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Civility in Public Discourse

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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. 

100 Days in Review

Last Thursday, April 29th, marks the end of President Biden’s first 100 days in office. In recent history, the first 100 days often indicate the newly elected president’s priorities and signal how he seeks to set himself apart from his predecessor. Following his campaign promises, President Joe Biden pursued an approach to immigration policy that is significantly distinct from the last administration. In many ways, President Biden took concentrated measures that ended cruel and unjust immigration practices.

On Atlanta, On Anger, On Anti-Asian Racism

This could almost become an age-old adage, “It took something so horrible for people to pay attention to…”. We could fill in the blanks with a plethora of choices from the social issue buffet that plagues Canadian societies.

Messy Noetic Spaces

“The metaphor for love is Arishi*”. I heard this beautiful line in my leadership masters class recently, and it resonated deeply. Arishi means, ‘to speak mutually’. When I reflect on the meaning of Arishi, speaking mutually, its meaning extends beyond dialogue. In a conversation, the assumption and hope are to share thoughts and be heard and perhaps even be respected. To speak mutually is to enter the conversation on the premise of a joint agreement in each other’s value. 

Loving Your Neighbors Whoever They Are

When she read a story on social media about headstones in a Jewish cemetery being vandalized in Michigan, my niece, Meghan Cohen, thought immediately of the cemetery in the Detroit area where her grandparents and aunt are buried.

A college professor in Denver, Meghan quickly decided that if the vandals had defaced the graves of her loved ones, she would hop on a plane -- despite the COVID- 19 pandemic -- and head for Detroit to clean them.

Wisdom & Discernment

Since 2011, I’ve been speaking and raising awareness about issues relating to human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Over the years, my presentation style changes and evolves to work to my strengths and address emerging issues. One of the challenges I have speaking to audiences of strangers is not knowing how much they might already know about the issue, so I tend to start with general facts and information and go from there. Last year, I adapted my presentation and centered my content around myths about human trafficking.

Being Christ to All in a Coronavirus Context

Over the past two weeks rhetoric has heated up with regards to race.  I heard one woman question whether COVID-19 was passed through Chinese food.  I’ve heard from Chinese friends that they’ve been targeted with derogatory remarks (and in other cases physical attacks).  Most disturbing, I’ve heard that the Christian community is not immune to spreading these sentiments.  As we discuss this let’s start with the basic fact that there is

Living Conviction in an Age of Unbelief

I recently attended a lecture at Redeemer University College, Albert Mohler discussed ‘Living Conviction in an Age of Unbelief.’ And he gave us his airplane questions. You know, the questions that Christians like to ask their seatmates when conversations turn deep. I would think there’s no way of avoiding these questions when you’re the president of a seminary. Mohler’s questions are, “What are you living for?” and “How is it working for you?” The questions seem particularly relevant as I sit in an airport waiting for a delayed flight. 

“Whose side are you on?"

“Whose side are you on? Are you with them or are you with us?” 

Joining A Community of Practice

In April 2006, I was a teenager at home watching the CBC News as they reported from a land dispute in Caledonia, Ontario. On the screen, a reporter talked about escalating tensions between townspeople and the Indigenous protestors who had taken over a development site that lay between the town and the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. Behind the reporter a tire fire blazed. I looked through our living room window and I could see the billowing black smoke over the houses and trees. It was surreal to me that my hometown was national news. 

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