Articles by Peter Stockland
January 8, 2019
What place could, within its very silence, make room for the act of reading and absorbing the divinity of words?
Once a place where the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, the Grey Nun’s, worshipped, prayed, confessed their sins, read the Divine Word for almost 150 years, it has been transformed yet meticulously preserved as a reading room of Concordia University where, at any given hour of the day, students observing strict silence pore over their books and their electronic devices in pursuit of knowledge, yes, but even more in a setting that speaks to them still of the way words are the gifts of God for the people of God.
December 28, 2018
In a conversation about his 2018 book Superhero Ethics, author Travis Smith guides Convivium’s Peter Stockland past the classical, Biblical and liberal-democratic sources of comic book characters, ending up at the existential chasm in the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen: “Hey, what else can we do now?”
Superhero comics confusingly combine a tragicomic premise—the good guys always win, and innocent bystanders get saved, but human beings and the world never get any better—with a modern romantic-rationalistic confidence in progress A cynical person might say that the creators of superhero stories exp...
December 21, 2018
God being only and lonely is confounding to the point of terrifying, and at the same time comforting to the core of our being, writes Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland. From His eternal knowing of loneliness, He reaches across and through creation to touch and comfort each of our lonely hearts.
Enter Job, Chesterton writes, as the character through whom God’s knowing of loneliness can be reasonably said to become familiar to us? Everywhere else in the Old Testament “positively rejoices” with the obliterating comparison of man to God The pre-figuring to which he alludes, of course, begins i...
December 11, 2018
On International Human Rights Day, survivors of histories and geographies torn apart by crimes against humanity used a Parliament Hill panel discussion to etch a path of repentance, repair, reconciliation and renewal. Convivium’s Peter Stockland reports.
We’re all familiar with the formulation: how can a just and merciful God abandon all to horrific death or, what is in many ways far worse, save some but not others? Bollegraaf met the enigma head on by saying it asks us to look in the wrong place, that is to blame God for what the work of human hand...
December 10, 2018
Today, Peter Stockland writes a letter to his past self, and extends his gratitude to the people whose words lined the library he liked to call home. These minds shaped him, and lead him to keep asking the questions that keep him coming home to wonder.
Remember fighting off knowing the time would come when you’d have to leave the underground undergraduate library for the last time? When you’d have to go through the library doors and up the stairs into the world where the worries were? It was a world where even those silly girls could have their co...
December 6, 2018
Promised changes to the embattled summer student employment program won't resolve the deep divide separating Canadians of faith from the Liberal government's “true believers” in radical secular autonomy, Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett tells Convivium’s Peter Stockland.
Bennett said particulars of the changes unveiled today by Employment Minister Patty Hajdu to the 2019 summer jobs application do show the government took seriously the backlash it provoked with the 2018 modifications Bennett said it’s understandable to him why a pro-choice Liberal government would b...
November 27, 2018
The Mitchell literary prize is ramping up to receive poems eligible for a $20,000 first prize. Doug Sikkema, managing editor of Comment magazine, talks to Peter Stockland about partnering with Image Journal to host the prize, and why faith-based poetry must become central to Canadian letters.
PS: When you say faith, that's not just a euphemism for exclusively Christian, is it? The winner of the last Mitchell Prize for Poetry was a young Muslim woman, correct? Peter Stockland: So, the Mitchell Prize, which drew so many great entries in 2017 as part of Faith in Canada 150, is open for subm...
November 23, 2018
Cardus executive vice-president Ray Pennings has spent a lot of time speaking about the data around the role of faith in public life. But, says Pennings, data doesn't exist for itself. Today, Peter Stockland reports on Pennings' recent presentation in Montreal as a shining example of how data lets institutions and society adjust to new realities.
In the church basement in Montreal’s Cote-Des-Neiges neighbourhood, he was equally at home delivering the message to gathered Christians that Canadians of faith must start effectively telling secular society not just what religion means to the religious, but how vitally it contributes to a vibrant, ...
November 20, 2018
With Ottawa set to bailout Canadian newspapers, and even the advertising industry alarmed by the media havoc Facebook has caused, Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland argues we should all look in the mirror for the culprits.
The New York Times reports – with a straight face – that a senior executive at one of the world’s largest advertising firms is lashing the leadership of Facebook for the social media giant’s money grubbing and moral bankruptcy Then we will come face to face with just how deeply Facebook has disrupte...
November 16, 2018
This past weekend, John Carpay made an unfortunate connection between the rainbow flag and Nazi and Communist symbols. This week, Peter Stockland explores the meaning of dialogue, and what we stand to lose when we don’t stop to listen.
How does “soft” totalitarianism function in daily life? Havel, a playwright first of all, illustrates it with the example of a shopkeeper who puts a “workers of the world unite” sign in his store window What do you want to do with that victory? Celebrate it by forcing the opposition remnant to stumb...
November 14, 2018
Senior researcher Peter Jon Mitchell talks with Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland about a Cardus Family study released yesterday showing a steep decline in young Canadians tying the knot or even living together.
Peter Stockland: It’s sort of two-fold, isn't it? For the people in that age group themselves, it’s a critical time to understand what it means to be in a stable relationship or develop a stable relationship Certainly, there are other factors that might be contributing to a delay in partnership or n...
November 9, 2018
Convivium’s Peter Stockland dropped by the Canadian Science and Policy Conference in Ottawa today where Cardus’ Program Director Milton Friesen diplomatically called on scientists and faith leaders to work together for the public common good.
At the 2017 Canadian Science and Policy Conference, Governor General Julie Payette drew stinging criticism from people of faith and secularists alike for her remarks that many considered scornful of religious belief and practice ...
November 7, 2018
The Ottawa Senators are in for awkward times after team members mocked their coach in front of the watchful eye of an Uber camera. But the conversation buzzing today is a chance to rethink the ride-hailing services many of us don’t give a second thought, argues Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland.
The full-bore hostility of the taxi horns clued me in immediately that the offending fancy-schmancy was an Uber, which had taken a fare from cabbies parked in pre-dawn darkness for who knew how long awaiting arrival of Train 51 from Montreal Indeed, Uber did begin as a putative market solution to pe...
October 18, 2018
The subterranean (and perhaps metaphorical) walls of our cities are teeming with the words of would-be prophets, but we’re being made oblivious by the meaningless. Peter Stockland warns that truth is getting jumbled—right under our noses.
If it’s simply a matter of the existing reality that animals are, in fact, food for both animals and people, then the exhortation might have been meant prescriptively, even imperatively By a perfect alignment of random peas on the cosmic plate, it happened to be International Food Day, and I had jus...
October 15, 2018
Patti Smith—the punk poet laureate—identifies Christ as an artist, crafting his ideal of salvation with imagination. Smith’s own art and imagination, writes Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland, is a cry against the modern mania for “God usurped by Goal.”
In addition to the music and the touring, Smith published The New Jerusalem earlier this year, and added new material for her breathtaking Devotion, originally brought out by Yale University Press in 2017 and re-released last month in paperback In his introduction to Patti’s Smith’s gloriously stran...
October 10, 2018
Today, Peter Stockland explores how the act of running is not some Olympic-level commitment to all-in exhaustion. Rather, this discipline creates space in our lives to move away from stress and towards a fuller sense of health and goodness.
My favourite moment in Havey’s book, however, is a very short section in which she shows how simple it is to make running, and its complementary awareness, part of everyday life Yet finishing the 29th run of that leap year affirmed for me a deepening conviction that one of our terrible cultural conf...
October 2, 2018
Whatever happened to saying “I just don’t know”? Today Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland shares concerns, in light of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation debacle, about troubling changes to public dialogue and the growth of political tribalism. Words are used to impress others with a willingness to think as they think—rather than to express thought.
On Monday, the second friend weighed in not to further inveigh against journalistic opinion mongering but to question why – and when – so many journalists began to assume it is critical to their professional life to have opinions in the first place But as my friends articulate so well, there are equ...
September 28, 2018
Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland says next week’s Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom might be just the ticket for bringing newly arrived and long-standing Canadians of faith together to safeguard religious freedom
In the words of Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings, who will speak at the Religious Freedom Forum next week: “That’s significant about new immigrants, but it’s also significant for all Canadians, however long they’ve been here, to understand the place of religious faith in public life Yet ...
September 5, 2018
Who’s blazing a trail on school funding in Canada? Turns out it’s Saskatchewan. And as Cardus senior fellow Dr. Deani Van Pelt tells Convivium publisher Peter Stockland, two new education research papers hold some fascinating findings for Canadians interested in public education.
What we found interesting when it came to that public relations or that government relations side, was the associations that served independent schools in funded provinces were more involved in the government relations, that is in the government advocacy side We were interested not only in how many ...
September 4, 2018
Anika Barlow, hospitality coordinator at Vancouver’s Kinbrace Refugee Community Society, talks to Convivium about the power of faith to bring new arrivals and hosts alike closer to encountering God.
It gives me the ability to relate to many of the families who arrive at Kinbrace whether they're Muslim or Christian or otherwise AB: I can think of specific interactions I've had with people when they've been in a pretty dark place of heightened anxiety and uncertainty about what the future will ho...
August 31, 2018
As the Calgary Stampeders prepare for their annual Labour Day Classic against their CFL rivals from Edmonton, team chaplain Rodd Sawatzky’s role is to help the team’s strong cohort of Christian players remember true victory is in Christ. The director of pro ministries for Athletes in Action spoke recently with Convivium’s Peter Stockland.
When I'm dealing with the spiritual things, what happens is because I was an athlete, because I am a coach, because I love people and I'm clear on the critical Christian mindset character, what Christ called us to be and live and understand and hold to be true, all of that melds into conversations t...
August 17, 2018
Convivium publisher Peter Stockland argues recovery of genuine political conversation requires that we start asking the right questions about our political differences.
It’s the slow suffocation of the very possibility of political conversation, Smith says The outstanding question, however, is whether the words were in fact wayward, and if so, why? Here is a veteran member of Parliament raising a matter of public policy which, it’s worth remembering, is what we pay...
August 1, 2018
We tend to treat music like entertainment breaks from the serious phases of our church services, writes Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland. But music ought to be so much more. Today, Peter defends the core of music: to lift our hearts, and our voices, towards God's love.
My entire understanding of music rests on three years of junior high school band, which was only possible after the first month because the school authorities so deeply feared letting me take shop class as an alternative Proof that the Church has no shyness about irony is affirmed in word that Canad...
July 27, 2018
Cardus’ director of Work and Economics made waves on Canada’s West Coast this month with a report critiquing the B.C. government’s move to let only unionized construction companies bid for major infrastructure projects. But, Brian Dijkema tells Convivum, the policy will cost taxpayers billions, punish workers, and risk damage to democracy itself.
By picking and choosing one labour model, they have given a leg up to companies that use that labour model, and in so doing have given a preferential option to certain types of capital, which is not what you would typically expect from a government that is pro-labour The reality is there's been trem...