Every morning on my way to work I drive past the local prison. It is a surprisingly picturesque facility—lots of big trees for shade and well-manicured green grass, a nice lake beside it with all kinds of birds, a baseball diamond and basketball courts visible from the road. Nonetheless, the barbed wire and the chain fence around the perimeter leave little doubt about the purpose of
Like most churches, we occasionally receive requests for money from people in our community. I suspect I am not alone when I say that I have come to dread these calls. It’s not that I don’t think that the church should help people in need, or that I resent the “intrusion” on my time or anything like that.
A few weeks ago, I was part of a conversation with a group of seniors where we reflected upon the question, “Have you ever seen or personally experienced the failure of faith?” A loaded question, if ever there was one. What does it even mean for faith to fail?
I have never liked hospitals. Hospitals
can so often seem to be places where we attempt to sequester the pain
and confusion and despair that are a part of so many lives—to keep them
out of sight and out of mind.
Summer sermons in our community have been
focused on the parables and sayings of Jesus. I’ve not been present
for the whole series, but have enjoyed the challenge of preaching from
these bracing, disorienting, reorienting stories over the last few
My first “official” responsibility in my
new position took place a week or so earlier than schedule, as I
officiated at a memorial service on a sunny, breezy, southern Alberta
Saturday. It was a somewhat strange thing to be leading a service like
this before even attending a Sunday morning service!
Times of transition are tough. We
currently find ourselves up to our ears in boxes and and clutter and
mess as we prepare to pack up and head back across the Rockies next week
to begin a new chapter in our lives as family. We have done this
moving thing a number of times now, but it never gets easier.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of
the season of Lent, the day when ashes are placed on foreheads, and the
words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” are
proclaimed. For whatever reason, throughout my life, I have rarely
needed this reminder.
This past Saturday, I attended John Stackhouse’s
lectures on faith, reason, and the new atheism down at the Vancouver
Island Conference Centre. Evidently, there is still some interest in
this topic as the event sold out—even in hyper-secular Nanaimo!