Only an empty box

Agnes grew up 100 years ago on a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan. Her parents were members of a church which called itself Mennonite and worshipped in the German language. At home the family spoke a Low German dialect called Plautdietsch, and English.  There were 14 children in the family, spaced about two years apart. Agnes … Continue reading Only an empty box

Report on a drive-by shouting in our community

A newspaper in a small Saskatchewan city recently reported on a shocking rise in drive-by shoutings. That trend has now come to our tiny hamlet of Swanson. In this hamlet there is a seniors’ residence; yesterday two of the residents had a birthday. Melvin was 86 and Wilbert was 91. With no visitors allowed, a … Continue reading Report on a drive-by shouting in our community

School at home

It looks like children will have to learn at home at least until the end of April. Does that seem overwhelming? Here are a few thoughts that might make it easier. Begin the day with God. Read from the Bible and pray with your children. Children have more time in the day now, since they … Continue reading School at home

But God Can Save Us Yet

[This is an excerpt from a Canadian Classic, Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie, first published in 1852.  At the climax of the crisis described here, she buries her head in her apron. It was her custom to  pull up her apron to cover her head for privacy when praying.] The winter and … Continue reading But God Can Save Us Yet

And be ye thankful

Reading the news can can give one the impression that everything around us is changing, crumbling, ready to collapse. But when I pause to reflect, there are a lot of things in my day to day life that have not changed, and I take courage. Here are a few things that come to my mind: … Continue reading And be ye thankful

The hoary head and wisdom

Today I am 78 years old – it’s surprising how normal that feels. I knew old people when I was a little boy, they seemed like regular people, but I couldn’t imagine myself ever getting that old. Now here I am. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is the fear … Continue reading The hoary head and wisdom

What is a Biblical ethic of work and wealth?

There are Christians who revere voluntary poverty, seeing it as a means of escaping from the materialism of the world and of not abusing the resources of the earth. Other Christians revere work and consider the benefits that flow from it to be good stewardship and evidence of the blessing of God. Those in each … Continue reading What is a Biblical ethic of work and wealth?

How did our education system get where it is today?

The best description I have read of the thinking behind our public education system is Les déshérités (The Disinherited) by Francois-Xavier Bellamy, published in France in 2014. Bellamy traces the root of modern educational thinking to the philosophies of René Descartes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. René Descartes (1596-1650) believed that all knowledge could be attained by … Continue reading How did our education system get where it is today?

We lost Rose

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

The power of little things

My mother was 10 when her family moved from south-east Manitoba to south-west Saskatchewan. Whenever she talked about that move she would say "The thing I missed was seeing the tees and the Indians." It wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I asked the obvious question: "Mon, I get the part about the trees, but what's … Continue reading The power of little things