Archive for the ‘Christian Faith’ Category

An unintentional parable   Leave a comment

This is a personal reflection written By Jim Taylor:

IMG_1896_2I was driving north, up the main highway. As I came down the hill into town, traffic slowed to a standstill. The truck ahead of me turned on its four-way flashers.

Something was happening, but I couldn’t see what. I peered through the gap between the vehicles ahead of me. And I saw a woman, walking backwards across the four lanes of traffic, beckoning to something or someone with her hands, encouraging them to come on.

Then I saw what she was encouraging. A pair of geese. Canada geese. Big birds. When they spread their wings and hiss, they can be terrifying. But these two waddled along following the woman. And right behind them came a pair of goslings, balls of fluff on toothpick legs. And finally, behind them all, came a man pushing a bicycle, making sure no one got left behind.

Or run over.

The whole cortege reached the far sidewalk. The geese vanished into the park. The man and woman gave each other high-fives, and went their separate ways. Traffic rolled again.

As I too drove on, it occurred to me that I had just seen a parable enacted, a parable of the way the world could be, and should be.

Jesus didn’t have Canada Geese or four-lane highways to talk about in his parables. But I think he would have described that scene as a sample of the kingdom of God.

The goslings trusted their parents enough to follow them into a totally foreign environment. The geese trusted the woman enough to follow her across the highway. The woman trusted the drivers enough to believe that no impatient driver would run her down.

 And it worked.

For that couple of minutes, no one roared over the sidewalk to save a few seconds. No one honked angrily. No one brandished middle-finger salutes. Everyone got where they were going, at most a couple of minutes late.

It’s a parable of the “kingdom” because all our relationships depend on trust. Every day, we commit hundreds of little acts of trust. So many, in fact, that we don’t even think of them as acts of trust — we take them for granted.

I trust that my breakfast cereal is safe to eat. That an oncoming driver will not suddenly swerve into my lane. That the radio news is not fabricated fiction. That the cash register at the grocery store will add my bill accurately. That the tree will stay upright, the bridge will hold, the sky will not fall.

At least, not today.

If I couldn’t trust these incidents, I’d be paralyzed. Afraid of everything. A nervous wreck, a human Chicken Little.

Trust keeps our society, our civilization, even our world, running smoothly.

We exist in a vast, universal, web of relationships. We are, in a sense, the sum of our relationships. When we can no longer trust those relationships, we lose a huge part of what we are. We are reduced to being an individual playing solitaire.

 That’s why breaches of trust are so serious. And that’s why little incidents that remind us how much trust matters, matter. Even if they bring traffic to a standstill.

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Copyright © 2017 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups, and links from other blogs, welcomed; all other rights reserved.

To comment on this column, write jimt@quixotic.ca

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Religion AND Science   Leave a comment

“You’re a scientist AND a you want to be a minister in a church????”

That is a question that a friend was asked prior to his ordination.

In the UC Observer there are testimonies from four scientists / ministers who have also been asked that question of how they square the circle of being a scientist and a Christian leader.

https://ucobserver.org/faith/2018/04/4-science-trained-faith-leaders-share-what-still-gives-them-goos/

A grouping of young stars, called the Trapezium Cluster (centre), shines from the heart of the Orion Nebula in this photo by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Photo: NASA/ESA

 

Come and witness First Light   Leave a comment

Easter, 2018 is about to arrive.

What does that mean to us in the 21st century? A thought-provoking video from KAIROS Canada provides one possible response.

See you at sunrise on April 1, 2018.

Are “Thoughts and Prayers” getting a bad rap?   Leave a comment

Mourners light candles and leave flowers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting victims memorial in Las Vegas, on Oct. 6, 2017. Photo by Gian Sapienza/iStock

Writing in the UC Observer, Jackie Gillard comments on one common practice of the political class. When a tragedy, such as a mass shooting occurs, politicians tell the media that “our thoughts and prayers” are with the bereaved; the victims, whoever. Then, life goes on.

Gillard writes that, “The world has had enough of those feeble sentiments.” However, in this column she also writes that, “Thoughts and prayers can be seeds that germinate into affirmative action.”

Access the whole column at: http://www.ucobserver.org/columns/2018/02/school_shootings/

Posted March 7, 2018 by allanbaker in Canadian society, Christian Faith, Politics

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Make Babylon Great Again   Leave a comment

I first encountered the Rev. Dr. William Barber on TV when he was making a political speech. His Christian faith shone brightly through his words.

Now, Barber’s words have reached me through a short article that he wrote for Sojourner’s magazine, “Make Babylon Great Again”. It interprets the actions and words of the current President of the United States of America through the lens of the Book of Daniel in the Bible. It is interesting to read how Rev. Barber draws parallels between Nebuchadnezzar and the President.

https://sojo.net/magazine/march-2018/we-will-not-bow-down

 

Living Spiritually?   Leave a comment

 

In 2017 Anne Bokma attempted to “live spiritually” for twelve months. The UC Observer says that; “Having long explored the “spiritual but not religious” demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.”

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Bokma summarizes her journey in this column, published in The UC Observer: http://ucobserver.org/myls/ 

At the bottom of her column there is an opportunity to access each of the 12 monthly columns that she wrote on this topic.

It is an interesting journey to observe, especially if one believes that all of life is infused with Spirit.

 

 

Charlottesville, Empathy and Love   Leave a comment

Philosopher Charles Taylor has labelled our time as, “A Secular Age”, while Jeremy Rifkin has described our time as moving towards, “The Empathic Civilization”.

How does what happened in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 fit with these descriptions, and with the deep-in-the-heart human desire to love each other?

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Sunrise at Cape Spear – a new day begins in North America!

Vancouver journalist  Emilee Gilpin spoke with local anti-racist artists and activists Carol Martin, Harsha Walia, Kim Villagante, Jaye Simpson and Adrian Long about Charlottesville, and a planned counter-racist rally at Vancouver City Hall, which could see over 3,000 attendees. Gilpin asked them how they access empathy and love amidst violence, chaos and rage.

The uplifting responses of these west-coast activists can be found on the website of The Tyee at: https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/08/18/Five-Activists-Artists-Fighting-Racism-Outrage-Empathy/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180817