Thursday, September 29, 2005

Man, Buechner can sure write a sentence!

This is "letter to the editor" of the Boston Globe, that was published last Wednesday, Sept. 21. It happens to be one sentence. It was written by Frederick Buechner (pronounced "Beek-ner"), the novelist who enchanted and evangelized me so thoroughly in my youth.

The reckless George Bush is to blame
September 19, 2005
THIS SHALLOW, reckless, monolithically complacent man who touts his belief in the philosophy of Jesus but advocates tax cuts for the richest of the rich instead of succor for the poorest of the poor, who has entangled us in an unnecessary, unwinnable, and increasingly murderous war against shadows, who consistently favors the interests of big business over those of the imperiled environment, and appoints an official of the International Arabian Horse Association to be in charge of managing horrors like Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, surely the second George Bush is not the only one to blame for his insane and tragic chapter in our history, but it is hard to imagine a more appropriate symbol of it than the never-to-be-forgotten Mission Accomplished dance he did on the carrier's deck for all the world as though he really believed it.
Pawlet, Vt.

Let me show you why I love Buechner so much. You'll get the picture best from this excerpt of an interview with the Wittenburg Door from the '80s.

DOOR: It is kind of refreshing to meet someone who speaks about the Christian faith in a new way, at least a new way to us. What is your connection with the church?

BUECHNER: To be honest, I grew up without any real church connection. When I was young, I was nominally an Episcopalian. I was confirmed, but had no strong connection.

DOOR: But you are a Presbyterian. How did that come about?

It was really almost a matter of tossing a coin. When it came time to be ordained (I had to be ordained in some particular church), I chose Presbyterian, basically because of George Buttrick. It was in his church that the whole thing came alive.

DOOR: What happened?

BUECHNER: Years ago I had decided to move to New York and become a writer. While I was there, I drifted into George Buttrick's church on a Sunday morning- for no good reason, really, except it was there and I had nothing else to do. Buttrick preached the sermon, and he was talking about coronations. (He was a marvelous preacher because he had no finesse. He plucked at his robes and mumbled his words, which made him all the more powerful.) This was at the time of the present Queen's coronation, and he was talking about Jesus at the time of his temptation. He said that Jesus was offered a crown, like Queen Elizabeth's, if he would kneel down and worship Satan, but he turned it down. Then Buttrick said, "But now Jesus is crowned in the heart of the believer," and he used this phrase, "among tears and confession and great laughter." For reasons I've never been able to explain, that phrase "great laughter" absolutely decimated me. I found tears spouting in my eyes. If one were looking for the "born-again" experience, in some funny way, this was it. I couldn't have told you then, nor can I tell you now, why the phrase "great laughter" did it. Maybe it was the laughter of incredulity that perhaps it was true, or the laughter of relief that all the things that might have been true, instead weren't.

DOOR: Is it the thought that the gospel is really true that overwhelms you?

BUECHNER: It's sort of a continuing dim spectacle of the subterranean presence of grace in the world that haunts me. If you look deeply enough into yourself or into the New York Times, there are many mysteries. And the mystery of the mysteries at the bottom of the well, at the far reach of the road, is the mystery of God, of Christ. This is what I explore as a novelist- the incredibleness of it, the spectrum of it. It seems as if maybe it isn't true... but, yes, maybe it is true! And the moments when it seems to be true are just staggering moments.

Yep, after 17 novels and 22 books of non-fiction, Freddie's still got the goods.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

new things...

There are some fun updates on the Youth Page of our Church's national website over here, including a picture of me being very happy with a double chin.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Groucho Marx's Letter to T.S. Eliot

Okay this is pretty weird.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Shakespeare with Dachshunds!

I've head some pretty great teachers over the years, but one of my favourite teachers was the incomparable Miss Muriel Morris back at Chilliwack Senior. In Grade 12 she taught me both AP English and BC's fantastic Lit 12 course. She also introduced us to the joys and traumas of the Socratic method of instruction: posing jugular questions and always asking the class, "Who can take it farther?" Very powerful stuff for sixteen and seventeen year olds to be asked. Miss Morris' approach has definitely inspire my own teaching efforts over the years. She has this very enjoyable little site called Shakespeare Goes to the Dogs that uses cartoon wiener dogs to illustrate Shakespeare plays. And the best part is she has done some of the lesser known works (Timon of Athens, Merry Wives of Windsor, etc.) in addition to the old High School standbys. Thanks Miss Morris!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

St. Xenia

St. Xenia of Petersburg has been quite profound in our lives together and her story is so interesting. She was born in around 1730 and passed away around the year 1800 (she was about 71 years old). She was married to quite a distinguished man and after he passed away, she no longer claimed a home. She slept wherever she could find. She was known to sleep on the doorsteps of churches, well as went around doing many good works for other (in the name of Christ). She has been know as a true "Fool for Christ's Sake and a Wonderworker". She played a part in the building of a church in St. Petersburg. The workers would go home at night and in the morning arrived to their working place and found that most of their hardest work for the day was done. St. Xenia would work in the evenings quietly. One night a few of the workers hid to see who was helping them and sure enough it was her.

Troparion or Dismissal Hymn
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
in Commemoration of St. Blessed Mother Xenia Petersburg
Commemorated on January 24th

In thee, O wandering stranger, Christ the Lord hath given us an ardent intercessor for our kind. For having received in thy life sufferings and grief and served God and men with love, thou didst acquire great boldness. Wherefore, we fervently hasten to thee in temptations and grief, crying out from the depths of our hearts: Put not our hope to shame, O Blessed Xenia.

Until this day St. Blessed Mother Xenia is noted for her intercessions in helping those with employment, marriage, the homeless, for fires, for missing children, and for a spouse.

Anyways, during a time of struggle for Matthew and I in the job hunting world and with finding a place to live, was very helpful to know about St. Xenia. She was a very cool person and her life is just so neat to reflect on (as with most saints:). Also, some friends of mine, who had just been married for about 3 weeks, back in January were living in a basement suite and it flooded. This was before Matthew and I were married and they came and lived with me for about 3 weeks. We had also told them about St. Xenia and they began to pray her troparion....they were as well looking for work. So, if I have this right....the morning after they prayed the Tropar, the husband received a phone call that he was going to have an interview with this company that he was really wanting to get in on. It was neat and a true witness of God's grace. Anywhoo, to learn more about her life....check out the website

by clicking here

- kris

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Free to be True

A revelation has come to pass,
and alas
I find that the past is alive
in me and in you.
Choose the path to follow,
when life is a mystery
and the foul light
misleads the fountain of youth
into the fire.
There and only there can the
revelation of truth begin.

Dungeons of hatred
must be released until the
advocate can prowl about.
So fear is pointless,
if you exist with the truth
for the truth will set
every untruth free
until they can just be.
As the sea is pure and wide
the waves subside
and the frustrations of the
whitecaps appear to now rule
over the earth.

An illusion is born.

Myth is like a fun story
to hear, but no one wants
to be near
when the dreadful aspect is
that it might be true.
For no one wants dreadful truth,
everyone wants
Lovely truth full of

Music doesn't do the words
justice unless the music
becomes words itself. How
to deal with the cheap
instrument,or rather
the cheap musician?

K. Francis

Monday, September 19, 2005

"It only takes a spark"

Some of my most cherished recollections are from around the fire. One particularly vivid memory for me is the image of flames representing the Holy Spirit that adorned the wall of my childhood pastor, Dr. Vernon Marples' study. Whenever I was in that room I was always sort of entranced by it. When I lived in Manchester, I read a serious "History of Fire" which tried to explain some of the beauty and attraction of the flame. The great myth of Prometheus stealing fire is as true and timely today as ever. And of course, for us in the Judeo-Christian stream of things, we must always remember the powerful metaphor that "our God is a consuming fire." Cleansing, the refining of precious metals (and the requisite Brian Doerksen hymns) readily come to mind. Yet there is also something profoundly wholesome about the hearth. As a wedding gift, David and Anna gave us this beautiful Turkish brazier from Lee Valley Tools. The brazier is really just a large copper bowl on a metal stand that you can kindle a fire in. We got some square masonry bricks and put ours in the back yard. So some new memories are beginning. Have begun. Our new summer with new campfires is becoming a memory. I want to have a few more fires before it gets too cold. Fall is fast on its way to Edmonton.

I remember that line from Moxy Fruvous' "Gulf War Song," (yeah I remember lots of Moxy Fruvous, if you can believe it) that talks about having had "twenty-five sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold." That's been my life, though I guess now it's up to 27 sweet summers. I guess its the quintessential twenty-something Canadian's experience. And I'm pretty thankful for it all. Silver Lake. Charis. My back yard. Lindeman, Cultus, Tamihi, Mackenzie Beach and Long Beach, Harmattan. So many more. Krista has these kind of memories too. Poking the stick in until its red hot. I remember my Dad's birthday one year at Silver Lake (we were already there at the end of May!)... and Pam made icing for the cake out of Cool Aid mix. Sweet summers indeed! This summer we've already had great nights here. With musical friends (cue the Bruce Cockburn). "And we can pass on endings till the end... me and my musical friends." The warmth and light allowing us to read and talk and sing. Summer turns to Autumn, and Fall to Winter and then it will be Spring again. In my mind and heart, I can already here my Dad's voice over his old EKO guitar, joined by dozens of exuberant kids:

That's how it is with God's love
Once you've experienced it
It's fresh like Spring
You want to sing
You want to pass it on.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fun with Komodo Dragons

Okay, this is one my favourite movies. Krista and I watched The Freshman the other night. She hadn't seen it, and I hadn't seen it in years. It was made in 1990, but I think it really stands the test of time. It stars Matthew Broderick as a young film student in New York City, who gets involved with a Godfatheresque Italian businessman played by, well, Marlon Brando. It is a very funny movie that involves, in my opinion, some great comedic scenes. For instance, I really like it when Brando puts seven or eight spoonfulls of sugar into Broderick's espresso. Then there's another good one with the Komodo dragon (yes, big lizards play a main role in this film), where the character played by B.D. Wong scolds the beast for being "a very disobedient dragon." And then there's sort of an animal rights sub-theme, and some great scenes with Broderick's theatrically vain professor... who is that actor? Also "Curious George" references... how can you go wrong?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Cross: Old and Rugged/Precious and Lifegiving

This is the view from the Holy Transfiguration Hermitage in Gibsons, B.C. Our friend Brent Applegate from Calgary helped the monks plant this cross in the rock face.

Today the Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of "The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross." Every year we remember the re-discovery of the Cross in Jerusalem in the year 326 A.D. (There is quite an amazing story that goes along with its rediscovery).

In a sermon on the Exaltation of the Cross, the great liturgical poet St. Andrew of Crete once said: "The Cross is exalted, and everything true gathers together, the Cross is exalted, and the city makes solemn, and the people celebrate the feast".

I love that idea: that seeing the Cross of Christ somehow makes everything true gather together. It reminds me of the Flannery O'Connor story "Everything That Rises Must Convergence." But somehow in the Cross, it is the true things that find coherence.

More later...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to my awesome husband!!! :)

Hey Ya'll,
It was Matthew's birthday today....we just finished having some ice cream cake as a bed time snack....yum! He turned 27 today. I love him very much! Signed of course by me.....Krista Francis :)

Friday, September 09, 2005

first week back at nursing

I had my last day at this Lebanese restaurant this past Friday. It was five blocks from our house and a Monday to Friday job....11:00am to 4:00pm. It was nice because Matthew's work is same days from 8:15am to 4:30pm. So as newlyweds it was very nice to have similar schedules....Well, I had my first week back at nursing. I am now in my 3rd year......getting closer to the end of my schooling...yaaaayyy! I'm going to journal about my first week in a more poetic format (kind of like freestyle)....I normally journal more like there you go! ;)

kind of like riding the rollercoaster through time
as it evolves line by line
over the hills and across the prairies
I'm reminded that I too,
am a prairie girl
Life is too short

to notice the shortcomings
and the short goings
of those who deny the true path

for that too, denies the true past
set before us
All we can do is accept the truth
TRULY for ourselves
What is writing if you don't really write
and what is listening if you don't truly hear?
What do YOU hear?
From the lion's den
I hear a multitude of lies....LIONS!
where does the care begin,
before it is thrown away?
This great adventure allows me not to fear
simply by the shear

joy that it brings me.
(Sheeps laugh at shears you know)
I thought it a mystery until now
but I have seen through the mirror
and I know that it is too dim
I don't care for that reflection
but as I reflect, I also find
that I am seeking more and more to see

- Krista Francis

Help! Matthew's hijacked the blog!!!...aaaah!

Just thought I'd contribute a little something....seeing as I haven't done so in quite a while. Matthew seems to have hijacked the blog :) Actually I just didn't know the password and all that until now I can actually make some contributions. Well, what's new with me? Matthew and I were at our Orthodox camp here in Alberta (Pigeon Lake) a few weeks ago. He helped with the teaching and I was assistant camp nurse. My camp name was Scout...and Matthew's was Boo. We were continuing on with the "To Kill a Mockingbird" theme, seeing as another councillor's name was Aticus. At camp my brother, who was also a councillor was stung by over 17 Bees!...yikes!

Matthew and I each have new Godsons. My little one's name is Jonathan Thomas Place. He's just over 2 months old now and Matthew and I had the pleasure of babysitting him recently it was loads of fun! His family goes to our parish here in Edmonton. Matthew's new Godson's name is Leon Isaac Brower.....He lives over in England with his pretty cool parents. I thought it'd be a neat idea to include a picture of each of them. They are true blessings in our our lives :)

The baby being held is Jonathan. I threw a baby shower over here at our place for his mother and him. It was a lot of fun....a packed house too!

As well, the little one with the hat is Leon.....sooo cute right? We Love them both very much and may God bless them richly in their lives.

Happy Birthday to the Best Brother in the World, Hurray!

Today, my good old Pal Gabriel F. Lanteigne turns an illustrious 28 years old! Gabe and I met back in 1994, when I was in Grade 10, and he was in Grade 11 at Chilliwack Senior. Our mutual pal, and my best man, Ryan Wugalter introduced us in the foyer where we all used to hang out. And one of the first things that Gabe said to me was "so, I hear you're a brother," by which he meant at the time a fellow Christian. And I nodded solemnly or something like that. Anyway, I pretty much thought that Gabe was amongst the coolest guys I knew, and I still think that. Whether it was camping up at Tamihi or eating those bizarre gummy candies at his house in Greendale or going to see Eric's Trip at the ANZA Club, I will always remember Gabe as this sort of shining light of my youth. We went through a lot of things together... summers and campfires and the time I put a nail through my foot and Gabe drove me to Emerge. Singing "Sand" walking up and down to Lindeman. Singing Rushing Wind at the top of our lungs driving in the General Lee. Coming to the strange and beautiful oasis of our shared Orthodox faith (can't remember, Gabe, did you prefer Oasis or Blur? And then, over the years, Gabe was always there for me as a great friend whenever I was back in Chilliwack, and talking on the phone too. Seeing Gabe and Amy together has also been such a rich blessing, too. And now a little one on the way! Having you here for our wedding was such an amazing gift! I feel like I have much more to say... but for now, Happy Birthday Gabe. God Grant You Many Years!

Oh, those pointy brackets!

I finally figured out (thanks to Peter's tip) where the pointy brackets are, and can now create links!

For instance, here is a link to
Clarion, the magazine from BC that published my reflections on Pat Robertson. And here is a link to
my church. And here's a link to Peter's snazzy film-oriented blog

Great! I can now put links in my posts!

Can anyone tell me how to put a list of links to other blogs and websites in the links section on the sidebar? I imagine it's a similar process, eh? I'm just not sure where/how exactly to paste the code.

These amazing small houses...

I recently discovered an amazing website featuring these beautifully crafted small, yet very livable houses. They are so cool. Perfect monastic dwellings, no?

Friday, September 02, 2005

My Robertson Rant is Published!

To my amusement, the piece I wrote about Pat Robertson has been published by Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice out in BC. This is a very rich publication that I'd encourage any interested folks to check out. Some very bright minds such as Archbishop Lazar and Brad Jersak are involved with Clarion.

Here is their website:

By the way, can anyone tell me how to do links on Blogger. I've tried to do the pasting of the code several times, but it never seems to work for me... any tips?


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just for Fun...