James K.A. Smith seems to be on something of a roll, so I expect his day-long seminar (Re-Enchanting Discipleship: Christian Life in a Secular Age) and free evening lecture (Re-Enchanting Culture) – both at Southridge Fellowship Baptist Church in Langley this Friday (February 9) – will draw good crowds.
Why a professor from Calvin College trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought should have hit a public nerve is, possibly, a mite hard to explain. But in an interview with Justin Taylor on The Gospel Coalition website in 2016, Smith took a shot at explaining the phenomenon, while also outlining some of what motivates him:
Here is some of the discussion about two of his books:
When I wrote Desiring the Kingdom, I thought it was a ‘popular’-level book. Turns out an academic philosopher is a terrible judge of what counts as ‘popular!’ I guess the hundred footnotes per chapter with references to German philosophy and neuroscience was considered a bit of a hurdle for most readers. Go figure.
Yet the argument of the book got attention from a wide range of places and I was invited to talk about it with a remarkable variety of audiences. . . .
A key demographic for your book seems to be younger Christians who hope to be a change agent for good, seeking to usher in greater human flourishing in the world through faithful service and the pursuit of justice. What encourages you and what concerns you about these aspirational culture makers?
I’m deeply encouraged by developments in evangelicalism over the past generation that have recovered a ‘holistic’ sense of the Gospel and have realized that God is in more than just the soul-rescue business.
In a sense this is something that my friend Rich Mouw was working almost 50 years ago. He and his Kuyperian friends had an impact on the young Chuck Colson, whose influence reached another generation, and then caught the imagination of folks like Andy Crouch and Gabe Lyons and others.
At the same time, lots of young evangelicals have come to a new appreciation for the Bible’s emphasis on justice; they’ve become reacquainted with God’s persistent concern for widows, orphans, strangers. In short, there are now all kinds of evangelical Christians who are invested in engaging, influencing and ‘transforming’ culture.
What concerns me is kind of the shadow side of this encouraging reality. Too often, in the name of ‘transforming’ culture we end up becoming assimilated to the culture. Or in the name of ‘relevance,’ we just end up mimicking the dominant culture.
I suggest that this happens, in part, because while we enthusiastically ‘engage’ culture equipped with a ‘worldview’ and a message, we have completely underestimated the power of habit and the (de)formative power of cultural practices. That’s why I call these cultural practices cultural liturgies – because they are heart-shaping rituals that actually shape what we love. So what I’m trying to do is to help people see that these cultural liturgies aren’t just something that you do; they do something to you.
Smith has gone on to complete his Cultural Liturgies trilogy: Imagining the Kingdom, Desiring the Kingdom, Awaiting the King. He is an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic who writes for a wide range of magazines and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, First Things, Christianity Today and The Hedgehog Review. He serves as editor-in-chief of Comment magazine.
He will be joined by several other strong speakers, including Hans Boersma, Bruce Guenther, Paul Chamberlain and Grant Havers.
Editor’s note (February 14): This insightful interview/assessment of James K.A. Smith came out just after I posted this story. Well worth reading.]
Marpole housing welcomed
The Vancouver Courier has written another upbeat article about churches and members of the Marpole community welcoming the homeless people who will soon move into temporary modular housing. The 78-unit complex will be the first to be completed since the provincial government promised 600 modular housing units for Vancouver last fall:
Nizar Assanie’s dining room is filled with household items: toothpaste, tooth brushes, shaving foam, shampoo, conditioner, soap, socks, razors, chocolate, hot chocolate, food, as well as dishes, glasses and plates.
“Basic stuff that you and I would take for granted – that you and I would need,” he told the Courier. . . .
Assanie, who lives about five blocks from the site, said he wanted to take a positive approach. So did his neighbours, as well as members of West Side Baptist Church and Granville Chapel, who “from the very beginning thought [modular housing] was a positive initiative to tackle one of the biggest social issues that is facing the city,” he said.
They approached Community Builders, the non-profit association that will manage the complex, to ask for a list of what residents might need when they moved in. With the list in hand, the group had no problem collecting more than enough donations. . . .
Assanie also joined the community advisory committee for the Marpole complex, as did Paul Williams, a neighbour and one of the pastors from Granville Chapel, because they consider homelessness such an important issue to address.
For the full story go here.
Missions Fest reports
More than 10,000 people attended Missions Fest 2018 this past weekend, where one of the main speakers shared about the devastating effect that a popular atheist book had on a young Christian student.
Alycia Wood, a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, spoke with theologian and church planter Michael Goheen on Friday during the opening session of Canada’s largest missions conference.
Wood reflected on a story of a young man, Jesse Kilgore, who had given up his faith in college after he was encouraged to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
“It broke him so much he decided it wasn’t worth living anymore and he took his life,” she said.
Go here for the full story.
A newly evangelized man was so passionate to share Jesus Christ that he soon ended up in jail in a Muslim-majority country. But even in jail he led people to Christ and soon the team of ex-prisoners reached 10,000 people with the Gospel.
Missionary Trevor Larson, who helped the passionate evangelist he called Wahid to exponentially plant churches, shared the story at Missions Fest 2018 in Vancouver on Saturday, as he made the point that to do mission properly one needs to think of God as a fruit lover.
Larson, who has spent the last 25 years in an undisclosed Asian country and coaches mission teams how to multiply discipleship movements in Unreached People Groups, shared about Wahid and how he mentored him.
Canada’s Evangelical population has been growing while other denominations have been losing nearly 80 percent of their flocks over the past few decades.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to David Cheung, senior pastor at Richmond’s Immanuel Christian Reformed Church.
“God is still working in Canada,” Cheung said during his seminar at Missions Fest in Vancouver on Saturday.
“What we see across Canada is there is a majority population of youngsters who are not going to church but, there is a significant vibrant minority who are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“The future depends on how we respond.”
Go here for the full story.
February 7, 2018Multiply 2018 – February 7, 2018 - February 8, 2018 at All Day
February 9, 2018RockRidge Canyon Unplugged Weekend – February 9, 2018 - February 12, 2018 at All Day
Re-Enchanting Discipleship: Christian Life in a Secular Age – February 9, 2018 at 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
James K.A. Smith: Re-Enchanting Culture – February 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
February 11, 2018Jazz Vespers: Don Stewart, Mike Henry, Kenny Wayne – February 11, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
February 14, 2018Jazz Evensong: Maria Ho & Friends – February 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
February 15, 201840 Days for Life – February 15, 2018 - March 25, 2018 at All Day
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hfour Studio – February 15, 2018 at 12:00 am
Art Exhibition: Adrift by Jenny Hawkinson – February 15, 2018 - March 2, 2018 at 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Book Launch: Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh – The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism (with Mark Noll) – February 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Ruined by Lynn Nottage – February 15, 2018 - February 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
February 16, 2018Samson Movie in Canadian Theatres – February 16, 2018 at 12:00 am
Worship Central Conference – February 16, 2018 - February 17, 2018 at All Day
Voices for TRAC (Trinity Refugee Awareness Campaign) – February 16, 2018 at 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Date Night Comedy Tour – February 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
February 17, 2018Renovaré: The Listening Life – February 17, 2018 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
You are My Beloved: A Lenten Retreat – February 17, 2018 at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Prophecy Speaking Today Workshop – February 17, 2018 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
February 18, 2018Alio Modo featuring Vancouver Viols – February 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: The Hot Mammas – February 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
February 19, 2018Gospel Music Workshop – February 19, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
February 20, 2018FaithTech YVR Coffee Shop Takeover – February 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
February 21, 2018An Almost Holy Picture by Heather McDonald – February 21, 2018 - March 3, 2018 at All Day
Water from Stone – February 21, 2018 - March 22, 2018 at All Day
Water from Stone: Opening Reception – February 21, 2018 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Doe Bender Group – February 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
February 22, 2018DivorceCare (Thursday evenings) – February 22, 2018 - May 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
DivorceCare for Kids (Thursday evenings) – February 22, 2018 - May 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Let's Talk: Marijuana (indoubt:live) – February 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
February 23, 2018Rise (Worship Leader Training) Conference 2018 – February 23, 2018 - February 24, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 2:30 pm
One Game = One Giant Step of Youth – February 23, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
February 24, 2018The Bible: Why We Can Trust It – February 24, 2018 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Workshop: Songs of Justice, Songs of Freedom, Songs of Hope – February 24, 2018 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Flavours of Hope: Pop-Up Community Dinner – February 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Vancouver Cantata Singers: Cantus Missae - Rheinberger and the Romantics – February 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
February 25, 2018Concert: Songs of Justice, Songs of Freedom, Songs of Hope – February 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Jazz Vespers – February 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers with Roma Swing Trio – February 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Olaf DeShield – February 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
February 28, 2018Chaplains Connect – February 28, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Is Christianity or Secular Humanism a Better Foundation for Human Rights? – February 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Miles Black Trio – February 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Heather Soles & Friends – February 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
March 2, 2018Apologetics Canada Conference 2018 – March 2, 2018 - March 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Circle Conference – March 2, 2018 - March 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 4:00 pm
March 3, 2018A Lenten Retreat with the Soul of Christ Prayer – March 3, 2018 at 9:15 am - 3:15 pm
Tax Clinic – March 3, 2018 - June 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
An Evening with Trace Bundy – March 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Geneva Lectures: Dr. Derek Schuurman: Responsible Automation – Faith & Work in an Age of Intelligent Machines – March 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
March 7, 2018The View From Here: A We Carry Kevan Film – March 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Juhli Conlinn & Friends – March 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
March 9, 2018The Christian and the Public Square: Truth and the Messy Business of Citizenship (19th annual Mel Smith Lecture, featuring Andrew Bennett) – March 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Raising Hope: REED Fundraiser – March 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
March 10, 2018Mental Health & Addiction: A Sanctuary Workshop – March 10, 2018 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Evening at the Well: JJ Heller & Mandy Arioto – March 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
March 11, 2018Jazz Vespers: Greta Matassa – March 11, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
March 13, 2018The Comedy of Errors – March 13, 2018 - March 24, 2018 at All Day
March 14, 2018Lunchtime Lecture and Discussion on Stanley Hauerwas – March 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Expert Medical Panel Discussion on Mitigating the Addiction Crisis – March 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Jonny Tobin & Friends – March 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
March 15, 2018Grand Embrace II – March 15, 2018 at All Day
Spiritual Trauma with Hilary McBride – March 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Steve Bell in Concert – March 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
March 18, 2018The Joseph Syndrome – March 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
March 20, 2018The Laing Lectures: Dr. Stanley Hauerwas – March 20, 2018 - March 22, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
The Laing Lectures: Stanley Hauerwas – The Christian Message in the World Today – March 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
March 21, 2018The Laing Lectures: Stanley Hauerwas – The Christian Message and Humanism – March 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Marcos Flo & Friends – March 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
March 22, 2018The Laing Lectures: Stanley Hauerwas – The Church and Civil Society – March 22, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
March 23, 2018Bar Mitzvah Boy by Mark Leiren-Young – March 23, 2018 - April 14, 2018 at All Day
52nd Annual British Columbia Leadership Prayer Breakfast – March 23, 2018 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am
March 25, 2018Jazz Vespers – March 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Miles Black & Friends – March 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm