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Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 | 1 comment

Salvation: What is it Good for? Absolutely Nothing?

Salvation: What is it Good for? Absolutely Nothing?

Why do you do what you do? How do you make a decision? If it is an important one perhaps you think it through, weigh the costs against the benefits. Do you try to forecast the outcomes and determine which course of action proves most useful, prudent, or profitable? Certainly this is the way we imagine we make decisions in the public sphere. In politics or corporate life the value of utility or profit defines the best course of action.  But how does one determine what is a cost and what is a benefit? Can you use the cost/benefit analysis to determine what you value? Emphatically- NO. At some point in the rational decision making process we all bump up against the irrational: is risk worth the profit? Is price worth the quality? Is pain worth the gain? No analysis can tell us the answer to these basic questions, because our actions and decisions are not rooted in rational reflection. Recent work in philosophy and (oddly enough) neuropsychology has...

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Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 | 12 comments

The Underside of Nonresistance

The Underside of Nonresistance

I am new to the conversation of pacifism. It has always been an uncomfortable one for me to engage in—both because people tend to get heated in debate, and for this anonymous discomfort I always have felt in the pit of my stomach whenever conversations arise. But, alas, for the good and the bad, I am being faced head-on with the conversation of non-violence in my coursework this term.[1] One of the conversation partners I have been engaged with is John Howard Yoder.[2] In his essay “Peace without Eschatology?” he expounds on his pacifism this way: The church’s suffering, like the Master’s suffering, is the measure of the church’s obedience to the self-giving love of God. Nonresistance is right, in the deepest sense, not because it works, but because it anticipates the triumph of the Lamb that was slain… God’s love for us being right at the point where God permits sin again himself and against others, without crushing the rebel under his/her own rebellion. The word for this...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 | 2 comments

Differing Societies

Differing Societies

These past two weeks I have had the pleasure of staying with close friends in Edmonton, one of whom is a social worker.  We were discussing the possible approaches to a particular case, and I objected to one option because it seemed to separate ‘us’ from ‘them’, as if we were two different societies.  My friend looked at me and said: “There are two different societies.  The life my clients live is so far removed from our lives that it’s almost incomprehensible.” That conversation has been part of an awareness growing in me that I assume much of the world around me is the same as ‘my’ world.  The recent uproar over the George Zimmerman acquittal in the US fits in the same category.  I used to think (incorrectly) that I have a good grasp of American culture, since Canadian culture is so similar.  But I am so far removed from that culture of racism, suspicion, and fear that when the case first hit the news, it never crossed...

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