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Tares and Wheat

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". . . build my church . . ."

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this [that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God] was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [place of the dead] will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17-19, NIV) The book launch for Isaac Janssen, MDiv (October 1st at Common Word in Winnipeg) precipitated a lot of discussion late into the evening on the future of “the church.” A friend talked about experiences of visiting churches in Winnipeg and compared them as regards music quality, sermon delivery, attendance, liveliness and so on, and since we’re faced with traditional, “old-line churches” declining in numbers and non-denominational, big tent “churches” thriving, it’s not surprising that a question…

One of Us?

With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? (Isaiah 40:18, NIV)
“If God had a name, what would it be?
And would you call it to His face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?”
It’s been 24 years since Joan Osborne recorded Ed Bazilian’s song, One of Us. I’ve got it on a CD and played it in the car as we drove through northern New Brunswick. The haunting chorus (“What if God was one of us / Just a slob like one of us / Just a stranger on the bus tryin’ to make his way home”) stays with you; a fantastic backup band helps with that.
Isaiah goes on to answer his own question beginning with what God is not: not a man-made replica of an imagined god by a craftsman in gold or wood. What God is, though, is a creative force in the sky, so far above that the people of the earth appear to him as grasshoppers. Not a “person” who walks to and fro upon the earth either. From his lofty position, nations and kings are insig…

Personalidad Humana

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (Genesis 1:26, NIV)
This is part II of “mankind in the image of God.” Earlier, I pondered the imagery in terms of the physical—the human body, cuerpo humano. Today, I’d like to consider the implications personality-wise. Is the writer saying that God’s personality and our personalities are alike? Is a similar range of emotion and thought present in God as in us?
Genesis 1:26 contains a “so that,” a reason for the creator to have made us this way; how else would we have the ability, skill and intelligence to accept sovereignty over the earth? Most of us, most of the time would likely question God’s judgment in thinking that we are up to the job, but such a conclusion can only be reached, I think, if we make the mistake of reading the allegory as a h…

Wisdom's Rebuke

I take you back today to the wisdom of Solomon—but imagining that he’s writing his proverbs in the time of climate change. The passage in my Bible is called “Wisdom’s Rebuke,” and I’ve taken the liberty of retelling the passage as if Wisdom is the science on climate change—plus giving a nod to Micah’s admonition to please God through the practice of justice, mercy and humility. 
So what follows is a paraphrase of Proverbs 1: 20-33. You can read the NIV Bible’s version of the passage by clicking here.
Wisdom’s Rebuke On radio, television, newspapers, books, the internet and on the street, those who have learned and understand the potential consequences of climate change warn people repeatedly, emphatically. They declare in detail what floods and storms, fires and drought will do to us all, but the question they begin to shout most loudly is this: “How long will you who just don’t get it cling to the status quo like Ve…

cuerpo humano

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1, 26 & 27, NIV)

We could talk endlessly about the Judeo-Christian creation allegory in Genesis, could look at how “humankind” today is reflected in the mythical history of origins as the writers of that sacred text visualized it. We could even go to the internet and type in “man creates god” and be led to all kinds of sources that contend that “man created God in his own image; in the image of man created he God.” Either way, we would hit on the basic question, what then is mankind that his image should reflect God, and what is God that his nature and being is the template for mankind?

I’m thinking today about only one aspect of th…

Walking With our Sisters

Yesterday, I walked a “trail of tears” with many others at Batoche East Village. Walking With our Sisters commemorates with heart-breaking, yet heart-healing symbolism the grief over Indigenous girls and women whose lives have been stolen. It began with a smudging high on the East bank of the South Saskatchewan where we began a walk down to the water and back along a red-ribbon path with 1600 pairs, or more, of beaded moccasin vamps, each pair commemorating in its incompleteness the truncated lives now held only in memory. We each carried a small packet of tobacco to offer up with our prayers for the lost sisters at the end of our walk.
I thought about symbol and ritual; I wondered about the meaning for me of symbols and rituals deeply meaningful to Indigenous neighbours but unfamiliar and new to many of the participants in the walk. In a small way, I felt sorrow at my comparative inability to experience the raising of a spiritual awareness that seemed to ignite some special reveren…