WRITING

WRITING

A selection of some recent feature articles

From How I Tried to Be a Good Neighbour During COVID-19 in Reader's Digest

When my city shut down during the pandemic, I started putting friendly signs in my window to check in on neighbours I had never met.

From The Lonely Social Life of a Minister’s Wife in The Walrus and Reader’s Digest

Yes, we are the life of the funeral and the death of the party. And yet, this is a beautiful life. It’s true that we spend more time at church-basement potlucks than at beach parties. It can be lonely. It can be tough to figure out how to be a minister’s wife in an age when very few women identify themselves in terms of their spouses’ careers. Even the phrase “I’m a minister’s wife” sounds like something someone’s grammy would say.

From Writing Faith into the Public Square in Convivium

But I went about my work, writing out loud about faith and matters of the soul and religion. People responded well to my peculiar stories from my peculiar life, and they were surprisingly interested in what things can be like in a clergy home (messy, just like everyone else’s). I saw that we were a kind of mystery to them. I was a rare bird in a strange sky. We made friends.

It is so important to say in public what we believe in private. That’s how people know we exist, and what we believe. And it’s very important to say it well, so that it makes some sense and is clear, like clean water. 

From Slowing Down for Lent in Convivium Magazine

It is so hard to slow down. Painful to crawl and not run. It is so difficult to be attentive, to pay attention. To pay with attention. Lent is made slow with sacrifice and yearning. It is faith with hard edges and sharp corners. We’re all supposed to be a little bit miserable, giving up our jujubes and our Facebook, as we do in these long 40 days, before Easter with its daffodils burst back into our life.

From The Best Thing I Can Do as a Pastor’s Spouse Right Now? Take Care of the Basics in Christianity Today

Even if I had somehow taken a course on “How to Be a Pastor’s Wife,” it probably would not have included a lesson on what to do when a global pandemic shuts down church as we know it.

My review of Ken Shigematsu's latest wonderful book.

Then I hit them over the head, as devotional leaders should do, by telling them what pastor Ken Shigematsu does first thing every morning, according to the Vancouver-based author’s latest book, Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve. “I begin each morning by sitting and breathing deeply for fifteen or twenty minutes,” Shigematsu writes. He focuses his attention and quiets his “busy brain” with a phrase or a single word from Scripture, repeated during a time that sounds quite lovely, and which I envy, but which is as likely to occur in my life as a unicorn appearing in my bedroom one morning.

Fixing Christmas

In a way, it was ironic that adding something this huge to our Christmas celebrations lightened it all up. It was a chore that counted, a busy full of beauty. Working together with our church family to serve was one way to have Christmas make more sense. Our work to feed and be present with others brought value because it was not about us – and that is always when we are especially blessed.

Giving really is receiving, as it turns out. We just need to remember this again and again when we lose our minds a little bit at times like Christmas.

From Toward the end of longing in Convivium

Just the other day my husband and I collapsed on our bed for our ritualistic Friday afternoon nap, when Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” came on. Instantly, I was back in a pub in Halifax, young and courageous and drinking cheap beer with this same man beside me, now silver-haired with fewer days in front than behind us, and lying here napping. I longed to go back.

Interviews

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J.I. Packer

"I live a day at a time. I hope and pray that I shall be left in this world as long as I can be useful – useful to the Church, to Christian individuals, useful to the glory of God. I have no idea how long that will be."

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Andrew White

Vicar of Baghdad
"What we pray for is protection, provision, perseverance and peace. And we have all of that, by God’s grace. We’ve had so many of our people killed. We have lost so many in such tragic circumstances. But despite those terrible things we can still love God and serve God, and love each other and serve each other. So, however awful the situation is, we are still fervent in our prayer and fervent in our hope. We might not have much to give to the rest of the world and give to the rest of the Church, and we are so thankful that so much of the Church remains with us, stands with us and helps us. What we have is love. And we can share that love continually…"

Dave Toycen

Dave Toycen

Former President of World Vision Canada
"I’ve learned to look out for the difference between problems and conditions. Problems can be solved. Conditions can only be mitigated. And I think relational intelligence and a smile are some of the most effective tools in being a human being…"

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William Paul Young

Author of The Shack
KS: "Some theologians have loved the book but others not so much. Has there been a point of critique that made you think “If I did it again I would change that one thing?” WPY: "Nope. Because I didn’t write it for the audience. I did it for my children."

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Steve Bell

Canadian Musician
"Other crises of faith have been brought on by trips. My first time to Kolkata and Palestine shut me down from writing for long periods of time. I felt I had nothing to say in the face of some of the tragedies I saw. I have a First Nations foster daughter. I’ve gotten a clearer picture of how brutal this society can be if you are not in the mainstream. If you look at the wounds that colonial Christianity inflicted on First Nations people, you have to ask, Is there a fatal flaw in this faith? That’s the kind of thing that gnaws at me at 3 o’clock in the morning…"

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Andrew Bennett

Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom
"We’re talking about places where they are being tortured, imprisoned, killed. It’s not my office’s role to comment on the situation in Quebec. There are a number of people in the Government of Canada who have spoken out regarding the Charter of Values. It’s proper that other parts of the government should address that conversation. We are able to advance religious freedom overseas as Canadians because we have religious freedom in Canada."

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Iwan Russell-Jones

"For me, it’s something very basic. It’s about being a human being in which the imagination plays such an important role. It’s an amazing thing to be a human being, to listen, to see, to feel, to touch, taste. All of this is part of our humanity. The imagination is absolutely tied in with all of this, the ability to conjure up things. We may be sitting on a park bench in the middle of a city and we close our eyes and we’re in the Alps, or the mountains of B.C., or the beach. This is a phenomenal aspect of what it means to be a human being…"