Ask the Nominees: Week 3
Each week leading up to GC43, we are asking the Moderator Nominees one question to help everyone get to know them.
Q: Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction reading? And what book have you read in the past year that you strongly recommend?
Rev. Susan Beaver
During a recent illness, I had a profound experience of Mary. I looked everywhere for her epic story as the Mother of God and was quite disappointed. Eventually, I came across the anthology, Our Lady of Controversy, compiled in response to a public meltdown when Queer Chicano artist, Alma Lopez, re-imagined La Virgen de Guadalupe as brown, powerful, tough, and empowered. The essays speak to tradition imagined in a patriarchal, colonial-expansionist context, and the need to interpret our faith knowing what we know about our own truths, liberation, and oppression. P.S. I read a range of theologies and anything Indigenous. **
Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud
I love both, but tend to read more non-fiction, especially teaching university classes and keeping up to date on Sociology and Sex &Gender Studies for my students. The book I recommend for reading is Bell Hooks’ All About Love, as it is both a reflection and a guide on how to become a more loving society.
Rev. Dr. Richard Bott
I lean towards fiction when it comes to reading for enjoyment, but love non-fiction, too. Measure What Matters by John Doerr pushed me to think more about what we understand to be important in the church, and how we might go about gauging our ability to live into it.
Rev. David Hart
I appreciate the comment, “Those who don’t read are no better off than those who can’t read!” Reading is one of life’s great joys and gifts! Books provide a form of mystical transport to new worlds in space, time, and imagination that one could not otherwise attend. They reveal vistas of learning, creativity, and possibility that are literally endless. My reading is eclectic, dipping into all disciplines and genres, fiction and non-fiction, but with a special love for science, spirituality, organizational theory, and Oprah’s fiction picks. Two favs: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and BioCentrism by Robert Lanza.
Rev. Cathy Larmond
I usually prefer fiction for my personal reading, but while on sabbatical I read Holy Currencies by Eric Law. (“Currencies” are in water, or electricity, not money, though that is one area!) It was a new way at looking at what makes a congregation (or region, or national church – I think it’s applicable in many venues) healthy and what we can do to make ourselves more interactive with the communities of which we are a part. How are we connected? Thought provoking!
Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean
Fiction but I read both voraciously. I figure the plane takes off, open a book, finish the book, and the plane lands. Or it’s Monday and I read through lunch on the verandah, or in front of the fire, depending on the season. Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel, Warlight, is set in 1945 and reminds us that in 2018 we’re dangerously close to ethical ambiguity again. His sentences are beautiful.
Dr. Colin Phillips
I primarily read non-fiction and turn to Netflix when I need some good fiction. I’d highly recommend Fighting for Space by Travis Lupick. This book chronicles the evolution of harm reduction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and, more importantly, how a group of marginalized folks and their allies forced society to change how it approached substance use.
Rev. Wanda Stride
Normally, I prefer fiction, but the book I recommend is Unsettling Canada by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson. I think it should be required reading for all citizens of Canada. I read it last summer and I'm still processing and wondering how to come to terms with the Canada that Manuel describes. It has changed how I view my country.
Rev. Dr. Martha ter Kuile
I like to read books that expand my own life by taking me to another place, or time, or subject. Both fiction and non-fiction do that. I think everybody should read Embers, a very beautiful spiritual memoir and reflection by Richard Wagamese, the author of Indian Horse. It's about him, but it's also about all of us.
Rev. Donalee Williams
When I curl up with a book, it’s usually fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries. I recommend The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, which was my favourite from CBC Radio's Canada Reads this year. I enjoyed this post-apocalyptic parable about Indigenous and settler peoples, its explorations of how people can be both our worst and our best selves in a time of crisis, and its message of courage and love.
** With apologies to Susan, an error at GC office resulted in Susan not receiving the previous two weekly questions. Her answers will be posted when available.