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Posts from the ‘Ethics’ Category

Seven Deadly Sins

These have obviously been around a while, but I came across them for the first time last week tucked away in on one of the back pages in MEDA‘s magazine called The Marketplace.  The seven deadly sins, according to Gandhi:

  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice

In My Place

As I’ve mentioned before, the nature of the atonement is generating a bit of discussion (and controversy) in our tiny little denominational corner (I’ve reflected on the matter here, and here). My friend Mike Todd has written an excellent reflection on the atonement that is definitely worth checking out, both for the main post and for the comments.  Here’s a sample: Read more

Playing God

Yesterday’s National Post had an interesting article about a 71 year-old, perfectly healthy Vancouver woman who is seeking the right to die alongside her ill husband. This isn’t legal in Canada, but there is an organization in Switzerland (Dignitas) that is apparently willing and able to administer lethal doses of drugs—after counseling, of course—to those looking to check out of this life. Ludwig Minelli, director of Dignitas, says that although assisted suicide was originally advocated as an escape only for the very ill, “it should be an option for anyone who feels they can no longer go on, and has the mental capacity to make the decision.” Read more

Good without God

I came across this article a few weeks back and was reminded of it today by a discussion of the age-old question of whether or not we need God to be good over at Jesus Creed.  The author of the article offers an answer in the negative, citing the blissfully secular Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Denmark as shining examples that God is not necessary for human happiness and moral decency: Read more

Kingdom Values

It seems that Mike finds himself busier than expected these days and will be unable to contribute directly to the discussion we’ve been having over the last couple of weeks (part one, part two, and part three).  I thought I would wrap up the discussion by addressing one final element of George Soros’s piece that struck me in connection with how I understand the gospel. Read more

Kingdom Living: Dynamic Disequilibrium

What follows is part three of an ongoing conversation between Mike Todd and myself about the economic theory of George Soros and the nature of the kingdom of God. Read more

Reflexivity: A Response

As promised, here is Mike’s response to the previous post. Read more

Reflexivity and the Gospel: A Conversation

A few weeks ago I received an email from Mike Todd (a friend made during my time at Regent College) who was wondering what I thought about an article by Hungarian financial speculator George Soros.  Now those who know anything whatsoever about me will undoubtedly consider this a somewhat strange request.  What on earth could I possibly have to say about an article on market theory?  And you would not be alone in your curiosity—the request caught me off guard as well.  To say that economic theory is not a body of knowledge with which I am well-acquainted or competent to discuss would be an exercise in spectacular understatement. 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


I’ve come across references to this study twice in the last week, and have thus interpreted this as a divine sign that I am to blog about it (just kidding, in case you’re wondering!). Last week, the Boston Globe ran an article entitled “New Reason to be Happy: It May Go a Long Way” citing the work of Nicholas Christakis (Harvard) and James Fowler (University of California, San Diego). The researchers have, apparently “discovered” through social network analysis that people tend to be happier when those around them are happier. Happiness, as it turns out, is kind of contagious. Read more

Used Up All the Words?

A while back a film/book came across my desk via the MB Herald called “Lord Save us From Your Followers” (my review for the Herald can be found here).  It’s the brainchild of Oregon film-maker Dan Merchant, and asks the question, “Why don’t Christians in America look more like Jesus?”  Merchant travels around the USA in a bumper-sticker/Jesus-fish clad set of coveralls in order to generate dialogue with people who don’t think like him—to challenge the confrontational, antagonistic, and polarizing nature of religious discourse in America. Read more

Responsible Consumption

Yet another shameless self-promotion alert!!

The MB Herald (our denominational magazine here in Canada) has graciously published another one of my articles as a part of their ongoing column focusing on issues around consumerism and individualism (readers of this blog with a long enough memory will notice similarities to a post from a while back). If you’re interested, you can have a look here. Read more

Looking for Trouble in Faith

I stumbled upon this article by British writer Julie Burchill around a month ago and it’s been bouncing around upstairs off and on ever since.  It’s kind of a scattered piece and there are parts of it that just make me scratch my head (based on my brief perusal of the comments section, my criticism would definitely fall into the “mild” category).  Nevertheless, I found one passage near the beginning to be a thought-provoking one.  Describing her transition from atheism to Christianity, Burchill has this to say about what it means to be “religious”: 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

When Wouldn’t I Forgive You?

In my previous post I admiringly reflected upon my son’s instinctive willingness to forgive and wondered what the world might look like if more people adopted this strategy. One commenter justifiably inquired as to the limits of forgiveness—if it really ought to be as “reckless” as I was recommending. His challenge to me was as follows: Read more

Why Wouldn’t I Forgive You?

Moving to and setting up in a new place can be a stressful time. There is lots of assembling things, moving them around, running around buying this or that miscellaneous item, returning said item when it doesn’t fit or work as you expected it to, etc. Several consecutive days of this can leave one feeling a bit tired and, well, short-tempered. When you combine parents who are preoccupied with setting up a house with kids who are getting less attention than they are normally accustomed to, you have a recipe for frustration. Read more

In Praise of Mennonites

As one who was raised in, continues to be nourished by, and will be working within the Mennonite tradition, I couldn’t resist posting a link to Greg Boyd’s latest post. I think Boyd is just a bit too breathless in his praise of Mennonites (two friends are currently writing theses about Mennonites—one examining just how consistently they have historically applied their ethic of nonviolence with each other, and another on Mennonites’ contribution to an overly individualistic approach to faith), but I think that he does point to some genuinely admirable features of the tradition that the rest of the Christian world would profit from paying attention to.

God knows Mennonites aren’t perfect, but I do think that we understand some things well, and, at our best, embody a way of being in the world that seeks to reflect the means by which God has accomplished his redemption of the world.

h/t: Waving or Drowning

A Circuitous Path to Environmentalism

When I was a kid I distinctly remember feeling, at times, somewhat resentful of my “Mennonite-ness.” It wasn’t anything distinctly theological (although like many kids, I suppose, there were moments when I didn’t like being “the Christian” amongst a group of friends who mostly were not) or cultural (I don’t recall particularly liking borscht at the time, but ours was not a family that clung to any of the typical cultural identifiers of German “Mennonite-ness” too fiercely). I knew enough Christians to mitigate the unpleasantness produced by my status as a “cognitive minority,” and there were enough sweet German pastries to offset those Mennonite dishes that happened to offend my palate. No, the source of my resentment lay elsewhere. Read more