Gretta Vosper and the atheist church

Gretta Vosper is a minister in the United Church of Canada, at least for now. A committee in Toronto has recommended that she not be allowed to continue as a minister, given her statements that she does not believe in God or call herself a Christian. The United Church, of which I am a part, is a church that recognizes that people’s understanding of theology changes. When someone says they don’t believe in God, the reaction is not necessarily shock as much as the question “what God is it you don’t believe in?” There is space a lot of space between believing Continue reading

Luba and the Wren, The Magic Fish, greed and God in children’s books.

Luba and the Wren by Patricia Polacco sounds remarkably like The Magic Fish by Freya Littledale. In both stories an enchanted animal is spared from capture and offers to grant a wish. In both stories the person who makes the wish is in fact contented with nothing to wish for, but is badgered into making repeated wishes on behalf of someone else. In both stories the wishes increase in size, from a larger house to a palace, and so on. In The Magic Fish the hero is a fisherman who gives into the wishes of his wife. in Luba and Continue reading

Book Review: Hero’s Lot

The Hero’s Lot is the sequel to Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr. I wrote about that book earlier and asked questions of the author, so this summer I accepted a review e-copy of The Hero’s Lot in exchange for writing about it now as part of the blog tour. I’m pleased with the book. I think it seems a little less dark than the Cast of Stones because the heroes know a bit more what they`re doing and since the characters are always talking about how completely devestating failure would be I must presume they will succeed (much in the same Continue reading

religion and politics

I want to write some more thoughts about Christianity, but not assume that everyone is Christian. This isn’t an effort to convert anyone, just an attempt to explore some more of the ideas I’ve been reading about and thinking about. A quote from the book God and Empire, by John Dominic Crossan: It is clear, I hope, that the Kingdom of God is inextricably and simultaneously 100 percent political and 100 percent religious. “Kingdom” is a political term, “God” is a religious term, and Jesus would be executed for that “of” in a world where, for Rome, God already sat Continue reading

in pursuit of an academic religion

I’ve been thinking about religion again. I think about the good things, like the way it can support a person’s ability to acknowledge their mistakes or the inspiration to care for others. Yet I’m also think about the problems with religion, particularily of finding a religious interpretation that can be a source of healthy challenge neither constructed to meet one’s own wants or to justify one’s oppressive situation. Inspiring me to write this post is, partly, a post titled Can reason and secularism protect kids from anti-science rhetoric (and build a better society)? over at a blog called Boreal Citizen. The post Continue reading

More Christmas books

For three years now, we’ve made it a tradition to sing Christmas carols every evening of advent. Some nights we read Christmas stories, and sometimes we watch Christmas movies as well, but always Christmas carols. As a result my children have learned some of the Christmas carols they would not have heard otherwise. Knowledge of the carols is a gift I wanted to give my children. People talk about putting Christ is Christmas, and in some ways, despite my religious questions, that’s what I want to do. I want to remind my children that this is a religious holiday. Yet who Continue reading

Two Amazing Interpretations of the Christmas Story

Christmas time is coming, and I want to write about two fascinating books about the story of the conception and birth of Jesus. Both books are written by Christians, and both look closely at the scriptures to try to understand what the scriptures are saying, yet both come up with variations on the “first Christmas” that challenge the traditional assumptions. The first book is called Closer to the Real Christmas Story,  by Jared Burkholder and you can buy a copy of it at the Dorrance Publishing Company website (I got a copy through their now-defunct review program). The author of Continue reading

the biggest problem in homeschooling circles

The biggest hesitation I had in writing yesterday’s post was a line near the bottom of the post, the one mentioning that the organization Kids Need To Read offers a special package of LGTB friendly books. I hesitated mentioning that because I know people would view that in different ways. Some people would think it is a good selling point while others would be turned off by it. I’m not sure which way my audience here leans so why bother mentioning it? Why not just ignore that detail about the organization and focus on the less controversial aspect of sharing Continue reading

Skim Reading Not Recommended: On what it means to be (hesitantly) Christian

I’ve gone back and forth on whether I want to include religious content on my blog. I fear doing so will alienate practically everyone and bring no real benefit, so why bother? But the long story short is that I’ve decided I will include some religious thoughts, occasionally, though I’ll keep the bulk of the blog about books and homeschooling, math and occasional politics. This post is about why I want to be more open about my religious beliefs, and the story starts with me reading this blog post and with the following paragraph sticking out to me: For those Continue reading

A book about the Harry Potter books, and the many questions they invoke.

My current light-reading is the book Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menance behind the Magick by Richard Abanes. In some ways it is a very weird book for me to read because I do not share the author’s conservative Christian religious beliefs. Why then should I concern myself with the criticisms he has of Harry Potter based on those religious beliefs? I am drawn to the book for the chance to see a little window into the ideas of others. How does his understanding of the Bible effect his understanding of Harry Potter? How does his understanding of Harry Potter help me understand Continue reading