The Church in Shifting Times

In May 2021, I was privileged to give a presentation at the (virtual, thanks COVID!) district conference of the Western Canada District of The Alliance Canada (C&MA), my denomination. The theme was “Shifting,” a nod to the challenges raised for churches and Christian leaders by the global pandemic. In it, I tried to show how […]

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Bonhoeffer Biographies

When people talk to me about which Bonhoeffer books to read, they have often heard of Eric Metaxas’ biography, but there are really many other works that are far, far better than that one. (You really should read Victoria Barnett’s thorough review of Metaxas, to which I linked above.) If I am asked for recommendations, […]

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Seatbelt Laws and Vaccinations

In November 2021, I published the following op-ed piece in the Calgary Herald, after the eruption of response to COVID vaccination mandates prompted memories of the response to mandatory seatbelt use laws in the 1980s. The published version can be seen here: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-will-we-look-back-on-vaccine-mandates-as-we-do-on-mandatory-seatbelts Seatbelts, School Debates, and Vaccine Mandates I was a junior high school […]

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Wise Engagement

This fall (2021), our convocation chapel was conceived as a time to explore three key facets of our university mission: wise engagement, joyful engagement, and redemptive engagement … in the church, society, and the created order … through excellent Christian university education. The vice-president academic asked the two deans—my colleague, the dean of theology, and […]

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Bonhoeffer on Physical Separation

During the pandemic of 2020-2021 (and we hope not longer), people right around the world have had to cope with physical separation from others who are close to them, whether family, friends, co-workers, fellow congregants, or neighbours. It would be difficult indeed to find anyone anywhere not impacted in some way by the loss of […]

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Baby Steps on Issues of Racism

It takes a lot of work these days not to notice the eruption of anger, frustration, and sorrow over the gross inequities in North American society based on ethnicity. The death of George Floyd under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, now charged with second-degree murder, has catalyzed a wave of protests across […]

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The Absence and Presence of God

The Absence and Presence of God I’m always especially encouraged when something I read in the Daily Prayer—that collection of scriptures and prayers woven together by the Church of England—speaks directly to my present circumstances. It happens often enough, to be sure, but did so especially profoundly this morning. I’ve been searching for language to […]

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Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life

Lately, I’ve been enjoying Daniel G. Opperwall’s book A Layman in the Desert: Monastic Wisdom for a Life in the World (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2015). In it, Opperwall mines the riches of John Cassian’s Conferences, an important source for Orthodox (and Western) monasticism from the early 5th century, to encourage ordinary folks […]

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