‘Efficient’ Eden?
Creation | Opinion | Poetry

‘Efficient’ Eden?

It’s tempting to follow the utilitarian ideal – “designed to be useful or practical rather than attractive” – when thinking about the population of this world. We need, say some, to use every square inch of space to feed a rapidly increasing population. Combine this concern with mechanization and extensive agriculture, and all sorts of…

Edenic landscapes II
Food | Opinion

Edenic landscapes II

Many of us have been influenced by classical ideals when it comes to our ideas about landscapes and gardens. This can be shown in two ways. First, through ideas about reason, order, and even God. For people as far back as at least the 5th century B.C.E. – Plato’s time, roughly – the mind was…

Edenic Landscapes I
Creation | Opinion

Edenic Landscapes I

Genesis gives us remarkably few details about the garden of Eden: two naked people, a serpent, two notable trees. So what do you imagine when you hear the word garden? You may think Beyoncé is lush, but last year’s gardens in Quick, B.C. define the word. With a rain forest weather pattern this summer things…

Look, a star!
Church Life | Opinion

Look, a star!

“The star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great delight. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with his mother Mary, and they fell down and worshiped him”(Matt. 2: 9-11a). Long…

Zoom church
Church Life | Opinion

Zoom church

Church leaders have written much on “how COVID-19 changes everything.” Yet it seems that the goal of church leaders is that everything should eventually return to normal, despite their protestations to the contrary. The literature suggests that some lasting effects of the pandemic will include more virtual congregations, individualism and (gasp) lower financial offerings. Will…

The Doctrine We Never Discuss
Ministry | Opinion | Theology & Spirituality

The Doctrine We Never Discuss

Do you remember discussions about free will and predestination? About total depravity or limited atonement? Should women hold church office? Should the church bless faithful, covenanted same-sex marriages?  I’ve been involved in discussions on all these topics, and although they’re important, as I get older, I think that there is a doctrine that should take…

Give Me a Break
Industry & Agriculture | Opinion | Theology & Spirituality

Give Me a Break

What does Sabbath mean when we can’t worship together physically because of the dangers to physical health? Do we take a break, essentially “fasting” from celebrating the Sabbath? Are we in “a time of eucharistic fasting, in which we join with the whole communion of saints in longing for the bread of new life and the wine of the age to come,” as the Anglican Church of Canada’s website suggests?

Vocabulary and Birdsong for Children
Creation | Opinion | Youth & Young Adults

Vocabulary and Birdsong for Children

As I write this, our front yard is full of birds. One of my favourites during this late part of April is the white-crowned sparrow, which is making its massive spring migration to the north. My friend Mel Colson says that the male’s mating call is this: poor-Will-peeeeed-his-pants. I wouldn’t forget that mnemonic device soon. (Remember that word to impress your teacher or parents.)

Twicers?
Opinion

Twicers?

It wasn’t that long ago that many Protestant churches had two worship services per Sunday. In those older times your commitment to God was judged – at least partially – on whether you were a once-r or a twice-r. In our family we were twicers. In these days of viral assault on human health, we use telephones and computers to try to worship together in some way or another. On Palm Sunday I heard four sermons!

In Memory of Bert
Opinion

In Memory of Bert

A collective loss. I honour Bert Witvoet for his encouragement both as a writer and editor. He stuck with me when I was very ill with depression. He once took Betsey and me to a sight-seeing tour of the Niagara Peninsula, dropped us off in a drenching downpour at the railing overlooking Niagara Falls, and came back to pick us up . . . eventually. Some honeymoon. Our world is poorer for his absence.

Urban Wildlife II
Opinion

Urban Wildlife II

Last month I wrote with some nostalgia about little rascals mounting expeditions to find some wildlife to hunt in town and finding relatively little (“Urban Wildlife I,” Feb. 24). Part of this dearth of wildlife in town was due to the diligence of local Dutch residents in keeping things neat and tidy. Bushes were trimmed; trees had no lower branches. Shrubs were mostly bridal wreath (spirea) and ground-hugging junipers.