Category Archives: Reflections

Jean Vanier and the Wounds of Jesus

Earlier today, Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche movement, died at the Maison Médicale Jeanne Garnier in Paris.  The official announcement from L’Arche can be read here and reports from various new agencies are beginning to appear, including that of the CBC here.

One of Vanier’s great contributions was his recognition of the way that we diminish ourselves and dehumanize our neighbours through the attempt to deny our vulnerability.  It is only the love of the Crucified that allows us to receive one another in all of our finitude and woundedness as gifts.  This theme comes to the fore in the following reflection upon the body of the risen Lord in Vanier’s profound set of meditations upon the Gospel of John:

“A gaping hole remains in his side, big enough to fit a hand; a hole remains in his hands and feet big enough to fit a finger.  These wounds are there for all ages and for all time, to reveal the humble and forgiving love of Jesus who accepted to go to the utter end of love.  The risen Jesus does not appear as the powerful one, but as the wounded and forgiving one.

These wounds become his glory.  From the wound in his side flowed the waters that vivify and heal us.  Through his wounds we are healed.

Jesus invites each one of us, through Thomas, to touch not only his wounds, but those wounds in other and in ourselves and can be a sign of separation and division.  These wounds will be transformed into a sign of forgiveness through the love of Jesus and will bring people together in love.  These wounds reveal that we need each other.  These wounds become the place of mutual compassion, of indwelling and of thanksgiving.

We, too, will show our wounds when we are with him in the kingdom, revealing our brokenness and the healing power of Jesus.”1

Many readers of this blog have been both my teachers and students, and sometimes both, in the way of vulnerable discipleship modeled by Vanier.  Feel free to share your thoughts and thanksgivings about the gifts you have received from and through him.

  1. Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John (Ottawa: Novalis, 2004), 345-346.

From Otterburne to the Four Corners of the Earth

While Providence Theological Seminary is located in the small town of Otterburne in rural Southern Manitoba, we do have students coming from all over the world.  The modular course I recently offered on the “The Holy Spirit and Last Things” included students from India, Myanmar, Ukraine, Brazil, as well as Canada.  I  recently discovered that one my students from another class was featured this week in one of Paraguay’s national newspapers.  For those who can read Spanish, here is the link:


Augustine on Authorial Intention in Biblical Interpretation

A significant strand within the discipline of biblical studies within modernity has leaned towards equating the “true meaning” of Scripture with the intent of the author.  Ironically, this emphasis on “authorial intention” undermines the Christian claim that the Scriptures are superintended over by the Holy Spirit.  For if the Scriptures are a gift that the church receives from the Holy Spirit, then the meaning of the texts can not be reduced to the supposed intentions of the historical authors.  Augustine, for his part, while not dismissing the importance of authorial intention does relativize it in relation to reading with the rule of faith.  Here’s how he describes how Christian interpreters should approach obscure or difficult passages: Continue reading Augustine on Authorial Intention in Biblical Interpretation

Advent Resources

With the first Sunday of Advent nearly upon us, I thought that I would go back through the archives and pull together some of the most memorable postings pertaining to Advent that have appeared on the blog.  In the days ahead, I will also be posting some Advent-themed quotations from Stanley Hauerwas which appear in Minding the Web.  Here are some of the notable previous posts: Continue reading Advent Resources

“Remembering Rightly: The Pastoral Dilemma of Remembrance Day” (5th Anniversary Reprint)

It has come to my attention that people have been searching for my 2013 article “Remembering Rightly: The Pastoral Dilemma of Remembrance Day.”  The article was originally published in Volume 5 (November 2013) of the online journal Missio Dei: Tyndale Seminary’s Journal of Missional Christianity.  The essay was by far and away the most commented upon article to appear in the journal.  It appears that the online journal is no longer active, so I have decided to make the article available here. Continue reading “Remembering Rightly: The Pastoral Dilemma of Remembrance Day” (5th Anniversary Reprint)

Responding to “A Plea for Pointless Preaching” – A Guest Post by Lissa Wray Beal

On Thursday, November 1, a surprisingly large and energetic group of pastors, professors, seminary students, and college students gathered at Providence to hear and engage in conversation surrounding my paper, “A Plea for Pointless Preaching.”  The paper was an abbreviated version of an essay that I wrote for Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections.  In the essay, I suggest that the work of “two Stanleys” – the evangelical mega-church pastor Andy Stanley and the theological ethicist Stanley Hauerwas – present two contrasting homiletical paths open to preachers today.  Since that volume will soon be appearing in print, I will not be reproducing the essay here.  However, my colleague Lissa Wray Beal, who served as the respondent to the paper, has graciously allowed me to publish her insightful engagement with the essay here on the blog. Continue reading Responding to “A Plea for Pointless Preaching” – A Guest Post by Lissa Wray Beal