Culture Clash

Ashley at UBC Gardens

You can’t take a course called ‘The Land is Sacred’ in the Native Ministries program without going out on the land! — Rev. Ray Aldred, explaining why our VST class was taking a field trip. Our class visited the UBC Botanical Gardens for a tour of Indigenous Plants. Tamara, our guide, stressed the survival value of knowing your local plants. I was flooded with a recognition of the immensity of the culture […]

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Is the Bible an Indigenous Text?


Is the Bible an Indigenous Text? That’s the question my colleague Rev. Ray Aldred,  a status Cree from Northern Alberta, posed to his class on the first day. He did define “Indigenous” as “in relationship with the land.” But, true to his subtle teaching style, he did not ask us the question directly. That’s right: us. I’m a student this week, participating in the Native Ministries Consortium at the Vancouver School of […]

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Wars of the Lord


There it is, slipped so casually into the Biblical narrative: Thus it was said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14). Aren’t you curious about that famous book, and why you’ve never read it? So were our classical commentators. Yonatan Ben Uzziel, (Babylonia, c. 3rd century) decided: it’s another name for the Torah. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (Spain, 11th century) decided: It’s a freestanding book, dating […]

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Broken-hearted Prayer

President Barack Obama prays with, from left: Richard Santana, Velma Massenburg, Jimmie Massenburg, and Tiffany Santana, during a visit to the Santana's home in Falls Church, Va., Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

So many dead in racial violence in one short, chaotic American week. Dear Lord. Dear Lord. Whose heart isn’t breaking? Some people know exactly how to respond – but I don’t. As a religious and spiritual person, I’m moved to pray. But is prayer an effective response to crisis? Of course it depends what kind of prayer we have in mind. Praying a traditional synagogue liturgy of peace with special […]

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A Still Small Voice

Philosophers cartoon

Who are we? Philosophers! What do we want!!! What do we want??? Where are we? What does it mean? Who am I? Welcome to the inside of my mind. It’s a gift, they say. I guess so. Sometimes it seems like a deficiency. Shouldn’t I be comfortable thundering out my reactions to important events? It’s not that I lack opinions. It’s more that I’m painfully aware of how little I know. Once […]

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