New Year, Same You!

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter 

Setting Realistic Resolutions for the New Year 

At some point in human history, it was decided that bringing in the New Year must be accompanied by an extensive list of how to radically alter our lifestyles. We might feel a more intense drive to change our habits, our bodies, our motivations, and our way of life on a grand scale, creating a new regime in the hopes that we might create a new sense of purpose and identity. Unfortunately (or perhaps quite fortunately), these changes don’t just happen because the clock strikes midnight and it’s 2016. A new year does not mean that everything about you has been stripped away and you are free to climb into a completely new being. A new year does not mean a completely new you.

Perhaps this viewpoint sounds harsh. I assure you, it isn’t meant to be. My impulse to write this article stems from a frustration toward the inundation of expectations we can place upon ourselves simply because it’s January of a new year. I believe that change is good, in fact I would say that change is necessary, but expecting radical results so suddenly is not sustainable — nor is it healthy. If we were to begin to create realistic, sustainable resolutions for our lives, we would see results much more meaningfully and with greater opportunity for longevity. Here are some points to consider when developing your goals for this year.

1) Make your goal realistic and catered to you.

Generic goals often need to be adjusted to fit individual needs and circumstances. For example, let’s say someone’s goal is to “be more fit” in the New Year. Perhaps this person has positive intentions for wanting to work out (their health isn’t optimal, they feel fatigued, they want to get out and participate in a group more, etc.).

However, let’s say this person has rarely been active in their life up until this point. They have made this resolution for the past two years and are increasingly frustrated three months into the year when they no longer have the time, the drive, or the enthusiasm to follow through with their goal. When the next year rolls around, they expect the same goal to magically work this time (the “new year, new me” notion). The honest goal of wanting to “be fit,” although it sounds simple enough, is actually a very challenging goal. There is a lot of time, energy, and healthy supports that need to be in place if it is to continue effectively.

If this person were to set more reasonable goals for their current lifestyle, perhaps “being accountable to a friend once a week to go for a walk with,” suddenly the goal has a specific time, place, and person attached to it. The resolution is catered to the person making it with healthy and reasonable guidelines. Which brings me to another important concept to consider when making resolutions:

2) Resolutions ought to act as guidelines, not as rules.

 The more rules we place upon ourselves, the more we are sending ourselves the message that we can’t mess up, that we are bad or we fail if we don’t adhere to a rule we strictly impose. This mentality is not the foundation of creating healthy habits. We need to have an element of softness around what we do and what we strive to do. For example, one of my resolutions for the New Year involves doing one calming activity before I go to sleep in order to transition from my active day to a leisurely bedtime. Some of these activities include: reading, journaling, yoga, and meditation.

Again, I need to be honest with myself and ask the question, “Can I do one of these tasks every single day?” The perfectionist part of me answers with a definitive “YES.” Theoretically, I could do these tasks each day, but the point of my resolution is not to stress me out with having to get one done in order to achieve some imaginary check mark. The more important question I need to ask myself is, “Is it okay if I do not have time to do one of these tasks every single day?” and the answer to that is “YES.” If you are able to give yourself permission to not have to complete the tasks some days, that is being realistic and does not make you any less driven or dedicated to your resolution. It means you are human and leaving room for all aspects of your life.

3) Ask yourself why this resolution is important to you.

If you are eager to make some changes in your life, think first about why you are inclined to make those changes. Is your motivation coming from a place of care or from a place of self-criticism? Some resolutions stem from a desire to try new things or make time for favourite hobbies or encounters. However, some resolutions can come from a place of discomfort with how we perceive ourselves. It is important to be honest with why we are so eager to make changes and if there might be something about our current way of living that doesn’t sit well with us. Consider both these possibilities before diving head first into an intense new regime or riding the latest band wagon.

Whether or not you have established a New Year’s resolution for yourself this year, set yourself up for success by honouring who you are with grace and gratitude. Invite 2016 to be a year where resolutions, no matter what they might be, come from a place that aims to make you a happier, healthier person: a servant of God in perfectly imperfect ways. 

Chemistry and Culture Making

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter 

An Interview with Dr. Edward Berkelaar 

Interviewing the Chair of the Departments of Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and Geography might have seemed an intimidating task for a student with a background almost exclusively in the Arts. However, upon meeting Dr. Edward Berkelaar, professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies at Redeemer, I was immediately at ease amidst his joyful energy and the parade of plants and books ornamenting his office. When asked what inspired him to pursue an academic route Berkelaar shared, “I was always science-y and I always loved plants.”

He explained that his academic journey was more a result of chance than precise planning. Encouraged by Faculty, Berkelaar completed a B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry in Nova Scotia —where he grew up — and soon discovered a passion for research. “In the summer between my third and fourth year, I had […] the chance to work on a research project which was on the interface between biology and chemistry, and I just delighted in it. Unknown problems, new ideas, working independently. It was right up my alley.”

This enjoyment followed Berkelaar as he pursued an M.Sc in Plant Physiology and a PhD in Ecotoxicology, where he was able to further blend his background in both chemistry and biology. Berkelaar seemed destined for a life of academia; after a three year working experience for a non-profit organization with his wife in Florida, he admits “[he] missed being in University, in that environment of academia.” This led him to teach at Redeemer University in 2003.

Our conversation continued to a question regarding the relationship between Science and Religion. In response to what drew him to teach the sciences in a religious context and what his discoveries have been as result, Berkelaar responded, “For me, always, studying the sciences has probably been one of the ways that I feel communicated to by God; in the sense that He speaks through His creation, and science is an investigation of the creation, and you just get insights and windows of beauty and complexity that inspire.” He continued to comment that teaching in this manner felt, “more consistent and holistic” to him. 

Berkelaar’s latest project, in collaboration with Dr. Brouwer, focuses on “Monitoring the water quality of the Spencer Creek and Chedoke Creek watersheds.” Berkelaar’s explanation of the project inspired me to look critically at what is happening in our local landscape. He described the creeks that are now buried beneath the city, including one “buried underneath the entire Hamilton mountain until it gets to the escarpment,” eventually manifesting as the Chedoke waterfall. The water samples they gathered this past summer were a means of “measuring bacterial contamination”, which are “indicators of aquatic health.” Berkelaar and Brouwer plan on presenting their findings to the Hamilton Conservation Authority in February and to the public in the future.

When asked how he might consider inspiring those resistant to studies in chemistry, environmental studies, and geography to investigate these areas of study, Berkelaar admitted that, “there is a math and science phobia which is unfortunate.” But rather than teaching concepts and math formulaically or traditionally, he strives for a different approach.

“One thing we’ve been working on hard here is to show to students how chemistry itself is […] actually a form of culture making,” Berkelaar stated. He referenced the work of Andy Crouch (who recently visited Redeemer) and elaborated on chemistry’s role in producing many of the modern means we encounter daily, including those which impact the environment.

“Science and technology has led to human flourishing to some extent but it has also led to some really significant health issues and environmental issues that need addressing as well,” and questioned, “how do you balance […] the properties of science and technology in service of others?” Berkelaar’s considerations continually return to a care for student learning and inquiry. “When you weave those stories through even basic chemistry, it’s a bit eye-opening for students to realize that this matters beyond the math.”

Beyond matters of math, Berkelaar shared that he finds peace while weeding in a garden during the summer months. “I can be at peace with extremely routine tasks,” he explained. As for a question regarding how he might spend an ideal day off of school, he admitted, “I would spend probably three or four very early hours doing work.” After that, he delightedly expressed “I’d be with family,” and imagined spending the day with his four kids skating, playing in the snow, and making good use of their backyard ice rink.


ejb pic.jpg

The Night Before Exams

Alanna Van Ommen


T’was the night before exam week, when all through the school

Not a student is stirring, except me. Not cool.

The pencils are sharpened and laid out with care

In hopes that the week’s exams will all be fair.


The students are exhausted, passed out on their beds

While nightmares of failing pass through their heads.

My room-mate in a panic, and I freaking out

Not knowing what in the world our tests are about.


When out in the yard there comes such a clatter,

I rise from my desk to see what is the matter.

To the window I lope, like in The Walking Dead,

Was what I just heard all in my head?


The moon shining bright on the new-fallen snow,

I scan the parking lot for what is below.

When, what to my tired eyes should appear

But a student screaming out, wide-eyed with fear.


“I ran out of coffee,” comes the anguished cry.

I gasp out in horror, with a tear in my eye,

“No caffeine?” I utter in despair.

Truly, this is a student’s worst nightmare.


Back to my desk I drag my weary bones,

Attempting to learn about the body’s hormones.

I stare at the ceiling, and then at the wall,

Memorizing the contents of my messy scrawl.

I look beside me, flash cards strewn around.

The only thing I can think of is going to lay down.

Yet I study with dedication and courage for biology,

Hoping the results will be only a minor atrocity.


I’ve procrastinated, crammed, and pushed my way through,

But with what’s on this exam, I think I’ll fake the flu.

I’ve had two cups of coffee, three cups, four,

I don’t even know the date anymore.


My stomach growls, I’m exhausted and hungry,

I’m fed up with this crap, to put it bluntly.

I’ve had too much junk food, the thought of KD? Repulsing.

Now’s not the time for more William’s-indulging.


I look in the mirror, bags under my eyes.

To stay up any later would just be unwise.

A glance at the time — it’s two o’clock already?

Time to head to my bed, ‘cause I’m a little unsteady.


Minutes pass, and I lay there for a while

Remembering the to-do list I have yet to compile.

After what seems like forever, I finally doze off

Dreaming of what I’ll say to my prof.


In what seems like seconds, my alarm clock sounds.

I breathe in the smell of fresh coffee grounds.

I think for a while, what breakfast should I make?

I’d probably give my left leg for a stack of pancakes.

Dry cereal it is, no thanks to my budget.

It’s all I can afford, so please don’t judge it.

I dream of my mom’s great home-cooked meals,

The Fruit Loops in my bowl just don’t seem ideal.


I look at my phone with a jolt of fear:

The time has flown by and my exam slot is here!

I take a deep breath, feeling calm ‘cause you see,

I know that my Lord will be in there with me.

Students Serving Students

Student Senate 

Hey guys, Student Senate here. We have something really important to tell you that we’re not sure you all know… We really care about you. Seriously, we really care. Don’t believe us? Why don’t you test it? Come into the Student Senate office and talk with us! Or, if you’re too busy with schoolwork right now to pop by, you can just keep reading to get a good snippet of how we can serve you.

First, when students come to us with concerns, we are always more than eager to help resolve them or explain what is going on. From concerns as large as government funding to concerns about what is going to happen to our resident peahens when winter comes, we discuss it all and work hard to receive answers and make positive change for you.

What we’re saying is this: nothing is too big or too small. If you have a concern, we want to hear it because we are here for you, the student body. You need to know that your concerns are taken very seriously by us, and that we are respected and heard by the administration here at Redeemer. We are your bridge to bringing about the change that you would like to see.

On that note, we also love it when students come in and share their visions and dreams with us. We’ve had many students come to us with visions of a new student club, and we’ve helped them make that a reality.  You said you wanted a new ping pong table, and we listened! It has already been enjoyed by many of you. We continue to host events like Coffeehouse, Harvest Hoedown, and the upcoming Winter Semi-Formal Dance — Dec. 5! 8 PM! Rec Centre! — because many of you enjoy them. We work hard to ensure that your time at Redeemer is amazing. But we can’t do it properly without your help.

 What’s next?? You tell us! Do you have any ideas for a school-wide event? Talk to our Activities Chair, Jess. Perhaps you have ideas about hosting a new spiritual event? Talk to our Spiritual Activities and Services Chair, Jon.  Do you want to start a new club? Talk to Kyle, our Clubs Coordinator. Do you have concerns you’d like to bring up with Redeemer administration? Talk to our VP of Student Affairs, James. Are you a mature, international, commuter, and/or off-campus student and have questions, concerns, or ideas? Talk to our MICOS representative, Chantal.

Talk to our VP of Finance, Alex if you have questions about club budgets or Student Senate finances. Maybe you want to get the word out about a club event you’re having; well, just talk to our VP of Communication, Johanna. Don’t forget to meet our First-Year Senators, Aren, Elaine, and Wisdom. Or chat with our Student Senate President, Ryan! We are regular students that are here to serve you. So pop by the Student Senate office (beside the bookstore) and talk to us! 

When Midterm Madness Gets Real

Johanna Benjamins | Student Senate

I don’t know about you, but October seems like the month when reality and the weight of school assignments hits students with its fullest magnitude. October is the friendly reminder that you now only have half the semester to pull that grade you want, the realization that balancing your part time job with school work may be more difficult than originally expected, and the epiphany that perhaps you shouldn’t have joined two clubs, a sports team, and a non-profit, regardless of how important they are.

I’m also sure that the best of us could be found, at some point during Midterms, daydreaming about binge-watching Netflix, catching up on our favorite YouTube channel or whatever (insert random nerdy past time here), and okay, lets be honest, who didn’t drop everything to watch the Jays Game last week? Don’t even bother lying. We see you.

Jokes aside, finding the balance between school, work, friends, faith, family, and service to the community can be a task. How do we do it? While pondering this question, I was reminded of the very first Chapel of the school year on Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the definition of time referring to the structured increments of seconds, minutes, and hours while Kairos is the definition of time referring to opportune, or appointed moments or seasons, in other words, valuable or memorable moments.


“Excuse me while I max out my student card on Smart Pop, ice cream and Nutella.” 


Most students can agree that their lives are focused primarily on Chronos time, but even during midterms we need to let ourselves experience Kairos as well. So don’t be afraid to take a break. Don’t miss out on the moments like watching your friends perform at coffee house, or your brother bobbing for apples at Harvest Hoedown! Visit a forest before fall is over, and more importantly, don’t deny yourself the time you would spend with God because of business.

The key to balance is different for everyone, and it isn’t simple. When schooling starts to infringe on other aspects of our lives, remember that if friends and family love you, they will forgive you for the hours you spend in the library studying. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask for some time off work to free up your schedule. In most cases, bosses have been there and understand. Time for rest is just as important as making time for other things. God uses those times to speak into our lives, and ultimately that’s what gives all of your commitments purpose. 


A Word from Senate

Student Senate 

Being part of Student Senate definitely gives a different perspective on Redeemer’s atmosphere and community than can be experienced in first year. Even in the past month, it’s easy to recall countless tiny things that make Redeemer home, and these things seem to get richer coming back to them the second, third or even fourth time. Being a part of the system of students who bring life and depth to Redeemer is what makes Student Senate’s job such a blessing. We get to witness the impromptu jam sessions and ultimate Frisbee games during launch week. We can listen to David and Julien’s theologically-attuned rendition of the three little pigs at our first Coffeehouse. We get to watch the first Thursday night soccer games, or beginning the familiar hymn that led our community into worship at our first Church in the Box.

Student Senate is a group of students all with different talents, but similar goals of promoting an atmosphere of Christ-like service in our school and community. We are a group of 11 elected and appointed students who carry out various tasks for the benefit of the student body. We act as a liaison between the students and the administration by planning activities and events, funding a multitude of student-run initiatives, and by representing Redeemer’s students and their interests outside of the campus. This includes events and initiatives like The Crown (which you are reading now), Church in the Box, Coffee House, school dances, projects such as the Rec Centre renovations and furnishings, and numerous others. The clubs and student-run events that make up Redeemer’s vibrate community, are what make Student Senate’s many tedious meetings and planning all worth it.

We are excited to see the plans God has for our campus this school year and we look forward to the role Student Senate is privileged to play in it. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about Student Senate, or if you simply want to say hello, please feel free to visit our office (located between the bookstore and the library) or attend our weekly meetings held on Tuesdays in Room 210 at 10:00 PM. We love visitors (and we bring food)! You can also email us at, or visit our Dash Page. Student Senate loves to here people’s ideas and we love feedback.

It is our hope that we may work well for you this year. Further, we hope and pray that you may have a great year intellectually, spiritually, and communally. We also ask that you please pray for us as we go about our duties this year.

In his grace,

Redeemer University College Student Senate


Seat Filling, Just Chilling

An Account of A Redeemer Student's JUNOS Experience

Nicolle Katz | Crown Staff

Do you want to go to the JUNOS for free? As an avid music lover (and student on a budget) I was more than excited at the prospect of attending Canada’s Grammys on March 15th. So when online applications for volunteers were posted, I applied, and they said yes!

When the day finally arrived, my friend Erin and I got all dolled up (yet again, as Redeemer’s banquet was the night before) and headed to First Ontario Centre.

Here’s a list of the things I wish I knew before leaving my house that day:

  1. You will be standing, A LOT. As seat fillers, we were asked to arrive 4 hours before the show and spent over three and a half hours waiting in line outside the venue, grouped in the depths of the arena, and then in the hallway. Luckily I ditched the heels for some sensible flats, or my feet may have not lived to tell the tale. 
  2. You will be cold. Seat fillers are not permitted to do a lot of things. One of these things is bring a jacket! Thus, we waited outside for a long, cold time, clinging to the warm thoughts of celebrity stardom to get us through it all.
  3. You will be bored. Seat fillers are also “not permitted” to bring cell phones or normal sized purses. Luckily, I snuck some post-it notes into the theatre (in case I needed to jot down my number to any talent scouts or famous musicians) and Erin and I brought back the elementary school classics of tic-tac-toe, Pictionary, and of course, MASH.
  4. You will be hungry. Because seat fillers are also “not permitted” to eat (unflattering on camera, you see), The music awards were also accompanied by the sweet sounds of my stomach growling.
  5. You will sit amongst famous people. For real! From the Weekend to Kiesza to Hedley to Sam Roberts band, I got to soak in all their performances from the very front row of the arena. Best part? The person who bought my ticket never showed up, so I got to sit in the same place for the entire night!

So despite the cold, extreme boredom, hunger, and long hours of standing, seat filling was awesome. And I would recommend it to anyone, anyplace, any time.  

 Erin & I: World Class JUNOS Seat Fillers

Erin & I: World Class JUNOS Seat Fillers

The Red Carpet Rolls Into Hamilton

Redeemer Reporter Covers JUNO Events 

 The Crown's Junior Reporter Elise Arsenault was given the opportunity to attend the 2015 JUNO awards which took place in Hamilton, Ontario this past month.

The Crown's Junior Reporter Elise Arsenault was given the opportunity to attend the 2015 JUNO awards which took place in Hamilton, Ontario this past month.

Elise Arsenault | Reporter

A few months ago, a member of the Crown team made the wild suggestion of applying for press passes to the 2015 JUNO Awards. Two weeks ago, a member of the JUNO team made the wild decision of sending us one. A week or so ago, I took the opportunity to attend four JUNO events with the naive assumption that covering them would be easy. By the end of the weekend, there was an overwhelming amount of information to sift through in the hope of writing a valuable response. What resulted was a breakdown of the events and questions that came from experiencing the 44th annual Canadian Music Awards from an insider’s view.

Welcome Reception: Friday, March 13th

Held at the grand and historic Liuna Station on James St. North, attendees of this event were offered a strut down the Green Carpet, free hors d'oeuvres and the chance to exchange a business card or twelve. I flashed my press pass at the media booth upon arrival, made an exchange at the coatroom and whipped out the camera I borrowed from Yearbook. I was permitted to take pictures on the Green Carpet (that had an uncanny resemblance to a Sham-Wow), so I secured my spot alongside the photographers as the foyer began to crowd. Our paparazzi group was as civil as they came; elbows and voices didn't rise in attempting to shoot quality pictures. There was a kind of rhythm to the process. First, the carpet facilitator would write the guest's name and nomination on a whiteboard for us to photograph. Once withdrawn, the guest would center him or herself before the backdrop and, ideally, meet the gaze of every lens, offering a dipped chin, wide grin, hand-on-the-hip and/or peace sign. Others opted for expressions not unlike that of felons.

An hour passed before the procession lulled and all made their way to the main hall. Therein, I noticed green floodlights wash over the room (TD Bank sponsored the evening), the absence of chairs, and the weighty presence of alcohol. A young man disc-jockeyed in one corner and people formed squads around tall, skinny tables where waiters exchanged cocktails for pearly-white thank-yous. I declined the drinks and the shrimp, but took a bite of what I can only describe as a cheesy, gourmet Tim-bit.

Leaving the camera-clad clan to do some exploring, I recalled my last experience at Liuna Station: my high-school prom. It was tough not to draw parallels: both events included heels, ties, beats, cliques and celebrating achievements. Both had glam, grandeur and an unsettling lack of genuineness. I kept this in mind for the remainder of the evening, until sore calves trumped my soaring curiosity. One event down three to go.

JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards: Saturday, March 14th

 Q&A Room in the Media Centre.

Q&A Room in the Media Centre.

Thirty-five JUNO Awards were to be presented at this event, alongside the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award and the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Once signed-in at the Hamilton Convention Centre, all media were instructed to find their outlet-name in either the Photo room or Q&A room, two stories above the gala. I spotted "The Crown" seat in the Q&A room, near "The Liberal" and "The Hamilton Spectator."

The award-recipients who visited us include Bahamas (Songwriter, Adult Alternative Album of the Year), Dallas Smith (Country Album of the Year), July Talk (Alternative Album of the Year), Lights (Pop Album of the Year), Diana Panton (Vocal Jazz Album of the Year), Fred Penner (Children's Album of the Year), Naturally Born Strangers (Rap Album of the Year), Quique Escamilla (World Music Album of the Year), and Adam Messinger (Jack Richardson Producer of the Year). Each was asked questions on their expectations, current emotions and plans for the future. Fred Penner, a longtime beloved children's entertainer, was asked how his approach to writing children's music changed over 40 years in the industry. 

"The vernacular may alter," he admits, "but the bottom line remains: we're all in this insanity together, let’s try and support each other by making for stronger families and stronger human beings one at a time." His broad fan-base has him performing in elementary schools one day and at bars on university campuses the next, yet his "approach" to reach both crowds is steadfast: the theme of unity pulses beneath each anthem. Later, Lights was invited to the stage to share her advice for those hoping to gain recognition of their own in Canadian music. 

"Enjoy what you do, or there's no point in doing it," says Lights. "Write songs, perfect your craft, find your pocket. Carve out a place for yourself then it will be undeniable that there will be a place for you in the music industry. Don't wait for someone to create that for you."

The feeling that comes with perfecting your musical craft is perhaps best described by Geddy Lee, lead singer, bassist and keyboardist for Canadian phenomenon Rush. "When you're sweating over something and you play it back, there's a huge feeling of worth. That's the biofeedback you get from creating something."

Lee is asked to compare this to the feeling of giving, having accepted the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award on behalf of Rush for their philanthropic efforts. "When you help someone, it's a quieter feeling, but it brings tears to your eyes. When we build a school in Guatemala and we see them cutting the ribbon, it chokes you up! Because you are helping these people so directly. There's a school where there wasn't a school. It's a different feeling; it's a more emotional feeling." This kind of emotion is said to be a well from which musical and lyrical creativity is drawn. 

Manic Drive: Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

 Manic Drive at the JUNOS. Source: CARAS/iPhoto

Manic Drive at the JUNOS. Source: CARAS/iPhoto

For Christian Rock band Manic Drive, the well of inspiration is surely dug in Christ and his Word. I eagerly awaited their televised speech when the trio was announced to have won. The first thank-you went to the crowd for their "brilliance and artistry," the second went to their Mom, the third went to their recording and producing team and the rest went to family and significant others for their relentless support. Then, just before descending the stage, one member ensured a final shout-out: "Party at table 12!" I had yet to form my own reaction before overhearing someone else's in the room:

"What?" A man asked, eyes wide and brows furrowed. "If I was God and I like to think that I am I would be seriously ticked."

It was neither my goal nor my place to bash Manic Drive or their discredit their authenticity, but hearing a broadcasted speech void of God's name was disheartening. I emailed the band via their website late Monday evening to ask if they'd like to address it. I received a response by Tuesday afternoon from their guitarist, Michael Cavallo. His email read:

"As we were shocked, excited and humbled to win, we were equally embarrassed for our human error to thank God. In fact, as we exited the stage, we caught ourselves immediately. We have been thanking and acknowledging the Lord in all our interviews and media campaigns. [Our faith] is something we are NOT ashamed of." He continued: That said, it is tradition to thank God during a speech (especially as Christian artists), but to praise God for winning and other talented artists losing is something we always thought was a little wrong as if we are in Gods favour compared to other artists and thats simply not the case.

Cavallo went on to mention the band’s broadcasted apology on JUNO TV, presented right after the speech, and other times when theyd stood their ground in their faith with radio personalities literally mocking and swearing at them during interviews.

 Geddy Lee of Rush being interviewed on JUNO TV

Geddy Lee of Rush being interviewed on JUNO TV

He personally apologized for any offence given and urged that as the body of Christ we should be working together in all fields of life, instead of printing our mistakes. Cue the conviction within me. There I was, equipped and ready to print mistakes in The Crown for all to see. I imagined writing a column of the times Ive fallen short and certainly didnt find it as tempting to publish. The lesson-learned: remembering who we are, whose grace weve received and acting according to those truths.

JUNO Songwriter's Circle: Sunday morning, March 15th

 Songwriters Circle, from left: Emmanuel Jal, Fred Penner, Jess Moskaluke, and Matt Anderson

Songwriters Circle, from left: Emmanuel Jal, Fred Penner, Jess Moskaluke, and Matt Anderson

Eight JUNO Award nominees headlined this event, sharing stripped-down versions of songs and the stories behind them in the Hamilton Convention Centre. Ian Thornley (of Big Wreck), Jenn Grant, Lights and Ryan Guldemond (of Mother Mother) headed the show, and Emmanuel Jal, Fred Penner, Jess Moskaluke and Matt Anderson closed it. Each artist shared an acoustic or a capella version of two original songs, then invited the audience into the experiences that birthed them. 

Ryan Guldemond had a comical way of explaining the simplicity of their performances: "The personality of the song, in itself, is a being. The production acoustic guitar or accordion is like an outfit. We've all dressed casually today, and it's the same with the song." The audience's chuckle prompted him to assure us: "It's deep, people!" And deeper it became.

The vulnerability among the artists was soul-stirring. Lights spoke about recording her award-winning album, "Little Machines," during her third trimester. She was still recording vocals in the early stages of going into labour, gave birth to daughter Rocket Wild Bokan and returned to the studio three days later. Alternative artist Jenn Grant shared a piece she'd written while sitting on her brother's kitchen floor, warring with emotions that surfaced when her mother passed away. Her lyrics were heartfelt and mesmerizing.

South Sudanese musician, Emmanuel Jal, too, is familiar with tribulation. Having been raised as a boy-soldier in Ethiopia, he was trained to fight and feel no remorse. After escaping at age 11, Jal sought healing in Jesus and hip-hop. 

"Music is when I get to become a child again. This is where I'm able to see Heaven. When I started to tell my experiences through music it was easier than speaking, and the nightmares I used to have decided to disappear." His spoken-word rendition of "Forced to Sin" addressed the horrors of starvation and warfare. Rhythm is his medium of choice because of its universal nature.

"Music has a way of speaking to your mind, your heart, your soul, your cell system,” Jal said. It is the language of the soul that everybody understands. It doesn't see colour."

Each and every artist shared raw performances with even rawer truths. The whole event (available to hear at was a powerful reminder of the impact of honest artistry, giving fresh insight to the inner workings of today’s Canadian music.

 From Left: Ian Thorley, Jenn Grant, Lights, and  Ryan Guldemond

From Left: Ian Thorley, Jenn Grant, Lights, and  Ryan Guldemond

The 2015 JUNO Awards Broadcast: Sunday evening, March 15

This was the climax of JUNO week. Hosted by Hedley's Jacob Hoggard and held in the FirstOntario Centre, the event presented awards for the Single of the Year ("Rude" by Magic!), Album of the Year ("Popular Problems" by Leonard Cohen), Artist of the Year (The Weeknd), Breakthrough Artist of the Year (Kiesza), Rock Album of the Year ("High Noon" by Arkells), JUNO Fan Choice Award (Michael Buble) and Canadian Music Hall of Fame (Alanis Morissette). 

All members of the press spent the evening at the Hamilton Public Library, where award winners were shuttled by golf-cart after their acceptance speeches. The Media Center consisted of a Photo room, Q&A room and several large cubicles for television outlets like eTalk, JUNO TV and ET Canada. Each exploratory turn unveiled talk-show sets and snack booths. I planned to strategically hop between the Photo and Q&A rooms, aiming to photograph each winner and hear their answers.

This paparazzi crowd was a passionate one to say the least. Their language was colourful, and my head was shoved down more than once (I was already squatting, mind you, and resting my elbows on a red carpet that did not resemble a Sham-Wow). The Q&A room was triple the size of the last, but award recipients were asked similar questions. Every artist was honoured by their award(s) and spoke with evident thankfulness. Sadly, Michael Buble did not attend, and although The Weeknd did, he only mumbled a few thank-yous into a mic before the media, exited, and left us in a potent cloud of marijuana.

Magic! and the Arkells were the most talkative winners by far, answering questions with wit and reminiscent stories. The Arkells shared stories about their collaboration with Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra, their passion for touring, and their secret love for Nickelback. They also tried starting a drinking game with the media.

Magic! spoke of their sibling-like friendship with each other, calling themselves "the Olsen twins that do music!" Their bond is sealed with musical commitment: "We're workhorses when we need to be, we're playful when we need to be, but we're serious songwriters."

Next up, three-time JUNO Award winning artist Kiesza challenged those who look up to her. "Take what I do, and bring it to the next level," she commissioned. "Learn from those before you. I'm never going to stop progressing at what I do, so neither should you."

  Alanis Morissette poses with her JUNO after being awarded a place in the Music Canadian Hall of Fame 

Alanis Morissette poses with her JUNO after being awarded a place in the Music Canadian Hall of Fame 

Alanis Morissette, having been awarded a place in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, also had valuable things to say about thriving in the music industry.

"I never need to worry about Canadians as writers. We're a story-telling, confessional, autobiographical bunch by default. As a country we are very socially considerate and politically aware. We're a wealth of unique, empowered and emotional people." Her statement provided encouragement and seamless closure to the evening.

My taste of the JUNO experience was a consuming but enlightening one. Its purpose seemed shallow at times, bathed in champagne and sectioned-off by velvet ropes. Other times it dressed casually, sported an acoustic guitar and spoke in a raspy voice. In hindsight, I found the essence of the movement to be purest where honest questions met honest answers. This is beautifully expressed in Alanis Morissettes response to becoming the Canadian music icon she is.

She said: “To me, fame in and of itself is not an end. It would be more valuable as a means to an end. I think, if people are being touched and moved and comforted and inspired by what Im writing, then Ill keep writing; Ill take advantage of this famousness and use it as a means to serve. Thats when it becomes really interesting to me.

Recognition as a means to serve, encourage and give voice to the unspeakable. Music as a means to respond, question and create. We may never get a glass statuette as recompense, but we will forever be a people called to offer every part of ourselves as an instrument of righteousness.

Making Christian Scholarships Matter: Dr. Robert Joustra Explains Launch of the Centre for Christian Scholarship

Justin Eisinga | Reporter

That is the question being posed by Dr. Rob Joustra, professor of International Studies and Director of the new Centre for Christian Scholarship. Redeemer University College’s latest initiative aims to answer that question, placing the university’s faculty front and center.

The primary goal of the Christian university is the education and spiritual formation of students. “The cultivation of Christian scholarship for the common good,” according to Dr. Joustra, is the secondary goal. It is this secondary goal that often does not get attention at Redeemer, something that the Centre for Christian Scholarship is aiming to improve.

“There is outstanding, innovative, and important scholarly work taking place at Redeemer,” emphasizes Dr. Joustra. The Centre aims to highlight this scholarly work through several initiatives that will be rolled out over the next year. More than anything else, the work of the Centre for Christian Scholarship hopes to translate the work of Redeemer’s faculty into accessible formats in order to better facilitate the transformation of the society we live in.

One of the major features of the Centre is its consolidation of Redeemer’s existing research programs (the Dooyewerd Centre for Christian Philosophy and Pascal Centre for Advanced Studies in Faith and Science) alongside the new Zylstra Program for Public Scholarship. Together, these research programs represent the backbone of Redeemer’s academic structure, leading to education and scholarship in the humanities, science and arts.

The Zylstra Program for Public Scholarship, launching with the centre in 2015, is a significant development. The program is dedicated to funding research related to issues of public concern while at the same time bringing these ideas into the public sphere. This will be accomplished through the offering of a $25,000 grant to one of Redeemer’s faculty.

Alongside this award, the Centre for Christian Scholarship has partnered with several key North American Christian ‘think-tanks’ to offer the Emerging Public Intellectual Award. Alongside Cardus, the Acton Institute, and The Centre for Public Justice, this award is focused on “encouraging the development of first-rate public intellectuals in the Christian academy.” Eligible to any non-tenured, full time Christian academic under the age of 40, this $5000 award aims to highlight Christian scholarly and public work.

The winner of the Emerging Public Intellectual Award will also be invited to deliver an address at the Centre’s fall conference, which will launch October 28-29 at Redeemer. Partnering with Edifide, a professional association for Christian educators, the Centre for Christian Scholarship will host “speakers and thinkers contributing to faith in our public life.” The theme of this year’s conference will be “Purpose, Power, Potential”, and will feature Andy Crouch (author of Playing God and executive editor of Christianity Today) and Dr. Karen Swallow Prior (writer and professor of English at Liberty University).

The initiatives being spearheaded by the Centre for Christian Scholarship all aim to bring the work taking place within the Christian academy to bear on the public life of North American society. This may not seem relevant to students at first; in fact, students at Redeemer may even feel confused at significant additions to the university’s offerings during a time of faculty and staff lay-offs and department reductions.

 “This initiative is part of Redeemer’s broader strategy. This centre is one of the strategic areas that we’re investing,” responds Dr. Joustra. “The story of Redeemer 2014/2015 is not just about what’s going away, it’s actually about focusing in new directions and investing quite heavily in them. This is a piece of the puzzle. It’s about increasing not just our visibility, but it’s also about increasing the impact of what we already have.”

At the end of the day, the Centre for Christian Scholarship may not seem significant to students. For faculty, however, this is a moment many have been waiting for. Redeemer has in its midst individuals who have contributed greatly to scholarship that has the potential to shape public life around the world. This new centre is determined to make that even more of a reality.

 Robert Joustra is the new director of the Centre for Christian Fellowship and a professor of political science and international development here at Redeemer. He is also an editorial fellow at The Review of Faith & International Affairs, a fellow at the Centre for Public Justice, and blogs for the Arc of the Universe (of the University of Notre Dame's Centre for Civil & Human Rights). 

Robert Joustra is the new director of the Centre for Christian Fellowship and a professor of political science and international development here at Redeemer. He is also an editorial fellow at The Review of Faith & International Affairs, a fellow at the Centre for Public Justice, and blogs for the Arc of the Universe (of the University of Notre Dame's Centre for Civil & Human Rights). 








Tension and Transformation: The Themes Fuelling Redeemer’s Upcoming Art Show

Elise Arsanault | Reporter

Beer bottles are emptied, glass is stained and a halo is secured about the ears of one sketched goat. Art students Chrisy Hurn, Alicia Hampton and Rebecca Vink finalize the art series to be featured at Redeemer’s showcase in December. I spoke with Chrisy and Alicia last week, hearing firsthand about the muses, media and heart behind their creations.

 Chrisy Hurn’s series, The Paradox of the Table, derives from Matthew 25:32-33. “Jesus separated the goats from the sheep,” she explains, “it is through these pieces that I am asking myself ‘am I a goat or a sheep?’” Having sculpted, drawn, painted, cut and pasted her response to this question, Chrisy admits its introspective nature but stresses its relevance to believers as a community: “We all have our sins and struggles; we all have the stuff that we suck at, but Christ still calls us to meet together as a body, to drink the blood and eat the bread together and remember what Christ has done for us.”

 She contemplates this perpetual conflict, found in ourselves and in Christians as a body: “It is about the paradox and the tensions within my own Christian faith, but also those arising from being broken people and living in a community with other broken people.”

 After unpacking this theme for a year or so, Chrisy sees its potential to resonate with everyone. “We have all dealt with these questions in one way or another. My hope is for people to connect with that experience, recognize those questions within themselves, and take them home.”

 Lastly, Chrisy mentions two things. The first, a shout-out to a friend’s band, Medicine Hat, who will be performing that evening. The second, a reminder to not only question the art but also enjoy it. “I also just want people to like the art, and to appreciate the aesthetics of it!” she says, “because, in the beginning, my love for art came from the perspective of loving art for arts sake.”

 Chrisy Hurn at work on one piece from  Paradox at the Table .

Chrisy Hurn at work on one piece from Paradox at the Table.

 Rebecca Vink’s Tarnished Portraits makes use of old and corroded pieces of jewelry, wire and chain to form the features and contours of faces. Tarnished bits are used to symbolize a union between our past and present. “Our past can be something we tend to run away from, for we are often ashamed or resentful of it,” says Rebecca, “we are embarrassed to have it show us battered and bleeding – something we’d rather hide from.” We are not to fear our own vulnerability, for “there is something beautiful about exposing ourselves, laying in brokenness, because somehow we get back up.”

 Where wire meets canvas, mess meets masterpiece in this powerful series. It’s in the colliding of past and present, Rebecca believes, that our character is built strongest. “It is our tarnished past that helps piece us together into our present selves. Our past has a purpose: to bring both inspiration and knowledge.”

 A work from Rebecca Vink's  Tarnished Portraits.

A work from Rebecca Vink's Tarnished Portraits.

 Alicia Hampton’s four art pieces are based on John 12:1-8. In this passage, a dinner is held in honour of Jesus, and Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. This action becomes more profound upon realizing that, as Alicia says, “in order to open and to pour from the jar, you first have to break the top off.” Alicia interprets this symbol in light of walking in faith, saying, “as Christians we encounter suffering and brokenness, but we have to be broken in order to let our colour out and bless people around us.”

 With emphasis on our becoming new creations in Christ, Alicia’s four pieces carry the viewer through a transformation they are to bear in fear and wonder. Sculpture and stained glass are her mediums for this story, beginning with the depiction of humans as self-focused. Seasons come when we think we are perfect. We hold our colours within us, and so we’re unable to pour into one another’s lives. Then, with excitement in her voice, she says that when we are “cracked open, vulnerable, we can then be rebuilt and refilled with the Holy Spirit. Pure joy is said to come when we are changed, for then we are able to pour our colourful blessings unto others.”

When asked with what thought her viewers should be left, Alicia’s words come with sincerity: “Sometimes, fear of suffering and brokenness hinders us from blessing others. But it can be a gift; God allows us to be broken in order to heal us from it and further His kingdom through it.”

  Artpiece by by Alicia Hampton.

Artpiece by by Alicia Hampton.

I hope this picking-of-the-artistic-brain stirs a curiosity that brings you to the exhibition, which is held in Redeemer’s Art Gallery on December 6th. It is also with said hope that I leave the mention of beer bottles, glass and goats unexplained, for I entrust you with their interpretation. Let us, then, “appreciate art for art’s sake” while still pondering the skill and creativity with which our own lives have been shaped. 

Hamilton Votes: What You Need to Know about the Municipal Election

Justin Eisinga | Reporter

Every four years, citizens across the country come together to take part in one of the most important duties that exists in modern society. The outcomes of this event affect the everyday lives of each person living in Canada. The significant occasion that is the municipal election may be the most important bastion of democracy we have left. As Preston Manning puts it, “The state of democracy in the country as a whole is closely related to the state of democracy at the local level.”

 The decisions that are made at the local level really do impact our everyday lives. Whether it is the maintenance of roads, the provision of public transit, or the removal of trash, municipal politicians are responsible for the health and wellbeing of the places we live. Unfortunately, in Hamilton’s 2010 municipal election, only about 40 per cent of eligible voters turned out to have their say in how the city is run. This year, on October 27, candidates are hoping this will change.

Candidates have taken to diverse platforms to get the word out to the diverse demographic that makes up Hamilton. From Twitter to Youtube to the old-fashioned public debate, Hamilton’s political wannabes have rolled out all the stops to get their campaign promises out there.

 This year, with crucial transit decisions taking centre stage, the hope is that the voter turnout increases. What’s the big deal with public transit? On the table is a billion-dollar investment that would see Light Rail Transit built from Eastgate Square in Stoney Creek all the way to McMaster University in Westdale.

 Ever since the current mayor, Bob Bratina, announced that he did not intend on running for the top municipal seat again, several front-runners have emerged in the competition for his seat of power. It comes as no surprise that one billion dollars has created quite the divide between the leading mayoral candidates.

 One of these candidates, former mayor Fred Eisenberger, has emerged as a top pick, and not just because of his past experience running the city’s political machine. Eisenberger is running on a platform built on attracting new business and encouraging citizen engagement. As for public transit, Eisenberger is in support of Light Rail Transit, but wants to create a more thorough consultation process with Hamilton residents to determine the right way forward.

 Brad Clark, a former Conservative MP and recently the city councillor for Stoney Creek, is not on the same page as Eisenberger. Clark is completely opposed to Light Rail Transit, opting for a beefed up version of the current bus route that spans from Eastgate to McMaster. Other campaign highlights include a promise to find ways to save tax dollars and a commitment to improving the delivery of public services.

 The most progressive of the leading candidates is Brian McHattie. With a background in planning and community development, McHattie has a bold vision for Hamilton. A city councillor since 2003, McHattie has put all of his weight into supporting Light Rapid Transit. Aside from this, McHattie is intent on creating a more transparent and open city hall while also focusing on building stronger and more active neighbourhoods in the city.

 Now that you’re educated on the mayoral race, you may be wondering how, where, and even if you can vote. The good news is that as a student, you are able to vote in both your home city and in Hamilton. If voting in Hamilton’s election is something you are interested in doing, you won’t have to go too far. There will be a polling station set up at Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, October 27. All you need to bring with you is a piece of identification with your name, indicating your Hamilton address; if your ID doesn’t have this address, just bring some mail or correspondence that does.

 Be an active citizen. Engage in the political system as much as you can. Don’t forget that your vote actually does make a difference, especially at the local level. You never know when you might need to talk to your own city councillor about an issue that’s close to your heart.