Blog

If you want to be subversive follow Jesus through Holy Week

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

It’s Holy week and Jesus’ journey towards the cross has begun. Many of us have already processed around the church on Palm Sunday, and bought our Easter eggs and hot crossed buns, diverting our attention from the real meaning of Easter to its commercialized version. How many of us are sucked in? What is the focus of your thoughts as we head through Holy week — is it on the life, death and resurrection of Christ or is it on the upcoming Easter egg hunt and whether it will be warm enough to wear your new spring outfit? Most of us know...

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Unbind him and let him go

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

It’s good to be in the light, to be out in the open. But there is a bit of comfort to being in darkness, in the tomb like Lazarus. Because in the tomb, you know the landscape. You know the grooves and folds of the rocks, you can pace the space, and know its size and depth. In the tomb, you know what is there — darkness and silence and cold stone. And you are held tightly in your pain, sadness and grief. There is some comfort in the darkness and in the confinement. It’s just you and your hurt and sadness there in that tomb. But Jesus had...

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A call for an ecumenical Mennonite denomination

By on Apr 11, 2014 in The World Together | 6 comments

I’m wondering if Mennonite Church USA can reframe our current anxiety over issues of sexuality into an ecumenical dialogue and partnership. Can we focus on points of convergence instead of one issue of divergence? We have the model of partnering together since 1920 in the mission and service of Mennonite Central Committee. When I was on staff in the early 1980s we would say that MCC was the one thing all Amish and Mennonites did together along with Mennonite Disaster Service. Relief, service, peace and justice were the building blocks of...

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Divine child abuse?

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

This is an excerpt of the sermon Harader preached on John 19:31-37 on April 6. Read the sermon in its entirety here. I attended a discussion recently with Mennonite theologian J. Denny Weaver. He wrote The Nonviolent Atonement, and said during the discussion that there are all kinds of problems with a god who would require the torture and death of his child. He would agree with feminist and womanist theologians who term this traditional theory (since Anselm in the 11th century) “divine child abuse.” So my friend Joshua Paul Smith asked...

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Graham’s almost agreement with nonresistance

By on Apr 9, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Graham’s almost agreement with nonresistance

A seminal event in Anabaptist history happened when, in 1961 dialogue began between Mennonite and Brethren in Christ leaders and Billy Graham — at the time, one of America’s most famous figures and undoubtedly the “face” of popular American evangelicalism. The dialogue happened on Aug. 20, 1961, in Philadelphia. Those familiar with Mennonite history will recognize some of the denominational leaders who participated in the event, including John C. Wenger and Elmer Neufeld. Bishop, peace advocate and Messiah College president C. N....

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My interview with NPR’s John Burnett

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

I first got to know NPR correspondent John Burnett when he was in Portland doing a story about beer and theology. He was featuring the Beer and Hymns event that we do monthly at First Christian Church in Portland. This time around John has a two-part exposé on evangelical churches in the United States, and in particular, a few of them who have media empires that seem to be immune to the investigations and accountability that so many individuals and organizations in the United States have to the Internal Revenue Service and to the...

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The church: What is or what could be?

By on Apr 7, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Do you love the church for what it could be or what it is? If the former, I suggest you read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s magisterial little book, Life Together. It is, so I think, his best book. No need, however, to debate what is neither provable nor non-falsifiable — what one thinks is his best book another will not. What is worth discussing is his incredible set of statements about the expectations we bring to the church and that we expect of the church and how our expectations, when they encounter the realities, are dashed to the...

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Martyr’s gift: What Martin Luther King died for

By on Apr 4, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Fifty-six years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King was gunned down in Memphis, Tenn. In the Christian tradition, martyrs’ death days are their feast days, when we remember what they lived for by paying attention to what they died for. Though King’s own organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was scrambling to plan its Poor People’s March on Washington, King went to Memphis to support the struggle for sanitation workers rights that his friend and nonviolent teacher, Jim Lawson, had helped to organize. When staff...

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Our beautiful children

By on Apr 3, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Our beautiful children

There seem to be moments where my reality is struck by sentimentality, and the world around me carries with it a deeper, emotional meaning. I have come to value those moments as divine. It is as if God is prodding me to see life with a renewed set of eyes, all of a sudden becoming privileged to the deeper realities already present in which I get to participate. One evening while sitting and mildly participating in the chaos of supper time, I had one of those very moments. I looked at my eldest son who was laughing like he usually does, and I...

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Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God

By on Apr 2, 2014 in The World Together | 3 comments

Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God

Have you ever felt like everyone seemed to be talking about you but no one was willing to talk to you about something that directly affected you? It can knock you off your game. Have you ever been the target of personally injurious, defamatory, moral accusations for actions or behaviors you believed to have integrity? It’s heartbreaking. Have you ever suffered the embarrassment of being publicly condemned for something in your life that you thought was private? It’s severely disturbing. Have you ever received unwarranted and unjust...

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