Wine Before Breakfast is for Hungry People

Wine Before Breakfast is for hungry people.

If you are full,
if you are satisfied with yourself,
if the world is as it should be,
if you’ve got it all together,
then why get up early to go to church?
On a Tuesday of all things!
At 7.22!

No, you’ve  got to be hungry to come to WBB.
You’ve got to have that gnawing hunger in your soul,
in your heart.

And you’ve got to be thirsty.
You need to have a sense of parched lips,
in a parched land.

Read more Wine Before Breakfast is for Hungry People

Wine Before Breakfast Returns

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

Dear friends:

When a first century Jewish prophet climbs up the side of a mountain and delivers a long discourse about the nature of faithful life in the Kingdom of God, you know that this is serious stuff.

It isn’t just the length of the discourse that tips you off that something significant is going on.

Some folks can be long-winded. Read more Wine Before Breakfast Returns

Wine Before Breakfast Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On Good Questions and Being Close to the Kingdom

He wasn’t in a good mood.

Maybe it was the tensions of the week.
            Passover in Jerusalem,
            and the stakes are high.

Maybe it was that he knew where this Passover was going.
Maybe it was because he knew that the stakes were higher than anyone had imagined.

Whatever was the reason, he didn’t seem to be in the mood to answer too many questions.

“By what authority do you do these things?”
            I’m not going to tell you.

“What about taxes paid to the empire?”
            Take a look at a coin.

“So this woman has seven husbands one after another,
which one is she married to in the resurrection?”
            You guys really are clueless, aren’t you!

But then he gets a question that he answers.
            Was it because it was such a good question.
            A question that got to the heart of things?
            Or might it have been something about the questioner?
            Did Jesus see something in this scribe that was missing in the others?

“What is the greatest commandment?”
            Now that is a good question.

Jesus answers the question,
            the scribe runs with the answer
            down paths that demonstrate that he “gets it,”
            and Jesus says that this man is
            “not far from the Kingdom.”

Not far from the Kingdom.
            That’s a good place to be.
May it be the case that we are not far from the Kingdom.
May it be that we ask questions worthy of the Kingdom.
May it be that we ask questions worthy of the one on the way to the cross.

You got any questions like that?
Then come to Wine Before Breakfast tomorrow morning.
Joe Abbey-Colborne will be preaching, and he’s got loads of such questions.
The Bandhood will bear our questions and our longings in song.
Judith Alltree will be serving up answers that you can eat.

7.22am in Wycliffe Chapel

And I’ll tell you what.
            If you’ve got bad questions, then bring them too.
            Sometimes a non-answer is the most profound way to get an answer.
Questioners new and old, all welcome!


Walking the Streets of Jerusalem for Lent

Whose story?
That’s kind of been the question for Paul.

Whose story will set the direction of our lives?
Whose story is redemptive?
Which story will be the basis of home?
Which story will be the foundation of justice?

The story of Caesar or Jesus?


Six months of Romans to sort that out.
Six months of walking with Paul.
Six months of Paul working through the meaning of the story of Jesus
            in the face of the story of Rome,
            and in the context of the story of Israel.

And now it is Lent.
Now we enter unto a path to the cross.
Now we walk with Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem,
            the city of peace that was so filled with violence.

One week in Jerusalem.
A week of intensified conflict.
A week of impassioned expectation and dashed hopes.
A passion week.

Here the story comes to its climax.
This is what it’s all about.
Without this week, Paul would have had nothing to talk about.

So for Lent, WBB follows Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem.

We move from Paul’s Romans to Mark’s gospel.
And we walk with Jesus to the cross.

This week our beloved Sacristan, Chris Dow puts down the towel
and takes up the mantle of preacher.
David Neelands will serve up the bread and wine,
the Bandhood of all Believers will lead our worship
and Alex Karney leads the prayers.

Lent is important, friends.
It is an important time for prayer and meditation,
            for quiet reflection on Scripture,
            for self-examination and confession.
Let’s keep a Holy Lent together.


Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday Morning, February 23, 2010
7.22 @ Wycliffe Chapel

GCF: Let us pray

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” -Acts 2:42

As a GCF community, we frequently break bread together-literally. (Thanks to all the faithful bread-bringers for making this possible!) I’d say every week we spend time in fellowship together, connecting with and learning about each other. We periodically devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching (and to the other parts of Scripture) when we have Bible studies or discussions.

This week, as we approach Lent, we will be spending time in prayer together.

For ourselves.

For our communities.

For God’s world.

We don’t often have the opportunity to share our joys, our needs, our grief with each other and to pray for each other. We don’t often have the opportunity to join together to lament the brokenness of this world and to praise God for glimpses of hope in it.

Yet it is very important for us to do so. Read more GCF: Let us pray

Whole Bodies, Transformed Minds: Martin Luther King Jr., Romans 12 @ WBB

If there was to be one text that could be said to be at the heart of Wine Before Breakfast, Graduate Christian Fellowship and pretty much everything that we do in campus ministry at the University of Toronto, it would likely be Romans 12.1-2:

“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Monday, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Dr. King once said that Christians are too often like thermometers, registering and reflecting the temperature all around them, when in fact we are called to thermostats, influencing and changing the spiritual, moral, and cultural atmosphere of the society in which we live.

Kind of sounds like the distinction between being “conformed to this world” or being “transformed by the renewal of our minds.”

And in our ministry we are unabashedly all about transformation. Heck one of our folks once wrote a book about such transformation. But we also stand with Paul (and King) by insisting that transformed “minds” without bodies presented as living sacrifices is a pious intellectualism that doesn’t really amount to very much. No, the whole point of a transformed mind is that we might be discerning people, perceiving in the midst of our day to day personal and professional lives what embodied discipleship looks like.

There is no mind/body dualism for Paul. And there is no possibility of separating worship from this whole matter of transformed minds and sacrificial bodies either. Whole-bodied, mind-transformed, non-conformist living is precisely what worship is all about. Indeed, this way of living is worship!

So this week we come to Romans 12 at Wine Before Breakfast. This week we come to the heart of our ministry, and to the radical implications of the story that Paul has been telling and retelling in the previous 11 chapters of this letter.

Scott Flemming has the joyful task of preaching out of Romans 12. No pressure, Scott!

Andrew Asbil will be serving the bread, the band has some U2 and some more Marley on tap, and the food will be good as usual. Just the kind of thing that embodied discipleship needs.

One last thing, friends. In Romans 12 Paul identifies hospitality to be one of the defining characteristics of the body of Christ. Let’s extend that hospitality to other folks who need to be fed deeply on a Tuesday morning. Bring your friends. In fact, if you are going to heed Paul well, then you should bring your enemies too.


Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am


Towards a Christian Political Economy: Goudzwaard Visits U of T

Bob Goudzwaard has been a leading Christian political economist in the Netherlands for the last forty years. Professor Emeritus of the Free University of Amsterdam, former member of parliament, advisor to political parties, think tanks and NGO’s around the world, Goudzwaard has had a profound influence in shaping a Christian political-economic imagination.

We are honoured to co-host with the Institute for Christian Studies a series of seminars with Goudzwaard and an evening conversation with him about his life of discipleship at Graduate Christian Fellowship.

Here is the outline of his schedule with us:

 Monday, Jan 18            First seminar:
                                 Is there an order in all of this disorder?
                              Natural Law, creational norms and political economy.  
          9.00-11.00am in the CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College

Thursday, Jan 21            Graduate Christian Fellowship:
                                    Goudzwaard in Conversation

                        Dinner at 6.00, Conversation begins around 7.00pm
                        CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College

Monday, Jan 25            Second seminar:
                        Modernity, Postmodernity and Globalization:
                                    What’s the difference?
9.00-11.00am in the CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College

Monday, Feb 22            Third seminar:
                        Ideology, Idolatry and the Crises of our Times
                        9.00-11.00am in the CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College

Tuesday, Feb. 23            Fourth Seminar
                        Spirituality, Deep Roots, Biblical Faith and Hope
9.00-11.00am in the CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College

Note: While these four seminars are also integral to a course that Brian Walsh is teaching for Trinity College, they are open to all who are interested.


GCF: Truth and Hospitality

This week at GCF – Truth and Hospitality: Being the body of Christ when we disagree

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different church denominations?

According the ever-reliable Wikipedia there are at least 40 denominational groups in the world, and that doesn’t include all the divisions within each broadly-defined denomination.

And then there are divisions within individual churches. Or the dividing lines that arise within Christian campus groups like IVCF or Campus for Christ, with which some of you are familiar.

As a Christian community that strives both to seek truth and to be a safe place for honest questioning and discussion, Graduate Christian Fellowship (both alumni and the current community) includes people who hold various theological beliefs and social values.  What binds us together as a Christian community?

Read more GCF: Truth and Hospitality

WBB Still Hanging out with Paul

Title: WBB Still Hanging out with Paul
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart.”

That’s just one of the passages that Paul cites in Romans 10.

In what is something of a hermeneutical tour de force, the apostle waltz’s through Deuteronomy, Isaiah and the psalms.

Read more WBB Still Hanging out with Paul