- posted by Len Thompson

A crash is not fun especially if it is related to your health.

I experienced an unfortunate crash after a doctor mistakenly prescribed a toxic dosage of medication that left me with multiple difficulties. Sometimes I could hardly judge the depth of field in my vision to walk down a set of stairs. Driving was difficult because of the many decisions required to navigate safely. And the fatigue was hard to battle.

It feels like a betrayal when your body and mind do not respond the way you can remember. I found myself talking slower and often unable to find the words that were in my brain but were inaccessible. I had to bow out of many activities I used to really enjoy.


After the medication problems wore off I had no resiliency. I had no energy and often couldn't care whether important things happened or not. I sometimes felt a dark deep pit open up in my emotions that I hoped I would somehow get through. Other times I was numb and really did not feel much at all. Often I has to fight the urge to drive anywhere to escape the monotony of every day.


My sense of identity was deeply shaken. I felt like a has been. About the same I became aware of a string of losses that had piled up unnoticed. The numbness had hidden the pain I felt. I had to grieve. It was the proverbial "perfect storm."


I could sense many distortions to my perception of reality. It was easy to think that everybody around me was going to betray me. It was easy to be irritable and grumpy. I could imagine conspiracies against me when common sense told me there were none.

Hope becomes hard at a time like that. The temptation to quit was huge but at least I somehow knew that what I was feeling and struggling against was not a true picture. I kept going. No matter how you get into a crash there still is the serious business of recovering and I kept my sights set on bouncing back.

Come listen to me debrief with Ben Reed (a friend who has debriefing training and experience) and also learn about my strategy for resiliency at a two-hour discussion at Fellowship Baptist on April 29, 2016.

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SD Streamline

- posted by Len Thompson

You may have guessed by now that most spiritual directors are not gifted administrators. In fact this has always been an issue for Urban Sanctuary since our beginning. From time to time we have wondered what can be done to streamline things.

We think we may have an answer!

Have you heard of market gardens that sell shares in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? The idea is that if you buy a share in the farm then you are entitled to a weekly box of produce every week over the summer. If it is a bumper crop then you will have more than if it is a drought year so you share in the rewards and also a little bit of the risk.But the exciting thing from my vantage point is that you buy a membership and then don't have to make payment each time you get some market products. It sounds simple to me!

So we got to thinking! What if those who come regularly for spiritual direction could pay for the year and then not have to pay each time they come for spiritual direction? To begin our experiment, we would like to have this available for those who come to see Len and Mark. You can sign up for $1000 for the year and this allows you to book monthly sessions without the hassle of making payments each time you come. It also means that you can more or less book sessions whenever you want - as long as there is space in Len and Mark's calendars. This of course will be limited to the first 50 or so people who sign up. You also can give this to a pastor or friend who you think will use it.

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Good bye Winter 2016?

- posted by Len Thompson

We have just celebrated Family Day in Alberta and we are hoping that winter is on its way out. It is possible that you might have noticed very little activity on the Urban Sanctuary website this winter which would be quite perceptive of you. Due to health issues, Urban Sanctuary has been in a winter mode for the past several months - continuing with spiritual direction - but suspending almost everything else. But over the past few weeks our hope is building that we can return to a more "summer" kind of schedule. Energy is returning and the ability to plan ahead seems to have returned! Read More

Virtue and Virtuosos

- posted by Len Thompson

I watched a documentary of a competition of young concert pianists on PBS last week. The documentary was split up into several segments. The first segment introduced all the competitors playing technical pieces. A few were featured with both interviews and footage of actual performances so I felt up close and personal with the half dozen chosen ones. Their level of skill was amazing! It takes huge levels of technical acuity to even qualify for that level of competition even though most were under 20 years of age. Then the judges eliminated all but a dozen competitors. I dropped my chin in shock as the featured musiciansall were eliminated. The chief adjudicator explained that the level of competition is now so high that choosing the finalists is incredibly difficult. He would have liked to keep all of the competitors because of their hard work and skill. Read More

Summer and Canadian Christians

- posted by Len Thompson

When summer comes in Canada, we love to get out and enjoy the sun and the heat because we live so much of our lives in the cold. That makes a whole lot of sense without even thinking about it. God's creation is a great teacher if we take some time to listen to what the birds, the animals and flowers and the other aspects of nature can teach us. Here are a few things that I have noticed that I thought you might like to think about. Read More

We will be at our new office 14323 107th Ave NW on June 1st. We have been having a sale on books and also furniture over the past couple of days but if you missed that and want to come on by to see what is left between May 25th to 29th please feel welcome to do that. It might be best if you phoned Mark at 477-5731 to see what is left before you come. I, Len, will be gone that week but will be back in June for most of the month. 
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I wonder ... and I weep

- posted by Len Thompson

We will soon be celebrating Palm Sunday...and the story is a strange mixture of joy and weeping. Jesus tells the parade police that the rocks would cry out in joy if the people didn't sing and celebrate so there is no point in stopping the revelry. I wonder how confused the same protester felt when he saw Jesus weeping a few minutes later. What made Jesus weep on such a joyful occasion? Read More

Reading God's Word with Pleasure

- posted by Len Thompson

I've been reading God's Word daily now for close to 5 weeks and I've been using a cue and a reward each day to cement the habit into place. I think it is working and the biggest change for me has been associating my time in God's Word with pleasure rather than obligation and duty. Read More

Reading Jesus' Words with Purpose

- posted by Len Thompson

For too many years, I've read the Bible without any real purpose; it was just something I should do. I was not mindful as I read. Now that I've been using lectio divina it has beccome clearer to me that on Sundays I read with a mind filled with reverence, on Mondays I read to understand, and I approach Tuesdays with the intention of using my imagination so that the reality of the passage will sink deep into my soul. Wednesdays are when I talk heart to heart about what He is saying to me and on Thursdays I let Him hold me and take away my fear. Then Fridays are designated for action because I am ready to go in obedient love and on Saturdays I reconnect with Jesus in one of my favourite ways and we think about the change that His Words has made over the whole week. Read More

Week two of my Bible Reading Adventure

- posted by Len Thompson

I have been able to keep going every day without missing but it has not been without its challenges. One thing is that I have not always felt well and it is a whole lot harder to keep focussed when your body is not co-operating. I also have had to change my cue several times because the place where I wanted to read Scripture was not always available. But I was prepared for the fact that obstacles would come and had already decided that it was OK if my first plan did not work out. So I have now used 4 different locations and it is OK if I have to change the location again a few times. Read More