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Posts from the ‘Education’ Category

Holy Land 

Tomorrow morning, dark and early, I will be heading up to the Calgary airport for the first leg of a journey that will end in Israel a day and a half or so later. A few months ago, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a learning tour to Israel/Palestine put together by MCC Alberta. The departure date has kind of snuck up on me in the midst of what has been a full first few months of 2016, but now that it’s here, I’m very excited to go. Read more

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 mark the end of the ministry of Bethany College in its current iteration.

It wasn’t a surprise to me—I had seen this sad news coming for quite a while, had been talking with my twin brother (the academic dean) about it for months—but I was surprised at the way my heart sank when I read the announcement. Surprised by how surprised I was to see the words on the screen.   December 10, 2014. The day the news came that another small Canadian Bible school—an institution that has been around since 1927­—would be closing its doors. Read more

You Have Been Our Dwelling Place

This morning, I’m shaking out the cobwebs after a delightful week spent out in Winnipeg with the students, staff, and faculty at Canadian Mennonite University as pastor in residence. It was a week full of chapel talks and forums and lunchtime discussions and devotionals and informal conversations with students in the campus cafe and a whole host of other interactions and opportunities that have gotten all jumbled together in my weary brain. I feel a bit like a wrung-out rag, but in a contented, satisfied, grateful sort of way. It’s good to spend oneself in good ways with good people.

During my last chapel talk, I reflected a bit on the experience of being back on a university campus, about the memories it triggered, and about what advice, if any, I might give my younger university self from the vantage point that I now occupy a few years down the road. The following is a lightly edited version of some of what I said yesterday morning. Read more

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 disciples of Jesus in life and worship, the church has become an institution maintained by professionals. There have been exceptions along the way, to be sure, and of course God has seen fit to work with and through the church with all of its errors, but the general trend throughout most of church history has been to move away from multivoiced communities of active participants toward mono-voiced institutions filled with passive consumers. It is time for this trend to change. This is the provocative thesis of Sian and Stuart Murray Williams in their book The Power of All: Building a Multivoiced Church. Read more

“Our Idea of What a Human Being is Has Grown Oppressively Small and Dull”

I finished Marilynne Robinson’s excellent book When I Was a Child I Read Books over the course of a weekend trip to Edmonton. Amidst a wonderful collection of very stimulating essays, one in particular stood out, and I wanted to record a few of the more interesting passages here. The essay is called “The Human Spirit and the Good Society” and deals with the perennially contentious issue of human nature. What does it mean to be a human being? What, if anything is a human being for? What are our origins and our destiny? Amidst the many competing religious and secular narratives out there, and all of the possibilities these narratives open and close for us, where do we go to hear the truth about these vital questions? Which narratives do we trust to describe us to ourselves. Read more

On Evangelism

A few years ago, I remember taking one of those online “spiritual gifts” tests with several co-workers. Needless to say, I am fairly suspicious of these sorts of things in general and particularly when they claim to be discovering something as open to abuse, misunderstanding, and misappropriation as spiritual gifts. I have always been of the opinion that spiritual gifts are the kinds of things that are discovered in community via the wisdom of mature Christians, not as a printout generated by responses to a handful of formulaic online questions. Read more

Regent Spring/Summer School 2011

Well, as difficult as it is to believe it as I sit here in a coffee shop in snowy southern Alberta where we are visiting for the weekend, summer will soon be upon us.  And while there are obviously many ways that you could spend your holiday time, one of the best, most re-creational ways to spend a week or two this summer might just be a course at Regent College. Read more

The Church, It is a-Changing

At any given time, I have between 25-30 unpublished, half/barely-started posts or links to interesting articles occupying space in my “drafts” folder. Needless to say, things can get buried pretty easily, so I try to periodically root through this folder to see what I once thought was interesting/worth posting on, and to determine what might need to see the light of day (or be consigned to the cyber-scrap heap!). Read more

Indifference in Disguise

An interesting article from last week’s National Post… Apparently, youngsters in Quebec daycare centres will henceforth be allowed to see religious imagery and symbols but not to have them explained: Read more

More on Waltke

For those still following the story of Bruce Waltke, I thought I would pass along a few interesting and helpful links I came across today. It seems the story of Walke’s resignation from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL due to comments he made about the compatibility of evolution and Christian faith touched off a bit of a storm in the blogging world. As is so often the case in the wild and woolly world of blogging, there can be a lot more heat generated than light. Many portrayed the Waltke/RTS situation as something approaching a modern-day Galileo case, with RTS being cast in the role of inquisitors. Not surprisingly, the truth turns out to be not quite as sensational. Read more

A Culture of Fear

I’ve been subscribing to BioLogos website basically since its inception a year or so ago.  It has always been an interesting, provocative, and thoughtful forum for learning about and discussing matters related to science and faith.  It is a refreshing voice in that, rather than positing science and faith as mortal enemies it seeks to embrace the contributions both make to the quest for truth. Read more

The Weeping Mode

As a parent of young children, I often wonder about how much of the pain and brutality of the world we ought to expose our kids to—which conversations do they need to be absent from, which books and films could they do without exposure to, and when it is appropriate to let them in on the secret that the world can sometimes be kind of a nasty place (I suspect it’s quite often not as much of a “secret” to them as we might like to think).  There can be a fine line between helping your children see that the world is a safe enough place to love and learn and grow and not shielding from the reality of a messed-up world in desperate need of compassionate, committed, and resourceful people to make it better. Read more

Some Welcome Counsel

My brother just sent me the link to a series of posts by William Willimon where he offers advice for those starting out in pastoral ministry.  I’m approaching the end of my first year of pastoral work, and frequently found myself nodding and mm-hmm-ing throughout this very helpful set of posts.  They are very balanced and wise reflections from someone who has been down the road and knows what he’s talking about.  There is much worth thinking about (and implementing) in this post, but two quotes stood out.  Read more

Willard on Faith, Myth Making, and the “Intellectual Slums”

I’ve been looking forward to Dallas Willard’s latest book for a while now, and was happy to see it arrive on my doorstep yesterday afternoon.  Willard is tackling the question of whether/how the claims of faith constitute genuine knowledge (as opposed to private beliefs, opinions, emotions, blind commitments, etc).  I’ve only had time to read the introduction thus far, but it looks like a very intriguing, not to mention timely, project.  Here’s a few quotes from Knowing Christ Today: Read more

What Life Asks of Us

I just got back from a very enjoyable trip to Saskatchewan (I heard it was nice this time of year) to visit my brother and his family and play some hockey. Among other things, it gave me the opportunity to do something that I’ve never had the chance to do before: observe my brother in a classroom context. I sat in on his Intro to Theology class Monday morning and left with much to think about. Read more