Category Archives: Columns

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

Growing in Wisdom

by Karla Hein

“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7b NASB). For months, these words have swirled around in my heart. Comforting assurance that even I can progress from simplicity to wisdom!

I’ve been disappointed recently by popular scholars and preachers who have not accurately handled “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If those esteemed as experts lead astray, then what is a little sheep like me to do in a world of savage wolves, seeking to destroy Christ’s testimony? Then the words echo back in my heart. Even a simple sheep like me can gain wisdom! “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6). Continue reading Growing in Wisdom

COVID conflict in the church

“We’re doing quite well” was the initial response we received most often from pastors, youth leaders and a school principal regarding conflict in their setting. There were differences of opinion and tension they said, but these didn’t seem to affect the operations of the church or the atmosphere during services.

At the same time there is a sense of fragility in the churches. Continue reading COVID conflict in the church

Vaccines and Christian Ethics

by Layton Friesen

This pandemic never fails to give us the next dilemma. Just when we begin to sort out mask-wearing, distancing, and size-restrictions, vaccine mandates come along and give us what feels like a more profoundly dividing question.

Would you allow me to weigh in on this question? I am not giving you the “EMC Position”, nor am I giving any final answer. This is more like thinking out loud. To some degree pastors have a calling to work as public theologians, wrestling with these issues in public. At the very least we need to demonstrate that these are not slam-dunk issues, solvable with sound-bite answers. Issues around vaccines give us a chance to develop our muscles in moral discernment. Those muscles will be used in many other places. Continue reading Vaccines and Christian Ethics

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

The Princess Patient

By Karla Hein

Designer purse over cashmere sweater. She starkly contrasted the casual attire of the other restless patients. She settled herself on the leather sofa, and I concluded that she was a spoiled princess. The air felt extra stale as I heard a young boy’s relentless cough. It’s not fair, I whined. This is an obstetrician’s office, not a walk-in clinic! We shouldn’t have to worry about catching a cold! Continue reading The Princess Patient

Our Profound Need for Peace

By Kevin Wiebe

Any one of us can take a quick look around us and realize that our world is full of conflict, darkness and pain. Beyond that, and perhaps as a result of that, I also believe that we all have a deep ache within our souls that longs for complete peace, for the blissful and eternal reign of God, who will remove all of our suffering and crying and pain. So what are some of the reasons there is such a need for peace in our world? Continue reading Our Profound Need for Peace

Old Testament Violence Condensed Show Notes

Editor’s Note: This is the condensed version of an interview with Dr. Lissa Wray Beal for the full video and text transcript click the link here

Have you also had to wrestle through these questions or even wrestle with your faith in God as a result of some of these things that the Old Testament bears witness to?

I would say yes and no to that. I mean because I was so captivated by the love of God and that has always been a pretty firm bedrock for me out of which I have been able to question. So, when I see things that are hard to understand or troubling in the text, I’ve felt I’ve been allowed to question. I think God invites us to question and to wrestle with that. Continue reading Old Testament Violence Condensed Show Notes