Our own Good Friday

When the Romans designed crucifixion as their means of capital punishment, they had more in mind than simply putting someone to death. They wanted to accomplish something else too, namely, to make this death a spectacle to serve as the ultimate deterrent so that anyone seeing it would think twice about committing the offense for…

But where are the others?

Most of us have been raised to believe that we have right to possess whatever comes to us honestly, either through our own work or through legitimate inheritance. No matter how large that wealth might be, it’s ours, as long as we didn’t cheat anyone along the way. By and large, this belief has been…

Our struggle for proper celebration

We don’t know how to celebrate things as they’re meant to be celebrated. We want to, but mostly we don’t know how. Generally we celebrate badly. How do we normally celebrate? By overdoing things; by taking a lot of the things we ordinarily do, drinking, eating, talking, singing, and humouring, and bringing them to excess.…

Hard lessons from painful failures

What’s to be learned through failure, through being humbled by our own faults? Generally that’s the only way we grow. In being humbled by our own inadequacies we learn those lessons in life that we are deaf to when we are strutting in confidence and pride. There are secrets, says John Updike, which are hidden…

Unfinished relationships…

A colleague of mine, a clinical therapist, shares this story: a woman came to him in considerable distress. Her husband had recently died of a heart attack. His death had been sudden and at a most inept time. They’d been happily married for 30 years and, during all those years, had never had a major crisis…

Struggling inside our own skin

I’ve been both blessed and cursed by a congenital restlessness that hasn’t always made my life easy. I remember as a young boy restlessly wandering the house, the yard, and then the open pastures of my family’s farm on the prairies. Our family was close, my life was protected and secure and I was raised…

An honourable defeat

In 1970, the famed British writer Iris Murdoch wrote a novel entitled A Fairly Honorable Defeat. The story had numerous characters, both good and bad, but ultimately took its title from the travails of one character, Tallis Browne, who represents all that is decent, altruistic and moral among the various characters. Despite being betrayed by…

Celibacy – a personal apologia

As a vowed, religious celibate I’m very conscious that today celibacy, whether lived out in a religious commitment or in other circumstances, is suspect, under siege, and is offering too little by way of a helpful apologia to its critics. Do I believe in the value of consecrated celibacy? The only real answer I can…

Ecumenism – the path forward

I was very blessed during my theological formation to have had the privilege of taking classes from two very renowned Catholic scholars, Avery Dulles and Raymond E. Brown. The former was an ecclesiologist whose books often became textbooks which were prescribed reading in seminaries and theology schools. The latter was a Scripture scholar whose scholarship stands…