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Toward Jesus’ Hospitality

In a world where xenophobia is intensifying, God calls us to practice philoxenia, love toward strangers, which in Greek means hospitality. The hospitality that we are talking about is a hospitality that Jesus embodied. From my perspective, I think there are at least three recognizable stages: common, widening, and mutual hospitality.

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Mercy & Mishpat: A different approach to preventing human trafficking

Content warning: this post reflects on how society - mostly personal attitudes, but to an extent legal approaches - responds to and treats perpetrators of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. I am not a survivor of trafficking or exploitation, so my reflections about these matters are from a distance. As someone who works closely with individuals who have been personally affected by these crimes, I make every effort to be sensitive to their victimization and experiences.

Underside the Mountain: Listening to a City’s Marginalized

While at a church planting conference in Montreal, I was able to explore the city for a day. I visited some drop-ins for those experiencing homelessness and, while eating lunch, I met a man. He was a true Montrealer whose family was from Ecuador. His head was adorned with long, curly hair; his body was adorned with style. He wanted to give me a tour of the city while on his bottle-picking route. I decided to take him up on his offer. We walked together for the day and I was able to experience the city from a powerful perspective – its hidden underside. 

Justice Prayers - July 12, 2023

“There is not one little blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make men rejoice.” - John Calvin

Bones of Crows

I recently went to see the film Bones of Crows with three other members of my Hearts Exchanged group. I made sure to put a stash of tissues in my purse - I expected to get quite emotional based on what I had seen in the trailer for the film. I didn’t use any of those tissues. Not because the film avoided hard stories but because the characters were strong and resilient and the painful truths were not manipulated into some kind of gratuitous sentimentality.

Leaning in to the Struggle

“When you hear strong emotions, especially anger, your natural tendency is to back away and perhaps cross your arms to protect yourself. If you want to help someone with their pain, I suggest leaning forward toward the person with an open posture.” I heard this counter-intuitive advice from a small group training facilitator who was showing us how to help sexual abuse victims process their emotions. This guidance was against all my natural tendencies but has been most useful in helping others with strong emotions.

The Holism of Healing: Integrating Disability and Faith into Accounts of Healing

In the summer of 2015, as I was walking out of the subway station at Bloor and Dufferin in Toronto, and about to get groceries for dinner, I heard a soft voice behind me. A young woman with dusty blonde hair called out to me; I thought she had an Australian accent but couldn’t be certain. She had noticed that I had cerebral palsy, and asked if she could pray for my “difficulty.” I told her that I was a systematic theologian, and didn’t really need prayer, but she was welcome to pray anyway. She did so passionately for a few moments, and graciously asked if I’d felt anything.

Was Mary a Deacon?

Lately I’ve been wondering if Mary, mother of Jesus, would have been installed as a deacon if there was a CRC church at that time? I’m a big fan of how thought experiments can help us be more curious and explore the mysteries of our faith.  At the heart of my wondering, I would not focus on issues of Mary’s  place in the culture but focus more on her heart and her actions.

When I was 11 years old…

I prayed & I prayed 
Oh what I would trade
For blonde hair & blue eyes.
My innocent self thought maybe just maybe I wouldn’t have to carry this burden inside
The pain of dark skin and Distinct features
Made me think I was the sin
On my hands and my knees
My ignorant faith
Begged my Maker-pleeeeeaaasee
take away my own hate
 
When I was 11 years old
 
I could not understand
This Shame was given to me by the colonial

Every Day is a Day for Justice

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, an opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It's a time to honour the stories, achievements and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, who have lived on this land since time immemorial and whose presence continues to impact the evolving Canada. 

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