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

WATCH LIST: February 2018

By Observer Staff

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
(Random House)

In 2013, Kate Bowler published Blessed, about America’s embrace of the prosperity gospel. In 2015, at age 35, she was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. This dark and funny memoir by the Prairie-born historian explores what it means to be sick in a culture that views health and wealth as God’s reward — and mortality as a personal failing. Feb. 6

Sadness Is a White Bird
(Atria Books)

Recounted from an Israeli jail cell, Sadness Is a White Bird tells the story of Jonathan, a Jewish teenager who forms a close bond with Palestinian twins Nimreen and Laith. As his draft date for the Israeli army approaches, Jonathan grows increasingly conflicted between his loyalty to his family and heritage and his love for his Arab friends. Feb. 13

What Are We Doing Here?
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Beloved for her Gilead series of novels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson turns to non-fiction in her latest book, a collection of essays exploring faith and politics in contemporary America. With elegant prose and deep insight, she contrasts the country’s present “state of bewilderment” with a vision of a heroically generous society. Feb. 20

Living Biblically

Losing a close friend makes New York film critic Chip Curry question his priorities. The father-to-be decides to better himself by following the Bible to the letter. But his moral makeover runs into trouble when ancient dictums collide with modern life. This new TV comedy is based on A.J. Jacobs’ bestselling memoir, The Year of Living Biblically. Feb. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET

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!


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."

Promotional Image


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.

Promotional Image


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.

Promotional Image


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.

Promotional Image