Around Town: Brandon Lake, MAiD win, Religiosity Predicts Prosociality

Brandon Lake will be in Vancouver March 14; this image is from ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ released in 2023.

Several good concerts are coming up in the next week, including that of high profile singer / songwriter Brandon Lake. He will be at the Pacific Coliseum with his Tear Off the Roof tour March 14.

An article in PEOPLE last October included this:

During a week when tensions were high and the world seemed to be falling apart, Christian artist Brandon Lake welcomed a group of songwriters to his home in Charleston, South Carolina to write some songs.

“I found myself singing about heaven,” Lake, 33, tells PEOPLE quietly. “The emotions were just building up and building up, and then we just wrote this song about our final destination, which is heaven.”

It was a song that the five-time Grammy winner says freed up his soul a bit as the violence overseas continued to play out thousands of miles away.

“I’m not someone to ever watch the news, but the past few days, I have probably had the TV on or my phone on nonstop,” he reflects. “Writing a song about heaven and how God is still holy and sovereign was just the medicine my heart needed.”

Joining Lake will be special guest Jon Foreman, solo performer and lead singer of Switchfoot; his newest album In Bloom is set to release this spring. Gospel Artist, DOE will open for Lake; his first album, a self-titled EP, is available now and features her hit single ‘Brighter.’

Lake sounds good from what little bit I’ve heard online. Foreman’s solo work is terrific. Doe I don’t know.

Three other concerts to look out for– all, unfortunately, on the same night, Friday, March 8:

  • Jon Bryant at St. James Church

A Music Night with Jon Bryant will be an intimate evening which will also serve as a fundraiser for Jacob’s Well, a faith-based ‘living room space’ on the Downtown Eastside. it is currently at risk because their building is up for sale. They rely on donations (and concerts).

  • Worship Concert Fundraiser at North Lonsdale United Church

Well, this one’s not quite like the other two, but the NLUC Worship Team will be performing for a good cause – their church.

  • Jordan Klassen, Zaac Pick & Cassidy Waring at The Anza Club

“We will be presenting an incredible headliner Jordan Klassen (Singer-Songwriter/Fairy-Folk). Supporting Jordan is Zaac Pick (Folk/Singer-Songwriter) and Cassidy Waring (Folk/Americana/Singer-Songwriter).”

MAiD: mixed news

First the good news. MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) will not become available for people with mental illness – at least not for that reason alone, as has long been planned by the Liberal government.

In its March 5 Update newsletter, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada states:

A bill to delay MAiD for mental illness for three years became law on February 29. This bill also requires a parliamentary committee be set up within two years to study the eligibility of those whose sole medical condition is mental illness to receive MAiD.

The work is not finished, but we are thankful Bill C-62 has passed. While this is not the complete stop we believe should happen, this delay means people in vulnerable moments will be better protected for longer and slows the rapid expansion of MAiD. We thank all of you who prayed, contacted your MPs and encouraged your network to engage. We’re so grateful for your partnership and prayers.

The bad news is the big picture. MAiD may still become available for people with mental illness. But whether that happens or not, a new documentary film reminds us that MAiD is euthanasia, and that euthanasia – which is already widely available – is always bad news.

Two of the interviewees in The Story of Euthanasia are quite well known locally for their consistently life-affirming stance – Dr. Will Johnston and Angelina Ireland.

Many of the shots between interviews are Vancouver scenes. Dr. Dannie Lu, Pastor Shang-Jen Chen and Dr. Pei-Ning Wang bring in a Taiwanese perspective, while Abbot Tryphon is at the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island in Washington.

Dr. Will Johnston explained how quickly the Supreme Court of Canada shifted its position on euthanasia.

Johnston begins by describing how, not so long ago, in 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada refused (albeit only by a 5 – 4 margin) to allow Sue Rodriguez access to euthanasia. By 2015 the same court unanimously voted in the Carter case “to allow doctors to kill their patients.”

There were to have been many safeguards around the practice of euthanasia, but the guidelines “don’t protect people because they can be circumvented.”

Johnston says

I tend not to use the acronym MAiD because it’s a euphemism. It’s a way of papering over what is really an evil thing that is going on, which is affecting our society with a kind of mind virus, a kind of a virus that stops people from thinking clearly about the problem that is being managed.”

Angelina Ireland is President of the Delta Hospice Society.

Also featured is Angelina Ireland, who first entered the Delta Hospice Society in 2014. She came as a cancer patient, but in time became President of the organization.

The society has been offering palliative care for 30 years. She notes that it raised about $8.5 million to build two buildings – a 10-bed hospice and palliative care facility and a 7,500 square foot supportive care centre (where she had gone as a cancer patient).

They entered into a service agreement with the Fraser Health Authority. The Delta Hospice Society provided the 10 beds and the government provided the funding.

Following a fraught, and somewhat complex, process (which I covered in several articles from 2020 – 2022), the society lost financial support from the provincial government, lost its buildings and had to endure much nasty commentary from politicians and the public when they refused to provide euthanasia.

The Irene Thomas Hospice was built by the Delta Hospice Society, but is now run by Fraser Health.

The Delta Hospice Society continues from a roughly 200 square foot space.

Johnston is not sanguine about immediate prospects for combatting MAiD / euthanasia. He says there has been some public resistance, as in the case of a mentally ill man up the Valley who was killed – even though he was not dying, and despite the fact that his family was not informed – change for the better is not imminent.

He adds:

Until parents wake up to the idea that their depressed, unhappy teenagers could suddenly fall into the hands of doctors and nurses who would think nothing of arranging for a state-provided death for their child – until parents wake up to that real and present danger – I don’t think we’re going to see enough push-back to reverse what’s going on right now. So I think it has to get a lot worse before it gets better.

The film would be very suitable for home groups to watch and discuss. The Story of Euthanasia is available free here and here – until March 22.

Willoughby Church in Langley will also be hosting a March 16 morning seminar with a presentation by Pastor John Tsang of First Baptist Church in Vancouver. Go here to register; numbers are limited for the seminar.

Religiosity Predicts Prosociality

Azim Shariff is a professor at UBC.

A social psychologist who teaches at the University of British Columbia is part of a three-person team which released a major report published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin February 26.

Dr. Azim Shariff, a professor in the Department of Psychology, tweeted March 4:

Are religious people really more prosocial? [John Michael Kelly] @jmkelly91, [Stephanie R. Kramer] @_StephKrame and I spent years meta-analyzing the massive amount of research on this question. Synthesizing over 700 effects spread over 60 years of study, the answer looks very much like a “yes.”

The study begins:

Are the religious more moral than the nonreligious? Debates about the relationship between religion and moral behavior have stirred since at least the times of ancient Greece and continue in earnest today. As of 2020, almost half of those surveyed in an international sample agreed that it was necessary to believe in God to be a good person (Tamir et al., 2020) – in other words, that the nonreligious cannot be moral.

Naturally, others contest this claim, asserting that religion is – at best – unrelated to virtuous behavior. The question of whether the religious participate in more prosociality than the nonreligious has enjoyed decades of empirical scrutiny, but a firm answer has remained elusive.

Here, we report a meta-analysis that integrates the findings from almost 60 years of research on the empirical relationship between religiosity and morality – and more specifically prosociality.

The authors point out that even coming up with a definition of ‘prosociality’ is a challenge, because, for example, “religiosity itself determines which issues are placed in the moral domain.” They state:

Fortunately, despite these discrepancies in moral judgment, there are areas in which the religious and nonreligious tend to agree (Shariff et al., 2014). Prosocial behaviors, which Batson (2012) describes as “a broad range of actions intended to benefit one or more people other than oneself – behaviors such as helping, comforting, sharing and cooperating,” (p. 242) are morally valued by religious and nonreligious people alike. Prosociality is therefore an area of morality, albeit a limited one, in which people may legitimately be compared across the religiosity spectrum.

The study concluded:

Many philosophers, clerics and researchers alike have long argued that religiosity has an important role to play in morality – and that the religious are more prosocial than the nonreligious. In a world in which the societal roles of religiosity are rapidly changing, it is important to understand the extent to which this belief is true.

In the present work, we conducted a meta-analysis to investigate whether, and how strongly, dispositional religiosity related to prosocial and antisocial behavior at the individual level. Indeed, we found a positive correlation suggesting that more religious people are more prosocial than the less religious.

Yet interpretation of the correlation was complicated by significant heterogeneity of effect sizes. The correlation was moderated by the specific behavior being assessed and by the aspect of religiosity being assessed. And, most notably, it was moderated by whether prosociality was assessed behaviorally or by self-report.

We propose that this moderation may be due to three compatible explanations:

    • First, behavioral measures may fail to fully capture religious prosociality.
    • Second, religious people may be exhibiting self-enhancement in their self-reports.
    • And third, the relationship between religiosity and self-reported prosociality may be a tautological relationship explained by common method bias.

Resolving the extent to which these three accounts explain the moderation should be a key goal in future research on religious prosociality. Although this meta-analysis has raised further questions, it provides practical future directions toward better answering whether the religious are indeed more prosocial.

Go here for the full 35-page study, which is freely available.

Feb 2024

CHILD-ish – February 29, 2024 - March 9, 2024 at All Day
The Chosen: Season 4 – February 29, 2024 - March 10, 2024 at 12:00 am

Mar 2024

The Laing Lectures: George Yancey – Christian Racial Reconciliation – March 5, 2024 - March 7, 2024 at 12:00 am
Black History Month: Ghislain Brown-Kossi’s new exhibition UMOJABLACK – March 7, 2024 - March 26, 2024 at 12:00 am
MCC Vulnerable & Fierce Fundraising Dinner – March 7, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
March Art & Prayer Retreat – March 8, 2024 at 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Understanding Abuse Training – March 8, 2024 - March 10, 2024 at 1:00 pm - 12:30 pm
A Music Night with Jon Bryant: Fundraiser for Jacob's Well – March 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Canadian L'Abri Lecture Series (Friday evenings) – March 8, 2024 - March 22, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
North Lonsdale United Church: Worship Concert Fundraiser – March 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
ReFrame Dance Production – March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Root Dwellers x WIRTH Present: Jordan Klassen, Zaac Pick, Cassidy Waring – March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Business As Mission Breakfast – March 9, 2024 at 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Co-creating Plausible Futures for the Canadian Church – March 9, 2024 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Abendmusik Vesper Choir: Lent 2024 Vespers – March 10, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
My Little Plastic Jesus – March 10, 2024 - March 15, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Lisa Sung: The Doctrine of the Trinity: Eliciting Insights for Life and Ministry – March 11, 2024 at 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Colonialism, Reconciliation and the First Nations Bible – March 11, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – March 12, 2024 - March 23, 2024 at All Day
Church Redevelopment and Reconciliation: An Indigenous and Settler Perspective – March 12, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Philippians with George Guthrie: Lecture & Book Launch – March 12, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Reimagining Church, Land & Community – March 12, 2024 - March 13, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: The Benders & Friends – March 13, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Kentro Webinar: Anti-Racism From a Jesus-Centred Perspective Part 1 – Terminology 101 – March 14, 2024 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Brandon Lake: Tear the Roof Off Tour – March 14, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Speed Dating: Christian Singles (Ages 34-55) – March 14, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Opening to Compassion Ignatian Retreat – March 15, 2024 - March 17, 2024 at All Day
River Spring Conference (with Marc Dupont) – March 15, 2024 - March 17, 2024 at All Day
Climate change, eco-dread & Christian wisdom: a crisis in search of a hope-filled perspective – March 16, 2024 at 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Bible Saturday: Darrell Johnson – Resting in Jesus's Intercession (John 17) – March 16, 2024 at 9:30 am - 11:45 am
MAID Seminar – March 16, 2024 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Neil Osborne – March 16, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley with Nick Apivor & Friends – March 17, 2024 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Say Yes: a Liturgy of Not Giving Up on Yourself – March 17, 2024 - March 18, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Premiere: Blessed is the Spot: The Wounding and Healing of the Garry Oak Ecocultural Landscape – March 18, 2024 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
What is Prayer? – March 20, 2024 at 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm
Dr. Chad Bauman: Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India – March 20, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Jillian Lebeck & Friends – March 20, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Céilidh – March 21, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Planetary Health: Protecting and Sustaining the Well-being of our Ecosystems – March 22, 2024 - March 23, 2024 at All Day
Public Talk & Retreat on Thomas Merton – March 22, 2024 - March 23, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Thomas Merton, Hermann Hesse and the Israel-Palestinian War – March 22, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Miles Black Trio – March 22, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Easteravaganza – March 23, 2024 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Selections from St John Passion, BWV 245 and St Matthew Passion, BWV 244 , Johann Sebastian Bach – March 23, 2024 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Haydn's 7 Last Words of Christ - An Easter Concert – March 24, 2024 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Taizé Contemplative Service – March 24, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The 7 Last Words Of Christ – March 24, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Thinking Through the Arts (three events) – March 25, 2024 - March 26, 2024 at All Day
Thinking Through Music & Fashion – March 25, 2024 at 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Town Hall to Discuss Bill S-210 with MP Garnett Genuis, MP Arnold Viersen & Frm – March 25, 2024 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Thinking Through the Arts: Conherence & Wholeness in Music – March 25, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Thinking Through the Visual Arts – March 26, 2024 at 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Bringing Hope To Newcomers & Refugees in Canada – March 26, 2024 at 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Moral Machines: Social Values, Technology & Critical Constructivism – March 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Kentro Webinar: Time to Take a Stand – March 27, 2024 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Speed Dating: Christian Singles (Ages 27 - 44) – March 27, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
'Working for Beauty' by Dr. David Henderson – March 27, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Sam Ellington Quartet – March 27, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Free Documentary Screening Online: The Story of Euthanasia – March 28, 2024 - March 31, 2024 at All Day
The Craft of Spirit: BC Liturgical Textiles – March 28, 2024 - March 31, 2024 at 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Seven Words, Composed & Performed by Jonathan Saunders – March 28, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Prayer & Fasting Gathering: Loving Muslims Together Network – March 29, 2024 at All Day
Good Friday @ CLA: Churches of Langley (2 services) – March 29, 2024 at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Good Friday Art Exhibit – March 29, 2024 at 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Bridges: Christians Connecting With Muslims – March 30, 2024 at 7:00 am - 9:00 am
Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage (4 stops in Vancouver) – March 30, 2024 at 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Bach St John Passion – March 30, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Worship Invasion Loves Easter! – March 30, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Jazz Vespers with Marcus Mosely – March 31, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Apr 2024

Abigail Favale: Examining the Sources of Gender – Why Sexual Difference Matters – April 3, 2024 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Linda Szentes & Jazzlinks – April 3, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Inklings Institute of Canada hosts a table-reading event of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Easter play, 'The King Comes to His Own' – April 4, 2024 at 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Canadian Regional Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) gatherings – April 5, 2024 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Art Installation and Artist Talks at Tapestry Mundy Park – April 5, 2024 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pacific Life Bible College Annual Fundraising Dinner – April 5, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Brian Doerksen: The 'Come, Now is the Time to Worship' Tour – April 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Mercy Me: Always Only Jesus Tour 2024 – April 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Book Launch: Improvising Church, by Mark Glanville – April 5, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
O Let Me Rise and Sing: TWU Choral Concert 2024 – April 5, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
TWU Chamber Choir and Masterworks Chorus Concert – April 5, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Kym Gouchie Trio – April 5, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Emotions Education 101 – April 6, 2024 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Columbia Bible College Presidential Installation Service – April 6, 2024 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
PCMA Spring Fundraiser Concert – April 6, 2024 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
TWU Chamber Choir and Masterworks Chorus Concert – April 6, 2024 at 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Help. Thanks. Wow: A Benefit Night for Pacific Theatre – April 6, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sweet Sounds on Sussex with Michael Friedman & Kerry Galloway – April 6, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley with the Inlet Jazz Band – April 7, 2024 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
With Them | A Ukraine Documentary Showing – April 7, 2024 at 6:45 pm - 9:00 pm
Exodus & Beyond: A celebration and symposium in honour of Larry Perkins – April 8, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Book Launch: Incarnational Humanism (2nd Edition) by Jens Zimmerman – April 9, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Awakening to my Neighbourhood: an evening of sharing stories and practices – April 9, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
5th Annual Charity Scotch Tasting Reception – April 10, 2024 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Jazz + Renaissance Night – April 10, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Gabriel Hasselbach & Friends – April 10, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Peace Portal Alliance Church Tax Clinic – April 11, 2024 - April 30, 2024 at All Day
Tax Clinic – April 11, 2024 - April 30, 2024 at All Day
Tax Program – April 11, 2024 - April 30, 2024 at All Day
Tenth Tax Help – April 11, 2024 - June 29, 2024 at All Day
  

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