Articles by Jonathon Van Maren
January 6, 2022
Ted Byfield was no quitter and until his passing over the holidays, he was a front-line culture warrior in the journalism, publishing, and Christian education spheres, Jonathon Van Maren writes.
For more than a half-century, he was one of Canada’s most significant public Christians, and his life’s work included the founding of a religious order, the formation of several Christian boarding schools for boys, a series of influential newsmagazines, laying the groundwork for a political movement, writing books, and serving as editor on a magnificent 12-volume history of Christianity, The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years There was suddenly an abundance of work, and Ted’s lifelong work ethic was forged as a delivery boy on Toronto’s streets and his first foray into the newspaper business came when he began selling Liberty Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post on the beaches of the Toronto Islands It was Sayers’ work on education that launched the Byfields on their next great adventure—the founding first of a weekend classical school and outdoor program based out of the Cathedral, and then a boarding school for boys in Selkirk in 1958
December 23, 2021
Reading the Canadian storyteller’s posthumous new book, Jonathon Van Maren retraces in imagination his travels from his own driveway to the main streets of small towns and cities across the land.
But the reason his work rings so real to me is that so many of his experiences in “real” Canada echo mine, and so many of his ruminations on our small towns perfectly encapsulate my own experiences over the past decade Such was the intimacy and immediacy McLean’s magnificent voice engendered that wh...
August 20, 2021
The abortion question Canada’s federal leaders should address is why so many women feel they have no viable alternative, Jonathon Van Maren argues.
Have you ever noticed that pro-abortion politicians simply assume there are many unwanted babies, but no unwanted abortions? The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada—run by Joyce Arthur, who could not be more extreme on the issue if she tried — published a paper in 2018 titled “Why Women Have Abortio...
July 26, 2021
From a profound Christian faith, Residential School survivor Chief Kenny Blacksmith believes true healing will come not from politics but from paying our debt to God, Jonathon Van Maren reports.
In the years after his residential school experience, Blacksmith read books on the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, researching their ways Blacksmith summarized his experience thusly: “Forced to live away from home, stripped of your true identity and punished every time you tried to express yourself...
May 25, 2021
Jonathon Van Maren reports on a series of leading serious intellectuals who recognize the need for Christianity’s resurrection but can’t quite bring the faith to life in themselves.
What we do know is that he thought Christianity was in many ways the soul of Western civilization, and that the uniquely Christian concept of forgiveness was utterly indispensable to its survival Their intellectual siloes were a refuge from faith because they didn’t want Christianity to be true ...
April 6, 2021
In conversation with Convivium contributor Jonathon Van Maren, former career diplomat David Mulroney says Canada’s residential school past should curb its neocolonialist urges in Africa.
“As a former public servant, the problem I have with our ‘feminist foreign policy,’ in which abortion is central to our development work in Africa, is that good foreign policy and good development policy depend on actually listening to the people you’re trying to help or engage,” Mulroney explained ...
January 14, 2021
Jonathon Van Maren reports on the teamwork of a socially conservative Alberta MP and liberal feminist senator from Montreal to combat the Canadian-controlled smut giant Pornhub.
Both Viersen and Miville-Dechêne hope that the new attention focused on Pornhub and MindGeek will also attract new attention to their work, add new members to their coalition, and finally result in legislation—supported by all parties—that will implement meaningful protections for children “Our chil...
December 4, 2020
COVID-19 has revealed an uncomfortable reality, Jonathon Van Maren points out: closure of churches isn’t State persecution but widespread ignorance of what goes on inside them.
I am emphatically not offering any opinion on how religious leaders should respond to the various COVID-19 restrictions on worship That said, I suspect hostility towards people of faith is not the primary motivator for much of the government approach to churches and other places of worship There is ...
November 23, 2020
Canada’s political amnesia leaves Prime Minister John Diefenbaker almost forgotten. Jonathon Van Maren discovers lost letters that affirm how fiercely Dief fought for human rights from womb to tomb.
Diefenbaker was one of 43 Progressive Conservative MPs to vote against Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill which, among other things, decriminalized abortion for the first time in a century, but his speech on the 1968-69 Criminal Law Amendment Act didn’t mention abortion How many Canadians know, for examp...