If I ever do bite the bullet and buy a PVR it will almost be exclusively due to my hatred of television commercials. The prospect of skipping over every moronic attempt to sell me something is a delicious one indeed. But I’m also cheap. What to do? Such are the weighty conundrums of my life.
Anyway, I usually try to hit the mute button when the commercials come on, but I was a little slow on the draw the other night while the kids and I were watching the hockey game. And once this commercial started, well, there was no way the kids were letting me mute it. This comes to us courtesy of People for Good: Read more
Back in my university days I took an undergraduate philosophy course on the problem of evil. We had been through most of the well-rehearsed responses to the question of how evil can co-exist with an all-powerful, all-good, and all-knowing God. Each had their problems, of course. “But what happens if we just say that God is limited?” our professor asked, with evident glee. What if God’s kinda just making it up as he goes along? What if God’s a bit of a selfish jerk who isn’t nearly as concerned with human misery as we are? Or, what if he’s a nice enough guy, but he just can’t do much about evil? What if he’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with? What if he’s learning as he goes, just like the rest of us? Read more
Jesus said, I have come that they may have life,
and have it abundantly.
Whoever follows me
will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.
Every morning this week, these words from John’s gospel have framed the morning prayers in the prayer-book I use. They are good and hopeful words with which to greet a new day. They are appropriate post-Easter words. As is the case throughout John’s gospel, there is this wonderful contrast between the light and the life of Christ and the darkness and death we see all around us. Jesus’ words are true and good and full of strength and hope
And then I walk out the front door… Read more
Our daughter belongs to a swim club, and swim clubs mean—hooray!—fundraising. Bingo, specifically. I have discovered that one of the (very few) benefits of spending five hours at the Bingo hall on a Thursday evening is the opportunity to catch up on a bit of reading (I was the “pay runner” last week, which meant that I basically sat around waiting for people to yell, “Bingo!” before springing enthusiastically into action). Last Thursday, I brought along a book that had regrettably slipped to the bottom of the veritable mountain of unread books on my desk—Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist? Read more
I spent my day off this week at the ski hill ninety minutes or so west of town. I skied a decent amount growing up, but once our kids arrived and I decided to back to school, skiing wasn’t really much of an option any more. It’s not a cheap sport, obviously, and certainly beyond the reach of a student trying to juggle studies with work and a young family. I don’t think I skied more than a handful of times during the first decade or so of my kids’ life. Read more
If you’ve ever snooped around on my About page, you’ll know that I am not a native west-coaster. I have called this place home since 2005, but prior to that virtually my entire life was spent on the Canadian prairies. The past six years have been a delightful time of discovering a place completely unlike the one I grew up in. Read more
The only thing better than coming home from a brief out of town conference to the hugs and giggles of children and the embrace of my wife, is to also have a little brown cardboard package full of new books to leaf through! Miroslav Volf is a theologian I have long admired, and based on the cursory glance I have given it tonight, his collection of essays called Against the Tide promises to be a wonderful read. Here’s an arresting paragraph from the introduction: Read more
In what is becoming a most enjoyable annual tradition, I find myself back at Regent College for their pastors conference during this, the first month of May. This year, the theme of the conference is the interaction between science and faith and is called “Wonder and Devotion: Bringing Science and Faith Together for the Church.” We’ve talked about creation and evolution, the immanence and transcendence of God, issues around the interpretation of Genesis 1-3 and a whole host of other very interesting things. It’s been a great week thus far. Read more
Spending parts of the last few days writing an article about atheism has given me the opportunity to revisit some of the notes and quotes I accumulated during my thesis research a few years ago. Discussions about the relationship between the discoveries of science and the claims of faith seem to occur quite regularly, both on this blog and in my everyday conversations. This quote from John Polkinghorne’s Beyond Science: The Wider Human Context isolates an important dimension of the conversation, in my view: Read more
Over the last week or so I have been making my way through an article from last month’s issue of The Walrus which discusses the imminent demise of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. The article talks about the rising acidity levels of oceans around the world by virtue of increased CO2 emissions and the warmer water temperatures this produces. It predicts that some of our most magnificent ecosystems (like the Great Barrier Reef) are living on borrowed time because of human-induced climate change. In some ways, the article reads like many others: it is a tale of human beings wantonly wreaking havoc with nature and a plea to do something about it. Read more
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “nature” lately—a word which I think is seized upon in confused and inconsistent ways in our ecologically-sensitive times. Several streams contribute to what follows: 1) Stanley Fish’s amusing editorial in today’s New York Times; 2) a piece I came across on the First Things blog a while back; and 3) a chapter from Matt Hern’s Watch Yourself which discusses our views of nature in the broader context of our cultural obsession with safety. Read more
I’ve been meaning to write a few (!) words about this article since I came across it in The Globe and Mail several days ago. It’s a review of a book called The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, and while I’ve not read the book yet, I find the premise of the book to be a curious one—one that I’m not sure is best suited for what it is trying to accomplish. Read more