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Six places time for spiritual practice might be hiding

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

Six places time for spiritual practice might be hiding

One of the number one questions I hear when I talk about how to incorporate faith practices into daily life is, “I would love to do that . . . if only we had the time.” My answer is always, “I think you do have the time, you just don’t know it.” For one, there are many practices that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to do. That’s not a lot of time. Surely any family can find 10 minutes hiding somewhere for such an important purpose. Need help thinking of where those minutes might be hiding? Try these ideas: In the...

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Church is not Facebook

By on Jul 22, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Church is not Facebook

My Saturday morning began with discord. I woke up, checked Facebook, and found my newsfeed full of statuses that made me feel sick. I couldn’t stop reading, every line filling me with anger. Who were these people glibly posting such hurtful articles? How had I let myself become vulnerable to their opinions by allowing their voices into my life? I rounded these Facebook “friends” up and without a second thought, clicked delete. Later, I went to the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly and took my seat at yet another Being a...

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Have you felt the clash of dominant cultural sensibilities?

By on Jul 21, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Have you felt the clash of dominant cultural sensibilities?

The Church is filled with divisions. It is almost impossible to find followers of Jesus committed to doing the hard work of having honest and hard conversations in hopes of discerning a more truthful way. I’ve been glad to find some communities and networks that are trying to do just that. I have witnessed genuine attempts at true dialogue, speaking honestly and listening attentively in a manner that often results in clarified disagreement and demonstrable growth in common understanding and renewed solidarity. This only happens through...

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Kids and God

By on Jul 18, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Each day my kids see me reading my Bible and praying. They know that I attend Bible study and understand the value that attending church holds in our family. However, there are many things about God that I don’t share with them. Often, when they ask me questions about my blog, why I have the alarm set on my phone or about a specific event — like when I spoke earlier this year in Southern California — I avoid telling them. What I should say is, “God asked me to do it,” or “It’s reminding me to pray” or “The...

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Immigrant or refugee?

By on Jul 17, 2014 in The World Together, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Immigrant or refugee?

There’s a moment in The Grand Budapest Hotel that struck me as particularly poignant social commentary. For the sake of not spoiling any of the plot, I’ll speak as generally as I can. Zero has just done something particularly helpful for Gustave, but he’s forgotten a few things that Gustave really would have appreciated. Flustered, Gustave says, “I suppose this is to be expected back in . . . where do you come from again?” Zero answers and Gustave goes on a bit of a rant, asking (rhetorically) why Zero would...

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Go to hell

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

Go to hell

For every season, there is a message. “Do not be afraid.” “Let my people go.” “Take up your cross.” “I have a dream.” In America today, I’ve come to believe, God’s Word for us is, “Go to hell.” Unbeknownst to most Americans, our justice system changed radically in the late 20th century. Like most countries in the modern West, roughly one in 1,000 Americans were in prison in the early 1970s. Today, we incarcerate one in 107 Americans. Over 7 million adults are currently in jails, in prison or on probation. More than 65...

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Anabaptist readings: Christ the center

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

Anabaptist readings: Christ the center

Each and every person is formed by something. Our history, family, culture and life decisions (both good and bad) shape us to be who we are today. We don’t get to choose whether we are formed. But we do get to choose who and what it is that forms us. I want to take a deeper look at the ancestors of my faith who continue to have profound effects on who we are today. What did they believe; and how did those beliefs make them distinct then and now? Anabaptism is more than distinct theology. Anabaptism is people, living people. And stories,...

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This little light of mine

By on Jul 14, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

This little light of mine

I love “This Little Light of Mine,” but I don’t like the verse that says, “Won’t let Satan blow it out.” The 5 year olds in my class already know this verse, of course, and they get a little confused when I share a different version. “Don’t let anyone blow it out,” we sing (or, I sing, and hope they join in). I’m the teacher, and I am trying to teach them something here. To an outside observer I suppose it might look as if I am hesitant to talk about Satan — about evil, personified. It might appear as if I am distancing...

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Remembering my Amish baptism

By on Jul 11, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Remembering my Amish baptism

I was baptized at the above Stuarts Draft, Va., Amish meetinghouse on a warm Sunday morning in June, 1954 — 60 years ago. At just under 15, I was the youngest member of a baptismal class of about a half-dozen teens who gave a public witness to their faith and joined the church that day. It was a memorable experience for a 14-year-old who had always experienced church as a central part of his life and who was now received as a full-fledged fellow member of it. I’ll never forget kneeling at the front of the congregation and having our...

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How do you know God told you?

By on Jul 10, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

How do you know God told you?

Last month the leader of Boko Haram, the terrorist organization responsible for kidnapping 300 teenagers in Nigeria, made the claim that God told him to do it. The use of those words; “God told me,” causes us to recoil in disgust. We know that the voice Abubakar Shekau heard is not the same one as the God we worship. It’s situations such as these that lead many church leaders to say you shouldn’t use the words; “God told me” under any circumstances, and you can’t really blame them. Throughout history that phrase has been...

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