Faith in a Wounded World

Virtue Ethics Part 3

Virtue Ethics Part 3

What is distinct about a Christian virtue ethic? As mentioned previously, Christians do not have a monopoly on virtue ethics. However, we should be confident that we have an important contribution to make to the broader discussion. We can be grateful for the work of scholars like Alasdair McIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, and Jonathan Wilson in emphasizing the importance of the development of virtues for the life and witness of the church. Here I will offer a few suggestions: drawing on… Keep reading

Virtue Ethics Part 2

Virtue Ethics Part 2

Christians have no sense of “ownership” on virtues and virtue ethics. When Paul penned his message to the Galatians, he was aware that four centuries earlier the Greek philosopher Aristotle had emphasized the importance of virtues. Aristotle distinguished between: Intellectual virtues: Traits that help us to think and reason well. Moral virtues: Qualities that help us to live and act well in community. Aristotle taught that virtues required practice; they could not simply be learned in an academy. He introduced… Keep reading

Virtue Ethics Part 1

Virtue Ethics Part 1

Virtue ethics offers a distinct approach to moral issues by concentrating on the character of social agents rather than an analysis of a particular dilemma. The foundational principle is that the actions of virtuous people will be morally sound and noble in nature. I will attempt to briefly outline and evaluate the virtue ethics position in three blog posts. The Christian faith has emphasized virtue ethics through the centuries. A good example is found in the New Testament in Galatians… Keep reading

Two Approaches to Ethics – Egoism and Altruism

Two Approaches to Ethics – Egoism and Altruism

Each day we are required to make a variety of moral decisions. The way we analyse different options is often based on intuition shaped by experience, family backgrounds, culture, and faith traditions.  For Christians, ethics is part of our commitment to follow Jesus into a broken world. We live in an age in which the lives of most Christians are virtually indistinguishable from those of others in our broader culture. Accordingly, a focus on ethics is important if we wish… Keep reading

Ezekiel 34: A Message for Leaders

Ezekiel 34: A Message for Leaders

Regine and I have moved from Winnipeg to Calgary last week. The movers are delayed in delivering our furniture. We are living in a house that looks attractive from the outside but is cold and empty on the inside. There are none of the usual things that make a home feel warm and inviting. I wonder if this is a symbol of what is happening in our communities, regions, and countries. There is a strong current of withdrawal from public… Keep reading

Spiritual Disciplines of Boards and Committees

Spiritual Disciplines of Boards and Committees

Spiritual practices can nurture groups as well as individual followers of Jesus. However, when it comes to boards and committees, it often seems that “the devotional moment” is a formality or a distraction before we get down to the real work. Accordingly, we may rush through a reflection and prayer with a certain impatience waiting for the time when we can deal with the real reason that we are gathered. I submit that too often the inadequate content of the… Keep reading

A Canadian’s Perspective on America

A Canadian’s Perspective on America

We deal with personal issues in the larger context of our particular community, nation, and the world. The violence of terrorists, the crisis of hunger, the tragedies of addictions, the mass movements of people, and the uncertainties of political leadership create unease and anxiety on the big stage of the world. As a response, there is a constant temptation to focus attention on personal well-being, family, and friends. These more immediate relationships provide most of our joy and meaning. Among… Keep reading

Personalizing the Psalms (Psalm 83)

Personalizing the Psalms (Psalm 83)

I shared with my spiritual director that I was finding that some of the Psalms resonated in a new way with my heart. She suggested that I go a step beyond my reading and reflection. She advised me to re-write certain Psalms in my words in order to express personal emotions of anguish, anger, joy, and gratitude. Over the past weeks I have tried to incorporate this spiritual discipline into my times of contemplation. My approach is guided by a… Keep reading

Things that Make for Peace (Luke 19.42)

Things that Make for Peace (Luke 19.42)

The images of Syrian children struggling to breathe were horrifying. Their young lives were threatened by an attack using Sarin gas dropped from warplanes. The local hospital was ill equipped to respond to the emergency. To make matters worse, it was bombed in the same attack. The Syrian  civil war is entering its seventh year. The statistics are staggering; 465 thousand killed, over 1 million injured, and over 12 million displaced people and refugees. Syria is not the only place… Keep reading

Reflections After a Heart Attack

Reflections After a Heart Attack

I did not anticipate that the main artery of my heart was about to be blocked. I was about to go out for a walk when I felt an intense pain across my chest. This was the first sign that my life was threatened. I was both fortunate and privileged. Regine drove me to the emergency ward of a hospital. Medical professionals attended to me. I underwent surgery and was placed in intensive care. I am now at the beginning… Keep reading