Holy Scripture in four-part harmony

Feb 10, 2017 by

The lectionary texts for Jan. 29 again reminded me of the amazing diversity we find in the authoritative writings that make up the Bible. The Psalm 15 lesson, for a start, shows us that we earn God’s...

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American civil religion on steroids

Jan 30, 2017 by

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal...

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Oh, how we love your precepts!

Jan 9, 2017 by

Fewer young adults are active in church than ever, we’re told, but they tend to be drawn more to congregations with strongly held beliefs than those with less well-defined faith positions. The Christian...

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Why are so few U.S. churches named after John the Baptist?

Dec 9, 2016 by

According to our local phone directory, there are numerous churches with names of spiritual greats, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Saints Michael, Andrew, James and Stephen; and the Saints Peter, Paul...

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Last-minute exam for Christians who vote

Nov 8, 2016 by

Between 1890 and 1960, many states in the South imposed a literacy test for would-be voters, effectively denying most African Americans the right to cast a ballot. This was anything but a good idea, but...

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Shame isn’t always a bad thing

Sep 27, 2016 by

My parents were pretty effective in correcting their nine children by using frequent verbal reprimands, even the occasional “Shem dich!” (Pennsylvania German equivalent of “Shame on you”). They mostly...

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How much cash, real estate and paid staff does it take to produce a follower of Jesus?

Aug 29, 2016 by

“No one can truly know Christ unless they follow him daily in life.” — early Anabaptist Hans Denck Most of us Mennonites operate from the conviction that we should do everything possible to...

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Love and respect — even when the Trumperor has no clothes

Aug 4, 2016 by

Vice-president Joe Biden recently said of candidate Donald Trump, “This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue… He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually, he...

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What kind of ark should we build?

Jul 7, 2016 by

“God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.” — Genesis 6:11 NLT According to the Biblical account in Genesis, it took Noah 120 years to build the original ark, one...

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To exit or remain? The July 4, 1776, question

Jul 4, 2016 by

In 1776 my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Christian Yoder, Jr., moved his family by team and wagon from Berks County, Pa., to the far western frontier of the state. A man now in his early 50s, he...

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How a fixation on Psalm 23 may hinder us

Apr 21, 2016 by

Like almost everyone else in the whole world, I love the Shepherd’s Psalm. It well deserves its place as our most favorite passage in the entire Bible. Even unbelievers are familiar with Psalm 23....

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Unity — humanly defined or heaven-inspired?

Mar 3, 2016 by

I read with great interest Richard Showalter’s “The Unity Jesus Meant” in the Feb. 15, 2016 issue of the Mennonite World Review. He writes: Though organizational union on a broad scale may...

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Loving God with all our possessions

Feb 16, 2016 by

One of our lectionary texts Sunday (on Valentine’s Day, no less) was the Deuteronomy passage on the giving of firstfruit offerings and of tithes. In our study at house church, we found in it a sharp...

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Celebrating the dream of reconciliation

Jan 15, 2016 by

“He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance… Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human...

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Could a Kristallnacht happen here?

Dec 21, 2015 by

After a campaign of fear-mongering antisemitism directed at Jews in Nazi Germany, an enflamed citizenry went on a two-night rampage of burning synagogues and vandalizing Jewish homes, schools and businesses....

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God’s calling is not just for a select few

Oct 8, 2015 by

On Sept. 12, 1965, I delivered my first sermon as a newly licensed minister at Zion Mennonite near Broadway, where I served for more than 20 years. I’m not exactly comfortable with all of the messages I...

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If Christ were head of the church, which schisms would he support?

Aug 6, 2015 by

We Christians are a contentious lot. Over the centuries we have divided and re-divided into countless different communions, separated from each other by diverse customs, creeds and ethnic origins — but...

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A foretaste of heaven in Harrisburg

Jul 27, 2015 by

Some 7,500 Mennonite and members of related Anabaptist groups met for the global assembly of Mennonite World Conference at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa., July 21-26. As a participant in the last two...

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Remembering another army of heroes

May 25, 2015 by

I felt an incredible sadness as I counted the names, 259 in all, on the front page of yesterday’s local paper. They represent all of the young men from our area who were sacrificed in the prime of their...

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A fervent prayer for church restoration and repair

May 1, 2015 by

While Mennonite Church USA is widely recognized as a “peace church,” we Mennonites seem to be far better at severing ties with each other than we are at repairing and restoring them. In my...

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