Current Issue: Friday, February 22nd, 2019

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Interrobang Archives

Interrobang articles by Michael Veenema


How churches can now be seen as too diverse
Some people say that they stay away from, or have distanced themselves from the Church, because it is not committed to the inclusion of a diversity of people. But I think that often it is exactly the opposite. Read more

Lady Gaga, the church choir and a portal to an enduring world
My parents immigrated to Canada before I was born. It was important to them to worship God in the way they had been brought up. Read more

Dear Valentine's Day, my old friend
Valentine's Day is a day worth celebrating, but there may be deeper aspects of it that people should think about. Read more

Don't expect too much from your job
When it comes to looking for a job, well the first thing I would say is, God bless you! It's tough to go on a job hunt. Read more

The concept of being a sinner
Meditating on the nasty effects of your sins can have the benefit of making you aware that you need forgiveness and a change of life. Read more

Twenty-nineteen: The Year of Truth
I committed perjury. That is, I lied under oath. Here's the story. I worked for a small trucking company. The owner had his own issues and the business was struggling. I felt a lot of loyalty to him. Read more

A desert temptation makes Christmas understandable
In my last column I wrote about a story that appears a couple pages into the Bible. It is the story of how Adam and Eve, the first human pair in the Bible, were seduced into sin. Read more

Jordan Peterson's read on the Bible's "Coming-of-Age" story (and how to improve on it)
Jordan Peterson is known for offering unexpected perspectives. His views on Marxism, Feminism and Gender are contentious to some. Read more

Remembering the Fallen, my own way
Fallen, I stopped organizing Remembrance Day ceremonies and I do not anymore attend them very much either. Read more

Teen to adult: Transitioning into the post-school world
Becoming an adult can be a tough thing to go through, but remembering your responsibilities over rights is a key stepping stone to making that transition. Read more

The ethics of Jesus, part three: Adultery
Committing adultery is something clearly not seen as a wise move even in Jesus' time, but it still happened from time to time. Read more

Miami is sinking: Catastrophe and paralysis
Caring for the Earth is one thing, but taking as many steps, both big and small to actually make a difference is key to trying to save the environment. Read more

Mental Health: Are you in isolation?
Making the right choice doesn't always come easy, but if you listen to the word of God, the process of morality may be a bit clearer for you. Read more

Under the influence: Understanding a Commandment
Jesus mapped out his ethics near the beginning of one of the written versions of his life. This one is called Matthew. Read more

Education, wealth and power
Happy are the well educated. The rich can look forward to a fulfilling life. Blessed are the well-armed nations. Read more

Thoughts about leaving the Catholic Church
As the Catholic Church has more negative things come out into the open, many may be wondering why some people are still members of the church. There can be reasons why some stay and why it might be wise to attend a Catholic service once in your life. Read more

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Raining ashes on a bejeweled planet and how to save it
A year ago I visited Waterton Lakes National Park on the southern border of Alberta. Spectacular. Today when I go online to view images of the park, the ones that dominate are also spectacular, but in a different way from what we prefer. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Climate change activists, don't give up
Today, as I write, is a good day for climate destruction and bad one for all those who have been active in the battle to save our global environment. The reason? The U.S. president signed an executive order cutting down what reporters are calling former President Obama's climate change legacy. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Opening borders: An act of faith
It was a bit awkward to watch him refusing to shake the hand of German chancellor, Angela Merkel. In ignoring her request during their photo op the U.S. president communicated that the two have their differences. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Why I am subscribing to the New York Times
I admit that there are hours I get sucked into the vortex of news coming from the U.S. about President Trump. The commentary about his leadership is endless. CNN, Fox News, Breitbart, MSNBC and smaller news companies churn out video after video. Read more

Rumours of Grace: The Tale of the Good Asylum Seeker
The CBC has posted a story about Winnipeg restaurant owner, Mohammed Naser. There are of course many restaurant owners in Winnipeg. But what sets Naser apart from many others is that he is a refugee from Syria. Read more

Rumours of Grace: The lost habit of rest and why we love Trump
We like our caffeine fixes. They get us moving each morning; especially if they are laced with fructose laden flavour shots and, of course, the well-established standby, white granulate sugar. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Weddings and marriage, are they overrated?
A couple of weeks ago I listened to a middle-aged woman tell the story of the breakup with her husband. He came home one evening and they began talking about going out for supper. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Shootings and accusations
Canadians place a high value on inclusion and diversity. Yet, the shooting at the Quebec mosque reminds us that not everyone embraces those values. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Political gods and demagogues
Someone asked me the other day if I thought that the new U.S. president is the antichrist. I replied that as far as I know he is just a man, an ordinary human like the rest of us, neither totally evil nor good. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Giving the small me more space
I confess I got sidetracked by social media postings this morning. Maybe this happens to you too. We go online to watch a video for a course on social work and within 20 seconds have been diverted into something much different. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Dancing with nihilism
December 2016 is done and January 2017 is here. Most of us probably said, shouted or screamed, Happy New Year, a few days ago and it would be great to think that we are one month closer to a future that is happier than the present, but we have to wonder. Read more

Rumours of Grace: The God who picks up rags
Give yourself a bizarre experience this Christmas: read the two stories - both almost 2,000 years old - of the birth of Christ, of Jesus. They are both contained in the Christian Bible. Read more

Rumours of Grace: It's restorative justice week
The inside of the building is lined with hard materials so that the noises of doors opening and slamming shut are magnified. The hundreds of people housed in it are kept in locked cells and permitted out only at required times such as for meals and outdoor recreation. Read more

Rumours of Grace - Remembrance Day: A time for questions
For a number of years I helped lead Remembrance Day events at both Western and Fanshawe. But each time I felt my mind was divided and my conscience unclear. Read more

Rumours of Grace: What's the matter with America?
The Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump race to the White House has not been pretty. What is happening to make the election such an uncivil, polarizing and contentious process? Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Someone has passed away: Now what?
The mortality rate is high, extremely high. The human mortality rate is 100 per cent. This stat comes with a margin of error of plus-minus zero. Read more

Rumours of Grace: While the world burns, dividends keep coming
This past summer was hot; hot, dry air helped advance the fires in Fort McMurray, southern Ontario became toasty and Canada's east coast did not have a drought, though it didn't look good for a couple of months. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Rising rates of student suicide and depression
According to a recently published CBC article, there is a mental health crisis among Canadian college and university students. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Trump, gender inequality, churches and a glimpse of God
Commentators on the Clinton vs. Trump Sept. 26 debate are making the point that gender inequality was reflected in comments Trump made. He said that he did not believe that Clinton has the stamina to be the president of their country. Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The magic of doing good
Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question people often ask. It is true that bad things do happen to good people; however, there is a larger phenomenon that we can keep in mind: good things happen to good people. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Call home
There are many insights that people who are not of aboriginal decent can pick up from Canada's native American communities. One of them is to value our elders. Read more

Rumours of Grace: Collateral damage
According to an article in the Financial Times, Rio hosted the Olympics at a cost of about $6.2 billion. Cheap compared to, say, the London Summer Olympics, which came in at $15 billion, according to an article by National Public Radio. Read more

Rumours of Grace: This summer - hope?
For most students a year of study is ending. Once exams are over we'll see four months of work, time off, and maybe even some travel. At the same time, there are plenty of reasons to feel that beyond the summer, the future will continue to b... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The Pope's Easter prayer for the world
I am not a member of the Catholic Church. Half a millennium ago when the Catholic Church was at a low point, the people of many countries broke with Catholicism to live their faith without the supervision of the Pope and Catholic hierarchy. This... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: In the wake of terror - love?
The terrorists who just struck in Brussels may or may not have known that their attacks were carried out during the most important week of the Christian year. It was the week when churches all over the planet celebrated the death and resurrectio... Read more

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Rumors of Grace: Owners or tenants of our fragile home?
It is not a problem to visit spectacular nature destinations. Take for example the Himalayas. A web search or two with a credit card handy, a few ticket purchases, several flights, some ground transportation and viola, you are following the lead... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Satan the miracle worker
If you are part of a church community or if you belong to a group of students trying to put the ways of Jesus into practice, you probably know that Easter is just a few weeks away. On Easter Sunday, Christians around the planet will be reme... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Staying away from judgment
There are a lot of books about God. Chapters and Amazon have the newer ones ready for purchase and shipping. The Quran, one of the older ones, is available through the Muslim community. The Bhagavad Gita, another ancient revered text, comes from... Read more

Rumours of Grace: The wide open field of kindness
A few days ago I was in a talking circle with some teens and twenty-somethings. One person began talking about random acts of kindness. She mentioned how she and a group of her friends each bought a $10 coffee shop gift card. Each of them t... Read more

Rumours of Grace: What Donald Trump teaches us about American religion
The United States of America is a big country and like Canada its population is diverse. Also like Canada, throughout its history it has rejected strong ties between the government and the church. The government of the U. S. from the moment the ... Read more

Rumours of Grace: The Revenant, promoting a destructive myth
Revenant is a word that means someone who returns from the dead. A number of websites will tell you that the word is French in origin. Besides being chosen as the title for the current movie based on the story of 19th century trapper Hugh Glass,... Read more

Rumours of Grace: How Charles Darwin and the Big Bang prove that God exists
If there is no God, would there be anything? Many physicists, biologists, philosophers and theologians are saying probably not. One of the people who is saying this is Antony Flew. Dr. Flew has taught at Oxford University and has been a prof... Read more

Rumours of Grace: The conventional David Bowie
I never followed David Bowie so I only accidentally heard the songs of his that became popular. And any images that I saw of him likewise weren’t ones that I sought out, they just happened to jump out at me in the record stores of the past... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: A single person can change the world in 2016
There’s a great line in the BBC mini-series called The Bible. It happens when Jesus meets Peter, a man who catches fish for a living. In this scene, though, we discover that the fishing has been bad. Peter is just bringing his boat in afte... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Christmas alternatives and the refugee God
It’s not very hard to find advice for students on how to survive Christmas: don’t dip into your tuition money, be creative by making a gift or by promising to take a family member on a day outing. If you feel the need to buy gifts fo... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Morality, freedom and climate change
Is morality a dirty word? Sometimes we think so. To be moral seems to mean being a killjoy. It means to be cautious when it comes to gambling, sex, drug use, the consumption of alcohol and maybe some other things. Moral people are often reli... Read more

Nasty religious people or revolutionaries?
Does church make you nastier? It is not unusual to hear people say that religion makes us mean. In the wake of the Paris Nov. 13 attacks, it is tempting to write off all religious faith as inherently prone to making fanatics of true believe... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Who are the heroes?
We are often told that those who died fighting in wars and veterans who have survived war are heroes. To them, some say, we owe a great debt because their sacrifices are what gained our freedom. There is no question that the sacrifice of on... Read more

Rumours of Grace - Remembrance Day: a time for questions
For a number of years I helped lead Remembrance Day events at both Western University and Fanshawe College. But each time I felt my mind divided and my conscience unclear. On the one hand, it is fitting to remember those who lost their live... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Prayer and the decline of atheism on exam days
Maybe you have found yourself saying a prayer to help you pass a mid-term or exam. It is very common for people to pray when they are in trouble. At least one video taken on a boat crammed with Syrian refugees shows them praying when their engin... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Politics, western Christianity and Justin Trudeau's new job
There are many questions that we could ask of political leaders. With a federal election in our rear view mirrors, many questions are being asked of them. They are being asked to increase childcare benefits, to rethink foreign policy or for a ne... Read more

Rumours of Grace: This election, reject the economics of greed and despair
Last week I wrote about the words that open the Christian Bible. Those words about the beginning of the world are highly structured. In other words, and to over-simplify, they are a poem. It teaches many things, but for now I am focusing on just... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: From waterworld, to home, to wasteland?
The Bible opens with a story called Genesis. The word Genesis comes from the Greek word for beginning, think generations or genetics. And Genesis itself begins with chapter one, which describes the beginning of the world. If you read it with a l... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Spirituality, religion and mental health
During the past several years I have been the chaplain in a youth corrections facility. A large number of youth in the facility are diagnosed with mental health issues. Since nearly all the youth become substantially involved in the chaplaincy p... Read more

Athletics for the biblically literate and those who might yet to be
The Christian Bible doesn’t have much to say about physical fitness or exercise programs. Maybe the closest it comes to giving trainer type advice is to tell readers to flee from evil, to run in the other direction when someone comes along... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Which Sexual Awareness?
Although sex can be talked about in a reasonable way, on some levels it remains chaotic. Its expression can be unpredictable because it is grounded to a real degree in hormone- powered desire. Further, while sexual desire can be discovered and a... Read more

Rumours of Grace: One refugee for every 14,000 Canadians
Canadians, we like to say, have great hearts. We are generous and open handed and do well when faced with the challenge of helping people in the international community who are in trouble. Canadians helped people fleeing the terror zones of... Read more

Rumours of Grace: Magic: Out of a plumber's tool box
One of the discoveries I made this summer is available on Netflix. It is a show called How We Got to Now hosted by Steven Johnson. In it he explores technological innovations that led to some of the cool things about our world. For example,... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: How Christ's death and resurrection can help me
Last week people around the world celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am not one of those who believe that the story of Christ’s rising is a fabrication. Today I want to address the question of Christ’s death and... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Hell and five questions about it
In the popular imagination, hell is a place of post-death, fiery, long-term torment. Not many people, who think seriously about hell, see it in that graphic of a way. At least, not many in the Christian traditions do. I don’t want to speak... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: In the space between knowledge and desire
Faith and science don’t mix, do they? Faith is believing the unbelievable, and science is discovering what is knowable. At least, this is how many see the two. It is common for people who dismiss Christianity to claim it is a fabrication t... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Radicalization - A word that's not always negative
Radicalization is a word we have been hearing a lot recently. We use it to describe what happens when young people join violent Muslim organizations. The thinking is that normal young people would not join such a group. Something must have happe... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The correlation between Harry Potter and love
It’s been a while since author J. K. Rowling put the finishing touches on the last of the Harry Potter books. And the movie series has been complete for four years now. But I still like to watch the DVDs at home now and then. That is why a... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Wheels, gears and levers
During a CBC interview one morning, a guest said that about half of the world’s electricity comes from coal. Apparently it is the dirtiest energy money can buy. Coal firing produces enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, which traps heat in o... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: A plea for Raif Badawi
A couple of evenings ago, I received a phone call from my MP. At first, I wondered why I would receive a personal call from Scott Brison. But soon I remembered that it was probably because I had emailed him about Raif Badawi, which proved to be ... Read more

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Physician-assisted prayer
Some years ago a family member asked me to look in on a neighbour – an elderly woman – who was in a London hospital. I thought of her when I heard of Canada’s Supreme Court ruling on physician-assisted suicide. The neighbour was on a machine to ... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: In search of the perfect beach
The other day, I was saying to someone that if oil prices remain low, the economies of some Middle East countries will take a hit. Well, if they can no longer profit from the sale of oil, maybe some of those countries can try exporting sand.... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The Book of Negroes, other sad stories and morality
Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes has its share of horror. Living slaves thrown overboard into shark-infested water, whippings, infants torn away from mothers and other stress-inducing actions fill the pages of the book. Why do peop... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The real Arkenstone
A while ago I helped put together a debate on whether or not God exists. I do believe that God exists and is up to many wonderful things. So staging a discussion about his being around at all seems to me now to be like wandering around the film ... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: The Dalhousie 13: Is restorative justice the right thing?
Dental students at Dalhousie University about an hour from where I live have gone back to class. Included are the 13 at the centre of the uproar about the posting of sexist comments on Facebook. They began classes segregated from the rest. ... Read more

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Rumours of Grace: Christianity and exclusion
Recently a woman visited my church and made a point of speaking with me. She said she appreciates the people of the church and that she appreciates people of every faith. “In the end,” she said, “It’s all about communi... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Everything precious
Everything precious is in danger, so says Wendell Berry in a November 2013 interview with journalist Bill Moyers. When Berry thinks of precious things he is not thinking of my new smart phone, engagement rings, original recordings of Nirvana, o... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The Five Commandments of eating
In a not overly recent but obviously relevant article called The Pleasures of Eating, farmer, theologian and writer Wendell Berry argues for an approach to eating that has been gradually making inroads into our own thinking and habits. Berry ha... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Wendell Berry: Welcome to Hell?
On most mornings of most weeks I consume more energy than the grandfather after whom I am named probably used in a lifetime. Powered by highly refined petroleum, a one-tonne vehicle carries me 30 kilometers to one of my offices. The most energy-... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Symptoms of a sick planet
Drive anywhere outside of London and you can see the signs anywhere. You find small, older farm buildings abandoned. Gas stations and convenience stores alongside of inhospitable roadways long ago began to dominate decaying villages and hamlets ... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Happification
Two things might spark someone’s interest in Jesus today. The first is the release of the movie Son of God. The second is the annual season of Lent, the seven weeks or so when churches from Ukraine to Utah remember the lead up to Jesus’ arrest a... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Snapshots of the Ukraine
Video clips of United States President Obama speaking out against Russia have not been hard to find lately. He says that Russian President Putin should not be forcing his will on the people of the Ukraine while they look down the barrel of a Rus... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Hope from the edge
Sierra Leone is a country on the edge. By that, I mean that it barely registers with most Canadians. It is on the edge of our awareness. Most don’t think about it very much. You may have a vague memory of a war that took place there some years a... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Pope Francis and the challenge to consumerism
Last week I wrote that some people appear happy to trash the Catholic Church, usually from a distance. Some critics seem to have a lot to say without having much contact with ordinary Catholics. Would they continue to sing their same tunes if th... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Trashing the Catholic Church or getting to know the community
According to news reporters, the United Nations, at its meeting in Geneva, has reprimanded the Catholic Church for its failure to deal with child sex abuse. At the same time, say reports, UN critics attacked the church for its positions on gay r... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: What’s to like about The Bible
I don’t make movies but I can appreciate the difficulty of creating one, especially one about Jesus Christ. It would have to capture the appeal and depth of Jesus. And it would have to make the setting – the times, locations and other characters... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The Church’s opportunity to save the planet
I ended last week’s column with a claim that the Christian church offers the best hope for a renewal of the environmental movement. This will be a surprise to some readers. One reason for the surprise is that some are not aware that the church h... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The environment and the Christian church
In this and next week’s column, I will try to make the case that the Christian church is the best hope for the renewal of the environmental movement. But first we have to recognize that that movement seems to have run out of steam, at least here... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Reducing child poverty
According to the Conference Board of Canada, our country has the third worst child poverty rate of 17 “peer countries.” These are affluent countries where there are fewer reasons for children to be poor than in, say, Liberia or Colombia. Based ... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Christmas and hope
We seem to be hard-wired to look for hope. We look for it in a lot of places. We see hope in caring actions when people respond to the pain of victims of catastrophes such as Typhoon Haiyan. Seeing NGOs, GOs, churches, doctors, navy ships and f... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Compassion and faith spring into action in the wake of Haiyan
Job is the name of a section of the Christian (and Jewish) Bible. It reads like a creative story told to teach a valuable lesson. The section, known as a “book,” is the story of a man bearing the same name. Job starts off well enough – great, ac... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: I’ll say a little prayer for you
“Pray for us,” requested a leader in the Philippines on the CBC talking about Typhoon Haiyan. No one knew, at that moment, how many people had been killed or would die in the days to come. The 200- plus kilometre-an-hour winds and storm surges ... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Remembrance Day and the end of the old order
Canadians live under the shadow of two catastrophic wars, even though that shadow is fading with each decade that passes. During World War I, tens of thousands of young Canadians experienced something both new and terrifying at the same time. N... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Don’t get your ethics from the Bible
This past Sunday I spoke at my church. If you attend a church on Sunday mornings, you know that the priest, minister or pastor who is speaking will usually base his or her message on a small section of the Bible. I follow this practice myself, a... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: First Nations drums vs. chain link fence
Do First Nations people in New Brunswick deserve your support? Images of native protestors near Rexton, New Brunswick, are easy to find online. Actually the pictures reveal that the protestors include many non-aboriginals. One of the videos foll... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Nazis are people too?
Should a convicted Nazi war criminal receive a funeral? You may have heard about the death of 100-year-old Erich Priebke. According to Israelnationalnews.com, he had been living und... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Would God vote?
Journalists in Nova Scotia have been asking students if they plan to vote. That was last week. Since then there has been an election, and the leadership of the province has changed hands. As students and others responded to the question of whet... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Sometimes you just have to listen
Many years ago, I met a student preparing to become a pastor, or as some might like to say, a priest or a minister of religion. He was serving for the summer in a nearby church, a church in Forest, Ontario, on the shore of Lake Huron. I was very... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Student success and the people who matter most
Fantastic instructors and talented counsellors – you’ll find them at Fanshawe. The same goes for friends, new ones and old. These are all important people in the life of a student. They can have a definite impact on student success. Other peopl... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Civil rights on the other side of the planet, Part 2
Last week I wrote about Martin Luther King Jr., the U.S. civil rights leader of the 1960s. Fifty years ago this summer he delivered the famous “I have a dream” speech, and died from an assassin’s bullet not long after. I noted that King’s speech... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Civil rights on the other side of the planet, Part 1
About two weeks ago it was 50 years since August 28, 1963. That was the day that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech in Washington, D.C. Praise for King, a Baptist pastor, and this speech (he gave man... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: An alternative to consumer weddings
I was wed in the dead of winter, but most people opt for a warmer time of the year to marry. It may be that you attended a wedding ceremony this past spring or this summer – the wedding ceremony of a family member, a friend, or maybe your own. ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Can old ways become new ways? (Part 2)
Last week I said I would give the last word – my last two columns for the year – to Wendell Berry, who I believe is one of the most important writers of our time. A farmer, a theologian, a professor and an observer of our changing society, he of... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Can old ways become new ways? (Part 1)
Most of us are at the end of another year of school. This venerable paper will slow down. This column itself will cease for the summer. I am going to give the last words in this column to a writer who I believe to be one of the most important in... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: More parties to come
Unless you were in Buenos Aires or Rome recently, you probably missed the most important parties of the decade. In those cities and elsewhere millions of Roman Catholics celebrated to welcome the new pope, Pope Francis. The celebrations were es... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Kicking a downed man, questioning the Pope
About a year ago I visited New York City and discovered that at the time the famous Guggenheim Museum had on display the art of Maurizio Cattelan. One of his most wellknown pieces is a sculpture of Pope John Paul II. The sculpted pope is down o... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Spring has sprung and the Red Bull cans are a-poppin’
We have all seen them. At the end of every semester, Fanshawe scholars in all programs cut back on their viewing of Canadian “Idle” in favour of opening textbooks that were once safe from human contamination. Students, who, under most conditions... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: My visit to the Vatican
Recent news from the Vatican: the pope is resigning. Very unusual. But, as far as I can tell, it’s not a bad thing to do. Maybe it’s a very humble and right thing to do. The Vatican, in Rome, Italy, is the world headquarters of the Roman Catholi... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Preparing for death: The Eleven Commandments (Part 2)
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Eleven Commandments. This is a little like turning a guitar amp up to 11. As I mentioned in the earlier article, Jesus, living about 2,000 years ago, being a welleducated young Jewish scholar of the faith ... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Valentine the un-saintly
According to history.com, romantics buy about one billion Valentine’s Day cards each year. Only for Christmas do consumers buy more cards – 2.5 billion. The sending of notes and cards on February 14 began on a large scale in the 1800s when an en... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The Eleven Commandments (Part 1)
It's ironic that very many of us – including those with a long list of Canadian ancestors and those who have arrived more recently - know little about Christianity. The reason it is ironic is that Christianity has been arguably the greatest shap... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: World Religion Day: A waste of digital capacity?
In case you missed it, as I nearly did, World Religion Day has come and gone. People observe it on the third Sunday of every January. Not to worry, though. The organization has a website with loads of information. World Religion Day tries to he... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: I heard the owl call my name
Just a few dozen kilometers west of London, between Bothwell and Thamesville, you may someday run across the Fairfield Museum, a Native Reserve, and the hamlet of Moraviantown. To look at these you might not guess that they mark the site of wha... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: The appeal of dragons
Not so long ago I helped with their wedding. While upgrading her college education, she works at a Petro-Can station fueling cars. He works for a computer graphics company designing business cards, posters and flyers. One of the more impressive... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Ruining a young woman's Christmas with gifts
Somewhere, squeezed in between Black Friday and Boxing Week, sits Christmas, although with each passing year consumer splurging increasingly threatens to overwhelm both the Christ and the Mass of Christmas. On the other hand, who doesn't want a... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Morality 101 for students and potential inmates
One of the roles I have puts me into personal contact with prisoners several days a week. The list of woes I encounter seems limitless. One young offender approached me and burst into tears. His first time in jail is devastating him – at least ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Reading the Bible with Neil Peart, Mick Jagger and Sandy
People will often say to me that they tried to read the Bible but didn't get very far. This is totally understandable. It would be arrogant to think it is not. The writers didn't write for you or me. They were writing for people of their time. Y... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: What does Hubble tell us about God?
A few days ago I was looking for something interesting to watch. A movie. I stopped at a convenience store that claimed to have a good selection of DVDs at the back. The movies seemed to be organized into two main sections: Horror and Action Dr... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Climate change majority, speak to us!
Are climate change deniers really almost extinct? Maybe so. In an article dated last August and posted on his website, David Suzuki writes that only two per cent of Canadians deny the existence of climate change. In the United States the percent... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Finding God in the Facebook labyrinth
Any number of sources will tell you about the uses of Facebook. The social media phenomenon not only helps people develop amazing friendship networks, it is now a tool for marketing, job hunting, background checks on prospective employees, more ... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Kateri Tekakwitha and other Native people who love the Catholic Church
Back in the summer of 2010, First Nations people from all over Canada converged on Halifax, Nova Scotia for a pow-wow to celebrate the Christian baptism of Henri Membertou. Membertou was the Grand Chief of the Mi'kmaw people in the early days o... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The end of religion
A number of philosophers, scientists and social critics have gone on record as dismissing all religions. A good portion of them are British. For example, during the past century, British academic Bertrand Russell became famous for saying, among ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Deciding what to wear
I receive invitations to speak at churches now and then. That's why I traveled to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia not long ago. You might have heard of this town. It has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And a few days ago, the Bluenos... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The time Elvin stayed at my house
It would have been great if Elvin's name had ended with an "s", because the title for this column would have been so much more exciting. Still, he had an interesting story to tell. He came from Singapore to London to study business. His family h... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The world is your gym: Jogging for grades
"I've made some of my best decisions while running," so said John, a friend of mine. For him, running solo while most of the rest of us still sleep brought clarity of mind. When he found out that I like to jog, he tried to persuade me to join hi... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: A student's prayer
A little while ago, I ran into a person who said that she definitely was not a believer in any religion. Not a believer in a church or a temple or a holy book or a god. "But I pray all the time." "I just pray for all kinds of things. For my boy... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Failure, coddling and student success
In an article that's just appeared on the Globe and Mail website, Paul Tough (I am not making up the name) talks about students and success. The article begins with Margaret Wente's confession that she had always thought that genes and IQ were m... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Pussy Riot, the Church and the real Jesus
A small number of Fanshawe students have helped put the college on the map. Many will remember last March’s St. Patrick’s Day riot when, according to reports, not only was a CTV news van overturned and set afire, but 17 police vehicles were dam... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: “Spirituality” this summer
The word “spiritual” comes from the Jewish-Christian tradition. Its meaning was different from the meanings many people give it today. Paying attention to the original meaning can help us move forward. In that Jewish-Christian tradition, the wo... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Principles from the Amish farm
It’s probably an urban legend, but recently I heard a story about someone who refused to eat any more eggs. She always liked them, but one day confessed to her friends that she didn’t know where they came from. When she was told that they came ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: The death of farming - Should we care?
One of my nephews is in his late teens. He always wanted to take over his parents’ farm. And his parents once looked forward to the day they could hand over a well-managed family farm to their child. Too bad that’s not going to happen. The farm... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Plant closures, call centres and alternatives part two
Last week I commented on the shutdown of Caterpillar operations in London and I hinted that there’s something unhealthy about the way we usually think about economic development. The problem I suggested is twofold. First, we now accept it as nor... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: On plant closures and offshore call centres
One of my older friends doesn't get around much anymore. Parkinson's keeps him in his chair most of every day. Thirty years ago, in his prime, he owned one of the largest heavy equipment companies in Nova Scotia. Most of his excavators and earth... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Why the Trinity matters
Take your pick. There are a lot of concepts of God out there and you can choose the one that's right for you. Of course, the logic of this does not escape most of us. If there are a lot of God concepts, and if they are all quite opposed to each ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Repent or perish
If society does not renew its commitment to the Christian biblical story, the environment will collapse. The Christian biblical (Cb) story provides a way of seeing that all of human life is lived before a real creator God. And within the story t... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: The real Jesus "hates religion"
Jefferson Bethke, a young Seattle poet, believes that Jesus hates religion. It will surprise some readers that Jesus hated it, because most of us think that he founded the Christian religion. Yet, that's exactly the point of Bethke's YouTube vid... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: How to get rich
There are lots of ways to get rich. You could start a band and sell a million records. You could outsmart professional stock traders and accurately predict which stocks are going to make millions. If you had lived in the mid-1800s, you could win... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Religion and Canadian politics
People often say that religion and politics don't mix. When they do, there is often a comment about the "separation of church and state." Or if the speaker has a knack for history, there might be a statement or two about the Wars of Religion tha... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Aboriginal and child activist, enemy of the country
Late in 2011, Canadians learned that the RCMP and others have been keeping surveillance on Cindy Blackstock. Blackstock is a noted children's wellness and Aboriginal advocate. In 2007, her organization, the First Nations Child and Family Caring... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: New Year's resolutions too
Last week, I suggested a number of New Year's Resolutions we might consider, ones that are friendly towards friends, faith and the future of our planet. This is the concluding installment. I will try to love what's available locally and avoid... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Resolutions for friends, faith, the planet and the future: Part I
Here, in the first of two parts, are some New Year's resolutions you might think about. Some of the suggestions don't need explaining, but I thought that a little for some of them could help. I will study hard and party light. I will not ke... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: A conspiracy to destroy Christmas
I confess. I want a new computer for Christmas. My IBM Thinkpad is still running Windows XP. It protests when I check websites, download files and play music. On the other hand, I am composing this article on it, and it will, I am sure, send it ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Prayer on the athletic field
Some American habits annoy Canadians. The behaviour of some celebrities and politicians south of the border seems, to those north of it, well, a little impolite. A little too much self-promotion, attention-seeking and hey-look-how-great-I-am. We... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: The Occupy movement may vanish
It would be interesting to look into the future. Unfortunately most of us can't do what Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) does in Oceans 12. He says, "I hire professionals to (predict the future), and even they sometimes get it wrong." So we will ... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Religious freedom isn't simple
In the late 1980s, when I was still a seminary student, I met Steve. Steve was from Egypt, and he told me how he had converted from the Islamic faith of his family to Christianity. I was very interested in his personal journey and asked him to t... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: War, peace and a third alternative
James Loney sees war as an institution: obscene and perverse. It sweeps up people as perpetrators and as victims. Loney is a peace activist who was captured and held in Iraq in 2005. He and three others were abducted in Baghdad during the time t... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: What's Jesus got to do with the future?
Some say that the world would be a better place if Jesus were in it just a little more. That's a way of saying that life for most people could be better if more people shared and lived the Christian faith. Is that true? Some say that we can ge... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: OccupyLondon, etc.: What if it fizzles?
Students have been joining Occupy events around the world these past few weeks, including in London. The OccupyLondon Facebook page claims solidarity with OccupyWallStreet, OccupyToronto, and protests in other cities. Some are drawing compari... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: "It doesn't cost anything to love our people"
The stories were heartbreaking, and more about them in a moment. Last week I attended a hearing of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at Indian Brook, N.S. The event took place not far from the very residential school that some o... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: How I feel about Mitchell Wilson's death
The worst thing about being bullied that I can remember is the feeling that my grade five classmates thought I was dirt. Most of the bullying I experienced came from a violent kid named Ricky, who was a kind of ringleader in the rural elementary... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Israel and the parable of the Good Palestinian
In the 1930s and '40s, Jews were horribly persecuted. Anti-Semitism of course thrived in Nazi Germany, but it was also alive, in (usually) less extreme forms, in the rest of Europe, in the United States and yes, in Canada. In the aftermath of... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: Hollywood Buddhism: A way forward?
Some actors and filmmakers are persuaded that their own religion, or worldview, is the way forward, and they seek to persuade us too. One of these people is Philippe Caland. Caland's work includes a number of films that offer Buddhist respons... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: September 2011 and killer party fuel
It's one thing to be served a glass of wine at home with your family. It is one thing to have a pint or two with friends in a pub. However, it is a quite different thing to use alcohol as party fuel. Yet, that's what countless young Canadians... Read more

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Notes from Day Seven: Jack Layton revisited - The greatest is love
By the time you read this, Jack Layton's funeral will have taken place some time ago. But, hopefully, some of what he valued will not be forgotten. Most Canadians did not vote for Layton and the NDP during the recent federal election. Many wh... Read more

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Notes From Day Seven: 9/11 and a lesson from St. Paul's
I was 11 years old when my father took me to New York in 1964. We drove during the winter, managing our way through a snowstorm. At one point a state trooper talked to Dad and I remember clearly the American accent, the first I ever heard coming... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: The U2 Church
One of the nice moments for me at the U2 concert this past July in Toronto was running into John. Although we were both 2,000 kilometers from our home in Nova Scotia, Canada, there he was, just a few feet over. I knew he'd be there, but without ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Immensity and immediacy
As a child I would lean my head against the inside of the family car window as we sped along two-lane highways. Sometimes I concentrated on not moving my eyes while they took in the gravelly shoulder of the road, and beyond that, the grass, all ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: In praise of boring elections
Already media commentators are sharing their insight that the coming election is going to be pretty dull. Apparently, there aren't any issues out there that could really grab the attention of most consumers of news. One journalist quoted on the ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith - Japan 2: The White Angel of Tokyo
The Emperor of Japan once awarded a certain Caroline Macdonald the Sixth Order of the Sacred Treasure. In 1925 she became the first woman to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto. Last week I wrote about Christ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Japan, State Shinto and Christianity
If Japan was not on the radar for you a week or two ago, it certainly is now. Hopefully, by the time you read this the reactor fires in the country will have been brought under control and people will be returning to their homes. Of course, many... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Biggest parties on the planet
Unlike Quebec City, New Orleans, Sydney, Port of Spain and Rio de Janeiro, the city of London is not known for its Mardi Gras. On a list of the biggest bashes on the planet, Mardi Gras festivals must rank among the top. Mardi Gras takes place ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Words - use with care
The King's Speech is a movie that, among other things, highlights the power of words. We all know that power. If someone has ever praised you in public for something you truly accomplished, you probably know the power of the spoken word to make ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Coping with change you don't want
Right now there are some changes going on in my life that I don't like. Some of them have to do with family. The youngest of the three children my wife Alice and I have moved away and is on her own. We miss her crazy antics (and also those of he... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Lunatics
In his book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens writes, "Organized religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, con... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Egyptian students deserve better
Students in Cairo are still occupying their protest spaces, playing chess, distributing tea, and trying to stay warm and keep the energy going. According to the stories on the web this morning (as I write) the number of protestors has dropped of... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: The way it is supposed to be
My last two columns have suggested that the human inhabitants of planet Earth are in very serious trouble. I realize that my saying this can diminish our chances of enjoying that Friday afternoon beer on campus that I've enjoyed myself whenever ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Damned, but maybe not
In the opening pages of the Christian Bible a magisterial view of the world is set forth. Big-bang originating and evolution-soaked or whatever, the world is not a come-bychance event. It is the creation of a living God. It is orderly, yet crazy... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Are we doomed?
I don't want to try to be prophet of the future. But with New Year's Day behind us it might be worth trying to wave a few wisps of fog away and look further into the current decade. What appears to be the biggest thing on our minds these days... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Interruptions from God
Maybe you've seen an episode or more of Joan of Arcadia, the 2003-2005 TV series. In it the main character, Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn), hears and sees God. Direct communication with God is what she has in common with another Joan, an older ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: The (guaranteed) true meaning of Christmas
Around 100 years ago no one remembered the Holocaust. They also did not recall the hundreds of thousands of young men (almost exclusively) who died in World War One. Nor did they remember those who died in the next Great War, about 100 million I... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: The greatest fear
Those who claim that the fear of public speaking is the greatest fear among humans obviously did not ask any college students for input. Of all the many immovable milestones we encounter in life, the end of class and the beginning of exams has t... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Is it reasonable to disbelieve in God?
The high school I attended in Dundas, Ontario some years ago was not exactly an incubator of religious faith. My teachers did not seem to be much aware of the global prevalence of religion and frequently made remarks that questioned faith - Chri... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Saint Michael Moore
He's from a town not very far from the Ontario border: Flint, Michigan. So Canadians can be forgiven for liking him. Back in the late 1900s, Flint melted down. General Motors, which had been the mainstay of the Flint economy, shut down its pl... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: The joy of spoon-feeding your mom
You may have heard stories of families with a dozen children. Many immigrants to Canada come as large families. Some arrive, perhaps not with 12 children in tow, but with a disposition to have many. Those of us whose ancestry is Western Europ... Read more

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Diffusing anger
You get an email accusing you of something wrong. Your roommate didn’t do the dishes like she said she would. Someone cuts in front of you in a line up at the bank. You get stuck in traffic when time is tight. The cereal you bought for yourself ... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Do miracles happen?
If you are Catholic, you are probably familiar with the name Brother André. Even if you are not, during the past few weeks you likely heard his name on the news or saw some video about him. His full name is André Bessette and he died in 1937. He... Read more

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Life Meets With Faith: Student supporter of the century
Liu Xiaobo has a favourite book, according to the Globe and Mail. It is The Castle by Franz Kafka, “The tale of one man’s lonely fight against a faceless and dictatorial bureaucracy.” The faceless and dictatorial bureaucracy Mr. Liu faces is the... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Deflating the stigma of mental illness
Imagine that you wake up in the morning with a severe headache. You've had a poor night's sleep. Your mother calls to say that she is leaving milk and a box of Shreddies on the kitchen table in case you want something to eat with your coffee. Th... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: From vampire stories to God
Anne Rice is probably best known for her vampire novels. Lately though she has written two books about the early years of Jesus. They are called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and the Road to Cana. I would guess they took some courage to write. M... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Koran burnings, mosques, news media and sources
Church pastor Terry Jones of Florida is not being offered any awards for his peacemaking abilities. Rather he is being hailed as an instrument of Islamophobia. Many Americans say they are ashamed of what he has done. That is, they are ashamed th... Read more

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Life Meets Faith: Simple prayers
At one point in The Book of Eli a young woman named Solara (Mila Kunis) reaches for the food set between her and Eli (Denzel Washington). Eli stops her. He asks her to place both her hands in his. Out loud, Eli thanks God for the food and speaks... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Late summer weekend
I spent last weekend on the shores of a lake with a group of college and senior high school students. Well, not just students. There were a few parents and younger siblings. One of the students has a learning disability requiring that someone re... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: A conspiracy to cure gift fatigue
This past eight months has seen its share of stresses. There have been the usuals such as computer viruses and disappointments in the classroom and chatroom. Outside of the college walls there have been rumblings of greater issues. The poor con... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Catholics and Protestants unite
During the year 1500 the Roman Catholic Church was the only option for people living in Europe. Breakaway Christian movements were undercut and everyone was considered a member of the church. (I am not a professional historian and I apologize fo... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Original (Corporation) Sin
Many years ago I recorded some songs and sold the recordings at performances. I still have a box of 45 vinyl discs to prove it. During that time I learned something about business that I thought was very cool. If you incorporate a business, it b... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: What is it about self-sacrifice?
In the movie, Seven Pounds, a blind pianist, a woman with a failing heart, and an abused single mother are trapped. Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is trapped in his own guilt. A question has arisen in his mind. Can an act of self-sacrifice give him and thes... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The decline of young men?
I have a 23-year-old son. We’ve been hanging out this week - well not really hanging out as much as we’ve been working together, building an addition to the house. I thought I had been doing all right with this project before Nick arrived on the sit... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The 12 SBBS
In 1939 a book appeared called Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism (I’m relying on Wikipedia for this information on Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Step Program). Since then AA has not only... Read more

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Letter to the editor: Dude, where’s my $250?
Dear Editor: I would like to tell you my story about how I lost $250. It probably sounds like I’m complaining or whining but - I’ve been explaining this whole situation to many people and they also think it’s unfair. Here’s how the story goes. In ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Hoarders: Intervention needed
Rose Cora Perry, in the last issue of the Interrobang, questions our conventional assumptions about money and “accumulation.” We have become a culture of hoarders. Her article suggests that our economic system (capitalism), with a focus on efficienc... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Olympic achievers and the influence of the poor
Most of us find mild satisfaction in owning the latest communication technology. It isn’t just because the technology itself is interesting. Owning the latest devices lets others know that we are always available to do more, that we are in demand, an... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Christianity, Islam and the quest for peace
A few columns ago I began to take a look at the relationship between different faiths. I included secularism as a kind of faith, which might seem odd. But secularism, or its more radical form, today’s “New Atheism,” can be as much a faith, even a bli... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: For the darkest of months
February, it is said, is the most depressing month of the year. It’s still quite dark in the mornings and evenings. It’s still cold. Spring is a long way off according to some of the continent’s most esteemed groundhogs. Christmas bills are still mak... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Forgiving Haiti’s debt
It’s incredible to think that in a few seconds perhaps 200,000 people died in the Haiti earthquake. From a radio interview of a geologist I learned that there is a fault line running through the country. The tectonic plates that meet at the fault are... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Can religion be tamed?
An article in the current issue of Maclean’s magazine is called “Europe’s War against Islam.” In it Michael Petrou describes, among other things, the Swiss ban on new minarets, Islamic prayer towers. Petrou wonders why the Swiss are so afraid of Mus... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Touching neighbours
In the 2001 movie, Life As A House, things get off to a rough start. Sam’s Dad lives in a seaside shack beside million dollar homes. A male neighbour doesn’t like where his dog pees. A female neighbour doesn’t like where he pees. Mom is remarried. T... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Happy New Year for Vancouver’s homeless?
Vancouver 2010, the Olympic Games, is arguably going to be the biggest party for the rich of the richest this year. True, pulling it off will be a great achievement. The facilities construction, the athletic training, the media coordination, the cor... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Street cred Christmas, God and small beginnings
The origin of Christmas is not difficult to find. It is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. His birth was told by two reporters, Matthew and Luke. Their accounts are preserved in the Christian Bible under their first names. A... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: A conspiracy to cure gift fatigue
Soon, the last issue of the Interrobang before Christmas 2009 will be in student cafeterias and lounging spaces. With holiday break less than a month away I find myself already starting to think about buying and giving presents for Christmas. There ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Over-consumption leading to death by gluttony
Medieval writers loved to put things in order. They ordered the stars and the sun and placed the earth in the centre of the cosmos. They created a social and political arrangement where everyone had a place: rulers, land owners, soldiers, trades peop... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Canadian hangmen remain unemployed
Travelling across Canada hanging people – that was the job of the executioner who worked under the pseudonym of Camille Blanchard from 1912 to 1960. The last of Canada’s hangmen, he was based at Montreal’s Bordeaux Prison where 85 executions took pla... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Pushing the boundaries of holiness and faith
Mosques, church buildings, temples, synagogues – these are the places we think of when we think of religious faith. Priests, shamans, immams, monks, nuns, popes, church ministers – these are the people we typically think of when we consider faith. B... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: No doubt that honesty is the best policy
Jesus is quoted as saying that people need to be truthful. To paraphrase (but not very freely), your “yes” ought to simply mean yes and your “no” no. Anything beyond this is evil. What Jesus wanted to squelch was what he observed among his fellow fi... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Hope for blues fans
“I’m standing at the crossroads and I keep on sinking down.” So ends what is arguably the most famous blues song on the planet. Crossroads is its name and the artist is Robert Johnson. Legend has it that the song is about Johnson making a deal with ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: In the wake of Bishop Lahey
We have a highly educated man who most would think would be able to keep himself out of personal ruin. Yet, if the charges against him are proven, it will turn out that he was carrying with him the very photos that would destroy his career. He is a r... Read more

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Faculty member of the week
She does not teach at Fanshawe at the moment. Nevertheless I am bestowing my personal, and highly sought after, Faculty Member of the Week Award to Dorette Pronk. Recently Pronk was abducted. She receives the award for her unusual response to her ab... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: For musicians - A voice from the dead
Maybe you’ve had the experience of listening to a popular song, wondering if the artist could really believe in what he or she was singing. Consider one the old bands that’s come back with an adrenalin-testosterone-driven blast for fans in the rock w... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The upside to student political apathy
If everything at Fleming was predictable and calm we’d be less interested in policies and police actions directed towards students who have moved into the neighbourhood. But, with stories about past assaults and current fears of “fires, fines and gen... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Truth, lies and consequences
Someone once said that in war the first casualty is truth. However, even in times of peace truth can take a hit. This is perhaps why truth telling shows up in the Ten Commandments. To paraphrase: “Don’t falsely testify against your neighbour.” Recen... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Friends, study and all the help you’ll need - hopefully!
Welcome to Fanshawe, or maybe, welcome back! If this is the beginning of your first semester in college, I hope it’s a great experience and that the discoveries you make in the classroom and about yourself will serve you well. If you just graduated ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Have a great, and civil, life
As I am writing news shows are announcing that scores of Hells Angels are being arrested in Quebec and New Brunswick along with alleged co-conspirators in the Dominican Republic and France. Last year in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, a Hells Angels bunker was... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Gambling away responsible citizenship
In hard times, people try unusual measures to survive. Some pin their hopes on a lottery or some other gaming opportunity. Actually, it’s not only hard times that encourage people to gamble. TV ads and online pop-ups bombard students and all of us wi... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The Slumdog connection
The plot of Slumdog Millionaire is not, on the surface, something we would connect with the Christian stories of Good Friday and Easter. But the parallels are there. A brief caution, a spoiler alert: I may say too much about the plot of Slumdog for ... Read more

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Finding your language of love
No drinking. Some time ago my wife and I had our first child. Along the way I learned this rule about pregnancy and alcohol: the two must never be mixed. If they are the result can be what is known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The symptoms range from... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Atwood on Mother Earth and Jesus
In her latest book, Margaret Atwood takes a run at offering spiritual advice to her readers. She has called the book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth. As you might guess, the book is full of warnings about carelessly taking on debt. Atwo... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: It’s the economy, stupid, but at what cost?
The care of the environment is a moral problem. This is the view of Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul in Alberta, Luc Bouchard. He has addressed a recent pastoral letter to the faithful of his diocese making this clear. All too often we dis... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Finding love in the vulnerable
“Love Doctor” is perhaps an inappropriate way to refer to Jean Vanier. The son of former Governor-General George Vanier, he is the founder of l’Arche, a movement of communities where able adults live with the physically and mentally handicapped. L’Ar... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Bus ads raise big questions
“There probably is no God. Now, stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Recently this message has appeared on the sides on buses in London, England. Transit buses in Toronto may soon carry the ads. Closer to where I live, the public transportation peopl... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: A humble job we can appreciate
Canadians are looking south of the border, many of them with not a little envy. We pride ourselves in being different from Americans, but when we see the excitement around the latest U. S. presidential election we would like to be more like them. Th... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The beautification of America
A few teachers I spoke with early this week were looking forward to watching TV with their students during class. They asked the audio-visual folks at their schools to have the necessary equipment up and running at the appointed hour. But beyond tha... Read more

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Is there too much to change for Obama?
Newspapers and websites are awash with articles about the expectation of change that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has raised. His slogans, “Change We Need,” and “Yes We Can,” have been instrumental. But how much can realistically change?

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Faith Meets Life: Smoothing out the edges in Ontario universities
Eleven days of “intensive” training. That, according to Carly Weeks of the Globe and Mail (Nov 19, 2008), is what the facilitators of Queen’s University’s “intergroup dialogue program” endure to qualify for the role. Facilitators are students who lo... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: What’s unique about Christianity?
There’s a story about C. S. Lewis, author of the Narnia Chronicles, wandering into a debate at a conference on World Religions. Experts were discussing what unique contribution Christianity has made to the world. Many religion pundits, bloggers and ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Lest we forget on many levels
Remembrance Day 2008: perhaps you attended a ceremony at a nearby cenotaph or at the college. I have led a number of such ceremonies myself, but always with mixed feelings. I’ll explain that. During Remembrance services we speak and hear words honou... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Stephen Lewis - The last prophet
Like a prophet straight out of the pages of the Old Testament, Stephen Lewis speaks these days on the environment, railing against western governments for doing as little as possible. Last week I heard him at a fund raising dinner for the Nova Scotia... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Finding God in Space
Canada can boast a few firsts, but being first in sending someone into space is not one of them. Even the United States can’t make that claim. The country to first send a person into space was Russia, and the astronaut’s name was Yuri Gagarin. The ye... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Sexual multi-awareness
I think it is safe to say that if you were raised in a Muslim home, your sexual awareness will be coloured by the teachings of Islam. Similarly for anyone who grew up in a Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist or strongly feminist environment. The environm... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: An end to the ‘get rich quick’ economy
At times it feels like we are being transported into the world of Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake.” There, genetic experiments have gone out of control, and the world is faced with terrifying creatures. In that world, our technologies generate unte... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: To vote or not to vote, that is the question
In a recent CBC radio interview, students were asked about voting in the upcoming federal election. A number of them were not at all keen. They gave several reasons. First, they said that the political contenders were not going to help students... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Each to their own when it comes to education
Some years ago when I was a student at seminary (a graduate school for people aspiring to be leaders in churches) I was also at the beginning of my parenting journey. I’m thinking back to a time when my wife’s and my two sons were, I think, two-... Read more

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The power of confession
In the film Almost Famous, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), at the tender age of 15, finds himself, if not on the cover, on the payroll of Rolling Stone. It’s the mid-seventies and William is tripping through the haze, coolness and bedlam of rock and... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: China has something to prove
The most interesting interview I heard about the 2008 Olympics stated that the Chinese government really didn’t care what the rest of the world thought of the Games. Its real goal was to impress its own people. Probably this is a perspective shared... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Figuring out Fanshawe for new and old students
Welcome, or welcome back, to Fanshawe. As you get (back) into college life, it might be good to consider that the first weeks can set the tone for the rest of your school year. During orientation and afterwards, students can choose to take advantage... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Environmentally speaking
The pressure is off for the moment. Concerns about global warming and the environment are not making as many headlines as they did a few months ago. Other topics are taking the top news spots. Protestors are trying to force a well-deserved helping ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Dylan still relevant in war
With a ticket to see Bob Dylan in hand, I played his DVD, Unplugged, hoping to reconnect with some of his music before I see him in May in Halifax. One of the songs, “John Brown,” struck me as newly relevant in today’s world. It’s a song about a sold... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Re-examining the seven sins
The Roman Catholic Church recently did a remake of the Seven Deadly Sins. This is not the first time most readers will have heard of the Seven. Hollywood periodically connects us with them. In 1995 we saw the release of Se7en. Morgan Freeman and Bra... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Ethnic divisions continue
In his current best-selling book “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins ridicules Christianity. Chapter Two begins with the words, “The [Christian] God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant, character in all fiction: jealous and proud of... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Seeing a different perspective through homelessness
Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, has, among other things, a lot of people taking a second look at the arguments for Jesus Christ rising from the dead. I hope to say a few things about that book in a future column. But for now I just want to n... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Defining death
Starting this coming Sunday the churches in London will be focusing on the last week of the life of Jesus some 2,000 years ago. There are four accounts of that week in the Christian Bible and, although the stories are told from different perspectives... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: It’s part of our history too
Genocide is a very strong word. I had not heard it applied to the Canadian context until I was at a meeting on spirituality and native people in Canada. The native representatives, whose own spirituality was Christian, told us that Canada has its own... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Life lessons from Mr. Bean
It probably won’t be remembered as a movie with a truckload of memorable quotes, especially from the lead character, vocabulary-challenged as he seems to be, but Mr. Bean’s Holiday does contain some memorable views on life.

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Faith Meets Life: Connecting the past with the present
Some Protestant and Catholic Christians are calling for a boycott of the film, the Golden Compass. Based on the books by Philip Pullman, the movie version offends some Christians who are uncomfortable with his anti-religious message. Readers sensitiv... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Our economy or the environment?
Small towns in Atlantic Canada are shrinking. The young are heading towards Alberta. Even the not-so-young. Sinclair Stewart, writing in the Globe and Mail (January 29), tells the tale of a 53-year-old father who spent six weeks in the oil sands and... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Feeling down in the dumps lately?
Around this time of year more people seem to get depressed. It could be the high credit card bills following Christmas. It could be having to cope with being a parent while trying to manage your course load. It could be that the party you hosted last... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Looking to the stars for answers
The British newspaper The Guardian reported that about 50 students broke into the offices of La Sapienza University in Rome to protest an appearance by Pope Benedict XVI. By now you might know that the Vatican cancelled the speaking engagement. Som... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Finding religion in our current culture
“Where is God?” This is the question that the CBC posed last week. CBC.ca browsers were invited to post their comments, and there was an interesting range of remarks. As might be expected, some contributors are careful with their words and others r... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Thoughts on the state of our culture
As I suggested in this column a month ago, I think Christmas has become too focused on consuming things. That’s understandable, after all, most people like getting presents, and most of us, either to a low or high degree, enjoy giving. And, giving p... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Give gifts that keeps on giving
One of the unhappy ironies of the times is that Christmas has been subverted. Christmas began as an occasion to remember that God became a human being in order to serve. Leaving his own home, he arranged to be born as we are, passing through the bir... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Distractions come before studying
Every year around this time, with exams around the corner, the pressure mounts to study zealously. Students are encouraged to crack open the textbooks and read notes as if there’s no tomorrow. Instructors, apparently without any pangs of conscience, ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Post-Remembrance reflection
The honour of dying in war Relatives of those who have served in Canada’s military are present among Fanshawe College’s staff and students. Some have known the loss or serious wounding of a family member or a close friend. For these and other re... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: A history lesson on church and state
Canada is not a country rooted in African, Asian or Middle Eastern traditions. It is a country rooted in European traditions. The ways in which Canadians tend to think about and practice a range of things can easily be traced back to Europe. The Can... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Media making sex a negative encounter
In the film Stranger than Fiction Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), agent of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) arrives breathless, carrying a box of small brown packages filled with flowers which apparently have yet to grow. “I want you,” he announ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Global warming desensitization
A couple of weeks ago the “top story headlines” on the CBC website read, “Arctic warming threatening caribou, northern wildlife.” The article contained a number of alarming statements, and the threats were not only to wildlife. Among them: “Largest ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Stopping bullies in their tracks
When my family moved to the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario, I was 10 years old. I entered a rural school feeling very insecure. Within weeks, maybe days, some of the established bullies in the school had me pegged as one of their victims. For a numbe... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Three proofs that God exists
Well, not proofs, but three fairly good clues. Sometimes you can hear people talking as if the case against God has been decided. The prosecution, according to this line, has successfully argued its case and the jury have returned the verdict. The s... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Apocalypse soon
Friends tell me that their California friends are buying land in Alaska because, well, heck, in a couple of decades California will be too hot. Like them, many of us are finding a way to make peace with global warming, now labelled less alarmingly as... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Seeing life through the eyes of Bourne
Jason Bourne has a lot to teach us. Take, for example, driving. A driving lesson with Bourne would be a lot more interesting than the routine, drab ones we all remember. For example when approaching an intersection, I was taught to look for the colou... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: What would Mother Teresa Do?
The current issue of Time has Mother Teresa on its cover. The article inside reviews the new book on her life, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. Inside the book reviewer David van Biema finds decades worth of letters written by the founder of the Mis... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Living in the shadow of Paris’ image
This week Paris Hilton introduced her line of clothing and accessories, a yet another invitation into the world of hot and glamorous. Not to begrudge her too much for finding a way to make a (pretty good) living, but is it really such a good idea to... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Urging for more green courses on college campuses
A few weeks ago I took a flight out of Ottawa and David Suzuki was seated a few rows back from me, which, I would guess, made almost everyone wonder if we really needed to be using a machine that spews greenhouse gases at an altitude of ten thousand ... Read more

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Finding a balance between science and faith
A number of people assume that faith and science are two creatures that will never get along. We have all heard the story of Galileo and how the church persecuted him, or we have heard that people who take Charles Darwin seriously reject the concept ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Travelling throughout religions
Pilgrimages to holy sites are common. I’m not thinking of the regular morning vigil to the Tim Horton’s line up, or even a trip to Starbucks. I’m not even thinking of the pilgrimages that many make to Graceland, Disneyland or some other icon “Made in... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Bonus features spark debate
In one of the bonus scenes on the DVD version of Stranger Than Fiction, the interviewee, an author, says she does not believe in God. This sets up a hilarious conclusion to the interview (On that [cheerful] note. . .). But it also reflects an assump... Read more

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Creating Canadian Idols
Continued from last week... Last week I began by thinking about the Dixie Chicks and their documentary, Shut Up and Sing. I ended by noting that the Chicks challenged the nearly blind loyalty that some Americans give to their president and the milit... Read more

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Loyality questioned in Dixie Chicks doc
In their documentary, Shut Up and Sing, the Dixie Chicks tell the world how the country music establishment boycotted them. It started in 2003 when the lead singer Natalie Maines told an audience in London (the other London) that she was “ashamed tha... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: For art’s sake
Two of my brothers make art for a living, one in New York, and the other in Rotterdam, while many of my family members are “into art.” Meanwhile, the hallways of Fanshawe are graced, here and there, by the contributions of students in the visual art... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Our earth needs some lovin’
After the UN declaration on climate change, I have a renewed awareness that the planet needs my love. I need to help resolve, or at least ease, the problem of global warming, but what should I do? It is all too easy for me to give in to the daily tem... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Alzheimer’s hits home for young and old
Some of what I know about Alzheimer’s Disease comes from talking with my sisters about my father’s loss of memory. And some of it comes from a book of poems by Robert Taylor (M. D. K. Publishers, 2005). The book is called simply, Bob’s Poems. Alzhei... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Dealing with depression
People sometimes comment that the winter months are the most depressing. Visits to counsellors increase, people look a little gloomier, the number of attempted suicides goes up, and more people call in sick. At this time of the year, we fall back in... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Know where your food comes from
Yesterday I joined a number of university and college students at a rally at the provincial legislature of Nova Scotia. Present were some of the future “Big Bad Bessies with the M-I-L-K’s and a few of their porky friends—for visual impact. This was a... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Inconvenient truths we face
According to Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, the level of the ocean’s water is going to rise six metres in the near future. This is one of the certainties we face if we don’t act decisively now to stop global warming. On another front, the “Wa... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Reconsidering the absent God
Ever heard of Shoemaker-Levy? Shoemaker-Levy was a comet. Fragments of it hit Jupiter in 1994. The damage done to the atmosphere of Jupiter was so extreme that we easily saw the explosions and shock waves with the Hubble telescope. What will happ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Grateful for quiche, among other things
Last night I decided to take a break from news about Israeli-Palestinian violence, environmental degradation and the “War on Terror.” I watched a movie I’d borrowed from a friend, Mississippi Burning (1988). Instead of watching scenes of violence an... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Welcoming culture, along with religion, into Canada
One of the points that the controversial Deepa Mehta film, Water, makes is that religion has a powerful political effect on the society that embraces it. In the movie, an Indian community has lived under the sway of Hinduism for many centuries. Acco... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Bush running low on seats
As I’m writing, there is some question about how well the Democrats in the United States have done in this week’s election. Apparently, there are some votes to be recounted in Virginia and, depending on the final numbers, the American Senate or House... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Taking meaning from The Departed
If you plan on seeing the Martin Scorsese film, The Departed, brace yourself. While it’s unlikely to be the bloodiest film you ever see, you will leave the theatre splattered. The film earns its 18A rating in the first twenty minutes, maybe ten. The... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Redemption awareness week
Actually, redemption and hope awareness week. Two weeks ago I wrote on the question of why Christian communities have proliferated and remained in our part of the planet. In almost every other area of the world too, one notices that such communities... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Back to basics with sex and religion
Whenever I think of Sexual Awareness events, I can’t help but wonder, do we really need more awareness of sex? This is the age of on-line pornography, some of it live, featuring masturbation and (almost) every form of sexual liaison you can imagine.... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Belonging in a world of choice
Homer Simpson prays, “Lord, on this Thanksgiving day, we are grateful that we can take another crack at family togetherness.” His church is one of millions. Great numbers of Christian communities continue to thrive. In London the number of churches ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Faith in a time of war
War is religion. By that I mean that it takes a lot of faith to go to war. It takes faith to make the decision to deploy troops and it takes faith to join the military and go where you are told. It takes faith because no one knows the outcome. The o... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: The Stones, Neil Young, and 60s dissent
"I cried when young people stopped asking questions," Francis Schaeffer, author of How Then Should We Live, lamented when he observed that the radical questions students asked in the 1960s and early '70s were no longer heard. Those were years of stu... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Similarities between Islam and Christianity
Recently, Pope Benedict made remarks about Islam that set off riots, protests, and counter-comment around the world. He has disappointed people who want to see better relations between Islam and Christianity. A discussion on the CBC’s, ‘The Current’... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Is Christianity the greatest hoax ever told?
The recent success of the book and movie, The Da Vinci Code, raises the question of the authenticity of Christian faith. So does the publication of the Gospel of Judas earlier this year. The question is, were the stories of Jesus that we have in the... Read more

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Three college-life lessons
When you think of orientation days, what comes to mind? For many people, college orientation can be a time to focus on parties and social events organized by the student union. It’s not hard to find plenty of events that promise a “good time.” The... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: A positive spin on ‘stabbings’ and ‘shootings’
This summer I bought a kayak. I've taken it onto a nearby lake a few times. I love the lake. I love seeing it in the morning when the mist is curling off the water like in a Group of Seven painting. I love seeing it in rainy weather when it is se... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - The last lunch
“So, the last time we talked, you mentioned something about being in the church you’ve started checking out.” Mitch seems more eager than usual to lead off this lunch hour conversation with Tamara. He, a former college chaplain, and she, a student,... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Mitch sits down opposite Tamara for their weekly lunch. A few weeks earlier Tamara had stunned Mitch by saying that she had started visiting a church on Sunday mornings. The former college chaplain is wondering how this is going for her, though at ... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Personal meaning beyond stereotypes
“So last week you gave me the shocking news that you had visited a church and lived to tell about it. You even liked it. What was it called again, Forest City Community Church?” Mitch asks Tamara as they meet for lunch again. “That’s right, in the... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - The message in the music
“Hello Mitch.” Tamara seems unusually upbeat to him as they both sit down for their weekly lunch meeting. “Did you have a good break?” Mitch asks. “Let’s just say that it was a very interesting one.” “Ok. I’m getting the feeling here that there ... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Superstar is a prophet in leather
“I got something this week that I think you are going to love.” Reaching into her backpack, Tamara brings out a document of seven or eight pages. “What’s this?” Mitch asks. He’s barely had time to seat himself for this, their umpteenth lunch meeting... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Nice guys don’t always have to finish last
“Hi Mitch!” Tamara sits down in a booth for her weekly lunch with the former college chaplain. “You keep showing up every week. I don’t think I’ve often said thank you, but I do appreciate it.” “You’re welcome. I enjoy our get-togethers, even wh... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Press freedom vs. religious rights
“It’s quite an uproar we’re seeing in the Muslim world lately,” Tamara begins as she picks up her sandwich. At lunch time, she is meeting with former chaplain, Mitch, at the usual spot, the (amazing!) Out Back Shack. “I noticed,” Mitch responds. “... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Christians make the best hedonists
“Good afternoon,” Mitch says as Tamara sits down for their weekly lunch meeting. “Great day today.” “Aren’t you up-beat today! What’s up?” “I don’t know for sure. It’s been an interesting winter, more or less, and January is over. We can start l... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Conservatives and Christianity
“Great to see you Tamara,” Mitch begins as he sits down for lunch at the revered Out Back Shack. “I see you’ve survived the election. You did vote, didn’t you?” Tamara asks. Who did you vote for? My guess is the Conservative candidate.” “Why do ... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Napoleon Dynamite relates to religion
“Ok,” Tamara begins as she takes her seat in the booth opposite Mitch, “last week you practically lectured me on C. S. Lewis and Narnia.” “Sorry, I didn’t mean to come across as lecturing.” “You’re forgiven.” She pauses. “Anyway, I wondered if yo... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Christianity in Narnia
“I have to admit that I thought your idea of sending people to preach God and peace instead of armies to solve problems seemed pretty strange to me.” Tamara begins this week’s lunch conversation with Mitch. “Well,” Mitch responds, “you’re the one w... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Guilt, voting and the human heart
“Happy New Year!”  Tamara greeted Mitch as they sat down to the first of their lunches in 2006. Tamara and Mitch had both taken some trips, visited some friends, and enjoyed their holiday season. “Same to you,” Mitch responded.  “You went home to To... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - The Manchurian Christmas
“No friends with you today?” Mitch asks Tamara as they sit down for what’s become a weekly lunch. “Next semester maybe you’d like me to bring some more,” Tamara replied. “I have a lot of interesting friends.” “Great. So, you want to continue this... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - The two extremes of ‘Mother’ Nature
“Ok, last week you promised to tell me what Christianity says about the ecological crisis.” Mitch had hoped to do a little reading on the subject before this lunch, but sometimes things just don’t work out. He responds to Tamara anyway. “Here’s th... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Irreversible environmental damage
Tamara, Jeff, and former college chaplain Mitch have been talking about the Christian idea of creation and the opening sections of the Bible. Jeff gets up to excuse himself. “Thanks a lot for talking with me. You’ve made me question the negative w... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: an Ongoing Tale - Problems when people think like gods
“That sounds very interesting. I can see that those stories of the creation, when they were written, would have been politically dangerous because they cut away the right of ancient Egyptian rulers to oppress people. But how are these creation stor... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Creation: Big Bang vs. Big Dome
Jeff has just finished making a point with Mitch. He said that the creation narratives in the Christian Bible don’t mention the Big Bang. Not only that, but they seem to describe a flat earth with water below the earth and a domed sky with water ab... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - New friend, new theory
Tamara Jacobs sits down with Jeff, a friend of hers. They’ve come to meet with Mitch, a former college chaplain who still gets to the college now and then, especially since Tamara has been meeting with him weekly. She contacted him at the beginning... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Facing fasting obstacles is tough
“I brought a friend with me today,” Tamara begins. “Since it is Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims, I thought you might like to meet a Muslim friend of mine. Aadil, meet Mitch, the Christian chaplain I told you about. He’s the one who has bee... Read more

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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Should we flee San Francisco, too?
“I know we were going to talk about why you think God made us.” This time it’s Tamara who gets the conversation started. “But I’d like to ask you about something else for now.” “You are off to a running start today,” Mitch responds, “we’ve hardly... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: An Ongoing Tale - Growing up is hard to do
“I once heard a philosophy student at Western put it this way.” Mitch, the former college chaplain explains to Tamara. “To think that there is a god giving us directions never allows us to grow up. We humans have to create our own communities and ... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: An Ongoing Tale - God is sort of like a raincoat...
“I’ve been thinking about what we talked about last week,” Tamara said as she sat down with her lunch. “About prayer and Hurricane Katrina, and I guess I can see what you’re getting at. Not all prayers are answered with a yes, and that is okay for Ch... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: Oprah reporting the story behind the story in NO
Last week, Tamara was questioning God’s presence in New Orleans, because surely many people’s prayers went unanswered. “You didn’t deny that some of those people died, but you also said that quite a lot of them must have had their prayers answered by... Read more

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Faith Meets Life: An Ongoing Tale - Where was God when disaster struck?
We find Tamara Jacobs lunching with former Fanshawe chaplain, Mitch Vedic. What was going to be a one-time meeting is turning into a long term conversation. Last week’s chat between the two continues and sounds like it could go on for a long time, ... Read more

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Looking for God at the Out Back Shack
Tamara Jacobs cautiously entered the Fanshawe campus pub for a lunch meting with one of the college’s former chaplains. He usually only ventures onto campus irregularly these days, but he couldn’t resist a request to talk with a student who wanted to... Read more

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