culture […]

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Is the Bible an Indigenous Text?


Is the Bible an Indigenous Text? That’s the question my colleague Rev. Ray Aldred,  a status Cree from Northern Alberta, posed to his class on the first day. He did define “Indigenous” as “in relationship with the land.” But, true to his subtle teaching style, he did not ask us the question directly. That’s right: us. I’m a student this week, participating in the Native Ministries Consortium at the Vancouver School of […]

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Wars of the Lord


There it is, slipped so casually into the Biblical narrative: Thus it was said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14). Aren’t you curious about that famous book, and why you’ve never read it? So were our classical commentators. Yonatan Ben Uzziel, (Babylonia, c. 3rd century) decided: it’s another name for the Torah. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (Spain, 11th century) decided: It’s a freestanding book, dating […]

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