Breathe, Church.

Imagine a young hockey player has the opportunity to sit down for coffee with their NHL hero and ask them for some advice on how they got to where they are today. The hockey god sits back, strokes their mullet and goes on to give some choice advice: Have the instincts of a ninja, reflexes of  a fighter pilot, accelerate like a Formula 1 car, change direction like a hummingbird and be able to leg press a Honda Civic. Then work harder than everyone else, want it more than everyone else and… Read More

The Epiphany of Grace

I remember being in the mall and noticing a few people gathered around a display, staring deeply into pictures comprised of nothing but thousands of dots. I later learned these images are called autostereograms. Every so often, someone would shout, “I see it!” I joined the group … and I saw nothing. I felt like I was in an Emperor’s New Clothes situation. I was tempted to chime in from sheer peer pressure. “Um …yes! I see it too … the … horse.” “It’s not a horse, it’s a dog.” “Uh ….. Read More

Sacrifice, Freedom & The Act of Remembering

By Susan Dunk Sunday 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… Read More

The Envelope

A father dies and leaves an inheritance to his two children, Jane and Grace. The family member handling the estate gives them each a letter containing the cheques for their inheritance. Jane takes the envelope and puts it in her pocket without opening it. Grace opens it immediately and finds herself in utter shock as she looks at amount written on the cheque. The two siblings hail a cab to go to the bank to claim their inheritance. They get stuck in an agonizing traffic jam. A truck has overturned and is… Read More

Where is God in sickness and death?

In the first year of our church plant, I had the honour of officiating a funeral for one of our members. According to the Scriptures, Janet is not lost. Her family and her church family know precisely where she is. She enjoying the presence of God in a way that words could never convey. For Christians, thinking about our mortality is not morbid, but  reassuring. To be sure, we have deep sorrow in death – but we don’t have sorrow without hope. At the core of our worldview, we do not believe… 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

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

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

Exile, Homecoming & Grace

Many of us have had to navigate conversations regarding the refugee crisis. How the Christian is to relate to the poor, the outcast and the refugee is not something that is framed by our political leaning, but the ramifications of our belief in the gospel, regardless of our political leaning. If Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension are true, then the gospel offers us an eternal perspective that informs how we relate to the issues of the world around us. Christian generosity flows from the belief in eternity. Christ has saved us in… Read More

Grace from A-Z

Susan and I were at a function a few months ago and introductions were happening around the table. Getting asked what I do for a living is always an interesting conversation starter. So when the question came to me, I told everyone I was a presbyterian minister and the guy sitting next to me got really excited. He said, “Oh good!” and then he proceeded to share, with refreshing honesty, his disgust and frustrations with the church. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts and the experiences he had that caused him to… Read More

The Anatomy of the Prosperity ‘gospel’

We need the grace of God to deal with the life & death stuff. The heartbreak of broken relationships, the devastation of disease, the anxiety of economic hardship, the pain of abuse, the sorrow of death … thank God, the hope of the gospel in Christ is big enough for the life and death stuff. Though this world is broken because we are sinful, God will restore it because He is gracious. We live life in between the “already” of what Christ accomplished at the cross and the “not yet” of what He will accomplish with His return. We… Read More

Blurred

Written by Susan Dunk A few nights ago I was cozy in bed reading “The Story of God’s Love” by Sally Lloyd Jones (a stellar book) to my nine year old son. The story was Noah and the Ark. I was reading the story with my usual gusto when Nijel stopped me with tears in his eyes. He said, “Mommy, if God destroyed the whole earth with a flood that means He killed children.” I saw his distraught face and I panicked. My first thought was, “Where is your seminary trained father right… Read More

Everything is not awesome

Getting ready for church is an exhausting exercise for a lot of people. By getting ready, I don’t mean making wardrobe decisions. I mean the exhausting exercise of putting on the everything-is-awesome face. You know your life, your pain. your suffering, your fears and your sin better than anyone. You know everything isn’t awesome. The idea of going to church makes you nauseous because instead of crumpling into a ball, confessing weakness and finding grace, you feel pressured to confess awesomeness where you only find further exhaustion. God’s word encourages the church to “weep with those who… Read More