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Dan Sheffield
Hamilton, Ontario
active observation, reflection, and practice re: the interface of church, mission and culture
Interests: Alice Munro, Lesslie Newbigin, H Rider Haggard, Lord of the Rings, The Cowboys, Crash, Johnny Clegg, Alison Krauss, Emmy Lou Harris, Bob Dylan
Recent Activity
For years, while my children were growing up, I had a tradition of sitting down, sometime over Christmas, and reading to them from William Kurelek’s, A Northern Nativity: Christmas Dreams of a Prairie Boy. I didn’t grow up on the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at DanSheffield
In light of ongoing social ferment in 2017 on both sides of the US/Canada border, I offer some insights from Jurgen Moltmann, written 40 years ago. Readers of Volf's Exclusion and Embrace will recognize Moltmann's influence on his thought. In a social context where often we are only getting perspectives... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2017 at The Multicultural Leader
In light of ongoing social ferment in 2017 on both sides of the US/Canada border, I offer some insights from Jurgen Moltmann, written 40 years ago. Readers of Volf's Exclusion and Embrace will recognize Moltmann's influence on his thought. In... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2017 at DanSheffield
Charles Taylor is one of the sane-ist people living on this planet... here is a very recent article, which addresses, implicitly, a lot of the polarization going on, on multiple fronts these days, from Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter & LGBTQ,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at DanSheffield
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Whoops. No commentary needed. Read on... The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others and by himself. He enters... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at DanSheffield
More than a decade ago, Dr Joyce Bellous and I collaborated in writing a book, Conversations That Change Us, as an extension of several years of work together, leading ministry reflection seminars with theological students. We mostly dumped our class... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at DanSheffield
This discussion is very important for large organizations or communities of people, where cultural and social factors add complexity. Short, clear article here, by Will Allen. Research into complex systems demonstrates that they cannot be understood solely by simple or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2017 at DanSheffield
Last week my wife and I visited the National Gallery of Canada to wander through the new display, Canadian and Indigenous Art: From Time Immemorial to 1967. I'm always inspired to stand or sit in front of Tom Thomson's Jack... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2017 at DanSheffield
In January 1998 I spent a week in Manila, The Philippines. This was in the midst of the time that Kathy and I were living in South Africa planting a church and developing community-based missional responses. For us that included... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2017 at DanSheffield
My friends at the New Leaf Network posted this reflection of mine... Crave More -- paying attention to "warm fuzzies" Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at DanSheffield
In 1989, Kathy and I moved to South Africa, when Apartheid was still in full swing. Up to that point, I would have said I had limited knowledge of issues in South Africa beyond reading The Covenant by James Michener... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at DanSheffield
David Fitch's new book, Faithful Presence: 7 Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission, finally got off the press and available in Canada, but not before I digested Kreider's Patient Ferment of the Early Church, which I commented on a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at DanSheffield
This week's Lectionary readings that struck me were Psalm 121 and Genesis 12:1-4. The psalm is part of the group referred to as "songs of ascent" -- the psalms that were sung or reflected upon while the Israelites journeyed up... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2017 at DanSheffield
today being International Women's Day n' all... (originally International Working Women's Day) and since some of my friends are promoting this event IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN - paying attention to the place of women in Christian ministry leadership... I... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at DanSheffield
My normal process in preparing for Sunday gathering reflections is to read through the Lectionary readings for my devotional times in the week before. This morning I read Matthew 4:1-11, where Jesus was led by the Spirit to spend 40... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at DanSheffield
Terror, Brexit and U.S. election have made 2016 the year of Yeats’s ‘Second Coming’ via @WSJ A poem written by W B Yeats in 1919, just after WW 1. Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at DanSheffield
My wife very thoughtfully finds meaningful poetry for me on our special occasions... this is from her Valentine's Day card for me today: I woke to a face not looking at me but at the bird that settled on your... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at DanSheffield
Just about finished The Patient Ferment of the Early Church by Alan Kreider. Toward the end of the book, he draws a contrast between the practices of the early church in regard to formation and witness, with the emergence of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2017 at DanSheffield
I'm digging into Alan Kreider's new book, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church. Think of it as a major update on Michael Green's classic from several decades ago, Evangelism in the Early Church -- a book that profoundly impacted... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at DanSheffield
Good books, whether fiction or non-fiction (and I read a lot of both), 1) keep your attention -- you want to see where the story is going to take you, and 2) they give you pause to reflect on your... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2016 at DanSheffield
Experimenting with the idea of slidedoc a la Nancy Duarte. This is a representation of several of my thoughts in a simple, to-the-point format. Download Developing Multicultural Churches -Sheffield 2016 (pdf version) Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at The Multicultural Leader
I just finished reading my friend and missionary colleague Chris Payk's great little book, Grace First: Christian Mission and Prevenient Grace in John Wesley. It is the product of his master's thesis a few years ago, with a foreword by... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2016 at DanSheffield
Great little rethink here... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2016 at DanSheffield
Recapping my first post on "The Meaning of Sunday" -- It is no surprise to most Canadians that Christian religious presence is dwindling in our society. In fact the fastest growing sector in Canadian society is those who identify as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at DanSheffield
Just about finished reading Wittgenstein's biography by Ray Monk. Some thoughts from the last year of his life... Actually I should like to say that in this case too the words you utter or what you think as you utter... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at DanSheffield