gion doesn’t have the corner on the market
in providing these social goods.
I raise this more as a question. I infer
that on one hand we should be concerned,
but on the other hand we do have this
broad social Canadian narrative that says
we should care for the underdog. We look
at the response to Syrian refugees right
now, for example. Maybe we are moving
in the direction of Scandinavia? That’s the
big question that I throw out.
FT: What is your motivation in your research?
You seem to have a deep love for the Canadian
Church, warts and all.
JT: I’m actively part of a local church. I’ve
served on church boards and been involved in various leadership roles. I’ve
seen and experienced and tasted the
benefits of community. I want to see as
many thrive and flourish as possible.
There are all kinds of research that
show the physical and social benefits of
those who are connected to a congregation, but also benefits to society at large,
to the city. I care because I know a lot of
congregations in Canada are struggling.
I think there are a lot of well-intentioned
people trying all kinds of things, shooting in the dark, hoping something will
stick, and sometimes drawing on stuff
from the States.
I care deeply about arming and equipping pastors and leaders to lead out of a
strong empirical understanding of what
is happening in Canada and the U.S. And
to have some best practices that can
connect with different congregations. I
have a deep-seated passion to provide
good information. We need to be educated and informed to make good decisions. We can’t think that if we just read
the Bible more and pray harder, our
church will grow.
I have a pure academic interest in these
things. I enjoy hearing people’s stories,
working on survey data and how it connects with the broad historical trends.
But theologically I have a responsibility
to be a steward of that information. I see
that as part of a returning of the gift. The
information needs to move beyond the
FT: Thank you, Joel. /FT
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2016_3_LightforallNations.indd 1 2016-04-11 4:48PM