Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog, The World Together, of Anabaptist-themed writing from a wide variety of sources including Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren, Conservative Mennonite, Quaker and other Anabaptist-influenced thinkers. To submit a blog, email kyoder@mennoworld.org.

The beginning of the end

By on Apr 27, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The beginning of the end

We have, rather erroneously, developed this notion that the Christian life is supposed to be safe and easy. We desire comfort and we think that our Christian faith is the vessel that we can use to accomplish a reasonable level of health safety in the world. And because this is our primary belief, we often miss the things that God has for us, not because they aren’t there, but because we aren’t looking for them. Because great leaps of faith, great acts of daring, the deep work of transformation, takes place not when we are safe and...

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Are we training pastors for jobs that no longer exist?

By on Apr 24, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

Are we training pastors for jobs that no longer exist?

It’s safe to say that the traditional expression of church has varied little in the Western world. This form worked well when the dominant culture was agrarian, most people were uneducated and illiterate, and books were either unavailable or very expensive. Information and stories were spread by people who had dedicated their lives to learning, reading and teaching. Many of these were pastors who received more schooling than most before going out into the world to build a church. Farmers from miles around would put on their “Sunday best”...

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Where are you, church?

By on Apr 23, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Where are you, church?

As our Canadian society becomes increasingly secular, I have been thinking that people have disregarded the church. However, this assumption has been challenged for me. This spring I have been asked to participate in a Justice Tour developed by Citizens For Public Justice and the Canadian Council of Churches. Together with Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada and Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the CCC, I have been listening to community leaders across Western Canada express their hopes and...

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Shame is part of love

By on Apr 22, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Shame is part of love

Shame has fallen on hard times. Much of this is due to increasing concerns about the public shaming of people on social media. See the recently published book by Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I share these worries about the public shaming of strangers on social media, how our outraged Tweets can do serious harm to people — relationally, psychologically and economically. But I’d like to say a few things in praise of shame. Not public shaming, but how shame, as an emotion, is a vital component of what it means to...

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An open letter to the president for Earth Day

By on Apr 21, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

An open letter to the president for Earth Day

Dear President Obama, I hear that you’ll be coming to my neighborhood April 22 for Earth Day. Thank you so much for coming. If you want to stop by for coffee or lunch, I’d love to have you! I lived in the Washington, D.C., area for most of my life, but chose to move to southwest Florida (Marco Island) because I love the beauty and wildlife of this region, especially the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands. Whenever I can spare a few hours from my work as a writer, speaker and activist, I get outdoors to enjoy manatees and alligators,...

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The traveler

By on Apr 20, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The traveler

I saw him the moment I stepped outside my office, visible through the glass front doors — the man sitting beneath the church carport. He wore a beard and a ragged sweater, and beside him lay a small hiking bag with a print evidently designed for a young girl. He was silently watching the sky and the wind-rustled bushes. I wondered why he was there. I wondered if he was waiting, hoping someone would come outside. He seemed fine. This was the time set aside for my sermon, I thought, which always goes worse when interrupted. I thought of the...

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Knowing my identity for the sake of my kids

By on Apr 17, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Knowing my identity for the sake of my kids

I have middle school-aged children now. My daughter has just finished her first year and my son will start in the fall. This baffles me, for it seems like just yesterday I was the one in middle school worrying about what my hair looked like and what people thought of me as I walked down the hall. Now it is my children walking down those halls of uncertainty and morphing identity. My kids are talkers, for which I am ever grateful. They come home from school and tell me all about who said what and who likes who and all the other good gossip a...

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The test question for your church

By on Apr 16, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The test question for your church

We tend to measure the “success” of a church by numbers. I propose in A Fellowship of Differents another way of measuring whether or not our church measures up to the kind of success that the Bible uses. The success of a church is first determined by how many invisible people become visible to those not like them. Asked as a question: Who is invisible in your church? To the degree folks are invisible, we don’t have the right view of the church or the right view of the Christian life. So, let’s explore who is most invisible today. Here...

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The gospel of enough

By on Apr 15, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

The gospel of enough

The following sermon was preached at Germantown Mennonite Church in Philadelphia, based on Acts 4:32-35. I hate to break it to you, but despite those verses in Acts, the church never really held all things in common. While we read that everyone was of one mind and agreed and held all things in common, and had a warm, fuzzy, love fest together, what we didn’t read is that immediately after this, everything fell apart. After the church held everything in common in Acts 4, we learn in Acts 5 that Ananias and Sapphira sold land, and gave most...

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Contact without fellowship in an Internet age

By on Apr 14, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Contact without fellowship in an Internet age

Jesus told his disciples “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” The other day I had a conversation with a friend who questions the value of sharing writing on the Internet. Why lay out tender matters of the heart in a place strewn with rude anonymous comments? This was a hard conversation because I have been having the same thoughts lately. So many online forums smell like virtual pig sties. Would it be best...

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