Will Loewen's blog

Maybe Trayvon Martin stood his ground


These days, you might see more people wearing hooded sweatshirts than normal.  You might see more people eating Skittles than normal. If you notice this, don't feel intimidated. If this warning sounds absurd, it should.

South of the border, there is a news story that is stirring up racial tension and is bringing to light some questionable legal decisions and processes.

There are a few indisputable facts in this story.

Seeking A New Years Absolution

If you’re looking for conversation starters this week, try asking people if they’re making any New Year’s resolutions. People will generally respond in a few different ways.

The true Anabaptist response is that a good Christian shouldn't need an externally enforced ritual to cleanse their life and so waiting for a Jan. 1 start date to purge yourself of impurities would be very un-Mennonite, and allowing yourself a Dec. 31 end date is even worse.  That would be the right answer, but sometimes being theologically correct spoils the fun of a conversation.

The Unlikely Misogyny of Atheism

Do you think Tina Fey is funny?  How about the recent hit movie Bridesmaids, which was written by women, for women and has many "funny" women in it's cast?  Well if you do, then Christopher Hitchens would like to disagree with you.  He doesn't think women are funny at all.  You might be thinking, "Well, he's entitled to his opinion."  Well, he doesn't see this as his opinion, he sees this as scientific fact.

Reading from the RMV

This is a good year to be a Bible collector.  The New International Version has been updated re-released and the Contemporary English Bible will soon be available as well.  For pastors like me, who still read paper versions of the Bible, this may mean more space will need to be cleared on our bookshelves.  For some people, this may add even more confusion and division.

This reignites in my mind an old complaint I have about the business of selling Bibles.

Let's not go Postal

Once again we as Canadians are able to send and receive mail by regular post and the story of this labour dispute will likely fade from our newspaper pages.  For me, this is unfortunate, since the whole story to me is much more interesting than whether or not there is something in my mailbox each morning.  Those following this story were treated to a discussion on labour negotiation techniques.  We got to see the new NDP offiicial opposition in action as they engaged a filibuster tactic to delay the process, and we got a reminder of what a filibuster is.

Mennonites are so hot right now

A while ago I was standing in the bookstore, staring at the magazine rack and found a few publications that dealt with the subject of writing.  As I flipped through the articles on how to write a good first sentence and how to find an agent that won’t rip you off, I found a profile on Canadian and Mennonite author Miriam Toews.  A few years ago her book A Complicated Kindness was on the Canadian top ten books list for a number of months, it won the CBC Reads contest and sold a tonne of copies.

Dishonouring the code

If you're reading this article on this page, then you are probably far too pious  to put five dollars into a pot and fill out an NCAA March Madness bracket.  I play so cautiously and there have been so many upsets this year that my bracket is completely shot already.  I've generally done quite well though, so I feel quite willing to share some of my secrets.  In the first round I always pick two ninth seeds, two tenth seeds, and one each of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth seeds to win.

Celebrating the Power of Lent for 25 Years

Every year around this time, a lot of Mennonites across Canada do something very un-Mennonite, they give something up for Lent.  The idea behind the modern Lenten fast, where people give up something they like, so that when they feel the urge to have that thing, they are supposed to think about God and their reliance on God.  It's usually most effective if the thing you're giving up is something you've sorta convinced yourself that you need or are semi-addicted to.  The problem of course is that it requires you to admit that you are half addicted to something.

First-name Last-name (Injury)

Recently we had a whole weekend of hockey here in Calgary.  I attended three of the four games.  An AHL game indoors on Friday, a game with NHL alumni outdoors on Saturday afternoon and then a WHL game outdoors on Family Day Monday.  I couldn't afford the NHL outdoor game on Friday, but those three games I did go to seemed to get me to my hockey threshold anyway.  It was a media and tourism bonanza for the city.

Rollkuchen Remorse

In grade 7 I met a particularly tall kid whose nickname was 'Moose.'  One day I asked one of the guys that went to the same junior elementary school as him when this nickname came about.  I assumed it would have been soon after he hit a growth spurt.  The sarcastic answer surprised me.  A few years earlier, as I was told, Moose had started asking people to call him that.  Moose had created his own nickname, a major social faux-pas.

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6 Ideas for a Biblical Resolution

I remember the first time I heard of the idea of reading the Bible all the way through.  It seemed weird that this book I had only read verses or short stories from could be read as a single document.  Then it suddenly hit me; the chapter and verse designations make it easier to find what I’m looking for and it helps me to memorize stuff, but they actually made me read less.  Reading a few chapters of a novel or a few pages of a newspaper or magazine is pretty normal, but reading a few chapters from the Bible doesn’t sound quite so normal.  It may sound quite intimidating and overwhelming f

Wikity, Wikity Whack

Throughout the history of email there have always been people who think every funny thing they read should immediately be forwarded on to their friends.  While this habit can quickly become annoying, there is a wealth of knowledge that we all now hold in common because of them.  For example, there are a number of oxymorons in our vernacular, such as Jumbo shrimp.  Also, someone, somewhere compiled a number bulletin bloopers, misspellings or unintentional double-entendres, such as "We have a young Mothers club that meets on Tuesday mornings.  Anyone wishing to become a young mother should me

Carl's Copyright Company

In 9th grade I took an art class, mostly to fulfill my Arts requirement.  It turns out I could have waited until the 11th grade when I took Drama, which would have given me the same required credit.  I had to do all sorts of weird stuff in that class, like a pencil shade drawing of a running shoe and draw my hand without looking at the paper.  I also took home a pretty lousy painting of a red fox, but there was one project I particularly enjoyed.  We had to come up with a business concept and then draw the logo for that company.

Franklin My Dear, ... (pt II)

It is probably clear from my last post that I don't have a tonne of respect for the theology of Franklin Graham.  While I probably agree with him on most points of Christianity, I worry that his own anger and vengefulness impact the "gospel" that he spreads, especially in non-American countries.  I know that Samaritan's Purse channels a lot of great Christian generosity, but with Franklin Graham as the figurehead, I'm not convinced those donations will be lovingly distributed.

Franklin My Dear, ...

The first time I ever visited the Sky Dome, I mean Rogers Centre, it was for a Billy Graham crusade.  I walked right onto the field, ran onto the bases, and then took a seat for the concert and sermon.  Billy got sick that week, so while he still came and spoke for a bit, his son Franklin also took the stage.  Franklin's message was good, but his father's was better.  Billy got a standing ovation.  The man was a powerful speaker, an influential leader and a well-respected figure.  It's quite a legacy for Franklin to live up to.

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Siemens-Brunk Christianity

I'm looking forward to the upcoming issue of the Canadian Mennonite where some attention will be given to the life and work of former Conrad Grebel University College professor A. James Reimer.  Though I never worked closely with Jim, I was a student in more than one of his theology classes and I was a big fan of his bluegrass gospel performances.

Hero or Heretic?

Do you know Bradley Manning? And no, he is not related to Preston. Some would argue he is a new American military hero. Some would argue he is a traitor. We have no idea how the history books will paint him. We don’t even know the details of the case because there is a pending legal investigation around it, but here’s what I’ve gathered from the various quasi-news sources.

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