Category Archives: Reflections

“Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid”

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt offers an insightful diagnosis of the divisions and stunted intellectual discourse that have characterized American public life in recent years in his essay “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid” appearing in The Atlantic.  It is a longer read, but it does reward those who put in the time.  (For that matter, there is also an audible version of the article available on The Atlantic’s website.  I was able to listen to the essay while driving today.)  Haidt compares the fallout of developments such as the “share” and “like” buttons in Facebook and Twitter to the splintering of the ancient peoples into different language groups at the Tower of Babel.  There is much to ponder here for those of us who reside in Canada, who face similar, but not identical social dynamics.  Russell Moore, the former SBC ethicist, reflects upon Haidt’s piece in a column, “Fragmentation is Not What’s Killing Us.”  Moore agrees that there is much to learn from Haidt’s analysis, but suggests that a theological reading of the Tower of Babel story might suggest a different framing of the problem and understanding of the solution than Haidt proposes.  For my part I could not help but think of Stanley Hauerwas’s important essay “The Church as God’s New Language,” which juxtaposes Babel with the Spirit’s animating of the Church at Pentecost.

Vaccine Hesitancy among Christians

I was pleased to get my COVID vaccination a couple of weeks ago.  I view getting vaccinated as part of my missional calling as a Christian to love my neighbour.  Unfortunately, many Christians do not see things in the way I do, with the potential risk that we do not reach herd immunity as a society.  Southern Manitoba, where I currently reside, is often considered to be one of the Bible-belts of Canada, yet it has the lowest vaccination rate in the province. Continue reading Vaccine Hesitancy among Christians

Newbigin’s Prophetic Insight

When I was teaching in Toronto, there was a period of several years in a row where I read Lesslie Newbigin’s Foolishness to the Greeks with my students.  I consider the book, written in 1986, to be something of a 20th century theological classic.  As evidence of that, I did try a few years ago to blog through Newbigin’s seven essentials for a church seeking a genuine missionary encounter with Western culture.  I only made it through the first four before other endeavors required my attention, but you can find links to those previous posts here. Continue reading Newbigin’s Prophetic Insight

“God’s Unpredictable Plans”

The following is a response I was invited to recently give to chapter 1 of Matt Brough’s forthcoming book Let God Send: Crossing Boundaries and Serving in Christ’s Name.  Matt is the Minister of Word and Sacraments at Prairie Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He also serves as the Program Coordinator for the New Worshiping Communities Initiative of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Continue reading “God’s Unpredictable Plans”