Monthly Archives: January 2012
Peter Stockland  |  January 31, 2012  |  Arts, Journalism, Literature, Media

Late last week I was chatting with the editor of a Canadian think tank publication who sounded apologetically proud of how well his magazine is doing. In addition to being able to say truthfully how much it influences influencers, he was clearly pleased by the significant dollar value of advertising revenue it generates each year. At the same time, he felt obliged to refer to … MORE »

Kyle Bennett  |  January 30, 2012  |  Parenting

Skimming the table of contents of Nick Wolterstoff’s recently published collection of essays entitled Hearing the Call, I found two articles leaping off the page at me: “Letter to a Young Theologian” and “Playing with Snakes: A Word to Seminary Graduates.” I’ll reserve my reflections to the latter. One of Wolterstorff’s exhortations in this “word” for seminary graduates is that they work with and care … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  January 27, 2012  |  Death, Justice, Loves, Vocation

Faithful presence. Those two words returned to my mind again and again as I reflected on the movie Of Gods and Men. The film depicts the life of eight Trappist monks at Our Lady of the Atlas monastery in Algeria during Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s. Unlike Into Great Silence—another excellent film portraying the lives of monks—Of Gods and Men focuses not merely on … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  January 26, 2012  |  Business, Institutions, Markets, Philosophy

There is a lot of talk these days about the sorry state of universities, and even more talk about the even sorrier state of humanities within those universities. One recurring theme is that universities are too specialized. “Too specialized,” in this case, is code-word for either incomprehensibility or marginal futility. Think, for instance, of an English prof who spends fifteen years of his life plumbing … MORE »

Robert Joustra  |  January 25, 2012  |  Economy, Foreign Policy, Leadership, Politics

President Obama opened and closed last night’s State of the Union with a series of auspicious military metaphors. In opening, “These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  January 24, 2012  |  Elites, Justice, Politics

Having been a small child in the last years before Canada dumped its red Royal Mailboxes into the dustbin of history, I have always considered the British Crown a useless necessity. It has always baffled me how anyone who has so much as skimmed history could regard the horrifying legacy of the British Royal family (see persecution of Irish Catholics, prosecution of the First World … MORE »

Alissa Wilkinson  |  January 23, 2012  |  Culture, Loves, Vocation

Following on from my blog post last week—which seems to have struck quite a nerve, judging from the feedback I got (which showed that many, many people are grappling with these vocational questions all the time)—I’d like to say just two things. First: someone helpfully pointed out that this neatly aligns with that very popular quote from Frederich Buechner: “The place God calls you to … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  January 20, 2012  |  Discipline

I was speaking to a friend of mine over the holidays about Marilyn Chandler McEntyre’s book Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies. In one of those too-short conversations that take place over coffee and between pews after church, he told me how he felt underwhelmed after reading the book. He said that while he felt the book was right to point out that … MORE »

Robert Joustra  |  January 19, 2012  |  Culture, Economy, Legacy

Washington was built on a swamp, Ottawa on an old sleepy lumber town, St. Petersburg on a swampy patch of Baltic seacoast. Imperial exercises in urban planning don’t always go wrong, or at least not while the empires which sustain them persist. Dostoyevksy called St. Petersburg “the most theoretical and intentional town on the whole terrestrial globe.” It was not meant to flatter. National Geographic … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  January 18, 2012  |  Literature, Religion

There is a passage in the Old Testament book of Kings where the temple of God—the cultural centre of the people of Israel—is given a thorough cleaning and refurbishment after years of desecration and abuse. In the midst of this cleaning of cobwebs and repointing of masonry, the book of the law—the other cultural pillar of the people of Israel—is re-discovered. The accidental nature of … MORE »