The End of Silent Nights

God’s promise of redemption came in the midst of a sinful, self induced free fall into oppression. The people of God questioned His wisdom, which led them to question His goodness, which led them to question His presence, which led them to turn away, which led them into captivity. That’s the theme on repeat in the Old Testament. The prophesies that anticipated that first Christmas carry a heavy tone. If what the world needs is deliverance from sin and injustice, then the world needs a perfect judge who will execute pure and… Read More

God With Us

Written by Susan Dunk I am writing Advent lessons for the kids classes at KW Redeemer and I was reminded of a brilliant blog I read at this time last year by Dr. Jono Linebaugh. “What’s in Two Names”. The Redeemer KiDS will hear from the Jesus Story Book Bible’s “He’s Here!” which is the Biblical narrative of Christ’s arrival… “Now the birth of Jesus Christ, was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph… Read More

Where Fear meets Hope

Written By Susan Dunk “O little town of Bethlehem,” is one of those Christmas carols I don’t sing too often. To be clear, it’s a beautiful song, it just feels like I’m singing to a town…instead of the Babe of that town. However, in that classic Christmas song lies a lyric that sums up Advent in a single phrase: Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight This is the heartbeat of Advent … into our darkness shone… Read More

Philosophy, Seinfeld and Soul Food

“There’s no danger in running out of appetites” Seinfeld’s humour lands with us for many reasons, the most obvious perhaps, is that his insightful wit is like a welcome mat inviting us to laugh at ourselves. In this bit, he argues that he’s never in danger of ruining his appetite because there’s another one following along behind it. His appetite is infinite. In 380BC, Plato wrote a political philosophical manifesto called the Republic in which he also identified the infinite appetite in the human soul. According to Plato, the thinking part of your… Read More

Remember

By Susan Dunk Saturday November 11th is Remembrance Day for us here in Canada and for most of the commonwealth countries. (That’s right … we still have a sovereign, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.) There is so much significance to this day and why it is called Remembrance Day. It used to be called “Armistice” after World War 1 and was recognized for the whole week. In Canada, the name was changed to Remembrance Day in 1930. I think it’s unfortunate the week was reduced to a day. We would do well to halt… Read More

Justification: One and Done.

When I was about 10, I went on a hike with a boys brigade. We were all racing down this path at lunchtime when I decided to beat everyone to the bottom by deviating from the path. I ran straight down the side of the hill and received an immediate, involuntary lesson in physics. My little legs couldn’t keep up with the momentum that was required to keep up and I ended up going down the hill Princess Bride “as you wiiiiiiiiish” style. The protestant reformation took place 500 years ago – October… Read More

Modern Reformation Anyone?

On October 31, 1517, Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Luther’s pen unleashed cultural ramifications that today’s bloggers could only dream of. He nailed his theses to the door, a few people read it, translated it from Latin into German and thanks to the technological wonder of a relatively new piece of technology called the Gutenberg Press – his 95 theses went 16th century viral. After 4 years of debate on justification by grace & faith alone, Luther was brought before the church assembly… Read More

Everybody Hurts

I am embarrassed to say this, but for many years in pastoral ministry, I sat across from people in real suffering, but because of my own discomfort with suffering, I sought to fix those who weeped instead of weeping with those who weeped. A number of years back, Susan and I were out with some close friends and they had some people in their lives going through some really hard times. They asked, ‘what’s your theology on suffering?’ I fumbled around. The truth is, my understanding of the bible  at that time in my life was formed by… Read More

John 1: a mic drop on grace

Our family loves going to the theatre. We love movies. You know that feeling when there’s a film you’ve been looking forward to for a while and it finally hits the theatres?  You’re sitting there and the moment the production house logo comes up accompanied by an epic score, you get this “here we go!” feeling. For me, the 20th century Fox score is a thing of legend. Probably because the first film I ever saw in theatres was Return of the Jedi when I was 10. John 1 reads like the… Read More

How Baptizing Children is Grace on Display

Infant baptism is a controversial topic of discussion. While we have historical evidence that the 1st century church practiced infant baptism and they referred to this as the “tradition of the apostles”, [1] the church has been divided on infant baptism since 1608 when Anabaptist leader Menno Simons, Baptist leader John Smyth and others asserted that baptism should be delayed until after the children of believers professed their faith. Before I continue, I want to be clear that even though I have come to embrace infant baptism and see God’s grace on display in it, my aim isn’t… Read More

The Pirates Curse

The 5th instalment in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean series hits the theatres May 26 and I’m sure the film will do well. Johnny Depp is a cool bloke who probably pulls off the whole pirate thing better than anyone. The film series started in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The plot, in short, is that the crew on the Black Pearl took the cursed treasure of Cortés from Isla de Muerta (the Isle of the Dead), in the hopes that the treasure would satisfy their wildest dreams. Ironically,… Read More

Good News For Those who Face-plant

Every Christian face-plants. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been saved by grace, we still face-plant. It doesn’t matter if we have a diligent prayer life and are faithful in our scripture meditation, we still face-plant. Our mind wanders in some illicit direction. We lose our temper in a moment of unjust anger. Our selfishness comes out and hurts those around us that we love. Our heart, which acts more like a stomach, draws us in one direction or another and we find ourselves dumpster diving to feed on something we aren’t… Read More

Where’s Jesus?

I was asked once if preaching the grace of Christ week after week will get old. Well, Jesus said in Luke 24 that all of scripture is about Him [1], so I think it’s best to keep Him front and centre. If those of us who stand in pulpits are concerned about “Jesus fatigue” and keep Jesus in the background in favour of putting applicational teaching in the foreground, we’ve missed the greater point in the text. The same is true around the dinner table. Our desire is to raise our children… Read More

Paul to Galatia: Stop Kissing the Ring

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. The 1972 drama “The GodFather” is the quintessential mob story. I’m not just saying that because my father is Italian. You can’t talk about mob movies without someone pulling a Marlon Brando. He’s the OG kingpin of making offers you can’t refuse. “Going to the mattresses.” “Sleeping with the fishes.” Classic. The late AD40’s letter to the Galatians is considered by many to be the quintessential “law and gospel” epistle. “No one is justified by the law.” “Who bewitched you?” Classic. [1] Paul wrote his fiery letter against a backdrop… Read More

Promise or Performance?

Looking at our dining room table most days, you might think we were running a cartoon factory out of our house. Drawings. Everywhere. When a small child presents you with some artwork, it’s heart warming. They love you, they thought of you, it provoked them to create, and then they present you with their work. All their effort is because they love you, not because they need to leverage you. Imagine though, if a cruel teacher went into your child’s classroom and began teaching the class that their artwork was actually securing… Read More