Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Check Your Phone Too Often? A Three Step Plan to Fight Technology Addiction

By Arthur Boers 

Technology is not neutral. It is hard to resist and – much like junk food –is designed to draw us into habits, some of them unpleasant if not nasty.

Redesign of Faith Today
Arthur Boers wrote the cover story for Faith Today’s relaunch. Check out the new magazine here.

Many devices are actually designed to be addictive. Anyone close to people afflicted with alcoholism say, would never call liquor “merely neutral.” And, finally, all of us have to deal with technology; no one can choose entirely to avoid using cars, phones, or computers.

Since technology is not neutral, it is important to have strategies to limit its hold on our life. I propose three.

First, consider the when of technology use. My father had a habit of daily first and lasts. Early in the day and late at night, he smoked. In many ways, smoking defined each of his days (and finally the end of his life). He did not just smoke at the beginning and end of each day, but all day in between too (as many as two packs a day). His smoking permeated his life figuratively and literally (as his clothes and car and our furniture and curtains all smelled of smoke).

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How Canadian Seminaries Go Global. Even at Home

When Global South Scholars Call Canada Home, a story in Sept/Oct Faith Today, examined the lives and mission of three Majority World scholars studying in Canada. Now the president of a seminary that hosts Global south scholars unpacks their significant impact — and what else Canadian seminaries do to go global

By George Sumner

Wycliffe College is on the campus of the University of Toronto

Seminaries and theological colleges in a financially pressed Church necessarily live betwixt and between.

The needs for ministry have increased and the budgetary means have, in many places, diminished. One area where this is clearly true has to do with the global dimension of education.

The great global shift which a scholar like Philip Jenkins shown us is not a subject of debate. Preparing men and women for the ministries to which they are headed requires some real experience of the Majority World Church.

This is more than the raising of awareness in a general sense. This global Church is already found in our global cities. In addition, we have a chance to see what Christian witness looks like in a post-Christendom world. Offering all students a semester abroad would be great, but it is more than we, and likewise most schools, can manage.

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Sand, Seaweed and Spiritual Growth: Insights From Sensible Shoes Author

There are many ways to read the Bible well. Sensible Shoes: A Story About the Spiritual Journey (InterVarsity Press, 2013) is a recent 4305novel that introduces some of those methods in a creative and compelling way. The novel is mentioned in the feature “How to Read the Bible Well” in the Sept/Oct Faith Today. We invited Sharon Garlough Brown, author of Sensible Shoes, to take us deeper.

By Sharon Garlough Brown

During chapel service this week at the seminary where I teach, the preacher invited students and faculty to enter into the story of Jesus calling some fisherman to leave their nets behind. “Take your shoes off,” he said. “Feel the sand and the seaweed around your ankles. Now imagine Jesus looking at you and saying, ‘Follow me!’ How do you respond?”

Being well-trained in methods of Scripture exegesis, many of the students find such an imaginative approach to be…well, unsettling. Too intimate. Too personal. Too confrontational, perhaps. Place ourselves in the narrative? they ask, eyebrows raised quizzically. Are we allowed to do that?

My characters in Sensible Shoes ask similar questions as they participate in a retreat to explore ways of deepening their relationship with God. Some of them have only ever read the Bible like a textbook: skim for main ideas and apply what you learn. But this way of reading, the retreat leader explains, does not give adequate time and space for the Word to descend from our minds to our hearts where it can penetrate and transform us. “Many people study the Bible without ever being shaped by the text. When we come to the Word with our own agenda, we put ourselves in the position of control. We may look for what we get out of it rather than ever allowing the Word to get into us. We so easily forget that reading the Word of God is meant to be a supernatural act of cooperating with the Holy Spirit. We’re meant to be listening to the Word with the ears of the heart.” (p. 102)
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With Love From Kenya to Canada: What Canadians Can Learn From the African Church

by David Tarus 

When I came to Canada more than a year ago, and having briefly lived in the USA, I was deeply saddened to see churches that have been shut down.

From Sep/Oct 2014 p.36
David Tarus studies at McMaster Divinity College. He is married to Jeane and they have a son, Berur Keitany.

Just across the street from my apartment in downtown Hamilton are two churches that have closed. The other two neighboring churches are struggling to stay in “business.” Who knows if they’ll be around in the next few years? This is disheartening.

Back home in Kenya the Church is growing exponentially. Bible schools cannot train pastors fast enough for the growing number of congregations. My dad just planted a church less than a year ago, and they have close to a hundred people now. The congregation is already thinking of planting another church nearby!

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Interview With The City Harmonic!

The City Harmonic is a Juno-award winning Canadian Christian  pressa2band out of Hamilton, Ont. At Faith Today, we love their sound. They are fresh, worshipful, challenging and hugely easy to listen to. The Sept/Oct. relaunch of Faith Today included a review of their latest recording, Heart.  But we decided we wanted more. So, below, especially for the Faith Today  blog, we interview lead singer Elias Dummer.  Read on to find out what inspires them, what they think about hymns and the wonder of  Montreal.

What was it like to play at the Air Canada Centre with the recent Festival of Hope?

With all of us growing up in Hamilton, playing at the ACC seemed like one of those things we never thought would happen. It was definitely a special experience. And the goodwill of Christians from such a diverse background gathering under one roof, and being “local” on top of it all made it feel like one of those bucket list moments for sure. That’s actually my favourite part of the Graham gatherings: to see churches work together meaningfully for a common goal. I tend to think that in the long run that will have as great or greater an impact in our communities than the rallies themselves.

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Second Thoughts About Evangelism?

Wycliffe College professor John Bowen’s book, Evangelism for ‘Normal’ People, was published in 2002. Since then it has sold 10,000 copies.evangelismnormalppl The  book is used as a textbook in several Canadian seminaries. But 2002 is a long time ago. Here’s what the author thinks now.

-By John Bowen

The Gospel is always bigger: I think my appreciation for the sheer bigness of the Gospel has increased. I would go further, and say that the Gospel should actually be the starting point for all of our theology. Some think the starting point for theology should be the mission of God (the “missio dei”) but surely the only way we know that God has a mission to redeem the world is because of Jesus’ announcement of the Gospel! The Gospel is the key to understanding what a Christian is (an apprentice of Jesus in the mission of God), what church is (the community of apprentices where the Gospel is spoken and lived out), what worship is (our hearts’ response to the Gospel), and (of course) what evangelism is (inviting others to respond to the Gospel). The Gospel is absolutely key.

These days, I am reluctant to say anything about evangelism until we have talked about the Gospel. Until there is passion for the Gospel—the evangel—there will be no healthy evangelism.

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Will They Be Back?

– By Doug Koop

50-somethings Disengaging From the Church

Church DoorI’m writing in broad strokes about a subset of my peer group—people long active in congregational and ministry circles who in later middle age are making the institutional church more of a back-burner item, less of a lifestyle.

For some this represents a full-blown crisis of faith: they can no longer even salute the doctrines that previously bounded their fellowship with other believers. Their erstwhile religion makes little sense to them anymore, and they wonder how they could ever have invested so much heart and soul into anything so fatuous. Many of these are simply disillusioned. A few are bitter.

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Lunch With the Pope

– By Brian Stiller

The inevitable question I’m asked when somebody hears I’ve been with the pope is, “What’s he like?” Here are some personal observations from a recent visit.

Impressions in the first moments so frame how we see an individual. This, my second meeting with Pope Francis, an almost three-hour conversation and lunch, allowed me to more carefully form impressions.

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