The Laity Square Blog

Church and State (and You and Me)
Election 44 is finally behind us. If you’ve already had enough of it, don’t worry – this isn’t about that. Many people had something to say during the campaign, clergy being a notable exception. This got me thinking about the broader topic of religion in the public square, which includes the separation of church and state, but goes beyond it. Today, I discuss this from a historical, philosophical, and legal perspective, looking at the state-level and private overlap between religion and societal life in modern Canada. Read more

Repositioning Science
Many contemporary debates seem to circle around science’s lack of authority in areas where arguably it should lead the way. Examples include climate change and public health, to name just two. Science seems to have lost prestige and authority in society. And today I want to explore what drives that, and how are we able to reposition science in our daily conversations around us – what I call our “small public squares”. Read more

A Brief Theology of Work
Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of the summer in North America. In our modern services and knowledge economy, we don’t think much about labor anymore; but work-related discussions remain top of mind. I’m talking about concepts like productivity, the pandemic’s Great Working From Home Experiment, and the idea of four-day work weeks. Work may seem mundane, but it’s actually quite philosophical, and today we dive into that philosophy. Read more

Be Nice, Get Help, Go to Heaven?
To debate worldviews, you need to know them well enough. Watered-down or incorrect versions won’t suffice when it comes to defending your beliefs or questioning those of others. This makes the prevalence of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism in North America particularly troublesome. We need to identify it and separate it from true Christianity if we expect to bring solid Christian arguments into our public squares. Read more

As Good as It Gets?
The prospect of thinking about and finding new worlds attracts some people to science fiction and space exploration. Worlds that in some ways could be better than ours. This issue seems to mesmerize humanity. Since centuries before space travel was possible, the evaluation of our world – whether it could be better, and how so – has been pondered by philosophers. Today we’ll look at this question: is this world as we know it the best of all possible worlds? Read more

Life Beyond Earth
Interest in alien life and UFOs skyrocketed (pun intended) in June, as the US military announced it would release a report on UFO sightings. The report came out exactly a month ago. It was a bit disappointing, and it really didn’t change the debate on alien life. However, it made me realize just how philosophical that topic is. Read on as I explore how philosophy, science, science fiction, the origin of life, and Christianity all converge here. Read more

The Matter of Meaning
Over the last two weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of the letter of the law aligning with the spirit of the law, and the importance of authorial intent and original context when interpreting texts. Two assumptions underlie these discussions. One is that meaning matters. The other is that language has power to convey meaning and even impact the world. Today we wrap this mini-series by looking more closely at these assumptions. Read more

It Says… It Means…
Last week we talked about the spirit and the letter of the law: why they deviate from each other, implications for law making, and even for celebrating holidays, which are a special type of rule. We observed that when the author of the law is still around, it’s possible to ask questions and close loopholes. But what if the author is long gone? That is our topic today: extracting meaning from texts. Read more

In Spirit and Letter
As I resume regular episodes and blog posts, I want to visit really basic, but really important concepts that apply to lawmaking and interpretation and other equally important aspects of life. And in that vein, in this article I’ll talk about the concept of the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law. Read more

Kingdom and Monarchy
It’s Victoria Day weekend in Canada, the unofficial start of Canadian summer, and we reflect on the concepts of monarchy and kingdom. What is the role of monarchies today? What does the Bible say about various forms of government? And as the modern notion of monarchy declines, is the idea of God’s kingdom still relevant? Read more