An Artist’s Healing Journey

It was a privilege to meet Isadore Charters a few months ago and hear his story.  It is gut wrenching and saturated in the pain of a residential school experience but a pain navigated with humility, reconciliation, joy and brilliant ‘soul formed’ artistic expression.  This is his story.  Well worth the watch.  It’s 3 minutes long.  (HT to Brander McDonald).

What part of Isadore’s story struck you?  How do youexpress yourself when you are on a ‘healing journey’?


My son Asher, carving the “Healing Pole” Isadore brought to our church. The “Healing Pole” is a way to participate together in reconciliation activity for the atrocities of the Church/State run Residential School’s that were scattered throughout Canada.

Top Posts of 2012


When I started the “40 days of Writing” Lent experiment I had no idea how valuable I would find the discipline of writing to be.  It is a spiritual discipline.  This realization has been significantly formative.  Beyond putting thoughts to words, I have enjoyed the conversations and have been humbled that you take a few minutes out of your day to stop by this space.  I wrote 138 posts in 2012, below are the 5 posts that received the most traffic.

1.  Eighteen: “Community” Do you Belong?

This was a google search king.  Belonging and Anabaptist were the two terms that drove the most traffic to anabaptistly.  The craziest search phrase was ‘Anabaptists and illegal drugs.’

2.  Reflections on “40 Days of Writing”

It was quite interesting to see how the “40 Days of Writing” impacted me.  I still look over this post from time to time.

3.  Twenty One: #awkward_evangelism

One of the most awkward moments in my life.

4.  Why I may not go to seminary

My favourite conversation of the year.  One I still think about.

5. Twenty Three: Praying with the Anabaptists & Matt Puckett

An Anabaptist prayer I came across just before the execution of Matt Puckett.  May he rest in peace.

I look forward to 2013.  I look forward to writing, to the conversation, to participating in God’s relentless pursuit of shalom.  By God’s grace… of course! Winking smile 

What are you looking forward to this year?  How do you see yourself participating with God? 

Jean Vanier on Belonging

Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier turned 84 yesterday.  He, along with Henri Nouwen have been significantly formative to my understanding of community.  Here are some important words on belonging. 

It is because we belong with others and see them as brothers and sisters in humanity that we not only learn to accept them as they are, with different gifts and capacities, but to see each one as a person with a vulnerable heart.  We learn to forgive those who hurt us or reject us; we ask forgiveness of those we have hurt.  We learn to accept humbly those who point out our errors and mistakes and who challenge us to grow in truth and love.  We support and encourage each other on the journey to inner freedom.  We learn how to be close to those who are weaker and more vulnerable, those who may be sick or going through crises or grieving.  As we accept our personal limits and weaknesses, we discover that we need others and we learn to appreciate others and to thank them.

So it is that belonging is the place where we grow to maturity and discover what it means to be human and to act in a human way.  It is the place we need in order to live and to act in society, in justice, in truth, without self seeking power, privileges and honours for our own self-glory.  It is the place where we learn to be humble but also audacious and to take initiatives in working with others.  It is the place where our deepest self rises up into our consciousness and so we become more fully ourselves, more fully human.

Jean Vanier, “Becoming Human” 59.

Where do you belong?

Thirty Nine: A Good Friday Prayer


After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’  A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.   When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:28-30 (NRSV)

There are many beautiful Good Friday prayers.  Below is one of the them. 

Lifted Up 

Good Friday Prayer

John 3:14

Our God,

Lift our eyes, we pray, from present distress to the promised presence.

Lift our voices in weeping, not for ourselves and our complaints but for those whose hunger and thirst are not yet satisfied.

Lift our hearts from preoccupation with great and marvelous things into the quiet confidence of a child at its mother’s breast.

Lift our hands from binding work and leisure into the freedom of praise.

Lift us with your healing touch from our feverish pace into ministering service.

Failing this, God, we will not wee the one they lifted up in scorn, the one you lift up in love for us.


Written by Mary Mae Swartzentruber,1989.