Feature

The ART of hope

Our society is very good at dividing us into categories. We talk about the poor as though they are a separate species.

"The poor will be with you always.” That is the message that seems to have been so frequently taken away from the gospel when we talk about poverty. That’s not a very encouraging message to someone who has been tasked with coming up with a way to end it.

For discussion

1. How important is the Bible in your life? Do you think the church has lost its commitment to the Bible? Is your church presently wrestling with any passages of Scripture? Which ones have you wrestled with in the past? Are there passages that the church simply ignores?

For discussion

1. What powerful stories have you heard in your congregation? Who did the telling? What was the setting? What made the story powerful? How did it influence the teller or the listeners? Was it important that the teller was physically present and not recorded on a video clip?

For discussion

1. Who in your congregation takes a leadership role in interpreting the Bible? How do they acquire that role? What happens if anyone challenges their interpretation? Who has been most influential in the development of your personal understanding of the Bible?

For discussion

1. Bruce Hiebert says we will make better ethical decisions if our brains are filled with biblical images. Do you find his arguments convincing? Have we been doing a good job of immersing ourselves in the biblical stories? Have we been filling our minds with too many non-biblical images?

For discussion

1. Tom Yoder Neufeld says that teaching and learning are acts of faith, especially when it comes to sacred texts such as the Bible (page 6). What learning or teaching experiences have stretched or deepened your faith? Are there settings that are more effective than a traditional classroom? What factors encourage or hinder us from being eager to learn?

For discussion

1. How has your community been impacted by the drive for economic development? What has your community lost through development and what has it gained? How are decisions made about when and where development will happen? Is there a role for the church in these decisions?

Crossing the (pipe) line

Clouds hang over the Haisla community of Kitamaat Village, just across Douglas Channel from the proposed site of the Northern Gateway supertanker terminal.

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks

A second Enbridge pipeline through the Hermitage woods, 2000.

A trail through a part of the Hermitage woods that will soon be home to Enbridge Line 6B.

I never expected that Enbridge—the Calgary-based pipeline company best known for its contentious Northern Gateway proposal and a nasty spill from one of its U.S. lines in 2010—would push its way so far into my life.

For discussion

1. What are some of your warm “waiting for Christmas” memories? What is it about Advent and Christmas family traditions that make them so special? Do you have negative memories mixed with the nostalgia? What role does gift-giving play in Christmas nostalgia?

Coming home

In my first year at Canadian Mennonite University, my first year away from home, I kept a running countdown to the Christmas holidays on the whiteboard stuck to my dorm room door. Only 12 days until I fly home, 19 days until Christmas.

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