Skip to main content


I am moving!

Hello readers.  I have spent many weeks building a new online home for my writing, publications, photos, and more. The new website has a lot of flexibility and allows me to be more creative with the content.  That means that I will no longer be posting blogs here at The content here will remain accessible, meaning it is not going away anytime soon. However, you will now find me writing over at I have made sure to include over 100 of my most recent blogs from this site (mostly on theology) as a way of ensuring continuity and familiarity. But there's a lot more than blogs on the new site. You can find my new website  here . Hope to see you over there. Matte   November 2021
Recent posts

what do you want me to do for you?

In the evangelical circles in which I was formed, we were taught that, for the most part, we couldn't trust our desires. Desire was largely equated with lust or greed. What we wanted was deemed mostly irrelevant or even assumed to be detrimental. Unless, of course, it was linked directly to the service of God as defined by the church leaders. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many of us who were raised in the church being ill-equipped to identify our desires and honestly reflect on them.  Jesus had no such hangups about desire. In fact, Jesus made a point of asking people about their desires and engaging with people's responses. Jesus believed people's desires were worth expressing and exploring.  In Mark 10 we find two stories, one right after the other, in which Jesus asks: "What do you want me to do for you?" The first story takes place as Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus has mentioned to his close followers what troubles await him

three helpful questions to ask when engaging with the biblical texts

The collection of texts which make up the Bible (narrative, poetry, laws, prophecy, letters, parables, apocalyptic literature, etc.) are what we call meaning-making texts. Together, they offer a certain view of the relationship between divinity, humanity, and the cosmos. For hundreds and hundreds of years, people have sought to faithfully discern and follow what the biblical texts teach.  When we are looking for meaning or direction from a text, we come with specific questions. Perhaps we ask, "How should we live?" or more broadly, "What does this have to say to us?" For those of us taught to read the Bible as a guide to personal piety, our questions might focus on laws, behaviours, and avoiding sin. For those needing comfort, the questions might be, "What encouragement or reassurance is being offered?" When we find the biblical stories confusing or disturbing, we might ask, "What does this mean?" or "What am I supposed to do with this?"

wheat and weeds

Image from Early in my life, I was taught to identify weeds. My mom took me to the vegetable garden and instructed me to pull up the purslane (we called it Fatta Han) and thistles so they wouldn't interfere with the peas and tomatoes. As an adolescent, I got a job hoeing beets during the summer months and many a weed fell under my hoe's blade. But what are weeds, exactly? How do you know whether something is a weed or not? Basically, weeds are classified as undesirable plants that grow alongside desired plants. There is nothing inherently bad about them; they are just in the wrong place, at least according to the farmer or gardener. In forests, ditches, valleys, and meadows, there are virtually no weeds because there is no intentional planting.  Whether a plant is a weed or not depends largely on its location. In a vegetable garden, a dandelion is considered a weed. Yet some harvest dandelions for herbal tea. In a field of wheat, grass is

Jesus and the thief

Recently, I was listening to a reading from Matthew 24, a story I have heard many times before. However, this time something seemed out of place. Jesus is talking to his disciples about the coming of the Human One (Son of Man). He states that they do not know what day the Lord is coming, so they must keep alert. His metaphor of choice is unexpected. “But you understand that if the head of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would keep alert and wouldn’t allow the thief to break into his house. Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One will come at a time you don’t know” (Matthew 24:43-44, CEB). Did Jesus just compare himself to a thief? That would be disturbing. If he wanted to emphasize the unpredictability of divine/human encounters, why didn’t he use a positive metaphor, like an unexpected visit from a beloved relative, or a serendipitous encounter with a long-lost friend? Why a thief? No one wants an encounter with a thief. Such a visit invoke

mailing list of life (repost)

While scrolling through some stuff on my computer, I came across this piece which I wrote eleven years ago. June 9, 2010. It reads like a "Dear Future Me" letter in some ways. These are words I need to hear right now. They are reminders about what's truly important in navigating the road ahead. And I also see how I have changed in the interim years, less convinced that God is male, less idealistic and certain, less theoretical and more embodied, and more aware of the ways we have turned blind eyes to inequities right under our noses. These days, I would also pair self-forgetfulness (decentring myself) with radical self-love and care. Nevertheless, these words make me smile and look at my body and my life with kindness and appreciation. Thanks, younger me. You did well.  ----------------- I was reaching for something the other day when Dean pointed at my arm and said, "Hey, that's new!" He was referring to the triceps swinging lazily in a stretchy hammock of

You are the branches

Image from Last week I was reading the beginning of John 15 again. Here, Jesus employs the metaphor of a vineyard to describe the divine/human relationship. Jesus: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done f