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Showing posts from June, 2013

thanking and blaming God

Just two weeks ago I got the incredible news that I received a major doctoral funding award.  I am still kind of in shock.  Over the course of my graduate studies I have made 6 applications to various funding agencies, asking them to recognize that I do good and important work. All of them have been unsuccessful.  My supervisor warned me that certain aspects of theology don't have a good track record for securing government funding.  I seemed to be a case in point.  Blame my weak application (one can always have more publications and accomplishments).  Blame those secular, atheist adjudicating committees who have no use for theology (that's me being bitter about bitter atheists).  Blame all those other clever students who pushed me out of the running (like one of my colleagues).  Each spring, I found myself bracing for the inevitable rejection letter(s) and when I received another one this April, I was depleted.  Yes, I was the first one on the waiting list (the first loser, …

Jesus and money

The word we commonly use for money is currency which means "money in any form when in actual use as a medium of exchange, especially circulating paper money" [1].  If I expand on this definition a bit, I find several characteristics of money: 1) it is temporary, subject to change, hence the link with the word "current." Presently we use paper bills, but people have used shells, beads, or grain to represent value; 2) it usually has no real value in itself, but represents things that have value; 3) it is meant to be used, spent, or given in order to obtain something else.  In this way, it is a tool. Tools are not meant to be collected, but used in building something.  If I have one or two hammers, that's cool.  If I have 10,000 of them, you might wonder what my problem is.  I am clearly spending too much time on ebay buying hammers instead of using the ones I have to do something useful like build a house.

Let's take a quick look at two stories where Jesus i…

the 5-year itch

It's been 5 years since we moved to this lovely 2-level condo here in ville St-Laurent.  Five years is the longest that Dean and I have lived anywhere, so it is no surprise that the itch to move has been pretty strong in the past few weeks.  I have been going to open houses, checking out properties online, and even had a real estate agent come in and appraise our property.  The sight of a friend's new house on Facebook caused me to immediately find one in my neighbourhood that I wanted to buy. It's not that there is anything really wrong with our condo (though I would like a bigger closet and another full bathroom). This restlessness has very little to do with inadequate living conditions; it basically means that what at first seemed new and exciting has now become old and familiar. The gleaming hardwood floors, soaring cathedral ceilings, winding staircase, and open mezzanine have ceased to dazzle me.  Now I see only the small closet with a hot water heater cramped insid…

Jesus and political power

I have been giving a series of talks on "Jesus and the Other" in our church gatherings.  You can read the introduction here and some thoughts on Jesus and sexuality here.  This past Sunday I tackled the subject of Jesus and political power.  Basically, politics is "the art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs." To cite a shorter definition, it is "the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control, or status."[1] And this is what we usually associate with politics (many times in a negative way): power, control, and status.  However, when we look at governance in the kingdom of God as exemplified by the leadership of Jesus, we get quite a different picture.

In the pivotal scene of Jesus' baptism, we see him beginning his public ministry from a place of beloved-ness (A voice from heaven says, "You are …