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 […]Read More Baby Steps on Issues of Racism
Recently, a political meme passed through my Facebook feed and forced me to confront my frustration with the way social media so often harms our political life together, rather than supporting healthy democratic debate and encouraging fruitful political engagement. The source of my upset? In a word, it’s oversimplification, or rather, distortion. One of my favourite […]Read More Why Memes Are Great for Everyday Life … and Bad for Politics
I was given the honour of speaking at our 2017 Reformation Day chapel at Ambrose University. Here’s the text of my reflection. You can view the video here (my talk begins around the 22:00 mark). My wife Colleen has been urging me to dress up like Martin Luther today for Halloween, so I finally agreed. […]Read More Remembering the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Anxious Heart
In the spring of 2017, I was invited to give a lecture about the historical context and nature of Luther’s protest. The video of my “Taste of Reformation” lecture from April 3, 2017, can be seen here. This printed version includes the images adds a little more detail on the Cranach painting “The Vineyard of the Lord.” […]Read More The Historical Context and Nature of Luther’s Protest
Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 US election shocked both that country and the rest of the world. It will no doubt become an I-remember-when moment in history not unlike the Kennedy assassination, the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the 9/11 terrorist attack. What happened? In the 24 hours after Trump’s victory, politicians, […]Read More After the Trumpocalypse: What Happened?
Refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East are no longer front page news. After a month or more of non-stop reporting, most of our media organizations have moved on to other stories, no doubt sensing a measure of compassion fatigue across the Western world. Not that there aren’t plenty of tragic refugee […]Read More Loving Our (Refugee) Neighbours
Imagine you’re a refugee. What might that look like? For starters, imagine your hometown–the place your family has lived for generations–has been destroyed. Imagine your government–when faced with opposition demands–has deployed your national military against your fellow citizens, shooting those it saw as a threat to its hold on power. Imagine that opposition groups took […]Read More Imagine You’re a Refugee
Recently a friend and former student asked me what I thought about the backlash to the refugee crisis. Throughout the summer, we have seen heart-wrenching stories and moving images of desperate refugees from bombed out Syria. But in the wake of the outpouring of sympathy for Syrian refugees in the late summer of 2015, other […]Read More Responding to the Refugee Crisis
One of the challenges in teaching about the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust, as I am right now in my HI 368 course of the same name, is how to describe ancient, early Christian, medieval, and Reformation-era forms of hostility towards Jews. Much of this hostility (and its associated violence) issued out of the Christian […]Read More Anti-Judaism vs Antisemitism: Which is the Right Term?
I frequently come across interesting websites, blog entries, videos, or documents on the Internet, and thought it might be fun to start a semi-regular feature called “Internet Knickknacks,” a combination of history, Christianity, and pop culture. It’s high time for a second installment. As usual, there’s always new history being madeRead More Internet Knickknacks (February 2013)