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 […]

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 […]

How Things Work in the World of (Mostly) Rich Western Christians

It seemed like every time I ventured into the wonderful world of social media today, I was greeted by a new salvo from one side or the other of World Vision’s recent yes-we-do, wait, no-we-don’t position on whether or how they will hire gay Christians to work in their organization, with all the predictable bleating and […]

A Gift is for Giving

This past weekend, we were privileged to have Cheryl Bear from the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation community in northern British Columbia as a special guest here in Lethbridge at both our Mennonite Church Alberta Annual Assembly on Friday and Saturday, and at our morning worship service on Sunday.  The timing of the event was significant […]

I Don’t Want to Be a Mennonite

It happened again the other day. That predictable conversation that begins with, “So what do you do?”, traverses through the awkward terrain where it is discovered that I belong to that most bizarre and incomprehensible of categories—“pastor”—thus placing myself outside the boundaries of ordinary humanity, and ends, inevitably, with a tortured query about what kind […]

How Can They Believe?

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)  I remember sitting in church listening to missionary reports as a kid. I remember all kinds […]

What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?

That may be true for you, but how can you say that it is true for everyone else when there are so many different understandings of truth out there  This is, of course, among the most common questions out there in postmodern-dom and, more specifically, in the context of the religious/ethnic/cultural diversity that is becoming […]

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 […]

The Anabaptist Vision—Synchro Blog

A few weeks ago, someone who has been worshiping at a Mennonite church for nearly a year, and who had no prior exposure to or experience with Mennonites, remarked to me that, while they had deeply appreciated their time with the community, it seemed to them that Mennonites were basically people who did lots of […]

Proselytism and “The Deep Slumber of a Decided Opinion”

I just sent off a review of Elmer Thiessens’s The Ethics of Evangelism and find myself with proselytizing on the brain. Despite the fact that I was largely persuaded by Thiessen’s argument that ethical proselytizing is not only possible but, in a qualified sense, obligatory, I’m still a bit  suspicious of the word “proselytize.” I […]

Misadventures in Bible Land

A number of conversations and experiences over the last few days have me thinking about the Bible and how we use it. Maybe “lamenting” would be a more appropriate word. The Bible is, regrettably, a book that has throughout history proved eminently usable and abusable.

In Defence of the Church

One of the questions I have come to dread over the years is the “so what do you do for a living?” question.  It’s not that I am ashamed to be a pastor, it’s simply that very often the discovery that I am “religious” can be something of a conversation-stopper.  Pastors are strange creatures, to […]

The Scandal of the Cross—Take Two

God’s self-giving goodness and his determined commitment to rescue and redeem his creation were demonstrated two thousand years ago on a Roman cross. This is the guiding conviction that animates Mark Baker and Joel Green’s exploration of the meaning and scope of the atonement in the second edition of Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement […]

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Well, the lazy days of summer just roll on… After a great few days camping in BC with my brother and his family, yesterday afternoon was spent participating in a local golf tournament/fundraiser for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. My father is one of the coordinators for the local growing project here, and when he asked my brother and I if we wanted to go golfing to support a good cause, we could hardly say no (despite the fact that we are both truly abysmal golfers!).

On Narratives

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about narratives recently, for personal and professional reasons.  On a personal level, I suppose major transitions in life always afford the opportunity to re-evaluate things—where have I come from, where am I going, what are my reasons, what have I learned, how will it affect what may or may […]