Confessions and a “No Hate” Religion: Lessons on Racism from Jack

This Pentecost, I tell the story of my Jewish neighbour Jack, and how he reminded me that God created this wonderful diversity, but we have this tendency to want to raise ourselves up and put our neighbour down. Racism, prejudice, anti-Semitism, bullying–its personal, its tribal, its systemic, and it can be transnational–but it is exhibit A in terms of evidence for sin as the chronic human problem. … More Confessions and a “No Hate” Religion: Lessons on Racism from Jack

Making Space not Safe, but Good: Learning to Listen Hard so we Don’t Shoot

Over the last few decades the term “safe space” has been used to name a physical space, event or conversation that intends to protect people from attitudes, words, and perspectives that may be perceived as hurtful to someone or offensive to their own convictions. I hear it frequently in my church, but this new “safe” initiative has been most prevalent on public university campuses, and usually pertains to discussions of controversial social issues. This practise needs to stop, for our own safety. … More Making Space not Safe, but Good: Learning to Listen Hard so we Don’t Shoot

George Vandervelde, Passion Week, and Ecumenism: The Gift of the Hermeneutics of the Gospel

“The closer we come to the cross of Christ, the closer we come to each other.” Here I tell the story of George Vandervelde, Reformed ecumenist, but not until after I make the case for Christianity’s multi-denominational character as a mirror of the four gospels. … More George Vandervelde, Passion Week, and Ecumenism: The Gift of the Hermeneutics of the Gospel

Everything is Spiritual, Including Institutions and Academics: Rob Bell Doesn’t Ring True

If you’ve never heard Rob Bell speak, he is a master craftsman of the art. Charismatic, artistic, gifted with words and drama–he can hold hundreds of people spellbound for an hour without losing their attention for a moment. His message comes with an edge, often pushing against his conservative church background and the worst of … More Everything is Spiritual, Including Institutions and Academics: Rob Bell Doesn’t Ring True

The Lucky Son of a Barber-Philosopher: The Serendipity of Al Wolters’ Worldview

Albert Wolters was my Greek professor, a columnist for The Christian Courier, expert on the Copper Scroll, and preached regularly through the decades in Christian Reformed churches, but he is best known internationally as the author of Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview—what philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff called “The best statement I have come across of the ‘reformational’ Christian worldview.” …But there is much more to the story. … More The Lucky Son of a Barber-Philosopher: The Serendipity of Al Wolters’ Worldview

Rudy Wiebe: A Persistent Friend for the Gospel

Not much more than an hour after the last post sounded for Remembrance Day, another soldier was laid to rest, this man a stalwart servant of Jesus Christ. Rudolph H. Wiebe went home to his King and Lord November 11th at 12:30 pm with his wife Marlene and daughter Laura at his side, assuring him of their love, giving him permission to let go, and reminding him that his Lord Jesus was waiting with open arms. … More Rudy Wiebe: A Persistent Friend for the Gospel

Christianity’s Eccentricity: A Religion without an Ethnic Centre

Eccentric means literally off-centre, and more broadly, unconventional. This is key to the Christian faith. No ethnic group, city, or language lays claim as Christianity’s sacred centre. This is illustrated beautifully in a recent music video sent to me by Danny McCain in Nigeria. … More Christianity’s Eccentricity: A Religion without an Ethnic Centre

Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

I’ve written and preached on the bedrock of joy that animates faith, but its equally true that church should be the best place for a broken heart to find welcome. But few of our worship songs today want to go to the dark places, ask the hard questions, and complain to God. Here I examine a few lament songs possible for Christian worship. … More Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice

Why are there so few spiritual songs about life on our planet–about the things that most Christians do with most of their time–tend gardens, buy groceries, engage in business, build homes, create artworks, do scientific experiments? There is an inherent dualism in much of our singing that confines it to “spiritual” matters of prayer, praise, church, and loving and serving our neighbours in generic ways. But Christians are called to be culture makers first–this is the blessing that God gives right off in Genesis 1:28: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!” (MSG) … More Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice