History: The sun, the moon and truth

Jun 5, 2017 by

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Attributed to Buddha, this was Zaida Catalan’s retweet on March 3, her last. Catalan, a United Nations expert from Sweden, died with...

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History: Confessing a weakness for humor

Mar 13, 2017 by

S.G. (Samuel Grant) Shetler (1871-1942) of Johnstown, Pa., was known for moving his audiences to tears one moment and laughter the next. This was natural, he said, because “the well of tears and the fountain...

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History: Stones of remembrance

Dec 19, 2016 by

I had my apple strudel and coffee — not to be missed if you’re visiting Innsbruck, Austria — in a café along Maria Theresa Street. I read again the brass plaque marking the 1536 execution of Jacob...

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History: No fires, no foes in Münster

Sep 26, 2016 by

It’s 300 steps from the street up the ancient spiral stone stairway to the tower keeper’s room of St. Lambert’s Church in Münster, Germany. The stone steps are worn from centuries-long use by the tower...

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Scandal of nationalism

Jul 4, 2016 by

I remember it well, because the question was transformative. I was a first-year student at Hesston College, in the library studying to teach a lesson on eschatology to a junior high Bible study at Hess­ton...

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How I teach history differently

Apr 11, 2016 by

A student wanted to know: Why did I tell such negative stories about this country? Our country does good things, too. The purpose of teaching history, it seemed, was to produce proud, patriotic, unquestioning...

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Of strangers, pilgrims, hospitality

Jan 18, 2016 by

The immigrants had arrived. Was there no end to their numbers? What language were they speaking? What was their origin? Their destination? Why were they here? The two worlds were a study in contrast. The...

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Peace churches prepare for war

Oct 26, 2015 by

Few in the mid-1930s could have imagined another global conflict as horrendous as World War I, with its 20 million casualties. Even fewer would have believed that another global conflagration would triple that...

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Bridges, marches and ‘foot soldiers’

May 11, 2015 by

I thought I knew the civil rights story, but a weeklong seminar with Hesston College students, faculty, staff and friends March 7-14 gave me much more. What I knew were the broad outlines, major events and...

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300-year-old prayers still resonate

Feb 16, 2015 by

From what resources can we draw in the current vigorous conversations across the church? How about prayer? Here are two that might be useful. They are prayers drawn from Die Ernst­hafte Christien­pflicht,...

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‘Regulation garb’ and the gospel

Nov 24, 2014 by

In February 1959, Chester Wenger and fellow missionaries in Ethiopia — wearing business suits and neckties — met a delegation of Lancaster Mennonite Conference leaders at the Addis Ababa Bole International...

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Tar, feathers and Liberty Bonds

Jun 9, 2014 by

On a mild Monday evening, April 22, 1918, a pro-war mob of McPherson County citizens invaded the peace of the Canton Mennonite community, north of Hesston, Kan. The 40-some masked men had visited the Walter...

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Patriotism that knows no borders

Mar 17, 2014 by

Genuine patriotism seeks the glory of God and the good of fellowmen in every clime and nation. There are no national boundaries for the truly enlightened child of God. — Daniel Kauffman, 1914 A hundred...

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