1. What Do We Stand for? A lot has been written about the recent election. It's fascinating that a lot of the conversation has been less about particular policies than it has been about the political campaigns being run. The Conservatives have been criticized for running a largely negative campaign based on the follies of their opponents, while the Liberals have been cheered for running an optimistic campaign that spoke to people's hearts. Regardless of who you voted for, I think there's something for everyone to learn: people are far more engaged by the positives about what you stand for than the negative things you are against. Many people in our culture, for example, know Christians by what they think they are against. One way of thinking about things (which I think Jesus did) is what are we for? What has shaped and touched our lives so significantly that it has the power to touch other lives in the same way?
2. Ceasefire on the Science and Religion Front: Much has been made in the past few decades about the so-called "war" between science and religion. New polling suggests, however, that religious people don't tend to see a conflict between the two. From Slate: "Highly Religious People See Little Conflict Between Religion and Science." Personally, I don't think religious and science are completely unrelated spheres of knowledge as some of the answers suggest, but the data does show that the supposed culture war between the two has been largely overblown.
3. The Spirituality of Place: Undoubtedly, our world is moving further towards economic globalization. However, church revitalization guru Diana Butler Bass suggests in her recent piece "Finding God in the Neighborhood" that human beings are naturally "tribal people" and they naturally "cluster." These changes can present new opportunities for connection. I believe that one of our biggest assets as a church is our centrality in our community and local neighborhood. The question, I think, is how we can better make these necessary connections in the community.
4. The Rights of the Homeless: "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). Jesus may have been a homeless itinerant preacher, but in B.C. he may have found his way in to a local tent city. Municipalities all over BC will find it harder to dismantle camps or run the homeless out of town after a B.C. court ruling Wednesday supported the right of homeless campers in Abbotsford to create tent cities on public land. As a community directly plugged in to the homeless population in the Valley, this should be of some interest. No one wants people sleeping in public parks--ultimately it is probably not good for the community. However, it's clear that housing is good for communities and people looking for a home. The easiest solution is to provide housing to those in need. This is why St. George's, along with other local groups and agencies, is a member of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.