Blog

Love makes us patient and kind . . . and also undignified and fierce

By on Oct 30, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Love makes us patient and kind . . . and also undignified and fierce

When my son was first born, something strange happened to me that can only be described as possession. I needed to hold him or have him near him all the time. When friends would come over to meet him, and would ask to hold him, I’d politely say, “No, thanks.” And when the doctor called us to say that we should bring him to the hospital because his little liver wasn’t working properly, I lost it. The doctor told me later that he was a little surprised when he called us that night, that I was in the background yelling, “You can’t...

read more

Sunday school and tough questions

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

Sunday school and tough questions

I recently had the privilege of witnessing four Sunday School teacher training events for Shine sponsored by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. It is inspiring to see the dedication, creativity and love demonstrated by our Sunday School teachers. One of the trainers’ emphases — and one of the keys to the pedagogical approach behind our new curriculum, Shine, and Gather ’Round, its predecessor — is to get the children to ponder “wondering questions” about the story. I wonder how Rachel felt about that? I wonder why Peter did that?...

read more

When you’re not enough

By on Oct 28, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

When you’re not enough

Modern life can be demanding. For some of us, it’s a challenge to get the dishes done and enough clean laundry in the drawers to get to work every day. Add kids or other committed relationships and you might be over the edge. Additionally, do you have the latest upgrade? Have you switched from Facebook to Ello yet? Is your job meaningful and fulfilling? How about that thing you said you’d do before you turned 30? How’s your savings account shaping up? Do you need another college degree? How can we stop global warming, since the walruses...

read more

After a sad day in Ottawa

By on Oct 27, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

After a sad day in Ottawa

Like many Canadians I find myself in a place of sadness following the senseless violence in our capital city. I resonate with the voices that lament the sense of loss for our peaceful context. I share the anxiety of how this act of violence might result in our day to day affairs being weighted with new forms of fear through heightened security measures. I feel sad. I feel a loss. I mourn that the life of another can be disregarded so easily — and an innocent father is gunned down. I mourn that the rhetoric of revenge is seen as the best way...

read more

Near Mennonite: Who’s in or out, and why?

By on Oct 24, 2014 in The World Together | 4 comments

Near Mennonite: Who’s in or out, and why?

At the beginning of this month, I had the pleasure of going to “Ex-Mennonite, Near Mennonite: Liturgical, Non-denominational, Secular,” a conference hosted by the chair in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg (Man.). Though it might seem like a strange fit for someone like me who considers myself committed to remaining within and contributing to the Mennonite church, I actually found it very interesting. It provided a window into why some people choose to leave the Mennonite church or feel excluded from it — which I think is...

read more

Broken down

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

Broken down

I look out my office window this morning and see a rusty, mud-streaked old pick-up truck with a creaky-looking camper on the back stagger and wheeze its way into the church parking lot. Such sights in the church parking lot rarely portent good news, and this particular appearance will prove no different. A broad-shouldered middle-aged man ambles up to the path and into the church. I greet him at the front door. He’s wearing a black cowboy hat, a dirty denim jacket, and a big pair of grubby riding boots. The smell of manure is almost...

read more

Rethinking our approach to singleness

By on Oct 22, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

Rethinking our approach to singleness

In his opening editorial to the autumn issue of Mutuality, Tim Kruger cites this set of lines from the apostle Paul about singleness: I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman...

read more

Talking to preschoolers about race

By on Oct 21, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Talking to preschoolers about race

My daughter and I were sitting outside of seminary housing when one of the few married, male black students in our apartment complex walked by. My daughter, then 2, shouted, voice ringing across the playground, “Mom! That’s the man from the weather! The one on TV!” She was talking about Al Roker, the famous weatherman who, in my opinion, looked nothing like our friend Earl. But in Princeton, N.J., with fewer black men in her daily life, my daughter thought she’d recognized someone famous. As I felt my face turn red it took everything...

read more

Get ready to chase the Amish dream

By on Oct 20, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Get ready to chase the Amish dream

In case you hadn’t noticed, a long line of people stands ready to tell you Amish stories. They include: Producers of Amish-themed reality TV shows. Tourist-venue operators. Writers of Amish fiction. Writers of Amish nonfiction. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with non-Amish people telling Amish stories. In fact, I’ve done it myself, in a book that I wrote about Amish-themed fiction (Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels). And at Herald Press, where I work, we tell Amish stories as well, through series...

read more

Jesus unfriended

By on Oct 17, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Jesus unfriended

People often tell me in the hushed tones of a dirty secret, “I’m not sure I like the apostle Paul.” I reply, “That’s OK. The first Christians didn’t much like him either.” But what really interests me about these conversations is that we think it matters, our liking or our not. No book better illustrates what rubs us wrong about Paul than Galatians. His rhetoric is strong and passionate to the point of offense (5:12 — “I wish those agitators would go all the way and emasculate themselves!”). He goes out of his way to...

read more