Canada 150: Call to a Nation from a Rowboat

Introduction Video:

Hespeler, 18 June 2017 © Scott McAndless – Fathers’ Day Galatians 5:13-14, Mark 9:33-37, Psalm 138 A s I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, Canada came into being 150 years less two weeks ago and the Dominion of Canada was actually created by an act of the British Parliament. But I don’t think that that was when Canada actually began. I believe that the Canada that I love actually began a few years earlier with a hearty greeting shouted from a rowboat.       Let me explain. You may recall from your high school history classes that the idea of Canada all began with the initiative of a group of people we lovingly call the Fathers of Confederation and a meeting in the City of Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island in the year the city of Charlottownhe 1864. They are called the Fathers of Confederation for two reasons. First of all, they were called fathers because they were all men because nobody in the world at that time believed that women had the capacity to make the ki…

Canada 150: True patriot love thou dost in us command

Hespeler, June 4, 2017 © Scott McAndless Matthew 17:24-27, Psalm 72:1-14, Leviticus 19:33-34 A s you may have heard, the country of Canada is in the midst of celebrating a very significant anniversary. Less than one month from now it will be exactly 150 years since the confederation of the Dominion of Canada. And everyone seems to want to get in on the celebration. There are merchandise and product tie-ins. You can buy everything from cans of Pepsi to bags of french-fries emblazoned with the Canada 150 logo. There are commemorative coins, shirts, ties and sandals. The government is giving away passes to national parks and millions of dollars in grants to creative people who can come up with some piece of art that can celebrate our country and its history (including, strangely, a giant rubber duck).       So I felt like I needed to be a part of all the hype. After all, I love my country and am proud and happy to enjoy all the freedoms and benefits of being a Canadian. Surely I, like e…


I have an undergraduate degree in Linguistics. You need to understand that about me right off the top.
It means that I have been taught to approach language in very particular ways: scientific and analytical ways.

But, having told you that about me, I'm going to confess something, I really don't get how people in the present discussion in the Presbyterian Church in Canada regarding LGBTQ issues get hung up over a definition.

For example, in a recent blog post, Roland De Vries wrote this:
The Life and Mission Agency of The Presbyterian Church in Canada is presenting the following recommendation to the General Assembly of the denomination in two weeks time. That clergy in The Presbyterian Church in Canada be permitted for pastoral reasons to bless same sex marriages conducted by civil authorities. ... there are serious problems with this recommendation, and perhaps the most serious problem is that it is not the half-measure it purports to be. In fact, if this recommendation is p…

You might be a revisionist

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada is coming up very soon.  This year there will be some debates on the agenda, yet again, about the place of LGBTQ people in the church.  So, of course, the discussion boards of the church had been pretty active lately with people posting and discussing these weighty matters.  I hardly want to spend all my time attending to these discussions, but I can’t help tuning in from time to time.

Lately, as you may have noticed, people who are strongly opposed to making any changes in our policies at this time, had been taking to labeling those they disagree with as “revisionists.” I don’t want to presume that this is their intention, but I can’t help but notice it often comes across as a pejorative label. They seem to be thinking, every time that they say it, that they are the true believers and that those who disagree with them are merely revising a time honoured approach to the Bible and to truth.

The other day, I stumbled into one of …

Afterlife? Where is Abraham's Bosom?

Hespeler, 21 May, 2017 © Scott McAndless
Luke 16:19-31, Psalm 146, Daniel 12:1-3 T he Bible doesn’t just talk about the afterlife in one way. There are all kinds of ways in which it is described. In some texts it is found in a place called Sheol, but then there are other places that talk about Heaven and Hell. There are references to Hades, Paradise and also to the Pit and the Lake of Fire. And this is not just a matter of using different words to describe the same thing. The various places and states are described in such different ways that they are very hard to reconcile with each other. But it is fun to watch people try. Theologians and experts in religion seem to have this deep need to systematize and organize everything including what the Bible says about the afterlife so there are people w
ho have attempted to reconcile everything that the Bible says about it. The solution, in Christian theology, has usually been to describe an afterlife that changes over time. The theory is that th…

Afterlife? Reunification?

Hespeler, 14 May, 2017 © Scott McAndless – Christian Family Sunday 2 Samuel 12:15b-23, Mark 12:18-27, Responsive: Selected Y ou all know that today is Mother’s Day. But do you know why? You might think that this day came into existence because of the efforts of the greeting card industry or the florists or the chocolatiers who banded together and came up with the day to make lots of sales during what would otherwise be the very slow month of May, but that is not the case. The existence of Mother’s Day as we know it today is largely due to the efforts of one woman named Anna Jarvis.       Anna Jarvis was not a mother herself, but she (like everyone I guess) had a mother – a very extraordinary mother named Ann Reeves Jarvis who had done amazing things in working for peace during the American Civil War and for reconciliation afterwards. But Ann Reeves Jarvis, as is the way of all flesh, did eventually die and more than anything her daughter created Mother’s Day and lobbied to have it rec…

Afterlife? What about that other place?

Quick Introduction Video:
Hespeler, 7 May, 2017 © Scott McAndless Revelation 20:4-10, Psalm 6, Mark 9:42-49 I  decided that this year, in this season after Easter, I wanted to focus on the whole idea of an afterlife. For many people the promise of heaven is what the Christian faith is all about. In fact there are Christians who will look you straight in the eye and tell you that Christian faith and practice is something that you just have to put up with now for the sake of a tremendous reward later.       I mean, they may not say it in so many words, but the message seems to be: “I don’t really like all of this churchy stuff and I hardly want to be good and moral all the time. In fact I’m kind of miserable, but it is only because someday, after I die I’m going to be able to go to heaven and that will make it all worthwhile. Heaven, in other words, is supposed to be the carrot that entices us to be good and that there really is no other good reason to be good.       I have met many Chr…