Well, there are many different countries/provinces/regions/counties that try to lay claim to that title. But with our vast and varied terrain, the peaking mountains, dipping lush valleys, expanse of beautiful prairies, rugged coastlines, and frozen tundra... how can anyone compete?
Regardless of that competition, editors of the newly-released Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada ask a question that has often been asked in a literary context: does the shape of this land shape who we are as individuals? And what editors Byron Rempel-Burkholder and Dora Dueck consider further... does the shape of this land shape our spiritual identity? Does living in this country affect our views of God, the Church, or faith? Just as the geography is varied, is our spirituality as well?
Because two editors may never be able to answer that question alone, Rempel-Burkholder and Dueck have turned to 46 contributors, representing literary figures, religious and political leaders, and social activists from evangelical to Catholic, mainline Protestant to Orthodox, Pentecostal to Mennonite faith backgrounds. Familiar names, such as Preston Manning, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, Michael Coren, and Mary Jo Leddy share their poems, meditations, and essays on the faith in this country. Also included in the list of contributors is Salt + Light's very own Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., who writes about the lasting effects of World Youth Day 2002 in this country (an excerpt follows).
Walking through these essays is no more straightforward than walking through the Rockies. There are no easy answers, nothing that can be neatly summed up in the end, but with truest in our steps, experience, and faith, readers can reach the summit to discover a beautiful, clear view: Canada is God's country.
Remembering World Youth Day in 2002
by Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.
... During the celebrations of 2002, John Paul II offered us powerful opportunities to become bearers of hope, agents of community, neighbours to those around us, and instruments of a moral globalization that must accompany all other globalization efforts. He challenged us to give a reason for the hope we have to the people we meet each day. John Paul II taught us that if we wish to be convincing in our apology for the faith, we must first be convinced about the faith.
Taken from Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada (Wiley; September 2008; Paper; $24.95).