The Spirit’s Ferment in the Unraveling

We’re formed by rhythms of life. The seasons, the Christian year, holidays and festivals, regular practices. We attend to these rhythms as they’re present in our bodies, families, churches and communities. They guide us in how we live. Over the past several years the overarching rhythm shaping us is that of crises. We’re living in the experience of perpetual emergency ( Every time we turn around a new crisis is added to the expanding list that the media loves to truck out for us everyday (pandemic, climate, politics, race, war, economics and on it goes). We’re caught in a perpetual […] Read More

Christmas in a Darkening Time

Advent doesn’t begin until November 27th but already, for the past several weeks, lights are being hung across houses and Christmas trees are appearing in living rooms. At a friend’s apartment on the weekend I looked across the evening darkness to the other high rises. It was startling to see how many homes were already filled with the lights and Christmas trees. Amidst a time of anxiety we’re more eager than ever to grab hold of something that doesn’t change, that’s solid, a tradition that gives us intimations of stability in disruption. Advent/Christmas (the latter is familiar to most people; […] Read More

Where are we going? What’s Next?

God’s People in a New Era What “future” is before the churches? We are already prognosticating. We’re taking out the crystal balls, listening to the trend oracles and looking into the tea leaves to predict what’s next for the church. Already, conferences are planned (on line of course) around such compelling themes as “future church” where thought leaders are going to tell us what’s ahead and, therefore, how to plan. Some are telling us that the digital church is here to stay. It’s now the new customer base for anyone who wants to be “future-proof”. I’m not making this up. […] Read More

I’m not harming anyone

Several incidents have occupied Canadian media over this holiday season. We’ve all been continually told to limit our worlds to our households and not travel unless essential. Several (the ones we know about) of our politicians – the people making these rules and urging us to follow them – got on planes for vacations in sunny parts of the world. It seems that they are special, different from the rest of us. Their mantra seems to be that they’re working hard so deserve to live outside these expectations, besides, flying away isn’t hurting anyone, so what’s the problem? Well, actually, […] Read More

A Time to Mourn

These are hard days. I’m not alone in this. I know that my experience is pale and muted compared to so many of my black, hispanic and Asian friends right now. I don’t get many of these days of numbness or discouragement, the sense of precariousness. I listen to conversations, take the questions I’m hearing and try to connect people to a larger frame. Age (advanced), experience, reading and many, many mistakes helps you see how to fit the pieces of the puzzle into a larger picture. But answers, as sensible as they might sound, are not were we are […] Read More

Where are we? What’s next?

Discerning a crisis that will redefine us as churches “What’s Going On?” As Marvin Gaye asked: “What’s goin on?” As church leaders we’re in the midst of a crisis that will change the ways we’ve been church and our roles as leaders. But right now we are all working overtime dealing with the urgency of people’s immediate concerns; it’s hard to keep up with these larger challenges. This crisis has set in motion a spectrum of responses. Some of us are paralyzed by anxiety and fear of survival, others feel their world coming apart and grieve. Yet others want to […] Read More

Where are we now?

TMN is hosting a series of “webinar-like” conversations with leaders reflecting on the Emmaus Road text from from the perspective of our own experiences in these strange times. We’re asking: “Where are we now?” Our dwelling in the Emmaus text is raising lots of queries. One person commented: “As Cleopas shares what happened in Jerusalem, he expresses the death and crucifixion clearly but has some unbelief around the resurrection. Is there a sense in this Emmaus story that there is a death that needs to be experienced for his followers so that they can embrace what the power of resurrection […] Read More

“Where are the prophets…?

  A question asked yesterday on our TMN Webinar: What’s Happening was: “Where are the prophets today?” Part of it was about who can guide and point us to the way ahead in this strange unraveling of our world. In a book I wrote in 2005, The Sky is Falling: Leaders Lost in Transition I described something of the roles of leaders in terms of poets and prophets. The one really requires the other. I’ve shared below a bit of what I wrote back then about the prophet for those who might be interested. One thing that’s important to note […] Read More

The Emmaus Road

The Emmaus Road Across social media, lots of us are trying to give some frame to this unexpected, out of our world experience of massive isolation brought on by the seriousness of this pandemic. We are all searching out images, metaphors, and narratives that will help us make sense not just of what is happening but where this is all going. Many are experiencing  fear and anxiety around their ability to survive economically. Others are wrestling with being isolated, grieving the loss of a way of life that has been shaped by lively connections and interactions with friends and neighbours. […] Read More

What kind of character do we need as God’s people?

Jesus describes the character of a community of God’s people as a city on a hill; their vocation is as a beacon light seen shining in darkness. This description is not primarily about some conviction that Christians can or ought to be “useful” but that God is out ahead of us already remaking the world in the very places where we live. It is also an extraordinary invitation to communities of God’s people that gives us a clear sense of our identity. To be a light on a hill is to embrace a profoundly disorienting way of being in the […] Read More