I wish I had taken a vow of silence. I wish I had been writing and speaking frequently elsewhere. I wish I had read dozens of books, essays, and posts by others. But I haven’t. No. Far from any overtly noble rationale, I simply went quiet. For the past 11 months, I’ve hardly done any writing, I’ve only read two books, and I’ve been abnormally disengaged from the urgent crises and conversations of the past year. And I don’t have a good justification for doing so. Continue reading
A Woman’s Place
Earlier this summer, I worked my way through Katelyn Beaty’s book, A Woman’s Place. Since then, Beaty’s ideas have been working their way through me.
This inviting reflection beckons readers to consider how God has created women to work. Rather than limiting women to homemaking, or insisting that all women must find meaningful work outside the home, Beaty provides an insightful, prophetic, and ultimately encouraging engagement with a more robust and holistic view of work. Considering biblical and contemporary examples of working women, Beaty crafts a helpful vision of how women are called to work – and how humanity cannot flourish without women working. As she writes: “What women bring to the table is not simply a feminine touch but half of humanity’s gifts, passions, and experiences.” (65-66)
My First Five Books for 2017
“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well.” – Margaret Atwood
I am not young; nor am I old. Yet, as we transition into 2017, I feel an increasing civic responsibility to read – and to read both widely and deeply. Atwood’s warning regarding democracy’s vulnerability resonates with me, particularly in light of the increasing public infatuation with – and blind embrace of – “fake news” as gospel truth. Continue reading
Have you seen it? #bearingwitness has emerged recently as a short-handed way of identifying moments of injustice against people (at least before a vegan movement to save pigs took on the hashtag). Whether in response to the U.S. President-elect’s tweets, to the recent mistrial in the case against the officer who killed Walter Scott, or to the treatment of Native Peoples protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, this hashtag has become a convenient way for allies to bear witness about current injustices, particularly against those entangled in poverty and suffering from racism.
Listening at Ball’s Falls
A couple weeks ago, I took the better part of a day simply to pray. Rather than bringing my lists of questions and requests to God, I realized that I needed to take a posture of listening. So I drove out to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area for the morning. I figured withdrawing to a quiet place that I’ve not been to before would heighten my attention.
Over the years, I have recognized that I tend to listen well to the Spirit when I am out in the woods. It’s something I’ve learned by practice and by theology. The Belgic Confession Article 2 starts with: Continue reading
Is the Gospel Transforming Us?
Note: This post is adapted from an email I sent this summer to the elders (one of the leadership teams) in my church.
One of the things that I have been thinking and reading about this summer is leadership development. Typically, the idea of leadership development has focused on how do we train new leaders to function well and make good decisions in an organization. While understanding systems and structures is important, there is another aspect of leadership development that I believe is even more critical: character formation. Continue reading
Getting sick on vacation is bad enough. During university (20+ years ago), I was notorious for getting sick every Christmas break. Within 24 hours of finishing my last exam and making my way home, I’d come down with something. I’d end up sleeping ridiculous
amounts of time, trying to fight whatever chest cold or flu bug that had attached itself to me.
This year, however, in the midst of an incredibly relaxing summer, I somehow came down with pneumonia. In August. While on vacation. The most common question, besides “are you feeling any better?” has been “how in the world did you get pneumonia in August?!”
I’m not sure I’ll ever figure that one out. But through this experience, I’ve had three unexpected reactions that have held my attention. Continue reading
I find myself working through the new normals of a major transition this spring.
In May 2003 as I finished my master of divinity degree at Calvin Seminary, Hennie and I started talking about the potential of me pursuing a doctorate. In 2005, I started a second and more research-focused master degree, timidly wading into the academic waters again to see if we were up to the more rigorous demands of a doctorate. Then in 2009, we said yes and I immersed myself in the Doctor of Theology program at Wycliffe College. I defended my thesis earlier this year and formally graduated last month, concluding a 13 year conversation and constant reality in our home. Continue reading
Yeah – What Michael Said.
At the end of February, I had the privilege of participating in the TrueCity Conference here in Hamilton, ON. This annual conference gathers Christians from across the city for worship, encouragement, and learning. I find this gathering to be one of the more enriching experiences during the year because we are able to experience and celebrate the unity of Christ’s body together as sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ. Continue reading
Discovering Our History
Though the threads of racial reconciliation are intricately woven throughout the fabric of the Christian gospel, Christian churches in North America have frequently been marred by efforts to separate and tear apart the unity of God’s people along racial lines. Among other aspects, I am often troubled by the lack of awareness that persists regarding both the biblical vision for reconciliation and the complicity of Caucasian Christians in the history of racism within the North American context. I am thankful, therefore, to see two related efforts unfolding within my denomination (CRCNA) that seek to contextualize our history in relationship to a broader North American story between European settlers and Indigenous persons. This path of reconciliation is one we need to walk together. Continue reading