The pope has a point about marriage

Jun 20, 2016 by

Pope Francis got himself in trouble recently for suggesting that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages being celebrated today are “invalid” because couples do not fully appreciate that they are...

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What does church mean to us?

May 19, 2016 by

I spent a good chunk of one recent morning in an online discussion about the future of Mennonite Church Canada with a handful of other young-ish pastors from across the nation. It was interesting to be...

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A good Christian

May 2, 2016 by

Most of us who fall into the “Christian” category of humanity walk around with at least some conception of a “good Christian” in our heads. It might not be a very good conception. It might not be very...

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Why do we eat soup during Lent?

Mar 22, 2016 by

Why do we eat soup during Lent? The question from a church member caught me a bit off guard as I was scrambling to get a few things together for a soup and bread Lenten lunch that our church was hosting last...

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Faces with stories

Feb 24, 2016 by

I dropped in on our local English training center for newcomers to Canada today. It wasn’t a planned visit, but I was having a conversation at a downtown coffee shop about how the Syrian families we...

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Losing and finding what matters most

Jan 19, 2016 by

Last summer, on a sticky, oppressively hot Wednesday afternoon in New York City, I lost my fourteen year-old son. My son isn’t easy to lose — he’s 6’5 and nearly 200 pounds — so this will probably...

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Frightening light

Dec 24, 2015 by

The “rising sun” came unexpectedly and unobtrusively upon those living in darkness. It was a very small light in a very ordinary place. A baby. Of all things. A baby boy. Which didn’t seem very...

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Growing together with refugees

Oct 23, 2015 by

I’ve been paying attention to Germany lately. And not just because my wife happens to be there visiting dear friends of ours who live in Bavaria (my daily act of spiritual discipline this week has been to...

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Paperwork perspectives

Oct 17, 2015 by

I hate paperwork at the best of times. I hate filling out forms, grinding through the interminable bureaucratic labyrinths that seem to be part and parcel of modern life. Sign this waiver. Check that box. File...

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A disruption of natural order

Sep 10, 2015 by

Every day, it seems, the refugee crisis in Europe worsens. Every day, the headlines that jump out at me when I open my computer in the morning are grim and foreboding. It’s not at all hard to imagine things...

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What makes a life matter?

Aug 19, 2015 by

It was 36 degrees Celsius around these parts yesterday, which, for many Canadians used to considerably more chilly climes, means a general experience of sticky, sweaty unbearableness that makes us despair of...

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People of the heart

May 7, 2015 by

Every so often, the accumulation of paper and books and coffee cups and unopened correspondence on my desk crosses a threshold of clutter and despair that even I am no longer able to tolerate. I begin take...

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The things we hide from others

Mar 30, 2015 by

Like many, I’ve been following the story of the Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot who deliberately crashed the plane he was co-piloting from Barcelona to Dusseldorf into the French Alps on March 24,...

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Pain management

Mar 16, 2015 by

Two recent conversations about pain . . . My daughter has lately been coming to terms with the horrors of World War II. They’ve been studying this period of history in school, and last night she watched a...

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Faith and straight lines

Feb 12, 2015 by

When I was young, faith often seemed to be about straight lines. Right/wrong. Do/don’t. Pure/impure. In/out. Faith/doubt. Virtue/sin. Blessed/cursed. Victorious/suffering. Innocent/guilty. Saved/damned. The...

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Protecting ourselves, mistreating others and smudging

Nov 18, 2014 by

We do a lot of driving in our family. Driving to volleyball, guitar, swim club, band rehearsal, grandma and grandpa’s, and on and on it goes. Many days it is in the car that some of the best, most important,...

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Broken down

Oct 23, 2014 by

I look out my office window this morning and see a rusty, mud-streaked old pick-up truck with a creaky-looking camper on the back stagger and wheeze its way into the church parking lot. Such sights in the...

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His sorrow is splendor

Aug 21, 2014 by

A little girl in our community has died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Shatteringly. Nine years old, Christ have mercy. And this is the part where those who call themselves “pastors” are supposed to provide...

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Limitations of preaching

Jun 12, 2014 by

Every Sunday morning, men and women around the planet get up in front of other humans and presume to speak about and for God. And, I suspect, that every Sunday morning, at least some of these same men and...

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You don’t know what it’s like

Apr 16, 2014 by

One day, three conversations. 1. I’m at a function where my job is to give a short devotional and prayer before the meal. Pastor-y stuff. I’m trying to be witty, disarming, light. I make some throwaway...

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