jack shaver

Just now I was looking for a book on my shelves when I spotted a photocopied booklet that was created in 1982 to mark the retirement of Jack Shaver. "The Jack Word Book" includes a number of stories about Jack's life and ministry along with some of Jack's memorable quotes as well as some of his prayers. I flipped through the pages and, looking back thirty years, realized the connection I have with Jack.

Back in 1973 Jack was a member of the committee responsible for overseeing my work as a nineteen year old student minister at West Point Grey United Church. I remember him lying on the floor as we sat at a table, discussing the drop-in centre that I was charged with overseeing. He would say nothing for long periods and then suddenly speak into our confusion with alarming clarity. He would also laugh with a bellow that echoed through the room. It so happened that when I was ordained in 1980 Jack was the President of BC Conference and so was one of those whose hands rested on my head as I became a minister of the gospel. Remembering that occasion and seeing his signature on my certificate of ordination has been a continuing source of inspiration to me. I had not thought of Jack for a good while until just now. As I read "The Jack Word Book" again I was reminded that he is one of the saints whose bold, humble witness has encouraged and formed me throughout my ministry. Thank God for Jack. Here are some classic Jack quotes ...

"If I do good to you without a sense that when I am being most just I am most a sinner, I can do you a lot of harm."

"You can't fit the biblical God into someone who rewards the good and punishes the bad. His intention is to save his people."

"Whatever in the world the word is going to be, it's going to look like a stumbling-block. Take heed how you hear."

"There's a deep and powerful mix of creation and fall. To get to be created at all means going wrong."

"You can't make the Holy Spirit work - - you have to let it work."

"Righteousness as a possession becomes a monstrous thing."

"You'd be surprised how many things that are wrong with the world come on as remedies."

"Whatever prompted the word to become flesh must have been an almighty prompt. If we could meet up with some of that, we could embrace the flesh, weariness and all."

"Self-justification is a bust - - try it! Zeal to be blameless is a bust. You'll mess up everybody else's life for miles around."

"We are going to be surprised by what fulfils us - - our salvation will come from something that upsets us."

"How do you get called to the ministry? I think you goof your way in."

"Just because we mess up there is no need for us to abandon wonder and delight."

"To die to self-justification and stand before God empty-handed - - to live by forgiveness is a kind of death. Even to know the meaning of love is to die."
"When we run from where the hurt is
When we run from where the evil is
We're hiding from where the good news is."

More of Jack's writings are available online. There is also a fine article about his life by June Lythgoe.


  1. And one we like to quote often: "the helping hand strikes again."

  2. Hi Ed,
    I have moved Jack's site to a more reliable place (now that I have retired from Concordia). You will find it via:
    I will arrange to put a notice on the link you have used, but the more direct route will be the one above.
    Thanks for your interest.

  3. Thanks Bill,
    I have updated the link. Much appreciated.