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WATCH LIST: February 2013

Have you read or watched anything on this list? Would you recommend it to others?

By Observer Staff

Triumph of the Wall

Documentary filmmaker Bill Stone follows a novice builder in rural Quebec aiming to construct a 1,000-foot-long dry stone wall in eight weeks. Eight years later, it’s still incomplete. As deadlines passed, “girlfriends left, pets died . . . I figured I had to blame somebody,” Stone says. The film is the story of two friends working through frustrating expectations and learning the art of finishing what you’ve started. Feb. 8

The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus
BY DAVID BURNS (Oxford University Press)

Focusing on a little-known chapter of American biblical criticism, historian David Burns describes how progressive thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries conceived of a radical Jesus whose contribution to the world was simply setting a good example. They imagined Jesus, not as the divine son of God, but as a freethinker who could bridge the gap between religion and modern-day civilization. Feb. 5

The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future

Elites from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa used to be the key economic and political drivers of Canada. That’s no longer so, argue the authors of The Big Shift. In recent years, the power balance has tipped to western provinces and Asian immigrants. Canada is becoming polarized — east versus west, urban versus rural — and few even realize it. Feb. 26

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World
BY MATTHEW GOODMAN (Ballantine Books)

Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days, two young female journalists set off from New York on Nov. 14, 1889, to race each other around the globe. Nellie Bly was a hard-hitting newspaper reporter, Elizabeth Bisland an arts-loving magazine writer. With vivid detail, Matthew Goodman captures the dramatic journeys of these two extraordinary women. Feb. 26

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The author is baptized at Central United in Calgary. (Photo courtesy of Al Coe)

Why I got baptized in a United Church at the age of 42

by Jacqueline Mercer-Livesey

"I told myself that I didn’t need to go to church to believe in God. I found peace and the Holy Spirit in the things that surrounded me. But still, there was a nagging sense of something missing."

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Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

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ObserverDocs: Two nurses tackle Vancouver's opioid crisis

Richard Moore is a resident of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this poignant interview, he explains the important work of nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles.

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July 2018

250 United Church leaders have a message for Doug Ford

by Emma Prestwich

They're urging the new Ontario premier to remember those in need as he carries out promised economic reform.


July 2018

Tracing Nelson Mandela’s path a century after his birth

by Tim Johnson

A travel writer visits some of the places that shaped the anti-apartheid icon’s life.


July 2018

Jamil Jivani sheds light on why young men radicalize

by Suzanne Bowness

In his book 'Why Young Men,' Jamil Jivani talks about his own experience as a troubled youth.

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