Death’s Sting of a Young Life: A Fumbled Promise of God?

The following is the eulogy for Joshua Baranieski who left us suddenly at the age of nineteen. It was given by Murray Owen at St Albert Alliance Church on June 20th 2008. The heartfelt tribute celebrates Josh and explores the tradgedy of the believer.

A Tribute to Josh
In his tragic accident on Sunday, June 7, 2008

It was early Sunday morning when I got the call about Josh’s car accident. What had started as a peaceful Sunday morning now changed and our hearts were heavy as all we could do is wait for news as the drama unfolded from a distance. I don’t think any of us will be able to pass by a highway marker of a cross and flowers without feeling the pain of this moment. And, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have someone taken at such a young age with all the promise of youth and who was loved so much by so many. And, it is why we are here, because he, Josh, was so open to all of us. Josh was easy to make friends with and in this way he reminds me of his late grandfather. Continue reading


Grace – A Tribute to My Father

A memorial tribute given by Murray Owen on the death of his father, Ken Owen in June of 2005 at Southgate Alliance Church, Edmonton, Alberta. Ken was not a Christian in the way Evangelicals would define salvation, but Ken was saved by God in the way so many of us are, by Grace. The tribute speaks to Ken’s life and how the Biblical scriptures define salvation by Grace.

“It’s risky business for me to be up here knowing that this will be difficult to do in front of all of you. I know I will have a few hard moments, and I know you will bear with me. It’s why I wrote it out. Several months ago, I began having a feeling that I needed to be preparing to say something about my Dad at his funeral. I didn’t know why this was happening at the time, but today I know why. I’ve assured the rest of the family that I’m not having any premonitions about anyone else! Continue reading

How Do Buddhists Do the Problem of Evil?

The simple answer is that they don’t. For Buddhism, it’s the problem of desire. Christianity has the problem, not Buddhism. Why is this? Buddhism starts with the problem of evil, suffering or “dukkha,” as its first statement of faith in the four noble truths. However, it is not the problem we think. Buddhism concedes that suffering or evil is what life is made of. It does not begin with an all powerful and good God, and the ensuing moral and logical entailments. In fact, in Buddhism, the question of God’s existence is not raise. Buddhism begins from a different starting point, suffering, not God’s existence. Continue reading

Critiquing Christians: A Founders Warning

Critiquing Christians: the Lord’s Prayer, a Founders Warning

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and well known prayers worldwide. Yet, it is probably the least understood. We speak it so freely and frequently in Western society, but do we understand its historical message. As a child, I memorized the prayer, but not until college did I ask for its meaning. What is the “kingdom” all about? Is “hallowed” no more than a vague feeling cosmic importance? It was this prayer that led me to question the Gospel’s demands of me.  Was the Gospel simply a call for private moral forgiveness of the soul by God, which plays outs as a numbers game of winners and losers, of heaven or hell, a Monty Python stereotype of religion? This was hardly a satisfactory answer.  Even a causal reading of the Gospel writings tells a broader story.  What does the Lord’s Prayer teach in its historical, grammatical and literal setting? Continue reading

Evil: The Dark Night of the Soul

The problem of evil has many faces. Unfortunately, none of them are pretty, but all of them very real. Elie Wiesel book, Night, is one of those faces.

The believer’s tragedy is how a good God could allow such suffering and injustice. Is God good? Is God all powerful? Evil can’t be glossed over in theoretical arguments but it pain must be felt. Here is an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s book Night when as a young teenager of faith, he experiences his first night in Auschwitz: Continue reading

Framing the Problem of Evil

The following is based on the book UNSPEAKABLE: “Facing up to evil in an age of genocide and terror.” By Os Guinness

A five week study of seven questions raised by evil in our world.

For the next five Sundays, I’ll lead us in a discussion on the Christian’s understanding and response to evil (head, heart, and action). We’ll do this through the eyes of the writer, Os Guinness and his book, and wrestle with evil as Job did. Understand evil will take into how other faiths deal with evil (or simple don’t) and a realization of why the Christian faith has the strongest reaction to evil. And, I believe it will lead to a place of strength in our walk with Christ. Continue reading