Our hymns shape our church

Aug 27, 2018 by

“Out of the fullness of the heart, the language of each mortal springs. If you would truly know a man, just listen to the songs he sings.” — Amish hymn writer John Paul Raber, Songs from Within...

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Our hypocrisy on ‘social action’

Jul 19, 2018 by

Mennonite Central Committee and other relief and service organizations are often criticized for being too focused on physically bettering people’s lives and not enough on evangelizing them. Some of the...

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We need cities of refuge, not border walls

Jun 20, 2018 by

There was one picture in the Bible story book we had at home that struck special fear in me as a child. It showed the sheer terror in the face of a man fleeing for his life to a city of refuge, his avenger in...

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Four obstacles to raising relief funds

May 29, 2018 by

As a part of an initiative last year to increase funds raised at our Virginia Relief Sale for Mennonite Central Committee, some of us came up with a plan to solicit cash donations in addition to the money...

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Questioning our lay/ordained divide

Apr 30, 2018 by

While most of us agree that healthy congregations need to use all of the varied and multiple gifts of its members, Mennonites have generally adopted the Protestant practice of elevating pastors to a special...

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Who are the slaves serving us?

Apr 9, 2018 by

Since by definition slaves have virtually no control over their living conditions or their compensation, is slavery a thing of the past? Unfortunately, there are still an untold number of sex slaves and...

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Machines don’t harvest crops — farmers do

Mar 5, 2018 by

A tongue-in-cheek parable in the midst of a national debate over gun control: Every year, an increasing number of grain and other crops fall prey to ruthless decapitation and violent forms of plant destruction...

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Two nuclear buttons — a modern-day parable

Jan 16, 2018 by

The John and Jane Doe family and the Ilsa and Ivan Doesky family lived at opposite ends of a fine apartment building in Solarville. Being quite well to do, they were the envy of many of their neighbors in the...

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Our trickle-down congregational economics

Dec 7, 2017 by

A proposed congregational mission statement: To be good news for the poor, to heal the broken, to proclaim release for prisoners, to restore sight to the blind, to advocate for the oppressed, and to celebrate...

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Fighting gun violence like cancer

Nov 7, 2017 by

What if this amendment had become a part of our Constitution? “A well regulated tobacco industry, being necessary to the prosperity of a free State, the right of the people to grow and use nicotine...

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An urgent case for some ‘hilarious’ giving

Aug 30, 2017 by

All of us are shocked by the terrible effects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston and surrounding areas. And this represents only a fraction of the ongoing suffering experienced by millions in northern Africa and...

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Mennonite editor charged with sedition

Aug 14, 2017 by

In the middle of World War I, on June 15, 1917, the highly controversial Espionage Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The Act provided for a penalty of up to 20...

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Mennonite girls from everywhere can cook

Jul 14, 2017 by

I am disappointed that your cookbook includes recipes for things like tacos. To me, that’s not Mennonite food. — anonymous comment on Mennonite Girls Can Cook Herald Press recently published a...

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Our ‘I come to the garden alone’ theology

Jun 15, 2017 by

The past century has seen a rise in popular gospel songs like “In the Garden,” sometimes known by its first line, “I Come to the Garden Alone.” Written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, it...

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Nationalism, civil religion and greed-based economics

Mar 30, 2017 by

Among the ways the last book of our Bible is truly revelatory is in its portrayal of violence and harm as perpetrated by evil systems rather than simply by individual evildoers. It does so through a collage of...

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Supporting life during Lent

Mar 6, 2017 by

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? — 1 John 3:17 (NLT) I’ve always found it hard to...

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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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