Grace in the Play of Role Reversals: Muslim Hospitality to Christians in the West

I was guest at a Muslim Society event in my home town of Guelph, which prompted me to re-consider the notion of hospitality. We usually view the practise from the superior position of the host. But if it is true that worship is a participation in God’s Trinitarian hospitality, we might do well to consider the notion from the role of guest and the spiritual practise of guesting (yes, it’s a word). This is especially relevant in the post-Christian West, and in the context of a polycentric World Christianity. … More Grace in the Play of Role Reversals: Muslim Hospitality to Christians in the West

Jesus Laughed and So Should You

The fact is, most Christian kids are familiar with the verse “Jesus wept.” Why? In some English translations, it’s the shortest verse in the whole Bible. It stands out. What is so beautiful and comforting about this prominence is that it emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Believers can know God cries for his friends, as his grief comes at the death of his friend Lazarus. But what is so unfortunate and misleading about the prominence of this verse is that there is no equivalent that pops to mind which reveals that Jesus’ humanity also included his laughter. … More Jesus Laughed and So Should You

Post-Christendom Ethics: Evangelism as Immoral, Confessional, Embodied and Beautiful

If sharing Good News can never be a bad thing, how come its such a turn off in North America? Can a professor “evangelize” in his university class if evangelism is understood as a form of persuasion? How does evangelism relate to sex and beauty? Here I review two books on the ethics of evangelism in a post-Christendom world. … More Post-Christendom Ethics: Evangelism as Immoral, Confessional, Embodied and Beautiful

A Quiet Celebration? Global Scholars Canada at 25 (+1) Years

In the West there is a growing assessment of the wider legacy of Christian mission that may subdue any celebration of global missions because it indites missionaries for their part in colonization, enslavement, and the cultural and racial genocide of countless peoples—a terrible legacy that is said to be the direct cause of global geo-political injustice and strife to this day. This narrative is no doubt the dominant narrative about Christianity on our public university campuses across Canada. But there is more to be said here… … More A Quiet Celebration? Global Scholars Canada at 25 (+1) Years

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