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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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.

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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Reasons to Read the Bible Well

-By Patricia Paddey

When Faith Today asked me to submit something for this space related to “How to Read the Bible Well,” I said yes. And then I considered backing out.

The more I thought about what to write, the more I reckoned maybe I’d already said all I had to say on the subject. Part of that feeling is no doubt rooted in insecurity.

I’m no expert on reading the Bible well. I’ve read it almost my entire life, but somehow, I tell myself, if I’d been reading it well all those years, my life would be in better shape by now. I’d be some sort of super Christian today. My faith would be stronger, more resilient. My service would be more energetic and fruitful. My sins and failures would be fewer and farther between.

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What They Miss Most in Canada

-By Debra Fieguth

From Sep/Oct 2014 p.36
David Tarus came from Kenya to Hamilton, Ont., to study at McMaster Divinity College. He is married to Jeane and they have a son, Berur Keitany.

Education is a value I cherish, but would I be willing to give up my home, my country, my extended family, my culture, for several years in order to get a higher degree?

That’s a sacrifice many theological scholars make when they come to Canada to pursue master’s level or doctoral degrees. Canada is a great place, we all know that, but, let’s face it, it’s a tad colder than the countries most of these scholars come from.

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The Silver Lining

– By Rick Hiemstra

Bible Reading“I don’t want any more of those the-church-is-in-decline stats” a ministry leader recently told me. “I want to know what is working.” In many ways the Canadian Bible Engagement Study data is more the-church-is-in-decline-stats, but it also says what is working.

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