Wednesday Miscellany

For the past few days, I’ve been mulling over a recent short piece by Richard Beck. In it, he observes a paradox that runs through many strains of “progressive” theology (a term I despise, incidentally, but I’ve covered that ground before). Beck states this paradox succinctly: 

I’m Not Spiritual But Not Religious (But I Can See it From Here)

I am usually quite suspicious of oft-repeated expression, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Actually, “suspicious” might be putting it rather mildly. I have something bordering on a pathological loathing of this phrase. It’s possible that I have even visibly shuddered in disgust in the various contexts where this expression makes its predictable appearance. I usually […]

Sky

I spent thirteen or so hours this past week driving under the summer prairie sky. Saskatoon was the location of our Mennonite national church’s biennial gathering which I combined with a visit with my brother and his family. It’s a long drive and very flat. It’s the kind of drive that is easy to dread, particularly in […]

The Way Through

I was talking recently with a friend about the upcoming Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Saskatoon that I will be departing for tomorrow morning. Like many denominations, ours is wrestling with some familiar trends (aging, shrinking congregations and the institutional challenges that go along with this) and predictable issues (same-sex marriage, how to respond to […]

The Church is Actually a Beautiful Thing

It’s 11 PM ET and I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Harrisburg, PA reflecting on the week thus far at the 2015 Mennonite World Conference. It’s been another full day and I should probably be more tired than I feel, but I’ve been sleeping poorly all week so I’m not even going to bother […]

On Kings and Kingdoms

It’s Election Day here in the province of Alberta, and for the first time in nearly half a century, it seems that the election will be more than a foregone conclusion. For the past forty-four years, the Progressive Conservative party has been in power in our province, often winning elections in laughably overwhelming numbers. Alberta […]

Some Sundays

Some Sundays are better than others. Every pastor knows this. Every parishioner surely knows this. Some Sundays the seats are filled, the music is glorious, the prayers and the stories and the sermons are crammed full of inspiration and provocation. Some Sundays there are unexpected divine surprises that catch you off guard and move you […]

We Start and Stop with Jesus… At Least We Should

Over the course of the month of May, the MennoNerds blogging collective that I am a part of has been reflecting upon how “Anabaptist distinctives” impact our thinking and living in the world.  A while back, fellow MennoNerd, Tyler Tully wrote a piece called What are Anabaptists? where he outlined three core Anabaptist convictions: The centrality of […]

2013 in Review (And a Thank You!)

So, 2013 is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to take a peek in the rearview mirror and reflect a bit on the year that has nearly passed.  In the blogging world, this means—what else?!—highlighting the most read posts on this blog over the past 365 days or so.  It’s an imperfect tool […]

I Don’t Want to Be a Mennonite

It happened again the other day. That predictable conversation that begins with, “So what do you do?”, traverses through the awkward terrain where it is discovered that I belong to that most bizarre and incomprehensible of categories—“pastor”—thus placing myself outside the boundaries of ordinary humanity, and ends, inevitably, with a tortured query about what kind […]

Ten Things I Really Like About My Church

Occasionally, I get accused of being a glass-half-empty kind of guy. I don’t know where this comes from, but I will have to take others’ word for it 🙂 . So, in an attempt to combat this persistent myth, and because it’s early September and everyone is just staggering into fall schedules and routines, and […]

On Future-Proofing

How can the Mennonite Church be future-proofed? I clicked on the link with bit curiosity and no small amount of trepidation. It was an interesting choice of words. “Future proofed?” Would that be possible? Desirable? It turned out to simply be a brief article—with the much less exciting title of “Introducing the Future Directions Task Force”—about […]

The Power of All: Book Review

Over the past two thousand or so years the Christian church has consistently, in its worship, its leadership structures, its pedagogy, and its general ethos, deviated from the spirit and intent of the community Christ envisioned. Rather than becoming a community of believers gifted and called to participate together in the ongoing task of becoming […]

Holier than Thou?

Over the last few weeks, a number of articles around the issue of the decline of the liberal church have made headlines and generated a significant amount of commentary. First, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wondered if liberal Christianity could be saved from its many and varied capitulations to secular culture and “recover a […]

Back to the Bible?

Well, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks of travel and holidays back in British Colombia which has, obviously, meant less time for writing here. I plan on posting a bit more in the coming weeks, but things will likely remain a bit slower than usual over the next little while as I try to […]

On Denominations and Open Doors

One of the highlights of our last week and a half or so in Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island has been the opportunity to reconnect with some of the many good friends we made during our six years out here. Aside from the irritation of fighting a cold almost from the moment our holiday started, […]