Blog

Blessed are . . . those people?

By on Sep 1, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

As a middle class American girl growing up in rural Baptist churches, I learned that the Kingdom of God means heaven, and that heaven is like the gated communities we have here on earth (except even richer . . . and with endless church services). Everybody who makes it into this heaven gets their very own mansion. Heavy-duty pearly gates block the entrance so the undeserving poor won’t sneak in and chip off chunks of the golden streets to cap their teeth. When we get to this heaven, we can sleep easy at night, knowing that we and our stuff...

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Jim Foley, IS and what I learned from being kidnapped

By on Aug 29, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Jim Foley, IS and what I learned from being kidnapped

We sat on mats in a traditional sitting room in a remote village of northwestern Iraq. One of our captors guarded the door with his assault rifle at the other end of the room. We prayed, we sang silently and we talked to each other so that the fear we felt would not become paralyzing panic. This is what you learn to do when you are kidnapped. Since I’d started working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Baghdad in 2002, I’d known that being abducted, or even killed, was a possibility. Tom Fox, who was kidnapped in Baghdad with three other...

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More than three minutes

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

More than three minutes

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. — Eph. 6.11-12 I wrote a post encouraging White America, especially White Christian America, to carry the cross of sympathy for Black rage as it was being expressed on the streets of Ferguson. But as police officer Darren Wilson faces a grand jury inquiry the question...

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Let’s revolutionize youth group mission trips

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

Let’s revolutionize youth group mission trips

Jennifer Murch shared this post in response to yesterday’s blog, “Why Short-Term Mission Trips Work.” She wrote it while on assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Guatemala in July 2013. I have always been skeptical of short-term mission trips, and I’ve been even skeptical-er of ones done by youth groups. There’s plenty of work to do right where we live, my mother would rant whenever the subject came up. Why must kids go gallivanting off to the far corners of the Earth just to help people? She had a point. It did...

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Why short-term mission trips work, despite what you might have heard

By on Aug 26, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Why short-term mission trips work, despite what you might have heard

Playing with orphan children, building homes and teaching summer Bible camps are all things that many teenagers and young adults hope to accomplish on short-term mission trips. Whether it’s because of a love of traveling, due to a profound need to make a difference, or an interest in experiencing a different culture, there is something special about churches and organizations which send out teams to various geographical locations every year. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of criticism and cynicism surrounding these experiences. Having...

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Following — blogs and Jesus

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

Following — blogs and Jesus

The other day as I was clicking around online, I came across a blog written by a fellow Mennonite pastor. I liked what she had to say in her most recent entry, so clicked on the little button near the top of my screen that said “Follow this Blog.” I follow several blogs and some Twitter accounts. There are news stories that I follow. Some of you follow specific TV shows or sports teams or the stock market. It strikes me that we use the verb “follow” in a pretty passive way these days. Maybe it’s the passiveness of “following” in...

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Voices in the streets

By on Aug 22, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Voices in the streets

This week I was glued to Twitter on more than one evening, watching the events in Ferguson, Mo., unfold in the wake of Mike Brown’s murder. In light of these events, today’s gospel passage (Matt. 15:21-28), one that always frustrates and challenges me, has mostly saddened me. Here we are again. Mourning another life cut short, yearning for a gospel that can make sense of the senseless. In Matthew 15, we read that Jesus is with his disciples when a Canaanite woman approaches him, shouting for mercy, asking for help, for healing for her...

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His sorrow is splendor

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

His sorrow is splendor

A little girl in our community has died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Shatteringly. Nine years old, Christ have mercy. And this is the part where those who call themselves “pastors” are supposed to provide words of comfort or meaning or hope or something, right? Right? But what if these are hard words to find during times like this? What if they are difficult words to spit out? What if they all seem hollow and forced, and I hate them even as they bounce around in my brain, even as they are tumbling out of my mouth? What could words ever do,...

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Living into the love of God

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

Living into the love of God

I have been thinking a lot about the love of God. I am getting ready to do a spiritual retreat with a group of doctors this morning and then tomorrow head down to Portland to speak at the Word Made Flesh Conference. In both cases I had intended to focus on prayer but God keeps bringing me back to the need focus instead on “learn to love me more.” Trust and faith are products of love I realize. Trust and faith do not occur spontaneously, nor do they come with focusing on our need to trust and have faith. Trust and faith come by learning to...

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Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth

By on Aug 19, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth

I love being a foster care provider for handicapped adults. I love Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda fiercely, protectively and I am so grateful that our family has had the opportunity to have them as part of our family. And I will be forever grateful that our family had the chance to know and love and care for Old Gertrude. (Some days I long to hear her funny sayings, to french braid that thin old hair, and fry up some scrapple for breakfast.) I believe that the delight that I have enjoyed as a care provider is one of the ways that God has...

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