Food For Thought

Every New Chapter Comes With An Opportunity

Under Quarantine

Strange Times: These are strange times. The rapid spread of COVID-19 and its global impact seems almost surreal. A sudden emergency state with imposed isolation has many of us reeling. Surely this is a dream. We have never experienced anything like this before. It defies all forecasts, plans and expectations. And what now? If we have been workaholics, we may find ourselves at home without work to distract us. If we have been social butterflies, we may find that ourRead more

A Season of Waiting

A handle being lit in the darkness

Every year it’s the same. Once Thanksgiving and Halloween have passed, retailers and advertisers are intent that the world should think “Christmas” (and shopping). Suddenly the festive décor is up, carols are heard everywhere, and strangers greet one another with seasonal cheer. To many of us these are welcome changes, no matter how early they appear. What believer wouldn’t prefer to see wholesome ads featuring families by firelight, rather than images that appeal to baser desires? But in the rushRead more

Leaving the Bunker

A bunker interior with ladder ascending into open air and blue sky

A time to flee: In the times when we feel most threatened by a hostile world, retreat is a natural, even necessary, response. We seek a place of safety: a place where we can think, speak and live in accordance with our beliefs. We may even conclude that this can only be done by removing ourselves from, and shutting out, the hostility of the culture around us. So we surround ourselves with those things and people that are healthful toRead more

The Sick List

Dying leaf

What first seemed quaint… The traditional church where I made my home for many years kept a “sick list.” People on their way into the service would write down the names of those they knew who were sick, suffering or otherwise in need of prayer. And at a certain point in the service, when a variety of intercessory prayers were offered‎, the names would be read out. The very first time I heard this done, my response was not somethingRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (4)

Scenic landscape with waterfall

Where it all points: C. S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find in ourselves a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” (Mere Christianity). Lewis believed that the things and places in this life that stir our longing for paradise ultimately point us to the place where that longing will one day be fulfilled. (If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can see partRead more

Old School Wisdom

Old fashioned school slate

“Do you never imagine things different from what they really are? asked Anne wide-eyed. “No.” “Oh!” Anne drew a long breath. “Oh, Miss– Marilla, how much you miss!” Anyone familiar with L. M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables will recognize this exchange. Montgomery’s books are charming, insightful, and wholesome (even if modern screen adaptations don’t always capture these qualities). The books paint a compelling picture of a different age, one I never lived in, but which still manages toRead more

On platitudes

Embroidery

Grace for the one who hurts: Platitudes are ubiquitous. You know what I mean. I’m talking about the things that people commonly say when faced with someone who is suffering. They roll off the tongue. Phrases like, “This too shall pass,” “Everything happens for a reason,” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Most of us feel a certain distaste for platitudes, and for good reason. When we’re hurting (whether physically or emotionally), we long for thoseRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (3)

Mountain stream

Sacred encounters: In a sense, all of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia is a place of sacred encounter. Each time children from our world spend time there, they encounter Aslan, the great Christ-figure. And each time they participate in the adventures of that world, they get to be a part of something momentous. (If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can see part one here, or part two here).   To those who knock, the door is openedRead more

A Pocketful of Puritans

Illustration from Pilgrim's Progress

A rediscovery underway: Puritans get a bad rap. When someone is casually referred to as a “puritan” these days the insinuation is not meant to be kind. And yet, the actual 16th and 17th century puritans were not pleasure-haters, but rather men and women of sincere faith, with much insight to offer to modern believers. And it seems many of us are waking up to this fact, rediscovering with pleasure writers that have been long out of print.   SeekingRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (2)

Ship on an island lake

Fast forward in Narnia: C.S. Lewis’ fantasy-world, Narnia, was an eventful place. Much happened between its creation in The Magician’s Nephew, and the events we’re about to look at in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. There were many comings and goings between children from our world and Narnia. Aslan, the great Christ-figure saved Narnia from many of its enemies with the help of those children. And on one important occasion, Aslan died and returned to life, in the place ofRead more

A checklist for simplicity

Girl picking wildflowers

Simplicity, not Minimalism: Simplicity is something we don’t think or talk much about, though there are so many reasons why we should. “Simplicity is a grace… it is also a discipline… Models of simplicity are desperately needed today. Our task is urgent and relevant. Our century thirsts for the authenticity of simplicity, the spirit of prayer, and the life of obedience. May we be the embodiment of that kind of authentic living.” – Richard Foster, Freedom of Simplicity Not longRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (1)

Fertile landscape

Lewis’ Gift: C. S. Lewis had a special gift for explaining the unexplainable. He was able to paint vivid word-pictures to help his readers understand truth. The Narnia Chronicles are a great example of this. They belong to the children’s literature genre, but many of us who grew up with them find that they continue to have a special place in our faith and imagination. Lewis once wrote that “no book is really worth reading at the age of tenRead more

A Challenge: the call to true humility

Old hands folded on woman's lap

Of great value: Humility is hard for most of us. I’m not talking about a diminishing of one’s self-worth, because knowing that you are precious to God is a key to true humility. You see, the humble Christian knows that she is loved and valued unconditionally by the only one whose opinion matters. This can free her to set aside all preoccupation with self, and to really serve another. This kind of serving involves getting our hands dirty, and allowingRead more

Top 5 Poets for Contemplation

CG's top picks logo

After a solid day spent in the open air with hands deep in the dirt, what more could a hermit desire? This one simply craves a comfy armchair, a tall drink of something soothing, and a book of poetry. Few people have time for poetry today, it seems. Poetry – or good poetry, anyway – needs to be savoured. In an age of instant information and tangent searching, not many want to commit to a set number of words onRead more

Fairies in the garden, elves on the bookcase

Fairy statue seated on moss

We’ve all been there: Have you ever been through a rough patch and longed to read something that would speak hope into your life? Or have you ever tried to support a hurting friend, wanting to offer some reading material that would serve that same purpose? Perhaps you’ve longed for a way to speak peace and comfort into your friend’s life, but feared seeming presumptuous or saying the wrong thing. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve considered about ten heavyRead more

Beautiful, worthwhile, noble

Monastery hallway

Illumination for today: Some years ago I was visiting an Anglican convent. There were many things to love about it. I loved the old building with its historic architecture and homey touches. I loved the enormous pear tree that grew in the courtyard. And I loved how it felt to walk at twilight down the illuminated corridor that ran from the Guest House to the Chapel. The sisters were a wise and jovial bunch, and they had rather brilliantly madeRead more