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New Opportunities

Stay informed on important legislation, learn about emerging justice areas, and find networks to plug in to.

What’s Forming You, Really?

When did I know I was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fans? My father, John Smith, worked in the steel mill measuring and making the rings for sinks as a master welder. I saw him leaving for work around 6 am and returned around 3:30 pm or 4 pm depending on traffic. His way of relaxing was a six pack of Schlitz beer, puffing a Salem cigarette and watching a team that hadn’t been to the World Series since 1945 and hadn’t won a championship since 1908. Yet, my father watched them despite his heart being broken over and over again.

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The Power of Welcome

People are often surprised when I say that I’ve been blessed by refugees my entire life, but it’s true. 

Sometimes it’s because I grew up in small-town Iowa, and they assume that Iowa is as white and unicultural as a state could be. 

Sometimes it’s because they, too, grew up in small-town Iowa and didn’t have a similar experience. 

Sometimes it’s because they grew up in other states or countries and can’t recall any personal experiences with refugees that they see as blessings in their own lives. 

Reading for Restoration: Bible Remixed

Why is it that so many people
find the Bible to be, well, a little bit boring?
 
Or, if not boring, then downright dangerous,
fuelling violence and domination?
 
Could this have something to do with
how the Bible is being read?
 
Could it have to do 
with the lenses we use to read the Bible?
Or the way we enter this story?
 

Power of Voice, Fair Process, Just Process and Restorative Practices

A driver was going 5 mph over the limit due to not seeing a damaged speed limit sign. After a police officer issued the driver a traffic infraction the driver immediately scheduled a time to argue it. However, even before the driver could talk, the judge simply threw out the infraction. Even though the driver didn’t have to pay the fine, they left feeling dissatisfied because they did not have the opportunity to speak.

Laughing Ceremony for the Soul

There are Indigenous rituals and traditions in the Americas that might alarm the Christian white Euro-centric culture that are not involved or aware of the history and cultural aspects surrounding them. There is nothing wrong with having culture and customs per say. However, I have seen where some ceremonies clash with the word of God and many of them become unsavory salt amongst the salted disciples. Christian Indigenous leaders must discern the parts of our culture which lead us away from God but also those which will benefit our spiritual walk.

Reckoning: A Prayer for Settler Christians

It has been a difficult month.  The recovery of unmarked graves near former Indian Residential School sites in Kamloops in BC, Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, and Cranbrook, BC has prompted anger, sorrow, and soul-searching across Turtle Island and – because of international news coverage – around the world.  Indigenous Peoples in Canada have been vocal in reminding settler Canadians that the finding of these graves should not come as a surprise: their own testimonies gave witness to their likelihood, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action #71-76

Thinking About Travel Restrictions on World Refugee Day

June 20 is World Refugee Day, a day to honour the resilience and courage of refugees around the world and stand with them to show our support. This year, as we celebrate the contributions that people who were refugees have made to our communities, let us also acknowledge the barriers that the COVID-19 pandemic places on those seeking safety and protection. The pandemic has brought challenges to all of us and in particular to refugees abroad whose vulnerabilities have been exacerbated.

Ramblings from a Heart Exchanged

This last year I partnered with my friend Johnny Lee to help teach Christian youth about Indigenous justice through The Mustard Seed’s Seed Serve program. I usually start the conversation like this: 

Would you ever buy something from someone if you knew it was stolen? 

Most of the youth would say no way! 

What if you really wanted it? 

Still the answer was a firm no. 

Ontario Healthcare Workers Need Conscience Protection

I want to bring to your attention a matter of importance from the healthcare community.  Last month, Federal Parliament passed Bill C-7, further expanding euthanasia* access in Canada.**  As a rural family physician, I have had a front-line view on the implications of the changing legislation regarding euthanasia.  I recently sat in the home of an elderly man in my practice.  His body is failing, and he is facing the reality that he can no longer live independently.  Though not terminally ill nor in pain

Exchanging Hearts

“When it comes to cross-cultural ministry, I could give you techniques, but what has made the greatest impact is when we exchanged hearts.” (Ray Aldred, Hearts Exchanged Report, 2000)

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