James Baldwin and the unraveling of our time

The 1961 Interview In 1961 Baldwin was interviewed by another American icon, “Studs” Terkel (1912-1987) a broadcaster and oral historian of 20th century. Terkel asked him about his self-understanding as an American playwright living in Paris. Baldwin described Paris as a refuge from all he’d experienced as a “Negro” in America. The advantage of another country and a different people was that he could watch what was happening to African Americans back home. He talked about how he’d brought to Paris the habits of being a “Negro” in Harlem only to realize he didn’t need them there. Though living in […] Read More

Greta Thunberg & James Baldwin

We are all so aware of the heartfelt, courageous leadership Greta Thunberg has given in pressing for action from world leaders around climate change. That her actions and person have created pushback from adults raises massive questions about why late modern societies have created their own infantile anxieties around loss of power. I was reflecting on this recently while in St John’s, Newfoundland participating for a few days with the Anglican Diocese of East Newfoundland and Labrador. It was my first time to this wonderful city and its people’s hospitality. Walking around the sea front and downtown I came across […] Read More

Summer 2019 – biking, again!

I’m on my bike again riding along the seawall, going to the gym. It’s an amazing experience because I haven’t been able to ride in months. Indeed, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. I couldn’t walk, write or, to be honest, think clearly. January was my last blog post. There’s a reason for that. I developed a cough in the winter and didn’t think much of it because everyone around me had the same thing. It was a particularly pernicious flu season. But the coughing wouldn’t go away. By March/April my friends were better but I was […] Read More

Seeing Hope

2019 is the year of a general election in Canada. Political parties are starting to field candidates to run in what is always “the most important election we’ve faced in a generation”. This Saturday I went off with others in the household to spend the afternoon listening in on the three candidates running for the local party we support. The presentations and debates were mostly about climate change and the dire situation of both the planet and human life. It seemed that the basic message was leaning into the apocalyptic. We are heading to hell in a hand basket and […] Read More

What’s Driving this French Revolution?

I was talking with friends in the UK this morning sharing stories about some of the creative edges where the Spirit is gestating forms of Christian life that are so encouraging and, potentially, transformative. These stories are about people operating outside the usual boxes of what it means to be church. They’ve formed table churches in their neighborhood, a hairdresser, without planning to do so, has formed a community of people in the shop who are talking about life with and without God. And on it goes – the bubbling of the Spirit in the ordinary. I long for existing […] Read More

Why Not a Christian counter movement to neo-liberalism?

Recently I was sitting with friends on the back deck when the topic of neo-liberalism came up.  Somehow, each had heard the same podcast about neo-liberalism and were pondering its implications. These friends are not academics who read economists or social theorists but ordinary people who, looking at what is happening in their worlds and to their children, are getting scared. They sense that they’ll, probably be alright but their children and grandchildren? This fear now runs deep. My friends are also Christians who, in the privacy of the deck, expressed their frustrations about the churches they attend. They see […] Read More

The Death of Truth?

The Death of Truth? Michiko Katutani, The Death of Truth (NY: Tim Duggan Books, 2018) Conversations about our so-called “post-truth” world expand and, now, move into a stage of violence were offence with the other leads to bomb threats and tweets. This loss of a sense of truth at the core of our discourse is troubling in so many ways. Its sources are not recent but the current outworking of post-truth narratives are terribly disturbing. It now goes far beyond notions of “fake-news”, the ways social media warp reality to fit one’s tribal viewpoints, or Russian meddling in democratic processes.  The […] Read More

Encounters with the Unexpected

From August through October I’ve been away from writing. A brief sabbatical.  In September Jane and I journeyed for the month around the UK and Ireland then I travelled to Korea. Jane and I ambled about London returned to old haunts (a favourite book store, the best cider bar, a speciality store for a new diary and journal), saw a play and connected with friends. In Belfast we enjoyed the hospitality of Heather Morris’s home. Heather provides strong leadership to the Methodist church in Ireland. We drove up to the Giant’s Causeway beguiled by the Irish story about giants who […] 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 makes clear Jesus undaunted conviction that God is effectively at work in our contexts, our own cities and towns. It is also an extraordinary invitation to communities of God’s people wherever they may be. It gives a clear sense of their identity. To be a light on a hill is to embrace a profoundly disorienting way of being in the world, in the neighbourhood. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t […] Read More