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Already and Not Yet

Reflect on our role in God's restorative work, and recognize both renewal and continued brokenness. Be encouraged by stories of challenges and successes in the pursuit of shalom.

An (Un)Complicated Whiteness: Privilege, Repentance, and the Work of Justice

Most Thursdays, I spend my afternoons at a local halfway house and healing centre, created to prepare Indigenous men for the transition from federal prison to the street. I walk through two sets of glass doors, up a short flight of stairs, and into the sweet smell of sage grass and fried food. Indigenous parole officers, administrators, and parolees mill around a front desk, filling out paperwork and discussing their plans for the weekend. Of the dozen or so people around me, I am the only one with white skin. Brown skin is the norm here, and my whiteness makes me an outsider.

The Benedict Option: Musings on the Decline of Western Civilization

I always find it amusing when white Christians debate—exclusively among themselves—the fate of civilization. The rest of us can only be outside observers, passengers in sweeping historical narratives in which we are an afterthought. Not only does this erasure obscure what has actually occurred, it falsifies what these storytellers say about themselves, their traditions, and the wider world.

When you hear discussions about the decline of western civilization and the importance of cultural renewal, ask some of the following questions:

Resource: A Lenten Journey of Confession and Action

Often when we think about a Lenten spiritual discipline we think of giving up something for that season. But the purpose of a Lenten spiritual discipline—to grow closer to God—also allows us to take this time to intentionally and regularly practice an action that we want to become a discipline in our lives. This year we want to invite you to practice confession, lament, and doing justice during Lent.

Would Jesus be Deported from the U.S.?

In Matthew’s Gospel, the birth of Jesus is quickly followed by migration under perilous circumstances. Joseph is warned in a dream about a brutal policy soon to be implemented by the political regime in power. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus flee to Egypt where they find safety until God eventually calls them back to dwell in Nazareth after circumstances have changed. This story always makes me wonder: what if Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had been stopped at the border? What if they were kept in a detention center?

My Trip to Standing Rock

Susie Silversmith and her husband Richard visited the Standing Rock Sioux camp recently to answer a call to people of faith to stand with Standing Rock. For more reflection from Richard and Susie and background on the situation in North Dakota, visit this Banner article. Susie was interviewed by Danielle Rowaan after her return.  

Diversity is our Greatest Strength: Sarahi

So much of the conversation about immigration during this election season has not been based on facts or on the biblical value of philoxenia (love of the stranger, see Romans 12:13 or Hebrews 13:2). There has been much talk about immigrants—and not enough listening to immigrants themselves. The Blessing Not Burden campaign is part of changing that. 

Canada, Who Are We?

The great Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock once quipped something to the effect that one of the good things about living in Canada is that you can look over fence at your American neighbours for entertainment and then give thanks for not living there. Leacock’s witticism reveals a smugness to our Canadian psyche. Often enough, we talk about American politics, and we quickly agree that they are simply American phenomena and part of the great American disease.

Facing the Demon of Racism

Before I came to the United States to attend college, I had spent fifteen of my eighteen years in the global south, from my country of origin to my host countries, in cultures and countries where my brown skin did not draw unwanted attention, good or ill. My formative years were spent in contexts where multiplicity—of language, culture, country of origin, and experience—was the air that we breathed; it was normal, it was good, it was celebrated.

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Engage 2016: Is the CRC truly “God’s Diverse and Unified Family?”

Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige spoke openly and honestly about her experience as an African-American woman on the opening night of the Engage 2016 conference, a multiethnic gathering on the grounds of Calvin College in Grand Rapids this past June. For many, including the two of us, that talk was one of the highlights of the conference (which is significant because there were so many great speakers!). Loyd-Paige’s talk was prophetic in two senses—it spoke truth to power and it was a sign of things to come

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The Day Strangers Invited Me in and Clothed Me

But the hospitality we were shown in Mangulile did not have requirements or qualifications. This was give-up-my-seat-for-you, give-up-my-job-for-you, give-you-the-brand-new-shirt-off-my-back kind of hospitality.

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