UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Attention Readers

Effective June 27, 2016, the offices of The Observer will be located at Suite 304, 177 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2.

Geez

Christian magazine introduces new ways of seeing the world and pursuing social justice

By Samantha Rideout

Geez
Edited by Aiden Enns
(Geez Press Inc.) $10

There are publications to cater to many different corners of Canada’s religious landscape, but it’s safe to say that before Geez magazine came along, no one had thought of writing specifically for “the over-churched, out-churched, un-churched and maybe even the un-churchable.”

Born in Winnipeg five years ago, Geez uses progressive Christianity as a starting point for cultural critique. Occasionally, the cumbersome language of a sociology essay slips into the copy, with phrases like “systematic ideologies of capitalist-consumerist disposable behaviour.” But for the most part, it speaks with a half-angry, half-joyful voice that condemns the impact of the oil industry on watersheds in one breath and celebrates the fun of racing a bike downhill in the next.

Each quarterly issue is organized around a theme. For instance, a recent issue explored the concept of body. One article, called “Jesus loves your penis, son,” was written by a father who is anxious that his young son should not one day feel guilty about having healthy sexual desires. Another article advocated for fat acceptance while a third contemplated the spirituality of manual labour.

This unique cocktail of content attracts a unique audience. Geez’s letters to the editor reveal that its readership ranges from group-home residents to Aboriginal educators, from curious agnostics to retired ministers.

Geez explores some serious topics, but it has its tongue in cheek from cover to cover. Its sections include “Sinner’s Corner,” where the so-called confessions editor lightheartedly prescribes penance for all kinds of guilty pleasures, such as reading celebrity gossip websites or sleeping through volunteer shifts at the homeless shelter.

Another regular section is “Experiments,” which describes projects that readers have undertaken in the name of discovering alternative ways to live. It’s compelling to read about the man who survived for a year without money or the Manitoban who invented a “Prairie schooner,” a new mode of transportation that uses a sail to travel down windy roads.

Despite its irreverent approach to spirituality — or more likely because of it — Geez won an Utne Independent Press award for being “as playful as it was profound.” It may not suit all tastes, but Geez is very good at opening minds to creative ways of seeing the world and pursuing social justice.

This is exactly the kind of “holy mischief” it set out to do.

Samantha Rideout is a freelance writer in Montreal.


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

The one and only

Promotional Image

Video

Merle Robillard

ObserverDocs: Out of Syria

by Observer Staff

For nearly half a century, the Elnabrees family has fled one war after another: Palestine, Kuwait, Iraq and, more recently, Syria. This year, they arrived as refugees in Canada, sponsored by relatives and United churches. Ayman Elshafiy, his wife, Sonia, their two daughters, his sister and mother, were among them.

Promotional Image

Society

May 2016

Are vegans right?

by David Macfarlane

The writer is in the midst of a radical six-month change of diet. He’s discovering that no cheeseburger tastes as good as being ethical feels.

Ethics

May 2016

Spare the rod, protect the child

by John Barber

With the Trudeau government on the verge of banning spanking, critics ask: why has it taken Canada so long?

Society

May 2016

Special report: Syrian refugees

by Various Writers

More than 300 congregations mobilized to help Syrian refugees. A sampling follows.

Faith

March 2016

The Walrus Talks Spirituality

by Observer Staff

Justice

April 2016

Hell and high water

by Josiah Neufeld

The writer visits the shifting shorelines of Bangladesh and discovers tens of millions of people on the brink of climate disaster

Society

May 2016

Are vegans right?

by David Macfarlane

The writer is in the midst of a radical six-month change of diet. He’s discovering that no cheeseburger tastes as good as being ethical feels.

Promotional Image
Promotional Image