WBB, Paul and us

Title: WBB, Paul and us
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Paul is having an argument.

It is an argument with his fellow Jews in the church in Rome, and maybe it’s an argument that he’s had deep within himself.

So you are a Jew.
And you’ve got the law.
And you boast of your covenantal relationship with God
And you know God’s will.
And you are pretty sure that you are a guide to the blind.
And you are a light to those who are in darkness.
And you are a corrector of the foolish.
And a teacher of children.
And … and … and.

So why the hell don’t you live like it?

What’s the point of being a Jew if you don’t live in covenantal faithfulness?

Now this might seem like an archaic argument that is at best only of historical interest. I mean really, why should we even care about a first century debate like this?

Well because all we need to do is replace the word “Jew” with “Christian” and you can see how devastatingly contemporary this discussion is.

Many of us are still reeling from the death of David Dewees on Saturday morning. And my hunch is that we desperately need to hear of the faithfulness of God in the face of our infidelity, the truth of God in the face of our deceptions, and the restorative justice of God in the face of our injustice.

We will grieve David tomorrow. And we will hear the good news of Jesus Christ. In fact, we will attempt to surround ourselves, David’s family and friends and students in prayer suffused with grace.

Andrew Asbil will be presiding and preaching.

Please come.


Start Time: 07:22
Date: 2009-10-06

GCF – “I want to have it all!”

Title: GCF – “I want to have it all!”
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College
Description:I have many desires for my life.

– I want to have a fulfilling career in campus or parish ministry or in any other career to which I am called.
– I want to have a healthy and satisfying marriage.
– I want to continue my formal education, taking classes occasionally or part-time.
– I want to have children, and I want to work part-time or not at all while they are young.
– I want to be a valuable contributor to committees and other groups that do good work.
– I want to volunteer with an organization that helps those less fortunate than me.
– I want to be an active member of my church community.
– I want to have time for leisure.
– I want to keep in shape, so that I can continue to live healthfully for many years.
– I want to be financially secure while I work and in my retirement.
– I want.
– I want.
– I want.

I want to have it all!

This week at GCF we will be having a conversation about the notion of “having it all.” We’ll be asking questions and brainstorming together, sharing our stories and learning from one another.

What does it mean to “have it all,” as we typically imagine it?

Is this “having it all” vision for life possible? Is it truly desirable?

What is good about this goal-oriented vision? What is missing from it?

Is this imagined vision of life and vocation different for men, for women, for Christians?

Are there limits to what we can or should do with our lives?

You are warmly invited to join us on Thursday evening at 6:00 pm in the campus ministry office (basement of Wycliffe College) for a meal of soup and bread and fellowship, followed by a conversation about “having it all” at around 7:15 pm.

If you’ve already got this whole life/vocation/discipleship thing all figured out, please come to enlighten the rest of us.

If you are often baffled by this whole life/vocation/discipleship thing, but are interested in participating in a community that is trying to imagine together and to live out together what a holistic way forward looks like, you are warmly invited to join us.

And bring along a friend or two who might enjoy some good food, fellowship, and stimulating conversation.

I look forward to seeing you this Thursday.

With hope,

Sara Gerritsma DeMoor

Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-10-01

Wednesdays Will Be…

Title: Wednesdays Will Be…
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College

Description: This semester we decided to try something different on Wednesday nights in the office.

Sensing that people enjoy the comfy atmosphere in the office, and also that we rarely make time to allow the creative side of our brains free reign, we decided to have an “open house” of sorts on Wednesday evenings from 8 to 10pm.

Feel free to drop by for five minutes or the whole two hours, with something creative or relaxing to do: knitting, a guitar, scrap-booking supplies, poetry, a children’s story book – and just hang out with us over some tea or coffee (and maybe some dessert?) in the office.

The possibilities are endless

Looking forward to seeing you there tonight!

Start Time: 20:00
Date: 2009-09-30

WBB – Paul’s over the top

Title: WBB – Paul’s over the top
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

It seemed over the top.

No, not my sermon last week! I’m talking about Paul.
OK, maybe the sermon was a little heavy too.

But Paul was really laying it on, wasn’t he. You can see where those gay hating folks get it.
“God hates Fags!” read the posters.
“Gays deserve to die!”

Isn’t that what the apostle said?
“Those who practice such things deserve to die.”

Now we need to notice that the “such things” Paul was talking about were not just sexual sins (regardless of how you interpret which sins those might have been).

No, his list includes such things as covetousness, envy, strife, rebellion towards parents, and foolishness. For these things, he says, we deserve to die.

So think back on a time when you were a teenager and had a huge fight with your folks because your sibling got something that you didn’t get. Covetousness, envy, strife, rebellion towards parents, and foolishness – it’s all there.

But deserving of the death penalty? Seems a little over the top, doesn’t it?

Well maybe that was the point.

Maybe Paul was deliberately over the top.

Maybe this whole thing was a set up.

Get certain folks in the community all riled up and self-righteous about other folks who are clearly sinners and then turn the whole thing on its head and say that anyone who passes judgement on another is engaging in an act of self-condemnation.

Kind of like Nathan telling David a story about a rich man who steals the only little ewe lamb from a poor herder who has nothing else. The king gets furious and tells Nathan that the man who had done such a thing “deserves to die.” (2 Sam. 12.5) And Nathan says, “You are the man.” Gotcha!

This week, Paul does the same thing. He turns the whole thing on its head on those who would use this diatribe against sin as a club with which to beat others.

If you missed Wine Before Breakfast last week because you’ve got this sin thing licked, then it looks like you can sleep in again tomorrow.

But if you’ve got the courage to face yourself and maybe expand your horizons, then things get started at 7.22 tomorrow morning in the Wycliffe Chapel.

Judith Alltree will be presiding (she’s kind of like the mother of WBB)
Rachel Tulloch will be preaching (she’s kind of our go-to lady when it comes to difficult passages in Romans)

Breakfast will of course be served.

And bring other sinners along.

In Christ,

Start Time: 7:22
Date: 2009-09-29

GCF – Film: Manufactured Landscapes

Title: GCF – Film: Manufactured Landscapes
Location: Wycliffe & Trinity Colleges
Link out: Click here


Do you ever have those moments that just seem too coincidental? Those moments about which you think, “There’s no way that was chance!”

Well, at our staff meeting this morning we had just such a providential moment. In the middle of our meeting we talked about upcoming evenings at GCF: what we’re planning, who we’d like to have come speak, what events we’d like to do. I mentioned that I had been in touch with Stephen Scharper, who some of you will remember from last semester, to see if he could come back to us for an evening this year. Stephen is a professor at U of T in the department of anthropology, specializing in religion and the environment, and he also teaches film courses. He is a warm, personable individual, and an excellent conversation partner whose interests are amazingly broad. I had not heard back from Stephen about whether or not he could make it to GCF this semester.

Half way through our meeting, I saw someone peeking through the window in the closed door of the office, and shouted for the person to come in. And who walks in, but Stephen Scharper himself! During the course of our conversation with him, he mentioned an event he is hosting this Thursday night: A screening of the film Manufactured Landscapes, followed by a discussion (which he will host) with the award-winning film’s director, Jennifer Baichwal. As it turns out, Stephen and Jennifer know each other from their grad school days, as they were TAs together at McGill University, where Jennifer earned an MA in Religious Studies. [FYI: This event is sponsored by STORY Umbrella & IMAGO (for more info on these organizations, see www.imago-arts.on.ca.)]

Stephen left (after promising to talk to his wife, Hilary, also a professor at U of T, about coming together to spend an evening with us at GCF), and Brian and I looked at each other and agreed: We had to make this Thursday night film event a part of our GCF program for this coming Thursday!

So here are the revised plans for this Thursday’s GCF:

–We will eat together, as usual, in the office at 6pm. Try to be prompt, as our schedule is a bit tight this evening

–At 6:50 pm or so we’ll head over to the theatre to watch Manufacturing Landscapes. [More details on the film below.] The George Ignatieff theatre is conveniently located a three minute walk from Wycliffe. The screening starts at 7:00pm.

–Tickets are $10 at the door. HOWEVER: If the cost is going to keep you from coming, we will take care of it! Do not let that keep you away. Please email me or talk to me that evening if we can help you out.

–After the film and discussion, we’ll come back to the office to do dishes! (The best conversations happen over dishes)

So, come on out at 6pm on Thursday to enjoy some great food, fantastic conversation, and an amazing film and discussion! And bring along a friend or two who you think might enjoy the evening.

See you then!

Take care,

Sara Gerritsma DeMoor

More about the film:

Manufactured Landscapes is a critically-acclaimed film about the work of renowned artist Edward Burtynski, focusing on his work on “manufactured landscapes.” The film follows Burtynski through China as he views the effects of a massive industrial revolution. Manufactured Landscapes has won numerous film awards, including:

–Best documentary feature – Toronto Film Critics Association

–Best Canadian feature – Toronto Film Festival

–Best Documentary – Genie Awards

Not to be missed!
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-09-24

WBB – Only sinners and idolaters allowed

Title: WBB – Only sinners and idolaters allowed
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Description: So here’s the thing. Paul simply has no ability to pull his punches. When it comes to human sinfulness he refuses to avert his gaze, or our gaze as his readers.

Why? Because he understands so deeply the revelatory goodness of all of creation and because he knows the power of the gospel to break through our penchant for evil.

But I’m not so sure that I can handle so much sin and wickedness at 7.22 in the morning. I’m not so sure that I can handle being “given up” to the “lusts” of our hearts, to “degrading passions” and a “debased mind” so early on a Tuesday morning. I mean, that seems like late-on-a-Saturday-night kind of stuff.

The problem is that we’re committed to journeying with Paul in his letter to the Romans this year at Wine Before Breakfast. And Paul insists that we can’t grasp the power of the gospel, without facing the depths of our brokenness. We can’t disarm the power of the empire in our lives without debunking the empire’s idols.

So here is what I propose. If you don’t have any problem with impure lust, degrading passions and a debased mind, then take a pass on WBB tomorrow morning. If the seductive power of idolatry has never held you in its grip, then stay home. If things like covetousness, malice, strife, gossip, slander, insolence, parental disrespect, foolishness, faithlessness and ruthlessness are not a part of your life, then why don’t you just sleep in on Tuesday morning.

But if you are a sinner, then come and join me and a bunch of other sinners as we face our brokenness and turn to the only one who can make us whole. And bring along other broken and idolatrous folks with you. But don’t bother the sleep of those who have already got this sin stuff licked.

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday September 22 @ 7.22
Wycliffe College Chapel

David Neelands will serve the bread and the wine. I’ll be preaching.

Again, sinners only!

In sinful solidarity,

— Brian J. Walsh CRC Campus Minister, University of Toronto
Start Time: 07:22
Date: 2009-09-22

Graduate Christian Fellowship – Opening Reception

Title: Graduate Christian Fellowship – Opening Reception
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College
Description: The first Graduate Christian Fellowship of the 2009-2010 school year will be on Thursday, September 17, beginning at 6pm. This first week will be our opening reception, with snacks and sandwiches and perhaps some wine, and we will also be talking a bit about who we are and what the GCF community is about. This would be a great week to bring a friend or two who might like to check out GCF!
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-09-17

Wine Before Breakfast starts – “Return the call to home”

Title: Wine Before Breakfast starts – “Return the call to home”
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Link out: Click here
Description: “Return the call to home” sings Bono in the closing song to “No Lines on the Horizon.”

That’s kind of what worship is all about. Returning the call to home.

Wine Before Breakfast begins its ninth year as a worshipping community at the University of Toronto on Tuesday, September 15 at 7.22am in the Wycliffe College chapel (5 Hoskin Ave.).

This year we return to Paul’s letter to the Romans to help shape our worship and to guide us home.

Rob Crosby-Shearer returns as our music director after a few years hiatus.

Scott and Erika Fleming (newly married!!) will be joining the pastoral team (and we will be blessing their new marriage this week!).

Lydell Wiebe will coordinate a bread maker’s guild for both our Eucharist break and breakfast. [Thanks to blessed Bethany Osborne who taught Lydell everything he knows and will now take a break from baking all of our bread as she enters into married life – which we will also bless in due course!]

Those are the details, my friends. Now read the next email (http://empireremixed.com/2009/09/11/whoever-it-was-that-brought-me-here-will-have-to-take-me-home/) to get the story.

I hope to see you on Tuesday morning, and I pray that you will come with all kinds of folks who have never worshipped at such a sanctified time in the morning before.

“Return the call to home.”

Start Time: 7:22
Date: 2009-09-15