Blog

The limits of Stan the Man Hauerwas

By on Sep 29, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

The limits of Stan the Man Hauerwas

When I was in seminary, I got drunk on Stanley Hauerwas. His polemic works against modernity, Christendom, liberalism, individualism, etc., struck a chord with me, and gave me a certain set of diagnostic lenses to see “how stuff works” in our late modern world. For all that I learned from Hauerwas and will no doubt continue to learn, I am in his debt. Yet even while I was stumbling drunk on his work, there were moments of clarity where I saw something lacking. In his hyperbolic assertion that Christianity hangs or falls on the...

read more

A critique of Mennonite fanaticism

By on Sep 26, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

A critique of Mennonite fanaticism

If we only listen to the voices of those in positions of power, perhaps we have learned nothing from Christendom. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Missio Alliance Gathering Sept. 19-20 in Carlisle, Pa. The theme for the weekend was “Church and Post-Christian Culture: Christian Witness in the Way of Jesus,” which focused on the Anabaptist tradition and its potential in the 21st-century church. I had been anticipating this gathering for some time: who among us Anabaptists wouldn’t? The speakers included some of the most...

read more

Retelling the Bible as a story of grace

By on Sep 25, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Retelling the Bible as a story of grace

At Central Christian High School, the Mennonite high school I attended, all sophomores are tasked with telling the Bible story from memory. (And from what I hear from my young cousins, they still do it to this day.) I remember this as being one of the more exciting and nerve-wracking days in high school. Everyone anxiously going over their notes in the hallway as they awaited their turn. But more compelling than the anxiety was how we were all able to find coherence in this sometimes disparate story. It was so affecting to take all of these...

read more

Syrian stories need to be told

By on Sep 24, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Syrian stories need to be told

Hadija is 10 years old. She wakes up at 6 a.m., climbs in the back of a truck full of children, and drives to a potato field in the Bekaa Valley where she will work for at least seven hours. And Rami is 12 years old. Two years ago, he was in school in Syria, where his mom was a teacher. Today, he is in Lebanon, where he spends his day working behind a desk in a garage fixing tires. Abdel is 7. He sleeps on a cement floor in a tent with a plastic chair, a bucket and a few blankets. His last meal was the day before. Some rice. Dania is also 7....

read more

Leadership as spiritual direction

By on Sep 23, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Leadership as spiritual direction

A couple of years ago I was interviewed by a master of divinity student for her class on leadership. I told her that for me leadership was not a position of privilege or of prestige but rather one of discernment and encouragement. I said that I felt the prime function of a Christian leader is to enable others to become all that God intends them to be. I talked to her about our intentional community’s use of the Quaker discernment process and the group decision-making structure we have set up to encourage cooperation and mutual support...

read more

Acting like a state: ISIS, the U.S. and Jesus as Lord

By on Sep 22, 2014 in The World Together | 5 comments

Acting like a state: ISIS, the U.S. and Jesus as Lord

Like most Americans, I’m horrified by each new story I read about ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). A friend who works in the region wrote weeks ago to tell me ISIS had taken Rutba, the Iraqi town that showed us radical hospitality when we were there in 2003. I closed my eyes and whispered, “Lord, have mercy.” I have Western friends who were taken hostage before ISIS and made it out alive. I ache for the families and friends of Jim Foley and Stephen Sotloff. But I find myself dwelling more these days on the Iraqis who have no...

read more

A #BringBackOurGirls confession

By on Sep 19, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

A #BringBackOurGirls confession

I am going to trust you with the truth. I wish we could sit down, you and I, with two cups of coffee and a brownie split between us. I want to look hard, unflinchingly into your eyes, breathe deeply, and confess to you this ugly thing that I have seen in myself. You heard about it too, of course: 275 Nigerian girls ripped away from their families, kidnapped in the middle of a school day. Disappearing into a tangled jungle until terrified screams faded into deafening silence. I sat glued to my computer that day, frozen in horror as I read....

read more

“Cute” kids in church

By on Sep 18, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

“Cute” kids in church

A few weeks ago our children created a banner during worship to represent the part of the Lord’s prayer that says “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” I asked them to draw the kinds of things that they thought were in the kingdom of God. I then cut out what they drew and made a kingdom of God on the banner, a banner which is in display in our sanctuary. My daughter’s drawing gave me pause. It looked like she had drawn a giant person’s head with two long arms. On each arm was a person. One was black and the other was white. As I...

read more

Is it time to remove the flag from the church sanctuary?

By on Sep 17, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

Is it time to remove the flag from the church sanctuary?

If one were to walk into a church in the United States, it’s far more likely than not that somewhere on the stage in the sanctuary, there will be a U.S. flag. This tradition is one that spans across a wide variety of faith traditions, from Catholic to Evangelical, mainline, etc., and is not limited to a certain group of people. The practice of displaying an American flag in church sanctuaries seems to be widespread and for the most part, completely unchallenged by the average church member. As one who studies the intersection of faith and...

read more

Wiping the blood away

By on Sep 16, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

Wiping the blood away

I was taking Kristi to the grocery store as I do from time to time. Kristi is blind and in a wheelchair and she suffers from some cognitive disabilities. Kristi is a friend from church who I visit at her assisted living facility, often taking her shopping when she needs something. Usually, shopping with Kristi is fun and relaxing. But this time things got stressful. I’d just helped Kristi get out of the car and seated in her wheelchair. Kristi grabbed the car door and tried to shut it but pinched her finger in the door. She showed her...

read more