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Theology

True Worship & Fast: Riffing on Isaiah 58

God is not impressed.

Why, you ask? Allow me paint an evocative picture.

 

Sing song, sing-a-long.

Hands raised to high heaven,

Like the branches of red oaks

Only inches shy of touching the big blue sky.

 

While the world sleeps, the Christian’s alarm clock beeps

It’s Sunday, says the mind as our lips get on their grind

Creating great services, working hard on our performances

and striving even harder to maintain appearances.

 

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Did You Mean These Neighbours, Jesus?

In the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke, a lawyer put Jesus to the test by asking a bold question - “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The lawyer already knew the answer written in the Law, which is love God and love your neighbour. Not fully satisfied with the answer, he followed up with an honest question, “And who is my neighbour?” I have been thinking about this simple yet challenging question as I encounter others in my daily life, work, church and neighbourhood.

Our Cloud of Witnesses: Pastor Ken Vander Wall

While there were several members of the great cloud of witnesses who shepherded me into the worldview and polity of the Christian Reformed Church, one of the more memorable is my friend Pastor Ken Vander Wall.

Rev. Ken Vander Wall is an ordained minister of the Christian Reformed Church who serves as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Campus Minister at William Paterson and Farleigh Dickerson universities. He is also always on call for members of Madison Avenue CRC in Paterson, New Jersey (NJ) who desire his counsel or help.

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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:

Is Health Care for the Poor a Requirement of Justice?

It just so happens that as Congress considers dismantling Medicaid as we know it – as well as an end to the law that requires health insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions – I am preparing to explore the theme of “Good News for the Poor” with my seminary ethics class. One of the things I do with my students is to walk through the New Testament to show them just how continuously and emphatically Christ and the apostles call Christians to take responsibility for the poor.

Our Cloud of Witnesses: Bulus Ali

My Nigerian friend and colleague in the work of peace and justice, Bulus Ali, has been an icon of peace to me; a representation of and witness for what Peace is and Justice does.

I’ve known and worked with Bulus for 30 years, first when he was an agricultural extension agent in Nigeria for CRWRC (now World Renew) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and more recently in his capacity as the liaison between the Reformed Churches in Nigeria’s Peace Justice and Reconciliation Committee (PJRC) and CRC ministries supporting the work of the PJRC.

Kids for Kids: a Sunday school lesson plan for Indigenous justice

I have an encouraging story to tell you. Last Sunday I led 12 Sunday school kids, ages roughly 3 to 12, in learning about the underfunding of First Nations schools on reserve by the Canadian government and how we can speak up for fair funding. We started off by talking about the creation story, especially the creation of humanity in God’s image, and how that makes every single one of us special. The kids were excited to talk about how we can let others know that they’re special: one 3 year-old said his parents make him feel special when they tuck him in for the night.  

Our Cloud of Witnesses: Liz Tolkamp

We follow in the steps of many Christian Reformed justice-seekers who have gone before us, faithful Christians who have lived out the radical call of the Gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Who is in your cloud of witnesses? Who inspires you to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us”? Like the writer of Hebrews, let’s remember our cloud of witnesses and be encouraged for the race ahead of us. Follow along with the series by signing up here.

 

This Lent, Give up Complacency

Lent might well be the most challenging season in the Christian calendar. Advent is about anticipation of things to come. Christmas and Easter are both celebrations of good news. But Lent? Lent is a season of sacrifice.

How Should the Church Respond to Trump's Travel Ban?

I began wrestling with this question last week Sunday when I read about two Christian families from Syria who, after fourteen years of working to attain permission to come to America, were told upon arriving at the airport that they either needed to leave the country or lose their visas. As CNN reported that morning:

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