“Just the Facts, Ma’am”

I cannot have been the only one to have noticed on Facebook and other public forums an overwhelming use of ad hominem arguments when discussing controversial topics. Whether the hot-button topic is abortion, the ordination of women, homosexuality, the revival of the office of deaconess, altar girls, transgender washrooms, Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch, gun control, or the value of ecumenism, (to say nothing of American politics), things very quickly slide from the…

The God of the Old Testament

In the rough and tumble world of online discussion of just about any current theological issue, eventually one is sure to come across a denunciation of the God of the Old Testament. His detractors deride Him as cranky, vengeful, wrathful, unreasonable, arbitrary, blood-thirsty, and (in the always colourful words of Richard Dawkins), “as the most unpleasant character in all fiction”. And, I am compelled to admit, I have no clue as to…

“Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other”

Lately I was watching an old favourite British television series, “The Prisoner”, starring Patrick McGoohan. The series ran for a mere 17 episodes, ending in 1968. In its time it was ground-breaking, combining psychological drama with biting social commentary and allegorical symbolism—perhaps a little too ground-breaking, which is why it ended after a mere 17 episodes. McGoohan had previously starred in the spy series “Danger Man” (shown in America under the title…

An Insignificant Sound

When I was converted to Christ through the Jesus People movement, there were no praise bands.  (A “praise band”, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a band with electric guitars and drums which plays “contemporary Christian music” at the front of evangelical churches.)  In those happy and innocent days, young Christians would meet together in a variety of venues such as the beach, a hall, or someone’s home, and pray and…

Remembering Fr. Pihach

Saturday morning began with a thunderbolt: a dear fellow-priest from my diocese began his phone call to me early that morning with the words, “Did you hear about Fr. Alexander?” I had not heard about Fr. Alexander Pihach, but soon was informed that he had died suddenly and unexpectedly earlier that day. After travelling to Toronto from Saskatoon on his way to Moscow where he served as priest at the Representation Parish…

Concerning Burning

The burning of books is objectionable on principle. Indeed, whenever I hear of books being burnt, I always think of the famous quote by Heinrich Heine, who was born a Jew but converted to Christianity, and who died 1856. He said, “Where they burn books, in the end they will burn people.” (There is a fine irony in his far-sighted wisdom, since his books were among the many consigned to the flames…