Thursday, August 14, 2014

[buffalo shout, salmon cry]

Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together is the title of a provocative new book published by Herald Press.
"How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between indigenous and settler cultures, spiritualities, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices both traditional and Christian, native and non-native "Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry" offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and poetic, life-giving memories that can unsettle our souls and work toward reconciliation.

This book is intended for all who are interested in healing historical wounds of racism, stolen land, and cultural exploitation. Essays on land use, creation, history, and faith appear among poems and reflections by people across ethnic and religious divides. The writers do not always agree in fact, some are bound to raise readers' defenses. But they represent the hard truths that we must hear before reconciliation can come."
More info on this book, including links to reviews and to two podcasts by the Editor.

[tim's place - a gift to the world]

Video link

This is a "feel good" story about Tim Harris, a young man with Down Syndrome, who had big dreams and they came true. Quite amazing. But there's two other things that are worth mentioning:

The personal touch that comes from Tim hugging almost everyone who comes in the door. 

How different from the fast food restaurants that we frequent! And perhaps also different from "the peace" at church where many only shake hands and some do not even look into the other's eyes.

Secondly, in the video, Tim says, "I do not let my disability crush the dreams. People with disabilities, they can do anything they set their minds to. We're special. We are a gift to the world."

We do not often think of those who are different from us, and especially those who are at the margins, as a gift to the world. They are also a gift to the church, making it a richer place, yet how often do we think about this? And how broad and deep are we willing to see the gift as being?

Friday, August 08, 2014

peace in palestine

turn or bomb. cartoon by rob g

It's strange how ideas and beliefs can slip in almost unnoticed.

An excerpt from the prayers at a Sunday morning church service:
We especially today pray for the Middle East, for the people of Israel and the Gaza Strip that a permanent ceasefire may be accomplished, that the people of Gaza will accept the existence of Israel as the rest of the Arab world has, so that Hamas will stop firing rockets into Israel forcing the Israelis to retaliate with their much stronger military. We pray to you, Lord, for all the innocent people killed or wounded on both sides and for the great despair of all people everywhere in refugee camps.
At communion I am told:
The blood of Christ shed for you.
And I wonder, was it also shed for the Palestinians?

At the end of the service we hear:
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
And I wonder, what kind of peace and at what cost?

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

[a muslim movement that says, we are all Christians]

Here's some remarkable news from Iraq.

Militants who are part of the "Islamic State" have begun marking a red Arabic "N" on the homes of Christians, N standing for Nazarene, to identify them as enemies who need to convert.

In response, a group of American Christians working in Iraq with the Preemptive Love Coalition began tagging photos with "#WeAreN." That's interesting, but not remarkable.
Arabic letter "N", used to indicate those who follow the Nazarene (Jesus) and subsequently, by Muslims to indicate their solidarity with those who are persecuted

What's remarkable is that shortly thereafter, Muslims and other minorities realized that "if one group is marked, we are all marked" and began marking themselves with the "N" to say "We are Iraqi. We are Christians." In other words, while not changing their religious beliefs, they proclaimed their solidarity with their Christian brothers and sisters who were being persecuted.

Is that kind of like the good Samaritan being the one who helped the man who had been robbed, after the priest and the Levite walked on by?

Read the whole story of "Behind #WeAreN: 'If One Group is Marked, We're All Marked'.

Friday, June 27, 2014

[glad to hear from us... whenever]

God is glad to hear from us, wherever and whenever. Jeff Chu tells this story:
On my flight home after meeting with Bryan, I try to find a word to describe what he is seeking from God. I'm reminded of an anecdote Lupe shared: "Let's say there's a woman and she's a prostitute. At night, she falls into bed exhausted. As she goes to sleep, she cries, 'God, help me!' She wants to be helped. But then she gets up the next morning, she prays, she gets ready for work, and she goes to turn tricks. At the end of her day, she says again, 'God, help me!' What is that? Is that a woman who loves God and is crying out? Is that a woman who God is not going to reach out to until she stops sinning?"

In a soft maternal voice she answered her own question. "After years of listening to people's stories, I tend to think God knows she's trapped. He loves her," she said. "He's glad to hear from her. Whenever."

Lupe then questioned the premise of her question. So which woman is it--the desperate one who is truly seeking God's aid, or the forsaken one who needs to turn to face God before He'll face her? Maybe it's not one or the other. Maybe it's both. Maybe God will meet a prostitute--or a gay man or anyone--wherever he or she is, just as Jesus met the adulterous Samaritan woman at the well before she stopped sinning.

From Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu, page 125.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014


Having problems with too many undesirable people coming to your church?

Here's a great solution:

cruci-fix spikes. cartoon by robg

If you haven't heard, there's been some controversy over "anti-homeless spikes" appearing in various places -- outside a record store in London England, in an apartment entry in Montreal, and more. While supposedly intended to stop loitering or to reduce anti-social behaviour, they result in reducing the places where homeless people can find "shelter" at night.

Southwark Bridge Road flats, spikes in entry. Picture from online newspaper
After some outcry, including the mayor of Montreal insisting they be removed as that is not the image he wants for Montreal, most spikes were removed. The bigger question, asked by Matthew Pearce of Montreal's Old Brewery Mission, is: what is really going to be done for the homeless? Do we just want to look like we're not mean to the homeless, or are we going to do something positive and effective?

But seriously, what I'm asking here is: in what ways are the behaviours and attitudes of Christians functioning like the spikes? Functioning in such a way that when people see a building with a cross on it, they feel unwelcome, unwanted, judged and rejected?

Monday, June 16, 2014


what would jesus bake? and who would jesus bake for?

Forcing a Christian to bake a cake for a gay wedding is like forcing an African-American to bake a cake for the KKK.
Richard Land, Evangelical Pastor

I’d rather go to jail than make a cake for a gay wedding.
Jack Phillips, Christian Baker

If someone compels you to bake a cake for them, bake them two cakes.
Jesus, servant to all
Matthew 5:38-42, paraphrased for our time and culture.

And you'd better make sure they are good cakes too!
rob g

On a related note, Tony Campolo tells this story about throwing a birthday party for a prostitute:

Read Tony's story about the birthday party for a prostitute.

If video is not embedded, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Monday, June 09, 2014

why god doesn't go to church

why god doesn't go to church. drawing by rob g

Instead, God is in the thin places, the liminal places, the margins, the bars and bath houses, the back alleys, the streets of the city....

p.s. thanks c.r. for leaving room for god.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

the love family

Oncle and Auntie and Silas

the love family, by silas

God loves everyone and when people hate Him, He loves them still. He sings the love song to us and we love him always.  Jesus is powerful. 

By Silas Brandle,
May 31, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

the true story of the prodigal son

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

I am the son who went and asked his father for his share of the estate.

He gave it to me without hesitation, which surprised me.

It surprised me because I had never heard of a son ask for his share of the estate. Even more, when I asked some of my peers in the neighbourhood what would happen if a son asked for his share, they were horrified at the idea. They couldn't imagine a son ever asking his father for his share.

“That would be like wishing him to be dead,” they said. “No one would do that, and even if someone did, his father would beat him for it.”

So I was surprised when he gave me my share.

But I was also not surprised.