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Jesus Followers, Saskatchewan Style

The thing that always gets me – a big reason I love attending conference events – is that different Jesus followers in different places do the same things so, well…, differently.

It wasn’t a surprise, but it struck me again that Jesus followers in Saskatchewan churches are not the same as at home. They look like Saskatchewan. What does that mean? It’s hard for me to identify something specific, but believe me, I feel it. But I like it.

The welcome video from the SKMB churches was a nice snapshot of what church looks like in Saskatchewan. It reminded me that despite the beauty of various parts of the landscape, the most scenic part of Saskatchewan – in theological perspective, at least – is the people.

Not only do churches come in all shapes and sizes – rural and urban, large and small, young and old – they come in all types of human being. There are churches where members come with much to give, and also churches where members come with great needs. There are churches where cultures meet, mix, and meld – and where new transformed cultures emerge out of changed lives.

Phil Gunther acknowledged that we are on Treaty 6 land here in Saskatoon. I appreciate that statement, but I am never sure how to respond. I think that it is very difficult for a white male Canadian from a functional, nurturing Christian home to realize the depths of the privilege I have experienced. I know I’m a settler. I can’t help it. Frankly, I’m often not sure what I ought to do about it. I realize that thinking that thought is a very white male thing to do, and maybe there’s a lesson I can learn there.

Dallas Pelly
PHOTO: Tony Schellenberg

Dallas Pelly reminded me that we are all beneficiaries of the treaty regarding the land we are on. We are connected – to the land, and to one another – in ways we realize, but also in many we tend to overlook (or minimize). Maybe being a faithful Christian has a lot to do with simply acknowledging my connectedness more than it does with trying to manage and make sense of my individual life.

At Kinsmen Park, I heard from Jesus followers who spoke different languages. I imagined how amusing it must have been to see clumsy white people like me try to dance while singing worship songs. I think some others were thinking the same thing, because they kept looking around as though they thought passersby might be watching them.

In the end, however, for all the differences I noticed, I think the most important things I noticed from Saskatchewan Jesus followers were things that are the same as where I live. Believers feel the call to do the same simple things that are important back home. Show up. Acknowledge people. Love others. Pray.

We can’t help the things that make us different, but we can all participate in the things that make us one. We are who we are, but we are connected, and we can each bring what we are to the potluck. That seems a pretty fair takeaway for the day.

[Brian is a member of South Abbotsford Church and a professor at MB Seminary

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Kevin Koop July 13, 2018 - 17:47

Thanks for this reflection Brian. One of the things about Saskatchewan–in terms of culture–that has stood out to me, particularly since I’ve moved away, is the way in which “Love your neighbour as yourself” is a way of life. It has rural roots, ex. leave the keys in your pick up because you don’t know when you’ll be the guy stranded on the road in the dead of winter in need of a ride. Admittedly some of the at culture is changing. but as I reflect on the many ways that province has shaped me, that rises to the top of the list. Collaboration and community are instinctive–that’s the Saskatchewan way. It’s what motivated Tommy Douglas to come up with universal health care, and my hope is it will be what also motivates us as MB’s as we embark on the next chapter as well.

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