Author: David Warkentin

Seek the Welfare of the Suburbs

 They may not be seen as exciting, but the ‘burbs need a Christian presence, too. Suburbs are the place not to be. In conversations around creative cultural engagement, I’ve noticed suburbs are viewed as boring, a kind of anti-culture to be avoided if at all possible. Defined by car dependence, generic housing, sprawling development, big box business stores, and a host of other negative characteristics, many see suburban culture as unappealing, repulsive even. In these places of hyper-consumerism and selfish isolation, any grander vision of a flourishing social culture seems lost. Sociologist John Macionis describes the ‘burbs with unflinching candour:...

Read More

Does Vancouver Have a Soul?

Religion reporter Douglas Todd discusses faith and culture in British Columbia’s largest city. Interview by David Warkentin   There aren’t many people, if any, who have spent more time reflecting on religion and culture in Cascadia than Douglas Todd. As a lifelong resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, and a journalist in the area of North American spirituality and culture, Todd has a passion to explore the deepest human experiences while paying attention to the nuances of culture as well. He edited Cascadia: An Elusive Utopia and has been a columnist for The Vancouver Sun in the area of spirituality,...

Read More

Housing and the Peace of the City

Vancouver is routinely named one of the best cities in which to live. Yet, optimism is quickly shattered by the cost of actually living in Vancouver. Where one headline reads, “Best city to live” another quips, “Most unaffordable city.” The reality is that the cost of housing in Vancouver continues to rise with no end in sight. Cost of housing is an economic issue. It’s a practical issue. And for Christians in the area, it’s a faith issue. In Vancouver, unaffordable housing has created a culture of unease, a lack of personal and social peace. Vancouver churches and Christians...

Read More

Consuming Millennials (Part 2): From Consumption to Presence

This is the second of a two-part exposé on consumerism and Christianity in Cascadia.  Churches will try just about anything to stay relevant. From music to mochas, countless attempts are made by churches to appeal to culture, especially the next generation. Don Draper, the famous advertiser from the hit TV show Mad Men, says, “Advertising is based on one thing, happiness.” And like Draper with his marketing savvy, churches often stop at nothing to make people happy. But with such a reality comes a warning: We must learn to exist in a consumer culture but not forfeit our souls...

Read More