What Are We Doing About Hunger in Canada?

by Ashley Chapman

Before the early ‘80s, there were no food banks in Canada. They were introduced as a temporary measure, but have since been entrenched—according to one long-time food bank volunteer—as “the grocery stores of the poor.”

In October,  45 volunteer groups in 36 Canadian cities hit the streets for an event dubbed “Chew on This!” organized by Dignity for All: The campaign for a poverty-free Canada. Everyone from food bank volunteers to anti-poverty coalitions to Christian university students hit the streets with a simple message: Canada needs an anti-poverty plan.

Food banks, meal programs and shelters are currently necessary, but they are also effective at masking Canada’s poverty rate. Approximately one in seven people are poor, and one in eight struggle to put food on the table.

While many Christians are drawn to important frontline charitable work, “Chew on This!” co-organizer Janelle Vandergrift explains that food banks don’t address the some of the factors that keep people in poverty.

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Why I Don’t Call Myself a Christian Artist

by Albert Mueller

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Canola Field IV by Albert Mueller. His artwork is featured in Canadian Creatives in the Sept/Oct Faith Today

I never hear anyone refer to themselves as Christian truck drivers, or Christian factory workers, airline pilots, doctors, or lawyers. The list goes on. Most of the time a person will tell you what their occupation is, and then you might find out later that they are Christian also.

The band U2 is one of the most popular pop rock bands in the world and has been for some time. Not many people think of them as Christians, much less as Christian artists. They are generally considered a secular rock band as opposed to a Christian worship group. I don’t imagine too many churches would consider calling them up to lead worship in their church.

As a visual artist I do not consider myself a Christian Artist.

I am simply an artist, but will always be a Christian first. The word Christian is used as an adjective to describe the person or the type of art a person makes. When a person is called a Christian artist the person is now compartmentalized into making only Christian art.

The artist is no longer making art for the sake of being a creative person that God made them to be.

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Four Things We Need To Know About Human Trafficking

Faith Today’s Question and Answer section features leaders of EFC affiliate organizations sharing their vision. Nov/Dec spotlights Ed Wilson and  his work as executive director of International Justice Mission Canada. Below, he shares the four most important things we need to know about human trafficking.

By Ed Wilson

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Girls rescued from sex trafficking dance at the Mahima Home, an aftercare home in Kolkata, India (International Justice Mission).

As the leader of IJM Canada, an organization that combats violence against the poor in the developing world, I have the opportunity  to meet with remarkable women and men who have survived the global scourge of human trafficking.

Out of those experiences, I’ve concluded there are four things we all need to know about human trafficking:

Human trafficking is pernicious. Traffickers have no regard for the richness of the human mind and the dignity of the human soul. The person is nothing more than a chattel to be marketed for financial gain. Recent news reports of Bangladeshi slave ships parallel the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, with reports of hundreds of people being held in what are effectively floating prisons. I’ve interviewed clients of IJM in India who were refused permission to leave a forced labour facility to seek medical attention for themselves, a spouse or a child or to attend the funeral of a parent. One young woman recently rescued from a brothel in Mumbai hadn’t seen sunshine for three months.

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Disagreeing Well: And Why It Matters Deeply

By Gordon T. Smith

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Gordon T. Smith wrote “How to disagree…graciously” for Nov/Dec Faith Today

A number of months ago I was approached by the folks at Faith Today with the question: would I do a piece for the magazine on how we manage our differences?

My first thought was:  “Sure — I’ll do this.  I should welcome an opportunity to write for this Canadian Christian magazine . . . on whatever the topic.”

But then when I actually looked at my computer screen and began to write, I realized that this topic matters to me, and it matters to me deeply.

And it seemed that as I wrote my fingers flew across the keyboard. Sure, there was editorial revision work to do. Certainly. But I was amazed at how just below the surface of my consciousness I had been thinking about this — mulling it over. And now I had a chance to put something in writing.

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A Military Chaplain Remembers

By Pierre Bergeron

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This week at the National War Memorial in Ottawa

On Remembrance Day I’m deeply moved as I watch young and old veterans with watery eyes lay a wreath or a poppy on a tombstone as they remember the time, the place and how their buddies laid down their life in seas, foreign fields and beaches.

That’s why survivors of war have made a commitment to “the fallen” to remember them. God help us not to forget.

Remembrance Day is a special opportunity to remember and honour the thousands of leaders, men and women who surrendered their dreams and ambitions. They laid down their lives to defend the very principles of freedom that our nation enjoys and so many seem to take for granted.  This day is also an opportunity to be reminded of the painful scars our veterans carry hidden in their memories.

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The Beautiful Privilege: Standing With Persecuted Christians

by Floyd A. Brobbel

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Persecution of Christians by the numbers, in the Nov/Dec Faith Today

It was a cold winter’s day when my wife and I stood in a cemetery, hand-in-hand with our dear friends, sharing in their grief. Underneath the frozen ground lay the body of a little one who never had the chance to take a breath, feel the warm sun on a bright summer’s day, or see the look of love on her parents’ smiling faces.

I stood transfixed as I witnessed a mother cry. I appreciated the beauty of this moment: shared sorrow combined with the hope that life in Jesus offers.

On another occasion, I sat with parents who years earlier had lost their daughter and her boyfriend in a horrific car accident. I was there when they buried their daughter, and I grieved with them as we went through that day. Now, years after the accident, they share the struggles and pain that remain even though life goes on. It’s amazing how easily the tears can flow long after the event has passed.

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Persecuted Christians Need Us To Be Aware

By Anita Levesque

This Sunday, Nov. 9 is International Day of image005Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). This global annual effort draws people together to remember and pray for people who are persecuted for their religious beliefs – those who live daily in torment, those who have lost their lives and the families left behind.

In a day and age where congregations nation-wide have many issues to address, I am grateful for the many churches across Canada that are taking time in an already full service schedule to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who aren’t sitting on comfortable padded pews.

They may well be worshipping on the cold stone floor of a damp, dark prison cell, or in a refugee tent in Syria or Northern Iraq. In too many nations, their choice to love and follow Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace – is considered a threat to their government, their neighbours and even to their families.

Because of this, freedom has been taken from them; a freedom we may too often take for granted at home in Canada.
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What I Learned Leading the World Evangelical Alliance

by Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe

You need a team.

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“You need a team,” says Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance

To lead a global body like the World Evangelical Alliance you need a team of gifted, visionary and passionate leaders to serve with you. Individuals who bring great depth and understanding on different issues, willing to speak truth in a context of trust and grace.

You have to invite the team members to speak into your life. You encourage animated debate and discussion.

As I look back on these 10 years, I thank God for the remarkable group of women and men, younger and older, from different cultures and countries who have worked with me in tireless and sacrificial ways.

The growing Kingdom impact we have experienced is the result of a Holy Spirit empowered team.

You need to maintain perspective.

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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

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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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