Bible, Culture, Holiness

On Returning to “normal”

One of the many things that have made up the experiences of my life is the 7 years as an adult that I spent living in South Korea. When I talk about it with people, those who haven’t lived an appreciable time in a foreign culture think it sounds cool and a little scary. Often the question they’ll ask me is “wasn’t it hard?”, meaning the whole leaving Canada, moving to a place where I was a clear minority, knew nobody and didn’t even speak the language. Of course, there were difficulties in doing all that, and I made a lot of mistakes (some of which I now realize enough to regret). But that wasn’t the most difficult part of the whole endeavour.

The hardest part was coming home. 

That isn’t to say I wish I still lived in Korea. Even though Koreans are some of the nicest people I’ve known, and their country is beautiful, God called me back home, and I am happy to be here in Newfoundland. But when I was moving to Korea I expected all of the difficulties, and the people around me expected me to be having difficulties. That wasn’t the case when I moved back.

The fact was that I assumed on Canada, and Canada assumed on me. While I was gone for 7 years, I assumed that things had stayed the same at home, but they hadn’t. There had been huge changes (not all of them I found welcome), and yet I had assumed that I would have nothing to get used to. Instead, I had to get used to single friends who were now married and married friends who were now single. My parents were now much older. Things I had been used to had changed, and yet because I was going “home” I wasn’t ready for it, and I had to get used to the new normal all at once. 

At the same time, people who had missed me while I was gone, had largely assumed I had stayed the same as well. I was no longer the slightly arrogant law school grad in his late 20s, I was now a middle-aged man who had been humbled a few times. Where I had been more tentative about some of the things I believed, 7 years of reflection and thought had changed some of my opinions, weakened some others, and hardened yet others. I had new skills and new ideas, and some of the changes were welcome while others were not.

While I looked like an older version of the guy who’d left, there had been serious changes to the kind of guy I was, and now my friends here in Canada were dealing with my 7 years of growth and change all at once, as I was facing 7 years of changes to Canada and everyone in it all at once as well.

Lightstock 564351 xsmall stephen daweI say this because we are about to go through, as a culture, a very similar experience now. Within a month, if all goes well, all of the provincial health restrictions that have been in place for 2 years will be gone. We will suddenly be able to mingle and meet as we only have in very limited ways over the past 2 years. And yet, for good or ill, we have all changed over that 2 years. The men and women coming out of Covid are not the same people who went in, and since we’re tempted to imagine that we’re returning to normal, we may think that we’ll simply step out of Covid as if nothing has happened. 

Worse, as Covid has limited much of the movement that was normal as part of society, the removal of Covid will likely mean that almost 2 years of massive life changes that could not happen during Covid will now happen all at once. I’ve already started to see it around me, and the feeling I’m getting is oddly familiar.

The positive part is that we will largely all be doing this at some level together. If we are wise, we will be able to use that to transition well back to what is the heir to the home country we knew before everything locked down. We will be wise to remember that this shift will be as traumatic as the shift we made into lockdowns, though now we have the ability to give ourselves some time. We will also be wise to give some grace to others as they struggle in ways different to our own, but knowing that we are struggling in some ways too. 

I guess we will now have an opportunity to obey a command that the Bible gives us at least 6 different times (Le 19:18, Mt. 22:39, Mk. 12:31, Lk 10:27 Gal. 5:14,  Jas. 2:8, Rm 13:9).

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself”


Apologetics, Calvinism, Christianity, Culture, Discipleship

Online Reading (Feb 23, 2022)

Some more links for your reading (or given our culture, skimming) pleasure:

Plural Leadership: DG has an article on the way that Calvin led in Geneva, and how that required a team of people

Cultural Christianity: An oldie from Brett McCracken on how your Christian faith should inform (and have stress with) the culture you live in (clickbait title ignored).

Textual Provenance: Michael Kruger writes on the debate concerning Justin Martyr’s knowledge of the Gospel of John (and the results for dating the 4th Gospel).

Canadian Politics: CBC news goes with a clickbaity oversimplification of the functioning of a constitutional monarchy like ours to point out an (admittedly funny) problem our Governor General has had of late.

Bible, Blogging, Civility, Culture, Debate, Free Speech, Law, Online reading

Online Reading (Feb 22, 2022)

In the interest of tracking the news stories I’m thinking about, here are some stories for today:

Ukraine: Things keep getting dicey around Russia/Ukraine tensions, and we in the west need to be praying for our Christian family there.

Rule of Law: The Emergencies Act in Canada is ratified by the Commons. While I’m no fan of the trucker convoy protests, I’m never happy seeing the Rule of Law suspended, and I’m worried that it’s for a series of, largely non-violent,  protests.

Of Prodigals: Tim Challies puts a great point on the problem of Legalism with his re-imagining of the parable of the prodigal Son.

Scriptural Bias: Stephen Kneale does a great examination of the problem of bias in Christian Theology.


charity, Church and State, Civility, Culture, Debate, discernment, Law, Pastoring

Online Reading (January 31, 2020)

Bit of a monster post today. There are lots of interesting things going on:

Brexit: Today the European Union loses one state as the UK leaves.

Psychology:  professor claims humans hardwired to dismiss facts inconvenient to their worldview.

Writing: Why is so much Christian writing, er, um, bland?

Free Speech: John Stackhouse criticizes UK cities for barring Franklin Graham from speaking because some strongly disagree with him?

Complementarianism: Should complementarieans call female Church leaders pastors? John Piper says no

Charities Law: Australian lawmakers seek to limit the ability of charities to advocate for their position. 

Culture, Debate, Discipleship, Secularity

Online Reading (Dec. 10, 2019)

Condolences: Pray for Tim Challies (popular blogger at as he deals with the sudden death of his father.

Morality: Kirk Durston writes unpopular ideas on the societal value of Sexual Morality

Belief: Does the fall of traditional religion mean an increase in superstition

Theology: Credo this month is all about universalism. This is a good article on why progressivism seems inordinately predisposed to universalism.