Every part of the world has its own beauty. I’m pretty confident in that. Nevertheless, one of my family’s favorite places is the west coast of Vancouver Island. You can stand there on the beach—it might be raining but that doesn’t matter—and look out over the Pacific; there’s a great emptiness and you think maybe you can just make out Japan on the horizon. Then you turn your attention to the shoreline at your feet. You find it full of life and full of beautiful things: rocks, ground smooth by the sand, pieces of driftwood and bits of shells. It’s impossible not to pick up some of these things, turn to someone and say, “Look at what I’ve found. Aren’t these things amazing? Aren’t they beautiful?”
That’s what I want to do here. I don’t have a main point, just a handful of things. Read more
Not long ago I was doing some cleaning at home when a piece on CBC radio caught my attention. It was about the social harm caused by the use of smartphones. I was recently reminded of the show during a conversation on the presence of smartphones in worship. Here’s the link to the piece on The Current. Click play while you’re cleaning up the kitchen.
Host Anna Maria Tremonti starts things off saying, “Our relationships with our phones are damaging our relationships with each other.” Of course this isn’t an all-or-nothing issue. Read more
Last week we focused our attention on a passage from the gospel of Mark. It was a prophetic passage, a passage where Jesus told the disciples about the future of the temple. Imagining ourselves in the place of the disciples we tried to find encouragement in the fact that Jesus is the Lord of history and in his promise that he will never leave us nor forget about us. Our attention today is drawn to two vaguely similar passages that seem to speak to us about the future, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 and Revelation 1:4b-8. This type of writing is known as ‘apocalyptic’. Writers of apocalyptic think of their vivid, allegorical work as unveiling what is hidden, it might be the future or it might be the way things really are right now. Daniel writes (vv.13-14), “I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship . . . .” When the veil of this age is drawn back we see the truth—Jesus is the King and his dominion is without end. Read more
It is not far from the hill on which Herod’s temple sat, the temple Jesus and his followers knew, to the hill cloaked in olive trees. To call either a mountain, as they are sometimes designated, is a stretch. That being the case, the distance between the two and the short climb required to reach the top of the ‘Mount’ of Olives is enough to make one want to rest. Jesus and his disciples did so under the shade of the trees. The temple was still within their view. In fact, it was hard to miss. Read more
The upcoming UN conference on climate change has me thinking about the conflicted environmental legacy of Christianity. The Christian Scriptures are full of admiration for the natural world. In the Bible’s early chapters creation is deemed “very good.” In the Psalms the world’s beauty prompts worship and praise. There too we are told that the earth belongs to God, the implication being that it isn’t up to us to dispose of it in whatever fashion we like. On the other hand, there are Christians who take the stewarding and gardening mandates from Genesis as license for abuse. Read more
Pumpkins, cornstalks, candy, spider webs, bats, skeletons, tombstones, chains, hands reaching out of the ground, bloody knives . . . these are just a few of the things I found when I moved into my office this summer. No, thankfully not, this is the stuff of Halloween. My guess is that many of us have mixed feelings about this season. The dressing up, the connections we make with our neighbours, the reminders of our own mortality—these all seem like fine things. But the obsession with violence, the fascination with death and horror and fear—these things are harder to welcome. Read more