Sacrifice has a clear crude ancient basic meaning. You take something live and valuable – an animal, or even a person – and you give it up to God.  You sacrifice, waste, or destroy, in a gesture that you can’t take back, which points beyond itself.  There is nothing subtle there: take your best animal and lose it.  No loan or exchange or tax receipt. Sacrifice. 

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Mundane and Sublime

The religious market is bursting with what my colleague Alydia calls the ‘spirituality of spirituality’: pentecostal or charismatic, liturgical or monastic, smells and bells, slain in the spirit, peaceably eirenic and otherworldly, disengaged or disinterested, transcending petty physical things, ‘spiritual but not religious’ – all characterized by ‘mindfulness’.

But I’m not buying it, and I’m not selling it. How un-spiritual of me, eh

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Third Way Thinking

A century ago we were a ‘can-do’ church, like James and John, confident that we were Canada’s national church in Canada’s century to bring Christ to the world. What naked ambition! How naive! It was not enough to assimilate the First Nations in residential schools – we set out to convert China and Japan!

James and John did not know they were at the end of Jesus’ initial triumphant tour of Galilee, according to Mark’s version of the gospel. Trinity, thousand member church, did not know we had already passed our peak of cultural power and potential, still growing, but slower than Canada around us was.

Now we are a people living out the ‘you will’ consequences and ramifications of our earlier choices and changing context. After ‘can-do’, comes ‘you will.’ Rather than some karmic retribution, we simply show our mortal limits, and resume a fairer share in the service and suffering. Jesus says ‘you will’, not ‘you can’t’.

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