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.

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)

Title: Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)
Location: CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement

At GCF last week, I made an announcement about what we were planning for this week. I mentioned that we were watching a movie that was “more modern” than the ones we usually watch at GCF.

How wrong I was! This film was made in 1991!

I think what I meant to say was that we will be watching a movie that acheived more popularity or was more maintream (at the time) than films we typically view at GCF. Whatever the case, after dinner this week we will be watching the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes, starring Academy Award winners Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. This film was nominated for two Academy Awards and was nominated for or won at least 10 other awards (including winning one for the best young actress under 10 years old!) []

Some of you may have seen this film, but I encourage you to give it another viewing. Fried Green Tomatoes illustrates the power of narratives, of stories, to shape individuals and communities. I won’t give away more than that! For more information or a synopsis (for those of you who just need to know), see the entry for the film on

And if you needed just a little more encouragement to come out on Thursday: There may be freshly-popped popcorn!

On the practical side: please try to be on time this week for dinner, since are are aiming to start sitting down at 6:45pm, so that we have enough time for the film and a discussion afterwards.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
Sara DeMoor

Wine Before Breakfast

Title: Wine Before Breakfast
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.
Description: 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 Federle will preach and preside.
Jake Aikenhead 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

Title: An Evening with Ched Meyers
Location: CRC Chaplain\’s office, Wycliffe College basement
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

Wine Before Breakfast

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

In her wonderful book, Radical Gratitude, Mary Jo Leddy says that we live in a culture of ingratitude in which we are held captive by a consumer induced longing that can never be fulfilled. Our lives become enslaved to dissatisfaction and incessant craving. We always need more. “Enough” just isn’t in our vocabulary.

Radical gratitude, Mary Jo argues, is what can liberate us from such a captivity.

Radical gratitude engenders a spirituality of gift in the face of self-made accomplishment.

Gratitude is born of an economy of enough in the face of the hyperactivity of “more.”

Gratitude is rooted in grace, while a spirituality of entitlement is decidedly a spirituality of self-salvation.

Gratitude abandons the sullen adolescence of our culture and embraces a humility and gregarious openness born of a mature spirituality.

So there is something ironic about Thanksgiving. Let there be no doubt that this is a consumer festival, an occasion for gluttony, where the word “enough” is only uttered much too late.

And yet … there is the possibility in the midst of this secular holiday to rekindle a Kingdom ethic. There is the possibility that we can enter into an intentional feast of thankfulness that will radically undermine such consumptive greed through radical gratitude.

Will gratitude dismantle  the political, military and economic imperial realities of our day?

Perhaps not. Or at least not immediately.

But without gratitude, without a sense of the profound gift-character of all of life, without a deep sense of grace and the thankfulness that such grace engenders, then all of our struggles for Christian authenticity won’t matter.

You see, the empire will have so captivated our hearts that all of our expressions of Christian faith will be little more than posturing.

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel
Judith Alltree presiding.
Brian Walsh preaching.

Wine Before Breakfast

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

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets;
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”

This is how our passage from the Sermon on the Mount begins and ends this week at Wine Before Breakfast. And we’re going to limit a Baptist preacher named Joe Abbey-Colborne to a maximum of twelve minutes to unpack this for us. Twelve minutes for a Baptist. I know, it is cruel and unusual punishment, but Joe is definitely up to the challenge.

Now I don’t want to scoop Joe here, but you gotta ask, why would Jesus have thought that the folks listening to him might have thought that he wanted to abolish the law and the prophets? I mean, when you get to thinking about what other people are thinking then things are likely going to get messy.

But Jesus is pretty sure of himself here. “I know what you are all thinking. You think that I’m offering something that is so out of line with biblical orthodoxy that I’m simply throwing the whole thing out the window!”
Read more Wine Before Breakfast

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)
CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement

Film Night: “Genèse”

An evening of eating, watching, reflecting and talking with the GCF community

Thursday, September 30,  2010
Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College (basement)

6:00 – Dinner
7:00 (or so) – Something After Dinner – film, discussion etc.


(Mali, 1999)

Directed by Cheick Oumar Sissoko
Screenplay by Jean-Louis Sagot-Duvauroux

The ancient tale of tribal conflict between Jacob and Esau serves as the basis for this powerful allegory about the ethnic and religious warfare which continues to rage in so much of Africa (and the rest of the world) today. This visually stunning work deftly attempts to return a text fundamental to the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian traditions back to its tribal origins. You’ve never seen the stories from Genesis 23-37 told like this before, and after seeing this movie, you may never be able to hear them the same again.

And if we’re really fortunate the legendary, but elusive, homemade caramel popcorn might make a reappearance.


Start Time: 6:00pm
Date: 2010-09-30

Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.

“A city set on a hill”

Having lived during the eight years of a George W. Bush presidency I have come to have an almost allergic reaction to that deeply biblical phrase, “A city set on a hill.”

America is a city set on a hill!
That has been part of the religious rhetoric of America from its beginning, but I’m not sure that any president employed the phrase more often than Bush.

Of course, it wasn’t just the pretentiousness of it all that got under my skin.
Empires are always pretentious, and they always make exaggerated world historical claims for themselves.
That’s just the way empires are.

No, it was that this bit of pretension was also blasphemous.
Jesus said, “you are the light of the world,
a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
President Bush appropriated that language for America.
America is the light of the world,
America is a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.

And all of this justified,
provided deep sacred legitimation
for Bush’s foreign policy,
based as it was in deceit.

I know, I know, maybe this weekly Wine Before Breakfast meditation is degenerating into a bit of a political rant.
And I know that it can be pretty cheap and easy for Canadians to poke fun of American rhetorical excess.

But what are we to do when we hear Jesus talking about a city set on a hill and the voice of George W. Bush insinuates itself into our consciousness?

Maybe we need to hear how audacious this language was coming from the mouth of Jesus in the first place.
Read more Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast

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

Lewis, Cockburn and a Jesus Way of Seeing

Do you remember Uncle Andrew in C.S. Lewis ‘s The Magician’s Nephew? While Aslan is singing Narnia into being and talking animals are springing to life, the children can see and hear what’s going on and rejoice in it. Uncle Andrew, however, only sees ferocious animals (Aslan being the worst of the lot as far as he is concerned) and hears the most bestial and frightening of sounds.

Lewis explains in his narration that “what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.”

In his song, “Child of the Wind,” Bruce Cockburn gets at the same thing:

Little round planet
In a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see

What you see depends on where you are standing and what you look at.  In the Sermon on the Mount we have already seen that, for Jesus, standing with the poor, with those who mourn, with the meek and those who hunger and thirst for justice is the only standpoint from which you will see the Kingdom of God. Standing anywhere else will render you blind.

And now as we continue our meditation on the Beatitudes we learn that what you see depends also on “what sort of person you are,” “on the way that you see.” Read more Wine Before Breakfast

First Graduate Christian Fellowship of the Year

Title: First Graduate Christian Fellowship of the Year
Location: CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement (for directions, email Sara)

It’s that time of year again.  The days are getting a bit shorter, children have returned to school, Torontonians continue to lament the weather of the waning summer… And Graduate Christian Fellowship officially begins another year!

This Thursday, September 16 at 6:00 pm is the first of our regular Thursday evening gatherings.  We will eat soup and bread together at 6:00pm, prepared by returning members of the community. At about 7:30 or so, we’ll retire to the comfy chairs for dessert and tea, to get to know each other (the return of the introduction question!), to share about what GCF is about, and to pray together for the upcoming year.

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you again, and perhaps some of you for the first time that evening.

To sum up:
6:00 – Dinner
7:30 – Introduction to the community; prayer
9:00 – Dishes (“The best conversations happen over dishes!”)

See you then! Read more First Graduate Christian Fellowship of the Year