Category Archives: Senior Writer Extra

Every hour counts: a call to create beauty and other great things well

Prof. John G. Stackhouse, Jr. delivered the following message in the academic chapel of Crandall University this September. We thought Faith Today readers, who know Stackhouse from his books and our pages, would appreciate this encouragement to use our time right to create lasting beauty and recognize the “daily-ness” of life.

“The lif so short, the craft so long to lerne.” In his famous poem “The Parliament of Fowls,” Geoffrey Chaucer quotes the ancient Greek sage Hippocrates to tell us something not only about literature, but about life. Life is indeed short when one considers how long it takes to learn how to—

How to what?

Prof. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., a columnist in Faith Today, shares a vision for using our time very well.

How to do anything truly important and worthwhile. To compose a poem, yes, which is what Chaucer initially means. But also to do anything else in life that is of lasting significance.

To build a bridge that will stand strong and look beautiful for generations. To run a business—a business that provides useful and dignified work as it contributes something beneficial to the world. To form and maintain a marriage—a relationship of mutual care and perpetual stability within which children can grow up secure, confident, and wholesome.

Ryan Holiday in a recent book (Perennial Seller) provides some examples of what it takes to produce something special:

  • The Sistine Chapel took four years to paint. Four years. The planning and the building took even longer.

To be sure, that was back in the Renaissance. We move much faster nowadays, right?

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The Day I Went To Church in a Strip Club

By Patricia Paddey

I’d never been to a strip club before. And so I admit that even as I forced myself to put on my fearless journalist’s hat (for the sake of my husband and daughter who accompanied me) my heart was Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.09.43 AMbeating just a little bit faster as I walked through the doors of The Manor strip club in Guelph, Ont.

I remember wondering, for a fleeting moment, how my 98-year-old mother-in-law would react if she knew I had invited her son and 18-year-old granddaughter to accompany me on a work-related assignment to a so-called “gentleman’s club.”

But this was church, after all. And reporting on the Church at the Manor would not only offer the novel opportunity to get my first ever glimpse of the kind of space where women disrobe for men’s entertainment, but it would allow my husband and I to worship with our youngest child – who had moved away from home and into residence at the University of Guelph a few weeks earlier. Even if that worship would happen in a dark, windowless room adorned with mirrored walls and glass “bubble pipes.”
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Jesus is My iPad

by Alex Newman

Read Alex Newman’s article “Why we give, how we receive” in the Nov/Dec issue of Faith Today

If I were a gambling girl, I’d bet money that each and every one of us has at some time received a gift that totally blew us away. Something that shocked not only because it delighted, but because it demonstrated just how deeply the giver had thought about us.

The best example of this I’ve seen is on a youtube video. It’s Christmas and an Argentinian boy is sitting at the kitchen table with his parents. They are clearly poor, he has just received his Christmas gift – a cutting board – and he expresses genuine gratitude to his parents for giving him what he needs to eat his BBQ with ease.

But there’s also a second gift — a nicely  wrapped shoebox which his parents tell him is new sneakers, and he will no longer have to glue his shoes together. As he opens further, though, he sees what’s really in there, and stops mid-sentence. His eyes grow wide as he looks at mom and dad, and he is overcome with emotion. He doesn’t even pull the iPad out of its box until after he sobs with joy and embrace his parents in tears.
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A Christian Journalist Ponders Response to Jian Ghomeshi Case

By Patricia Paddey

It’s been sadly fascinating to follow the news about the very public firing of a certain Canadian media personality. Patricia Paddey

The more I read, the worse I felt. But I couldn’t put down the bag of potato chips until I felt truly nauseous.

This was an interviewer I admired, and his was a show I enjoyed. As a Christian journalist I have learned and been inspired from his skill.  I appreciated his velvet voice, his way with his guests, the scope of his subjects and the obvious depth of research that went into each and every interview. So I read his Facebook confession, and several hundred of the responses from fans that followed.

And as I glimpsed a virtual outpouring of support for the man in the wake of his revelations, I felt disturbed, heartbroken. I had the sense I don’t belong – in this country – in the 21st century – any more.

Our society seems to have moved to the point where – for many people – character no longer matters. I’m not talking about unproven allegations. I’m talking about what the man publicly admitted in his Facebook post. Because, yes, the quality of a person’s character encompasses what they do in secret, and the degradation of another human being should never be called good.

Bondage, domination, sadomasochism – these things ought never to be normalized as if they were just alternate expressions of healthy sexuality.

But based on the outrage expressed over this man’s firing, and the calls for his reinstatement, they are things that no longer shock or disturb us. The real crime today is to judge such behaviour.

The former radio host claims all of his bedroom activities with young women were consensual. He insists that made them all right.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail, the Supreme Court of Canada “has said a person cannot consent to an assault that causes them bodily harm.”

But Christians believe human beings are more than bodies. Our souls, our spirits are mysteriously and beautifully interrelated with our bodies and are a part of what make us uniquely human.

Degrading sexual acts not only degrade bodies, but souls as well. Not all bruises are visible. Why would we – as a society – sanction something that derives pleasure from causing such harm?

Patricia Paddey is a senior writer at Faith Today.