The Wild Places

Our shared vision – “Joining God in our neighbourhoods” – makes a huge assumption – that God is in our neighbourhoods, that he’s not distant, that he’s not waiting for us to join him in heaven, that he’s here on dingy, dangerous, dusty, delightful earth!

This of course is the good news of Christmas, the in-fleshment of God, Immanuel-God with us. It’s the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures’ focus on God’s Tabernacle and Temple – which were all about his presence amongst us. John declared: “The word became flesh and made his dwelling (tabernacled) among us.” John 1:14.

Amongst us all – shepherds and kings! And not just in our prepared homes and posh palaces, but in our most loathsome and loneliest hovels and habits.

Jesus was born in a barn, in an occupied, oppressed country, under a flowchart of tyrants capable of calling for and carrying out infanticide. Jesus became one of the world’s invisible, uncountable refugee children. But there was no Canadian airlift and resettlement for him. Though the political situation hadn’t changed, he was repatriated, trudging back to the most impoverished, irreligious, undesirable region of his unhappy homeland – Galilee of the Gentiles where people walked in darkness and lived close to death.

That’s where the light of the presence of God began to shine.

The slogan of an off-road vehicle commercial asked: “Do you have any wild country near you?”

Do you? Are there any dark or depressing, chaotic or challenging situations in your life and your neighbours’ lives? That’s where you’ll find God waiting for you.

Christmas is over. The New Year is here. As you scan its landscape, set your sights and imagine your journey, remember this: We have an off-road God. So, look to the wild places.

  • Is your church struggling? What relationship or initiative does God want you to join him in?
  • Refugee sponsorship and settlement is still as challenging an opportunity as ever.
  • Tidal Impact in Nova Scotia could be the wildest ride yet?
  • As Canada celebrates 150 years how can we thank, honour and walk into the future with the Indigenous People who welcomed us?
  • How can we join God in the lonely worlds of old age, grief, divorce, addictions, mental illness, incarceration, or unemployment?

He’s here – in the wild places.

Avatar photo Paul Carline (23 Posts)


Paul and Kelly worked in Kenya’s Somali community with Canadian Baptist Ministries from 1995 to 2011.  Excited by opportunities for cross-cultural interaction in Atlantic Canada and thanks to a partnership with CBM, Paul became the CABC’s Director of Inter-Cultural Ministries in September 2012.  The Carlines have two 20-something girls and two teen boys and live in Quispamsis, NB.

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