Nearly four years ago, we gathered on a snowy day at Ancaster Christian Reformed Church to witness and celebrate the wedding of Tim and Sharlene Bosma, two people wonderfully suited for each other. Tim’s name is now a familiar one to many as his disappearance and murder last May broke our hearts, shocking our church and country.
I am pleading with pastors to tune in to this need for belonging. If, as a pastor, I visit someone during the week, that person will listen differently — more openly, more receptively — the following Sunday.
There is no doubt some link between the implosion of the CRCNA and the increase in pastor/church separations. But as elaborated in a CC article last year, the leadership crisis entails a multi-faceted phenomenon, involving the failing character and competence of pastors, congregational dysfunction and bullies, denominational issues and broader cultural shifts affecting expectations about leadership.
We investigated three main questions: Does your church charge for the use of its facilities? Does your pastor receive an honorarium, and if so how much? And is any other staff member remunerated? It quickly became clear that no Christian Reformed church is making a profit from funerals.
Imagine our reaction if about 60 percent of CRC parents chose to send their children to Muslim “catechism” classes or day schools. We would panic.
Or would we?
As Reformed Christians, while we don’t take church tradition as authoritative for the life of faith today, what God has done in history can be an inspiring motivation for following Christ faithfully in our own time and place. Does someone like Kuyper have anything to offer us today?
All of the soldiers who committed suicide had served tours of duty in Afghanistan, which has raised the level of debate about how to support veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. The discussion remains focused on psychological issues and their apparent solutions: mainly, mental health services and improved job prospects, such as special employment programs.
But the spiritual dimension has been missing from the public discussion so far, and without it, successful reintegration cannot happen.
Arlette Zinck, an Associate Professor of English at King’s, has befriended and become a teacher for Omar Khadr, who was captured at age 15 in 2002 after a firefight with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
That’s how my three month internship in the ethnoarts started — with a music composition workshop in the small village of Mapedi. “Ethnoarts” is one word that encompasses all the specific ways a people has for expressing themselves or communicating.
Radwan and his family could never have imagined this.
Prior to 2012 they were, like most Syrians, living in what they thought was relative stability and comfort in their homeland. Of course there were problems — an oppressive government and the rumblings of the “Arab Spring” in particular — but as they watched Iraq crumble to the east and Lebanon’s government dissolve to the west, Syria seemed like a safe haven.
Then civil war broke out.