Category Archives: Further In and Higher Up

If I Died Today

by Layton  Friesen

I recently had my 50th birthday. Before I got out of bed that morning, I thought of something.

I imagined to myself that before I ever existed, God had a conversation with my non-existent self and said, “Mr. Nobody, I have an offer for you—take it or leave it. On the one hand, I could leave you in non-existence eternally. Forever you would go on being nothing. I know, Mr. Nobody, eternal non-existence is not a lot. But with this choice you have zero chance of any misery. There will be no possibility of anxiety, hemorrhoids, necrotizing fasciitis, or slowly suffocating from COVID-19. You will never love and thus never have to lose love. Your non-existence will be perfectly pain-free. Continue reading If I Died Today

Christmas for English-Speaking People

By Layton Friesen

If God speaks to me, it will mostly need to be in English. To really come across to me, it needs to be in the English words of my translated Bible, because that’s the best I can do.

But here’s trouble: words like king, lord, father, creator and god are all polluted. King, for example, is corrupted by flavours of domination and cruelty. Father is tainted by my own regrets about fathering. Lord stirs memories of dark lords, Voldemort, Sauron and company. All human words have this brokenness hidden in them. English is a fallen language. Continue reading Christmas for English-Speaking People

Jesus Is the Elephant and King!

By Layton Friesen

There is an old story about a king, watching his blind servants gathering around an elephant trying to figure out what this object is. Each blind servant gets hold of one part of the elephant. One grabs the tail and thinks the elephant is a ropey thing. Another grabs the leg and claims he’s found a tree trunk. Another touches the side of the elephant and declares it’s a flat wall.

This story has become a modern-day legend often used to show how all of us only have a part of the truth. All religions are like these blind servants, we are told, holding their elephant-y body part, loudly proclaiming their view as the whole truth. The lesson we are taught is that what we think true is only a body part—a tail, but certainly not an elephant. Continue reading Jesus Is the Elephant and King!

Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior

by Layton Friesen

What exactly is God’s problem with us?

When you look at our cure, you have to conclude we have a major sickness. In the story of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21–35), the King, representing God, forgives the servant 10,000 talents of debt. A day-labourer, I am told, might pay that in 20 years, if he spent money on nothing else. Jesus is using exaggerated figures to make a point: God has given you a mind-blowing forgiveness, now go and forgive your fellow servant likewise. Continue reading Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior