Last Wine Before Breakfast of 2010!

Last Wine Before Breakfast of 2010!

Guns, Death, and Advent

There are some events that you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Tiananmen Square.
The 911 attacks.

For me, I know exactly where I was when the news came over the car radio that a man was shooting students at the École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989. As the news kept coming out of Montréal it became clear that this attack was directed towards women.

Twenty-one years ago today fourteen women were murdered. Their crime was that they were women.

I don’t know what Advent was like for the friends and families of those women and the others caught in the violence, but I’ll bet that their Christmas was awful.

Violence has a way of wrecking Christmas, doesn’t it.

And gun violence continues to destroy lives in our country, and in our city. But in Toronto it isn’t women who are the prime targets of this kind of violence. It is Black men and they tend to be turning their guns on each other. This year we have seen thirty-eight deaths, thirty-eight murders, in the Black community.

Last week, our WBB sisters, Jacqueline and Sky, led a service to remember those deaths and to pray for hope.

This week we bring some of the prayers from that service to WBB.
This week we pray for hope in the face of such violence.

Remembering the Montréal fourteen.
Remembering the Toronto thirty-eight.
Remembering all whose lives have been scarred by such violence.

And we pray against the odds that some new life would sprout from the stump of these cut down lives.

We pray that One will come with a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

We pray that following such a Messiah, we too would judge not by what our eyes see,
nor by what our ears hear,
but with righteousness and justice.

We will pray, “Come soon, Lord Jesus.”

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am, Wycliffe Chapel

David Neelands presiding,
Brian Walsh preaching,
The WBB Bandhood leading our music,
Jacqueline Daley leading our prayers.

Festive food, including hot apple cider, will be served for breakfast. Why not bring some friends?

In Advent hope,

Brian Walsh
Read more Last Wine Before Breakfast of 2010!



CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement

This Friday!!!!

Deb Whalen Plays “The Office”
(Brian’s office, that is!)

House Concert this Friday,
November 26
7.00pm to 10.00

Our very own Deb Whalen
plays a concert of new tunes,
old tunes
sweetly covered tunes.

In a delicious atmosphere, a cadre of fine musicians will gather to support Deb as she tries to get enough money to post bail on some tunes she recorded this summer that are now sitting in a cyber-vault.

Come and help liberate these tunes!
Set the captives free!
Get this music out of jail
and into your souls!

$10.00 donation
(or more if you like)

A Party not to be missed!

Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast, 7:22am
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.

Sand or Rock?

If you are going to talk about building something … a kingdom no less … then you are going to have to talk about foundations.

And really the Sermon on the Mount has been about the foundation all along.

A most unlikely foundation for something as imperial sounding as a kingdom:

built on the foundation of the poor in spirit, not the rich in power,
those who mourn, not those who have it all together,
the meek, not the controlling,
those who hunger for justice, not for wealth,
the pure in heart, not the double-dealing backroom boys,
the peacemakers, not the war-mongers,
those who are reviled and persecuted, the bottom of the bottom.

That’s the foundation for this kingdom that Jesus is talking about.

Who would have thought that these folks would be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?

And that was only the beginning. Read more Wine Before Breakfast

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)
CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement
Thursday, November 18, 6:00pm

Giving Good Gifts: Biblical Insights and Fruitful Ideas for Christmas

Dear friends,

Last week at GCF we spent some time reading some Scripture passages about money and stuff and contentment; watched two short videos about consumerism, stuff, and sustainable design; and spent time discussing the connections between these.

This week we will be elaborating on the themes of money and stuff, and will move into a discussion of an ever-present theme at this time of year: Gifts.

We find ourselves in the busiest, biggest shopping season of the year as we approach Christmas.
We are inundated with advertisements for
the “best” gifts,
the “hottest” trends,
the “certain to bring a smile to her face” jewellery.

So we thought: maybe we should talk about gift-giving and gift-receiving at GCF.

What are your expectations around gift-giving and gift-receiving?
What is expected of you in terms of gift-giving in your family, for example, or among friends?

How do you experience giving or receiving gifts at Christmas–is the process

Why do we give gifts at Christmas, anyway?
What are we trying to communicate with our giving?

Join us for an evening of discussing, Scripture reading, seeking, giving, receiving, and praying.
In this crazy fast-paced time of year, join us for an evening of resting and reflecting.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.
Tuesday, November 16, 7:22am

Stones or bread?

I’ve been reading Sara Miles’ wonderful memoir Take this Bread recently and that has got me thinking about hunger. In the book Miles tells the story of her own conversion around the Eucharistic table at St. Gregory’s of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. She came to the Eucharist one day, ate bread, had her life radically transformed and decided that she needed to offer bread (and vegetables, and fruit, and all kinds of other food) to the hungry people of their neighbourhood. One of the wonderful things about the food pantry (a ka “Food Bank”) at St. Gregory’s is that it happens around the altar, not stuck in a basement far away from where the body and blood of Christ are on offer at every Eucharist.

Sara Miles ate bread and her deepest hunger was satisfied. And so she offers bread. She offers to feed the empty stomachs of her hungry neighbours and in doing so touches a hunger that is deeper than the stomach.

We don’t run a food pantry at Wine Before Breakfast, but a number of us are involved in reaching out to our most vulnerable neighbours with food and drink, a smiling face, a warm bed, a place of safety.

In tomorrow’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us that we only need to ask and we will receive, knock and the door will be open to us. “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?”

Bread or stone? It seems to me that we live in a culture that offers us stones for bread. Whether we are talking about the industrial products that are passed off as food or the deepest hunger for meaning and direction, there is something about the consumerism of global capitalism that fills us while leaving us empty. Indeed, fills us while making us hungry for more of what does not satisfy.

Isaiah asked, “Why do you spend your money for what which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?” Why settle for stones, when there is bread on offer?

Jesus is the bread of life. We come to eat every Tuesday morning.

Wine Before Breakfast, bread with breakfast. Come and eat.
And bring your hungry friends.

In Christ,

Brian Walsh
Campus Minister

Dave Burke will be preaching,
Andrew Federle will be breaking the bread,
Bethany Osborne has done the baking,
the Kensington Boys are cooking the muffins,
the Amish Sausage is back,
and the Bandhood will be leading our song.

Dave’s preaching.
Andrew Federle is celebrating.
The Bandhood is leading in song.

Start Time: 7:22am
Date: 2010-11-16

Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.
November 9, 2010

Empire, Money and Anxiety

Last week I went to hear Brian McLaren speak at the Church of Redeemer and in response to a question about atonement he began, “When Constantine converted Christianity …” and then paused. “When Constantine converted Christianity, not when Constantine converted to Christianity, things in our view of atonement changed.”

Now this email isn’t about atonement theology, as interesting as that may be, but rather about what happened when Constantine converted Christianity. Well, one of the things that happened was that the Sermon on the Mount had to be relativized, reinterpreted, spiritualized, marginalized and, in the end, fundamentally dismissed.

Okay, so the church historians out there (are there any church historians on the WBB email list?) are bristling at this gross overstatement. But think about it.

“You cannot serve God and wealth.”

How can a church wedded to empire ever possibly believe such a thing? I mean the church has been proving Jesus wrong on this one for centuries upon centuries. Heck, we take the folks who have most clearly managed to serve God and wealth and appoint them to the boards of our churches and Christian organizations, and when they give enough money we name buildings after them!

So then when he concludes this section of the sermon by saying “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you” we actually manage to interpret this as a guarantee of prosperity!

Well if last week’s section of the Sermon on the Mount cut through the bullshit of much of our prayer life then this week is going to cut through the bullshit of how we relate to money and wealth. And Jesus is also going to deconstruct much of the anxiety we have when it comes to security, money and status.

Bethany Osborne will be preaching and has also written the prayers.
David Julien will be breaking the bread,
and Sara DeMoor has crafted the liturgy with Deb’s well chosen music.

Rich faire, but not the kind of riches that Jesus is telling us to shun.

Hope to see you in the morning.


Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am
Breakfast to follow.

Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave

Dear friends:

You’ve all heard the saying, “the bigger they are the harder they fall.”

Well there are corollary insights to that one. For example, the most holy the place, the most profane and idolatrous can be its distortion. The principle is pretty simple. The goodness of a thing, its significance and meaning, will have a proportional evil when it is misdirected, ideologically deformed.

Perhaps the most important example of this principle in Scripture is that when the creature who is created and called to bear the “image of God” rejects that call the only possible result is the demonic power of “graven images” or idols in human life.

Well, this principle of proportionality also works for prayer. I mean what is more sacred in human life than prayer? What time is more holy than time in prayer? When do we get the closest in our relationship with God than in prayer? And when, therefore, do we come to a most honest and truthful understanding of ourselves than when we stand (or kneel) before God in prayer?

And yet there is more bullshit in prayer than perhaps in any other dimension of our lives! There is more posturing, more hypocrisy, more self-centredness and more ideological self-justification going on in prayer than anywhere else. Or at least sometimes it seems that way to me.

Again, the deeper the goodness of a thing, the deeper is its distortion.

So it is not surprising that Jesus takes time in his Sermon on the Mount to instruct his followers of what prayer looks like in the Kingdom of God. He strips them (and us) of the pretense and hypocrisy as he strips down prayer to its bare essentials.

As a community of prayer, as a community that comes together every Tuesday morning with our thanksgivings and our petitions, as a community that prays a Eucharistic prayer every week, we do well to pause and listen to Jesus on one of those very few occasions when he actually teaches about prayer. And we will again follow his example as we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name ….”

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am in Wycliffe Chapel

David Neelands will be preaching and presiding.

Wine Before Breakfast

Title: Wine Before Breakfast
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.

“Love your enemy.”

I’m not sure that three more subversive words have ever been spoken.

Love your enemy.
Can you imagine anything more ridiculous,
more counter-intuitive, more impossible than this?

With these three words everything that we know about statecraft,
everything we know about human affairs,
everything we know about the history of humanity,
indeed everything we know about our own hearts,
is turned on its head.

How do you kill the enemy that you love?
How do you objectify that enemy as evil incarnate?
How do you go to war, regardless of how “just” you think it is,
when you love your enemy?

And this guy is proclaiming a “kingdom”?
A kingdom that loves its enemies?
What part of ‘impossible’ doesn’t he get?

I don’t know how he’s doing in the polls,
but I can’t imagine this thing going too far.

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am

Tuesday, October 26

Walsh preaching,
Asbil presiding,
Whelan leading the band.

WBB and the “Male Gaze”

I tend to be a rather ‘direct’ kind of a person. I like to look a person in the eye when I meet them. Heck, I like to look strangers in the eye as we pass on the sidewalk.

But I learned early that such directness, especially on the street, and especially with women, is usually unwelcome.

I don’t know if other guys reading this email feel the same way, but I am embarrassed that most women that I pass on the street will immediately avert their gaze (often in the direction of looking down at the sidewalk) if I glance their way. I am embarrassed because I understand that ‘looking away’ as a defense mechanism in the face of the “male gaze.”

The male gaze. That look that is undressing a woman. That look that is a potential sexual and violent threat. That look of power. That look that spells ‘threat’. And we wonder why some Islamic women prefer to where the burkha.

Jesus understands the male gaze and names it for what it is. Such a sexually aggressive gaze isn’t just a matter of male hormones kicking in. More importantly this is a matter of the heart. This is a matter of imaginative rape.

Once we started down this path of hanging out with Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount we knew that things were going to get heavy. Like Moses in Sinai, Jesus is going to leave nothing unexamined. That includes our sexual imaginations.

It might be painful.

Andrew will preach and preside.
Jake has crafted our prayers.
We’re praying that Deb Whelan will get over a whopper of a cold so that she can lead our music.

And while Bethany will be baking the bread, we don’t really know who is bringing muffins since no one signed up (hint, hint).

Start Time: 7:22am
Date: 2010-10-19

An Evening with Ched Meyers

Description: “Subversive Meals from Greensboro to Community Agriculture:
Biblical Foundations and Trajectories”
Wednesday, October 13, 7.00pm

On Feb 1st, 1960 four African American college students sat down in a Woolworth’s Department store and ordered lunch in the “whites only” section–and a floundering national Civil Rights movement was resurrected. Today people around the world are abandoning the mass produced food of corporate agribusiness and going to farmers markets, joining food coops and community gardens and growing their own food. Is there a connection between that lunch counter fifty years ago and the local, organic and urban agriculture movement of today? And has Jesus got anything to do with all of this?

Ched Myers is a peacemaker, gardener, biblical scholar, activist, singer, educator, and a whole lot of other things. His teachings on radical discipleship, jubilee economics, the ministry of reconciliation and food sustainability have been transformative in people’s lives for thirty years.

Suggested donation: $5.00

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2010-10-13
End Time: 21:30