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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As our economy recovers, should we celebrate?

Apr 13, 2015 by

There are promising signs of economic recovery everywhere, we’re told. Stock market numbers are three times higher than during the recent depression. Employment numbers are up. Consumer confidence is on...

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Church splits will never resolve the traditionalist, progressive divide

Feb 20, 2015 by

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit . . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God . . . ” —...

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A deadly sin Mennonites seldom talk about

Jan 26, 2015 by

It may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! ....

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On the 12th day Of Christmas

Jan 5, 2015 by

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. — Paul, Acts 17:24 It’s almost impossible to think of congregations...

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A strange kind of manger power

Dec 23, 2014 by

The Christmas story in Luke’s gospel begins by naming the head of the major super power of the day, the Roman empire’s Caesar Augustus. He issues a decree that “all the world should be taxed”...

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We need help discerning what are disputable matters

Nov 21, 2014 by

My church, Mennonite Church USA, like many denominations, is in a state of crisis over an issue I never thought would become a subject of dispute in my lifetime, the question of whether congregations can...

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What a 10-year-old’s devotion to OK Go can teach us about worship

Nov 3, 2014 by

Something very special happened last week to Martin Vlasits of Austin, Texas, 10-year-old grandson of our good friends Guy and Margie Vlasits. His parents, Jen and Stacy, took him to hear his favorite music...

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Beheadings by religious fundamentalists are not new

Oct 14, 2014 by

My wife’s ancestor Hans Landis, one of the last known Anabaptists martyrs in western Europe, was executed in the year 1614, just 400 years ago. Landis was one of thousands who were martyred for...

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What would Jesus earn?

Sep 11, 2014 by

In her August 2014 Sojourners article “The Rich Get Richer,” Julie Polter notes that “95  percent of all economic gains in the U.S. since the Great Recession went to the top 1 percent,” and asks,...

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