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Doug Sikkema

Doug Sikkema is a Senior Researcher for Cardus and the Managing Editor of Comment. Doug is also currently working toward a Ph.D. in American literature at the University of Waterloo.

Bio last modified June 19th, 2017.
Articles by Doug Sikkema
  • Telling Our Better Stories

    Doug Sikkema

    Convivium's Doug Sikkema examines the role that story telling plays in his life as a Canadian and a man of faith. And as project lead for The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing, he's looking for Canadian writers and poets to submit unpublished short stories or suites of poetry by June 30. There's $25,000 in prize money to be won. 

  • Finding God at the AGO

    Doug Sikkema

    Can you find God in a Monet? I hate the question and its kind. Even when well-intentioned Christians ask it, the question belies a ham-fisted approach to all art as some utilitarian vehicle to the Divine. As if Crane and Waugh, Picasso and Turner, Wagner and Bach are all “up to” the same kind of thing.

  • The New Scientism: Still Fighting the Phantom War

    Doug Sikkema

    [This review was originally published in Convivium Magazine and in Books and Culture.] It's a curious irony that the champions of scientism are some of the most vocal advocates of change and progress yet they so rarely change or progress. They've said almost nothing new in over a century. Reading Eric Dietrich's Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World, I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd read this before.

  • The New Scientism

    Doug Sikkema

    In his review of Eric Dietrich’s Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World, Convivium assistant editor Doug Sikkema finds a phantom war being fought by warriors of the author’s imagination.

  • Commons & Commonwealth

    Doug Sikkema

    As students across North America head back to class, Convivium contributor Doug Sikkema considers the common ground between education, ecology and our common home

  • Haunted by nature in our secular age

    Doug Sikkema

    It’s World Environment Day, but rather than join the cacophony of usual suspects clamouring for increased sustainability, decreased reliance on pollution-increasing energy sources, and other predictable (and good) messages from your local, neighbourhood eco-warrior, I wonder if I could trace a more intriguing line of thought.

  • Taking Care of Our Own

    Doug Sikkema

    This past month, Cardus entered into the discussion about end-of-life care in Canada. One of the striking things in many of the reports is that a lot of Canadians want to be taken care of by their own—that is, taken care of by their spouses, children, family, or friends. But most will die in the unfamiliar setting of a hospital, and many of them will do so alone.

  • The Muse of Appreciation

    Doug Sikkema

    There’s a story in the Old Testament where Moses—an Israelite slave turned Egyptian prince turned exile—is told by God to speak with Pharaoh and demand that he let all the Israelite slaves go free. Moses doesn’t want to. He is scared, for obvious reasons, but his excuse is also that he is not an eloquent speaker.

  • In Memory of Jack

    Doug Sikkema

    I’m not going to say I was close to him because, really, I wasn’t. After he left the school I only saw him a handful of times at various community events. He would be a bit weaker each time. First it was a slight tremor of the hands, then a general wobbling of the legs. He began using a wheelchair in short order ...

  • 2014 in Review: A Call for Civic Courage

    Doug Sikkema

    If you ask people what the most important virtue needed for a civil society to flourish is, I'd wager that the majority would say it's trust.  What keeps our money safe in banks? Trust. What allows us to live in homes without large concrete walls and barbed wire? Trust. Why can I can drop my child off at school so easily? Trust.

  • Building for the World's Last Night

    Doug Sikkema

    One reason I love science fiction is because of its ability to ask "what if?" questions and propel us—at rocket speed—into projections of our unknown future. It helps us imagine life at the end of line. We might not always think about it, but the "end" of things is always looming around the corners of our thought.

  • Medics in No-Man’s Land

    Doug Sikkema

    In a century scarred by two world wars and continuously haunted with the threat of a third, it’s little wonder we often opt for martial metaphors. We kill time, pick our battles, work in the trenches, and raise the white flag in resignation. And it’s no different when talking about cultural engagement: “Let’s not just fundamentally disagree with each other,” we say, “let’s have a culture war.” .

  • The Imagination: Free, but Everywhere in Chains

    Doug Sikkema

    How might we imagine something new? How might we even begin? This question has been on my mind since I read Jonathan Kay’s extraordinary piece on Jang Jin-Sung, a defector from one of the last remaining dictatorships of Orwell’s darkest nightmares: North Korea. Before escaping south, Jang worked as a poet laureate of sorts for the Kim dynasty; that is, he worked in Section 5 (literature), Division 19 (poetry) for the Worker’s Party United Front Department.

  • No Shame in Dirty Hands

    Doug Sikkema

    There was a certain look students had when they would come to my office a few days into a new semester to confess that they were "dropping down" from University Prep English. Rather than soaring on to academia after their senior year, they were now trundling towards community college or—worse yet, they thought—the workplace.

  • Why Aren't Conservatives Funny?

    Doug Sikkema

    In the latest Comment magazine, our inimitable editor-in-chief makes the case that Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and now John Oliver have each created a perfect blend of carefully sifted news snippets, sharply pointed satire, and not-so-subtle partisan snark that is simply "toxic for democracy." Quoting columnist Jonah Goldberg, Smith goes on to argue that these various programs work by treating liberal platitudes as unquestionable truths and then ridiculing anyone who might disagree.

  • The Conversation Precedes Us

    Doug Sikkema

    There were times when people would give children large doses of morphine just to calm them down; rub mercury into cuts as a way of healing; and even bathe themselves in urine and excrement to increase cleanliness.

  • The Haunting Presence of Time in Linklater’s Boyhood

    Doug Sikkema

    There’s a sadness that runs through Richard Linklater’s recent film Boyhood, one that’s hard to put your finger on. Shot over twelve years—yes, twelve years!—the film traces the life of Mason Evans (Ellar Coletrane) from the age of 6 to 18, from boyhood to its inevitable end. And I think that’s part of the reason for the sadness: boyhood eventually ends, and it ends all too soon.

  • Inside the Islamic State

    Doug Sikkema

    If you haven't been following the five-part series The Islamic State put out by VICE News, you might consider it if you're interested in the shocking parade of stories coming out of Iraq and Syria. (You can get caught up here on the first four parts currently produced, but be warned: some of it is quite disturbing.)

  • What Anonymity Does to Communities

    Doug Sikkema

    A few years ago, my brother and I were driving from Texas to Ontario and on the way we stopped in Kentucky where—long story short—we "ran into" Wendell Berry. He was giving a talk to a group of Louisville students out in a park and after the talk, people asked all sorts of questions about farming, food, and economics. Yet what the conversation kept turning back to was community.

  • Sages and Saints

    Doug Sikkema

    "So just what are you going to do with that degree?"  If you're planning to enter university or college in a month or so, or maybe even just graduated this past spring and are on the hunt for gainful employment, you've probably heard a form of this question at least a dozen times from well-intentioned parents and friends.

  • The Problem With Buzzwords

    Doug Sikkema

    Man is a symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal.           - Kenneth Burke, "Definition of Man"In a piece in The Telegraph a few months ago, John Preston made the compelling case that we're losing the war against jargon. And although he doesn't frame it this way, jargon—the idiosyncratic language of the specialized chattering classes—commits sins against language.

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