WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish

Title: WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel@7.22am

WBB: Assurance, Anguish and Advent

“Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” the apostle powerfully proclaimed last week. But if you keep reading you see that he then immediately gives voice to a deep sorrow and anguish. So deep that he says that he wishes that he himself could be cut off, that he himself could be separated from the love of Christ.

From assurance to anguish. Why? Read more WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish

WBB and Advent Waiting: Romans 8 (Reprise)

WBB: Romans 8 (reprise)

I knew from the beginning that we would have to spend more than one week in Romans 8 during this year’s WBB meditation on Paul’s most famous letter. This passage was just too rich to rush through. Of course the same could be said of a lot the first seven chapters of the book as well, but there is something about Romans 8 that requires time for meditation, for reflection.

So we scheduled two weeks for Romans 8. And, well, that isn’t enough. So we are going to remain with Paul in this chapter for one more week. Read more WBB and Advent Waiting: Romans 8 (Reprise)

WBB and the groaning of creation

Title: WBB and the groaning of creation
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Dear friends:

In what is perhaps the most remarkable turn of a phrase in the letters of Paul, the apostle tells us in Romans 8.22 that “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now ….” This is a creation longing for redemption, longing to be set free from all that binds it.

Perhaps only the women in our community can begin to understand what Paul is talking about here, and even there maybe only the women who have given birth. I can tell you as a very concerned observer that there is an intensity in the groaning of labor like nothing else that I have ever born witness to. Groaning in travail was the way the older versions of the Bible put it.

Read more WBB and the groaning of creation

GCF – Suffering

Title: GCF – Suffering
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College

We all know life isn’t always easy.  As people who try to follow Christ, we know in our heads that life will involve suffering, hardships, pain–following in the way of the cross.

Surprisingly, we tend to hear very little in our churches or communities about real-life suffering.  In my experience, when we talk about our suffering or the pain of others, we quickly follow this with talk of how whatever we are facing will surely end soon, or will have good consequences in the end, or will make us stronger or more faithful.

Do we try to tame the intensity of suffering? Is there always a “bright side” to painful experiences?

This week at GCF, long-time GCF community members and friends Mari and Shannon are teaming up to lead an evening on suffering and the Christian life.  Here’s a teaser from them about the evening:

The following is an imaginative retelling of Mark 11:12-25 – I would like to give a disclaimer that this is not the official telling, and that if I were a prof, I would tell you not to write this part down:

Jesus is walking along with his disciples and he sees the fig tree and wants some figs.  He gets closer to the tree and realizes that there are no figs on the tree because it isn’t fig season.  He then throws a hissy fit.  “What is wrong with this planet?” he says.   “You can’t just walk up to a fig tree and get, say, figs, you have to wait for fig season, and even then the figs might not grow because, oh that’s right, the ground is cursed and we have to work really hard to make anything grow at all, and even all that hard work is no frickin’ guarantee.  I HATE this place!  It sucks!  Nothing works here!  I’m so over this planet!  I’m going to change everything!”  And then he does.  Sort of.

This Thursday evening, explore the terrifying world of meaningless suffering and how being Christians does not in any way protect us from this horrific fact of life. It will be fun. It will be scary. There will be stick figures.

This is certainly an evening NOT to be missed.

And consider bringing a friend who might need a community like GCF.

Looking forward to seeing you then,

Sara Gerritsma DeMoor

Associate chaplain

Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-11-19

Wine Before Breakfast

Title: WBB: No one ever said this was going to be easy
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel, 7.22am

No one ever said that this was going to be easy.
            Not Paul’s letter to the Romans.
            Not the faith that he there proposes.
            Not the Jesus he calls us to follow.

Romans 6 … things are settled.
            We are saved in Jesus Christ,
            no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of righteousness.

Romans 7 … things are unsettled.
            We are caught between conflicting laws,
            Christ and sin.
And we are all adulterers.

And it all comes down to “dwelling.”
            Romans 7 painfully reminds us that sin “dwells” in us,
            while Romans 8 insists that we are set free from sin
            because the Spirit of God “dwells” in us.

But this still doesn’t make it easy.
            There is still “war in my blood.”
            There is still a royal battle between a mind set on the “flesh”
            and a mind set on the Spirit.
            Death or life.
            War or peace.

Heavy stuff at any time, not least at 7.22 in the morning!

This week I’ll be preaching, David Julien will be presiding, and the band will be playing some Steve Bell for us.

Know anybody struggling with these kinds of tensions in their lives? Bring them along. They’ll be in good company.

In hope,

Brian Walsh

Start Time: 7.22am
Date: 2009-11-17

Book Launch: Justice and Creation

CRC Campus Ministries, University of Toronto
and Crux Books
Justice and Creation
a book launch for
The Justice Project (edited by Brian McLaren, et. al.)
The Gift of Creation (edited by Norman Wirzba)
with contributor
Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat
Commentaries by
Bruxy Cavey (The Meeting House)
Ron Kuipers (Institute for Christian Studies)
Music by
Michael Iafrate and Allison Hari Singh
The Hildegard Project

Thursday, November 12, 7.00pm
Leonard Hall, Wycliffe College

5 Hoskin Ave, Toronto

WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ

Title: WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Dear friends:

These days, when I think about marriage or any other relationship of covenantal intimacy, words from a Martyn Joseph song invariably come to mind.

“I would never do anything in this world to hurt you…
But I do.”

The deep sentiment of faithful love meets the reality of pain, hurt and betrayal.

We profess with confidence that we would never do anything in the world to hurt the one we love the deepest, and yet we in fact do hurt that very person.

I think that Paul is on to something like this in Romans 7.

Read more WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ

GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal

Title: GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College


GCF Thursday, November 5, 2009
Basement of Wycliffe College (5 Hoskin Ave)
– 6:00pm – dinner together
– 7:15ish to ? – Something After Dinner – Carol Scovil: In the Hills of Nepal

Story-telling is a very important part of the GCF community.

Sharing bits of our stories happens informally all the time at GCF, of course:
We share about the ups and downs of the week past.
We tell stories that make of laugh.
We tell stories that make us cringe.
Sometimes we tell stories that make us weep.
We learn about each other through stories about our childhoods, our family traditions, our favourite holidays.

Read more GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal

WBB, Adam and Home

Title: WBB, Adam and Home
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Adam or Christ? Homewrecker or Homemaker?

Dear friends:

Last week I got to reflecting on reading Romans from the perspective of home, homelessness and homecoming. And I suggested in my WBB sermon (now posted at www.empireremixed.com) that Paul offers the story of Abraham as a family story for the church. Abraham is the father of all of us. In this memory, in this family story, there is the space for making home together.
Read more WBB, Adam and Home

Andy Crouch, in conversation …

Empire Remixed and CRC Campus Ministries
Andy Crouch
… in conversation …

Hosted and facilitated by Brian Walsh

Monday, November 2 @ 8.00pm

Chaplain’s Office
Wycliffe College, Toronto

Andy Crouch’s book Culture Making was named the “Book of the Year” by Christianity Today in 2009. And we are overjoyed to be able to host an evening conversation with Andy on November 2. Christian bookseller par excellence, Byron Borger (www.heartsandmindsbooks.com) said that this book “is spectacularly important and truly wonderful; wonderful for the cogent ideas and the lovely writing, the insight and the charm.” We agree. And that’s why we are hosting a conversation with Andy.
Read more Andy Crouch, in conversation …