27 July 2021

Cyprus: History, Politics, and Culture

I have posted a new page devoted to Cyprus: History, Politics, and Culture, which can also be accessed in the list of pages in the right sidebar. My father was born in the island over 90 years ago, and we still have extended family there. Cyprus has a colourful history as a crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean region and a pawn of competing empires. The original of this page was posted at my former website fifteen years ago, and this page is an edited version of the earlier one.

23 July 2021

Liturgy and archaic language

In light of the recent Motu Proprio of Pope Francis limiting the use of the extraordinary form of the Latin mass, I thought I would repost something I wrote for First Things a dozen years ago: Liturgy and archaic language. An excerpt:

I myself am of two minds about updating liturgical language. As an heir of the Reformation, I believe it is generally best for Christians to worship in a language they can easily understand. Even the most conservative protestant congregations have largely abandoned the King James Version of the Bible, substituting instead the New King James Version or possibly the English Standard Version. Most other churches now use the NIV or the NRSV. There is good reason for this, since we all should wish to see God’s word proclaimed in comprehensible form.

At the same time, it would be a pity if English-speakers were to lose their grasp of the Elizabethan forms altogether. Who would the Copts be if they were to lose their ancestral Coptic language? Or the Maronites without Aramaic? Without Church Slavonic would Russians be forced to change, say, the cities of Volgograd and Kaliningrad to Volgogorod and Kaliningorod, just so people could continue to understand their meaning?

Read the entire piece here.

15 July 2021

July newsletter

My Global Scholars Canada newsletter for July has been posted here.

O Evangelho da Paz e o Discurso do Ódio

No próximo mês GodBooks e Thomas Nelson Brasil publicarão um livro intitulado, O Evangelho da Paz e o Discurso do Ódio. Eu tenho um capítulo neste livro sobre a relação entre política e idolatria. Em breve.

Next month GodBooks and Thomas Nelson Brasil will be publishing a book titled, The Gospel of Peace and Hate Speech. I have a chapter in this collection about the relationship between politics and idolatry. Coming soon.

13 July 2021

On Canada's constitution

Last week The Six Cents Report reposted a brief snippet of an interview with me that was posted earlier this year. My interviewers were Darnell Samuels and Joel Nicoloff. The topic is Errors in the Canadian Constitution.



10 July 2021

The American Commons: interview

The American Commons has posted a recent interview between Ryan Ellington and me: A Conversation With David Koyzis. Here is a description of this online periodical from its website: "The American Commons is a free grassroots web magazine by rank-and-file American Solidarity Party members that provides commentary on faith, culture, and politics." An excerpt from the interview:

Koyzis: The smoke-filled rooms served a purpose, because they were an avenue whereby local officials and party functionaries would vet a candidate before he was presented to the public. And that stage has been largely removed from the process for the last 50 years. And I think Jimmy Carter, he was fairly ineffectual – a very good man, I like him personally; I heard him speak about 30 years ago in Atlanta, and I found him quite impressive as a speaker – but as a President, though, he had no connection with Congress. It was very difficult for him to govern, because he was this lone figure who was parachuted in and expected to govern in a system that is set up to disperse power.

So, this is the sort of thing that concerns me about the direction of American politics. The sort of figures that the 18th century founders would have blanched at putting in power, these are the kinds of people that are increasingly coming to office in the United States. . . .

09 July 2021

Reassessing our heroes

Christian Courier has published my July column, titled, Reassessing Our Heroes. An excerpt:

What do we do with our heroes from the past when we discover their flaws? What shall we do with the monuments to their achievements when the latter seem overshadowed by their errors?

Like so many Canadians, I was horrified to learn of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of aboriginal children on the premises of a residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Soon after this grisly discovery, students at Ryerson University in Toronto upended a statue of Egerton Ryerson, a 19th-century Methodist leader who contributed to the formation of common public schools in Upper Canada and of “Indian” residential schools. As I write, Hamiltonians are debating the removal of statues of Queen Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald in Gore Park downtown, because of the role they played in setting federal policy towards aboriginal Canadians.

What then do we do with our all too fallible heroes from the past? We cannot pretend that Macdonald was not our first prime minister and that he did not do much to create the country we love and to which we are loyal. In this respect, Macdonald is no different from other respected figures from the past who have shaped the world we live in.

Read the entire article here.

07 July 2021

We Seek Your Kingdom: about the song

Yesterday I posted two videos on this blog, one of this year's National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast and the other of a beautiful hymn, We Seek Your Kingdom. Here is another video: We Seek Your Kingdom: The Story Behind the Song.


I especially appreciate the part of the conversation that begins at 10:56

"What's your favourite line, Andy?"

"The second line, actually: 'We long for heaven's demonstration here.' I think that word demonstration has become so key in my understanding of the kingdom in these last few years. Importantly, we're not building the kingdom. That's not our job. Our job is demonstrating the kingdom . . . . So just like Jesus' miracles. They were real. Transformation happened. But they were also a demonstration of what the future perfection was gonna be. And I think that takes a lot of the heaviness off our shoulders when we realize our call here is to demonstrate the kingdom, to show signs of that beauty, of that perfection, of that justice in our workplaces, in politics, in media, and everywhere. We're demonstrating that future perfection . . . . We're not building it to gradually get to this future utopia . . . . We're demonstrating what heaven is like in the now."

This text should be added to every future hymnal, as it so wonderfully sums up the nature of our earthly walk as we seek to do God's will in everyday life.

06 July 2021

We Seek Your Kingdom

I was recently alerted to last month's annual National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in the United Kingdom which moved online this year. It was recorded and I link to it below. I found it deeply inspirational. I wish we had something like this in Canada.


I especially want to draw your attention to the wonderful song at the end, which I hope will catch on in the churches. I would love to know more about Noel Robinson, Andy Flannagan, and Graham Hunter who wrote it. The text is, of course, set to the familiar tune EVENTIDE. The lyrics can be found here.

05 July 2021

Mouw on public service employees

Richard Mouw has written a very nice article for The Dallas Morning News with a somewhat unwieldy title: There’s no ‘deep state,’ there are federal employees doing deep work for the public good. It's a good reminder of the contributions made by the millions of government employees at all levels who are responsible for implementing public justice in the concrete on a daily basis. An excerpt:

Unelected government workers are crucial to sustaining the infrastructure of political life. They do not deserve the generic put-downs about getting the government out of our lives. Their work is necessary for promoting healthy patterns in the way we are governed.

One of the better-known passages about governments in the Bible says, “the powers that be are ordained of God.” Officials are properly fulfilling their mandates, the passage goes on to say, when they reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. That does cover the territory quite well.

In our contemporary mass societies, however, these functions require policies, programs, agencies, people with job descriptions — in a word, the bureaucracies that we so often complain about — in order to promote our social well-being. It is not difficult to think of government officials, elected and appointed, who do not live up to their callings. But we ought to be grateful for the many folks who are committed to doing it well, and for the long run.

Read the entire article here

Incidentally, Mouw, President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, was kind enough to write the foreword to the second edition of Political Visions and Illusions, now available in Portuguese translation and soon to be in Spanish as well.

30 June 2021

Prayer and fasting for Canada

The flags are at half staff once again after the discovery of 751 unmarked graves of aboriginal children, who had been taken from their families and educated at residential schools operated by several church denominations. This policy was pursued by the federal government over several generations in an effort to assimilate forcibly these children into the majority European culture. The policy lasted from 1876 until as recently as 1996, when the last such school closed in Saskatchewan. In 1894 attendance at these schools became compulsory for aboriginal children. Thus far two such burial grounds have been discovered, but there will undoubtedly be more.

Tomorrow is Canada Day, a federal holiday once known as Dominion Day. It celebrates the day in 1867 when the Dominion of Canada was established by bringing together in a federal union Canada West (Ontario), Canada East (Québec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Typical Canada Day celebrations include parades and fireworks. From our vantage point on the Niagara Escarpment, we can see multiple fireworks displays in various cities in our region.

23 June 2021

Donor challenge

Dear Global Scholars support community:

In my newsletter last Friday, I indicated that I would have news about a donor challenge to support my work with Global Scholars Canada.

Two weeks ago I was issued a challenge by an anonymous potential donor. Up until Dec. 31, 2021, they will match every dollar raised over and above last year's funds up to $8,000. If a particular donor gave $200 last year, what counts this year for purposes of matching is what he or she gives above the $200 amount. All new donations from people who have not previously given count towards the total. This means that if someone gave $500 last year and gives $800 this year, $300 of that will be matched by the donor. A new donor who gives $1,000 this year will in effect be giving $2,000 in total.

Don't worry about alerting Global Scholars to how your donation is affected by this challenge: our accountant will be conscientious in assuring that all qualifying donations are properly matched.

GSC's page for giving can be found here. Once you are in the page, scroll down to the heading marked DONATION DETAILS, and then choose one of the options under FUND. Americans may donate through our sister organization in the US. If you cannot afford to give, please do continue to pray for my work.

In closing I would like to express my gratitude to this anonymous donor for encouraging additional support for my transnational vocation.

Yours in the service of God's kingdom,

David

22 June 2021

June newsletter

I have now posted my Global Scholars newsletter for the month of June here.

Are the Chronicles Redundant?

I have just published a brief article at Kuyperian Commentary: Are the Chronicles Redundant? An excerpt:

When I’ve read Chronicles in the past, I’ve sometimes thought that they are redundant, simply repeating what the books of Samuel and Kings had already recounted. In the larger biblical narrative, it feels as though the story, which thus far has been smoothly told from Genesis to the exile, is suddenly interrupted by an apparently unnecessary flashback, taking us all the way back to, well, Adam, the first human being. Then we are treated to a long series of proper names, some of whom are familiar but most of whom are not, leaving us wondering what relevance they could possibly have to the larger story of salvation. What harm would have been done by leaving them out and simply skipping from 2 Kings to Ezra?

In fact, the two books of Chronicles are most important. In the Jewish Bible they come at the very end of the collection, functioning as both recap and capstone, leaving the reader with a sense of expectation and hope. In the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, the books are called Paraleipomenon, which implies that the material therein supplements the books of Kings. Yet the Chronicles do not merely fill in the gaps in other books. The Chronicler brings to his work a distinctive emphasis which makes it more than just another historical account.

Read the entire article here.

17 June 2021

Mornings with Carmen LaBerge appearance

Well, all right. One does not exactly "appear" on the radio, but early yesterday morning I spoke with Peter Kapsner on the programme Mornings with Carmen LaBerge about the subject of my recent blog series Dampening the Culture Wars. Peter is substituting for Carmen this week. It aired over Faith Radio, a network of stations covering the Great Plains states and Connecticut.

You can find the conversation here. I will warn you that this took place at 7.10 am, when I am not exactly in top form. But I will let the listeners judge for themselves.

09 June 2021

Grieving for Canada

Flags have been flying at half-staff in recent days for two horrific events dominating the news reports. First is the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of children who died at a residential school for aboriginal Canadians in Kamloops, British Columbia. These residential schools, often operated by church denominations at the instigation of the federal government, are a stain on the country's history. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission, modelled on South Africa's efforts to bring healing after decades of Apartheid, operated between 2008 and 2015, but we are still grappling with the horrors inflicted on so many aboriginal children from the late 19th century until well into the 20th.

And now in London, Ontario, a young man appears deliberately to have attacked an immigrant family from Pakistan with his vehicle, killing all but one person, a nine-year-old, still in hospital. It is suspected that they were targeted because they were Muslims.

07 June 2021

Visiones e Ilusiones Políticas

Late last week I received some welcome news from InterVarsity Press. Here is the communication from IVP:

As part of our publishing efforts, IVP seeks to expand the ministry of the books we publish to reach people around the world by sublicensing rights for specific languages, countries and/or formats.

We are pleased to inform you that Political Visions & Illusions (2nd Edition) has been contracted for publication in the Spanish language by Teología para Vivir S.A.C. Translations typically take 18-24 months (sometimes longer) to release. We'll be sure to send you copies of the translated edition once they arrive.

Congratulations on this good news!

Good news indeed! This means that the book will soon be available in all three of the major western hemispheric languages. Spanish is spoken by some 400-500 million people, making it one of the most spoken languages in the world. The largest Spanish-speaking countries in order are Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, and many more. May God use this forthcoming translation to advance his kingdom in the hispanophone countries.

03 June 2021

Serving God in a Global Academy: A Look at Developments in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon I discussed my work with Global Scholars Canada for a series sponsored by the Oak Centre for Studies in Faith and Culture here in Hamilton. The title was Serving God in a Global Academy: A Look at Developments in Brazil. Clicking on the link will bring up the PowerPoint presentation I used for my talk.


To my delight several of my friends and contacts in Brazil joined us remotely for the occasion. I appreciated their questions, which I did my best to answer. Que Deus abençoe o povo brasileiro!



02 June 2021

Vida Nova interview

Last week I was interviewed by Jonas Madureira, of Edições Vida Nova, on the occasion of the release of the second Brazilian edition of Political Visions and Illusions. Most of it is in English with Portuguese subtitles. Here is the interview below:

01 June 2021

Reading Religion review: the place of the cross in political life

Matthew B. Hale has reviewed the second edition of Political Visions and Illusions in Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion. In addition to his praise for the book, the author has identified what he views as weaknesses. I shall not reply to all of these, but he makes one criticism worth a response, because it turned up in a review of the first edition as well:

Koyzis’s reliance on Herman Dooyeweerd’s modal analysis theologically grounds Koyzis’s interpretations and critiques in a theology of creation. But, strangely, Koyzis makes nothing of the cross. He mentions redemption often, and speaks of the redemptive narrative of the ideologies as they contrast with the Christian redemptive narrative. But the Christian redemptive narrative, centered on the cross, plays no role in Koyzis’s own political critiques or positions. This is an especially odd omission, and even more so given that theologians of many Christian communions have long recognized a profound political meaning in the cross. A theology of creation and a theology of sin are necessary for a Christian critique of political ideologies, but they are not sufficient. Without a politics that is informed by and centered upon the cross, an understanding of politics may be religious, but I wonder how exactly it would be distinctively Christian.

There can be no doubt that the cross is central to the Christian faith. For centuries people have erected crosses inside their church buildings and on top of steeples. People have worn precious metal crosses around their necks, bishops wear weighty pectoral crosses over their regalia, and congregations have carried crosses in procession on feast days. As St. Paul has written, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18). Without Christ's death on the cross, we are still in our sins. Unless Christ had died, we would have to bear the penalty for our sins. As those who have been redeemed by the power of the cross and Jesus' subsequent resurrection, we sing hymns such as In the Cross of Christ I Glory and Lift High the Cross.

31 May 2021

Oak Centre Inklings conversation

 

Inklings Conversations Spring 2021 

(Wednesday June 2nd  from 4:00 5:30)

 

Ø Serving God in a Global Academy: a Look at Developments in Brazil,  A conversation with David T. Koyzis,

Ø Global Scholar, Politics & International Affairs   June 2nd  Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81901192524?pwd=STZodUxKcEZlZDVVQ1ltTmdxTGwxdz09

English l'Abri lecture: Discerning Visions and Illusions in Political Life

Late last week I addressed a group associated with English l'Abri at the invitation of Josué Reichow, a Brazilian who, along with his wife Lili, is affiliated with the organization. The lecture is titled Discerning Visions and Illusions in Political Life. Here is an excerpt:

Back in 1976 James W. Sire published a book called The Universe Next Door, subtitled, A Basic Worldview Catalog, in which he treated the different visions that animate the lives, not just of individuals, but of entire communities. Beginning with Christian theism, Sire went on to explore deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism, eastern pantheistic monism, the new age, and, in later editions, postmodernism, Marxism, and Islam. This may not have been the first worldview book ever published anywhere, but it definitely filled a need at the time.

24 May 2021

Alvo da Mocidade (Young Life Brazil)

Yesterday I was privileged to speak to a large group of young people, staffers for the organization Alvo da Mocidade, or Target Youth, the Brazilian counterpart of Young Life. I talked about my own life, my faith journey, and my book, Visões e Ilusões Políticas, which was just released in a second edition. I spoke at the invitation of my great friend Gabriel Lazarotti, who visited me in Canada a few years ago. At least one hundred people were in attendance, primarily from Belo Horizonte, the sixth largest city in Brazil. My principal translator was Gabriel Chaves, assisted by Diego Baião.


Ontem eu tive o privilégio de falar a um grande grupo de jovens, funcionários da organização Alvo da Mocidade, a homóloga brasileira do Young Life. Falei da minha própria vida, da minha trajetória de fé e do meu livro Visões e Ilusões Políticas, que acaba de sair em uma segunda edição. Falei a convite do meu grande amigo Gabriel Lazarotti, que me visitou no Canadá há alguns anos. Estiveram presentes pelo menos cem pessoas, principalmente de Belo Horizonte, a sexta maior cidade do Brasil. Meu principal tradutor foi Gabriel Chaves, auxiliado por Diego Baião.

22 May 2021

Interview in Gazeta do Povo

This week Guilherme de Carvalho, the head of l'Abri Brasil, interviewed me on the subject of the second Brazilian edition of Political Visions and Illusions. The interview was posted yesterday in the Gazeta do Povo: David Koyzis e as idolatrias políticas. There are two qualifications needed for reading the interview: a knowledge of Portuguese and a paid subscription to the periodical. For those with neither, here is a small sample in English:

I heard that you like very much Brazil and the Portuguese language! Are you following the local news? How do you read the Brazilian political landscape now?

I absolutely love Brazil and its people! As someone of Greek Cypriot parentage, I easily embrace friends when I see them. Brazil is an entire country of people who do the same thing! In this respect I find the social distancing mandated by the current pandemic deeply frustrating. I look forward to a return to normality. And I hope I will one day be able to return to Brazil and hug everyone I meet!

As for the Brazilian political landscape, I think the biggest issues are threefold: (1) the endemic corruption that has marred political life for decades; (2) the confidence people place in would-be political saviours in the presidency; and (3) the global pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Brazil. I believe these three elements are interconnected. This is where political ideologies play a role. If we are viewing reality through one of the lenses distorted by a false redemptive narrative, we will err in our proposed solutions to contemporary political and social ills. Furthermore, it may be that basic political reforms, along with an enduring change in public attitudes, are needed to break the hold of would-be Napoleonic figures in the public imagination.

As the good news of Jesus Christ continues to spread among Brazilians, let us pray that they will increasingly look to him for their salvation and scale back their expectations of political leaders. At the same time, imagine a Brazil where a public justice movement is in a position to elect candidates to congress and to the presidency. A movement dedicated to stamping out corruption and bringing integrity to the political process. Ora et labora! Pray and work to make it happen.
Learn Portuguese, take out a subscription, and read more here.
 


21 May 2021

Visões e Ilusões Políticas: Segunda Edição | David T. Koyzis

É bom saber que os brasileiros estão lendo a segunda edição do meu livro!



17 May 2021

May newsletter

I have now posted my Global Scholars newsletter for the month of May here.

10 May 2021

Second Brazilian edition

Last week was the launch date for the second Brazilian edition of Political Visions and Illusions, in Portuguese titled Visões e Ilusões Políticas. It is available from the publisher Edições Vida Nova and from the usual online vendors, including Amazon.co.br.

The book's translator was Leandro Bachega, who is a doctoral student at the Universidade de São Paulo. I am grateful for the hard work he put into this.

I look forward to receiving the author's copies soon. And I pray that this second edition will be a blessing to the people of Brazil, whom I have come to love greatly over the years. Eu adoro o povo brasileiro! Que Deus os abençoe!

07 May 2021

Why Liberalism Failed, a review

Just over three years ago, Bruce Ashford and I published a review of one of the more significant books in recent years: Patrick Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed. The Gospel Coalition published our review: Liberalism Failed Because It Collapsed Under Its Own Weight. Deneen's book merits mention twice in the 2nd edition of Political Visions and Illusions, which is now out in Portuguese translation. An excerpt from our review:

How and why is liberalism failing? Primarily because liberalism, as a centuries-old political philosophy, is rooted in a defective understanding of the human person. Liberalism ignores the person’s rootedness in local communities and their myriad customs and influences, replacing that rootedness with an inordinate allegiance to state and market, the instruments of our supposed liberation.

As Deneen sees it, the United States as a whole was established on liberal principles, and these have developed over the past nearly two and a half centuries in ways consistent with liberalism’s underlying presuppositions but inconsistent with a healthy social fabric. However, the overwhelming dominance of liberalism has been masked by the recent superficial polarization of the national political landscape into two factions.

Indeed, our most vociferous conflicts have pitted classical liberals, with their affection for a free market and small government, against progressive liberals, who view government as an instrument for the expansion of individual autonomy.
Read the entire article here.

04 May 2021

Visões e Ilusões Políticas, 2a edição, ampliada e atualizada

Mudei a fotografia e o link na barra lateral direita da primeira para a segunda edição de Visões e Ilusões Políticas.

I have changed the photograph and link in the right sidebar from the first to the second Brazilian edition of Political Visions and Illusions.

Aqui está a descrição do livro:

As ideologias políticas não são uma mera questão de governança. Elas são intrínseca e inescapavelmente religiosas. Elas reúnem inúmeras crenças sobre a natureza da realidade, dos indivíduos e da sociedade, e formam uma visão coletiva do que é o bem comum. O problema é que as ideologias políticas são também visões idólatras.

03 May 2021

Chaplin: Faith in Democracy

My friend Jonathan Chaplin has published a new book that I look forward to obtaining and reading soon: Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity, published by SCM Press in England. Here is the description on the publisher's website:

What is the place of faith in public life in the UK? Beyond 'secularism' that seeks to relegate faith to the margins of public life, and a 'Christian nation' position that seeks to retain, or even regain, Christian public privilege, there is a third way. Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity calls for an approach that maximises public space for the expression of faith-based visions within democratic fora while repudiating all traces of religious privilege. It argues for a truly conversational space, reflecting theologically on the contested concepts at the heart of the current debate about the place of faith in British public life: democracy, secularism, pluralism and public faith.

While the book addresses a British readership, I suspect it will have relevance for Canada and the United States as well. Once I have read it, I will be writing and posting a review.

28 April 2021

Abdullah Onar, architect

Abdullah Onar at his office, 1957

My father's best childhood friend was a Turkish Cypriot named Abdullah Onar (1929-2019) who came from a neighbouring village in the Karpas Peninsula. He became an architect who designed many buildings in the island. He was also a competent artist, some of whose works I have posted below. I recently came into contact with his great-grandnephew who lives in England, and I quickly discovered that we are distant DNA cousins, which likely means that Abdullah was related to us as well.

22 April 2021

Dampening the culture wars: a review

My series on Dampening the culture wars is now complete. Here is a review of the entire series for those wishing to read it from start to finish:

  1. How to get along while agreeing to disagree

  2. The features of power-sharing

  3. What is to be done?

  4. What is to be done? continued

  5. The Netherlands

  6. Lebanon

  7. Belgium

  8. Canada

  9. Cyprus

  10. The United States of America

  11. Concluding remarks

 I will likely be returning to this topic in future, but this is all for now.

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Contact at: dtkoyzis at gmail dot com