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Showing posts from January, 2018

come (and leave)

"Come!" It's a positive word, connoting an invitation to join in a venture with someone. It is certainly more positive than the word, "Leave!" And yet, one cannot do one without also doing the other. In order to come, one has to leave. Leaving and coming are two parts of the same action.

We find this leave/come dynamic all through scripture, starting in the creation narrative. "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one" (Genesis 2:24). In order to start a new family, one has, in some form or other, to leave the old one. The Abrahamic covenant begins with this directive: "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). In order to establish a new nation, Abram had to leave his familial home. It is interesting to note that he was given no definitive destination. Abram was told exactly what and who to leave, but…

The 12 days of Christmas

I know the Christmas season is over, but it is not as far in the rear-view mirror as one might think. This past Saturday, Dean and I stopped in at our favourite nut store and the lady at the counter mentioned that she was celebrating Christmas that very day, January 6. For those of us in the Western church tradition, this might sound a bit strange, but for the first few centuries, the early church celebrated the birth of Christ and the manifestation of Christ as Messiah on Epiphany, January 6. Only later (4th century) was the celebration of the nativity separated from the celebration of the manifestation of Christ. The separation of the two events eventually resulted in commemorating the twelve days of Christmas, with the Twelfth Night feast falling on January 5.

That's right. The Twelve Days of Christmas is not just a song from the 18th century. The church has been celebrating various feast days following the birth of Christ for many centuries. To be honest, our Western Christma…

win or lose

Of late, debates on any subject tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have observed my share of debates (in academic, political, and online settings) and engaged in a few myself. Debating societies have been around for a few centuries and the form goes all the way back to Ancient Greece. The idea is that debating helps people develop rhetorical skills and sound reasoning. However, I wonder if debate is really all that useful as a pedagogical tool. It seems to bring out hubris instead of humility. It encourages a defensive posture instead of active listening. Being proved right seems more important than seeking truth and people become reduced to their positions. Transformative engagement is rare.

In Luke 20, we find several interactions between Jesus and religious leaders. The religious leaders use what some might view as legitimate debate techniques in an attempt to undermine Jesus's authority. They pose trick questions and present convoluted hypothetical situations. They flat…

Vertigo: be still

Christmas Day 2017 started out with great hope and expectation. Dean and I woke up just after 4 am and headed to the airport, eager to celebrate the holy days with our families in Manitoba. That changed somewhere over Ontario when vertigo paid me a visit. I won't regale you with the not-so-pleasant details of how many airsick bags I used or the dread that came over me when it was time to get off the plane and take that long walk to the airport exit. Let's just say that with great discomfort, I finally made it to my destination in Winnipeg and, for seven days, did as little moving and looking as possible (who knew vertigo affected your ability to focus?).

When I could manage it, I read up on vertigo. The official name is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Benign means that it is not related to another illness. Paroxysmal has to do with the intensification of symptoms during episodes (my body seemed to have missed this part because my symptoms were continuous, not episodic).…