Category : Canada
(AJ) ‘Coming to God without freedom is not coming to God’: Philosopher Charles Taylor on seeing God in church decline
Why are fewer people going to church?
It’s very hard to put your finger on this, but this is what I’m trying to work out: that there’s another kind of spiritual life, spiritual searching, going on to a great extent in our contemporary West—sometimes it’s in totally different religions, or totally non-religious—and that this somehow is taking off at the expense of an earlier way of expressing one’s spirituality, which involves being members of national churches or in the case of a very diverse country like Canada, at least a church which you know is very big and solid in some parts of the country.
It’s not that religion is disappearing, or spirituality is disappearing; it’s taking different forms. If you put yourself in the mindset of people, in particular of younger people, who are concerned about the meaning of life, concerned about becoming better people, more loving, more open, etc., and are seeking in some way some discipline—it could be meditation, it could be various things—if you put yourself in the mindset of these people, when they go to the pews the least bad thing is that they don’t feel it’s very relevant! The worst thing is they feel that their whole way of approaching this is not really appreciated and it may be seen as threatening the people in the pews. Now of course this is perhaps more the case—I’m a Catholic—in the case of the Catholic church [laughs], where you have these very backward-looking people who are screaming abuse at [Pope] Francis and so on [laughs]!
That’s the extreme case, where you actually feel, “I’d better rush out of this place [laughs]! Or I’m going to be badly treated.” But the least worrying or problematic [for those outside the church] is just that this is not a concern that people [in the pews] recognize, this searching concern. “Everything is all settled, and we’re all together in these pews affirming it.”
— As It Happens (@cbcasithappens) October 5, 2016
Regent College, Vancouver, Receives $3.5 Million For Endowed Chair In Marketplace Theology And Leadership
Regent College is very pleased to announce the creation of the R. Paul Stevens Chair in Marketplace Theology and Leadership. The Chair’s $3.5 million endowment, the gift of Dr. Margaret Wai Kay Wong of Hong Kong, is the largest gift in Regent’s history.
Dr. Jeff Greenman, President of Regent College, expressed the College’s gratitude and delight:
“We at Regent are deeply grateful to Dr. Margaret Wong for her generous support of Regent’s mission by investing in the College’s commitment to marketplace theology and leadership. A fully endowed chair simply is a marvelous gift to us. It provides a strong and enduring institutional platform for a faculty member’s research, teaching, writing, and mentoring in a strategic area of Regent’s ministry.”
“Throughout our entire history, Regent has sought to equip men and women with a deep, integrated faith that is lived out in a variety of marketplaces and in their leadership roles. This gift advances that distinctive pursuit and ensures the vitality of Regent’s contribution to the church in this important area.”
Dr. Wong, a Canadian citizen, lives and works in Hong Kong. She completed her doctorate in Physics at MIT before moving to Hong Kong to oversee management of her late father’s property developments, including new town residential communities in the New Territories.
Regent College Receives $3.5 Million for Endowed Chair in Marketplace Theology and Leadership https://t.co/PvYOvJqzps
— Daniel Louie (@danlouie) November 5, 2019
Geoff Woodcroft, Bishop of Rupert’s Land (which includes parts of Manitoba and northwestern Ontario) called the report “dire.”
“We need to take it very seriously,” he said.
According to the report, there has been an almost 3.5 per cent decline annual decline in attendance since 2001 and a 2.5 per cent decline in giving in the diocese.
While that’s a cause for concern, it’s not a “death knell for the church, Woodcroft said, as it can’t account for “the vitality of the ministry being done by Anglicans” across Canada.
Anglicans in Manitoba are responding to their communities and neighbourhoods, together with thriving churches such as St. Margaret’s and St. Benedict’s Table (both in Winnipeg), Woodcroft said, calling the efforts a “credit to those people and those communities.”
As for church leaders, they are “taking (the report) incredibly seriously,” he said.
‘Dire’ report projects near end of Anglican Church in Canada https://t.co/wj84FmOaPz
— Winnipeg Free Press (@WinnipegNews) November 13, 2019
— Hamish (@DonaldPilgrim2) November 10, 2019
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.
It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.
The Anglican Church of Canada’s first reliably-collected set of statistics since 2001 show the church running out of members in little more than two decades if the church continues to decline at its current rate, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Friday, Nov. 9.
“We’ve got simple projections from our data that suggest that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” the Rev. Neil Elliot, a priest for the diocese of Kootenay seconded in 2016 by the national church to collect a new set of statistics, told CoGS. Elliot, who reported on 2017 data collected from all of the church’s dioceses, also told the group about ongoing efforts to expand and diversify data collection.
The current projection should be taken especially seriously by Canadian Anglicans, Elliot said, because it is suggested by five different sets of church data, all collected in different ways: older data from 1961 to 2001; Anglican Journal subscriber data from 1991 to 2015; and three sets of data from his own survey of the dioceses as of 2017: the number of people on parish rolls, average Sunday attendance and regular identifiable givers.
[John] Matthews is also chair of the north-side Christ Church Polar Lake Cemetery, one of only a few in Edmonton currently offering plots for the green practice. He said his church was approached about two years ago by a resident interested in having a green burial, or what Matthews calls a “traditional burial,” and so they decided to provide the option.
Four speakers took to the podium during the seminar at St. Stephen the Martyr/St. Faith Anglican Church on Alberta Avenue to explore some of the spiritual considerations and challenges with natural burials. It’s about opening the door for conversation and not being scared to talk about the inevitable, Matthews said.
“The whole idea is to get death out of the closet and to confront it directly,” he said. “The more you put it aside … that’s going to prolong the grieving process or impede it really to its proper completion.”
— Edmonton Journal (@edmontonjournal) November 4, 2019
The moment has arrived!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2019
Last month, I was in a room in Central Pennsylvania with North American leaders and kingdom practitioners from around the country for a retreat. After lunch we centered our conversation around this question:
“Where is the Church in North America heading and what are the implications?”
For those who know me, you know I am passionate about discussing a great question. And this certainly is a significant one.
Many missiologists, theologians and scholars believe the Global Church is becoming more diverse and moving south (that is, the center of Christianity is no longer in North America, but its greatest movement is in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly South America and the southern part of the continent of Africa.)
But what about North America? What does the future of the Church look like here? Well, we don’t know for sure, but we are seeing it become more diverse (ethnic, racial, gender, etc.), more urban, and more post-Christian/postmodern. With all this as the foundation, we dug deeper. We broke down our answers into three categories:
Sociological (what does this mean for how we interact with others)
Ecclesiological (what does this mean for the Church and localized churches)
Missiological (what does this mean in how we join with God and His mission)
Here is what we surmised for each category….:
Gathered with leaders from around the country around this question this morning: “Where is the Church in North America heading and what are the sociological, ecclesiological and missiological implications?”
Utterly fascinating, enlightening, exciting and hopeful. pic.twitter.com/lnuJiTJfnU
— J.R. Briggs (@jr_briggs) July 11, 2019
In 2016 the Chancellor of the ACoC made clear that just because something is affirmed does not mean that alternatives are rejected. He pointed out that there is nothing in the current Canons that forbids same-sex marriage. He said the same thing this year.
The General Synod then overwhelmingly passed a series of affirmations which made clear that it agrees with the Chancellor’s ruling. Listen to this, “We affirm that, while there are different understandings of the existing Marriage Canon, those bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies for the blessing of a marriage between two people of the same sex understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.” The House of Bishops made a similar statement.
It gets worse. The Synod overwhelmingly passed “Affirmations” that say that both views on marriage are held “with prayerful integrity;” that all sides on this issue hold their convictions “in good faith” and that “we hold dear their continued presence in this church;” and that “we affirm our commitment to walk together and preserve communion.” In other words, different views on marriage are at best a third-order issue.
This means that biblical orthodoxy has lost the war. To make the Canons clearly biblical, the ACoC will have to change the Canons to add something to the effect that they reject same-sex marriage as biblical and that this is a first-order issue. This is not possible.
The Anglican Church of Canada has defeated a motion allowing for same-sex marriages, despite overwhelming support from both the denomination’s laity and clergy.
Had it passed, the motion would have changed the church’s definition of marriage, deleting the words “the union of a man and woman” from the canon and thus permitting clergy to officiate gay weddings.
The vote, which occurred late Friday night in Vancouver at the church’s general synod, required a two-thirds majority from each of the church’s three delegate groups: the laity, clergy, and bishops.
The laity voted 80.9 percent in favour, and the clergy 73.2 percent in favour.
But the bishops of Canada defeated the motion, with two abstaining and just 62.2 per cent voting in favour of the resolution, disappointing many of the church’s members.
— The Vancouver Sun (@VancouverSun) July 14, 2019
— Gladstone (@TreasuryMog) July 1, 2019
That lack of a clear definition will make it difficult to apply the law evenly; given that the law also fails to provide clear penalties for violating the ban, a court could rule it is too vague to stand.
But the worst thing Mr. Legault has done is to undermine religious freedom in Canada. Even if the notwithstanding clause provides him with the tool to do so, that won’t prevent Canada’s name from being tarnished around the world for an abuse of so fundamental a human right.
There is no question that the Quebec state, as with all governments in Canada, should be secular. But Ottawa and the other provinces are proof that governments can preserve the right of public employees – police officers, judges and teachers included – to display their religious affiliation without compromising the separation of church and state.
It is monstrously unjust that a Muslim woman or Jewish man is now forced by the Quebec state to choose between their employment and their personal beliefs, while a person with government-approved beliefs about the sanctity of laicity is exempt from such a dilemma. This is a terrible day for Quebec, and for Canada.
Twelve hours after the Quebec government passed a law banning some public servants from wearing religious symbols, a Muslim student has launched a court challenge, saying it is a blatant violation of fundamental civil rights.
Ichrak Nourel Hak, backed by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Montreal lawyer Catherine McKenzie, filed the lawsuit on Monday morning asking Quebec Superior Court to suspend the law.
The lawsuit says the new law, passed late Sunday night, is vague, invites arbitrary application, excludes minorities from certain professions and encroaches on federal jurisdiction. Ms. McKenzie’s legal pleadings describe these legal failings as an attack on the fundamental architecture of the Constitution, including equal application of the law and separation of provincial and federal jurisdiction.
The lawsuit does not challenge the law as an attack on freedom of religion. Premier François Legault’s government used the notwithstanding clause to protect it from this most obvious route of challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
François Legault’s government passed a ban on some public servants wearing religious symbols in a final vote late Sunday night, enshrining into law a measure decried by opposition parties, minority groups and human-rights observers as an affront to personal liberty.
The National Assembly debated Bill 21 under closure in a marathon special weekend session that ended with Mr. Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government forcing passage of the law by a 73-35 vote, with backing of the Parti Québécois. Earlier Sunday, the CAQ used its majority to push through Bill 9, a law that enables new French-language and values tests that the government says will protect Quebec identity while refocusing immigration on economic interests.
The weekend in the legislature was marked by acrimony reflective of the debate that has roiled Quebec for more than 10 years over the place of religious minorities in the province. Some exhausted MNAs cursed at each other, others said they were on the verge of tears at times.
At the very last minute Mr. Legault’s government added a provision to allow inspectors to verify the law is being followed. “Securalism police!” shouted Quebec Liberal member Marc Tanguay in one of the final outbursts of the debate. Another last-minute amendment said the inspector could impose corrective measures and supervision. A final addition said “the targeted employee could be subject to disciplinary measures for failing to comply.”
Quebec passes bill banning public servants from wearing religious symbols https://t.co/EXbJBcWx5r
— audrey (@audimait) June 17, 2019
Upon his return to the plantation, Henson hatched a plan to escape to Canada with his wife, Charlotte, and four sons. He traveled 600 miles—with the youngest two in a knapsack on his shattered shoulders—several years before the Underground Railroad was even established.
Henson’s family joined a freeman settlement called Dawn, (now the site of Dresden, Ontario), near the location of a long-running series of riverside Christian camp meetings. But rather than settle into life as a free man, Henson returned to America again and again and rescued 118 slaves as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
As part of his fight for the freedom of others, Henson spoke and traveled extensively in an effort to raise funds and attention for the abolitionist cause and the work at Dawn. He traveled to the first World’s Fair at the Crystal Palace in London, where he won a bronze medal for the community’s high-quality black walnut lumber.
Through his new British Christian friends, he was given an audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Henson’s handlers told him to expect no more than 15 minutes with the second-highest-ranking man in the empire. After more than half an hour, the Archbishop asked, “At what university, sir, did you graduate?” Henson’s answer? “I graduated, your grace, at the university of adversity.”
He was born into slavery. He became a Methodist minister. He inspired “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” He met the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen of England wrote about him in her diary. He was an Underground Railroad conductor.
Meet Josiah Henson https://t.co/Jv4rFSlT4E
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) June 11, 2019
How do you convince society to embrace euthanasia as a means of attaining utilitarian benefit — while also convincing yourselves that your culture remains both moral and compassionate? Once you get past the squeamishness of allowing doctors to kill patients, it isn’t that difficult: First, legalize euthanasia of the seriously ill and disabled. Once the community becomes comfortable with doctors committing homicide as a means of eliminating suffering, you next allow those who want to be killed to donate their organs. After all, they won’t need their livers anymore, so why not let others have them? Next, ensure that the potential of euthanasia to add to the organ supply becomes well known, both to normalize doctor-administered death and to induce people to believe they or a loved one might personally benefit from doctors killing the sick. Finally, over time, you expand euthanasia/organ donation eligibility to patients who are far from death, such as those with neuromuscular disabilities or psychiatric illnesses — better organs, don’t you know — justifying it as you go along with soothing words of respecting autonomy and preventing suffering.
Lest any reader believe that I am conjuring a paranoid dystopian fantasy, this very scenario consumed the medical and organ transplant ethics of the Netherlands and Belgium, nations in which patients with mental illnesses and other diseases are admitted to hospitals, killed by lethal injection, and then wheeled immediately into a surgical suite for organ harvesting. When I bring up these facts in domestic debates about assisted suicide, supporters of doctor-prescribed death sniff that the Netherlands and Belgium are not the United States, and that such crass utilitarian exploitation of the despairing would never happen here. But why? Once we deem certain categories of people to be killable — which is precisely what legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia does — it becomes all too easy to conclude, as Belgians and Netherlanders have, that since these patients want to die we might as well benefit societally from their deaths.
That is precisely what happened in Canada, the United States’ closest cultural cousin, and indeed, a country many Americans see as having more enlightened public policies than our own. In the three years since lethal injection euthanasia became legal in Canada, at least thirty people were organ harvested after being euthanized. That number may soon increase dramatically as the Canadian medical establishment has come out solidly in favor of letting people who die by euthanasia to also become organ donors.
A major ethics “Guidance” was just published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association that establishes euthanasia kill-and-harvest (my blunt term) protocols. It makes for a chilling read.
Doctors and nurses with moral objections COULD BE FORCED TO PARTICIPATE, even if they object to euthanasia or taking organs from someone who was killed. “Healthcare professionals should act in accordance with… requirements for effective referral,” the… https://t.co/nGY4IfuTuB
— Wesley J. Smith (@forcedexit) June 8, 2019
In 2002, when his regional synod voted to let its bishop bless same-sex unions, [David] Short stood up and walked out of the room (as did Packer). So did leaders from half a dozen other churches.
The pastors knew they had to form their own organization and to find episcopal supervision. But that didn’t seem hard. Most of the global Anglican church still held to the gospel. The Canadians just had to appeal for alternative episcopal oversight, something already permissible in Canada, and call it a day.
“I thought it would take 10 weeks,” Short said.
It took 10 years. Ten years of accusations and meetings and lawsuits. Ten years of stress and fear and anger. Nearly all the churches would lose their buildings; all did lose congregants and money. Pastors lost sleep. Some nearly lost their sanity.
“We asked all the wisest people I knew—all the cleverest theologians,” Short said. “No one had any idea what to do.” So they just did the next thing. And the next.
This June, the Anglican Church in North America—made up of…conservative Anglicans primarily in the United States and Canada, including Short—will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The denomination has 135,000 members in more than 1,000 churches. It’s in “full communion” with the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON).
“It was all worth it,” said Ottawa rector—the Anglican term for senior pastor—George Sinclair, whose church left with Short’s. But he would have said that no matter what.
“Even if the church had declined, that wouldn’t be a sign that we had made a mistake,” he said. “Because the Bible is clear on this issue. You need to take a stand on it—without any expectation about how God will bear fruit from your faithfulness.”
“Functionally, we found ourselves part of a national church that was no longer recognizably Anglican historically or globally,” said rector Ray David Glenn. “They were using Christian language to describe secular humanism.” https://t.co/AEl1wReA7W
— The Gospel Coalition (@TGC) June 6, 2019
Half an hour after they had set foot on French soil on D-Day, Sapper John Schaupmeyer and his fellow combat engineers remained stranded on the beach, pinned down by German machine guns, mortars and artillery.
From the cover of a seawall, they saw an LCI, one of the larger models of landing craft, touch ground. Soldiers aboard tried to disembark but the rough waves tangled up their gangway. Trapped on the LCI deck, the men came under enemy fire. At that moment, one of the combat engineers, Sapper Walter Coveyduck, left the seawall’s protection to go save the men of the LCI.
This was Juno Beach’s Nan Red sector, the morning of June 6, 1944, a pivotal day in the Second World War. The Allied invasion of occupied France had begun, opening a new front against Nazi Germany.
The 14,000 Canadians who landed that day, 75 years ago, included a Nova Scotia fisherman, a Quebec labourer, an Ottawa civil servant and an Alberta farmer. For decades, their eyewitness accounts sat in a U.S. archive, unseen even by their relatives.
Four years ago, a Toronto resident, Geoff Osborne, started documenting his grandfather Earl Olmsted’s journey through the war. This led him to The Longest Day, the 1959 best-seller about the landing written by former war correspondent Cornelius Ryan. Mr. Ryan had collected the testimonials of more than 1,000 survivors but only quoted a portion in his book. Those files, including submissions from about 120 Canadians, are stored at the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
From those papers, here are the stories of four Canadians.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 6, 2019
(Globe and Mail) Quebec hurtling toward religious symbols ban, which critics say would not only be discriminatory, but a nightmare to enforce
Bouchera Chelbi, a schoolteacher who wears a Muslim headscarf, sat in the ornate salon rouge of the National Assembly and spilled her heart out to the legislators before her. Quebec’s plan to restrict teachers’ right to wear religious symbols, she said, was going to hurt.
“As a woman, I don’t accept that you dictate to me how I can dress,” she told the MNAs.
Ms. Chelbi’s comments were both pointed and remarkable: After six days of committee hearings into Quebec’s disputed legislation on religious symbols, she was the first and only teacher in a headscarf to address politicians about it.
The Coalition Avenir Québec government heard 36 speakers at its hearings on Bill 21, which would forbid police officers, prosecutors, schoolteachers and other public servants from wearing religious items on the job. But it largely left out the people who would be the law’s direct targets, such as Ms. Chelbi.
— Huda Mzioudet هدى مزيودات 🇹🇳 (@hudamzioudet) May 19, 2019
Family violence can take many forms,” says Madam Justice Marzari of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, including “unreasonable restrictions or preventions of a family member’s personal autonomy.” To be more specific, “family violence” can now take the form of refusing to accept a family member’s chosen gender identity. Such is the violence inflicted on a fourteen-year-old girl (referred to as AB) who is determined to be a boy, by her father (dubbed CD), who insists she is no such thing.
The court will not stand idly by, insists Justice Marzari, knowing that AB is “harmed by the fact that it is his own father, whom he loves, who appears to be publicly rejecting his identity, perpetuating stories that reject his identity, and exposing him to degrading and violent commentary in social media” (A.B. v. C.D. and E.F., 2019 BCSC 604, par. 72). Under Justice Bowden, it has “already determined that it is a form of family violence to AB for any of his family members to address him by his birth name, refer to him as a girl or with female pronouns (whether to him directly or to third parties), or to attempt to persuade him to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria” (par. 21). And now it means to enforce its embargo on such behavior by permitting the arrest without warrant of CD, should he give the least appearance of persisting in this violence.
We will return later to the matter of “degrading and violent” commentary. For the moment, please note that “treatment for gender dysphoria” means—at a minimum—the application of opposite-sex hormones, with their permanent effects on AB’s body. It certainly does not mean trying to get at the root causes in her soul—alienation from a parent, perhaps?—through any kind of cognitive therapy. That sort of thing qualifies these days as degrading and violent “conversion therapy,” a label applied in Orwellian fashion to any procedure that might call into question a sexual orientation or gender identity claim; any procedure, that is, which risks reversing a SOGI conversion. In a number of jurisdictions, approaches with that sort of risk have become illegal.
But back to A.B. v. C.D. Not being a family member, I will say in response to the court what AB’s father has been saying, but is now forbidden to say on pain of arrest: His daughter is a daughter not a son, a she not a he, and the court has no power by legal writ to change what is written in her chromosomes or to declare her chromosomes irrelevant. And I will add this: The court’s attempt to declare her chromosomes irrelevant is itself a form of violence against the family—this family and every family.
“Family violence” can now take the form of refusing to accept a family member’s chosen gender identity. https://t.co/M4zLaE2Imx
— First Things (@firstthingsmag) May 8, 2019
(Globe and Mail) Canada has helped Muslims thrive – and we must extend the same welcome for Asia Bibi
The spectre of mob mentality came to fruition after the Supreme Court’s principled decision to acquit Ms. Bibi in November. The judgment was based on inconsistencies in the testimony by witnesses and outright perjury by the two Muslim women. The country was paralyzed for days as religious extremists protested against the acquittal, calling for the death of Ms. Bibi, her lawyer and the judges – in defense of Prophet Mohammed, who the Koran describes as “a mercy to mankind.” The situation would be ironic if it wasn’t so blatantly antithetical to Islamic teachings.
The Supreme Court’s written decision reminds Muslims of their duty to protect religious minorities. It also refers to the Prophet’s covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai around 630 AD – a universal and eternal charter that declared Christians to be allies of the Prophet, who equated their ill-treatment with violation of God’s covenant.
While many in Pakistan have called for internal reflection, Canadian Muslims can demonstrate the spirit of mercy and compassion that was the hallmark of the Prophet by offering support to Ms. Bibi and her family.
This mother of five, a simple labourer, languished in prison for nearly 10 years while angry mobs called for her death. It all began with a kind gesture, which was rejected by religious chauvinism.
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) May 8, 2019
“Over the last forty-two years we’ve had many deaths, and we’ve spent a lot of time celebrating death. It’s very fundamental to our community,” he wrote, referencing his experience in L’Arche community of Trosly-Breuil, France—where Vanier began the first of an international network of communities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to live together in faith and friendship.
As he recounted in his book Living Gently in a Violent World, “To celebrate death is to gather around and talk about the person—about Janine, for example, who died recently. We gathered to say how beautiful she was, how much she had brought to us. Her sisters came, and we wept and laughed at the same time. We wept because she was gone, but we laughed because she did so many beautiful things.”
Likewise, those of us who have been formed and inspired by Jean Vanier have hearts heavy with both grief and gratitude as we celebrate the beautiful things we learned from a leader who helped us all to become more human.
We don’t often find people born into privilege and status, and highly educated, who then follow the downward path of Jesus. But as founder of L’Arche International, Vanier spent decades in community with people with and without intellectual disabilities and embraced the joys, complications, and demands that go along with such a life.
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) May 7, 2019
(Chek News) Sunday Mental Health Break–Hundreds of students give Comox 88 year old who waved to them on the way to school one final wave goodbye
Students from Highland Secondary School in Comox have been waving back at Tinney Davidson for years but on Thursday, hundreds of students gathered in front of her home to say one final goodbye.
“Oh lovely thank you,” said Davidson as she sat in a chair on her front porch.
Tinny Davidson is now 88-years-old but in 2007, when she and her husband moved into the home on Guthrie Road near Highland, they started waving to students every day and soon the students began waving back. A bond between generations was born.
“I just liked the look of the children and they all looked in and I thought if they’re looking in, I’ll wave to them and that’s how it started,” said Davidson.
CHEK News has interviewed Tinney Davidson several times over the years and our first story about her in 2014 made headlines around the world.
On Thursday, 100s of students crowded her front lawn after school to say goodbye before she moves into an independent living facility.
Read it all and do not miss the video.
(Recode) US companies are moving tech jobs to Canada rather than deal with President Trump’s immigration policies
US companies are going to keep hiring foreign tech workers, even as the Trump administration makes doing so more difficult. For a number of US companies that means expanding their operations in Canada, where hiring foreign nationals is much easier.
Demand for international workers remained high this year, according to a new Envoy Global survey of more than 400 US hiring professionals, who represent big and small US companies and have all had experience hiring foreign employees.
Some 80 percent of employers expect their foreign worker headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2019, according to Envoy, which helps US companies navigate immigration laws.
That tracks with US government immigration data, which shows a growing number of applicants for high-skilled tech visas, known as H-1Bs, despite stricter policies toward immigration. H-1B recipients are all backed by US companies that say they are in need of specialized labor that isn’t readily available in the US — which, in practice, includes a lot of tech workers.
More than four years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation appealed to the public to help identify the narrator in one of the Islamic State’s best-known videos, showing captured Syrian soldiers digging their own graves and then being shot in the head.
Speaking fluent English with a North American accent, the man would go on to narrate countless other videos and radio broadcasts by the Islamic State, serving as the terrorist group’s faceless evangelist to Americans and other English speakers seeking to learn about its toxic ideology.
Now a 35-year-old Canadian citizen, who studied at a college in Toronto and once worked in information technology at a company contracted by IBM, says he is the anonymous narrator.
That man, Mohammed Khalifa captured in Syria last month by an American-backed militia, spoke in his first interview about being the voice of the 2014 video, known as “Flames of War.” He described himself as a rank-and-file employee of the Islamic State’s Ministry of Media, the unit responsible for publicizing such brutal footage as the beheading of the American journalist James Foley and the burning of a Jordanian pilot.
More great work from @rcallimachi, who interviewed a Canadian who was the “faceless evangelist” of #ISIS English propaganda videos during a visit to a northeastern Syrian prison: https://t.co/em656v7aP1
— Michelle Shephard (@shephardm) February 17, 2019
So, is there really such a thing as evil? Subjectively, yes. You can call sadistic torture or genocide or rape evil. You may mean something very specific and have well-reasoned arguments as to why you have called a particular person or act evil. But as soon as you have a discussion about it with others, you may find that what you think is an undeniable act of evil is not perceived that way by them. Certainly by the time you bring people who have committed the act into the discussion, you are likely to encounter a different perspective. To once again cite Nietzsche, evil is only created in the moment when we perceive something as such. And just as quickly as we can make evil, if our perception shifts, it can disappear.
We make evil when we label something so. Evil exists as a word, as a subjective concept. But I firmly believe there is no person, no group, no behaviour, no thing that is objectively evil. Perhaps evil only really exists in our fears.
You have probably heard the saying that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Well, the same thing rings true for many contexts – one person’s soldier is another’s insurgent, one person’s sexual liberation is another’s perversion, one person’s dream job is another’s source of all ills. When we learn that evil is in the eye of the beholder, we begin to question the beholder and the society they live in. And when we turn our attention to ourselves, we realize that we sometimes curiously even betray our own sense of morality.
Because of what I consider an insurmountable problem of subjectivity, I think that neither humans nor actions should be labelled evil. Instead, I cannot help but see a complex ecosystem of decisions, cascades of influences, multifaceted social factors. I refuse to summarize all of this into a single hateful word.
“Perhaps evil only really exists in our fears”.
— Dr Julia Shaw (@drjuliashaw) February 16, 2019
The attack, a rare mass shooting in Canada, shocked Quebec’s Muslim community and showed that the country wasn’t immune to the sometimes violent backlashes that have accompanied growing immigrant populations elsewhere.
Two years later, many are still trying to come to terms with what happened and their place in a province where tensions over religion and assimilation persist.
Those tensions revived in Quebec’s October election. The conservative Coalition Avenir Québec won the provincial vote after a campaign in which it pledged to curb immigration and make newcomers take tests to prove their knowledge of Canadian Quebec values and French language.
The new Quebec premier, François Legault has also promised to bar certain public servants—including teachers, police officers and judges—from wearing visible religious symbols, such as the Muslim head scarf and the kippah worn by some Jewish men, and sparked criticism last week when he suggested Islamophobia didn’t exist in the province. Mr. Legault’s office later said he misspoke.
“It’s a difficult time for Muslims in Quebec,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
— WSJ Photos (@WSJphotos) February 8, 2019
Although as a child, she claimed Jesus had taught her to skate, she never considered herself a devotee. Instead, she says she has always understood God obliquely, as love.
After graduating from college with an arts degree and in search of adventure, Ms. Vosper moved to the far north of Canada, where she was married and had a daughter. After her marriage broke down, she returned to Kingston as a single mother and enrolled in divinity school.
“I wanted to learn how to make the world a better place through it,” said Ms. Vosper, who is sprightly, with short salt-and-pepper hair, chunky glasses and a penchant for bubbling over with language.
By then, the United Church of Canada was propelled more by social justice than theology, according to Kevin Flatt, author of “After Evangelicalism: The 60s and the United Church.” The first church to ordain transgender ministers, its leadership supported abortion and same-sex union before either became legal in Canada.
Divinity school cemented her metaphorical views of God, Ms. Vosper says. But once she began preaching, she realized many congregants thought she was talking about an all-knowing, all-seeing spirit who answered prayers and called some to heaven and others to hell.
“I realized how little of what I said got through to anyone,” said Ms. Vosper….
“‘Most of the congregation was in a similar place theologically,’ said Debbie Ellis, a member at West Hill for more than two decades. ‘The idea of a savior from our sins keeping us from actual eternal damnation was not something many believed in.’” https://t.co/ZrlmeIKJSZ
— RFRorg (@RFRorg) February 6, 2019
A priest of the Diocese of Ottawa, Gibaut is well known in ecumenical circles, having served on national and international dialogues and commissions.
He has been a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada, the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations.
Gibaut earned a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and has honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and Trinity College, Toronto. He has served as canon theologian of the Diocese of Ottawa.
He has lectured in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College as well as academic institutions in Australia and the United States. He has an impressive list of publications and presentations to his credit, reflecting his deep and diverse perspectives on theology. He is a highly regarded scholar in the areas of ecumenism, liturgy, church history, historical theology and Anglican studies.
The Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Canon Dr. John Gibaut as President, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Thorneloe University effective June 1, 2019.https://t.co/kI6kLBR9EU pic.twitter.com/Z4OUr4cWT5
— Thorneloe University (@ThorneloeUni) January 21, 2019