There’s no two ways about it—I’m a ‘news junkie’. I need to know what’s happening in the world. I regularly read The Guardian and the Toronto Star as well as several American papers and blogs online, and lots of opinion essays. I listen to the CBC all day—and now that the CBC staff are locked out, I feel bereft, and lead a much quieter life.

Often, the news causes me to make new connections or it leads me to thinking about things in a new way. Other times, it leads to action—copies of interesting, funny, or provocative stories are shared with friends, emails and letters are sent to government ministers and outrage about a news item leads to meetings or other actions.

Sometimes the action is clear-cut. After reading the endless public disputes between the families of Terry Schivo, abetted by U.S. government officials, about what action to take (or not) about this comatose woman who had left no instructions, I was determined to save my friends and family—as well as myself—this agony. I explored the options and proceeded to develop a Representation Agreement. The conversations I had with friends about being a representative deepened our friendships.

Other times it’s difficult to know what to do. What do I do with what I have learned about the myriad tragedies associated with Hurricane Katrina? Yes, I now remember where my emergency supplies are located and yes, I pray for the victims—both those denied food and water and those who hardened their hearts.

But how does what I have learned translate to my life here in Vancouver? What changes can I make in my caring for God’s creation, my working to prevent further damage to the environment? Is it enough that I recycle and re-use, that I drive less and walk more, that I donate to charities that help people who have less than I do?

To what degree am I prepared to subordinate my personal comfort to the common good? I’m still working on my answers to these questions.