Thursday, December 5, 2013


Judy Graves is a long-time advocate working with the homeless in Vancouver. Here's a great time of storytelling and inspiration.

Unfortunately, the woman introducing her takes over 7 minutes to introduce her. Start watching about 7:15 in the video.

Link to video here:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Mon, Nov 25: 
Tim has worked full-time among poor and marginalized youth and adults in the Greater Toronto Area through Youth Unlimited, where he founded Frontlines Youth Centre and pioneered Youth Unlimited’s Light Patrol street outreach.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Check out John Deacon's blog with some insights into homelessness. John is an insurance man with a heart for people who have fallen on tough times.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Check out Street Level, a network of Canadian ministries working on the streets of our cities.

STREETLEVEL is a movement of compassionate doers – driven to action by their belief that poverty and homelessness can and must be solved. It is made up of dedicated leaders who, compelled by their Christian faith and through the various Canadian organizations they represent, are working cooperatively to address the systemic, sociological, economic, cultural and spiritual deficits that contribute to poverty and homelessness across the country. This national network is open to anyone who is interested in these issues, regardless of faith or current involvement in matters of justice.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Rev. Douglas Whitelaw, M.A. is the executive director of Ark Aid Mission in London, Ontario. This post is from his paper 'Toward A Theology of Suffering'.



Of course, the Christian message is that God has not only suffered with us, but for us, on the Cross. Our central image is one of suffering and death. In Jesus' vicarious death, the curse of sin is broken, the Kingdom of God has arrived, at least in nascent form and with Jesus' resurrection, we once again live in a world of unlimited possibilities. God himself has removed the greatest of all suffering, eternal separation from him. The effects of sin are being unraveled. It is for us to proclaim that 'Jesus Christ has saved you,' to learn to live ourselves in that liberating reality and to help others to do so. As with Job, God rarely answers our questions of 'why?' At least not directly. But in trusting him, there is a place of resolution because God is immediately present in human suffering. There is a deeper place than understanding 'why' that one can only appreciate as one journeys to it. It is the place of realizing that God has suffered much more than we, is always present with us transforming our suffering into joy for us and glory for him.

If we go back to Genesis 3, the story of the Garden ends with banishment so that Adam could not eat from the Tree of Life and thus live forever since he now knew good and evil, as did God. Of course, the result of banishment was death, which appears to be God finally cursing Adam. But Eastern Orthodox theology offers a different insight, one consistent with our reading of the chapter as the beginning of the redemption story. To live with such knowledge would have been the curse for Adam, as the variations of the Faust myth explore. Death was rather a gift to Adam, to spare him the ultimate horrors of his sin. It is sin that puts the 'sting' into death, which sting Christ removed. Thus while consequences of sin were immediate, intensive and extensive, God immediately began to ameliorate them, first with the clothes and then with banishment. The circle is closed with Christ's resurrection, the 'first fruits' of our resurrection: “for as in Adam all die, so all will be made alive in Christ” (I Cor 15:22). Even death has a redemptive purpose and in Christ is not the final word on a human life.

It is this over-arching view of suffering that is too often lacking in our theological perspective. A renewed emphasis on the Kingdom of God, a holistic understanding of God's redemptive purposes, the immediacy as well as the comprehensive nature of God's response, the relationship of joy to suffering and a sound biblical understanding of death will anchor effective ministry in our broken world. And it will propel us to those people and places where suffering is most evident as the places where God  suffers along with us. If we apply ourselves there too, that is where the Kingdom grows. Good news to the blind, the captive, the oppressed – and the dead.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Rev. Douglas Whitelaw, M.A. is the executive director of Ark Aid Mission in London, Ontario. This post is from his paper 'Toward A Theology of Suffering'.



Perhaps the biggest point of all lost to our culture is that suffering is the route to joy. This was Christ's motivation: “for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross” Heb 12:2. Since Jesus here is noted to be the 'pioneer and perfecter' of our faith' here is our pattern. We pursue happiness through pleasure, but joy results from suffering. This is another way of saying that suffering is usually the means to discover the purpose of one's life. Then, too there is the point we noted above that in serving Christ we willingly take on additional suffering for him: “For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ but of suffering for him as well” (Phil 1:29). Our theology of the sufficiency of Christ's atonement obscures the fact that our suffering is also necessary for the gospel to progress, as Paul notes in Col. 1:24, “I am rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” For those who choose, or accept the calling to a life of Christian ministry and service, as with Jesus, joy is the motivation and reward for suffering that often is in the form of privation that carries the gospel to the ends of the earth. Regular preaching on the biblical view of joy may be a fruitful approach to convey a theology of suffering. Stressing it during theological training may result in more persistent ministry and ministers.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Rev. Douglas Whitelaw, M.A. is the executive director of Ark Aid Mission in London, Ontario. This post is from his paper 'Toward A Theology of Suffering'.



God does not curse humankind or abandon us but lovingly uses the consequences of suffering that we have wrought to redeem. And God suffers with and for us. He enters history in the person of his Son, experiencing the full panoply of human experience. The story of his life surely shows he was 'a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity.' (Isa 53:3) and thus 'we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin' (Heb 4:14). We do not suffer alone – God has been there first and knows – feels – our pain. Nor is suffering meaningless, as our culture suggests. As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (The Problem of Pain).  Suffering is the seedbed of empathy, compassion and tolerance. Suffering refines character. It is a dialectic, whose new synthesis can sometimes even unlock the meaning of one's life. We may not want to revisit the pain, but the destination makes the journey worthwhile, or to change the metaphor, the end justifies the means. That point may seem callous in the face of severe suffering, especially of 'innocents.' This is often the point where faith is 'lost.'  We still live in a broken creation, with unequal degrees of suffering. Sometimes our view is too short, not understanding the redemptive good God may yet bring. Sometimes we must cling to the eschatological hope that justice will prevail. And we must not be quick to make a judgment regarding the value of suffering for another, as we cannot presume to know how another person finds meaning and purpose even in their trials. This is an important ethical point in considering quality of life and euthanasia.