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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 Willard Scott, 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...

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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...

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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...

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Why the Church needs her martyrs

By on Oct 16, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Why the Church needs her martyrs

Human life is the most sacred thing. Blood trumps everything. To be sure, many would rush to say that God is the most sacred thing. That God trumps everything. But in point of fact, that’s not true. Empirically speaking, we behave as if — as well we should — that human life is the most sacred thing. And this is what makes patriotism and the flag the most sacred thing. This is why the nation is the most sacred thing. Because human life was sacrificed — blood was spilt — for these things. The blood of the solider consecrates and...

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Girls: The hope of the future

By on Oct 15, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Girls: The hope of the future

Over the past few days, my 4-year-old, Ruby, has asked some profound and provocative questions that have both challenged and brought us much hope for the future. “Why does Jesus want us to talk to him if he never talks back to us?” “Why do we have a house to sleep in, while some of our neighbors don’t?” “Why are there only boys on the Giants (my favorite baseball team)?” This week, a 17-year-old Muslim girl named Malala Yousafzai, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Muslim. Pakistani. Female. Child. Breaking culture’s boundaries and...

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Beheadings by religious fundamentalists are not new

By on Oct 14, 2014 in The World Together | 4 comments

Beheadings by religious fundamentalists are not new

My wife’s ancestor Hans Landis, one of the last known Anabaptists martyrs in western Europe, was executed in the year 1614, just 400 years ago. Landis was one of thousands who were martyred for advocating for a free church, one completely independent of state control and free of all forms of coercion or violence. One of the more common means of killing such dissidents in the time of the Protestant Reformation was beheading, next only to deaths by drowning or by burning at the stake. All of these brutalities against Anabaptists (adult...

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A traditional church embarks on the missional journey

By on Oct 13, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

A traditional church embarks on the missional journey

The story of how I came to do what I currently do, where I do it, still fascinates me. I love it when people ask, how did you end up at Doylestown Mennonite Church (in Bucks County, Pa.) and what is your role there? What does it mean to be “pastor for the missional journey” or “missional pastor?” I love telling the story because I have never encountered a congregation who has done what this one has, and I’m about as immersed in the Mennonite church as one can get — a Mennonite pastor’s kid who went to Mennonite schools almost...

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We still need to talk about Ferguson

By on Oct 10, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

We still need to talk about Ferguson

I know, I know. The news cycle on this is over, and thoughts are elsewhere. But, Ferguson’s story happens in some form every day in our country. The sad truth is that too many folks consider brown bodies to be less important than others. In the height of the Ferguson crisis in August, I attended a prayer service, remembering Mike Brown and all the other unnamed Mikes and Trayvons out there. A friend publicly shared her experience of parenting her brown-skinned son, how she is constantly worried that he will be stopped by the police, or...

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Becoming a church of the servant

By on Oct 9, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Becoming a church of the servant

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. — Mark 10:42-45 There is a little congregation in Wichita, Kan., that calls itself Mennonite Church of the...

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Why privileged people love quoting MLK

By on Oct 8, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Why privileged people love quoting MLK

If you’re outspoken on the issue of race, chances are, at one point or another, you’ve had a conversation with a self-proclaimed pacifist who has cited Martin Luther King Jr. King was nonviolent, they say, so would-be revolutionaries should be patient and think about how they’re pursuing racial justice. Whether they mean to or not, these “pseudo-pacifists” silence oppressed people and perpetuate inequality by failing to see the role power plays in their analysis. I want to be clear about three things: I am for Martin Luther King...

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