The Canadian residential school system was created by the Canadian government in a context where European culture was considered (at least by Europeans) to be the height of civilization. Its Eurocentric founders intended it to be a system to help an “inferior” people to ascend out of a “primitive” state. Christians of many traditions participated with the additional goal of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Indigenous peoples. Together, they created an underfunded system that abused children, separated families and eradicated identities. The unmarked graveyards discovered this year underline yet again the failings of the residential school system in both principle and practice. No Catholic, and, indeed, no Christian, can react with anything but sorrow and shame to this whole system. That many Catholic religious organizations eagerly participated in this system is a deep moral failing on their part.Continue reading
On October 31, many people will celebrate Halloween. However, it’s also the historical date on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg church. To be honest, I have never have celebrated Reformation Day. Even as a Protestant it felt… shameful, in a sense, to be celebrating the death of Christian unity in the West, however necessary I believed it to be. Of course, I’ve since come to realise that it was even more of a tragedy than I had originally thought.Continue reading
Superbook is an animated series for kids by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Each episode links a Bible story with some sort of conflict faced by a pair of kids living in the future. The kids, Chris and Joy, along with Chris’s robot Gizmo, normally experience some moral dillema in their ‘normal’ world before a device named Superbook takes them back in time to a Bible story. I can’t believe more people haven’t heard of the series, as it is so well done. Now that I’ve spent some time with it, however, I’ve realised the show simply isn’t what I thought it was.Continue reading
Usually, about American election time, I start to notice more posts from some of my Christian friends about ‘Biblical government.’ These posts aren’t even limited to my American friends – it seems everybody buys into the fervour of American election season. Usually, those posting for ‘Biblical’ government mean a democratically elected right wing party that tries to implement a bureaucratically small government, reduce social programs, promote freedom of speech, embrace a traditional approach to social mores and double down on national sovereignty (perhaps by ousting illegal immigrants or asserting trade dominance.) I’d like to humbly submit that they have it wrong: the Biblical form of government is a monarchy with extensive social assistance.Continue reading
The coronovirus has revealed how fragile our seemingly invincible human world order is. Amazon no longer arrives tomorrow; it takes a month. The wealth of entertainment options has shrunk to those available at home. Travel plans have been cancelled or altered. Many are without the comfort and security provided by regular employment. Churches are shuttered, and factories stilled. For all intents and purposes, we are united against our invisible virus enemy by the hashtag #StayHome.Continue reading
Screen adaptations of Jesus’s life, whether for the big or small screen, tend to zoom in on Jesus himself and focus on the events outlined in the Gospels. These in turn tend to try to be faithful to the original or introduce some new, potentially heretical twist to engage audiences. The Chosen is the first treatment I’ve seen that pulls back and pans, widening the focus to take in the people touched by Jesus, filling in the tantalising blanks at the edge of the Gospels with compelling stories and subplots.Continue reading
This is my fourth Easter as a Catholic. My favourite part of the Vigil that I attended last night was seeing eight people baptized and welcomed into the Church. It reminds me of my own welcome into the Church, and in the renewal of baptismal vows I am reminded that my own faith journey is not at an end. Easter is the beginning of new and growing life in Jesus Christ!Continue reading
Saint Thomas Becket is a fascinating figure. His story has all the ingredients for a great adventure story; a sort of “rags to riches” element (not, as he was fond of reminding people, that he was poor, but he did rise quite high for his social class); a close friendship with a great King turned suddenly sour; a man who undergoes an immediate and total transformation, turning from a life of pleasure to the single-minded pursuit of a great quest; an ending mixed with equal parts tragedy and triumph.
“Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” – 1 Peter 3:15
I have a confession to make. I love it when Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door. I’ve actually changed direction on the street to meet Mormon missionaries. Where many people hope not to have these encounters, I get excited. My wife is on board with this, thankfully!
In the process, I’ve been able to meet interesting people who are passionate about their faith. And each time I sit down, I get a chance to talk about my faith with them. Each time we finish, I feel like I understand my faith better, though not always in the way my new acquaintance might wish.
It has been some time since I have posted much of anything. As much as I love being a teacher, one of the downsides is that time becomes a scarce and precious commodity from September to June. Having a family only adds to that.
I wish I could say that I was breaking my silence with a long and meticulously planned post. In reality, I have only one, short, simple thought: God is good.