Meeting My Muslim Neighbour

This was not my first time visiting a local mosque here in Calgary. The first time I went was for a Friday Prayer Service and I was very uncomfortable. You can read about here. So with my friend Dan, I was eager for a more positive experience after receiving an invite to visit the Ahmadiyya mosque this past weekend.

Arriving at the entrance to a beautifully silver domed worship centre, I was a little surprised that there was not more people there. It was a public event to meet Muslims while exploring some of the many questions our culture faces in light of a growing...

Is It Wrong For A Heretic To Go To Church?

“Is it wrong for a heretic to go to church?” That was the question I found myself anguishing over while being unable to sleep the other night. It seems as though whenever I am in a larger congregation I feel uneasy about speaking what is stirring in my heart; most times because I tend to express challenge to the status quo and many of the institutional practices and beliefs held, which then leads to “upset” or anguish in the later discussions.

A “heretic”  is someone who speaks and/or acts against the accepted religious beliefs & practices of a particular group or community. It is often considered negative in tone and you generally want to avoid being labeled by such a name as it gives the understanding of being an outsider at best, or a less desirable character. But what if the generally accepted belief or practice...

Naked And Unashamed: Clothing Is Optional In The Reading Of This Post

Naked and unashamed. These are the words that came to my mind this morning as I contemplated the controversy in my home city the last few weeks. A local nude recreational community had tried to book a Family Swim Event at a municipal leisure centre and many of the public have protested citing concern for children and the exploitation of sexual offenders. While I sympathies with those who are protesting, I am trying to honestly look objectively at the positive & negative values to both communal polarities, and the differences they may have.

While I can't honestly say I know the true reasonings for this particular local nude recreational community; when I was younger, I thought these sorts of groups were attempting to embrace an "Adam & Eve" creational culture. In essence, we should...

The Beatitudes: To Know & Be Known

Perhaps some of the most profound words Jesus ever spoke might have come from his Sermon on the Mount. Recorded in the gospel of Matthew, he writes that  Jesus walked up a nearby hill, close to the sea of Galilee, sat down, and began to speak with those who were with him. He begins this well known moral address through what is called The Beatitudes.

"Blessed..." From the very first word, I am captured in the beauty of his imagination. With his eyes gazing over the people who were watching him, it was as though he was describing the very scene he was sitting in; the man with a dirty face from the soil he was working in throughout the morning, the woman who looked as though she was aged by the trials she had endured over the many years of keeping her home and...

New Year Wonders & A Reflection Into Two Incarnations

Last week I was listening to one of my favourite podcast, The Deconstructionists, as they interviewed Dr. Alexander Shaia. He was speaking on the connections between Christmas & the winter solstice while drawing the picture of two incarnations taking place; the incarnation of the Christ, the birth of a new humanity, and the incarnation of a renewed cosmos, a new reality in creation. This imagery has remained in my mind as I reflect on the dawning of a new year.

This is the time and season where many are reflecting over that which has occurred over the past 12 months while projecting forward hopes and aspirations for the new year.  While some might be compiling a list of resolutions, others simply cast there visions of expected events and desires they wish to pursue. Yet all of these are a practice most often done...

Agents Of Connection: Finding New Meaning To Being Local

I have been a part of the Missional conversation now for over a decade. In these circles, it never seems to get old to debate the meaning and artform of being rooted in place or becoming local in your identity; there is always this tension between affiliation and localization. These demands for inclusion and exclusion, who’s in and who’s out, tend to infuriate me a bit as no matter what side you lean to, you always seem to exclude someone. 

Then I saw a short film called ‘Agents Of Connection’. It opened my eyes to something; being local is not about finding yourself in a singular boardered place or land. Being a local means... 

Poetic Beauty Within The Profane: Reminiscing Flamenco & Gord Downie's Prowess

It was a concert I will never cease to forget as it was my first. I had just been released from the hospital months before and new to the world as an incomplete quadriplegic. With the inexperience to the hardships of winter in a wheelchair, the wet snow & coldness was hardly registering in my best friend Ron's & my mind as he walked beside me and I pushed my way home from the Chinook C-Train Station & The Tragically Hip concert on a late night in February of 1995. Probably a little stoked from the cloudy plumes that seemed to form in the Saddledome over the course of the evening but also warmed by the adrenaline of our own belting out of Gord Downie's poetic lyrics while not wanting the music to ever stop. Since the late 80's, The Hip was a part of our Canadian rich blood and rhythmic heartbeat.

Last year, as the band gave the news of Gord's diagnosis and their final tour, there was no way I was going to miss their final concert...

Transcending Empires & The Telling Of A New Story

"Let the dead bury their own dead." I have always been troubled by this statement of Jesus as he responds to a young man who expressed a desire to follow him. I mean, in the sense of logic, the dead are incapable of burying themselves. And in the sense of emotional compassion, this seems insensitive and lacking in Jesus' care for this young mans loss. But lets leave this thought here for a minute.

In my last post I wrote about 'Hoarding, Talking With The Dead, & Lessons Learned From The Past'. I started out describing how our house was filled with the boxes from my stepdad's apartment and the lifetime of things he had accumulated over time. While reminiscing as I went through the many photos, papers, journals, and materials, it was difficult to know what to keep and what to toss away. Even though...

Hoarding, Talking With The Dead, & Lessons Learned From The Past

f our friends didn't know us better, they might have thought our house had become a scene from the A&E show Hoarders over the past several weeks. After closing down the storage unit to which we were holding the belongings of my deceased stepdad's, we decided it best to put the remaining boxes in our home until we had a chance to sort through them and decide what to keep and what to let go of. It has made for a emotional and physical rollercoaster ride over the last month.

Opening each box seemed to reveal a little more of dad's story while we found a treasure of memories he had kept and moments we had even shared over the years. Good times while camping in the mountains and struggles during...