Jay's Articles

'Phobic phobia' puts a halt to reasoned debate

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April 18, 2016

The weakest form of argument is the ad hominem; you try to vanquish your debating opponent, not by discrediting his or her argument, but by attacking the person making the argument. For example, "Don't believe what Al Gore says about global warming; he's made millions from giving talks on the subject." Monroe Beardsley, in his classic logic textbook Thinking Straight, calls the ad hominem a "kind of emotional appeal that is very common." Although the ad hominem is a form of distraction, it can deter onlookers from accepting an opposing point of view.

Gift-giving opens one up to new vistas

Lasha Morningstar

April 18, 2016

Gift is a glorious word. It can mean many things, be they big, be they small, be they incidental or even life-changing. A gift can be a present you give to others or something you give to yourself. At its most pristine, a gift is given from the heart with no strings attached, no expectations other than that one sees a need, and if they can fulfil it, they do.

Following rules can bring life . . . or death

Lydia Cristini

April 18, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2016

I have a friend who often gets on my case about all the "rules" of Catholicism: the ins and outs, the loopholes, the technicalities. For whatever reason, I know about a lot of these "rules," and my first reaction is almost always to defend them. They all come from somewhere; there's a reason for all of them. There's a reason we fast an hour before Communion; and what's wrong with knowing that if we have a good reason, we can ask for a dispensation from that fast from a priest? Nothing. There's nothing wrong with knowing that.

Practical atheism lies at the root of Panama Papers scandal

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April 18, 2016

The Panama Papers scandal has revealed - as if we did not already know - that the wealthy have different modus operandi than the rest of us poor sods. Those who labour for a salary or an hourly wage would find no benefit in setting up offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes. One source of scandal in these revelations is that billionaires strenuously avoid paying taxes to the countries that make them wealthy. Do they have any sense of social responsibility?

Sometimes, rock bottom is only place a person can be saved

April 18, 2016

The term "hitting rock bottom" is usually used when talking about someone with an addiction issue. Yet it is a powerful metaphor for many life-altering events. To my mind, it can actually be a good thing. We humans can be so set on our paths, that unless something shattering happens, we never raise our heads to think about where we are going.

Superficial trendiness ignores the authority of traditions

Mark Pickup

April 18, 2016

Every city has its hip area with trendy shops offering locally made trinkets and markets for vendors of organically grown produce. In Edmonton, it is Old Strathcona. Accountants and stockbrokers who wear power suits Monday to Friday may transform on Saturday into hipsters in faded jeans, t-shirts and bandanas around their heads or floppy straw hats to saunter around Whyte Avenue.

Sidelines are no place to reconcile with indigenous

Joe Gunn

April 18, 2016

Where do the churches find themselves in the journey towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples? In an Ottawa sanctuary at the end of March, Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, described our current status in vivid terms.

Canada must play role in halting Middle East genocide

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April 4, 2016

The declaration by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that atrocities being committed against Christians as well as Yezidis and other minorities in the Middle East amounts to genocide is a welcome recognition of the reality faced by millions of people in the region. The U.S. declaration, combined with a similar stance by the European Union, surely implies that the nations of the world must act effectively to halt the slaughter which is occurring.

Tears free us to accept unfinished symphonies of life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 4, 2016

Several years ago, while teaching a summer course at Seattle University, I had as one of my students a woman who, while happily married, was unable to conceive a child. She had no illusions about what this meant for her. It bothered her a great deal. She found Mother's Day difficult. Among other things, she wrote a well-researched thesis on the concept of barrenness in Scripture and developed a retreat on that same theme which she offered at various renewal centres.

Jesus returns to stir disciples' first love

Brett Fawcett

April 4, 2016
Third Sunday in Easter
April 10, 2016

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection and performs a familiar miracle: he asks them (commands them really, in that gentle way of inviting us to obey him that Jesus does) to throw their fishing nets back into the sea. Of course, once again, the nets fill up with fish, so many that they can't even pull the nets back into their boat. It's just like when Jesus first called his disciples and told them he would make them fishers of men.