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27 Nov


I’m Canadian, so I celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago, but still, it’s hard to ignore all the cheerful goodwill and gratitude in the air when American Thanksgiving rolls around. Also, the pie. That’s all anyone has been able to talk about this week: PIE, pumpkin or otherwise. And stuffing and turkeys and liquor. Oh, and gratitude.

Gratitude, like appetite, is contagious. So, herewith, an account of my thanks, the things for which I am grateful (not, please note, in order of importance):

18 Nov

Just Like A Prayer

I don’t believe in petitionary or intercessory prayer. I’ve written about my reasons for this at length, but it boils down to this: I don’t believe in, can’t believe in, a God who responds to such prayer. As I said some months ago, ‘why should God help us find a cure for cancer, and not for muscular dystrophy? Find one lost child, and not another? Help the Red Wings win while leaving children dying in sub-Saharan Africa? If God is a god who lets bad things happen, the only way that I can understand that is if the point of letting bad things happen is to compel us to cope with pain and heartbreak and evil ourselves, alone, to better understand those things. And that idea of a didactic God doesn’t square with a picture of God as a moody patriarch who dispenses favors to his children on the basis of who supplicates most fervently.’

9 Nov

Jesus In The Sky With Dinosaurs

When my father died a few months ago, my daughter drew this picture:

budge grandpa

‘This,’ she announced as we huddled over it together at my mother’s kitchen table, filling in the details, “is Grandpa’s Death House. It’s where he lives now.”

“I’m sure that he’s so happy that you made him such a wonderful Death House, sweetie. So happy.”

“He IS so happy. I made it so that every part of it is happy” – she pointed to the clouds made of hearts, the pink motorcycle balancing on the Christmas tree, the friendly shark (“because he needs pets”), the flowers nestled under the window through which the tiny shadow figures of her and her grandpa can be seen standing arm in arm – “so that he will be happy there. It’s where he lives now.” She pulled her crayon back from the picture and studied the finer detailing around the friendly ridgebacked shark. “Can we go visit him?”