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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
  • The Spirit of Prize Winning Poets

    Doug Sikkema

    The first and second place finishers in the poetry portion of the Ross and Davis Mitchell Literary Prize offer first hand accounts of the role faith played in their success.

  • And The Mitchell Prize Winners Are….

    Doug Sikkema

    This Monday evening at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, a Canadian poet and a Canadian fiction writer will be feted – and awarded $25,000 – as winners of the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize For Faith In Writing. Cardus’ editor and senior researcher Doug Sikkema, who oversaw the competition from its beginnings two years ago, says everyone who put pen to paper has contributed to advancing the vital role religious traditions play in Canadian life.

  • Countdown To the Mitchell Literary Prize

    Peter Stockland with Doug Sikkema

    Judges for the $25,000 Faith In Canada in 150 Mitchell Literary Prize have their short list ready to announce today. Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland spoke with contest director Doug Sikkema about what the high quality of the entries means for Canadian literature.

  • This Manner of Love

    Doug Sikkema

    Emergency surgery becomes the opening for Doug Sikkema to encounter some ribald characters, the troubled heart of a city, and the service of Christ suffering, Christ risen.

  • 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lead for The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing, he's looking for Canadian writers and poets to submit unpublished short stories or suites of poetry by June 30.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

    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. Yet perhaps the question is so often asked by well-intentioned Christians today because they feel at odds with the flattened secular culture in which they live, and they wonder: might art stir up a longing for the Divine when so much else in life seems flat? Getting an answer to such questions is what drew many to the Art Gallery of Ontario this week to hear Charles Taylor provide his signature (i.e. sprawling and ambitious) ruminations on a stunning new exhibition, “Mystical Landscapes.” The collection features some works of Van Gogh, Carr, Munch, Turner and many more—including, of course, Monet. The special grouping was centred upon the interconnections between art and the “spiritual,” examining how the various artists were inspired by their religious beliefs and how, in turn, such beliefs might also direct various viewer receptions.

  • The New Scientism: Still Fighting the Phantom War

    Doug Sikkema

    This book is about the war between science and religion: about how science has won this war so thoroughly that it can explain why religion will not go away, why there are people who choose God over science.If this sounds absurd, that's because it is. Really, a "religious" person could make the same case on the same grounds simply by inverting the key terms.

  • 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

  • Taking Care of Our Own

    Doug Sikkema

    Why? One narrative—the dominant one—is that we don’t get what we want because our universal healthcare system has failed to properly provide for the influx of greying baby-boomers. The system has failed to create new and better programs and to financially prop up natural caregivers with better Compassionate Care benefits—though the recent federal budget’s allowance is a step in the right direction.

  • The Muse of Appreciation

    Doug Sikkema

    What’s interesting to me is how this seriously upends the high value placed upon rhetoric just a little later on and a little further west. As the city-states of Greece started to develop and a burgeoning form of democracy began to thrive, the study and practice of rhetoric became something of the utmost importance to civic life.

  • In Memory of Jack

    Doug Sikkema

    In his last years, I really only knew him through the blog he and his loved ones kept as he journeyed down the lonely, terrifying road of ALS. Of course, his stories show much more than loneliness and fear. There was also a lot of hope and love and a resilient courage under it all. . . . . . . . . .

  • 2014 in Review: A Call for Civic Courage

    Doug Sikkema

    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. Trust means I drive safely in to work each day. It lets me worship in my church, mosque, or synagogue without fear of persecution. We trust our neighbours, our politicians and leaders, our bankers and grocers, our police forces and armed forces to an incredible degree every single day. And we must if we are to live free, joy-filled lives. But perhaps our trust can be naïve; perhaps it can be taken advantage of and exploited. It often is, and 2014 was a(nother) year to show us that it often has been. Just glancing through the year's headlines, we find that there are many pockets of society where trust has been so eroded that the quality of life plummets. Places where politicians have taken backseat deals with big business, or places where gang violence is so high that most don't live with any sense of safety, places where the colour of your skin or your gender might mean explicit or implicit injustice. But the solution to such brokenness is to find ways to restore that most basic civic virtue: trust. Because for a civil society to function well, we need to trust that our police officers are protecting the weakest and not being paid off or intimidated by gangs, that our politicians will vote on principle and not out of short-term private gains, that our neighbours are looking out for each other, that our employers care for us, that our employees care for us.

  • Building for the World's Last Night

    Doug Sikkema

    It seems these days that we North Americans are obsessed with that question at the back of our imaginations: Just what will the end of things be like? Will the lights go out and we freeze? Will it be fire? A flood? Does the world continue on as one large tangle of untended wilderness? Will we be blindsided by an asteroid or a pandemic? Will we self-destruct through atomic weaponry or by slowly poisoning our food supply? It's morbid, sure, but it's hard not to let your mind wander there occasionally. 

  • Medics in No-Man’s Land

    Doug Sikkema

    But it’s a bit disingenuous to say the culture wars were just hyperbolic posturing of an entire generation held hostage by their metaphors. And I often wonder about how important it is to remember the “culture wars” within the larger context of the real wars out of which they’ve grown. If anything, the past hundred years have been one bloody reminder after another that ideas really do have legs, the worst of which can—and have—run roughshod over millions.

  • The Imagination: Free, but Everywhere in Chains

    Doug Sikkema

    Now while it might seem that North Koreans have much more to worry about on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs than the fine arts, it’s telling that the Kim leadership not only knows the importance of the arts, but maintains a heavy bureaucratic stranglehold upon them. Case in point: a wrongly chosen metaphor meant to exult the leader might result in years of hard labour in a concentration camp, or possibly death.

  • Why Aren't Conservatives Funny?

    Doug Sikkema

    I don't want to be the turkey taking a potshot at the eagle to climb the totem pole; but I disagree with our captain here. Satire is healthy for democracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • The Conversation Precedes Us

    Doug Sikkema

    Detail from Maulbertsch's The QuackIt's not too hard to look back at some of these bizarre rituals and beliefs and to hold our noses up in disdain at such ignorant understandings of the world. With our sanitation systems and medical acumen, our iPods and our Weather Networks, we know so much more ... right?

  • Inside the Islamic State

    Doug Sikkema

    Since ISIS is presumably allowing the filming to take place, you can be sure there are some tight controls over just what gets projected beyond the tenuous borders (a.k.a. fronts) of the newly resurrected Islamic Caliphate. So it's even more shocking that with such filters, there is almost no attempt to hide beheadings and crucifixions and gun-wielding children threatening death to all infidels outside Islam and apostates within it. Of course, ISIS is not likely going to cater to what they see as our "soft sensibilities," yet one still gets the distinct feeling that there's something not being said, something lurking between the lines.

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