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Waiting with the stories

By on Jul 31, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Waiting with the stories

My daughter and I looked at our garden each day, peering closely into the dark earth. “Do you see anything yet?” she asked, her voice hopeful. “Not yet,” I replied. “How about you?” Each day in spring began with this ritual of staring into the ground, waiting and watching. And when it finally happened, when the first sliver of green issued from the ground, it felt like a miracle. We dance around the yard. We took pictures. We were amazed. I didn’t help her connect this event to Advent-tide when we watch and wait for Jesus. We...

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Much is given, and much will be required

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

Much is given, and much will be required

At first when I heard one of the main focuses of my cross-cultural experience to Guatemala (with Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.) would be immigration, I have to admit, I was disappointed. Living in my own bubble of routine in Lancaster County, Pa., I assumed that it was a problem that simply didn’t affect my loved ones or me. I felt like it was just another hot topic to debate and suck all the oxygen out of the room and was better off avoided. However, upon arrival in Mexico, I quickly learned how shallow and unloving my...

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Build relationships, put an end to violence

By on Jul 29, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Build relationships, put an end to violence

A picture of a young girl in Gaza, standing against a school and mourning the loss of a relative killed there, fills the main part of my browser this morning. And yet the advertisements on the right-hand side of the page are for a new car, a deal on a pedicure, and an overnight getaway. A story of global conflict and American lifestyle advertisements. It’s a mismatch, right? Or is it. I live in the U.S., in a small Ohio town where there really isn’t any violence to speak of. So I could click to claim the deal on a pedicure and go about my...

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How would Jesus vote on hot topics?

By on Jul 28, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

How would Jesus vote on hot topics?

I read an article on Huffington Post about a new survey by a nonpartisan organization called YouGov of self-identified Christians. Asked how they believe Jesus would vote on various hot current topics, here’s a run-down of the results: 1. Jesus would not support gay marriage. 2. Jesus would oppose legal abortion. 3. Jesus would support universal healthcare. 4. Jesus would not support the death penalty for murderers. 5. Jesus would not support stricter gun laws. 6. Jesus would not support high taxes on the wealthy. 7. Jesus would support...

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Four Brethren in Christ distinctives I don’t want to lose

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

Four Brethren in Christ distinctives I don’t want to lose

I just returned to Philly after my first General Conference of the Brethren in Christ. It’s a biennial, national gathering designed to bring the church together for face-to-face dialogue. It was good to be together. There is a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood among us. These people are serious about loving God and others. Some of our distinctives, however, may be getting lost; I want to talk about them. 1. The Brethren in Christ are led by the Spirit, not bound by the law. Early Anabaptists sensed that their life in Christ was bigger...

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I am a bacon lover

By on Jul 24, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

I am a bacon lover

I. Love. Bacon. Seriously. Other words I use for it are “meat candy” and “crispy fried yum.” I cannot remember any time in the past when I have not loved bacon. I would say that my brain was hard-wired to simply love bacon. And, there is some medical evidence that pretty much points out that our brains really love bacon. So, why can’t I eat as much bacon as I want? Anyone who has any knowledge of dietary and nutritional health can give you a pretty solid answer. Words like “obesity,” “cholesterol” and “sodium” play...

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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

Kids and God

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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