Remembering Gerald Vandezande: Prophet and Friend

by Brian Walsh

Matt Redman’s song “Blessed be your name” is a powerful testimony to praise in the face of both joy and sorrow.

Blessed be your name
in the land that is plentiful
where your streams of abundance flow
blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
when I’m found in a desert place
though I walk through the wilderness
blessed be your name.

Redman has it right. Blessing the name of God is a radical act that happens whether the “world’s ‘all as it should be’” or we’re “on the road marked with suffering.” And so Redman invites us to sing:

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord …

But then in the bridge he pushes the song to a place that I seldom can go. Read more Remembering Gerald Vandezande: Prophet and Friend

A Pastoral Letter for Holy Week 2011

Dear friends:

More than half a lifetime ago I co-wrote my first book, The Transforming Vision. And there was one response to that book that continues to ring through the years to me. No, actually, there were two responses, and they are deeply connected to each other.

The first response was from my friend and co-author, Richard Middleton. Upon completing the manuscript and offering up prayers dedicating this work to the furthering of the Kingdom of God, Richard looked at me and said, “You know that there is something missing in this book.” I thought that was an odd thing to say at this particular moment, and I couldn’t guess what he was talking about. Then he said, “This book says nothing about suffering, even though suffering is so central to the biblical story.” And then Richard added, “But that’s okay, we don’t know anything about suffering.”

An honest and telling moment of self-evaluation. These two young men had written a fine book on a Christian worldview – indeed, a book still in print – but missed a central motif in biblical faith.

The second comment was more inexplicable to me at the time. A friend and former student simply said to me, “It’s a great book, but you don’t know anything about the Eucharist.”

I had no idea what the woman was talking about. The book wasn’t about the Eucharist. What was her point?

Well, if you don’t know anything about suffering, then you likely won’t know anything about the Eucharist either, will you.

If you promote a Christian worldview without reference to suffering, then of course this will be a worldview without the Eucharist. It will be, if you will, a worldview without the cross. Or at least it will be a worldview without a deep enough grasp of the cross. And it will be a worldview that knows nothing of a profound dwelling in Holy Week.

As I look back on that period of my life I also recall that I was studying with Douglas John Hall at McGill University. Professor Hall was always talking about the “theology of the cross” and I was always pushing back with a “theology of resurrection.” Around that time, Hall wrote:

“Against the promotion of easy solutions to difficult human questions, the Bible offers the cross: that is God involved in the ambiguity of existence, broken by alienation, powerful only in the weakness of love.”

There was something about a God who was “powerful only in the weakness of love” that didn’t sit well with me. And that is likely why I knew nothing about the Eucharist. Read more A Pastoral Letter for Holy Week 2011



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!

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

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.


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

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 ( 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 …