Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My vision

My last post was an appeal for input to three questions for which I have already received some feedback. I thank you, those who responded. If you haven't responded, go read my last post and then post your input.
One of those questions I did not give a preamble to. The reason was, that question happened to be the most significant one and I didn't want to guide any responses by indicating why I was asking. Now that I have had some input though, I'd like to share why that question has been weighing on me.
The question was, "what is your vision for your city?" (or something to that extent.) I live in a city that I have heard called "Alberta's pee-stop"; a city that tries to pump itself up as a cultural and theatrical hotspot, however just saw one of its main independent theatres shut down due to lack of funding and support. The face of this city is, I feel, very different depending on where you look at it from. High Ups in the city would have you believe we've obtained that status as a cultural leader in our province, most locals would agree that the title still elludes us, and outsiders would laugh at the idea that anyone would confuse this city as a leader in anything other than rednecks and rest-stops.
Now, while I am not, nor do I ever intend to be, a politician myself, I do feel passionately about this issue. For the sake of our community, our economy and our quality of living I feel that we should take advantage of some trends and establish ourselves as leaders in those fields. I have 3 fields that I feel should be focused on, that make up what my vision for my city is: to be a leading player in music in Alberta, to be a pioneer in the "eat local" movement in Western Canada, and to be a center for spiritual revival in Canada.
These fields each fall under a catagory: because we should, because we could, and because we might as well.
Music is under the catagory of "because we might as well". Every year, music festivals pop up all around our city. We have country music festivals, indy music festivals, gospel music festivals... one of our local high schools has a nationally recognized choir and one of our local community choir directors is esteemed internationally. Our local marching band has received many awards and honors and we have copious amounts of untapped talent - or even moreso, talent that moves away to bigger city centers for better opportunities. Really, some focused funding and a bit of hype and we really could be the new "it" place for music in Alberta.
The "eat local" movement is the "because we could" catagory. And boy, we totally could. Within a 100 km radius of us, I can tell you that we have miles and miles of crops, ranches for everything from elk and buffalo to goats and long-horned cattle, an award winning cheese factory, mushroom farms, game-bird farms, potato farms... farms of every kind. What I find so disappointing is that our local farmer's market stopped being a "farmer's" market years ago - there weren't enough booths with real farm products at it for them to keep their farmer's market license. Our busiest restaurants in town are national chains. Most of the produce sold in our grocery stores is brought in from BC or up from the states. We have the potential for so much more and we don't do it. At times I've thought how nice it would be to have coffee roasting classes in town put on by a local business, or to be able to keep chickens in my yard so I can have fresh eggs every morning, or to have community vegetable gardens instead of rows upon rows of border flowers in our city hall park. But none of these things are close to happening. I'd like to draft a plan to propose to city counsel, but I don't know where to begin short of saying, "We should be more like Portland, Oregon..."
Lastly, the "because we should" - being a center of spiritual revival. Why should we? Because we are called to proclaim the good news of the gospel, to live as God has commanded us, regardless of the consequence, and to serve Him in everything we do. If we did that, if we really did that, wherever we were could not help but become a site of revival. I yearn, my soul yearns, for the church to stop drawing their own lines and playing in their comfort zones and to step out and stand up like men. I want to see a church that will honestly and openly pursue God's will in every aspect, not just "the big points". Unfortunately, we are far too apt to call issues "little things" that God has deemed as important to Him. If He gave us guidance and direction in His holy word about it, I don't think it's a "little thing" to Him. If we loved God more than our own plans, and more than our own lives, more than our own money, or comfort, or convenience, we would be shaking our community. Our cities would be turned upside down.
These are my visions for my city. These are things that have been weighing on my head and my heart and that I want to help spur on. I want to see these things become actualized and I intend to research the best way to do that. My intent in seeking input from others regarding their vision for their city was to gleen inspiration and passion from others; to embolden my own vision by the passion of others.
These are my visions and I hope, and pray, that one day I'll actually see them.

Mrs. Vander Leek

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