Sometimes You Have to Smile

It was nearly 7:00 and I was staring down a long evening of back to back meetings (bible study, followed by a refugee information meeting) in the midst of a pretty frantic few weeks dominated by all manner of logistics with helping our new Syrian friends make their way in this new land. I had been […]

Found in Translation

trans·la·tion noun: the process of translating words or text from one language into another; the conversion of something from one form or medium into another. Over the past few days, our local sponsorship group has begun the process of helping our new Syrian friends take their first steps in Canada. We welcomed them to our city […]

The Heart of a Stranger

I spent part of today listening to good stories. Our church hosted the AGM of MCC Alberta and, not surprisingly, much of the conversation throughout the day centered around the work that MCC is presently doing with the Syrian refugee crisis. But we also heard stories of what MCC has done for other groups of […]

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 […]

Putting Out FIRES

I’ve been reading Tim Otto’s Oriented to Faith over the past few weeks as I seek to help our church have healthy conversations about sexuality.  Like many churches, ours is characterized by a wide diversity of views when it comes to how the church should live with and think/talk about homosexuality. As we have these […]

Lament for a Small Town Bible School

The official news showed up where all things show up these days: on my Facebook feed. Right there next to cheesy inspirational slogans and idiotic videos and family photos and passive-aggressive politicking… It is with profound sadness and regret that the Bethany College Board of Directors announces that the conclusion of the 2014-2015 year will […]

You Were Born to Be Loved

I’ve written here before about delightful “holy moments” that I have experienced in the church I serve (see here and here, for example). These are often moments when something unexpected happens, something that spills out of our careful containers of planning and order, something that points simply, poignantly, and powerfully to the hope of the […]

Planted: Book Review

I distinctly remember the first time I heard about the work of A Rocha, a Christian conservation and stewardship organization that began in Portugal through the work of Peter and Miranda Harris, and has since branched out around the world. I was sitting in a first year Christian Thought and Culture class at Regent College […]

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 […]

Up and Down

My infallible WordPress stats counter tells me that this blog recently passed the 700 posts and 8000 comments mark. We had a little party, WordPress and I, which consisted mainly of the WordPress minions showering me with randomly generated congratulations and what I imagine were intended to be inspirational quotes. I’m not too proud to […]

Seeing the Light

Based on my own entirely unscientific observations, it seems that there is a burgeoning market for “recovering pastor who saw the godless light” stories these days. The genre is familiar enough by now, right? Fundamentalist pastor grows up in the church, uncritically swallows the whole religious package, devotes x number of years to serving as […]

“You’re Gonna Pray for Leroy, Right?”

The following comes out of an experience I had yesterday. I try to be very careful in deciding if/how to share about stuff that I encounter in my daily work. There are issues of privacy, of course, in addition to the simple fact that not every experience I find meaningful necessarily needs to be shared—especially […]

God’s Strong Medicine

It’s intriguing to me how frequently our morning worship services will contain a pleasant surprise of some kind, whether an unplanned correlation between a song and a prayer or a testimony that just fits with this or that aspect of the sermon or some other thing. It’s remarkable how frequently the Spirit of God seems […]