Calling and chosenness

Calling and chosenness

In an episode of the most recent season of House of Cards, when U.S. President Francis Underwood has a late-night spiritual crisis, he summons the bishop and heads to church. The bishop tells Underwood – the protagonist and villain of the show – that there’s no such thing as absolute power. “You weren’t chosen, Mr. President,” he says, pointing at the altar crucifix. “Only he was.” After, left alone for a few minutes of reflection, Underwood stands in front of the statue and stares it down. “Love. That’s what you’re selling,” he says, and spits in Jesus’ face.

#JeSuisRelational

#JeSuisRelational

Your Muslim neighbour, whose name you can never remember, enters the park and shoos his kids towards the swings. He sits. You chat. When the conversation shifts to religion, you sense a certain opportunity, and ask him some questions about him and his faith. He does the same. Some time passes. Both families’ children gather at the grownups’ feet to listen and learn.

Permitted to learn

Permitted to learn

Before that Talib boarded her school bus and shot her in the forehead, she was already blogging against the Taliban’s systematic oppression of girls’ education. All through her painful recovery, through death threats and intimidation, she was not silenced. Even now, trying to quantify the importance of her ongoing advocacy and obvious success is daunting: the Nobel Prize looks small by comparison.

Next door: A True Christmas Story
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Next door: A True Christmas Story

Corktown is an old neighbourhood, one that has weathered the rises and descents of a steeltown like Hamilton. You can see century homes on the same stretch of block as faceless apartment buildings, and you can walk from one end to the other in about five minutes and 30 seconds to see the whole range of then until now. And sometimes you can guess who’s renting and who owns their small patch of this railside neighbourhood by how many mailboxes you can see or how well the gardens are tended.

The Borderless top 10

The Borderless top 10

The future of faith among youth – read: Millennials – and those who minister to them is a popular discussion. You’ve encountered it before, of course, especially in church publications, framed by sobering statistics about declining numbers of churchgoing youth, and often positioned around two questions: What’s happening? How can we entice/bribe/win/encourage them back?