Monday, February 26, 2007

child honouring

Some quotes (as approximate or accurate as my memory and hand-written scrawls could make them) from Raffi's "song and word presentation on Child Honouring" that we attended last week:

- Maslow (of "Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs") decided to study people who are well. What a novel idea! He said: "Healthy individuation requires resisting unhealthy enculturation."

- Mr. Mustard (co-author of "Early Years Sudy: Reversing the Real Brain Drain") said to me: "you've got to write a song about the early years with which to influence policy makers." So I did - "It Takes a Village." I had occasion to sing that song at the World Bank, and a man came up to me and said: "Thanks for singing to us. Nobody ever does."

- What a silly system. We count the money every year and call it economic growth... I thought - now there's a songwriting challenge! So I wrote a song for children about the GDP... and a better way to measure economic health and well-being...

- Imagine! If we could re-design society for the benefit of the youngest of us! Remember the old curbs on all our streets... and then, back in the 80s, they were flattened out at every corner for wheelchair accessibility... an act of compassion... it can be done!

- "What can I do?" Well, what can't you do? There are so many ways to help... whatever your gifts are... Have a look at these 9 principles and choose 1 (or more) to work with in your life...

- buy chlorine-free paper, and see the slight change in price as your investment in a healthy world... in quality breast milk for the planet...

- why should only physicians say "first, do no harm"...? Imagine if this was the new mantra... if nonviolence became trendy once again...

- 15 billion dollars is spent advertising directly to children... children are "branded" before they can imprint on nature... no religious tradition in the world would accept this... why is it legal? Quebec has a law that you cannot advertise to children under 13... why isn't this standard everywhere?

- support renewable energies, focus on the local in your purchasing power, use organic foods and fibres as you can afford it... all of these are child-honouring decisions...

- I like to write to the solution, not to the problem.

(You can download two of Raffi's songs for peace, free, here).

Monday, February 19, 2007


Do you ever feel that your brain is buzzing with ideas, so many of them chasing each other around that one moment you feel incredibly lucid and the next you can hardly think straight?

That you are so grateful for the people in your life that your soul is full to bursting?

That there is so much struggle and pain that your heart is almost breaking?

I do. A lot. And, for the past while, usually all at once. I wonder if it’s becoming a chronic condition.

Even blogging, with its promise and possibility of quick response and reflection on the events and ideas of the day (or, in my case, the week), cannot possibly keep pace. I hope, when things slow down just a bit, to write more about some of the people and experiences and ideas of the past little while… for now I’ll just list some of the co-conspirators with whom I’ve been engaged this past week…:

Andrea and her band led our community in an inspiring evening of song, exploring the new “Sing The Journey” songbook… hard to believe it’s been two years since we first met, as we were getting set to introduce “Sing The Journey” and lead the singing at the Charlotte convention…

Mike and Sherri and Darren at MFC, as we talked and debated and strategized about the new CD of songs on economic stewardship themes (now moving from writing to recording phase) and upcoming “sneak peak” concert…

Brent and Val, and their adventures as a family with their working and living in communications and small-scale organic farming… kindred spirits in envisioning and seeking to live into an economic/ecological “alternative,” passionate participants in Community Supported Agriculture and creative partners in my emerging Community Supported Music initiative…

Jared, whom I hadn’t seen since we spent 3 weeks together last summer in Bogota with other young adults from across Canada and Colombia, exploring and reflecting and confronting and dreaming and struggling with economic realities, and violence, and the church, and our own role(s) and vocation(s)…

Raffi, who I had the privilege of meeting on Thursday night (quite a thrill for me, as you can imagine), who is also a co-conspirator working (writing! singing! dancing!) for change and a sustainable future…

And this is just a start. What a glorious thing to be co-conspirators in the cause! Take heart, my friends! You're not alone!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

music to my ears

Yesterday a small disaster struck.

I strolled into our living room with a hankering to "spin some vinyl" on our old record player. (That's right, the kind that plays the old vinyl discs... it's a sizable chunk of furniture that I obstinately insisted on hauling across the country, much to my wife's chagrin...)

I picked out the record I was itching to hear... an Imperials album from the early 70s... "(Don't You Worry) He's On His Way" has the greatest of grooves...

And the turntable didn't work.

After a bit of coaxing, twisting, tugging, and gentle encouragement... the whole turntable mechanism pretty much came off in my hands...

Now what? Who repairs these things? Besides, I'd need to rent a truck to haul it away for someone to look at...

What is to become of the collection of records preserved from my childhood (Funky Favorites, The Kingston Trio, Music Machine, Buddy Holly... my dad wouldn't let me take the Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel, and Kris Kristofferson albums), and painstakingly supplemented by thrift-store acquisitions ever since (old time fiddle tunes, John Denver, Raffi, and John Michael Talbot albums galore... not to mention Nat King Cole and an old Rick Neufeld album featuring a certain Burton Cummings on piano, flute, and backing vocals)...?

In any case, while I deal with this crisis, I've been hearing a common refrain as I prepare for my upcoming March tour in the US: "...nobody here knows your name, but some of them know your songs..."

Ahhh... that, at least, is music to my ears...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Here are some words I need to remember today:

Be kind,

     for everyone you meet

          is engaged in a great struggle.

- Philo of Alexandria