14) The Last Bit: Special Request of our Canadian Readers – Please Help

Are you a Canadian participant in the whole Brigada experience? If so, could we please ask for your help? We’ve been asked to help coordinate the Canadian launch of a new web-driven training course called Zúme. Zúme is available online at…




You can start any time (i.e., you don’t have to wait until a certain cycle begins to sign up and get started). All you need is 4-12 people in a group and… bam… you too can learn how to become a disciple worth reproducing as well as how you can work within groups to multiply. Those groups will help you establish greater accountability, a deeper prayer life, more disciples, and much, much more. So the Canadian launch of Zúme is coming up April 7th and 8th. I (Doug) would love to learn how we might make this launch a genuinely Canadian experience. So I have to ask of you, Canadians — please, what are the typical things that annoy you about U.S. of Americans? What do we do that really cheeses you off? How can we keep from pride or jingoism? What might prompt you, as a Canadian, to consider implementing Zúme in your own church or group across the entire (giant) nation of Canada? The first piece of advice we received was to read, “Why We Act Like Canadians,” by Pierre Berton. But we want even more. Please click into the comment box of the web version of this item to let us know how we avoid bungling this. And if you’d like to help plan it, you’re invited. Just send us a note at:




Thanks in advance for any help you can give to help us redeem this.

One Response to 14) The Last Bit: Special Request of our Canadian Readers – Please Help
  1. Editor Reply

    One Brigada participant wrote this response:

    I’ve been reading your stuff off and on for 20 years — …you asked regarding Zumé what it would take for more up-take in Canada.

    I am not familiar with the course but will look at it. You mentioned Pierre Berton’s “Why We Think Like Canadians”. I haven’t read it but have read a bunch of his stuff — he’s kind of a “National Historian” for the generation before mine, born in the Yukon, lived in most regions of Canada, generally, I’d say he gets it. I’m going to look at the pamphlet, though, to see what it says and if/how I agree with it. But your question hit a common nerve for me and I decided to try to answer it tabula rasa from what I’ve seen so far.

    1. First, let me say that you’re going to get different responses from different Canadians and I’m on several ends of some extremes, but I think I’m in touch with the “national average”, too — I know where I’m an outlier — but also, I see our own foibles, so maybe I’m better equipped to name some of yours, too? Here’s hoping.

    2. Second, I have never perceived an “offensive American” attitude from you, personally. I look forward to some long chin-wags on the 2nd Day of the New Creation as we’re not likely to meet much here, now. I know I’ve found a kindred spirit in you on several fronts.

    3. But let me continue with some impressions, think of them almost as points from Pascal’s Pensées, perhaps.

    * When I was very young, we used to recite the Lord’s Prayer in class but that came to an end in middle school, around the time we got the Metric Syste — but a “pledge” of “allegiance” to the flag? We don’t even have a pledge, let alone recite it daily, anywhere. Imagine how your mindset would change if you stopped doing that?

    * You can’t drive past five houses in the US, in my experience, without seeing at least one flag on someone’s porch. You can drive for MILES in Canada without seeing any flag at all. And sometimes, when you do, you’ll see the Red-Ensign design that was left behind when the Maple Leaf alone was adopted. (physical) (I’ve been in and out of Whatcom County, WA, too many times to count, though less so since 9-11; done Detroit to Bellingham, WA as a teenager with the family; down and up the Pacific routes to California numerous times; cross-country to Olathe, KS and back with my youngest, it never varies — there might be more flags in all of Sumas, WA than in all of Burnaby, one sizeable sub-rurb of Vancouver)

    * Who is Paul Henderson and why is he a national hero? (cultural) (1972 Hockey Series vs. the Red Army from the USSR)

    * Why, with its liberal abortion laws, is Canada’s per-capita abortion rate half that of the US? (cultural)

    * Twin Towers looked like Revelation 18 to me (smoke of her burning goes up forever…); in the modern day the whore is to the beast as the Evangelical Political Right Wing is to the Republican Party, #45 sure looks like the Man of Lawlessness to me… (personal) While I have many people here agree with me when I mention it, I know of many others who would excommunicate me, even in Canada, for saying that.

    * Have you ever seen the cold open of the pilot of “The Newsroom” (Sorkin, etc.)? The New York Jets fan speaks the truth as most of Canada would see it. (general) He doesn’t say it in the video, but the big moment of transition started when the US took over the position of world power after World War II (see W. R. Mead’s God and Gold for a description of how that transition took place and what might follow it now).

    * Canada is a REALLY diverse place. At one point in our constitutional wrangling, Québec declared itself “une société distincte”, a term I understand NOW to have been pretty racist. But it’s true, Québec is a distinct society, but so is BC, so is Alberta, so is Manitoba, and as for Ontario? I know of at least three different kinds of distinct society there. Hugh MacLennan talked of “Two Solitudes” in Canada but in truth there are many more — as much as anything because of the distances, the long cold distances between the population centres. It’s a 10 hour drive from Vancouver to Calgary, 12 hours to Edmonton. Either of them to Regina would be another 7 or 8 hours, Winnipeg another 6, and from there, 23h by Canada-only routes to Toronto. The driving distances from there through Québec City are a bit more moderate, but out to the Maritimes? North to Yellowknife? Whitehorse, Inuvik — never mind Iqaluit where you’ll have to fly? Lots of room for silence there.

    Back in the day there was a kids’ program called Klahanie (set in Northern Ontario, between Thunder Bay and Hudson Bay) and one whole episode was about “bush fever”. I once drove 13 hours to Fort St. John to visit my parents when they lived there. Ten hours in, there was a sign: Chetwynd 85km, Whitehorse 1536km. If there’s a breakdown, a friendly passerby is gonna be more helpful than AAA/CAA, I can tell you!

    But the diversity is in the church, too: I know Canadian Christians who are aligned (to my horror) with the American Christian Right and others who share my horror in varying degrees. (I have friends on both sides of the Anglican Church of Canada / Anglican Network in Canada, too, but I digress). Rob Ford, Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney are the examples that show how we’re drifting in your direction, to our loss and shame.

    …We put our hope in civil society and community institutions too much — forgetting, functionally, in many settings that we have a citizenship elsewhere and we eagerly await a Saviour from there. And admittedly, when your Founding Fathers wrote that, it didn’t carry the blasphemous weight that it does now: they understood that to be a legal fiction to serve as the basis for a system of law and precedence — you can see that in the final pledges on your Declaration of Independence: “… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

    …Your captains of industry are able to achieve what they can because of the massive amounts of infrastructure put up by others, often on government contracts — or at least developed that way, when it comes to the internet. It’s as obvious to us as how to survive through a Canadian winter (outside of southwestern BC that is. Our weather is harsher than yours generally — although in Minnesota, the Dakotas, this matches better… so socialized single-payer medicine is just a natural outgrowth of neighbours helping neighbours. Where it’s broken down (vision, dental) it’s been because the monied lobbyists got in the way.

    Your political left wing has, until Stephen Harper, tended to be to the right of our right wing. Now, with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that might be changing further.

    The apolitical guardianship of the sovereignty of Canada represented by the British Crown has kept things from getting out of hand in many ways. And yet, loyalty to the Empire was the seeds of Québec Separatism that led to two referenda (one with an epically silly question). And our record toward our indigenous folks is just as spotty if a trifle less brutal than yours is. We have incarceration rates of First Nations people that compares to your incarceration of blacks.

    But racial profiling in policing in all other directions is utterly unacceptable, where the stories of driving while black have horrified and sickened me for some time now.

    It was only on my trip to Olathe (for a homeshcooling writers’ workshop) that I realized how much homeschooling was about re-segregating. There are people up here who homeschool for a lot of the same “fortress-mindset” reasons (but without the racial overtones) that Americans do. We didn’t, and many of the others in this area had other reasons, too, but the farther away from the cities, the more common that viewpoint is, too.

    On that trip to Olathe, we stopped in St. Joseph, MO for petrol and I nodded, smiled, and touched my hat to some of the others in the service station, as I always do. They looked at me kinda strange and it only dawned on me later that they were black, I was white, and they weren’t used to that kind of routine respect in such a context.

    You guys are our most important trading partner and always have been but you have a swagger about you (I can get away with anything, I have an American Passport…) so that overseas we don’t want to be seen with you nor identified as you. And when we say we’re Canadians, we often see a palpable look of relief in the eyes of others. You should have seen the fervency in ’08, when we traveled in Australia, with which we were begged to vote for Obama, and the rest of the western world was horrified to see the UK vote for Brexit and then you guys elect #45 (whose name I will not name) — how could the “Nine Wives Club” (Giuliani, Gingrich and Trump) speak for Christian causes is beyond me.

    Also… don’t just ask Canadians. Ask Americans who have settled down elsewhere (France, the UK, even in Canada) or have wished to. You’ll get some really interesting answers, I should think, about how they have de-Americanized to get along wherever they are.

    [from an anonymous Canadian]

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