Dressing for the role

Feb 29, 2016 by

When I signed my first pastoral contract and began trading my Atlanta wardrobe for suburban Chicago, I took a long look in my closet and asked myself: Am I willing to give up skinny jeans? I don’t think...

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An old dog learns

Jan 18, 2016 by

A great deal of my pastoral time is spent dreaming. Last week I sat at my desk, dreaming about what the congregation could look like in five years or 10 years. When I thought about what sort of leadership they...

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What is Lancaster doing right?

Jan 8, 2016 by

We have a phrase around here: “Chicago over Everything.” It means we have mad love for the city when they do something right, and when the city messes up, we keep our pride and stay loyal. I’m starting...

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Injustice requires interruption

Dec 1, 2015 by

“Some of the most important moments in your ministry will happen in the interruptions,” a professor told me while I was in my first week of seminary. As I walked down Michigan Avenue in Chicago, speeding...

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How Lancaster’s and Western District’s decisions affect the rest of us

Nov 5, 2015 by

It certainly appears that the church’s extremes got more extreme this weekend, as far as it goes with LGBTQ participation. I don’t think this is the case, though — no one has gotten more extreme,...

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You can’t kill Hitler

Oct 28, 2015 by

Last week, while wandering through Exodus 15 debating whether or not the death of Pharaoh’s soldiers was justified, the teenagers (I would call them “my teenagers,” but they are uncomfortable with...

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What’s with the grapes?

Sep 1, 2015 by

I love communion. I was delighted to learn that my first pastorate was in a congregation that took communion once a month (more often than many Mennonite churches). But there is one question I’ve struggled...

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Police brutality and Christian pacifist silence

Jul 29, 2015 by

When it comes right down to it, Anabaptist Christians can never justify siding with the police over a civilian. We are pacifist. It is a fundamental tenet of our faith that there is always an alternative to...

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An unexpected pastoral blessing in Kansas City

Jul 1, 2015 by

I was not prepared to be called forward in front of 4,500 people. I was sitting on the far edge of the room where the air conditioning didn’t quite reach, wearing the almost neon yellow jersey of the...

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Learning to leave well

Mar 27, 2015 by

We need to find a new way to talk about the congregations that are leaving Mennonite Church USA: They’re not leaving us; we’re getting divorced. Leaving is something you do after four OK Cupid dates. But...

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10 reasons I love MC USA and don’t want it to change

Feb 13, 2015 by

With all our sexuality grumblings, some days it’s hard to believe we even want Mennonite Church USA to survive. Of course, we all want the church to change a little bit. But I want to give it credit for...

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