Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At the Beach

I did this quick watercolour the other day. A pencil sketch first on an 8X10 inch sheet and then I applied watercolour paint. Once my favourite medium, I have not painted a watercolour picture in years. This one probably looks like I need a refresher course. I do enjoy this medium and I enjoyed painting this small piece. I want to do more of it. That inspiration came from watching some of the best watercolourists in the world during my travels in France. Watercolour is called aquarelle in France.

Watercolour permits some refreshing and spontaneous effects. Since the paints flow and since you can let colours bleed into one another, the many resultant soft edges produce an impression rather photographic realism, at least when I use them. On the other hand one can also achieve precise lines by preventing the flow of colours. Didier Brousse is a master watercolourist who lives in Lourmarin where Christine and I lived for two weeks in April 09. His work is extraordinarily marvelous. His reputation and international sales have enabled him to charge superstar prices for his paintings. He has his own gallery in Lourmarin, an out of the way Luberon town, yet one that is frequented by tourists. I cannot refer you to internet ogling of his work since his website is in development and crazily there is a French photographer with the identical name so Googling picks up his references. Try as I did, there was only one site that had an image of one of his paintings, and certainly not one of his best.

I have found Mary Penley Fine Artists online gallery that shows some of his work.
The final photo is of Brousse's own studio in Lourmarin. I spent some time there relishing his craft.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It’s a Good Thing I am not Pregnant

Some of you have been helpful to me with your advice regarding my osteoarthritis. The osteo was a pain even before we left for France on April 19th. At the Marseilles airport we picked up our rental vehicle. We saved $400 by contracting a manual transmission. However, I was concerned that my arthritic hands would get overused with the constant shifting right hand and the wheel gripping left hand. I found that I was soon accustomed to the exercise and I felt fine.

A couple of days ago I expressed my disappointment that my hands constantly ache and impede my painting. I purchased something called Voltaren and was not thrilled with what I read about its potential side effects. Someone recommended Arthrotec. I did some online research of both products and potentially the cure may be worse than the disease. Each contains something called diclofenac sodium and that appears to cause a few users some grief.

It was little comfort to read in the preface that “Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.” What kind of caution is that? Common side effects are • diarrhea • gas • heartburn and some less common are • abnormal vision • acne • change in taste sensation • decreased appetite • dry mouth • irritability or nervousness • loss of hair • muscle pain • decrease in sexual ability • tingling, burning, or prickling sensations • trembling or shaking • trouble swallowing • vaginal bleeding.

There is also a warning that “if any of these symptoms occur contact your doctor immediately: black, tarry stools , bleeding or crusting sores on lips, blood in urine or stools, bruises or red spots on the skin, chest pain, chills, confusion, continuing thirst, convulsions (seizures), cough or hoarseness, disorientation, drowsiness, fainting, fever with or without chills, fluid retention, general feeling of illness, heartburn or indigestion, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased weight gain, itching of the skin, irregular heartbeat, large, flat, blue, or purplish patches on the skin, lightheadedness or dizziness.” We should be specially cautious if we are seniors or pregnant. It’s a good thing I am not pregnant. I used Voltaren for three days and stopped it feeling sure that I was experiencing at least ten of the above symptoms. My imaginative mind is active.

Someone else wrote to me about the use of therapy gloves designed to relieve arthritic pain. I found some and bought the right hand. I slipped it on and told the druggist “I feel like Michael Jackson.” Then upon quick reflection on Michael's death that morning I corrected, “No, on second thought I don’t feel like Michael.” The fabric contains ceramic fibre which reflects body heat into tissue and improves blood circulation. I have been wearing it and there is some relief. I simply do not want to ingest stuff for the sake of my hands.(Prolotex Therapy Gloves and ThermoFlow Therapy Gloves)

Many people are receiving help from the two ointment products named above and experiencing none of the side effects.Oh, and I purchased only one hand for now because they are $44 each.

Health Canada's Approval - it is fully endorsed after testing

Sunday, June 28, 2009

MICHAEL JACKSON - Have you seen his childhood? He spent his life searching for it.

Call me crazy but I try to understand what makes people behave the way they do. Michael Jackson may not have been an enigma at all. Perhaps his life was explained as simply as the scenario contained in the song that he composed entitled "Childhood." Theme for Free Willy 1993. As I said yesterday, Jackson was an iconic talent and a tragic figure.Jackson said in an interview that if you wanted to know him you should listen to this most honest song he had ever written. Here are its lyrics and a link to the YouTube file where you can watch him and hear him sing it. You can hear the sound track only here.

Written and Composed by Michael Jackson.
Produced by Michael Jackson, 1993.

On the album 'History'

"Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for the world that I come from
'Cause I've been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart...
No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities...
'Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me...

People say I'm not okay
'Cause I love such elementary things...
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood
I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?

People say I'm strange that way
'Cause I love such elementary things,
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood (Childhood) I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
But the dreams I would dare, watch me fly...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
The painful youth I've had

Have you seen my Childhood...."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson

Listen to some of his music once again and we all know why Michael Jackson will be missed. Although he made music in 2001 his most memorable music dates back to the 1980’s so perhaps we have missed the musical Jackson for many years in lieu of the wacky Jackson.

I wasn’t intending to write about this news item. I have postponed the post for one day while the momentum of his loss builds. Based on unconfirmed TMZ reports I twittered the following comment moments before the CNN official announcement on Thursday. “Michael Jackson has died. He was 50. Strange man but iconic figure to millions. Watch the world mark this moment. That is stranger yet.”

While I was convinced that the international music immersed community would celebrate the death of this music and dance man, I had no idea how over the top the sentiment of loss would be. Although not on stage for many years his popularity was undiminished.

It’s right up there with the passing of Princess Diana,” was one of grieving comments by fans in Los Angeles during the vigil last night, marking the death of Michael Jackson. Someone else said, “Michael changed the world.”

TV journalists interviewed scores of celebrities for comments and to a person, each had high esteem for the entertainer and sympathy for the man during the low points of his life. Larry King spoke with many of Jackson’s friends. Madonna said, “"I can't stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!It’s paradoxical, almost a mockery that so many speak like friends about one of the loneliest men on the planet. (Video: The Way You Make Me Feel)

Five of Jackson's solo albums – "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and "History," are among the top-sellers of all time. During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and "Thriller" as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award.

So it’s unanimous. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a universally acclaimed star. He had a distressed and complex life and notwithstanding his talent, he remains for me a deeply tragic figure. It may be that this boy compelled to miss his childhood in place of work, finally with his wealth produced a childhood for himself with Neverland and child friends all which we deemed strange but should have found quite understandable. He wrote a song that you seldom here called 'Childhood' in which he pleads for people to see his childhood and not judge him. It's worth a listen. The media that had a field day with him is now concentrating predictable praise for his life. Visuals of his excellence during his prime years will celebrate his life.

He died $400 million in debt, casualty of outlandish spending, blatant unwise behaviour, scandalized by charges of child molestation from which he was acquitted, father of three children, subject to paranoias, physically unwell and hooked on prescription drugs and victimized by callous reporting and misguided counsel.

He was about to make a comeback. Now he won’t. But his music may experience revival.
"How would you characterize the life of Michael Jackson?" That's the question Jack Cafferty asks. You can answer him. Does anyone contemplate what lies beyond this life? You see, I do! It is natural to my worldview. My worldview maintains that life is not just about this world.

Friday, June 26, 2009

MICHEL SEMENTZEFF, an extraordinary painter

Michel Sementzeff is considered one of the greatest contemporary figurative artists. I could not believe my good fortune when I stayed in his son Didier’s guest home. Throughout the home were these exquisitely executed paintings. He paints landscapes and portraits that are colourful, playful, dreamlike, romantic and he does it using a knife to paint heavy oil passages that accent the creativity of his themes and style. While this genre is not my customary choice I couldn’t resist appreciating this good, good art. Didier presented me with a book of his father’s paintings which I realize is an advertising piece but I treasure it. That’s as close as I will get to owning one of Sementzeff’s expensive originals.

Of Russian origin, Michel Sementzeff was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine. He entered the École Supérieure des Arts Modernes at the age of 15, and has subsequently forged a highly successful career as an artist, exhibiting in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, United States and Canada. With his well chosen palette of colours, his light strokes as well as his heavy impasto touches he emits light and happiness and nostalgia. He has chosen to paint faces that always reflect a childish innocence and surprise and anticipation.

His son Didier, the retired professional photographer that I mentioned yesterday, captures his father’s images so clearly to make every book of art a masterpiece collector’s cache.
I am enamoured by Michel's success and jealous of his signature. Michel's work makes the viewer happy.

here is Michel's website. The best site for viewing the quality and luminosity and brush strokes is Galerie Internationale

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Le Mésange, and a Painter Discovery

Le Mésange is a chambre d’hôte or B&B and is in the Pays d'Auge region, close to Lisieux and 35 kms de la Côte Fleurie and within reach of the Normandy beaches. When we arrived at Le Mésange we met Didier and Roselyne Sementzeff who showed us the four delightful suites they had in this refurbished country home. Four themed rooms are offered: music, mountain, sea and countryside. We stayed in the mountain room with wall hangings of skis, boots, suitable paintings. We wished we could stay longer than one night but our schedule would not permit this.

Didier was a professional photographer, retired from his profession to operate this attractive guest home. His career was victimized by the digital revolution that puts a high definition camera and editing software in everyone's hand.

This year Didier is constructing several cottages on his acreage for additional guests. His wife is a children’s nurse in a nearby city. They make their own jams and breads and croissants. You can purchase the jams. Breakfast was superb and their hospitality was compelling. For me, what topped it, were the original paintings throughout the building. They are the work of his internationally renowned father, Michel Sementzeff. I will tell you more about him tomorrow. You can purchase his work too if you have ten to thirty thousand spare dollars kicking around. Here is one alluring sample. More tomorrow.

• Didier SEMENTZEFF (Le Mésange)
• Chemin des Forges Mézières
• 14140 Le Mesnil Durand
• Tel.1 : 02 31 63 51 91
• Port.: 06 60 18 02 04


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Artists Anne-Marie Ruggeri and Philippe Janin

Anne-Marie Ruggeri and Philippe Janin are a gifted and accomplished artistic husband and wife who own a studio/gallery in the town of Bonnieux in the foothills of Mount Luberon in Provence. During a day trip Christine and I spotted the gallery and stopped in Bonnieux. I was very impressed by the oils that Philippe paints and the pastels by Anne-Marie. Extraordinary work and priced to reflect their success. Pastel is a medium I simply cannot understand. Never tried it and am amazed at its beauty. We purchased some gorgeous cards as mementos. The first picture is by Philippe and shows Bonnieux with its church prominently in the picture. These communities always had a church central to its community and life. How things change. They are largely empty or sparsely attended now.

You see some of their work here but I believe this is an old site. There are more of Janin’s recent works here

I noticed that so many French artists produce postcards and posters and prints and many of them also have printed books of their art. It is clever marketing as it provides pieces at prices suitable to a range of buyers. This pair has several books.

Ruggeri has even had some of her art incorporated into fashion, and this site shows a scarf imprinted with her work. Tap the photo to enlarge it for a better view.

It was inspiring to look at their work but also to process what is required by marketing to become an established artist.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I always wanted to spend these years of my life in more concentrated painting opps. I didn't anticipate the possibility of crippling hands. A few years ago, my hands began to feel the affects of arthritis and now it is affecting my art.

I don’t have much to whine about I realize but… I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. John Milton lost his sight and feared it would impair his poetic production. He expressed it this way in a poem entitled “On His Blindness.”
When I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide

I am not so convinced that my art is my one talent that is critical to my pleasuring God but it saddens me to consider worst case scenarios, living a long time without such an outlet. I fully understand that my obedience to Him is the priority.

Arthritis ('arth' meaning joint, 'itis' denotes inflammation).
I get a kick out of some people's pronunication of the word as 'Arthur-ritis'.

Arthritis actually consists of more than 100 different conditions, from mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to crippling systemic forms like rheumatoid arthritis. There are pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, that involve every part of the body. There are forms of the disease, such as gout, that almost nobody connects with arthritis, and there are other conditions - like osteoarthritis, the 'wear and tear' arthritis which I have.

My thumb joints constantly ache. Garden and household tasks involve pain which I choose to disregard. Now it's also affecting my drawing and painting.

I don’t want to be regularly ingesting ibuprofens. I bought a fresh attempt at relief? It’s Voltaren. Voltaren is an nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ointment). Voltaren reduces hormones that cause inflammation and pain. I am not pleased with all the side effects described on the fact sheet.

Milton resolved his issues this way.
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

I need to get a grip. (tsk,tsk) is a helpful site with tabs for types of arthritis, tips for living well and much more. Provides a description of the ointment called Voltaren.
Both scenes above were taken of me painting in France.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We Enjoyed French Food

Christine and I enjoyed the foods of France. We ate out only occasionally of course, opting to make most of our meals in the facilities of the gites (cottages, apartments, suites that we rented for a week or days at a time). Even our home cooked meals used the foods and beverages shopped daily at the epicerie, boucherie, boulangerie and cave.

During one lunch hour in Le Buisson, a town in the Dordogne region, we had a memorable dining experience in a garden setting of 'Auberge l'Espérance,'a small family operated restaurant. The husband was the chef and his wife the amiable waitress. I snapped photographs of each course of the simple lunch because it was presented so attractively.

E & E recently spent five weeks in Australia and New Zealand and spent $bazillion dollars and came home to share some of the foods they had enjoyed. Christine and I went to France to prove that we could spend $bazillion too and we did. (One moment please. I will be back. I have to go outside to water my money tree.)

Last night Christine replicated our Buisson meal for our good friends E & E. It was E’s birthday. He’s old. Let me describe the meal. First we sat outside for a special Muscat drink and some Duck preserve we brought back from France, Bree cheese, an olive oil with truffle and baguette slices. Then, we came in and sat at the dining room table with candle light and Christine served us salads consisting of finely sliced avocado and grapefruit on a bed of lettuce with drizzled olive oil and vinaigrette. Leisurely, we enjoyed conversation and food and after some time, the main course, Confit du Canard. We were amazed this week to find a butcher who actually had these frozen duck legs packaged with a liberal clop of duck fat. The roast duck with its crispy skin was served with slender carrots and diced potatoes baked with the duck. And then dessert, an apple tart, finally sliced apple laid open upon a pan of pastry, baked and then with a heated apricot jam and apricot brandy mixture drizzled over it. (The dessert shown here was not the apple tart but the plate Christine and I had in France).

I toasted Christine because she did an amazing job.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Here I am sixty-six years of age and I am remembering my father. I’m glad. He was memorable. Such an ordinary man but unforgettable. He is forgotten to the company for which he worked for forty-five years. He is not thought about within the church he attended for sixty years. I call him to mind often. That makes sense. As time passes, I do things that resemble him sometimes. At ninety-three years of age he was gone one evening last May. I miss his face. I miss him. I am delighted to say that.

A small man at five feet six inches in height, my father had three sons each of whom exceeded his stature. Yet as small boys, we saw him as a big man. How pleasurable it is now to recall that even in our adult years he was large in our hearts. He served in the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He and Mom operated a post war coffee shop and a gas service station in a Prairie town. Then believing that opportunity existed in the east, Dad and Mom began again in Ontario and Dad took a factory job. Some years after he retired from his demanding physical work in a furnace manufacturing factory he answered this question. “Why did you keep working so hard at that place?” “I did it for my boys, “he said. Life’s purpose and responsibility was not more complex than that for Dad. Three boys grew up, gained and education and made him proud. We gave him daughters in law whom he loved and six grandchildren and they provided him with nine great grandchildren.

He loved our mother with all his heart for the sixty-five years they were together before he lost her to illness. He encouraged and assisted her entrepreneurial career. He was a man of faith and he was content. He was satisfied with the simple pleasures that a small income afforded to him. He never fulfilled two dreams, a trip to Hawaii and fishing in Alaska. Dad always loved ice cream. When I was six years of age Dad and I walked to an ice cream store. We were no sooner around the block finishing our cones when he said to me, “That tastes like more doesn’t it?” We turned around to acquire two more cones. I was ten years old when Dad operated a commercial crane 130 feet off the ground. He spotted me outside the company fence to which I had peddled my bike to watch him. He looked around and then motioned for me to come through the hole in the fence and I scampered up the long ladder into the cabin of the crane to sit with him until closing time. We remember him jingling coins in his pocket. He whistled familiar songs and we knew the world was good. He could yodel but few people were privileged to hear it.

He inspired my brothers and I to be dedicated Dads and we have sought to model faithful fathering to our sons who are now young dads themselves. They are doing it, perhaps better than we did. Thank you Dad. You live on.

(printed in The Cloverdale Reporter June 19, 2009,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am Learning not to Over Analyze Everything

I quote the following highlighted sentence from among the axioms that control the lives of the two global travelers, Cindie and Tim Travis, whom I mentioned in my piece about loving my stuff yesterday.

We needlessly complicate the world around us by over analyzing everything until we find faults and become angry.

I believe that line reflects the lifestyles into which we have evolved inside the North American urban/suburban circle. Closely connected to this observation is the realization that together we are a consumer society and individually consumerism dictates our choices.

For the business community these two social traits spell money because people will constantly over examine where and how they are living and will want more and better things. Objective social consideration informs me that these two traits produce a toxic formula for human interaction. People complicate their marriages, their own happiness, their church community, and many things by over analyzing and then becoming dissatisfied, upset and even angry because they want something different, newer, better.

Last week Christine said that she felt I had finally adjusted to being retired. Perhaps she is right. It took almost one year. For an intense, driven guy, being laid back didn’t come easily, but I like it. Today, I painted my son’s kitchen, peddled for a long bicycle ride with my grandson, sat and napped on the couch while watching the US Open, and may cruise with Christine in the convertible. It all seems so right and good. I will increasingly simplify my life. I will be content.

Friday, June 19, 2009


During the two months that I was in France I had an unnecessary but nagging sense of being cut off, isolated. Whereas Christine was delighted to be away from home and household chores, I was antsy toward the end of the time – wanting to return to my place and my things.

Part of the reason for my angst was my pre-trip decision not to take along my laptop. It’s a heavy Dell, and tourist info incessantly warned us about theft. I didn’t carry a cell phone either. It is interesting to me how the absence of these communicative devices affected me. (Sure there were internet cafés and pay phones).

In a Paris Boulangerie (Bakery/Café) one morning we met an Aussie couple our ages who wore back and front packs and had a tiny laptop and cell phone and were away for three months. They were more well adjusted to being away than I was.

I have a feeling that I am too attached to things, specially when I follow the ongoing travel news of Tim and Cindie Travis, a young couple who made the decision to travel via bicycle for the next twenty years minimum. All they have is what they can carry.

Since 2002 when they left their Arizona, USA home they have been on the road with no plans to stop. They saved their money, terminated their jobs, sold their possessions and set off to travel the world. Every 18 months they take a break. Their web site contains their ongoing travel blog, short videos and photo journal. They update their web site regularly, on location. And, smart thinking – they write and publish books about their travels (audio books and PDF download books as well).

Here is a list of sites of their saga:
Home Site
Previous letters
Blog RSS
Video PodCast Feed
Cindie's Daily Road Journal on Twitter
Leave Your Comments

Back to me. We have so much stuff. Well, I have. We have lived in the same house for almost twenty years. I confess to packratitis. We are seriously talking about the timing for our house sale and acquiring a smaller living space. I can take perhaps, 30% of my stuff. Whoa is me. I am undone. I will be a man without stuff.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He doesn't look like Stalin but he thinks like Stalin

I was in France listening to BBC and CNN world news when I first learned of this misfortune.

How terrified these two young women must be. Laura Ling 32, and Euna Lee 36, have been in custody for many months since either inadvertently stepping across an ambiguous North Korean Border or deliberately transgressing. They went on trial on June 4th. They were charged with entering the country illegally and engaging in "hostile acts."

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. Since the conclusion of the 1950-53 Korean War, the Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer area between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea and the U.S. fought on opposite sides in the Korean War. Decades later, the two Koreas technically remain at war. Washington and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations.

Last Monday Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced in Pyongyang's top court to 12 years of hard labor. They have been cut off from the free world they know and have no hope that their sentences will be commuted or that their home country will rescue them.

North Korea’s founder was Kim Il-sung, the father of the current North Korean leader 67 year old Kim Jong-il who wants to name a successor by 2012 and this will no doubt be his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, 26 years of age. For years, Kim Jong Il's eldest son Jong Nam, 38, was considered the favorite to succeed his father until he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001, reportedly to visit the Disney resort. Kim considers the middle son, Jong Chol, too effeminate, according to the 2003 memoir of the leader's former sushi chef, who goes by the pen name Kenji Fujimoto. And best of all, the youngest son’s appearance is identical to his dear old dad (dangerous little man.) I love the puppet.

Following the Korean War Kim Il-sung advanced Juche as a slogan in a December 28, 1955, speech titled "On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work" in rejection of the policy of de-Stalinization (bureaucratic self-reform) in the Soviet Union. Kim Il-sung outlined the three fundamental principles of Juche in his April 14, 1965, speech “On Socialist Construction and the South Korean Revolution in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The principles are "independence in politics" (chaju), "self-sustenance in the economy" (charip) and "self-defense in national defense" (chawi). Nominally a socialist republic, the outside world considers North Korea to be a de facto authoritarian/totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship.

North Korea conducted a rocket launch in early April, and in an increasingly brazen show of defiance conducted a nuclear test on May 25. It then fired off a series of short-range missiles in the days before the journalists' trial. No one is going to tell this little twerp what to do, certainly not the United States and he will keep two of US's citizens as long as he chooses. These unfortunate women will have a long wait in hardship conditions within this totalitarian wasteland.

This man is scary crazy.
Frighteningly, in our recent history he has many models who might inspire him: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Marshall Joseph Tito, Slobodan Milosevic, General Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Juan Peron, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ferdinand Marcos, General Suharto, Pol Pot, Fransisco Franco.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The novel by William Paul Young called ‘The Shack’ is old news now but I am dusting the cover again because since it was self published in 2007 it has sold a bazillion copies, been translated into thirty languages, is available on the iPhone and as an audio book and has ridden the New York Times Best Seller List’s number one spot for about one year. It’s presently in the number two spot.

But what I want you to hear today is an interview with the author. CBC has a savvy journalist/interviewer in George Stromboulopoulous. His nightly show is an engaging 60 minutes because he is well informed, brings well crafted questions, is sharp witted and his show invites guests worth interviewing. In May 2009 George interviewed William P. Young. It is a superb exchange.

When you listen to these few minutes of the video clipped interview, listen for the reasons Young wrote the story which is subtitled, “where tragedy confronts eternity.” Hear how it was born out of his personal pain and the transforming realization of God’s unshakable love. Listen for reasons he chose to describe the Trinity with characters that have incensed some conservative Christian leaders and pastors. He is not teaching theology but employing an imaginative metaphor to inform readers about God so he chose to portray God the Father as an African American woman named Papa, Jesus Christ as a Mideastern carpenter and the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman named Sarayu. It’s not heresy. It’s fiction.

First and foremost for my purpose today I want you to hear Young’s description of the struggle that many people have within religious communities of the world, to be preoccupied with performance rather than a real relationship with the living God who loves us. And if you are one of those people who have felt trapped and censured by the expectations of religious people, know this. There is life and freedom and healing, and joy in knowing the love of God through a personal relationship of trust exclusively in Jesus Christ whose Holy Spirit will transform your life. There is more to say but I will get preachy.

Hit the bold underlined sentence to get to the interview link.)