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Being Right or Being Righteous

A question for you: Do you value having the right opinion over doing right by your neighbours?  Or, to use the language of the ancient Hebrew prophets, do you value being right over being righteous – that is, being in right relationship with others?  

System Reboot

The Southern Baptist Convention just booted several prominent churches from their denomination because of their allowance of women pastors and preachers. “Shiny Happy People”, the documentary giving an inside look into the Duggar Family and the harmful practices of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, is streaming on Amazon Prime and it currently has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. More churches and worship leaders are rethinking singing music from Hillsong and Bethel because of scandals and controversy surrounding their ministries. 


The Joys of Imperfection

47 years ago I had the privilege of teaching typing (do you remember what that is?) to a class of grade nine students in Toronto. To my great dismay, Sandra, one of the brightest students in the class, failed the course. Her mother said to me, “She refused to hand in any work that is not perfect, and finally she completely gave up and chose to fail the course.” I had a little heart-to-heart with Sandra. I encouraged her to try to give up the need for perfection and re-do the course during the summer. She did re-do it, and though her work was not perfect, she earned an “A.”


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.

Finding Calm in the Uncontrollable Storm

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.


Success At What Expense?

I’ve had the Last Dance on my Netflix docket since late 2020 but with the arrival of Air Jordan movie in theaters, I circled back and started watching it. The Last Dance examines the Chicago Bulls rise to the top, led by Michael Jordan.  I like biopics, and have always been drawn to people’s stories and their why. But because of my range of thoughts on Jordan and his legacy I wasn’t really compelled to tune in.


The great justice Psalm: Psalm 23

There was a time in my life when I arrogantly decided that Psalm 23 was so overused that it had become a Hallmark card cliche. Then I realized it embodied a deep and profound call to seek justice. 

Here is my own paraphrase of the Psalm written as a prayer that attempts to highlight this beautiful call.

Shepherd me, Lord, through all my longings and wants. So much seems so broken, and without your shepherding, I am often left exhausted, drained of hope.


Let Us Die

Good Friday is a day for the church to remember that, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it so well, ‘when Christ bids us ‘come’, he bids us ‘come and die’.  Despite all of our attempts to construe Jesus’ death as a comforting and comfortable way out of pain and suffering, the reality is – to steal a line from my friend and biblical scholar Andrew Rillera – “Jesus does not die instead of us.  Jesus dies ahead of us.”  We who embrace and are embraced by Jesus are invited to follow Jesus on the way of the cross.  Walking the way of the cross with Jesus is where we learn to suffer for a suff


Wrestling with Suffering

I started a new job as an Art Teacher at a Juvenile Detention Center in August of last year. Prior to teaching, I volunteered at the facility through my church. As you can imagine teaching justice-involved youth comes with a unique set of challenges. I’m at the center of a lot more angst and less excitement than I ever was as a volunteer. I also know a lot more about the residents– now my students.  Their stories are more pronounced in their daily classroom behavior. It can be a hard thing to carry.  I can’t imagine how hard it is to live the stories. 

CPD oil for seeking justice

The Do Justice editor has invited me to contribute to “Do Justice” every three months, and this post marks the launch! This week I’m retiring from regular employment, and one of my post-employment goals is to live out Micah 6.8 more intentionally with my wife Evelyn in our local context here in Hamilton, ON:  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

One thing I have learned as I prepare for this transition: seeking justice requires CPD oil.


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