“Christian Courier’s independent Canadian journalism inspires action, builds community and influences culture for Christ.” Last summer, as we were busy behind the scenes building our new website, we took a hard look at our mission statement. Printed on page 4 of every issue, you may have seen it before: “Established 75 years ago,” it said,…
A Christian Courier lead article on Lifewater Canada, “Blindness to Vision”, told the story of Jim Gehrels’ life and work to provide safe, clean water for towns in Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria and Haiti by drilling community wells. Community is the key word. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Jim organized teams of a few volunteers from Canada…
I have read a few dissertations and am happy that most were never released into the general population. Such scholarly scribblings might discourage many readers from ever thinking about graduate school. Then along came Peter Schuurman’s revamped dissertation, The Subversive Evangelical. Many in Canadian churches have awaited this book for some time. Its subjects –…
Recently, Shiao Chong, Editor of The Banner, the Christian Reformed Church’s (CRC) official magazine, published two impassioned articles. In his editorial “Speak Out Against Racism” (June 29), he described a time when he was called a racist epithet on an elevator in Hamilton, Ontario. As well, he referred hopefully to the CRC’s recent statement on racism signed by many agency leaders and later endorsed by the Council of Delegates, though he noted there was “dissent.”
Rose and I spent some time in self-quarantine after returning from visiting Resonate missionaries in the Dominican Republic. For us privileged people this is an obligatory holiday in a comfy place – our home with a big back yard. I’m reading to our grandkids in Ottawa and Grand Rapids via Zoom. We’ve skipped through Stuart Macleans’ Stories from the Vinyl Cafe and one story from James Herriot’s The Lord God Made Them All; eight-year old Japheth zoned out of that Yorkshire tale.
God has given Rose and me a grand and full life on his earth, with all kinds of adventures and experiences that have taken us to many nations, new cultures. We’ve eaten lots of different foods, endured unpredictable dangers and suffered tropical illnesses. Yet never have we seen reports of illness invading entire nations and communities within weeks as we have with this corona virus.
I’ve appreciated Nadia Bolz-Weber’s books, blogs, sermons, and much of Shameless. But as a semi-retired, white-privileged pastor, I risk cultural (mis)appropriation, poking around in lives of people in ways that could harm – not help. You, though, Sara, working with university students, have a closer view into their lives and issues of sexuality. So, thanks for discussing this book together. How did Shameless affect your own life and work?
Jim Gehrels is going blind, but his vision is changing parts of God’s world. I first met Jim while visiting Thunder Bay two years before I moved there from Edmonton to pastor Hope Christian Reformed Church (CRC). Jim then worked as a water expert for Environment Ontario. In the late 1980s, he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). This untreatable degenerative illness deteriorates from night blindness and tunnel vision to total loss of sight. “I’d planned to work, save money, raise my kids – hoping after retirement to give back to God’s world,” Jim says. “With RP, my world collapsed.”
In the first paragraph of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s preface to In This World of Wonders, he admits his long reluctance to write about himself as a legacy of his southwest Minnesota Dutch immigrant community’s ethos of self-deprecation, “…[N]ever toot your own horn,” he writes.
I’d bet a considerable sum that John Terpstra knows more about Hamilton, Ontario, on, under and above the earth than any other person, living or dead. Knowing the most, though, and being able, willing and driven to write about that subject lovingly and unforgettably are two different things.
In May 2018, my wife Rose and I travelled to the Netherlands for a week-long boat and bike. After completing the tour, we took the Saturday morning train to Dordrecht to visit my second cousins and the home of the 1618 Synod of Dort.
I “taught” (using the word loosely) Joy Jam at Jubilee Fellowship church recently to a roomful of third and fourth graders bumpily becoming fuller images of God, a.k.a, naughty boys. “Roomful” in this case is four, plus one imported first grader, for the longest 43 minutes of my life.