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Posts from the ‘Community’ Category

The Naked Anabaptist 3: After Christendom

After a not so brief hiatus, on to the third of Stuart Murray’s seven core convictions of Anabaptism: Read more

The Rise of Atheism

Over the past three days, atheists from around the world have been meeting in Melbourne, Australia for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention. Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer, and PZ Myers were just a few of the atheist luminaries on hand to bolster the atheist community and inspire them to increasing confidence and boldness in a world (supposedly) dominated by religion. Read more

The Naked Anabaptist 2: The Bible

On to the second of  Stuart Murray’s seven core convictions of Anabaptists (from The Naked Anabaptist): Read more

The Naked Anabaptist

Perhaps surprisingly, despite the fact that I earn my living at a Mennonite church, very little of my formal education was devoted to learning about Anabaptist history and theology. I took one year of Bible College at a Mennonite school when I was 19, but that was about it. I studied philosophy at university and deliberately chose to pursue graduate studies at an inter/trans-denominational institution. I received bits and pieces of the Anabaptist story along the way in my studies, I read the occasional book by a Mennonite author, and I almost always worshiped in Anabaptist churches so it wasn’t like I was clueless. But I’ve never exactly swam in the deep end of the Anabaptist pool. Read more

All Together

Around here, Thursdays are the day where a good deal of the work of preparing the Sunday morning service begins. I am always amazed to see the sheer diversity of the people who come through our doors on any given Sunday. I am equally amazed to discover the potpourri of needs, hopes, joys, fears, longings, frustrations, and anxieties that accompany them. Of course it is impossible to craft a service with the specific intention of meeting every perceived or real individual need that might show up on a Sunday morning. Yet one of the mysteries of the church is that when we gather together somehow our individual stories can find their place within the broader story of God and the story of his church—that by simply being together to pray, to sing, to hear from Scripture, and to share our lives, our needs just might end up getting met (however oddly or unexpectedly) along the way. Read more

On Fish Wars and a “Drive-By Culture”

Vancouver Island is not a place known for being a hotbed of some of the “culture wars” that take place south of the border. As far as I’ve been able to tell in one year, it is a very post-Christian environment with a whole bunch of eclectic spiritualities from quasi-paganism to charismatic Christianity to the garden variety unreflective secularism that you see anywhere else in the modern west. Having said all that, I’ve been surprised to notice that the “fish wars” seem to have a small but noticeable presence over here. Read more

Our Narcissistic Noise

As one whose professional mandate includes the task of “community building” I have begun to take a more focused interest in what brings and keeps people together, both inside and outside of a church context. I’m hardly the first to notice or comment upon this, but one crucial element of any kind of meaningful community is a meaningful sense of a shared history that we can participate in, both collectively and individually. Communities don’t just form because people really want them or think it would be a good idea to be a part of one. Some orienting story or purpose is a necessary component of any viable and healthy community. Read more

Stand By Me

This one’s been making the rounds but if you haven’t yet seen it, it’s a well-spent five and a half minutes.

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Sinners Anonymous

I’ve been reading Frederick Buechner again lately and, as always, am finding his way of putting things to be quite memorable.  Here’s a quote from Whistling in the Dark that serves as a good reminder about what the church is about as we head into another weekend.  This comes after a brief discussion of the structure and purpose of the Alcoholics Anonymous program: Read more

You Are All One

Yesterday was another one of those interesting days for one new to the pastoral guild.  In the morning I was down in Victoria preaching and leading a discipleship class at a church in Victoria.  It is a very interesting church comprised, I was told, mainly of well educated white-collar types.  The worship service was formal and highly-structured; there was a strong sense of reverence and propriety.  There was beautiful artwork throughout the sanctuary and a high degree of musical skill evident in the singing time. Read more

Who is My Neighbour?

Today I went out for a “pastoral visit” to an elderly couple who came to church this past Sunday.  They hadn’t darkened the door of a church in at least a decade, and came now mostly, I think, because they are just really lonely people who don’t have a lot of human contact.  They have no children, no living siblings, no nieces and nephews that they are in contact with, no friends at the senior’s centre, no… anything.  There were no pictures of family on their walls, no mementos, no heirlooms, nothing.  Just two old, frail, lonely people existing in the same space without anyone to care about them in any way. Read more

Book Review: The Blue Parakeet

Scot McKnight is an author that I have long been familiar with but have never actually read, other than the occasional post on his (amazingly prolific) site, The Jesus Creed.  Consequently, when he posted an offer to receive a copy of his new book, The Blue Parakeet in exchange for reviewing it on your blog I jumped on the opportunity.

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Death be Not Proud

There’s been a lot of death in the air around here over the last little while.  Our church is in the process of navigating the tragic death of a young father, husband, brother, son, colleague, and friend.  This past Sunday was the memorial service and it was, as are most memorial services, difficult.   Read more