Hang on a minute, when did authenticity take a turn for the worst?


The thrill of being known as authentic – the ego – in a John Lennon sort of way.  I’m cool. I’m real – hide your hymnbooks, hide your piety  - here I come.  I certainly drank the cool-aid on this one. I’ve been using authenticity for years now to gain points with others and God.  Amidst our hunger for significance, the heart can be devious. It has a habit of turning on itself.

Bible scholars have the same danger. Theirs is allowing intellectualism to be its own goal.  

Artists sip on their own cool-aid.

Martha drank the Spray-n-Wipe.

These dangers abound because we all are weak.  In the book of Matthew, the Bible warns us that ‘the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak’. Always Christ points us towards holiness as our benchmark. We tend to want to create a fancy-dress costume of our own making on our pilgrimage towards that goal.

Today re-focus with a time of quiet contemplation. Make your attributes work for good rather than for self.

True silence is the rest of the mind and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment, and refreshment.
— William Penn

Give me that old time gospel story

As I grow older I am more often than not identified as Auntie Louise or Grandma particularly in Asia. The elderly are given respect all over Asia and they deserve it. Many intentionally help out with their grandchildren. Our friends there have their two grandsons with them for over 2 weeks from Kuala Lumpur in the school holidays. Nothing is too much. They show such love for them. Oldies assist churches and non profits with time, finances and advice.

The last stage of life is to be viewed as a time for intensified spiritual work as well as for passing on wisdom to other generations. Don't get me wrong ‘sixty is the new fifty’ but I am well aware that I need some spiritual tweeking in order to be of value to younger generations. Let the work begin.

I have buried myself in a cloak of mysticism which has been such a time of healing but now feel ready to approach the old time - the gospel train with a renewed outlook and confidence. Our time at a prophetic conference last year reminded me of days gone by. Intense. Passionate. I continue to trust and find new hope in Christ.


As Paul said " I’ve decided that while I was with you I would forget about everything except Jesus Christ  and his death on the cross." 


Full Circle




The Breaking of Bread

An excerpt from one of the beautifully aggressive pieces from Jesuit priest, Daniel Berrigan (1921 -  2016). Berrigan's legacy of work manages to constantly surprise and startle me. This simple essay on bread and the poor is simply profound. 

Take your “typical man” across the world. Let him in. Look at him, he isn’t white, he probably isn’t clean. He certainly isn’t well fed or American, or Christian. So then what? What’s left? Well, maybe now we’re getting somewhere; Christ is all that’s left, if you’re looking for a mystery. He’s real as a man. Don’t just stand there! Sit him down. Offer him some bread! He’ll understand that; bread comes across. So does Christ – Luke says so – in the breaking of bread. What a beautiful sound – try and see!

I keep thinking of that poor man. And his face, when someone shows up against all odds to treat him like a human being. But that isn’t all, or even half the truth. The other half, or more, is what he sees in you. And that’s a mercy, because Christ is merciless about the poor. He wants them around – always, and everywhere. He’s condemned them to live with us. It’s terrifying. I mean for us, too. It’s not only that we are ordered, rigorously ordered, to serve the poor. That’s hard enough; Christ gives so few orders in all the gospel. but the point is, what the poor see in us – and don’t see, too. We stand there, American, White, Christian, with the keys of the kingdom and the keys of the world in our pocket. Everything about us says: Be like me! I’ve got it made. But the poor man sees the emperor – naked. Like the look of Christ, the poor man strips us down to the bone.

Read the whole essay HERE

Common Book of Prayer - Night Prayer

As I lay down to sleep I am aware of those in trouble and distress this night.  I find this beautiful Prayer ......

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch,

or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary,

bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted,

shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.


The Generous Grocer (Part Two) - VIDEO COMING SOON


Anthony Sullivan from Marketplace IGA on Robson Street writes:

I’ve seen Hannes each morning while he picks up from our store and we’ve become friends, exchanging stories and getting to know one another. But, embarrassingly, I had never seen his program first hand. That was finally about to change. Hannes, his sous chef Hannah, his volunteers and the tenants who use his program were gracious enough to let me spend a day beside them learning about how it all works - where our food ended up.

Read about the impact of Anthony’s recent 'field trip' to Soulkitchen HERE

The Generous Grocer (Part One)


Read the story of how our partnership with IGA on Robson Street began. We are so thankful for the produce they bring to the Soulkitchen table!

Anthony Sullivan from IGA writes: 

After years of trying to donate our imperfect food to numerous charitable organizations without much success, in 2014 we finally found our man. He was a dedicated international Chef named Hannes Tischauser. Chef Hannes is the Founder of Soul Kitchen, an organization with the stated goal of creating “healthy and vibrant communities by welcoming the marginalized and lonely to the table and into the kitchen.
This guy talked the talk and walked the walk. He carried a steadfast conviction to do good work for his community, save perfectly usable food from the trash and teach others to follow his example”

Read the story HERE    



A beautiful bunch of words indeed. Although, not a highly acclaimed poem by literary standards, it makes some noise for me on this rainy Sunday afternoon..... 


A poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Written 1910


big time love


We met back in 1986. I was in recovery from the highs and lows of a couple of savage years spent in Canada.  Regrouping in Switzerland was supposed to solve all our problems.  The grass is greener there! Hannes and I were going to try and make this thing work out. 

A friend invited us to a downtown Zurich club. The usual -  stage, live music, a DJ, tiered seating and a mosh pit up the front. We slid into one of the back rows up in the balcony. 
First thing to note was that, everyone, I mean everyone, seemed to love the DJ. They were shouting things out to him, dancing and singing – everyone seriously adored him. At first, I thought it was some kind of magic show. Tricky smoke screen.   Paranormal vibe.
I suppose that's why when he looked at me – with those eyes- like I was the only one in the room – it took me by surprise. I hadn't even dressed up. I'd put on a bit of weight in Vancouver. I felt fat.  And my boyfriend was sitting right next to me. It was unnerving. Nice but unnerving. And when I say that he looked at me, it was, instead, a gaze. As if he was looking right through me. He knew everything about me.
We kept going back to the weekly gig, and I'd have the same kind of feeling. I had the impression the DJ wished everyone would just shut up and leave the room so we could be together and get to know each another.
I just cried.  Each time I just sat down and cried buckets of tears. It was embarrassing. He was everything I had been looking for in a friend. And yet I hardly knew him.

He made everyone feel special. 
I was unfaithful right from the start.
He understood.
He also loved others, but it wasn't the same - I think I was unique or at least he made me feel that way. For some reason, I didn't feel the slightest jealousy.

I had heard of his book. A book that made every bestseller list every year. Translated in over 600 languages.  I'd tried to get into it during my university years.  It was tough going. On par with Homer's Odessey or Plato's Republic.  Part One was a family saga with a science fiction quality. The sequel was more straightforward and made some sense. Dylanesque in the way he saw humanity.  Blowing in the wind. 
So now that I had actually met the author, I dusted off the copy we had at home and gave it another try. Still complex. But it was beginning to make sense. 

I contend that the invitation I had all those years ago changed my life. If someone had said that I would meet him and immediately fall for it, I would have laughed. But that was that.  I did. 
Our friendship has been rocky at times.  Heaps of misunderstandings. I've listened to gossip about him and read the reviews which have caused me to think twice.  But, you know what, he hasn't ever done anything wrong by me. I see that way he cares. He's always there for me. His political views and social justice platform shows he gets it. And He keeps on loving me even when I'm in the wrong. 

And today we share another milestone. Resurrection Sunday.  We joke that he has two birthdays. 
I'm making him a panettone and scooping out the middle - empty tomb cake. He'll love it.

I'm Afraid of Me


In 2010 I was ordained.  Ordained as a Pastor, Minister of Religion, Reverend, or member of the clergy. Whatever you want to call it.  To be ordained didn’t seem very significant actually.  It didn’t change anything.  I still did the same tasks, mixed with the same crowd, and cleaned the same house. I struggled for a while. Had I earned it?  At one point I made the decision to just accept it. The small print says that it is indeed a spiritual gift, not of any earthly worth, but given by God in order that I might equip others.

So I began to look instead at honouring the ‘badge’. Ensuring that I represented my ‘uniform’ well. I was to spend time straining to act justly, to love mercy and to try to walk humbly (Micah 6).

Then we moved out of pastoring within a church. We planted ourselves in Vancouver. Here, my pastoral landscape is very different. I don’t serve a particular congregation. I don’t work within the walls of a church. But I have found a new parish. A new set of pews. My parish-in-ers have become more like parish-out-ers.

My pulpit became the street, the bus, my desk, my neighbourhood and anywhere I find myself with other humans.

I have called many of my old practices into question. I am like a Neurosurgeon trained in traditional surgery who now recognises that the key-hole method is the way to go. More organic and gentle. Less brutal. So I am trialling new ways of demonstrating Jesus. Some work – some don’t.   Some believe me, some walk away, some grip my hand and beg me to walk with them.

I have become acutely aware that I am surrounded by a common humanity – we are all in this together.  We are all God’s children – I am just fortunate enough to have been personally introduced – and somehow have sustained a robust belief in the source of that humanity – Christ.  I am called to become deeply affectionate towards all of life.  Called to treasure those that God has made.  Wanting the best for them.  This must be the Love.

The lines in the sand are faint now – I am less sure of who is in and who is out – we are all being pushed forward in this wave of life.  I surely just want to point others towards hope. I want those around me to see the Jesus that I love.

I am, however, afraid of me. Afraid of my own ability to fail in this. I often turn bad. No-one is looking. My tendency is to draw those lines of judgement again.   My religious bigotry lurking nearby. It’s tough. I’m still a pastor.  A very ordinary one.




When you see another year approaching you might choose to ignore the fact that there is an open window right in front of you to see a fresh opportunity for growth and wellbeing. I’m not one, for setting new year’s resolutions lightly, just because it hasn’t worked out for the majority of people, it just doesn’t work out without a concrete plan and strategy.

New year’s solutions are usually faded away by mid-march and we’re longing for the spring or summer to bring perhaps the change we do desperately wanting. We tend to look to the sun and warm weather to show us the way forward in life. I’m learning to set goals into my daily routine which are helping me to stay on track and achieve actually the changes I like to see for my life, even if the sun doesn’t shine. “Embracing the New” is something I take seriously and I’ve built a four-word strategy around it. I liken it to scaffolding erected to ensure that my house is going to be built for 2018 and beyond. 

I’d like to share those four words with you, in the hope that you can benefit from it and build your life around it also.




...staying focused and speak out what you’re hoping to achieve, being determined to pursue your set out goals, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem to others. This is about you.





...walking and staying active, not only physically, but training your mind and soul by reading & learning is so important for our wellbeing.





... trying out new ways to connect with the community around you with wellness & friendship in mind is vital. “Less fear” simply just “giving it a go” will pay off.




... freedom is something we all long for -  free of any bondage, any unhealthy attachments, habits and friendships. We will recognize it  when we are FREE from all that clutter we carry. You’re not alone in this and there is help available to chisel off that “hard crust” and embrace the NEW LIFE for you..


You are in my prayers  

Chef Hännes



The first trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold in 1936 to help them with their circus act.  Griswold – an alarming name! In 1942, Griswold and Nissen created the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company and began making trampolines commercially in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

So that is a brief history of the common trampoline.  Today there are above-ground trampolines, in-ground trampolines, mini trampolines and more. Most popular for family yards is a spring-free ’enclosed’ model. This type of trampoline allows the children to safely jump within the confines of the netting without limiting the fun.

The Garden of Genesis 1 was supposed to be such a place.  Completely safe from evil without limiting the fun. Adam and Eve were given permission and, indeed, authority to ‘go for it’. Until they got tricked. The serpent convinced them that God was holding out on them and that, if they could somehow break through the net, they would become Gods themselves. They believed him. And things began to unravel. They didn’t feel safe anymore.

The Father sent Jesus to restore us. To demonstrate that we could be set free from that shame. Strangely enough, Jesus tells us that we actually can be like God – made in His image. Everything that Adam and Eve put on the line. 

Religion is the definition of a platform with no bounce. Flat. Hard. Rigid.  A religious spirit encourages us never to leave the surface – never to try to leave the mat. Jump at your own risk.

Instead, the New Covenant encourages us to jump – jump high. You will always return to the mat.  And there is a bounce in the mat. Grace. The trampoline gently breaks our falls. As we mature we get more adept at jumping higher – seeing further -  whilst still remaining dependent on God. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
— Deuteronomy 31:6


I recently took my grand-daughters to a fun park in the country. We went on the bouncy castle with them. It was wild. Hannes, Noah, me and two tiny girls. We jumped and fell over and flew down the inflated slides. The bounce made us fearless and full of energy. We were in our Garden of Eden – safe, shameless, family. And it was great fun.

Today I thank you God for putting the bounce in our faith. You have perfectly regulated the elasticity. Not too soft so as to suffocate us when we fall from a high place. And yet not too hard that we will break our bones on landing. Thanks.


A Bystander


Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosopher,  in his book ‘After Virtue’ offers the following thought:

I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’

Religion as a moral measuring stick has been replaced with an age, strangely with a huge evidence of moral pressure, but an age that doesn’t offer a way through – a clear path. Instead we are immersed in a quagmire of politicization, scapegoating, shaming, blaming -  depending on where you fit in the story. The only way to absolve ourselves from being right in the guilt or accountability chamber is to become a watcher and bystander. Watching political, tribal and cultural powers slugging it out. Instead of our lens seeing any moral struggle as something between me and God it now takes on a framework around groups or, as McIntyre notes the story that I find myself a part of.  

The present age, more than any other, certainly gives us a looking glass to see what our storylines are. Technology makes us privy to far more of the story that we sometimes care or need to know. Does our voyeurism then make us responsible? We saw it. Therefore, we know. Therefore, we are responsible? David Brooks points out the danger of this moral crisis:

At least religions offer people a path from self-reflection and confession to atonement and absolution. Mainstream culture has not clear path upward from guilt, either for the individual or groups.


I am a part of a God Story.  That becomes very relevant to keep in the foreground. I am a part of this world and its storylines but also a part of a supernatural story.



Many Fathers


Someone once said that when we get pre-occupied with just knowing stuff about God our spiritual lives become a bit like trying to view the galaxies through a pair of $5 binoculars.  We gravitate towards teaching that shows us what to look for instead of how to look. Methods that speaks things into our ears instead of teaching us how to hear.  And viewing things on a screen instead of giving us a video camera to make movies ourselves.  The modern church structure tends to be happy to feed us this way. The motives are good and stem from a hierarchical system that wants to pass on knowledge and experience.  Like the father/son model.  The majority are happy with this model because they feel comfortable with someone in leadership giving them all the answers.  It makes us feel safe.  We like the duality of good versus evil and black and white theology.  We want order, controlled order, even though we read the gospels and know that Jesus created disorder and seemed comfortable about his messy mission. Then we bring in the Holy Spirit and everything goes pear-shaped.  The prophetic creates futures that don’t seem ordered or sometimes sensible. It’s fun though isn’t it?

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 1 Cor 4:15 ESV

 Fathers then hold a very important space in this paradigm to encourage, listen and promote rather than only to teach and direct. These are the type of Fathers that the scriptures tell us are in short supply.  It is the unusual father who will allow the son to dissemble the well-worn path and hack through the bush to find a new way.  The good father is there to encourage and to wipe his brow.  To throw the party when the venture is in harvest mode and to make up the spare room when the son needs to return to the fold.

Lord make us mothers and fathers like that.  Not holding on to our pride or property but giving all generations the green light to be pioneers of the new.


Emptier and Fuller

wide space.jpg

Some people have full but empty lives. Others enjoy a relatively ‘small’ life but enjoy a satisfyingly full world. Some want fuller, richer lives. Other will be putting a simpler, ‘lesser’ life on their New Year wish list.

Ann Voskamp’s almost new classic ‘One Thousand Gifts’ (2010) has a chapter entitled, An Emptier Fuller Life. She puts out a dare for us to lead emptier but fuller lives. I am at that point in my life.  I understand where her train of thought is headed.

Unfortunately, our culture places so much emphasis on the outward expressions or activities that appear to make up a full life. We worry about people who don’t go out much, who enjoy loads of solitude or who just aren’t very talkative. We encourage them to join a group or, in our case, attend one of our community meals.

Often I can find myself dragging others into my world – rather than meeting them in theirs.

“Our disasters come from letting nothing live for itself, from the longing we have to pull everything, even friends into ourselves, and let nothing alone.” Robert Bly


Our community groups, social programs and churches can exercise a heavy-handed arm twist to get participants into a ‘third place’ that is of our making and might not be a place of safety or comfort for the participant.

Hannes and I offered a Christmas Brunch as usual this year at our kitchen space at Karis Place. Many of our friends had gone to family and friends for Christmas Day. There were only about 25-30 who sat down for the meal. We had no carols, no entertainment, no special Christmas gifts…..just a table brimming with great food.  Smoked salmon on toast, salads, eggs with hollandaise and a host of other foods. It really was a good spread. But for me it wasn’t enough. I wanted the music, the sparkles and the trimmings.  But Hannes knew it was enough.  He demonstrated that Voskamp-like fullness in simplicity.  He made it simple and family style – noting that of the guests had enough of all the trimmings and wanted a quiet morning.

A community that can work towards developing spaces that are full and yet empty of excess is the challenge. Perhaps it will allow love in its purest form to triumph and not the ‘toys’.