My phone rang this morning as we were getting ready to leave for church. It was brother-in-law Jim; his first words were “We lost Rose.” We were with the family yesterday around Rose’s hospital bed in Moose Jaw. We couldn’t tell if she knew we were there or not, but she was still breathing. Her … Continue reading We lost Rose
Silence like cancer
The fire, the wind, the earthquake beat upon the mountain like hammer blows. Elijah knew God did not speak like that. After all was silent, he heard a gentle voice. It was so soft that he could not discern the words; he went to the mouth of the cave to hear better. God spoke to … Continue reading Silence like cancer
Two sisters from a dysfunctional home. Both married at 15, now in their sixties. Let’s call them Kathleen and Karen to keep things straight. Kathleen’s husband was prone to drunken rages and she bore the brunt of those rages. She finally left, feeling her life was in danger, and took their children with her. She … Continue reading Two sisters
That is the end of the story I set out to write, but not the end of the journey. We spent 15 years in Ontario, 5 in Québec and have been back in Saskatchewan for 20 years. We are living in the Swanson congregation, where I saw no hope of finding work 40 years ogo. … Continue reading Epilogue
Two weeks ago, we still occasionally ran the air conditioner to make the house comfortable. Now we use heaters in the morning to make it comfortable. We haven't seen hummingbirds at our feeder for four days now. Blackbirds are gathering by the hundreds, sometimes perched all along the wires of the power lines. We hear … Continue reading Summer hibernation
We Bleed, All The Way Up
“We live in a disordered, chaotic, fractured, fallen world where the current of sin devours everything.” I love that phrase and it pretty much sums up the thoughts that were going through my mind today.
I was sitting with my wife as the chemotherapy drugs were dripping into her bloodstream and meditating on the twisted theology of well-meaning Christians who try to explain that God sends, or permits, cancer, leukemia and such things for His honour and glory. What I read in the Bible is that God created a paradise. When Adam sinned it opened the door for all manner of evil to enter this world and there has been warfare ever since between the forces of darkness and God’s true light.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian
The patient really believed her cancer was somehow “God’s amazing plan for my life.” She went on to say the things I always hear: “He won’t give me more than I can handle. Thank God we caught it early. God is going to use this for my good.”
I get why we say these things, because we’re such creatures of story that we rush for coherence. But even when such theology is true, I want to tell her that it’s okay to say this whole ordeal is terrible and that it really hurts and that we live in a disordered, chaotic, fractured, fallen world where the current of sin devours everything, that bad things happen to model citizens, that nothing is as it’s meant to be, and the people who don’t catch the cancer early aren’t well enough to thank God for anything, and that not every pain is meant…
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Could this be idolatry?
Aaron, an elderly brother from the congregation whee we used to live, had been driving down a lonely highway in Texas. After an hour or two he saw a young man hitchhiking and offered him a ride. The young man got into the back seat and they chatted a little. All was silent for a … Continue reading Could this be idolatry?
Our life is changing
Wednesday evening I said good-bye to the members of the Toastmasters club that I have belonged to for two years. This morning my wife and I said good-bye to the Youth Sunday School class we have taught for the past six months. Today was my wife's last day of work at the home for seniors … Continue reading Our life is changing
The quest for health
Some trust in doctors Folks today seem to accept it as fact that this life is all they have. They turn to doctors for help in staying alive as long as they can.Sometimes people blame the doctor when someone dies – it would not have happened if the doctor had done his job. People also … Continue reading The quest for health
Life isn’t fair
These are real people that I’m going to write about, but I’m not going to use their real names. Elsie and Elizabeth were already quite elderly when we knew them; the story of their earlier life was told to us by others. They were sisters, born in pioneer days on a prairie farm and grew … Continue reading Life isn’t fair