Being Human

We approach the season in which faith communities set out to remember something that we human beings usually try very hard to forget. We will gather on Ash Wednesday, kneel at the altar rail and willingly experience the imposition of ashes on our foreheads with these words also imposed: “Remember that thou art dust and to dust you shall return.” Who wants to remember that? We would rather work, play, buy things (buy lots of things) rather than face “that one.” But there we are, Continue reading →

The Gospel according to you?

He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 1.31 During a study group on the Four Gospels a few years ago, we asked one question of each other: If the Gospel according to Matthew looks like this; the Gospel according to Luke looks like this; the Gospel according to Mark looks like this and the Gospel according to John looks like this: what does the Gospel look like to Continue reading →

Does being angry make you well?

So the lectionary this week give us the beginning of the story of a prophet Jonah this week. It’s a story that often gets lost in heated debates about the possibility of a fish swallowing a man, or on the true history of Assyria. But listen to the story again, listen to what it might mean for people who would be people of faith. Jonah, the prophet, the professional religionist, the person who had dedicated his life to follow the call of God, hears the Continue reading →

A humble invitation

One of the most profound narratives about how people find themselves as part of a faith community is painted so beautifully in the Gospel according to John. This gospel that does not begin with Jesus born in a stable in Bethlehem (Lk) does not begin with a visitation by wise-men to Bethlehem the birthplace of King David (Mt); begins rather with mist and fog covering a dark stage and these words coming out of the darkness, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word Continue reading →

A Christmas Story

I’ll be signing off the blog for a Christmas break. I would leave you imagining anew, a story for the ages. . . In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. The Empire decreed that everyone was to return to the town of their birth to be enrolled. So it was that Joseph and Mary were on the road that Christmas time. Joe drove down the road in Joe’s rusty Ford pickup, “Joe’s Fix-it” hand painted Continue reading →

Jesus in Blue Jeans

As I serve in the church of the 21st century, I have a special place in my heart for the Gospel according to Mark, the Gospel that is at the center of our vision this next Lectionary year. We live in a church with the walls “painted” by the telling, year after year, in word, in song, in fabric art—of the gospel of Jesus. Imagine along one wall of the church Matthew’s picture of a rabbinic Jesus who came to “build a church” to form Continue reading →

The street-corner preacher

I was walking in the downtown area of one of our cities recently. On a street-corner a little band of Christians were standing together. A speaker was standing on a make-shift “pulpit” with a microphone in hand, loudly proclaiming, “GOD IS ANGRY!” Beside him, one of the gathering carried a large placard that spelling in bold colorful letters, “God is Angry”. . .and under the title followed the list of things that God was angry at: Drugs, Alcohol, Liberalism, Evolution, Homosexuality, Divorce, Abortion. . .” Continue reading →

The Cracks

(Originally from Pastor Sid’s Weekly Blog). . . Last week I was chairing the meeting of our Saskatchewan Synod and in the somewhat arcane workings of the ecclesiastical ballot found myself elected Bishop. In a 24 hour period my life took an abrupt 180 degree turn–from the familiar world of the parish pastor to a world that is for the most part rather unknown to me. It was a wildly fast “call process” that felt like being “torn” out of the familiar and “thrust” into Continue reading →