The mandate letters for three federal cabinet ministers this year include finding a way to “better incorporate quality of life measurements into government decision-making and budget processes.” While this may sound like another frivolous, feel-good Liberal talking point, it could have profound implications. And it is in line with Biblical teachings. The Bible is full of warnings about letting wealth and economics dictate our lives, at the expense of other factors that are equally important for our well-being – or flourishing, to use a Biblical word.
Within a few days, fear of the new coronavirus turned into stereotyping Chinese people. The first is a legitimate fear; the second is failure to keep our fears in check. The same pattern happens when fear of harm to our children leads to rigid rules that keep them from going out for free play. Legitimate fear of abusive behaviour can become definitions of “safe space” that shut down reasoned debate of controversial topics.
To improve my mental health, I decided to stop reading stories about Christians and U.S. politics. High anxiety and loss of hope were affecting my work. I’m glad, however, that I couldn’t resist the Christianity Today editorial just before Christmas. It was a bold call for evangelical Christians to end the un-questioning allegiance to Donald Trump. Two things made this a prophetic moment and lifted my spirits. First was its focus on the impact for the gospel message, not for U.S. politics: “Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.
In two days, the wooded path close to my house became a trail of stumps. The only crime of the trees was being in the path of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension designed to bring people from the suburbs to downtown Ottawa. Within hours of the first cut, grieving and angry messages flooded the email account I manage as chair of my community planning community. Emotions ran high as videos and photos were shared on our local Facebook page.
Do churches have a unique role to play in our current Canadian context? Yes, said many participants in a recent cross-country dialogue on the future of Christianity in Canada. To honour its 75th anniversary, the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) hosted cross-country dialogues on the future of Christianity in Canada. The dialogues included a focus on some of the social divisions that were reinforced in the recent federal election. Church leaders from Indigenous, Francophone and minority cultural communities brought different perspectives to round tables where the themes of the youth alienation, social isolation and care for creation were highlighted for attention.
There were no winners in the 2019 federal election. Members of parliament are reconvening on Parliament Hill like a classroom of chastened schoolboys after an embarrassing noon-hour brawl, not as respected political leaders. The country, however, might benefit from a more somber, careful approach to public policy and decision-making. All parties have a social license to discard petty promises they made to court certain groups of voters and to focus instead on the big challenges facing Canada. Many commentators predict small steps, but there is reason to suggest that bold actions in a number of areas is what it will take for a clear political win in the next election.
Is Zwarte Piet an example of blackface and racism or a fun-loving Dutch Christmas tradition? That was dinner conversation in our house last month as my children reflected on the controversy surrounding photos of Canada’s prime minister in brown and blackface. Zwarte Piet is the black servant of the Dutch Sinterklaas who brings gifts to children on December 5. Discomfort or support for continuing this tradition in Canada seems more influenced by attitudes toward one’s Dutch heritage than understanding white privilege and the negative impacts of such portrayals for neighbours of African descent.
Can climate change also change the political climate in Canada? Many who care for creation hope it will. Reducing extreme partisanship is almost as important as taking global warming seriously to get to solutions that care for creation.
Smart phones give us instant connection to friends far away – and often distance from those sitting next to us. They give access to global information – and fake news. Increased safety for teens – and cyber-bullying. Direct participation in political life – and interference in elections.
When we read Bible stories about sacrificing children to gods, we quickly explain that is ancient history; we claim we don’t do that anymore. Is that true? I pause now before saying that because this spring I witnessed a modern equivalent in the sacrifice of children’s health to our modern gods.
SNC Lavalin is headline news day after day. But few Canadians know about the cases against Tahoe Resources in B.C., Hudbay Minerals in Ontario and Nevsun Resources at the Supreme Court.
Regional tensions are flaring again in Canada. When I hear talk about separation from Alberta, I start to feel the same pit in my stomach as I felt the night I worked on Parliament Hill through the Referendum on Quebec Independence in 1995. My roots are in Alberta, but I also value Quebec – and beautiful B.C. – and the uniqueness of Newfoundland.