Around Town: Tony Campolo still has it, kind Roger Scruton, pastor/oenologist …

Tony Campolo is still a master story-teller.

Tony Campolo hasn’t been around these parts for a while, as far as I know, so when I heard he would be speaking last Sunday on behalf of Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), I thought I’d make the trek out to Hope Community Church in Surrey.

I’m glad I did. The topic – Why Christians should be involved in seeking social justice – was not new. He addressed similar subjects on more than one occasion at Missions Fest – and his delivery is still strong.

That was enough for the full house, several hundred people, a little on the older side, many of whom no doubt had experienced his avuncular charm and disarming humour before.

At 85, and using a cane to get around, Campolo still manages to combine the persona of a stand-up comic with the gravitas of a retired sociology professor (which he is). Some of the stories are trusty old standbys – I’m sure I’ve heard them before.

For example, “I am getting old. When I go to a wedding these days, I find the grandmother looks better than the bride.” Or, “I’m a Baptist. I know you don’t have to be, but I figure, why take a chance?” Or, “I attend a black church, and they always let you know how you’re doing. One day, I was half way through my sermon and I was dying on my feet when some woman in the back yells, ‘Help him, Jesus, help him.'”

(I may not have the wording exact, but that’s probably not too important; it is the delivery and timing – honed over decades – that makes the jokes work.)

There was quite a bit of love in the room for Campolo, even after he made fun of us for being so reserved.

Willard Metzger, CPJ’s executive director, said the faith-based, ecumenical group has been working for justice for well over 50 years, in three main areas –  poverty in Canada, ecological justice and refugee rights.

He said Campolo has also been in the trenches for decades:

Tony has been a pioneer. He was saying things [about the centrality of social justice for Christians] that people are now saying, but were not saying then.

Tony’s wife Peggy with former missionary Bill Kent, who sometimes translated for Tony when he was in the Dominican Republic. Peggy also knew Bill’s daughter at Eastern University.

During the question period, one young man followed up on that theme. He said that many young people are now enamoured of social justice, but are offended by the claims of Jesus Christ.

Campolo agreed, saying:

We have sometimes preached social justice to the exclusion of evangelism. . . . Whenever we separate social justice from the gospel of salvation, we have made a mistake. . . . When the church forgets the transformation of the person and concentrates only on the transformation of society, they’re getting things wrong.

He referred back to a story he had told about a visitor to Sydney, Australia. A dishevelled old man tapped him on the back, and simply asked, “Mister, if you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?” Upon his return to the United States he spoke to a pastor and became a Christian.

When he found himself back in Australia, he sought out the man, who was still tapping people on the shoulder – and who cried when the American told him his story. The old man had been asking people that question seven days a week for eight years, influenced by the Salvation Army through which he himself had been saved. No one had ever told him they had been changed.

Campolo said he later told the story on air during a nation-wide show, and discovered that the switchboard lit up with people all over the country who had been influenced by the old man.

Campolo also focused on social issues, saying we must work to oppose racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, environmental degradation, those who oppose refugees . . . (Although he made this passing reference to homophobia, he did not refer to his acceptance several years ago of same-sex marriage in the church, which has limited his opportunities to speak in many theologically conservative settings.)

Willard Metzger with Tony Campolo.

He referred to Revelation 17 – 19, which he said “reads like today’s newspaper”:

[Those chapters] talk about Babylon, the dominant culture. I live in America, so my Babylon is America. You live in Canada; your Babylon is Canada. Watch out for the dominant culture; she is very seductive.

It’s more dangerous for your son to go to the shopping centre than to walk down the streets of Philadelphia.

The problem with white evangelicals is they don’t take Jesus seriously – they are sold out to Babylon. The U.S., Canada will fail – your system will fail, my system will fail.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, so when Babylon collapses, what you’ve invested in will not collapse. Those who have invested in the system will weep.

He added: “That was a strong prophetic word,” just in case we had missed it.

He concluded by leading a rousing version of ‘Amazing Grace.’

The purpose of the evening was to raise profile and money for CPJ, and I’m sure it did. For those who missed him, there will be a couple more opportunities to see him early next month, at Vancouver School of Theology (March 6) and Christ Church Cathedral (March 8).

C.S. Morrissey: Roger Scruton

A local philosophy professor has added his contribution to the tributes following the recent death of an influential English intellectual known for his traditional views.

C.S. Morrissey posted Portrait of a thinker who modelled kindness: Roger Scruton last week on the B.C. Catholic site

Here is an excerpt:

. . . Since 2013, I was able to get together again with Roger in person a handful of times. What remains with me vividly is his remarkable kindness and generosity. His warmth, gentleness, thoughtful manner and capacious sense of humour were truly unforgettable.

I will leave it to others to explain in their obituaries and eulogies what a great thinker and writer he was. Roger is rightly noted for his many books on philosophy and politics.

But because he touched my life with memorable acts of encouragement and magnanimity, it is those actions that I cannot stop thinking about. Rather than focus on more objective achievements, all I can reflect on is how he subjectively modelled for me how to treat others.

As he put it to me that October night, what is so special and beautiful about each one of our lives is that it is a life that is mine. (It made me think of the Beatles song In My Life.) In response to the delicately unrepeatable gift of life given to each one of us, the only appropriate response is gratitude. . . .

Go here for the full comment.

Brad Sumner, wine expert

Times have changed in many ways, but one of the more obvious examples is having a pastor doubling as an expert at the local wine store. Brad Sumner – pastor and ‘certified oenologist’ – tweeted this out recently:

Local friends: only a few spots left in my Sparkling Wine class next Thur evening at the Langley location of @EWineBC. Register online at the link below! everythingwine.ca/lg-feb13_2019- #LangleyFresh #Langley #wine #wineeducation #champagne #bcwine

Everything Wine described the event like this:

Join WSET certified wine educator Brad Sumner for an evening exploring the world of bubbly across all price-points and geographies. Taste and learn about sparkling wines from the Champagne region as well as our own BC offerings. You’ll discover why some wines have finer bubbles, the difference between Cava and Prosecco, frizzante and spumante, as well as how to properly open a bottle. Enjoy good food and an in-depth exploration of arguably the most technical wines in the world!

Unfortunately, the event is sold out. Apparently Brad’s church – Jericho Ridge Community Church in Surrey (celebrating 15 years March 1) – is full-bodied and has aged well.

February 13, 2020

Book Launch with Dr. James Houston – February 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Focusing on Quality of Life in Health Care for Older Adults, with Richard Sawatzky – February 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Genesis: So What? – Evening Seminar with Iain Provan – February 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 14, 2020

At a Time Like This, Who Needs Another Apocalypse? The Book of Revelation and Christian Identity – February 14, 2020 - February 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Date Night Tour – February 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

February 16, 2020

Taizé Contemplative Service – February 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Black History Month: a Gospel Celebration – February 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Skillet: the Victorious Tour – February 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 18, 2020

Advocacy and the Promotion of Social Justice: Fr. Jebamalai Stanislaus, SJ – February 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

February 19, 2020

Mountain Plastic: Powered by Himalayan Life: VIP Event with Dr. Joyce Azzam – February 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Don Stewart – February 19, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 20, 2020

Troy Terpstra: Broken Hallelujah – February 20, 2020 - February 21, 2020 at All Day
Spirit(us): Celtic Canadian Chamber Folk Duo – February 20, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

February 21, 2020

North of 60 Writers' Meeting – February 21, 2020 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
G. Peter Kaye Lectures: Candida Moss – Resurrecting Perfection: Beauty, Bodies & the Afterlife – February 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hope for Women 4th Annual Dessert Concert – February 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This Day Forward: Marriage & Parenting Conference – February 21, 2020 - February 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Ex Cathedra: Music for the Chair of Saint Peter – February 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 22, 2020

Coldest Night Surrey/Cloverdale: Hosted by Cloverdale Community Kitchen – February 22, 2020 at 12:00 am
KAIROS Blanket Exercise – February 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
DVD: How Darwin Got It Wrong – February 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Coldest Night Langley: Salvation Army Gateway of Hope – February 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Coldest Night Vancouver Broadway: CityReach Care Society – February 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mountain Plastic: Powered by Himalayan Life Launch Event – February 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 23, 2020

Through His Eyes Tour: effect:hope with Philip Yancey – February 23, 2020 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Through His Eyes Tour: effect:hope with Philip Yancey – February 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jazz Vespers @ St. Andrew's United Church on the North Shore – February 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Dmitri Metheny Quartet – February 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Table Talk: How to be Human – February 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 24, 2020

Through His Eyes Tour: effect:hope with Philip Yancey – February 24, 2020 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Through His Eyes Tour: effect:hope with Philip Yancey – February 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Why Do We Visit Palestine/Israel, and What Do We See? – February 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 25, 2020

Through His Eyes Tour: effect:hope with Philip Yancey – February 25, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

February 26, 2020

Shekhina: By Caitlin Ambery & Bailey Carrick – Open House – February 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Candus Churchill – February 26, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 27, 2020

Integrating Business, Life and Faith: Special Breakfast with John Neate, Sandy Tai & Enoch Weng – February 27, 2020 at 7:00 am - 8:30 am
TobyMac Hits Deep Tour – February 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 28, 2020

WomanCare Trivia Night – February 28, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Pier Giorgio Frassati on Friendship and Social Justice – February 28, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Singin’ In My Soul: Gospel Music Workshop – February 28, 2020 - February 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Spark 2020: Brighter – February 28, 2020 - February 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 4:00 pm

February 29, 2020

Delta Leadership Prayer Breakfast – February 29, 2020 at 8:15 am - 11:00 am
For This Generation: Family Ministries Conference – February 29, 2020 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Leverage Winter Summit 2020 – February 29, 2020 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Cathy Peters: Modern Slavery – Hidden in Plain Sight – February 29, 2020 at 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
BRAVE – February 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Roddan Jubilee Lectures: Stéphan Corriveau – February 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Amabilis Singers: Magnificat – February 29, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

March 1, 2020

Laudate Singers: – March 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 2, 2020

The Book of Esther: a Multifaceted Discussion – Christian & Jewish Perspectives – March 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 4, 2020

Bruce Kuhn: Luke – March 4, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
More Witnesses: Lessons for Living a Robust Public Faith – March 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Dalannah Gail Bowen – March 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 5, 2020

Provincial Leaders Dinner – March 5, 2020 at All Day
Team Church One Day: Vancouver – March 5, 2020 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
WEA Webinar on Artificial Intelligence – March 5, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am

March 6, 2020

BC Leadership Prayer Breakfast – March 6, 2020 at 7:15 am - 9:00 am
BC Student Forum – March 6, 2020 at 7:15 am - 10:00 am
Apologetics Canada Conference 2020 – March 6, 2020 - March 7, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 3:30 pm
An Evening with Tony Campolo – March 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Israel: the People, the Land, the Future – March 6, 2020 - March 7, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Worship Central Conference 2020: Sons & Daughters – March 6, 2020 - March 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

March 7, 2020

Project Dovetail: SOGI Training for the Church – March 7, 2020 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
St. Mary's Padre Pio Prayer Group Prayer Meeting – March 7, 2020 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am

March 8, 2020

Pray for Hong Kong – March 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Angela Verbrugge – March 8, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tony Campolo: Why Christians Should be Involved in Seeking Social Justice – March 8, 2020 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

March 10, 2020

Waterfront Seafarers Centre: Open House – March 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

March 11, 2020

Intersection: A Networking Opportunity for Leaders in Mission Agencies – March 11, 2020 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Hot Mammas – March 11, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 12, 2020

Homegrown: Jazz Coffeehouse Concert – March 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Martyn Joseph in Concert – March 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

March 13, 2020

I Still Believe (Movie) – March 13, 2020 - March 17, 2020 at All Day
I Still Believe (Movie) – March 13, 2020 - March 17, 2020 at All Day
Tapas & Tabletalk: What God Cares About – March 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible with the Communion of Saints, with Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee – March 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Theology for Non-Theologians – March 13, 2020 - March 14, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
For the Beauty of the Earth – March 13, 2020 - March 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 14, 2020

Business as Mission Conference – March 14, 2020 at 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
SIM Monthly Missions Meeting: Past, Present and Future of Missions with SIM – March 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

March 15, 2020

Tax Preparation Clinic – March 15, 2020 at All Day
A Multi-Faith Discussion on the Climate Emergency – March 15, 2020 at 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

March 16, 2020

Closed: Knights of the North Castle: Broadway Church Day Camp – March 16, 2020 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

March 18, 2020

Webinar: Canadian National Communion Service – March 18, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Postponed: Ray Aldred on Truth & Reconciliation – March 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Leading Ladies Little Big Band – March 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 19, 2020

24-7 Prayer Canada Virtual Prayer Room – March 19, 2020 - March 30, 2020 at All Day
Cancelled: Best of Enemies by Mark St. Germain – March 19, 2020 - March 21, 2020 at All Day
Closed: Shekhina: By Caitlin Ambery & Bailey Carrick – March 19, 2020 - March 27, 2020 at All Day
Suspended: 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil – March 19, 2020 - April 5, 2020 at All Day
Now Full: Tax Clinic (by appointment) – March 19, 2020 - April 30, 2020 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Webinar: Building an Effective Prayer Team – March 19, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Webinar: Ready or Not? The Urgent Missional Response to C19 – March 19, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Cancelled: SAMC Theatre Presents: The Tempest – March 19, 2020 - March 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 20, 2020

Canadian Youth Worker Prayer Call (every Friday) – March 20, 2020 - April 24, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Christian Legal Fellowship's Prayer and Devotional Webinar Series Week 1: Trusting God in Uncertain Times – March 20, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am

March 21, 2020

Moved Online: The 41st Covenant Awards – March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Postponed: Praise: with Kim Walker-Smith – March 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 22, 2020

Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Nancy Newman – March 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

March 23, 2020

Cancelled: Dead Sea Scrolls Conference – March 23, 2020 - March 24, 2020 at 12:00 am

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