Thursday, March 24, 2011

Long Time No Post

Here are the best photos from my fieldwork on the Fraser, mostly from summer 2009.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Every time an election comes along

I can't help but look up Cartograms.

They give a much more nuanced view of the political landscape.

Here are Cartograms from the Midterm

and from the 2010 election.

To me the most striking thing is how difficult to differentiate the Carigrans house control are, especially when compared to representations of the control in normal space.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yeo Valley Rap

I'm not usually a fan of blogs that re-post other people's content. This is hilarious, however.

Origional YouTube Link

Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Change the World

The burning of Little Jack (Jacklein) Rohrbach, a leader of the peasants in the Pesent Revolt of (1524-1525) where Luther "was not innocent of the blood [up to 100,000 people] spilled. File courtesy of WIkimedia Commons.

Currently in the UBC Graduate Christian Union we are discussing James Davidson Hunter's book To Change the World: the irony tragedy and possibility of Christianity in the late modern world. I highly recommend the book Hunter argues that current models of how to pursue cultural change in the Christian community are ineffective, that the task of seeking overt cultural-political influence as Christians is fraught with moral ambiguity and that often great evil accompanies great good when the Church is at the forefront of cultural change, and that a new model of cultural engagement that he calls "faithful presence" may provide a way forward to live a Christians today with integrity.

My major reservations about the book are that his view of culture does not explicitly scale to the level of small communities and the incredible influence that they have in many of our lives, and the fact that he believes his presentation of faithfull presence is something
new. In some point in my discipleship I was taught, I think by Don Everts, to be very skeptical of any preaching that claimed to present something new. In this case, I do like Hunter's presentation of the idea of faithful presence, but believe he pridefully claims originality when all he is doing is contextualizing basic Christian orthodoxy.

I recently led a discussion during the Graduate Christian Union's fall retreat about Graduate Students and power. I summarize the discussion below, and hope that it is possible for those of you who are not graduate students to contextualize the discussion for your own situation.

We discussed the power that we as graduate students have and the necessity of grappling with the reality of our influence and the possibility for that influence to be constructive in the Kingdom. Hunter put forth five propositions about power that helped frame the discussion: Power is inherently relational and is wielded by all persons who are in relationship; power is inherently asymmetrical -though wielded by all parties in a relationship, the “weaker” certainly has the possibility to affect the stronger and thus has power; power tends to become and end in itself -for example, charities demonstrably put there institutional interests above the interests of those they claim to serve; power generates its own resistance; and finally, power seems to always carry unintended consequences.

As graduate students we have power in the context of a plethora of relationships. In some we are in the position of greater power, while in others the position of lesser power. As a group, we discussed examples of our own power and moments where we recognized that we have abused that power. We have power as authors, as people with unparalleled access to material resources, as TA’s and as peons in the institutions of our departments and universities we perpetuate, defend, and legitimate the power of these institutions.

If we believe Hunter’s assertion that the only way to avoid power is to become a hermit (and that even then we will be exercising power in our relationship with the physical world and will have influenced many interpersonal relationships by cutting ourselves off from them), then we must wield power. Hunter also makes a theological argument that we must wield power by proposing “the Creation mandate” where we are called to exercise influence in our relationship with physical world (eg to till and to keep), relationships within the body of Christ (eg Colossians 3-4) and in relationships with those outside of the faith (eg the great commission). Hunter frankly acknowledges that “the call to be in the world but nor of it is a call to abide in the will and purpose of God in the present would disorder with integrity... knowing that failure is inevitable, forgiveness is ever available, and the work of the Holy Spirit to transform and sanctify our efforts is always at work” (p. 183).

With the risk of arriving at a simplistic answer we asked: what hope does Gospel have to give to us who inherently have and will abuse power? How ought we, as broken people in a sinful world, wild the power that we have? We have hope that as we enter into a relationship with Christ and allow ourselves to be transformed by him our relationship with power and "the powers" is transformed. We have hope that we are bieng shaped into the likeness of Christ who related to power in the following ways (Hunter pp. 188-193):
~ Christs power is derived from intimacy with and submission to the Father (this is a blessing from the trinity that we are given such an example of submission)

~ Christ rejected status and the power and privilege that accompanies them
~ Compassion defines the power of the Kingdom

And so I must now ask, what does this mean for us as graduate students? How can we submit to Christ? What does it mean for us to actively pursue compassion in each of our power relationships? And, perhaps the crux, how can we rejected status and the power and privilege that accompanies them while pursuing excellence and leadership in our fields?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nasty Slide on Baker

Hey all,

I guess this is the second mass-movement post to the blog in a row. Alas, do Rachel and I think about anything other than landslides? Yes, we do. But this is cool. On Sept. 3rd I hiked up to lake Ann with Kwees and my Dad and got to look across to Mt. Baker. There was this tremendous landslide/avalanche/debris flow (probably some elements of all three) that had originated on Sherman Peak and covered almost the entire Boulder Glacier. Gladly I did not hear of any mountaineers on that glacier during the event.

Here are photos:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Meager Creek Landslide

There was just a massive landslide in BC. Enjoy the link below to an article describing the response to the slide and photos from the Search & Rescue team that went in to respond.

Also worthwhile is the photo album of a group who narrowly missed being wiped out.

I am thinking of ways to turn this into a PhD. :). There is plenty of work to be done in the aftermath. 40 million cubic meters of sediment is comperable to the whole volume I have identified form 50 years of placer mining along the Fraser.