Category : Canada

(G+M) Pastor freed from North Korean prison lands in Canada, ‘in good health’

Toronto Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim is home, “in good health” and “good spirits,” after being freed from a labour camp in North Korea earlier this week, his family said.

“We’re extremely happy. We’re ecstatic and joyful that my father is now home,” James Lim, his son, said during a press conference at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Lim, 62, was freed on “sick bail” Wednesday after a Canadian delegation, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser Daniel Jean, visited the country to discuss his case – more than a year and a half after he was sentenced to a life of hard labour in North Korea after being accused of trying to overthrow the regime.

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Posted in Canada, North Korea, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Globe+Mail) As our Northern Neighbors See us-The Trump administration is at war w/ itself, +Trump loves it

Why Can’t He Be Our President?” is the question Rolling Stone slapped on the cover of their most recent issue, featuring Justin Trudeau. Given who’s currently occupying the White House, leading an administration powered by a combustible mix of chaos and malice, the headline is understandable. No, it’s inarguable. The editorial sentiment would have been the same if America’s northern neighbour were led by Andrew Scheer or Tom Mulcair or anyone, really, other than the current President.

Yes, Donald Trump has yet to appoint his horse to the Senate. Then again, we’re only one-eighth of the way through his first term.

Mr. Trump made his name as a builder, but his presidency has so far been more of a demolition project. Sometimes he’s swinging a wrecking ball at adversaries. Sometimes it’s allies. Sometimes it’s his own administration, his own agenda and his own reputation. Sometimes it’s all of the above.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, President Donald Trump

(CBC) Leamington, Ontario, Anglican church opens doors to Muslim worshippers

Muhammad Asghar kneeled on the floor alongside a couple of dozen fellow Muslims last week silently praying. When he looked up and turned his head, he smiled at the Anglican priest kneeling behind him.

“To my amazement, he came and joined me in the prayer,” Asghar said.

A Christian clergyman kneeling inside a mosque would normally be an unusual occurrence, but in Leamington — the small farming community in southwestern Ontario — it’s become a common sight.

Asghar and many others regularly pray at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, where the Muslim community has set up a mosque, thanks to a deal worked out between the two religious communities.

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Posted in Canada, Canada, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Provinces Other Than TEC, Religion & Culture

(Globe+Mail) Quebec City Muslim community vows to continue fighting for rejected cemetery

In the aftermath of the bloody mosque shooting that took the lives of six Muslim men in Quebec City this year, Mohamed Kesri said he was struck by the outpouring of support and solidarity from fellow Quebeckers.

“The cards, the flowers, the visits to our mosque, the hugs. It was incredible,” he said. “We started to build closer relations. We felt encouraged about living side-by-side.”

On Monday, Mr. Kesri said he wondered where the spirit of kinship had gone, and how to repair it. A project to create a cemetery for Quebec City Muslims had been defeated by three votes in a referendum. Mr. Kesri, who spearheaded the project on behalf of the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, said he was disheartened but adamant about pursuing the fight.

“We will not give up,” he said on Monday. “It’s insane. Three votes. We speak for thousands of Muslims in Quebec City.”

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Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Islam, Religion & Culture

A Theology of Soup from Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson

A Wilkinson Theology of Soup from Regent College on Vimeo.

Posted in Canada, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Seminary / Theological Education

Four Years Ago today–A Look back to Marriage and the Anglican Church of Canada

I do remember how many folk on the other side of the argument about 10 or so years ago were at pains to point out this was about blessings, not marriage–marriage was not going to be touched. We were not fooled by that, even then.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Church History, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(CC) Jason Byassee–These Canadian Catholics look pretty Protestant

Do you know what amazes me about Father Mallon’s book?” I said to Pavel Reid, head of outreach for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Reid had just told me that Catholic dioceses across Canada were using Mallon’s book Divine Renovation as a guide to parish renewal.

“Let me guess,” said Reid. “That he stole it all from the Protestants?”

Precisely.

James Mallon, pastor of Saint Benedict Parish in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was recently named vicar for parish renewal throughout Canada. He has fielded more than 150 speaking requests since the 2014 publication of Divine Renovation, a book that has gone through multiple printings and been translated into French and Spanish. Divine Renovation and its sequel, Divine Renovation Guidebook (2016), are full of insights from people such as Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and Andy Stanley, and from the Alpha course, an Anglican evangelization video series. Mallon jokes that he subscribes to the CASE method—“copy and steal everything.” And it’s mostly Protestant practices that he’s been stealing.

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Posted in Canada, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Happy Canada Day and 150 Birthday to all Canadian Blog readers!

Posted in Canada

John Stackhouse-Getting the Facts Straight about Religion at the CBC

The CBC’s Neil Macdonald embarrassed himself this past week by letting loose on all things religious under the guise of a warning about new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. “Andrew Scheer says he won’t impose his religious beliefs on Canadians. We’ll see,” says his headline.

In the meanwhile, however, we can worry about the likes of Neil Macdonald imposing his views on us instead.

Mr. Macdonald starts badly by claiming that he is rigorously committed to facts while “religion, though, is something else. It is by definition not fact-based. It is a pure belief system.”

As a scholar of religious studies, I am unaware of any reputable textbook or dictionary that would define religion in this peculiar way.

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Posted in Canada, Media, Religion & Culture

(CBC) Could Anglican Bishop stop Pointe-du-Chêne’s controversial campground project?

The Anglican Bishop of Fredericton could be the man to stop a controversial campground project near Parlee Beach.

Bishop David Edwards was taking a walk in Pointe-du-Chêne on Wednesday, part of an annual pilgrimage he set out to do through the seven archdeaconries of New Brunswick.

But during his morning hike, he was approached by residents concerned about plans for a mega-campsite on Pointe-du-Chêne Road.

The park of 600 to 700 campsites, which Health Minister Victor Boudreau formerly held a stake in, would be the largest in the Maritimes.

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Posted in Canada, Energy, Natural Resources

In Flanders Fields

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.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

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”.

Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Poetry & Literature

(G+M) Mark Kingwell–Artificial intelligence in 2017 means respect, not fear

…fear remains the dominant emotion when humans talk about technological change. Are self-driving cars better described as self-crashing? Is the Internet of Things, where we eagerly allow information-stealing algorithms into our rec rooms and kitchens, the end of privacy? Is the Singularity imminent?

But fright is closely seconded by wonder. Your smartphone makes Deep Blue look, as Mr. [Gary] Kasparov has said, like an alarm clock. In your pocket lies computing power exponentially greater than a Cray supercomputer from the 1970s that occupied an entire room and required an elaborate cooling system. Look at all the things I can do, not to mention dates I can make, while walking heedlessly down the sidewalk! This is familiar terrain. The debate about artificial intelligence is remarkable for not being a debate at all but rather, as with Trump-era politics or the cultural-appropriation issue, a series of conceptual standoffs. Can we get past the typical stalemates and break some new ground on artificial intelligence?

I think we can, and Mr. Kasparov himself makes the first part of the argument. We can program non-human systems, he notes, to do what we already know how to do. Deep Blue won against him using brute force surveys of possible future moves, something human players do less quickly. But when it comes to things we humans don’t understand about ourselves, and so can’t translate into code, the stakes are different. Intuition, creativity, empathy – these are qualities of the human mind that the mind itself cannot map. To use Julian Jaynes’s memorable image, we are like flashlights, illuminating the external world but not the mechanisms by which we perceive it.

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Posted in Canada, Philosophy, Science & Technology

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A polygamy trial in Canada tests the limits of conjugal freedom

In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a landmark decision running to 335 pages: it opined that although anti-polygamy legislation does indeed impinge on religious freedom, it is necessary in view of the harm which multiple marriage causes to children, women and society. It was that ruling which paved the way for the current trial.

Blair Suffredine, Mr Blackmore’s lawyer, is defending his client on grounds that society recognises the legitimacy of other non-traditional unions, including common-law marriage. He has said: “Because of Blackmore’s religious belief, because he has more than one relationship, he’s being prosecuted. If he didn’t have a religious ceremony and just had all these children with different women, it would be fine. The sole distinction is [that] Blackmore went and had ceremonies for each one….”

The decision will be watched with interest in many democracies. There is no liberal democratic state where polygamy is legal, but the practice is recognised, either formally or de facto, in around 60 countries round the world, mostly Muslim. In practice, courts and authorities in democratic countries have often accorded some recognition to polygamous unions forged elsewhere when adjudicating, say, social-security benefits or child custody. That includes Canada, where immigration authorities insist, of course, that each newcomer must declare only one spouse but have been willing in principle to allow children from a father’s other marriages to enter the country.

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Posted in Canada, Religion & Culture

(AJ) In Canada, 3 Anglican dioceses have married eight same-sex couples since General Synod 2016

Eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for final approval.

Since General Synod 2016 approved – on first reading – a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.

In the diocese of Montreal, Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson said she is currently going through a discernment process with four same-sex couples considering marriage.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Vancouver Sun) British Columbia Polygamy trial now to include a constitutional challenge of the law involving questions of religious freedom

That reference case concluded in 2012 with the B.C. Supreme Court upholding the law on the basis that polygamy’s harms were sufficient to warrant a limit on religious freedom as well a freedom of association and expression.

Referring the law to the court was initially recommended a decade ago by the first special prosecutor, Richard Peck. He said a reference was preferable to a trial, which could be “a cumbersome and time-consuming process”.

Peck said “an authoritative statement from the courts” was needed because since the 1990s, the B.C. attorney general’s ministry had refused to press charges based on legal opinions suggesting that the law was invalid.

Peck disagreed and wrote that the harms of polygamy were extensive enough that they would likely be considered a reasonable limit on Charter-protected freedoms.

“Religious freedom in Canada is not absolute,” he said. “Rather it is subject to reasonable limits.”

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Posted in Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Religion & Culture