Category Archives: Current Events

Trinity Western University: “We know it will be messy”

“Some have asked, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to just make the Covenant voluntary?’ Of course it would. But this question misses the point.”

by Amy Robertson

My boss is from the U.S. We see a few things a little differently—the name of a winter hat and the last letter of the alphabet, for example. (Just for the record, “toque” and “zed.”) A couple of weeks ago, he made a connection I never would have: the relevance of Canada’s national anthem to Trinity Western University’s law school journey.

Read the latest insights into the TWU case in the Jul/Aug Faith Today.
Read the latest insights into the TWU case in the Jul/Aug Faith Today. www.faithtoday.ca/subscription

God keep our land glorious and free—what an amazing line!” he said.

I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated a fresh perspective so completely.

I’ve probably sung and heard “O Canada” thousands of times in my lifetime—yet I rarely think about the words. They’re powerful, aren’t they?

Freedom is what made Canada great from the very beginning. So much of what we’re privileged to enjoy as Canadians comes from freedom. It means we can expect our elected officials to represent our interests. It means we can speak our minds without fear of being arrested—and so can our neighbours, even if they see things differently. It means we can expect to shape our own future.
Continue reading Trinity Western University: “We know it will be messy”

The Presence of Grace and the Bosmas’ Ordeal

by Darren Roorda

It’s time to say ‘Thank you.”

For the past few years our nation has watched the Bosma family and friends go through horrific events that in some way we identified with. The loss of a spouse after the simple act of placing a truck for sale; the search for a loved one whom we thought might be found; and the subsequent court proceedings against the two men responsible for Tim’s disappearance and death.

crxx_ChristRefChurch_logo_colorAnd what has been striking through all of it is the grace that Sharlene Bosma and the surrounding community has displayed.

Just after the trial ended last Friday, a CBC reporter commented with surprise on Sharlene’s “gratitude in light of all that she had been through.” Local media outlets have also spoken of the grace of the Bosma family throughout.

But I am not surprised. Built deep into the foundational makeup of Christians in the Christian Reformed Church [CRC] is a framework that helps us to understand life in a way that makes sense of it all.

First, we understand that the world is broken. It does not operate in the way that it was originally meant to. In this case, the brokenness took the form of two men with evil intent.
Continue reading The Presence of Grace and the Bosmas’ Ordeal

Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament

by Karen Stiller

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.01.16 PM
Contact your MP now. That was the advice given in the latest EFC webinar “Worse than we thought: physician-assisted suicide”

Today, I rushed home from work and called my Member of Parliament. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or stressful as I feared. To be honest, I don’t even know why I thought it would be. What was I so worried about?

Sometimes I host EFC webinars, and the most recent was on euthanasia and physician-assisted death in Canada. Specifically the recommendations made by the Joint Parliamentary Committee assigned by the government to study the issue and make recommendations around the new law we will have in Canada.

The most floppy of recommendations, as it turns out. If the door to physican-assisted suicide was open a crack in Canada before, the recommendations of the committee would rip the door off its hinges and leave a gaping hole in its place.
Continue reading Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament

What about the refugees already here? A long-time refugee activist issues a challenge

By Anne Woolger

As someone who has helped with the hands-on resettlement of close to 4,000 refugees in Canada in the past 28 years, in many ways, I am thrilled by the recent wave of enthusiasm, interest and compassion shown by Canadians from coast to coast in response to the plight of Syrian refugees.

"It broke my heart to see refugees were not being welcomed and I longed to do something about it." — Anne Woolger, Founder of Matthew House
“It broke my heart to see refugees were not being welcomed and I longed to do something about it.”
— Anne Woolger, Founder of Matthew House

Yet, I must confess that at another level, I have had mixed feelings. Dare I use words like hurt or even jealousy? Perhaps I feel a bit like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son.

You see, I serve another group of refugees who are not featured in the news, who are quietly arriving and seeking asylum at our borders almost every day. But no one is running out to greet them or cooking fattened calves to welcome them. This group of refugees are called “refugee claimants.”

Refugee claimants are those in need of protection, but who for various legitimate reasons, are unable to gain access to Canadian visa offices abroad. They are forced to ask for asylum upon arrival in Canada.
Continue reading What about the refugees already here? A long-time refugee activist issues a challenge

How can even this be beautiful? Reflection on the Tragedy in Calgary

by Roy Eyre

The Wycliffe Canada community is grieving with the families who have lost so much in Calgary last weekend.

Early Saturday morning, two young men died and four were injured in a tragic sledding accident at Canada Olympic Park. A number of them had Wycliffe connections, including two of the injured teens who are sons of Wycliffe staff.FullSizeRender-4

So the loss and pain is very personal. These boys were friends with some of our kids, they were classmates with others, and their parents were personal friends of many of our staff.

My wife and I have marvelled as two precocious, red-headed, rosy-cheeked, one-year-olds in our church nursery grew into the amazing young men who will be remembered at a funeral on Thursday. We ache as we consider how Jordan and Evan Caldwell’s young lives could be snuffed out so suddenly. We also agonize with those remaining in hospital and the boys who will carry emotional wounds from this event. To be honest, we’re devastated. We’re spent of tears after three days of visiting at the hospital.

What do we make of a tragedy like this? I was recently reminded of some thoughts I posted in September 2014 as I considered the autumn colours, and they seem relevant today in light of this tragedy.
Continue reading How can even this be beautiful? Reflection on the Tragedy in Calgary

Follow. Then Go. Last Thoughts From Urbana 2015

Faith Today ran a contest to send a student to Urbana 2015. Jeanie Qiu, a University of Alberta student, was chosen to attend North America’s largest student missions conference. She shared her learnings and thoughts during the conference, and now wraps things up for us. Thanks Jeanie!

by Jeanie Qiu

I can’t begin to describe the experience Urbana was for me.

Jeanie Qiu and her friends found Urbana to be all that and more!
Jeanie Qiu and her friends found Urbana to be all that and more!

Looking back, it’s amazing how much God taught me in those five days. To start, I have to be honest that during the few weeks before I left for Urbana, I didn’t fully feel prepared- in fact, I felt like something was holding me back from opening my heart to listen and experience Him.

So I prayed, knowing that God was greater than what was holding me back, and He answered.

On the first night at the hotel, God addressed the problem I was facing through a conversation with my roommates that came up unexpectedly. I know that was His way of telling me that it was time to let go and give up my control of that aspect of my life to Him. Through this, He prepared me for the next few days of sessions, worship, and seminars.
Continue reading Follow. Then Go. Last Thoughts From Urbana 2015

Film Crew Reports From the Frontlines of a Syrian Refugee Camp: “Throughout the suffering, God remains present, and His presence brings hope.”

by Luke McKee

As the world considers how it will respond to the Syrian crisis, millions of men, women and children remain trapped in a state of chaos, struggling to survive in foreign countries having been forced from theirs.

The Trapped in Transition film team explored the lives of Syrian refugees and made friends along the way.
The Trapped in Transition film team explored the lives of Syrian refugees and made friends along the way.

While Canada plans to sponsor thousands of refugees in the coming months, the sad and heartbreaking reality is that represents less than one percent of the total number of people displaced by the Syrian conflict. Many conversations are focused on bringing refugees West, but what will be our response to be to those left behind?

The plight of these refugees is the focus of the short film, “Trapped in Transition,” commissioned by Partners International Canada (PI).

The film shares a beautiful story of partnership as local Lebanese leaders sacrificially serve on the front lines. Their work in the region is done with the larger vision of building the church in the Middle East.
Continue reading Film Crew Reports From the Frontlines of a Syrian Refugee Camp: “Throughout the suffering, God remains present, and His presence brings hope.”

The 17-year old Girl Forced to Church Shares her Advice to the Church

A couple of weeks ago, one of our editors wrote a blog that touched a nerve. It was called Why We Force Our Kids, Almost Without Fail, to Go to Church. Holly Stiller, the girl in the blog, wrote back.

By Holly Stiller IMG_7207

Advice columns and articles about keeping youth in the Church pass through my newsfeed regularly. Confused parents and pastors keep trying to figure teenagers out. Well, here’s my inside scoop on what the Church should do to keep teenagers like myself in the church.

Stop trying so hard. You are not the reason I’m at church. I am here because of God, and the work that He has done in my life. The differences that people at church share are blessings, not things that need to be bridged.

Teens don’t need a cool, hip preacher in order for us to hear from God. In fact, seeing a 50- year old in skinny jeans trying to relate to us about the Kardashians makes me really uncomfortable.

We don’t want you to pretend to have the same interests as us, because you don’t. We are at different places in life, and that’s okay. I don’t have grandkids, and you’re (probably) not taking Driver’s Ed. That’s what’s so great about the Christian community; it’s a mix of people who wouldn’t normally be with each other coming together to do the work of God. If I wanted to hang out with people who were just like me, then I wouldn’t be at church at 10a.m on a Sunday morning. I’d be hanging out with my friends – or just in my bed at home.

Here are my top four tips for churches from my teenage perspective:

  1. We’re not afraid of hymns. There’s something beautiful about hearing a song that’s been sung by generations of Christians. We don’t need the hottest hits from 99.9 FM to be engaged in worship.
  2. As cute as your kids may be, we don’t always want to be stuck babysitting. Just like you guys, all teenagers have different gifts and aren’t the same. We’d love to get involved in ministry. Give us a chance to really be a part of the body of Christ.
  3. Don’t dumb down the sermons. Don’t feel the need to protect us from being confused. Faith isn’t simple, being a Christian in high school has already taught us that. We want to be able to talk about the big stuff, whether you know the answers or not.
  4. We may do things differently. Help us make it possible, even if we’re doing it differently than you would. Yeah, we’ll probably pick pizza over egg salad sandwiches, and we may even get a little rowdy for your liking, but that’s okay.

One of the greatest parts of being in the church community is the wisdom and relationships that you can build with people who are in different places in life.

Intergenerational relationships are so important, and we do like it when older people in the church want to invest in us. We want to get to know you — we’re just a little more awkward and moody about it.

We know you like us, and we like you too.

Holly Stiller lives in Port Perry and writes for Love is Moving magazine, available in print for the first time with the Jan/Feb Faith Today, arriving with your Faith Today. Subscribe today.

 

In Light of Paris: A Refugee Support Group Finds its Way

by Karen Stiller

We have one of those decorative signs in our house near the back door so our kids can see it as they leave for school. Instead of “dance! sing! celebrate!” this one is about doing the right thing.

Syria in rubble (http://photo.sf.co.ua/id154)
Syria in rubble (http://photo.sf.co.ua/id154)

It is a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., with this quote, “The time is always right to do what is right.” I’m sure it annoys our kids. As if they need Martin Luther King, Jr. nagging at them too.

But it is top of mind for me these days, after Paris, and before our next meeting of the Port Perry Refugee Support Group.

We formed the group, our own church getting the ball rolling, to try to bring together churches, along with community groups and individuals who might not go to a church, but still care deeply about the devastation of Syria’s people.

We thought this was something we could do together. To borrow a line from the EFC, something we could do better together than apart.
Continue reading In Light of Paris: A Refugee Support Group Finds its Way

Christians Should Move Swiftly: A Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

By  Kevin McKay

The image of young Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washing up on the shore is the result of inaction. This tragic story has come to symbolize the ‘Syrian refugee crisis’ however it provides Christians with two incredibly profound opportunities in the face of one of the biggest mass displacements of people in history.

A Syrian Refugee Village in Lebanon
A Syrian Refugee Village in Lebanon

The first opportunity is to help our brothers and sisters in need and demonstrate God’s love in us. This can be accomplished in our own neighbourhood, cities and within Canada as well as in Syria and elsewhere but God commands Christians to demonstrate His love sacrificially. God’s love is not meant to be passive, it is not to be offered with conditions, and it is not confined by borders, but rather it’s meant to be freely dispensed through action.

1 John 3:16-18: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Therefore, the answer to the immediate refugee crisis is simple. Christians should move swiftly to assist the millions of people who are brutally trapped in transition in practical ways by supporting organizations who provide emergency relief, and agencies that sponsor the relocation of legitimate refugee claimants to Canada. This is an important, immediate, but short-term opportunity.
Continue reading Christians Should Move Swiftly: A Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis