Looking for justice for Palestinians
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Looking for justice for Palestinians

On February 3, Brock University hosted its tenth annual Social Justice Forum in the Marilyn Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts in St. Catharines, Ont. Once producing train seats, that repurposed factory now showcases the humanities. A conference dealing with environment, human and labour rights found the renovated venue a fitting place for the 12 workshops.

Driving from deep darkness into the Light
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Driving from deep darkness into the Light

Sometimes a cautionary moral tale, Driving travels deeply personal, often wrenching theological-doctrinal roads exploring sin and grace. Not content to leave this merely as a chronological narrative of sin, confession, forgiveness and restoration, Bird traverses landscapes of human lostness and eventual forgiveness, inviting readers into his passenger seat on his journeys, both physical and spiritual.

Give, send, go
Church Life | News | Theology & Spirituality

Give, send, go

The compelling reason for the changing funding for various missions is that, over decades, Christian Reformed denominational ministry shares have steadily decreased to half or less than what agencies had budgeted for and received. While church members are still generous in wishing to support missions domestically and overseas, domestic office leaders and synods find themselves in a very difficult spot. In today’s personality-driven culture, donors give far less readily to agencies and institutions. Congregations and their members prefer to target their giving to people and places with whom they have personal connections or relationships.

All I want for Xmas
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All I want for Xmas

How long can God’s world survive our consumerism? Though we attend worship weekly and pray daily, we often seem to worship what we do to buy the stuff we want. Materialism – the quest for wealth and personal or national security – separates us from different cultures, nations, faiths and even friends and family. We are killing relationships personally, nationally, internationally.

New identities and traditions: An interview with two Christian pastors in Ukraine
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New identities and traditions: An interview with two Christian pastors in Ukraine

In early March I led a retreat on “Theologies of Risk and Suffering” with seven Ukrainian pastors outside Kyiv. From remarkably different backgrounds, Alexander Nikolaeev and Robert Shpontak described their work in a free-flowing conversation. Alexander lived for nearly 40 years in Ukraine as part of the U.S.S.R. Robert, a boy when Ukraine declared independence, remembers little of that time. Currently Robert serves as a pastor and teacher in peaceful western Ukraine, while Alexander is a lay pastor near the eastern conflict zone. Thanks to Rev. George de Vuyst for translating.

Pre-Pentecost baptisms in Berlin
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Pre-Pentecost baptisms in Berlin

Since I attended that service, two significant questions keep ranging through my thoughts: Will these new Christians and the many other refugees continue to find freedom from danger in their new land? Will Christians and churches in Germany and elsewhere – including Canada – not merely evangelize and baptize new Christians, but might those refugees actually ignite a holy fire of renewal in our churches?

Leonard Cohen’s legacy: Common grace marches on
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Leonard Cohen’s legacy: Common grace marches on

It took Cohen’s long-time backup singer, Jennifer Warnes’ often eerie, haunting, sometimes reverential 1986 tribute album, Famous Blue Raincoat to draw me into Cohen’s fold. Even then, though, I remained comfortably on its margins. Then came Ten New Songs in 2001, co-written and produced by Sharon Robinson. That was the first pure Cohen CD I bought – but not till 2004. I was hooked, gaffed, pulled up on deck and captured alive for the next 13 years.