Technology Shift

April 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Infographics links on (relatively) current social media use for small businesses.

A Statement of Faith

April 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been asked if I could articulate my faith in a few sentences.

While I think that The United Church of Canada’s A New Creed is good for me, in lots of ways, here are some of my own words:

I believe in God “who has created and is creating.” I believe God is the Divine Other who is greater than the sum of the parts of this universe (or multiverse, if that’s what we live in.) I believe God is in deep, intimate connection with all things – so intertwined with all that is, that we human beings can only begin to understand that relationship. I believe that this relationship is a never-ending (and ever-beginning) dance, in which all things – including God – are changed.

I believe in Jesus of Nazareth – a human being whose will was so completely entwined with the will of the Divine Other that the only way people could describe him was “God and Son of God” (a political and a theological statement.) (And, yes, I do believe that he lived to save me – mostly from myself.)

I believe in the Holy Spirit – Great Mystery of God that moves with and between and in all things – that which is the process of being and becoming and not, all rolled into one.

I believe in the brokenness I see around me, and I believe that God calls me to be part of that which brings healing and wholeness. I believe that I do that by living love: of God, of neighbour, of self (and that my life – along with “everything written in the law and the prophets” – hangs on it.)

I believe all these things, and more.

I don’t demand that anyone else believe in what I believe, though I love to be in conversation about them.

I am Richard Bott, and I am (one of the many) ministers of The United Church of Canada.

I Believe in Canada

October 11th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I believe in Canada.

A community of communities
made up of a myriad
of peoples.

I believe in Canada.

Resource workers,
office workers,
labourers and health care professionals,
teachers and preachers,
parents and grands,
farmers and fishers and
people who do work
that I would never begin to understand.

I believe in Canada.

Niqab, hijab,
jacket or jeans,
jingle dress, crop top,
whatever it means;
business casual,
or as wild as you can be…
it’s the person inside
that I want to greet.

And I know that that person
is my neighbour.
I know that that person
is friend. Not foe.
I know because…


I believe that a little bit of all of our work
goes a long way to share with those in need –
children, adults, seniors, whoever –
universal health care,
breakfast programs,
an umbrella of hope.

I believe that Truth and Reconciliation
is not just a slogan,
but a promise to build and live
in right relationship
with the First Nations and the First Peoples
from sea, to sea, to frozen sea.

I believe that we are people
who know how to open our doors
(and leave them unlocked)
how to invite others to our tables
(and make them family)
whatever and whoever they are.

I believe in Canada.

So I will protest when I need to.
I will challenge those
we’ve called to be our leaders.
I will work, in cooperation,
for the betterment
not only of all people,
but for all the inhabitants
of earth, air and sea.

And I will exercise my right
and my responsibility –
Orange or Green, Red, Blue or Bloc,
partied or independent…
and make my mark
on this nation.

Because I believe in Canada.


April 20th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


If my fandoms could collide…

Can I get your contact info?

January 26th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Part of the task of being able to reconnect with folks is, first of all, being able to contact them at all?

This is the “Communications sheet” we have on clipboards, on every pew. Folks are invited to fill it out, and a letter of welcome is sent to them within two days of the service. The letter is tailored to them, andincludes any information that they may have requested.


How do we keep connected with guests and newcomers?

January 26th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Yesterday, DHUC started with the second step on our “develop deeper connections with guests and newcomers” plan. (Step 1: Comfortably making conversation, they’ve been doing well for some time.)

We’re using a communication sheet, slightly adaped from one used in previous churches. Our guests gave us contact information, let us know how they came to arrive at the church, and things they’d like to know more about or take part in.

Of the five guests/newcomers yesterday, four filled in communications sheets. Tomorrow’s first task will be getting notes out to them, with the information they requested, and asking their permission to put the people who are facilitating their interests in contact with them.

To those of you in the business world, this is basic “customer support and retention.” To many in the church world (well, The United Church world) there is a huge fear of being too intrusive.

It should be interesting to see what happens.

10/365 – Claque

January 9th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

For today’s image, I wanted to wander around town giving people a loonie or a toonie to be able to photograph them clapping for me.

Yes, that’s the definition of a claque – a group of people paid to clap.

Unfortunately, I had neither the time nor the supply of toonies to be able to make this image a reality. So you’re stuck reading the thoughts that arise because of the word.

How many times do we just want people to agree with us? I know that I’m guilty of that. I’ll ask someone their opinion, not really looking for more than a pat on the back for a job well done. Whether or not it’s well done, not well done, or not done at all, has been somewhat irrelevant.

Doesn’t really treat people fairly, does it? If we ask them their thoughts, then what we’re really saying is, “Your opinion has value to me. I may agree with it, or I may not – but I will listen and think about it.”

Perhaps that needs to be one of my daily resolutions: only ask when I’m prepared to hear someone’s thoughts on the matter.

9/365 – Virtuoso

January 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

There is artistry in so many part of our world, much of which gets lost in the details and habits of every day life.

Today, I sat in an airport, waiting for a delayed flight. When the plane arrived, everyone was ready – fueling team, cargo team, attendants, flight deck crew, people directing on the ground and in the control tower, restocking, rescheduling, reworking, to get us on board and in the air.

Once we boarded, we found ourselves waiting. And waiting. And… waiting.

The captain came on the intercom to explain that, in the rush, some of the usual care with balancing the luggage, to ensure the weight was properly distributed had gotten kind of confused. As I looked out my window, I watched a worker came down to the plane. He looked like he had been handling cargo for years. I saw him give three signals, felt something being moved under us, then saw him nod.

Four minutes later, we were backing away from the gate.

There is an artistry to almost everything.

To see a virtuoso at work in their field of art is a joy.

And sometimes makes smooth a frustrating wait.

(Link to image.)

8/365 -Ombuds(man)

January 7th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

How often do we find ourselves sitting between factions (of one or more) bent on doing damage to one another?

As a mediator, and sometimes arbitrator, one of my biggest tasks is to tease out information. Helping people to find words that will get across their point. Unruffling ruffled feathers. Sometimes throwing in a comment or two to jump-start conversations.

One of the things I find interesting is that nuance often gets lost. Sometimes things are in such opposition that their contrast overwhelms. But, other times, it’s not quite that extreme.

I wonder what the next arm-wrestle will bring?

The Long Way

January 6th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

As I travel down paths once gold,
now silvered, blighted with tarnish,
I find myself precariously perched on Mnemosyne’s back.
Running my fingers through her mane,
I listen to each clip-clop,
by the icy snows
of time.

Looking in the windows,
the shapes,
the light,
a graceful arm dances,
laughter sings.

Again and again, Mnemosyne stops and starts,
place to place,
moment to moment,
and I am carried
where her will goes.

Starry night burns my eyes.
Crisp air my lungs.

When now?

7/365 – Fallible

January 6th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I don’t like making mistakes, even though I know that fallibility is a mark of being human, and human I am.

The difficulty with mistakes is that I feel like I need to learn something from all of them. It is far too easy to let self-critique become self-criticism. (Or critique of another’s actions become criticism.)

Perhaps, rather than critique, I need to look for the beauty in the mistake.
Perhaps I need to affirm the flow, rather than get caught in the folly.
Perhaps I need to let it go…

6/365 – Bromide

January 5th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As you can see from the above photo, it was cold today. As I write this, the digits have flipped. It is no longer -23C, it’s -32C.

So, cold.

But, I’ll tell you, if one more person had said to me, “Cold enough for ya’,” I think I would have internally combusted.

Yes. Yes, it is.


5/365 – Peremptory

January 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m a Christian minister. A big part of my life’s work is to explore the library my tradition called “the Bible,” and to help others explore it as well.

Exploring scripture, diving deep into it, takes a lot of work. There’s the intellectual discussion: what is the historic context of the passage, what is it’s literary context, what bias did the author(s) have, what translations issues are there, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Then there are the personal bits. Questions like “what experiences in my life are influencing my understanding of this scripture,” or, “as a white middle-class cis-male Canadian, how might my lenses be changing what I’m reading?”

Then there’s the whole prayer part of it. “Hey, God? What do you want me to hear in this, today?”

For me, it’s never an easy task – though, even when it’s a slog (see any genealogy passage), I do tend to enjoy it.

I’ve experienced situations where someone has said to me, “the Bible says it, I believe it.” This strikes me as naive. Facile. Kind of simple.

It’s also a great peremptory statement. Conversation gets pretty much shut down.

Kinda frustrating.

4/365 – Solecism

January 3rd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Sometimes one just has to pun.

Yes, these are “faux paws.”

3/365 – Emigrate

January 2nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I am in awe of people who pick up their lives from their countries of origin and move to another country – especially when they move to a new community in which the language, culture, expectations, laws, everything, is different.

In awe.

There are people who are forced to leave their homes and their are people who choose to do so; and, I am sure, there are as many reasons as there are people who emigrate.

My hope and prayer for them? Whether or not they find what they expected, I hope they find better than what they left.

To life!

(The above image is mixed media: The photograph of the waves on Lake Superior was taken by me on January 1, 2015, the text was cut from a map and includes Uruguay, the coast of Brazil, the north-eastern coast of South America, part of Mexico, and the lower mainland of British Columbia.)

2/365 – “Vertiginous”

December 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s strange – many people find themselves fighting vertigo when they are at heights. For me, it’s when I’m on the ground.

Especially lying down, looking up at the ceiling.

In that moment, there’s a part of my being that remembers that I’m a conglomeration of cells on the surface of a sphere rotating around its centre at a rate of 27.8 km/s.

Now that I find dizzying. Especially because my ego likes to think of itself as a fixed point in the universe. Silly, I know, but solipsism often is. I know I exist. It’s the rest of you I’m not sure about…

1/365 – “Advertent”

December 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Days pass by – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But the constant that constant stays is the blur that surrounds me in the passage of time. Whether a gentle fog in my “cloud of unknowing,” or the speeding shift of colour and motion as I drive from home to work and home again, I am certain that I am living my life inadvertently.

It’s not about slowing down. No, I can do that. Though – to be fair – when I slow down I find a lethargy to my pace, a drowsiness dragging down my eyelids. Even my dreams are full of shapeless shapes, colourless colours, full of indistinct indistinctness and signifying nothing.

To live in an advertent fashion.

To take notice of the details.

To see, to hear, to taste, in a way that shouts, “I am real,” to the heavens, and demands a response that is more than echo.

That is how I want to live my life.

Caught be the stroke of a brush or the thud of a raindrop.
Immersed in the greens and grays of a Coastal winter.
Breathing air that is rich and full of flavour.


Another day in the life…

April 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s a strange process, isn’t it? Perhaps it would be better to say it’s a strange set of interacting processes, or even an interaction of interacting processes.


Sometimes, I wonder what kicks us out of the patterns we’ve created – the ones that we build to keep us safe.


Let’s find out.

Christmas Exploration

January 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy Child and I took a wander to Telus World of Science in Vancouver, yesterday.

Telus World of Science

Both of us had a great time. The puzzles, the stage demonstrations, and each of the exhibits were a lot of fun. We covered the entire building.

Three times.

The only downside? I think I was overstimulated. When we got home, I buzzed around the condo until 3am!

More photos.

Ahhh, but…

January 13th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Lego LOTR triptych by bott.richard
Lego LOTR triptych, a photo by bott.richard on Flickr.

Master Frodo, you will have both friends and allies on this quest. Some who you would expect, whilst others you will find… surprising.

The task is to be looking for them, every moment of every day. Look deeply into the faces and the lives of those around you.

You will be surprised at the goodness you see under their masks.