Learning from John – ‘Narayan Seva’

This piece, published yesterday in the Edmonton Journal, has, what might be considered in a few church circles, an element of doctrinal truancy. But, who knows, perhaps that is one of the reasons there’s been so many positive Facebook comments and e-mails. (Well okay, that and being famous among dozens.)

The point I’m making, I think, is that the evolutionary arch of the human heart and mind, is: compassion trumping dogma.

Your article in today’s Journal touched me deeply for its honesty and sincerity. You reflect many of my feelings and views about the less fortunate in this world, and how we deal with them. Hinduism, which is the religion I was born into and I practice, also emphasizes that path to salvation is through Narayan Seva (rough translation: Serve the poor, because they are God).


John picks bottles EdJournal Dec 26 '09web


  1. I think I read this somewhere – “Come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these members of my family, you did it to me…

    …truly I tell you, just as you did NOT do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment…”

  2. When you introduced this as “doctrinal truancy,” I thought that if we don’t at some time commit some, we can’t really be sure of the value of our doctrines. When I read the piece, I knew, as did Lucy above, that your thoughts were right out of the book! Thanks.

  3. Thank you Lucy, and Sam. (Sam, perhaps it’s more my Protestant truancy in using a bit of narrative to override the old, tired, pedantic, theological business of salvation by works or faith.)

  4. I enjoyed reading about your appreciation of certain sounds and the feel of their rhythyms each morning and encounters during your day.

    I see a few folks each day in my work neighborhood too, and after a year, or less, we began to say a longer hello and engage in brief conversations wanting to know each other is content or what we doing today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *