There aren’t many people, if any, who have spent more time reflecting on religion and culture in Cascadia than Douglas Todd. As a lifelong resident of Vancouver, and a journalist in the area of North American spirituality and culture, Todd has a passion to explore the deepest human experiences while paying attention to the nuances of culture as well. He edited Cascadia: An Elusive Utopia and has been a columnist for The Vancouver Sun in the area of spirituality, diversity and migration for over 30 years.
Vancouver is “in my bones” Todd reflects, as he recently chatted with Christ and Cascadia regional editor David Warkentin about some of the complex dynamics of religion and culture in Vancouver today.
How did you develop an interest in religion and culture?
I was brought up in Vancouver in an atheist family who always thought religion was kooky. And over the years I started realizing, yes, there are a lot of religious kooks out there. But some of them are actually quite fascinating and even have a few things to offer – like hope and sophistication. I’ve always been an artsy guy, someone who tries to keep track of what’s going on in culture, including religion. Having travelled a fair amount, I realized early on that Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest is just different. Yet a lot of people who live here don’t know that. You say, “Oh no, Vancouver has no culture.” But really, it’s quite distinctive . . . a free culture, generally, but that is part of its distinctiveness. . .
For the rest of the interview, go to Christ & Cascadia. It is well worth the read, covering how Todd developed his interest in religion and culture, how immigration has impacted the city, how the religious landscape of Vancouver has changed over the years – and more.
David Warkentin has spent his whole life in the Vancouver area and is currently on faculty at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, where he directs Praxis, a first year urban discipleship program that focuses on the intersection of faith and culture. He did an MA in Christianity and Culture at Regent College, researching the impact of individualism on religious communities. He and his wife (they have two children) are lay leaders in a multicultural church. You can follow David on Twitter (@warkd) and check out his blog, Considerations.