Around Town: Jesus Freak, Freedom to Read, CLA Housing, Tactics Evangelism

The cast of Jesus Freak – Brandon Bate (left), Katharine Venour, Kaitlin Williams and Ron Reed. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Let me get this straight. An “over-educated secular liberal” has written a new play in which a university-aged daughter has – to the consternation of a family not so different from his own – announced that she has become a Christian. But Peter Boychuk wrote this “cry for tolerance” for the only company in town that “exists to serve Christ.”

Seems odd, at first glance, but Boychuk explained how this all came about during a recent interview about Jesus Freak with Mark Robins on Vancouver Presents:

In the world premiere of BC playwright Peter Boychuck’s dramedy Jesus Freak, the dysfunctional family genre is turned on its head as daughter Clara comes home from college and announces to her left-leaning family she’s become a Christian. . . .

What was the inspiration for the play?

Most of my friends are like me, over-educated secular liberals. One of them, who had just become a parent, joked that their deepest fear was their child becoming a fundamentalist Christian, and I remember thinking it was an interesting idea for a play; a reversal of the familiar story of the ‘lost sheep’ who breaks away from the religious family. . . .

You wrote the play with Pacific Theatre in mind. What was it about the subject matter that had you thinking of the company?

I have always admired Pacific Theatre. My first exposure to their work was Prodigal Son by Shawn Macdonald, who is the dramaturge for Jesus Freak, which is about a young gay man struggling to reconcile his Catholic faith with his sexuality.

When I started writing Jesus Freak, I was working as a dramaturge on Common Grace by Shauna Johannesen, and it just felt like a natural place to stage the play. They are also committed to staging new work, which I appreciate. . . .

Go here for the full interview.

I still remember the restrained enthusiasm shown by my (liberal / spiritual but not religious; anti-Southern Baptist) family members when I became a Christian – and the look of relief on my friend’s face when he first met my missionary-daughter-wife-to-be and saw she was not wearing a Mother Hubbard dress.

Kudos to Boychuk for his willingness to prod his ‘tribe,’ and the rest of us: “I have become concerned that we are becoming increasingly divisive and unwilling to engage civilly with people who don’t share our beliefs, which saddens me.” I suppose it’s even possible that those of us who have arrived in the Christian tribe might be able to learn something from the play!

Jesus Freak runs March 1 – 23.

Freedom to Read Week

The Bible is among the books that some readers have found offensive.

Every year the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) encourages us to celebrate Freedom to Read Week. I appreciate their consistency, in the face of pretty significant pressure from various quarters to weed out ‘unsuitable’ books.

While they refuse to stock books which have illegal content, according to my local librarian, they do continue to stock a really wide range of reading materials.

The VPL board endorses the Canadian Library Association’s Statement on Intellectual Freedom, which reads:

All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation’s Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.

Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.

It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those, which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials.

It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee the right of free expression by making available all the library’s public facilities and services to all individuals and groups who need them. Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups. Both employees and employers in libraries have a duty, in addition to their institutional responsibilities, to uphold these principles.

I am sometimes pleasantly surprised to find Christian books on library shelves, though there is no reason they should not be there. I do still wonder though – without having looked into it – whether there are as many of them as there ought to be.

Whether or not that is the case, there is a remedy when you don’t find the book you’re looking for. Request it. I was assured by another of my local librarians that they are happy to field requests for books.

The VPL states:

The Library will review the selection of any specific materials upon written request from any member of the public. A completed copy of the form, “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” is reviewed by the appropriate librarian(s) in light of the criteria outlined in this policy. A written response will be sent to the person or organization making the request.

Go to the Suggest a Purchase page. Not all books requested will be purchased, of course, but you can’t win if you don’t play. With all the church libraries that have been closed over the past few years, let’s consider the VPL as our VPCL (Vancouver Public Church Library).

CLA Housing

Derrick Hamre, lead pastor of CLA, announced the church’s housing plans.

Christian Life Assembly (CLA) lead pastor Derrick Hamre has announced an exciting development for the Langley church. He said of their February 19 meeting in the weekly newsletter:

After an hour and a half our membership voted 86 percent in favour of moving forward with our affordable housing plans. The decision opens the door for deeper ministry expression, love of neighbours and it illustrates that CLA can be part of the solution to societal problems (like the Lower Mainland Housing Crisis).

The new housing society called “CLA Housing Society” will receive CLA property from the church for a lease up to 60 years. This property is our key contribution to the partnership. It is estimated to be worth around five million dollars. Key to the deal is that we never lose ownership of it.

On this property (by the pump house and creek) the CLA Housing Society will build a 100 unit complex with an estimated cost of 30 million dollars. We will receive a grant of nine million dollars from BC Housing Society (not to be paid back) and the rest of the costs (estimated at 21 million dollars) will be covered by the rentals and BC Housing subsidies. . . .

Now that the membership has passed the project, we will finalize our agreement with BC Housing and begin site preparation for design and research (like next steps in architectural design). . . .

Go here for the full comment.

Tactics Evangelism

Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl will be offering ‘A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions’ at Westside Church in downtown Vancouver next Saturday (March 2).

Here is a description of his Tactics Evangelism Training:

Are you tired of finding yourself flat-footed and intimidated in conversations about your faith and values? Want to increase your confidence and skill in discussions, no matter whom you’re talking to? Then Tactics is for you.

Learn the techniques Greg Koukl has taught thousands of others that will put you in the driver’s seat in every exchange. You’ll learn specific skills to help you initiate conversations effortlessly, stop challengers in their tracks and turn the tables, graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking, present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively.

Your conversations with friends can look more like diplomacy than warfare. And you will be stronger and better equipped to skillfully present your faith and the reasons why Jesus Christ is the answer.

Koukl is president of Stand to Reason.

Feb 2019

Children of God – February 20, 2019 - March 10, 2019 at All Day
Khari Wendell McClelland: We Now Recognize – February 28, 2019 at All Day
Hans Boersma: Lectio Divina – Renewing Our Practice – February 28, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Bryanna Russell: Making Womb – Opening Reception – February 28, 2019 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Mar 2019

Apologetics Canada Conference 2019 – March 1, 2019 - March 2, 2019 at All Day
World Day of Prayer: Ecumenical Worship Service – March 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Doing Family Right Conference with Dr. Dave Currie – March 1, 2019 - March 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Mini Choi: The Twelve Apostels – March 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tactics Evangelism Training – March 2, 2019 at 8:30 am - 2:15 pm
Finding God in the Dark: Lenten Retreat – March 2, 2019 at 9:15 am - 3:30 pm
Pastors Brunch with Bill Wiese – March 2, 2019 at 9:30 am - 11:00 am
Taste of the World – March 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Habib Koité and Bassekou Kouyate – March 2, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Mary McCampbell: "This is the Way the World Ends": The Acopalypse in Contemporary Film, Fiction & Television – March 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Darrel Falk & Todd Wood: Evolutionary Creation and Young Earth Creationism (Separate Talks) – March 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Darrel Falk & Todd Wood: The Fool, the Heretic & the God Whose Standard is Love – March 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Mirror Dance Production: Before is Now – March 8, 2019 at All Day
MHM Book Launch: Janet Boldt – March 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Opening to God in Silence: A Lenten Weekend Retreat – March 8, 2019 - March 10, 2019 at 5:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Spark 2019 Preteen Gathering – March 8, 2019 - March 9, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 4:00 pm
André Valadão: Brazilian Ministry Concert – March 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
CFaN Impact Breakfast with Peter Vandenberg – March 9, 2019 at 8:30 am - 10:30 am
Declining Churches in Canada: How Can We Respond? – March 9, 2019 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
DivorceCare (Saturday mornings) – March 9, 2019 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Health Seminar on "CANNABIS" (in Cantonese) – March 9, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar Tour – March 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Seven Mile Story – March 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Climate Change Presentation, Prayer – March 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
An Evening with John Brierley: The Camino – a Path of Awakening – March 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Seven Mile Story – March 10, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Seven Mile Story – March 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Film Screening: Between a Shoe and the Roof – March 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Dennis Danielson: Ethics & the Logic of Naturalism – March 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Reconciliation and the Indian Act – March 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
20th Annual Mel Smith Lecture: Preston Manning – March 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Young People and the Church? A Conversation – March 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
G. Peter Kaye Lectures: John Bell of the Iona Community – March 15, 2019 - March 17, 2019 at 12:00 am
CampsBC Celebration Banquet & Fundraiser – March 15, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Seven Mile Story – March 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Orpheus Choir: Celtic Connections – March 15, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Inspiring Dominican Saints: Pope St. Pius V – March 16, 2019 at 9:15 am - 12:15 pm
Beyond Snakes & Shamrocks: Missional Leadership Lessons from St. Patrick – March 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Orpheus Male Choir: Celtic Connections – March 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Seven Mile Story – March 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Bryanna Russell: Making Womb – March 21, 2019 - March 22, 2019 at All Day
Fireside Apologetics: Dr. Paul Chamberlain - Why Do People Stop Believing and What Can We Do About It? – March 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Geneva Lecture: Jim Mullins – Gardening in Babylon: Work, Calling & Reimagining the Mundane – March 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jesus Freak – March 21, 2019 - March 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
PACLIFE Day – March 22, 2019 at All Day
Life on the Margins: a Workshop in the Downtown Eastside – March 22, 2019 - March 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, UK – March 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Pornography Unveiled – March 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Ember – March 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
From Bach to Bachianas – March 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:45 pm
Agape Worship Night – March 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
SongStage with Ivan Boudreau – March 25, 2019 - March 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Photo Exhibition: Mennonite Churches in the Fraser Valley – Early Decades – March 28, 2019 - March 31, 2019 at All Day
School of the Supernatural: Translation by Faith – March 28, 2019 - March 29, 2019 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Public Talk: Merton and the Post-Secular Search for a Good Country – March 28, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
John Crist: The Human Being Tour – March 28, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Fireside Apologetics: Paul Chamberlain – Why Do People Stop Believing and What Can We Do About It? – March 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Anne of Green Gables: The Musical – March 28, 2019 - March 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Al Massira Training – March 29, 2019 - March 30, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Worship Central Conference 2019: Heaven & Earth – March 29, 2019 - March 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Concert with Organist Edward Norman & Oboist Roger Cole – March 29, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Café Logos Grand Opening – March 30, 2019 at 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thomas Merton: Alaska and His Final Conferences – March 30, 2019 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
"How Will We Go Unless We Are Sent?" A Paradigm Shift in Missions Sending – March 30, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Free Movie: Support World Vision's Work in Cambodia – March 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Chelsea Amber in Concert – March 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Worship Invasion Hits the West Side – March 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Welcome Back, Kleiner – March 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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