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A nonviolent uprising

By on Oct 2, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

A nonviolent uprising

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: a “riot is the language of the unheard.” What happens when folks do not feel like their voices are being heard? They shout louder. Rioting is what almost happened in Ferguson, Mo., and all of us who live in fragile neighborhoods with a backdrop of deep racial injustice need to pay attention. In Ferguson, a close-knit community was devastated by yet another perceived injustice. They wanted to be heard. But as peaceful marches began, they were met with unprecedented force. Tears were met with teargas. It was...

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Skipping church

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

Skipping church

Last Sunday we, as a family, were exhausted. We, as a family, were skipping church. We go to church most Sundays. Matt and I ship our two kids dutifully off to Sunday school, and then we sit in our pew, side by side, where we sing and listen and sometimes we jot down notes and sometimes we don’t and somehow the pieces of the world seem to fit together a little better when we leave. Last Sunday, though, I just did not want to leave the holy parameters of our five acres of land. Our lives feel uncomfortably crazy right now. Amélie is playing...

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Plain people in the midst of cultural transformation

By on Sep 30, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Plain people in the midst of cultural transformation

The below photo depicts an understudied — yet vitally important — aspect of Brethren in Christ religious life in the 1960s and 1970s: the Church Growth movement. Church Growth developed as a phenomenon within the larger mid-20th century American neo-evangelical movement. (This is the same variety of Evangelicalism that produced Billy Graham, Youth for Christ, Christianity Today, Fuller Theological Seminary and World Vision, among other entities.) As University of North Carolina historian Molly Worthen writes in her new book Apostles of...

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The limits of Stan the Man Hauerwas

By on Sep 29, 2014 in The World Together | 3 comments

The limits of Stan the Man Hauerwas

When I was in seminary, I got drunk on Stanley Hauerwas. His polemic works against modernity, Christendom, liberalism, individualism, etc., struck a chord with me, and gave me a certain set of diagnostic lenses to see “how stuff works” in our late modern world. For all that I learned from Hauerwas and will no doubt continue to learn, I am in his debt. Yet even while I was stumbling drunk on his work, there were moments of clarity where I saw something lacking. In his hyperbolic assertion that Christianity hangs or falls on the...

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A critique of Mennonite fanaticism

By on Sep 26, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

A critique of Mennonite fanaticism

If we only listen to the voices of those in positions of power, perhaps we have learned nothing from Christendom. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Missio Alliance Gathering Sept. 19-20 in Carlisle, Pa. The theme for the weekend was “Church and Post-Christian Culture: Christian Witness in the Way of Jesus,” which focused on the Anabaptist tradition and its potential in the 21st-century church. I had been anticipating this gathering for some time: who among us Anabaptists wouldn’t? The speakers included some of the most...

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Retelling the Bible as a story of grace

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

Retelling the Bible as a story of grace

At Central Christian High School, the Mennonite high school I attended, all sophomores are tasked with telling the Bible story from memory. (And from what I hear from my young cousins, they still do it to this day.) I remember this as being one of the more exciting and nerve-wracking days in high school. Everyone anxiously going over their notes in the hallway as they awaited their turn. But more compelling than the anxiety was how we were all able to find coherence in this sometimes disparate story. It was so affecting to take all of these...

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Syrian stories need to be told

By on Sep 24, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Syrian stories need to be told

Hadija is 10 years old. She wakes up at 6 a.m., climbs in the back of a truck full of children, and drives to a potato field in the Bekaa Valley where she will work for at least seven hours. And Rami is 12 years old. Two years ago, he was in school in Syria, where his mom was a teacher. Today, he is in Lebanon, where he spends his day working behind a desk in a garage fixing tires. Abdel is 7. He sleeps on a cement floor in a tent with a plastic chair, a bucket and a few blankets. His last meal was the day before. Some rice. Dania is also 7....

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Leadership as spiritual direction

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

Leadership as spiritual direction

A couple of years ago I was interviewed by a master of divinity student for her class on leadership. I told her that for me leadership was not a position of privilege or of prestige but rather one of discernment and encouragement. I said that I felt the prime function of a Christian leader is to enable others to become all that God intends them to be. I talked to her about our intentional community’s use of the Quaker discernment process and the group decision-making structure we have set up to encourage cooperation and mutual support...

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Acting like a state: ISIS, the U.S. and Jesus as Lord

By on Sep 22, 2014 in The World Together | 5 comments

Acting like a state: ISIS, the U.S. and Jesus as Lord

Like most Americans, I’m horrified by each new story I read about ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). A friend who works in the region wrote weeks ago to tell me ISIS had taken Rutba, the Iraqi town that showed us radical hospitality when we were there in 2003. I closed my eyes and whispered, “Lord, have mercy.” I have Western friends who were taken hostage before ISIS and made it out alive. I ache for the families and friends of Jim Foley and Stephen Sotloff. But I find myself dwelling more these days on the Iraqis who have no...

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A #BringBackOurGirls confession

By on Sep 19, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

A #BringBackOurGirls confession

I am going to trust you with the truth. I wish we could sit down, you and I, with two cups of coffee and a brownie split between us. I want to look hard, unflinchingly into your eyes, breathe deeply, and confess to you this ugly thing that I have seen in myself. You heard about it too, of course: 275 Nigerian girls ripped away from their families, kidnapped in the middle of a school day. Disappearing into a tangled jungle until terrified screams faded into deafening silence. I sat glued to my computer that day, frozen in horror as I read....

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