chat with JJ Bean // Celebrity poker // Surviving the recession // weddings on a budget
Pay taxes or make a stand? Dealing with student loans
Canadian Publications Mail Products Sales Agreement #40038603
The currency of community
MAR - APR 2014 | Issue 17
Ethical consumption: Shop till your morals drop
Who pays on a first date? Spring 2014 Academic Guide Beamer, Benz, or Bibles? Megachurches, mega bucks, and the problem with
2 | CONVERGE. march - april
Issue 17 // March - April 2014
Servant, not master Emerge Traces
7 8 13
For love or money Poker star Tiffany Michelle on losing sight of the real jackpot
Who pays? Like dating isn’t awkward enough
Q&A: JOHN NEATE JR. A chat and brew with founder of Vancouver's JJ Bean
16 20 22
Surviving the recession
28 Ethical consumption: 30 What’s inside The Money issue Spring 2014 33 There are more than two sides to the coin academic guide An African view on money
Learning how to shop better
Making your post-secondary decisions a little bit easier
Reviews on TV, music, and books
God’s Economy Marketplace
58 60 62
Preachers gone wild
The great divide between megachurch pastors and the average minister
When you don't agree with how your taxes are spent
46 54 convergemagazine.com
In this spiritually-arid world you need the level of education that truly prepares you for leadership
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Christ-Centred Graduate Education equipping you for service in the 21st century
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Exploring the challenge of connecting: YOU:
There is power in honesty. We provoke individuals to better understand who they are and who they want to be. Here you’ll find thoughts about careers, relationships, wellness, and personal learning.
It’s not good to be alone. We’re put in our families, our cities, and our world for a purpose. Here you’ll find stories about your local, global, and church communities, as well as timely social justice issues.
We talk about God and faith. We approach it in a way that’s honest, accessible, and (most definitely) nonsanctimonious. Here you’ll find a mix of personal reflections on faith as well as articles about theology and Christian history.
Being aware and thinking critically about what’s happening in the world makes us better people. And we want to foster that kind of growth. Here you’ll find critiques on cultural trends, current events, politics, and the arts.
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DEVELOPMENT OUTREACH YOUTH SERVICES CHURCH MINISTRY DRAMA PERFORMANCE THE TH T HE H EA AT ATR TR T RE TRANSLATION TRAN NS SLA SL LLA AT TIIO TIO IION ON CONSTRUCTION CO ON NS T NS TRU TR RU R UC CTI CT T ON N BOOKKEEPING BOO B BO O OO OK KKE KK KEEPI EPING G TEACHER TEA ACHE CHER R ESL TEACHER PAINTER PAIN THEATRE SECRETARY CONDUCTOR BIBLE TRANSLATOR NANNY RELIEF WORK SPIRIT RIT RIT TUA UAL U A FORMATION FORMA ATI TIO T ION TRANSFORMATION TRANSFO SFO SFO FORMA R TION LEADERSHIP LEA EAD E A ERSHIP DEVELOPMENT HEALTH CARE THEOLOGY CHILD YOUTH CARE WORSHIP GLOBAL STUDIES MISSIONS SPIRITUAL EVANGELISM GREAT COMMISSION ORPHANS AT RISK YOUTH TEACH ESL DISCIPLE SHARE THE GOSPEL TASK TEAM INITIATE IDEAS ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT OFFICE MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION DEVELOPMENTAL AGENCIES ARTICULATE YOUR FAITH NEW LANGUAGES FOREIGN LANGUAGE PHONETICS CHURCH MUSIC PERFORMANCE MUSIC CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SOUL CARE PASTORAL CARE BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS MENTORING YOUTH PASTOR INTERCULTURAL STUDY SOCIAL AGENCY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL OUTREACH HUMAN SERVICES COMMUNITY YOUTH SERVICES CHURCH MINISTRY DRAMA PERFORMANCE THEATRE TRANSLATION CONSTRUCTION BOOKKEEPING TEACHER ESL TEACHER PAINTER SECRETARY CONDUCTOR BIBLE TRANSLATOR SUPERVISO Calgary, Alberta • 1.877.YOUnRMC • email@example.com • www.rockymountaincollege.ca
Is yo your journey taking you wh where you need to go? Why wait?
Rocky Mountain College
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I’m waiting to have sex: am I the only one? [convergemagazine. com/waiting-to-have-sex-11727] Exactly how I feel. Such a great article from @CONVERGE_mag :)
OooH! Love the redesign, @CONVERGE_mag! So fancy schmancy! convergemagazine.com
@annamyli Hadn’t checked the @CONVERGE_ mag site for a while and delighted to see it’s updated and slick. Good stuff, peeps! #kudos
@Sarah_Davis88 This gem from the #Convergevault helped me out today. [convergemagazine.com/dealinguninspired-4638] Thanks, @CONVERGE_mag
@seeketchum I love the new layout and design of @CONVERGE_mag’s website convergemagazine.com
@heyrebeccascott Great article about the #Dalits of India and the work of Dalit Freedom Network Canada via @CONVERGE_mag [convergemagazine.com/newcaste-11577]
@bre_mcdaniel @CONVERGE_mag is awesome, they gave me a whole bunch of fudge at xmas.
@DebFileta @CONVERGE_mag Awesome, thanks for the RT Converge! Love your ministry and what you guys do!
@PinkCouchGirl @mariadru @CONVERGE_mag I LOVED It! “I no longer call myself a Christian, but a follower of Christ.” Yup. [convergemagazine.com/ problem-church-10532]
@liter8media @josephsclarkson yeah. Well, check out @CONVERGE_mag and @Prodigal, they are both personal favorites. And @christandpc
WONDERING WHERE ON EARTH TO PURSUE POSTGRADUATE STUDY IN THEOLOGY? How about rugged and beautiful New Zealand? Home to Lord of the Rings and Laidlaw College!
schol a ava il arbship s le FULLY ACCREDITED AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED APPLY NOW for a Research Masters or Doctoral degree in Theology and become an effective “culture agent” for the Gospel. +64 9 836 7800 | www.laidlaw.ac.nz | firstname.lastname@example.org convergemagazine.com
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Mo’ Problems “Riches prick us with a thousand troubles in getting them, as many cares in preserving them, and yet more anxiety in spending them, and with grief in losing them.” — St. Francis of Assisi
Flickr photo (cc) by chicagopublicmedia
“What bothers me is that half these guys have nicer phones than I do. And they’re standing in line at a soup kitchen? It’s just not right.” I could see the outline of this volunteer’s vein bulging out of his collared shirt, his face blotching scarlet. I worked for several years at an inner city agency in downtown Edmonton, Canada. Not only was I more than familiar with this kind of comment, I remember thinking the same thing when I first started working there. The volunteer went on to tell me he refused to help people who looked better off than he did. He listed his observations: brand name clothing, conversations about buying football tickets, laptops, iPods. What I tried to explain to him that night was the people he saw in the food line weren’t that different than everyone else. They have been fed the same myth, and they (like the majority of the rest of us) have gulped it without chewing, in denial of the menacing indigestion that follows. The myth? That money equals happiness. A bulging bank account (or the perception of one) is the most efficient vehicle to get what you want. Money shows the world success. It shows power, control, sexiness. It gives pleasure and comfort. It provides exciting experiences that are shaped by privilege. The people standing in the food line might not have had the money to buy groceries, but they didn’t want the humiliation that goes along with looking poor once they left the confines of the inner city.
The trouble with money is this: we need it. It’s essential to our survival. But how do we strike the balance between utilizing our finances as a means to live versus the innate desire of always wanting just a little bit more? As Christians, how do we hold to the truth that genuine joy is found in Christ, not in the lucre of money’s promises? Achieving this balance is countercultural. Revolutionary, even. But it’s not impossible. Holding our physical wants loosely could come in the form of, as Julia Cheung writes, making ethical shopping choices. Or it could happen through learning from the African attitude towards money, as Paul Arnold explores in “The currency of community.” It might even mean, as Nicholas Schuurman examines, not paying taxes. But, as Kyle Stiemsma discusses in “Preachers gone wild,” is living the good life necessarily a bad thing? The Apostle Paul writes about the love of it, not the thing itself, that’s at the root of all kinds of evil. I don’t know whether the volunteer that night really heard what I said to him. Though I don’t blame him for thinking what he did, I hope he eventually was able to look past the iPods and laptops. That he was able to see broken people, living in a broken world. People just like you and me.
Leanne Janzen editor
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6 | CONVERGE. march - april
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not A master By Brett McCracken
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Photo by Ed Yourdon, Flickr (cc)
Brett McCracken is a Los Angeles-based journalist and author of Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism & Liberty, as well as Hipster Christianity. Follow him on Twitter @brettmccracken or at stillsearching. wordpress.com
y grandmother was a deeply faithful Christian and the most generous person I’ve ever known. A few years before she died, she told me she tried to give away at least one thing to someone everyday. Sometimes it was just a Pepperidge Farm cookie or a Happy Meal trinket. I can’t remember a time when I visited her and went home empty-handed; she would often shove a $20 bill in my hand as I hugged her goodbye. When I was in college she would drive her massive Cadillac up to my dorm and drop off “goodie bags” full of snacks, socks and Cracker Jacks. As a hobby she entered mail-in sweepstakes constantly and if she won anything she’d always give it away. (I received a snowboard in the mail one time.)
How my grandmother took joy in giving is a lesson I’ve tried to carry with me. Generosity is indeed a blessing, though it can be an elusive one. It’s hard to be generous when you’re barely making rent and hardly have the money to eat. But isn’t this, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, what Christians are called to do? When it comes to Christianity and money, passionate opinions abound. Some say wealth has no place in the Christian life, that a proper Christian approach to money is to have as little of it as possible, selling most possessions and living modest lifestyles. Other Christians embrace wealth, living large as megachurch pastors with Range Rovers and $1.5 million mansions. Still others are satisfied to give a little (on average Christians give 2.5 per cent of their income) but otherwise don’t think their finances have much to do with their faith. What’s the right approach? I’m not sure there’s a simple answer to that question. Verses like Matthew 6:24 are clear, not that money is inherently evil, but that it should not be our master. It shouldn’t be something we serve. This can be difficult because as we all know, it’s hard to survive in this world without thinking about money a lot. Most of us work for pay at least five days a week so we can eat and sleep under a roof seven days a week. Still, I think it is possible to live as a Christian with a healthy relationship to money, without having to shun it completely or obsess about it constantly. The key is having a healthy grasp of the concept of stewardship. It’s an over-used evangelical word, but an important one. It means we recognize that our money (indeed, our life) is never really ours. Everything we have is really God’s (see Psalm 24:2), and we are to manage it accordingly (see Matthew 25:14-30). This mindset radically alters our approach to finances because it forces us to make decisions not on what brings us pleasure or glory, but what pleases and glorifies God. To the Christian with a billion dollars or a thousand dollars, the question is the same: are you wisely stewarding what God has given you? My grandmother’s joyful generosity demonstrated not only Jesus’ famous maxim of, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” it also illustrates how money can be a partner, and not just a pest in our spiritual formation. As long as money is less a master over us than an instrument for helping others, it can make the world a better place. convergemagazine.com
The ROYAL FOUNDRY A Folk harmonic husband and wife duo Jared and Bethany Salte started The Royal Foundry just days before getting married in September 2013. Their wistful harmonies will not only have you singing along, but their banjo beats will get you moving, too. Take in their music at theroyalfoundry.com or check them out on iTunes.
COLE & PARKER Socks that start businesses
Cole and Parker makes socks that give back. Based out of London, Ont., proceeds from each purchase of socks go to Kiva, a non-profit organization that alleviates poverty through providing microfinancing loans to small businesses. So literally, purchasing a few pairs of socks can initiate multiple startups around the world.
Since launching in March 2013, Cole and Parker has distributed over 100 Kiva loans. For those interested in upping their #sockgame and supporting entrepreneurs, Cole and Parker socks can be purchased online at coleandparker.co or at any of their 60+ retail locations across Canada and the United States.
Watch: The fun new music video for their first single "All We Have."
For those who like The Civil Wars, fun folk, and sunny rainy days.
Powerbarr Let the sun charge your phone Imagine plugging in your phone without having to, well, plug in. PowerBarr uses solar energy to charge mobile phones and tablets where you need it most: at events. They rent out their solar charge stations, which create 100 per cent renewable energy, and can charge up to nine phones for six days non-stop — even when there’s no sunlight. Since launching in March 2013, they’ve been able to rent out solar charging stations in the Toronto area, with hopes to soon expand across Canada. Check out powerbarr.com for all the details.
Stationery that tells a story
After years of tromping all over the world strapped to a backpack, Dani Kreeft felt she had a story to tell. So in 2010, she took what she loves — writing, photography, stationery, airmail — and found a way to tell that story. Through stationery. Not only are her cards beautiful, but she has made a commitment to give 10 per cent of all profits to These Numbers Have Faces, an organization that provides scholarships for students in Rwanda, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. To find out more about Dani Press, visit danipress.com.
8 // CONVERGE // March - April 2014
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caught in The
Exchange Photo by Kriza Borromeo
Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing is one of the world’s busiest intersections. In the heart of the commercial district, it’s where 10 lanes of traffic and five pedestrian crosswalks meet, and where as many as 2,500 people cross the street at the same time. The intersection is a spectacle of advertising, with its colossal video screens covering entire building facades. The crossing is the portal to Center Gai, a shopping district of Tokyo, where an estimated 2.4 million people come every day. It’s also the location with allegedly the highest density of cellphones anywhere on the planet.
Abbotsford, BC | Canada
With our Urban Mission Dynamics class, students at Columbia partner with local ministries and learn how to put their faith into practice. Request more information about Urban Missions at:
I HAVE T HE ABILIT Y TO CHANGE CULT URE BY ENGAGING IN MY LOCAL COMMUNIT Y. I AM CALLED TO CA R E .
EXPLORE YOUR CALLING
Scan for a Google Virtual Tour
12 | CONVERGE.
march - april 2014
Penny for your thoughts Salary stats and what we’re too shy to talk about As of this past December, the unemployment rate in Canada was 7.2 per cent.
To tip and what to tip that is the question
Salary Stats Sources: Statistics Canada, CBC, The Globe and Mail, United States Department of Labor
Service industry pros weigh in Tipping is one of those social norms that everyone’s got an opinion on. Some think it should be an automatic 15 per cent tacked onto every restaurant bill, while others want to outlaw the practice altogether. But until that happens, a lot of us are caught wondering what’s expected. So here are a few insider tips on tipping. Restaurant servers Serving veteran Desirea Zolinsky says a standard tip at a restaurant should be between 15 and 20 per cent. If service is exemplary, consider a 25 or even 30 per cent tip, she says. “Never less than 10 per cent, ever. Even if it was bad.”
Illustrations: (top) Carmen Bright, (right) Theresa Chong
Taxi drivers The amount you tip your cabbie depends on what type of service you’re receiving, says Carolyn Bauer, spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association. She says between 15 and 20 per cent is what is normally received. If the driver is exceptionally informative, Bauer says a 25 per cent gratuity is often offered. “Then again, if it’s a Friday or Saturday from midnight to around 4 a.m., the drivers are lucky if they even receive any payment at all,” Bauer says. Hair stylists When confronted by customers on the matter, stylist Kimiko Stella says she tells them it’s not necessary, and that she never expects it. “In my opinion, tips should only be given if you really appreciate someone’s work. And as little as five dollars is enough
sometimes.” She also says the vast majority of people in the service industry benefit a great amount from tips, and that tips could make or break someone’s budget. Baristas What do you do when you’re confronted by one of those tip jars at the counter of your favourite café? As a former barista, Michael Anderson says he’ll tip only if he knows there is effort put into the drink, and if the barista has been trained on the fine art of espresso. “I won’t tip if someone just pressed a button to make it.” When he does tip, Anderson says his minimum amount per drink is 25 cents. “If everyone did that on every drink they bought, it would add up.” Hotels There’s an expectation that your stay in a hotel — especially one that’s higher end — will require you to have some loose change in your pocket at all times. Whototip.net says your valet should receive a few dollars, and your porter one or two dollars per bag. Leave two or three dollars per day for your housekeeper, and between $10 and $20 for your concierge, if he or she has been helpful.
$68,000. That’s the median income for families of two or more, after taxes (in 2011). For single moms, their median income after taxes was $39,000 (in 2011). For a family of four, if you’re making $39,860 or under (after taxes), you’re considered low income. And as for the single and unattached, their median income after taxes was $25,800 (in 2011). 3 million Canadians, or 8.8 per cent of the population, lived in low income in 2011. About 6.7 per cent of Canadians worked for minimum wages or less last year. That’s more than a million people. And since 2000, this number has doubled. Minimum wage in Canada ranges from $9.75 an hour (Alberta) to $11 (Nunavut). That’s still better than the American federal rate, at $7.25 an hour.
Massage therapists It’s more up to the consumer whether or not to tip, says Lara Ceron in her article in Elle Canada. If you’ve especially enjoyed the treatment, then it’s common practice to leave a 10 per cent tip. But Ceron also says you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so.
Planning a wedding
on a budget
Frugal and fabulous By Leanne Janzen
The big question has been popped. The ring’s on the finger. You can’t be more excited to grow old and wise with the person beside you. Your heart is full. But now you have to make this whole thing happen.
Here are a few pointers to get you started
1. Pinterest is your friend. Though you might have to wade through the unreasonable (ceremonies in the forest with millions of chandeliers hanging from trees! tree bark wedding cake with your initials carved into it!), there’s a lot on Pinterest that’s worth it. Try not to have unrealistic expectations for your DIY creations, and leave plenty of time for yourself to master your craftiness. There’s a reason why pinterestfail.com exists. 2. Kijiji’s cool too. Once people get married, they want to sell all their wedding stuff. Looking for picture frames for your table numbers? Mason jars? Arches, chalkboards, table runners? You can save a lot of cash by buying second-hand. 3. Buy bridesmaids/groomsmen attire off the rack. Chances are your bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t have a lot of spare cash reserved for buying clothes for your wedding. It might take a bit more scavenging, but there are some beautiful dress clothes out there that don’t happen to cost $500 apiece.
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The numbers It's estimated there were 165,297 weddings in Canada in 2013.
Where most of your budget will go: Reception: 48%-50% Photography/ Videography: 10%-12% Attire: 8%-10% Flowers: 8%-10%
Most expensive wedding to date: $100 million Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, married Princess Salama in 1981. They built a 20,000seat stadium for the week-long celebration.
4. Skip the DJ, make a playlist. DJs can cost over $1,000, and you might be a little disappointed with the result. Think about asking one of your dance-loving friends to make the Best Playlist Ever, with your musthave grooves included. This will not only save you some funds, it will also save your guests the pain of swaying to too many ’80s rock ballads. 5. Accept help. They say leadership is the art of delegation. Well, so is wedding planning. People who love you will naturally want to be part of the planning and preparation process. So when Auntie Lorna offers to tackle the centrepieces, take her up on her offer! Accepting help is not only a great way to include people in the celebration, it can also save you a lot of time, effort, and money. Just be sure to either give extremely detailed instructions, or give up a little control in what the end result will look like. Though planning a beautiful and creative experience for your guests is important, it’s not the main purpose of the day. Your wedding is ultimately about making vows to your spouse and to God, in front of a whole bunch of people. And it’s priceless.
Sources: www.theknot.com, www.forbes.com | Flickr photo (cc) by Mr.Hea
It can be easy to get caught up in the we-deserve-it-nomatter-what-it-costs-because-it’s-our-day attitude: the industry of opulence and expectation has come to define what weddings are all about. According to a Weddingbells survey conducted in 2012, the average cost of a Canadian wedding comes in at $23,330; and The Knot says it’s even higher in the U.S. at $28,400. Though it takes a bit more time and creativity, you can still make your wedding beautiful on a budget.
DANCE PRODUCTION TV&MEDIA PASTORAL FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Aaron@hillsongcollege.com, Sydney, Australia, +61288535200
Proclaiming Jesus Christ as Life! TheTis island - BriTish ColumBia - Canada
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Money Losing sight of the real jackpot By Tiffany Michelle
can vividly remember my 23-year-old self, standing on my boyfriend's doorstep, tears streaming down my face. “I would be happy living in a cardboard box on the street with you!” I cried. And I meant it. I honestly, ignorantly, and whole-heartedly-in-love meant it. At 23, my perspective was untainted by the money, fame, or success that would later find its way to my doorstep. My boyfriend at the time was a professional blackjack player. He had become increasingly depressed and withdrawn after suffering a huge financial loss. The man I knew and loved completely disappeared: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I never cared about the number in his bank account. But he became so absorbed with money that he lost sight of everything else. Subsequently, our relationship deteriorated, resulting in my first heartbreak. A lot has changed in my life from the time I was an in-love 20-something, willing to roost in a refrigerator box on the streets. In 2008, I gained fame at the World Series of Poker when I was the last woman standing out of nearly 7,000 players. My 17th place finish broke the record for the largest field ever beat by a female in live poker tournament history, and scored me a payday of over $300,000.
Suddenly I was walking red carpets, hanging out with celebrities, and travelling the world in style.
Photo by wickedchopspoker.com
Tiffany Michelle is an actress and TV host, widely known for her success as a professional poker player. She has been seen on The Amazing Race, Days of Our Lives, LA Ink, and The Food Network. She has been named one of the Top 10 Most Fascinating People in Poker in 2008. Visit tiffanymichelle.com or @tiffnymichelle on Twitter and Instagram.
I became an overnight poker celebrity: signing endorsement deals, landing on magazine covers, appearing on TV shows, and being invited to attend events all over the world. Suddenly I was walking red carpets, hanging out with celebrities, and travelling the world in style. At the core, I’m the same person. But I would be lying if I said that my life experiences and career success haven’t convergemagazine.com
I became an overnight poker celebrity: signing endorsement deals, landing on magazine covers, appearing on TV shows.
18 | CONVERGE. march - april 2014
The problem with money, fame, and fortune is that it’s easy to slip and forget who you are.
Change is inevitable. Life will mold the heart, success can confuse it, and money is likely to obscure it. But if you remember who you are and whose you are I believe you’ll always be able to find your way back — back to a moment (or a doorstep) when you loved purely, simply, and without measure. I wonder: what if, seven years ago, God knew where I was headed? What if He orchestrated that doorstep moment so that I could figure out what to do in this moment? What if seven years ago happened so that I could find my way now … here … today? “For love or money?” I expect to be faced with this question many more times in life. I hope I can rise to the challenge. I hope to keep an unadulterated perspective. Mostly, I hope “cardboard box Tiffany” stays with me. I think she’s onto something.
Photo by ( from top) BJ Nemeth, Stepping Out Magazine, Rounder Magazine, Tiffany J Photography
changed me. I’m constantly aware of people watching me and judging me: my looks, actions, personal life, and career. I feel pressure to be impressive and live up to the expectations of what success means and looks like. In Hollywood, it’s nearly impossible not to get caught up in the rat race. When I was 23 I could afford to be foolishly in love, without care or concern for much else. But at 30, it’s a whole new ball game. I feel a sense of romantic urgency and social pressure. The new guy I’m in love with is really nice. No, he’s better than nice — he is exceptional. He is one of the most upstanding, sincere, giving, and considerate men I have ever met. He’s the man my heart had always hoped and believed existed. It’s easy. We click. He gets me. Everything within me says he is “the one,” but he is much younger than I am, and he’s basically broke. He’s not broke in the sense that he made bad choices and lost it all (i.e. my first boyfriend). He’s just starting out in life and hasn’t had the chance to establish himself yet. I recently sat at my mom’s kitchen counter, explaining my romantic dilemma. “He is amazing in every possible way. My only concern … is the money thing.” Mom did not validate my misgivings. My parents have always wanted me to find a good man. (I’m pretty sure they started praying for my future spouse when I was a kid, knowing it was going to take a lot of prayer and some heaven-sent help to conjure up the man who could handle the likes of their daughter!) A person’s resumé, financial success, or social status has never mattered to my parents. They’re heart people. And they raised me to be a heart person as well. “Remember who you are, and whose you are,” my dad would say every time I stepped out the door to embark on my next poker event, photo shoot, TV appearance, or glamorous adventure. As I was voicing my concerns to my mother, I had an out-of-body experience. “He’s really great. I’m just worried about the money….” Suddenly, I was transported from the barstool in Mom’s kitchen to my ex-boyfriend’s doorstep. “I would be happy living in a cardboard box with you.” It was as if God was taking me back in time. Remember when you said this? Remember when love mattered more than money? Remember that girl? It was a Tiffany epiphany. Literally. My 23-year-old self was reminding me who I am.
EQUIPPING CHRIST-CENTERED SERVANT LEADERS
Views // dating
on the first date? Like dating isn’t awkward enough By Michael Morelli | Illustration by Risa Hugo
It was the most awkward entrance into a cafe I’ve ever
seen. I was working as a barista, and the view from behind the espresso machine was fantastic. It seemed as if the guy had intended to open the door for the girl, but he had rushed the valiant act and ended up being the first to walk through. So he had to get creative and hold the door open from the inside. Consequently, the door prematurely closed on the girl’s heel; she ended up lunging forward like a surprised gazelle mixed with a miniature pony attempting to jump a creek with its foot stuck in a bear trap. Fortunately, the girl was more gazelle than pony, and she avoided a complete face plant in the coffee shop’s entrance. The guy was obviously mortified by his mistake. He apologized for his buffoonery repeatedly as the girl regained composure. Being the ever-observant barista, I started getting curious about what would happen next. The couple moved to the back of the queue at the till, engaging in small talk until they reached the front of the line — a
place where they would have another problem to address. Who should pay? It was as if they had transitioned to standing before a great sphinx who demanded they answer his riddles or die. The look on the guy’s face transformed from mild to serious panic. It was obvious he hadn’t thought about the answer to this question until that moment. Then I looked at the girl. She was getting as shifty as the guy was, and didn’t seem to know how to answer either. So I looked back at the guy, thinking, “This one’s on you, pal.” Then all of a sudden, the guy’s countenance altered from panic to peace. He took a deep breath, turned to the girl, and said, “I’m going to get a cappuccino, and I’d like to pay for your drink. Are you OK with that?” The girl blushed, fluttered her eyes, and replied, “How about you get this one, and I get the next one on our second date?” The guy not only answered the riddle, he killed the sphinx.
“Since my time here at Bethany College I have been
soaking up the love of Christ.
I now believe that God loves me and defines who I am.” Bethany College student
turing disciples and training 20 | Nur CONVERGE. march - april 2014
leaders to ser ve.
Coquitlam, British Columbia Student
Calgary, Alberta Teacher and writer
Native Vancouverite currently living in Aberdeen, Scotland M.Th Student at University of Aberdeen
East London, United Kingdom Freelance writer on cities & urbanism
Guys love to provide (specifically financially) but if a woman’s love language is “giving gifts/acts of service” she may just want to treat her man to a meal/movie/coffee date every now and then too!
I believe paying for dates should emerge from a place of desire (not obligation). Desire I mean in its fullest sense, spanning from desire associated with physical chemistry and expanding to include and signify a desire to bless, love, care for, and affirm.
I guess it depends on whether guys believe girls deserve to be loved and appreciated or not.
It’s quite sexist to assume that one gender should be the “provider” and the other the “receiver.” Either person on the date can offer to pay for it if they’re feeling generous, but it should have nothing to do with gender stereotypes.
We asked you: Who should pay? Matthew Ellis
Calgary, Alberta Music intern at First Alliance Church Personally I really enjoy being able to pay for dates. It’s nice being able to treat the girl I’m taking out. That being said, if every once in a while the girl wants to pay, I’m OK with that too. It doesn’t emasculate me but rather shows me that she cares about me and wants to take care of me in the same way that I do her. I wouldn’t want this to happen too often though.
Otterburne, Manitoba Associate registrar at Providence University College I think the gendered expectations should be done away with. It’s no longer practical (she might make more money than him), and it forms us in ways that compete with the formation that Christ is working in us. That is, social expectations compete with the formation of virtues, and we should value virtues more than social norms.
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How did you get involved in business? My grandfather started his own roasting company in 1945. And my father joined shortly thereafter, and I joined my father in 1979. I worked with Dad for 11 years and then unfortunately we were forced to sell [the company] to Nestlé. I worked for Nestlé for six years, and didn’t love it. Nestlé’s a huge international company, and they’re a very numbers-driven company. My dad was a very people-driven person. So that was actually really great training ground for me, to have both [perspectives]. So in 1996 I had the opportunity to leave Nestlé and purchase a company.
What makes you different from other businesses? I’ve been a Christian much longer than I’ve been a Christian businessman. [How] God defines things, His idea of profit is about the best outcomes for a whole bunch of things: outcomes for staff, outcomes for the environment, outcomes for suppliers. I’ve worked really hard at trying to focus the outcomes of our business to be God’s outcomes. The single biggest one would be about honouring people.
How do you honour people?
good Business A conversation with JJ Bean’s founder John neate Jr. By Leanne Janzen
he Neate family has been in the Vancouver coffee roasting business since 1945, and in 1996 John Neate Jr. (JJ) decided to open up JJ Bean Coffee Roasters.
JJ Bean now has over 200 staff, with cafés across Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Port Moody. Its wholesale department distributes freshly roasted coffee across Canada. I caught up with John Neate Jr. to ask him a few things about what makes him and his business different. 22 | CONVERGE.
march - april 2014
We have a level system in place, right from the very start, so there are big incentives for people to be invested in our company. After three months, you take part in the sales and audit bonus. After six months, we have a medical plan for everybody in the company. After one year, you get a wellness plan, and the ability to buy into the company. I believe a Christian does things out of motivations of the heart, versus what necessarily is good for the business. And that would be how I define the
Photo by Carmen Bright
You could take the idea of how a lot of companies want to fire people for cause versus giving them notice, because they’ll save money. You can try to be cheap with people, or you can be generous with people. You can put people through a process so that they understand why this isn’t working out, in terms of giving a number of expectations, with a number of reasonable points. Confronting people, I believe, is honouring people.
Matt, Bachelor of Education 2012
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How many cups of coffee do you drink? I drink about eight shots of espresso per day.
What happens when you’re not near quality coffee?
Is “Christian business” an oxymoron? I don’t think that there’s absolutely anything wrong in terms of making money. And if I gave away to everybody that asked me for money, then our business wouldn’t be sustainable. We get so many requests, like probably three or four a week, of people asking for donations. I say to them, “Look, show me how this benefits our business.” Because if our business is sustainable, then I can give more. The only way for people to survive in Vancouver is for me to be paying them a good wage. But in order to do that, you have to be profitable. So your decisions have to be profitable. I’m pleasant, but I’m not one to be taken advantage of. My wife describes me in four words: hard ass, soft heart.
I’ve had tremendous success. And I recognize that it is not from me. I feel a responsibility as a steward to treat my staff well, to invest heavily in different projects in the community. I think that there are times that I continue to feel guilt, in terms of I could be giving away more. And I could. I’m not going to sit back and tell you I’m great. I know that I need to give even more than I do. I do a lot of good things, but I need to do more.
Tim Hortons or McDonald’s? That’s a tough one. I like the fries at McDonald’s. But I’ll have a double double at Tim Hortons for sure.
Would you describe your business as a Ministry? It’s totally a ministry. I believe that God’s way for all of us, as businesspeople, is to do things that allow humans to flourish. And that humans flourishing is God’s plan for Christians and non-Christians alike. It’s just that non-Christians haven’t realized it yet. And so if we run our business in the way that human beings are flourishing, then that’s ministry.
Are you a hipster? I am really cool, but I’m not a hipster.
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to think deeply to act justly to live fully
I’m a strong believer that the food we eat affects our health. “[My Calvin education] has allowed me to realize that I can’t change everything. But I can make a small difference…and do little things to make things a little bit better— if not great. –Briella Cumings ’15, public health major
You want to change the world. And you will. At Calvin, you’ll learn to work collaboratively with students and professors toward small, meaningful changes that impact big issues. Improve water filtration techniques for well water in Kenya. Develop cancer therapy techniques that make treatment easier for patients. Learn to make lifestyle choices that demonstrate one of your highest callings—to love your neighbor as yourself, here and around the world. Explore what it means to think deeply, act justly and live fully at www.calvin.edu/go/courage.
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Angles | Gen-Y
Surviving THE RECESSION
AS A MILLENNIAL Over-educated and under-employed, with a sinkhole of debt: welcome to adulthood By Rachel Selinger
If you are between 18 and 35,
chances are good you are living with debt. And if you’re not, it’s likely inevitable. Even if you’ve managed to avoid getting into debt in your early 20s, it’s not as if the future offers the prospect of debt-free bliss. Try buying a house without it. While my debt load has allowed me my education, which is of immeasurable value, I have sometimes viewed it as a sinking boat. As I have started to make payments on student loans and as I consider grad school, I suddenly wonder if I am going to be able to weather this storm.
26 | CONVERGE. march - april 2014
Was my investment worth it? Surviving through five years of post-secondary education, it was difficult enough to make ends meet. Now I have been thrust into adulthood, given a captain’s hat, and am expected to know how to navigate these seas. And as you may have already discovered, an arts degree is not exactly a life preserver. According to CBC, “The average post-secondary graduate is now carrying $28,000 in student loan debt, but many millennials aren’t able to find a way to start the careers they’ve invested so much to prepare themselves for.” So we not only have swelling budgets, we have difficulty finding work that matches our level of experience. Most of us didn’t spend four or more years studying at university to pursue our dream of becoming a barista. So now what? Take up latte art, or swim with the fish? Perhaps that paints a more dire illustration than necessary. While the reality often is that in order to pay the bills, we must swallow our pride and do what it takes (whether it means scrubbing toilets or working the till) I believe
Flickr photo (cc) by martinak15
Jobs are scarce and rent is high. Are these truly supposed to be our glory days?
THE SEAFARER by Conor McPherson responsibility as stewards of what he has given us. A recent article in the Huffington Post says young millennials not only “face daunting student loan debts and employment challenges post graduation, many still prioritize having the latest iPhone, tablet, or tech ‘necessity.’ Our western culture has skewed the concept of a ‘need’ versus a ‘want’.” It’s important to recognize the difference between an investment and a waste of money. While the pursuit of higher education or the purchase of a home might seem daunting, by no means am I saying avoid them at all costs. These are things that will likely have a positive return in the long run. But the latest smartphone? Or a brand new car? Not so much. If we are to overcome our debt and be wise stewards with what we’ve been given, we have to be honest with
“We have a tendency to forget that God actually wants to meet our needs.” are more likely to hire someone they know or have a personal connection with. And most professionals are more than willing to sit down and share their experience and insight. But it isn’t just who you know in your field. How often do we forget that we are connected with the God who created the universe? “Oh right, I forgot I know the Creator of the universe. No big deal.” And He’s pretty clear we should trust Him with these things. If you don’t believe me, read Matthew 6. There have been times where lost cheques have appeared miraculously, my bank account has had more money in it than I put in, and people in my life have graciously offered a helping hand. I’ve had cars break down, computers crash, and had no idea how I was going to get to where I needed to be. God has stepped in time and time again. He provides. Not always in the way we might think is best or expect, but in the midst of financial struggle, we must continue to trust Him. Yet t he realit y of God’s fait hf ul prov ision doesn’t exempt our
ourselves about our perspective; chances are high this is going to involve some countercultural sacrificing. While any survival guide to the recession is incomplete as every individual has a different story, if I’ve learned anything from being in my own boat, it’s this: find a balance. Rest in the knowledge that God is in control. He has proven Himself to be a trustworthy provider. As my friend and fellow writer Greg Harris points out, we have a tendency to forget that God actually wants to meet our needs. But this doesn’t forego our responsibility to be aware. Perhaps this means choosing a graduate school that isn’t going to force you to take out more student loans. Or maybe it’s working that job at Starbucks, or taking a budgeting class. Either way, if we’re going to survive at all, we have to admit that we cannot do this on our own. We need each other and our Creator. If you want to weather the storm of financial instability, trust God and don’t sail alone.
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there are more creative ways to float this boat. First, those of you out there who constantly anticipate capsizing need to recognize you are not alone. There are plenty of people around you who are experiencing the same waves. You’re not the first one there, and you won’t be the last. While this might seem discouraging at first, it also means there are people who can offer advice or encouragement from a place of experience. So don’t be afraid to ask for help from the community around you. There is a reason God put us on this earth with other people. And speaking of community, expand yours. In my experience, my time job searching was most well spent by making connections in the field I wanted to work in. It wasn’t always with the intention of wanting to work for or with that person. But the reality is often that employers
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Angles | World
people can go days or weeks without ever needing to spend money.” He continues: “Money here is for comfort, not survival. When I was a kid my mother would spend money only a few times a year for school fees, school clothes, and salt — things that were really very rare. So no, money is not central; the community is central.” Africa is a very different place
The currency of
Community An African take on money By Paul Arnold | Illustration by Kyle Metcalf
Dan, 38, muses under a large gum tree in
Uganda’s green countryside. “When I was 16, there was only one jacket in my village. One jacket to be shared by maybe 50 guys. If anyone had a date they would all wear that same jacket.” He laughs at the memory. “The same was true for shoes,” Dan says. “Not everyone had shoes, so if you needed them you would borrow from those who did.” “That was just the way things were. Everything was shared; no one lived alone.” Dan is a father of five who grew up in the southwestern part of Uganda as a member of the Ankole tribe. He pauses to consider how he might explain to me, a westerner, how Africans understand money. “Money is not central to many in Africa. Many people here, they grow their own food which can provide for them the basic nutrients for survival. Even today
28 | CONVERGE. march - april 2014
Paul Arnold is a recent graduate of Regent College and is currently living in rural Uganda and working at a community development project with his wife. They are blogging about their time here: paulandkrista. wordpress.com
from the West. It was the last major area of the world to be colonized by Europeans, and because of its size, inaccessibility, and inhospitable tropical diseases, the Europeans were unable to wipe out whole peoples and cultures as they did in other places like North America, Latin America, and Australia. (But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try.) To support the increasing agricultural demands back home — primarily in the Americas but also in Europe — thousands of Africans were enslaved to work on farms and plantations. By 1800, about 75,000 Africans were brought to the Americas each year. All of this was done, of course, to serve that thing that was central to life in the West: money. By the 19th century, money had its fingerprints on nearly every dimension of western life. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian, has this to say about England in 1835: “Intelligence, even virtue, seem of little account without money. Everything worthwhile is somehow tied up with money. It fills all the gaps that one finds between men, but nothing will take its place.” The centrality of money has its benefits, including the destruction of the caste system so that individuals are not judged according to their status at birth, but by their character or industriousness in life. But money also replaces the centrality of the community. People no longer depend on social capital — the favours we give and receive to our neighbours, like cooking, hospitality, wisdom, farming, building, and fixing — but on monetary capital to survive. It no longer matters much if a person lives in or is known by a community; what matters is whether that person can get the job done.
Effective and efficient? Yes. But it also means the communal dimension of life will slowly but surely lose out to the individual. In his book Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein calls the monetization of social capital the “strip-mining of community.” When money becomes central, everything else, including community, becomes peripheral. This is clearly evident in the marketplaces of different societies. More communal societies will tend to have more bargaining in the marketplace than
case for Africans. In Africa there is an expectation to give. Whether it is a sports jacket, shoes, school fees, or food, it is your responsibility to give to those who are in need. Jobs and money and possessions are not individual property. They are just the final products of a long, complicated social process that includes one’s family and one’s community. Just because one person may reap the harvest, doesn’t mean others don’t have a claim in its rewards. If you have, the expectation is to give.
“When money becomes central, everything else, including community, becomes peripheral.” less communal societies. In places like Africa, bargaining is present because money has not yet usurped the need for relationships. But in the West where prices are fixed for the sake of efficiency and honesty, people can go to the market without ever having to interact with another human being. The loss of community can also be seen in how we give money away, not just in how we make or spend it. Ken Stern, in his article in The Atlantic, says in 2011 the poorest people in America — those with incomes in the bottom 20 per cent — gave nearly three times more of their income to charity than those in the top 20 per cent. Add to the fact that the poor are less likely to take advantage of charitable tax deductions and are more likely to give informal donations to friends and family. The rich prefer to give their money to less personal charities, like colleges, arts organizations, and museums. The 2012 study in The Chronicle of Philanthropy states that generosity depends in large part to exposure to need. The report says people who lived in rich communities — communities that had more than 40 per cent of its residents making more than $200,000 a year — gave an average of 2.8 per cent of their income to charity. Those who earned more than $200,000 a year but did not live in such isolated communities gave an average of 4.2 per cent of their income to charity. It appears the less we need or even know other people, the less we give to them. This, however, isn't necessarily the
Ghanaian academic Adams Bodomo finds that in 2010 African ex-pats remitted $51.8 billion to friends and family still in Africa, while the Official Development Assistance (ODA), one measurement of foreign aid, sent $43 billion to the continent. Bodomo refers to these remittances as “family aid.” In an interview with the BBC, he says family aid is “more effective [than foreign aid] because it’s better informed. An African family member abroad knows what is needed, whether it’s for school fees, to build a structure, or to grow a business. Compare that to traditional foreign aid and all the cumbersome structures it is distributed through — only a small amount of ‘traditional aid’ ends up with the people who need it.” So the phenomenon of “family aid” proves that money has not replaced the community as the central feature of African life. At least not yet.
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“Africa is changing,” Dan tells me.
“Slowly, but it is changing. And I don’t think it is always a good thing.” “When I see those ‘Forbes richest’ lists it seems like a competition of ego,” he says. “If you are number two on the list, you want to get to number one. The problem is that when someone becomes more rich, it almost always means that someone else becomes more poor.” Urbanization, globalization, and industrialization are powerful forces that are pushing change in Africa. The changes are often good. They’re often needed. But they almost always come with a caveat: the centralization of money. convergemagazine.com
Angles | culture
So how do you eat an elephant?
Consumption How to become better shoppers By Julia Cheung
The Rana Plaza garment factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh was built using substandard materials and did not adhere to any building codes. Its collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,000 garment industry workers.
Photos by Flick: rijans | Dhaka Savar Building Collapse
ecelia Cheung is a style maven. She trend-sets with little effort, wore skinny jeans eons before they were mainstream, and can tell you when your infinity scarves, chambray shirts, and ankle boots will be passé. And she’s also no stranger to social justice. She spent two months in Japan volunteering for a disaster relief organization after the 2011 earthquake-tsunami and is a fervent advocate for adoption. But linking her heart for social concern with her fashion savvy — that’s another story. When I ask her whether she thinks about modern-day slavery and the international garment industry, her response is candid: “I read about it and I feel moved a little. But it’s sort of like a light switch. I want to care, but it’s so far removed that the switch is usually off. When I’m just shopping, I’m not thinking. I’m just looking at the price tag.” Cheung is not alone. For most shoppers, ethical consumption is the elephant in the room. Price tags easily eclipse our vision.
y first bite into the daunting issue of ethical shopping leads me to Time Magazine’s Lightbox photo, “A Final Embrace: The Most Haunting Photograph from Bangladesh.” It’s a snapshot from the collapse of a Bangladesh garment factory in April 2013 and it depicts the crushed bodies of two factory workers, intertwined with one another. Michelle Brock, a blogger who posted the link, writes how she felt complicit after discovering the factory produced (among other brands) Joe Fresh clothing, as she had previously been a Joe Fresh consumer. Worldwide, slavery is illegal. But it still happens. Adults and children work long hours in inhumane conditions, treated like slaves, with little to no access to leisure, sleep, education, and healthcare. The fact still stands that billions around the world live in a space smaller than, dirtier than, and less water-tight than my singlecar garage or my home office. Bloggers Michelle Brock, Beth Fisher, and Ameilia Rana all see the garment factory’s collapse as a signal to vote with their dollars. Beth Fisher says she decided to change
30 | CONVERGE.
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her shopping habits for one year. “Sticking to the status quo in my shopping decisions would have been like saying that my right to cheap clothing ... is more important than another person’s right to a fair wage and workable conditions,” she says. Amelia Rana’s impetus for change is similar, but happens in conjunction with moving into a lower income neighbourhood in Ontario. “My neighbours come from wartorn countries. And with nothing. They think we are loaded,” she says. “Always comparing myself with middleclass Christians that I know, and then comparing myself with people who don’t have winter jackets.... It shaped my thoughts about possessions,” says Rana. As I’ve been doing my research, I’m afraid of turning into a “slacktivist.” That I’ll have just enough of a taste of the issue to care a tiny bit. And that I’ll think signing a few online petitions, sharing a few articles on Facebook, and arbitrarily avoiding one or two culprits of cheap garment production will be enough to disentangle myself from the issue.
Turning on the light switch
thical consumption isn’t just about changing our personal habits. It’s also about convincing as many people as possible to follow suit. And it turns out Cheung’s off-the-cuff reference to her “mental light switch” is also used by academics. Katherine White, associate professor of marketing at the University of British Columbia is an expert on prosocial consumption and sustainability. White says changing consumer behaviour is exactly like clicking a switch, and that there are three key ingredients to making that click possible. The first one, she says, is awareness. It’s important to simply get the information out there. Secondly, it’s about the right kind of message. “Research suggests if you make your message more concrete or vivid, people will have stronger reactions,” White says. “So on one hand, you do want their reaction strong enough to get their attention. But on the other hand, if the reaction you elicit is too strong and especially too negative, people will actually shut down and they won’t respond.” White says the third factor is this: “Making the consumer believe that there is actually something that I could do that will make a difference.” So how do we do this, exactly? Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where am I Wearing says it’s not necessarily through simply “buycotting” companies, but by telling the stories of people who work for these businesses.
Almost on a whim, Timmerman says he chased down the source of one his graphic T-shirts that had the phrase, “Come with me, my tropical paradise” emblazoned across the front of it. He ended up in Honduras, and was denied a tour of the factory where the T-shirt was made. Timmerman eventually went on a global trot, following the source of his food and his clothing. Then he wrote two books about it. “My job is to tell the real stories of these people, to share their personalities, hopes,
“You can’t simply reject the whole system and buy second hand clothes.” dreams, weaknesses, to show them as people and to show that we are similar.” Timmerman suggests that we need to encourage companies who are making positive changes. “It would be devastating if there were massive boycotts of sweatshops that use child labour, for instance, if there were no social infrastructure for the released child labourers to attend school or to make another viable living,” says Timmerman. Companies could, for example, chronicle their ethical footprint (as Patagonia has begun to do) and seriously consider the impact of their labour practices on people and the environment. “You can’t simply reject the whole system and only buy second hand clothes,” says Timmerman. “You need to support the companies who are doing business in a new way.” Some suggest that we should all just adopt an Amish lifestyle. But a strict return to simple, ascetic living is as drastic as it is impossible. White says, “In order to see broader societal change, we need to focus on the small behaviours, on an individual level. People tend to be influenced by what other people are doing. So by making small choices, you can signal to companies and to your friends and family that you are willing to do something about it.” White drives a hybrid so she can be part of the change. She says she knows this will not solve the problem of sustainability, but that she’s confident it will make a difference. “When you see the stats added up over a large number of people, you realize that change is possible.” It turns out my elephant has a name: overconsumption. The antidote? One ethical purchase at a time.
A Place For You As an avid filmmaker, musician, and scholar, Nathan Walter is able to pursue all of his interests at Dordt: “Dordt continually encourages every student to develop the gifts God has given them,” he says.
Find your place in God’s world Sioux Center, Iowa www.dordt.edu
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32 | CONVERGE.
CONVERGE march - april 2014
Schools are listed in alphabetical order.
Flickr photo (cc) by ~ethereality~
Making a Post-Secondary decision can be both exciting and difficult.
Tuition and entry requirements vary from school to school. If interested, check out the details on the schoolâ€™s website.
We have compiled some basic information, as well as some fun extras from various Christian schools to help with the process.
Use the colour guide to quickly locate the type of school you are interested in.
Directory p.34 // How to deal with student stress p.36 // // Stats & Sports p. 38 // Student loans p.44 //
convergemagazine.com // 33
Langley, B.C. Canada
Briercrest College and Seminary
Hepburn, Sask. Canada
Caronport, Sask. Canada
Graduate level degrees
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate & graduate level degrees
TUITION: $435 per credit hour
TUITION: $205 per credit
TUITION: $291 per credit
Extracurricular: Sports teams, drama and music ministry teams, theatre productions, music lessons, and other rec options.
Extracurricular: Choir, chapel teams, dorm activities, jam sessions, youth groups, mentorship programs, Briercrest Olympics, Brierstock music festival, yearbook, music theatre.
Missions Opportunities: Some program internships involve overseas experience. SCHOOL MOTTO: Essential training for Christian service.
Missions Opportunities: Provides intense experience in poverty, homelessness, or refugee/immigrant centres and other international missions.
Missions Opportunities: Opportunities with local Christian non-profit organizations as well as international missions experiences.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Nurturing disciples and training leaders to serve.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Outstanding Christian education.
Canadian Mennonite university
Canada Institute of Linguistics
Winnipeg, Man. Canada
Grand Rapids, Mi. USA
Langley, B.C. Canada
Undergraduate & graduate level degrees
Undergraduate & graduate level degrees
Undergraduate & graduate level degrees
TUITION: $28,025 / year (detailed info online)
TUITION: $226 per credit
Extracurricular: Dance guild, Bible studies, Chimes student newspaper, Environmental Stewardship Coalition, student senate, global business brigades.
Extracurricular: Student Council (arts & entertainment, yearbook, and the Doxa student magazine), faith and life fellowship groups, the Business Club, Psychology and English Student Associations, CMU Community Farm, MPK Folk Festival, Soul in Paraphrase (compilation of student’s poetry and creative writing).
TUITION: Undergrad: $742 Graduate: $435 (MLE) $535 (MA Ling)
Missions Opportunities: 10+ spring break trips each year. SCHOOL MOTTO: My heart I offer to you, Lord, promptly and sincerely.
Missions Opportunities: Practicum placements, Mennonite Disaster Service trip every reading week. SCHOOL MOTTO: Learn to see differently.
34 // CVG // March - April 2014
Extracurricular: Monthly lunch, weekly potlucks in the CanIL common room, daily chapels. Missions Opportunities: Offered through Trinity Western University and also through Wycliffe Bible Translators. SCHOOL MOTTO: Training translators, transforming lives.
Capernwray Harbour CHRIST Bible Centre COLLEGE Thetis Island B.C. Canada
Columbia Bible College
Surrey, B.C. Canada
Abbotsford, B.C. Canada
A one-year biblical studies program
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
TUITION: $10,900 (incl. room & board) for one year
TUITION: $155 per credit
TUITION: $315 per credit
Extracurricular: Weekly outreach ministries, yearbook, theme meals & social events throughout the year.
Extracurricular: Hiking, international dinner, worship nights, movie nights.
Extracurricular: Student leadership opportunities for both resident and commuter students. Various Student Council committees, as well as worship team opportunities.
Missions Opportunities: Prison, inner city, hospital, summer camp, music, and community ministry opportunities, in addition to overseas missions trips.
Missions Opportunities: Local & international spring break mission trips. SCHOOL MOTTO: Proclaiming Christ as life!
Concordia Lutheran Seminary Edmonton, Alta. Canada
Missions Opportunities: Some programs include mission opportunities.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Equipping Christ centred servant leaders.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Prepare to make a difference.
Moncton, N.B. Canada
Sioux Center, IA. USA
Graduate level degrees
Undergraduate Undergraduate level level degrees degrees
Undergraduate level degrees, Master of Education
TUITION: $260 per credit
TUITION: F/T: $758 P/T: $795
TUITION: $1,100 USD per credit
Extracurricular: Crandall Student Association, worship team, theatre, CREW (student ambassadors), Justice League, prison ministry, Best Buddies, Future Scholars Society, various academic program societies.
Extracurricular: Ag Club, Comedy League, Creation Care Club, Future Active Christian Teachers (FACT), Future Physicians Club, Justice Matters, NonPartisan Politics, Nursing Club, Sioux Falls Prison Ministry, Students Without Borders, Swing Dance, Theology Club, several engineering clubs.
Missions Opportunities: Short term missions & local service opportunities. SCHOOL MOTTO: Servants for Jesus’ sake.
Missions Opportunities: The Bachelor of Theology and Cross-Cultural Certificate require a mission trip overseas. Crandall also offers many opportunities for local missions in the community. SCHOOL MOTTO: Cristus Praeeminens: Christ first.
Missions Opportunities: Various local, national, and international missions opportunities. SCHOOL MOTTO: Soli Deo Gloria. (To God alone be the glory.)
convergemagazine.com // 35
• Take breaks. Even short distractions from what you’re doing can improve your concentration for prolonged periods of time. So go for a little jaunt around the neighbourhood. Call your mom. Play your guitar for a few minutes. That little break can be exactly what your brain needs to continue plowing through. • Manage your time. Even though you’ve proven to yourself you can pull all-nighters, it doesn’t mean you should. Mark out the due dates of your assignments on your calendar, and give yourself plenty of time to complete them. • Be gentle with yourself. Learn from your mistakes, and then move on. Avoid badtalking yourself; don’t be your own worst enemy. • Take care of your body. Eat a balanced diet (including breakfast), drink lots of water, get lots of exercise, and get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Stopping student stress Illustration by Louisa Tsui
here’s no denying that student stress is on the rise. In a recent survey, 42 per cent of Ontario university students, compared to 17 per cent of nonstudents aged 18-29, reported elevated distress. Canadians aged 15-24 are the most likely to report mood disorders (i.e. depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder) and substance dependence problems. And in a Canadian national health survey, more than half of university students reported feeling hopeless; just over a third said they felt so depressed they were unable to function; and about six to nine per cent of students had considered suicide during the 12 months prior to the questionnaire. You’ve probably heard how to prevent stress a thousand times over, but isn’t there a theory out there somewhere that says the more you hear something, the more likely it will be to sink in?
36 // CVG // March - April 2014
• Enjoy your people. Your friends and family are there for you to lean on in the bad times, and to celebrate with you in the good. Make sure you create space and time for them. • Take some time to relax. Read (for fun!), watch a movie, puzzle, host a dinner party. These things might just give you the energy you need. • Don’t keep it inside. Talk about your stress level with the people you trust. Some affirmation and the realization you’re not in it alone can go a long way. • Counsellors are there for a reason. Many universities and colleges have student resource centres that are equipped with professional counsellors who are there to help current students, free of charge. Don’t be afraid to walk into these places; the things you share will remain confidential, and you may really benefit from talking to a counsellor.
If you are experiencing feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and alienation, and if you feel like life isn’t worth living, contact your doctor immediately. He or she will be able to provide you with additional support specific to your situation.
Sources: www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/staffcouns/leaflets/suiciderisk | www.canberra.edu.au/health-counselling/calendar/articles/stress-and-some-tips-on-how-to-deal-with-it www.life.utoronto.ca/stories/build-on-your-strengths-mental-health-awareness-month/
• Pray. God wants to hear about what's going on in your life. Psalm 145:18 says, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." He promises He will draw near to you. All you have to do is ask.
Emmanuel Bible College Kitchener, ONT. Canada
Eston Bible College Eston, Sask. Canada
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
TUITION: $314/credit hour or $943 /course
TUITION: $189 per credit
Extracurricular: Student leadership opportunities, ministry teams, chapel worship team, working in the WildCat Cafe.
Extracurricular: Prayer meetings, jamming and writing music, games, evangelism trips, movies, photography, art night, book club.
Missions Opportunities: Expedition program, reading week missions trip, inner city service opportunities. SCHOOL MOTTO: Think, live, serve, lead.
Missions Opportunities: National missions trips offered throughout the school year. International missions trips offered at the end of the school year. Recent locations include India, Estonia, and Cambodia.
Generations Discipleship School
Heritage College and seminary
108 Mile Ranch, B.C. Canada
SCHOOL MOTTO: To know the Scriptures and the power of God.
Cambridge, ont. Canada
A 7-month discipleship program
Undergraduate and graduate level degrees
TUITION: Total cost for 7 months is $2500.00
TUITION: $305 per credit
Extracurricular: Hiking, wake boarding, hunting, and fishing in summer; snowboarding, skiing, ice-fishing, and snowball fights in winter.
Extracurricular: Men's and womenâ€™s groups, choir, travel teams, student council, yearbook, activities committee, arts committee, newspaper committee, local outreach committee, missions committee, resident assistant team, and more.
Missions Opportunities: Northern B.C., Vancouver Island, Mexico, Israel. SCHOOL MOTTO: Building biblical foundations for your life.
Missions Opportunities: Annually, and through Global Adventure Certificate Program. SCHOOL MOTTO: Pursuing God with passion & excellence.
HILLSONG Int’L Leadership COLLEGE The King’s University College Laidlaw College Luther College
M.T.S. M.Div. M.A. Ph.D.
McMaster Divinity college Prairie Bible Institute Providence UNIVERSITY COLLEGE REDEEMER UNIVERSITY COLLEGE Rocky Mountain college
Graduate Diploma in Ministry
Rosebud school of the Arts
Graduate Certiﬁcate Programs
St. Mary’s University College Summit Pacific College Vanguard college
ATHLETICS School ACTS SEMINARY BETHANY COLLEGE Briercrest College & Seminary Calvin College Canada Institute of Linguistics Canadian Mennonite university Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre Christ College COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE Concordia Lutheran Seminary Crandall University Dordt College EMMANUEL BIBLE COLLEGE Eston bible college Generations Discipleship School Heritage COLLEGE & Seminary HILLSONG Int’L Leadership COLLEGE The King’s University College Laidlaw College Luther College McMaster Divinity college
Prairie Bible Institute Providence UNIVERSITY COLLEGE REDEEMER UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1
Rocky Mountain college Rosebud school of the Arts St. Mary’s University College Summit Pacific College
38 | CONVERGE. march - april
Heritage COLLEGE & Seminary
Generations Discipleship School
Track and field
Eston bible college
EMMANUEL BIBLE COLLEGE
14:1 12:1 22:1 12:1 17:1 18:1 4:1 8:1 18:1 4:1 13:1 15:1 15:1 8:1 3:1 11:1 25:1 10:1 15:1 26:1 18:1 18:1 14:1 15:1 12:1 2:1 N/A 17:1 11:1
Crandall University Dordt College
Concordia Lutheran Seminary
COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE
138 10 185 216 N/A 102 N/A 20 97 12 265 85 31 10 7-10 130 2,000+ 36 650 N/A 103 N/A 50 89 25 0 131 N/A 72
Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre Christ College
Canada Institute of Linguistics Canadian Mennonite university
Part-time Student-Faculty Students Ratio
120 115 496 4,008 100 481 100 55 322 12 575 1,345 104 55 3-7 150 1,200+ 627 400 410 152 300 300 821 115 30 586 200 225
Briercrest College & Seminary
1985 1927 1935 1876 1985 2000 1979 1988 1936 1984 1949 1955 1940 1944 2008 1949 1986 1979 1922 1971 1957 1922 1925 1982 1982 1988 1986 1941 1946
HILLSONG Intâ€™l Leadership College Sydney, Australia
The Kingâ€™s University College Edmonton, Alta. Canada
LAIDLAW College Auckland & Christchurch, New Zealand
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level degrees
Undergraduate and graduate level degrees
TUITION: From $4900/year
TUITION: $333 per credit
TUITION: NZ$16,500 per year or NZ$137.50 per credit
Extracurricular: Honduras Water Project, Student Ambassador Program, Commuter Program, Battle of the Bands, and many more.
Missions Opportunities: New opportunities every year. SCHOOL MOTTO: Training the leaders of the future Church.
Missions Opportunities: N/A SCHOOL MOTTO: Same degree, better education!
Missions Opportunities: Missions-focused courses are available which include an internship program that can incorporate placement in a missions agency. SCHOOL MOTTO: To equip students and scholars to renew their communities with a faith as intelligent as it is courageous.
at the University of Regina Regina, Sask. Canada
learn grow serve
luthercollege.edu/university Undergraduate level degrees TUITION: $5591.10-$5906.10/year (based on a full course load of five classes) Extracurricular: Luther University Student Association, Peer Chaplaincy program, Luther Leaders. Missions Opportunities: Yes! SCHOOL MOTTO: Think deeply. Act passionately. Live faithfully.
Distance Courses Open Studies Master of Divinity www.concordiasem.ab.ca
Ready to Serve. Prairieâ€™s alumni are actively serving in hospitals, churches and mission organizations, bringing hope and the message of the Gospel. Equipped with a biblical foundation and valuable skills, our grads are making a lasting impact wherever they go.
For Life, Ministry & Career.
40 | CONVERGE.
@PrairieColleges | Three Hills, AB
march - april 2014
McMaster Divinity College Hamilton, ONT. Canada
Prairie Bible Institute Three Hills, Alta. Canada
Providence University College Otterburne, Man. Canada
Graduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level degrees
Tuition: $200 per unit
Tuition: $280 per credit
Tuition: $232 per credit
Extracurricular: Divinity Student Association.
Extracurricular: Music/Worship; Student Union
Extracurricular: Student Council, theatre, concerts, community events, trips to Winnipeg.
Missions Opportunities: International practicum placements, Discover 1-year Certificate in Intercultural Studies
Missions Opportunities: Missions conference on campus, annual mission trip, local outreach, practicum opportunities.
SCHOOL MOTTO: To know Christ & make Him known.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Christ-centred university education.
Missions Opportunities: Partnerships with local churches, missions, and parachurch organizations. SCHOOL MOTTO: Knowing…being…doing…
Redeemer University College Hamilton, ONT. Canada
myRedeemer.ca Undergraduate level degrees TUITION: $14,720 (2013-14) Extracurricular: Clubs and activities centred around arts and culture, social justice, student government, worship, and recreation. Missions Opportunities: Partnerships with local community organizations throughout the term. Also, each reading week, students can participate in off-campus mission trips. SCHOOL MOTTO: Discover all things in Him.
STUDENT SERVICES School
Room Financial & Board aid
Other Student Services Writing centre, term paper tutorials, access to TWU career centre, counselling and medical services, online ministry job posting board.
Briercrest College & Seminary
Writing Centre, academic advising, academic coaching, assistance for students with disabilities, experiential learning placement, First Nations coordinator, Briercrest Counselling Centre.
Paper-writing help, tutoring, disability services, career services, counselling services, mentoring.
Canada Institute of Linguistics
Writing Centre, counselling, clinic on campus.
Canadian Mennonite university
Academic advising, disability services, counselling, student employment centre, Redekop School of Business Co-op program, spiritual direction.
Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre
One-to-one tutoring for English language and writing skills.
COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE
Academic support services, on-campus counselling, faculty mentoring.
Student Success Centre, career counselling, peer tutoring, writing workshops, co-ops.
Academic support including free personal tutoring, study skills assistance, career counselling, and personal counselling.
EMMANUEL BIBLE COLLEGE
Counselling, field education & co-op placements, career advice, and peer editing.
Eston bible college
Faculty advisors give students advice about classes, academic development, and career opportunities; counselling and inner healing is available on-site; resident advisors, resident directors, and dean of students are available to help with any emotional, spiritual, or academic needs.
Generations Discipleship School
Counselling is available for free for students.
Heritage COLLEGE & Seminary
Free general and academic achievement counselling services, placements and internship programs, faculty advisors, as well as various seminars.
HILLSONG Int’L Leadership COLLEGE
Visa assistance, photography, writing skills, song writing, public speaking skills, assistance finding paid work whilst studying, career advice, and counselling.
The King’s University College
On campus counsellor, on campus minister, student employment opportunities, as well as job fairs and internships.
Academic and pastoral support is available along with specialist support for international students.
Career Centre, work experience or co-op for every program, counselling and support from our chaplain, scholarships and bursaries.
Student services provided through McMaster University.
Prairie Bible Institute
Student Success program, counselling.
Providence UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Counselling, tutoring, career guidance, writing skills, and residence life support.
REDEEMER UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Co-ops, internships, as well as off-campus study programs across Canada and around the world. Tutoring, seminars, learning strategies, and disability services for students with physical, medical or emotional difficulties. Pastoral and personal counselling, career development coaching, and International Student Support Service.
Rocky Mountain college
Career advice, internships, counselling, career workshops, food pantry.
Rosebud school of the Arts
Word and story writing workshops, personal advisor, counselling program, working backstage and on-stage with Rosebud Theatre.
St. Mary’s University College
Learning centre, career advising, mentorship program, peer tutor program, academic skills certificate.
Summit Pacific College
Academic help clinics, registered clinical counsellors.
College prep seminar, vocal and piano lessons, Academic Success Centre, ministry posting board, field education advisor, ministry fair, graduate fair, and counselling.
Concordia Lutheran Seminary
McMaster Divinity college
Personal and vocational mentoring, general, academic, financial, and program-specific advising is available, as well as dorm unit care giving, and student employment opportunities.
Rocky mountain College
Rosebud School of the Arts
Calgary, Alta. Canada
St. Mary’s University College Calgary, Alta. Canada
Rosebud, Alta. Canada
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate level certificates
Undergraduate level degrees
TUITION: $325 per credit
TUITION: $230 per credit
TUITION: $748 per credit
Extracurricular: Student Union.
Extracurricular: Improv, jam nights, late night music lounge, xtreme workout.
Extracurricular: Student Legislative Council, Social Justice Club, Historical Society, Ethics Club, weekly mass.
Missions Opportunities: Some programs (WHIP, EDGE, Global Studies, Intercultural Studies, Global Leadership) have this built in.
TRIP Opportunities: Theatre trips to the West Coast; London, England; and New York City. SCHOOL MOTTO: Live the Theatre!
SCHOOL MOTTO: Be change.
TRINITY Western University
Summit Pacific College
SCHOOL MOTTO: “In your light we shall see light.” (Psalm 36:9)
Langley, B.C. canada
Abbotsford, B.C. Canada
Missions Opportunities: N/A
Edmonton, Alta. Canada
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates
Undergraduate and graduate level degrees
TUITION: $195 per credit
Undergraduate level degrees, diplomas & certificates, graducate level certificates
Tuition: $742 per credit
Tuition: $205 per credit
Extracurricular: Travelling music groups. Missions Opportunities: Omega Global: one-year certificate with a month-long mission trip included.
Extracurricular: Mars’ Hill student newspaper, Student Life leadership positions, International Social Justice Club, Independent Musicians Initiative, Student Business Association, TWU Outdoor Club, and more!
Extracurricular: Student Council, SisterhoodYEG, guys night, choir, Council of Student Ambassadors, department retreats & events all year, Vanguard on ice, community discipleship seminars.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Educate, equip and enrich.
Missions Opportunities: Local outreach & fall/spring global projects.
Missions Opportunities: Southeast Asia, New York City, Northwest Territories, Vancouver, and throughout Alberta. Global leadership opportunities in summer with Awaken Missions.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Education. Transformation. Impact.
SCHOOL MOTTO: Developing innovative Spirit-filled leaders.
convergemagazine.com // 43
The price of
education The burden of student loans
ifty-nine thousand, two hundred and fifty-eight dollars. And ten cents. Matt and Nicky Kohls are all too familiar with the burden of student debt. The Kohls met, dated, and got engaged while they studied at the University of Guelph. Both came from families that were unable to fully support them financially through their education. Their only choice was to take on student loans from the government. $59,258.10 worth of loans between the two of them, to be exact. The two entered into their marriage with relatively the same amount of borrowed money to pay off.
“We were equally yoked in our debt,” Matt jokes. “When we first graduated it felt like a real mountain that was really … unconquerable,” Nicky explains. “It felt really overwhelming. That’s a lot of money.” The Kohls are certainly not alone in this reality. Statistics Canada reports that 57 per cent of students graduate with some form of debt, whether through government student loan programs or other sources. But surprisingly, student debt in Canada is rather underresearched. A thorough and complete investigation of graduate debt hasn’t been conducted by Statistics Canada since 2005. Reports from this analysis indicate that average debt can range anywhere from $13,600 to $25,600. New graduates carry this heavy financial burden and on average spend almost a decade struggling to pay it all off. A survey conducted in 2012 by the Canadian University Survey Consortium shows even higher levels of debt among undergraduate students. These figures, when added to the struggle of the increasingly competitive job market, not to mention having bills to pay and groceries to buy, give new graduates more than 99 problems (and a hefty bank account ain’t one).
Artist. Christian. Yes, you can be both. rockymountaincollege.ca email@example.com
Flickr photo (cc) by Utah State Library
By Amanda Bast
Mike Wellman is a certified financial planner and chartered “Our biggest challenge was getting on the same page and havlife underwriter, with over 25 years of experience in the indusing the same plan,” Matt says. Once they devised a plan together, try. He says he regularly has people like the Kohls in his office the Kohls say they were able to pay off their mountain of debt seeking advice. Much of the time new graduates feel as though in an impressive 26 months. “We both felt like it was a burden their mountain of debt is — like the Kohls mentioned — unconkeeping us from stuff, and we just wanted to get rid of it, so querable. But Wellman says dealing with it is not as impossible we were very motivated. We were good at holding each other as it feels. accountable. God was gracious and blessed us,” Matt says. “Usually I’ve found that because the system is structured “We made choices in our life to sacrifice things that we might such that they can spread it out over a otherwise [have] wanted to do. Or we fairly lengthy period of time, it’s not too put off buying certain things. It was onerous on them to pay it off,” Wellman hard, but we knew it would be worth it says. in the end.” Wellman’s best advice for “I’ve found for most of [new graduates] establishing a plan and a budget? it’s a reasonable figure that’s fairly easy “Getting the numbers down and to manage with a full-time income once actually going through it in some they’ve started their career.” detail,” he says. “Even if you know Matt and Nicky say they knew after you’re getting in trouble, at least if graduating it was in theory possible to you’ve documented it, you can try and pay off their student loans. But they say make some decisions. The biggest one they both felt like it would take a lifeis really living within your means,” time. They worried about how their debt says Wellman. would keep them from doing the things “Documenting all your expenses and they were passionate about. looking at where you can shave things “It felt like something that was conoff,” Wellman says. “Not spending as stricting and restricting,” Matt recalls. much going out to movies or going So, they say they decided to tackle the out to eat or whatever, and just finding debt head on and get rid of it as soon as ways to live within your means.” Worried you won’t be able they could. The Kohls say that not spending In their premarital counselling, they as much on things like groceries and to make your student loan both remember how they discovered that going out to eat was difficult at first. payment? they had very different ways of handling “After you do it for a few months Panicked you’ve already missed a month? The money. Matt was a planner and a saver, your ‘No’ muscle gets stronger,” Nicky Canadian government might be able to help. while Nicky was a self-proclaimed finansays. “It does get easier.” Contact the National Student Loans Service cial free spirit. Wellman gives some tips for recent Centre or your provincial student aid office to “It wasn’t like I was reckless and spent graduates to keep in mind: “Saving 10 talk through your options. with abandon,” she explains. “I was just per cent, making sure a certain amount oblivious.” is being paid against their debts, and Matt took a personal finance course as if they have any other savings goals, part of his undergraduate degree and had put it towards that and then spend the heard of a book by Dave Ramsey called rest.” The Total Money Makeover. Motivated by “But don’t go beyond that,” says Ramsey’s methods, Matt says he decided Wellman. Visit www.canlearn.ca/eng/ for more to make a plan and pay off their debt. He The Kohls are proof that hard work information. says the next step was creating a budget and adhering to a financial plan can and urging Nicky to jump on board. lead to success. They encourage new “It didn’t go that smoothly with me,” Nicky says. graduates who feel like they are drowning in debt to make a plan It took her a few months to realize that a budget wasn’t restrictand stick with it. ing or controlling, Nicky says. And that with proper boundaries, The result is well worth it. it actually gave her financial freedom. She says she listened to “This is going to sound cheesy, but slay the dragon. Get rid Dave Ramsey’s radio show, read his book, and by the spring after of it. You just need to put your head down,” Matt says. “Work as graduation, she was ready to give it a try. hard as you can to get rid of it.”
“Our student loan felt like something that was constricting and restricting.”
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By Kyle Stiemsma | Photography by Kriza Borromeo Props courtesy of St. Andrew’s Book Gift & Church Supply
It seems as though celebrity preachers are caught between two competing golden rules: “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” and “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” convergemagazine.com
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“P Diddy, Jay-Z — they’re not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in large houses.” That’s what Bishop Ron Gibson says in the teaser for the hit Oxygen show Preachers of L.A. The reality television show invites viewers into the lives of real Los Angeles pastors as they struggle with the demands of success. Of course, as Gibson says this, the screen pans across his collection of cars and his glamorous mansion. But he says he hates when people call him a prosperity preacher. “It breaks my heart when people see your glory and don’t understand your story,” Gibson says in the first episode. Lillian Kwon in her recent article in Christian Post says most salaries for megachurch pastors fall somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000. This isn’t including any benefits, book deals, additional speaking honoraria, or other private ventures that they might build from their giant, established platforms. The preachers of reality television are only a sampling of the pastors making bank off the religious industry. And indeed, that is what it is: an industry. Staff managing staff, shuffling deals, products, and content. All in hopes that some might hear the gospel. If these guys are millionaires, it’s very rarely because of their church salary. It’s because of their enterprise. The unfortunate reality is that most pastors are grossly underpaid. I’m currently struggling to put myself through graduate school, and when I complete my master’s degree in theology I probably won’t be granted job security. And it certainly won’t ensure me a higher salary. So what’s my degree good for? Well, I’m hoping to know a bit more about Jesus at the end of it. I felt like I should be a pastor when I was a very young kid — no familial nudging, no outside encouragement. I just knew. And since my childhood I have been half-heartedly, anxiously, apprehensively moving toward a vocation in ministry. So as I think about what the future holds, I don’t have a problem with pastors making a living. I do have a problem with pastors driving Bentleys, though. A big problem. In an age where so many people are pointing to religion as a shallow money-making scam, pastors have to be especially mindful of how they’re perceived. As I listen to some of these larger-than-life preachers, I can’t help but picture Jesus bumpin’ through Jerusalem in a pimped out ride, making it rain on a bunch of poor Jewish folk. Their whole demeanor feeds me an image of a condescending, unwelcoming, belittling Jesus who hung out with poor people because it snagged Him some good press. Are these preachers looking at a different Jesus than I am? I read about a Jesus who entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, a king who had nowhere to lay his head, a Saviour who died with nowhere to be buried. It seems as though celebrity preachers are caught between two competing golden rules: “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” and “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.”
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Rajkumar Dixit is a pastor in Vancouver, B.C. and the author of Branded Faith: Contextualizing the Gospel in a Post-Christian Era. He’s actually a fan of televangelists, but his stance on the ethics of money is clear: “I think we have to ask ourselves, what is humility? And how do we want other people to perceive us?” Dixit asks. “Even if you’re a multimillionaire as a Christian, does that give you the allowance to still drive a pimped out car and fly first class, or fly in your own private jet?” says Dixit. “Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves, how do we lead by example?” Dixit says there is a cultural aspect to all of this that has been going on for decades. He describes it as a type of church-style trickle-down economics. “There’s kind of been a tradition where the pastor gets a new Mercedes every two years and the church pays for that. It’s no secret. I mean, it’s the church who votes it and wants the pastor to have that,” he says. “And if the pastor gets it, then sure enough it will trickle down to us.”
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.” I ask Dixit whether he thinks it’s OK for people to make over six figures doing ministry. “Yes. I do. Jesus says nothing about living a good life. All He has said is the love of money is the root of all evil, but to have money is not evil,” Dixit says. “And to be able to provide for your family comfortably is not evil.” The question shouldn’t be whether or not a pastor earns a good salary, says Dixit. It’s whether or not the pastor should spend it lavishly and flaunt his wealth. Driving a new Mercedes communicates this message: that the material has taken priority over the spiritual. Dixit says that what we wear, what we drive, and how our chequebooks pan out clearly show where we place our value. He says he supports Rick Warren, who practices what is known as reverse tithing. “[Warren] makes a killer amount of money, but he has said, ‘I’m going to use my salary and I’m going to leverage it for God’s kingdom.’ So the same way,” says Dixit, “how do pastors leverage their salary for God’s kingdom?” Rick Warren gives away 91 per cent of his income. It’s important we know this, not so we can be aware of how generous he is, but so we can see a pastor leading by example. Christianity Today puts it aptly in their recent article regarding Ponzi schemes within the church: “Visible, public accountability is vital to the gospel.” “There’s nothing wrong with being rich,” says Dixit. “Look at Jesus. His ministry was supported by wealthy people.” “Jesus wouldn’t have had a place to lay his head in death if it wasn’t for a wealthy person who had their own grave. So the church is dependent and should accept the generosity of people’s wealth.” But you can’t leverage your wealth for the kingdom of God if you don't have any to begin with.
Even if you’re a multimillionaire as a Christian, does that give you the allowance to still drive a pimped out car or fly in your own private jet?
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“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Of course, preachers gone wild are the exception. They’re not in any way a sample of how pastors are living in North America. In an article in the Christian Post, Duke Taber highlights the disparity between those pastors rollin’ in dolla dolla bills and those who are scrounging for their next meal. Taber cites a recent study by The National Association of Church Business Administration: “The average American pastor with a congregation of 300 people earns a salary of less than $28,000. Only five per cent of American pastors earn over $50,000 a year; 14 per cent earn less than $25,000.” As I tell these statistics to Dr. Iain Provan, Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College, I can see the frustration fill his eyes. “$28,000 a year is a very low salary in most contexts in North America,” says Provan. “I believe that the median household income in the U.S. is [just over $50,000] and Canada is not very different. If the average income of all the folks in a congregation is $28,000 a year, well, OK — pastors don’t pastor in order to become wealthy. But there needs to be thoughtfulness and fairness in each case.” Pastors are underpaid. Most undergo nearly as much education as a medical doctor, often racking up student loans as they study through their undergraduate and then on into an intensive graduate program. A student seeking to enter vocational ministry is typically required to undergo seven and a half years of full-time university training. And for good reason. People from every walk of life look to clergy as they attempt to answer life’s biggest questions. If these clergy are not thoroughly trained, then shallow answers can easily have destructive implications. Only in Christian circles can you ask people to put in so many hours and so much effort and never give them proper compensation. The church seems to have drifted unaware of the whole “time is money” mantra. “Sometimes I hear about an honorarium that’s offered for a speaking engagement, and I think, ‘Given the per hour workload involved in this, that amounts to less than what you’d pay your babysitter,’” Provan says. When we undervalue work as Christians, we put forth a sloppy ethic. And it’s no different than when we overvalue the celebrity lives of the preachers gone wild. It’s a simple problem that often owes itself largely to ignorance. Speaking of this prominent unawareness regarding pastors’ salaries, Provan says, “It’s something that sensible people can all agree on when they actually think about it, but there’s a mental disconnect or something. People sometimes seem to assume that people who do ministry live on air.” Most pastors struggle to provide a decent life for their families. Many will never quit because they’re doing what they believe God has called them to do. So, most struggling pastors pick up second jobs, moonlighting to put their kids through school. On top of the perpetual demands of pastoring, this explains the rampant burnout we see in church leaders. Dixit says he looks at the pastors in their Bentleys and sees it as a reaction to the squalor that most pastors live in. “If you have someone who is talented, who is able to grow any kind of organization,” he says, “you should be able to fund that.”
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“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” People who work hard should be able to treat themselves. But we also must be mindful of the very real sin that’s called gluttony (a sin that’s often overlooked in the church), while being educated on the disparity and injustice that exists in the world. “I’m not a believer in the prosperity gospel,” says Dixit, “but I think it does have some good traits to it, and that is for you to believe that God doesn’t want you to be a poor beggar.” “God has given people wealth for one purpose and it’s not for them to spend it on themselves, it’s for them to leverage it for God’s kingdom — to help the poor, help the needy, help the widows, to educate young people,” he says. “Not to buy more cars to fit in your garage.”
Phone: 519-651-2869 Toll Free: 1-800-465-1961 DiscoverHeritage.ca Pursuing God with Passion & Excellence 52 | CONVERGE. march - april
Which clergy bring home the most bacon? (kosher pun intended) Rabbis — by a long shot — make the highest salaries in religious vocations. The average rabbi brings home approximately $140,000. Christians, statistically make over 100,000 less than rabbis. Among Christian clerics, Catholic priests are typically paid the least. While no comprehensive survey on the income of Islamic Imams has been conducted, the Muslim clergy in America appears to make the least of all monotheistic religions. Imams bring in around $30,000 annually and rarely receive a housing stipend. Many moonlight as teachers or shop owners.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Humility doesn’t make good reality television. St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa both ran enterprises that ministered to multitudes. But at the end of the day they never retreated into a mansion worthy of MTV Cribs. They both lived according to the golden rule Jesus spoke of: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It’s the golden rule we should all live by when considering how much to pay those who work for us, and when choosing who to listen to as we search for the gospel. Jesus didn’t mess around; He took this golden rule thing and lobbed it into a whole new playing field. His command is this: “Love each other as I have loved you.”
Vacation time is often a big deal for the clergy, but very few of God’s workers take their full allotment of vacation days. With weddings and funerals and spiritual crises everywhere, clerics in all religions and denominations are suffering some of the worst burnout in any career field, having an increased risk of all kinds of illnesses, especially high blood pressure and depression. Source: Slate.com
Bible references from Luke 18:24-25; Luke 14:11, 18:24; Matthew 27:58-59; Luke 6:20; John 10:10; Luke 6:31.
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Sherlock vs. Watson By Joel Bentley
ast month Sherlock returned for another season of intrigue, plot twists, and puzzles. I won’t spoil any of it here, suffice to say that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is a particularly irritating one, and we see him through the eyes of Dr. Watson, who looks as bewildered as someone whose existence has been interrupted by a dozen uninvited dwarfs. In my mind, Watson is the real hero of the show, standing by Sherlock’s side despite the damage it does to Watson’s own relationships and peace of mind. Sherlock’s super intellect drives him to isolation the way it drove Batman underground and Anakin into the dark. Does anyone else see Sherlock becoming completely unhinged in season four? The guy is already an admitted sociopath (but not a psychopath, he assures us, as if that were a consolation). “He will outlive God trying to have the last word,” Watson scolds, and we can’t help but think that he will eventually get so violently bored that he breathes fire. If that’s the case, Watson is our only hope. He’s been under Sherlock’s tutelage long enough to be the perfect antidote to Evil Sherlock, knowing his weaknesses as he does: human emotion and astronomy. So let’s hope Cumberbatch and Freeman will carve some time out of harbouring gold and magic rings to give us what we really want — a duel for the ages: Sherlock vs. Watson.
Illustration by Yukiko Adachi
A duel for the ages: who would win?
Music Songs for Spring
Lucius springs to life with its zig-bang debut, Wildewoman. The band is led by two female vocalists (Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) who flourish their guitar-based pop with lush harmonies. The songs are so full of life and love they’ll have you longing for sunny days and using your own lungs to join in with this incredibly singable album. Throughout its 11 tracks, Lucius borrows from a grab bag of influences: a dirty groove stolen from Spoon (“Nothing Ordinary”), bubbling arpeggios that recall The Shins (“Until We Get There”), and even a country twang (“Go Home”). In other words, it’s a wild album.
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Jordan Klassen Repentance Jordan Klassen is the kind of unassuming musician who you may not find striking on first listen (except for his hit “Go To Me”) but repeated spins reap hidden treasures. These are often found within the lyrics, like this gem from the opener: “Love does punch some holes in despair.” He’s the kind of musician who will bring the soaring guitar riff of “Piano Brother” down to a hushed, almost whispered verse. I’ve heard one of his contemporaries call this specific genre of music “grand folk.” It’s an apt description for Repentance: from the choral pop of “The Horses Are Stuck” to the slow build romance of “Balcony.”
Broken Bells After the Disco It’s incredibly rare for a DJ and singersongwriter to release a sophomore album. Even with the great heights that Postal Service reached, the band never had a proper following. So it’s a bit of a feat in itself that Broken Bells has done just that with their second album, After the Disco. After establishing a consistent aesthetic in their self-titled debut, James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse toy with that sound to create something entirely different. It’s an aptly titled album, with songs pulled straight from a ’70s dance club and blended together with Mercer’s familiar croon.
READS Discovering the Past Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter Beautiful Ruins begins in the tiny coastal town of Porto Vergogna, Italy. Squeezed between rocky cliffs and the crisp blue sea, this town holds a story that is about to unfold. Pasquale Tursi, who runs “Hotel Adequate View,” is the keeper of this story, and throughout the novel’s 300 pages it unfolds in letters, scripts, chapters of fictional novels, emails, and plays. Jess Walter is a funny and gracious author, and he divides his tale generously between a whole swath of characters, from despicable Hollywood producers to hapless writers. At the heart of his novel is the power of stories, and in his ambition he attempts to give each one of these characters a chance to tell and, more importantly, form their own. Each one must come to grips with the chances presented, the decisions made or about to be made, to realize “all we have is the story we tell.”
The Living Annie Dillard I’ve never read a book quite like The Living. It reads almost like an oral history of the Pacific Northwest, specifically the establishment of Bellingham, Washington in the 19th century. The novel is nearly devoid of dialogue, and as such it is a fairly slow read. Jumping from one character to the next, Annie Dillard often covers a year’s worth of events in a matter of a few pages. A boy wakes one morning to find that his family of six
has drowned. A girl is knocked out by a falling tree, never to wake again. These pioneer days are fraught with every kind of danger, as one after another people are plucked from the land of the living like so many flowers. But this is not just a book about the fragility of life. It is also full of some incredible scenes. Of love: when a woman realizes that her love has “reciprocated her profoundest and most secret feelings,” she concludes that they had invented “this wild sensation,” which, “would be, she thought, just like them.” Or of growing older: “He had become a man when he learned the chief fact of life, which is to take it slow and steady.” It’s an epic read that’s worth the time.
A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor Flannery O’Connor’s A Prayer Journal is its own recently discovered past. Hidden away for over 50 years, the journal was brought to light and published in its entirety last year. The journal portrays a young artist grappling with a clash of new ideas. As W.A. Sessions notes in his introduction, O’Connor is grappling with “the university world of Iowa, where new influences, including intellectual joys, brought with them questions and skepticism.” It is a beautiful companion to anyone struggling with their own identity and beliefs. O’Connor began writing her first novel, Wise Blood, while composing this journal, and is now widely recognized as one of the great American authors of the 20th century. But this journal, which she never meant to be published, offers an unpolished, honest look at the writer’s struggles: “I do not know You God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.” It’s a tiny little book, but one I highly recommend.
economy Filling our emptiness with gratitude By Michelle Sudduth
e all have an insatiable desire for something more. In this frustrating life where our appetite never ceases, we constantly find ourselves seeking to satisfy these cravings. Usually, we end up concluding that we need more money to do so. Yes, we all need to buy the basics like food and clothing. But most of us don’t have daydreams of eating hotdogs in our living room. We don’t have to look beyond our own shopping bags to see that our money is entangled with our longings. We want the prestige that a new car brings, to taste the success that an exotic vacation communicates, or to get that new dress that makes us appear confident. This is the site of a major spiritual battleground: where our true needs duke it out with what our culture says we need.
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You and I actually require very simple things to live. When enjoyed fully, even life’s basics carry enough of a daily load on their own. Obviously, extras aren’t necessarily negative. And often they are even very good things. But they aren’t the ultimate “desire fulfillers” we mistake them for. The realities of death, economic crisis, and other circumstances out of our control reveal that unless there is richness to our daily lives, we will seek whatever we think will make us more fulfilled. And when we find out those things don’t satisfy our desires, we end up somewhere along the spectrum of disappointed to devastated. Often we discover we’ve got it all wrong, so we try something else. The painful cycle then repeats. One of the primary invitations of the Christian life is for our emptiness to be filled with the riches of a relationship with God. And because it is a contender for the same real estate in our souls, money is one of the most addressed topics in Scripture. The book of Ecclesiastes sheds some light around the futility of human desire. We hear from King Solomon, someone who “had it all,” telling us that having it all doesn’t actually solve the problem of unfulfilled desire. Dreams that seem utopian are illusions. I’m convinced the only way to handle money well is to receive it as a gift. If you have money, it is God who has shared it with you, along with the numerous graces that have allowed you to work, save, and build a life. In seeing the bounty that God has provided, our spirit becomes more grateful, generous, and wise with how we interact with our finances. When our needs are prescribed by the world, we are snared with entitlement, stress, and control. But if we live within God’s economy, our spending will increasingly partake in the flourishing of the most important things in our personal lives, as well as in our local and global communities.
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