Burying Bibles

Dec 12, 2019 by

We were moving to smaller quarters in Hillsboro, Kan., and needed to downsize, including downsizing our library. Books collected over years that documented my intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage and their...

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I wear my heart on my sleeve

Dec 9, 2019 by and

When Alisha and I and our son, Asher, moved to Barcelona, many things didn’t make the cut in our attempt to “leave all things behind” and follow Jesus. However, Martyrs Mirror was never on the chopping...

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The good kind of power

Dec 6, 2019 by

“I did not give you a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” So wrote Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:7). The church doesn’t believe this, or so it seems. It rarely talks about...

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Advent: from ranting to singing

Dec 4, 2019 by

Advent is a season of patience and reflection, even confession and tears. It is a time of observing, watching, staying awake. The Isaiah texts that mark this year’s Advent scriptures are anything but quiet....

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Jesus and the Old Testament on killing

Nov 25, 2019 by

God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, tells us to love our enemies. How does that fit with Old Testament commands to kill? After Joshua 10 describes Joshua conquering city after city, it concludes: “He totally...

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I didn’t just change my mind

Nov 22, 2019 by

Moses got a burning bush. In my case, the voice wasn’t in a burning bush. It wasn’t even a voice. After hosting 20 exchange students, I was done. Done transporting, making food, listening to teenage...

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Extending the good news to those who are excluded

Nov 18, 2019 by

“He has sent me to proclaim good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted” (Isaiah 61:1). On a recent Mennonite Central Committee learning tour, we heard overwhelming stories of abuse from the...

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Observations about women’s roles

Nov 15, 2019 by

I can’t even count the number of times I have started and stopped writing about issues related to women. The subject of a woman’s role in the church and community is a minefield, and I don’t feel like...

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Transnational Mennonite Studies Conference on Anthropology

Nov 13, 2019 by

“My personal experience after almost 50 years of researching and writing about Mennonites is that Mennonites have been active participants in the world and as such they have contributed to change and not...

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Why I am a member of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

Nov 11, 2019 by

I was looking for a home — a family. An inner longing was pushing me to search for a church where there would be truth and warmth. Sometimes in my mind I thought I had found it, but that inner longing told...

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A faith community steps into its power

Nov 4, 2019 by

In early October, Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a Democratic presidential hopeful, took the stage at a Peacemaker Summit organized by the St. Joseph County chapter of Faith in Indiana. The...

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Why do most Christians reject pacifism?

Oct 30, 2019 by

There are at least two major sets of reasons why most Christians reject pacifism: biblical arguments and general objections. And there are answers to all of them. Biblical arguments Jesus said, “I did not...

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Darkness isn’t evil: editing hymn texts

Oct 28, 2019 by , and

The words we sing in worship carry tremendous power to form our theological imaginations. The poetry we sing can become ingrained in our memories in ways that sermons and readings cannot. Songs learned in...

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On division and negativity

Oct 24, 2019 by

Like many Canadians, I had an eye on the national election the night of Oct. 21. Election results and commentary provided the background noise throughout the evening, as I had dinner with my son, as I went to...

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Create peace

Oct 22, 2019 by

In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ arrest, the most relevant part for “creating peace” is obviously when one of the disciples pulls out his sword and starts swinging. Then Jesus says: “Put your sword back...

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Real shepherd experience

Oct 21, 2019 by

Facebook told me the estate sale would have primitives. Several days later, Facebook added “cinnamon rolls.” I would be there. I don’t need any more stuff, primitive or not. I definitely don’t need...

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The lion, the lamb, and the candidate

Oct 17, 2019 by

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro visited Edith Espinal at our church Tuesday morning. He met with her privately for about 20 minutes, listening to her story, followed by a press conference at...

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Who was I to hinder God?

Oct 16, 2019 by

Cornelius and Peter lived in separate worlds. Left to their own devices, they would have stayed separate. But, as told in Acts 10-11, God intrudes on both of them by means of a vision. Their story — a tale...

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Turmoil in Ecuador

Oct 14, 2019 by and

Ecuador has generally been a very peaceful and politically stable nation, compared to its close neighbors, Colombia and Peru. Delicia and I have been serving the past four years with Mennonite Mission Network...

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The power of fear and the fear of power

Oct 9, 2019 by

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (John 4:18a). “…you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). In my experience as pastor I’ve often been...

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‘Just memory’ of Vietnam

Oct 7, 2019 by and

HANOI, Vietnam — My husband, Josh Kvernen, and I visited Nguyen Thi Thanh, a 74-year-old woman living in the central part of Vietnam, as we laid the groundwork for a 2018 Mennonite Central Committee learning...

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God who demands hospitality

Oct 2, 2019 by

In August I visited my friends the Issa family, who live just outside of Jerusalem in the refugee camp of Anata in Palestine. The wall that divides the West Bank from Israel literally runs through their...

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A challenging future, a tested idea

Sep 30, 2019 by

This essay originally appeared in Connections, a weekly email written to and by members of the Fresno Pacific University community. In honor of FPU’s 75th Anniversary in 2019-20, during September — the...

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Why did the vegetarian cross the road?

Sep 25, 2019 by

The fields were covered in mist on the 90-minute drive from St. Catharines to Elmira, Ont., at 5:30 a.m. on a cool spring morning in April. A church elder had invited me to share in the Mennonite Central...

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Climate change our defining challenge

Sep 23, 2019 by , and

As youth marched in the climate strike last week and United Nations leaders discuss climate change at their summit in New York, the climate crisis is already here. Storms are becoming more powerful, and...

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