Zwieback and leprosy

Apr 18, 2019 by

The beat-up diesel pickup truck sputtered as it came over the hill into view. A half dozen men in torn filthy shirts stood in the bed of the truck, passing a bottle around, their fists pumping the air,...

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Dad’s gun

Apr 12, 2019 by

On a recent Tuesday, I stood in a church parking lot as a blacksmith sawed my father’s old rifle into pieces. Those pieces would be placed in a forge, then hammered and twisted into a garden tool. Whatever...

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Midyear retreat and My Lai

Apr 10, 2019 by

I went on a Mennonite Central Committee mid-year retreat March 22-24 to Hoi An, a once-crucial port city in central Vietnam that is now pretty much solely a tourist town. When we first arrived in Vietnam we...

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Peanut butter

Apr 8, 2019 by

About a month ago, I posted a meme on Facebook about peanut butter. Along with the photo, I said this: “The most U.S. American part of me — peanut butter! How many years have I been deprived of peanut...

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A farmer’s daughter’s calling

Apr 4, 2019 by

The couple in the corner watched as the parents in my group herded their children through the welcoming doors of Chick-fil-A. We smiled and nodded as I took note of the man’s trimmed beard and the lady’s...

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Is now the time to create a ‘Church Peace Tax Fund’?

Mar 28, 2019 by and

That’s the subject of one of the seminars being offered at the Mennonite Church USA convention July 2-6 in Kansas City, Mo. In response to Jesus’ exhortation to love enemies (Matt. 5:44), this seminar...

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Just a ‘Jesus follower’? Why denominations still matter

Mar 26, 2019 by and

It’s become common among some Protestants, especially evangelicals, to call themselves “Jesus followers.” Not Christians. Not Baptists or Pentecostals. Not members of the Presbyterian Church in America...

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It’s time to change the Mennonite name

Mar 25, 2019 by

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Mennonite”? I immediately think of Mennonite Central Committee relief sales, quilts, suspenders, prayer coverings, farmers, borscht,...

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Beyond exclusion and hate

Mar 20, 2019 by

“Jesus has come to transform people not to exclude them” (Richard Rohr, Wondrous Encounters). It was these words of Richard Rohr that held my attention this week long before the tragic shootings at the...

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Bringing the gospel to the marketplace

Mar 15, 2019 by

For some time now, I’ve tried to slow down when I’m shopping. I don’t like shopping all that well, so my inclination is to fly around the store with my cart, grab my goodies, and whiz out the door while...

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Why no baptisms?

Mar 13, 2019 by

Despite serving a growing congregation, I have a concern: I have not performed a single baptism for a middle school, high school, or college-aged person in over five years. Granted, my current congregation has...

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Hidden churches

Mar 11, 2019 by

While on a visit to the Netherlands in January, our hosts showed us around. Part of our tour included visiting two historic Mennonite “hidden churches.” Both churches were built in the early 1600s when...

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Why churches should not measure their growth against the economic boom

Mar 8, 2019 by and

We are living through a truly epic economic boom. Half of the people in the world are now in the middle class and fewer live in absolute poverty than at any point in human history. In our own country, giant...

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Blackface in old yearbooks a reminder Bluffton is not immune to systemic racism

Mar 6, 2019 by and

Witmarsum editor’s note: Some of the images accompanying this post contain sensitive material that many may consider offensive. Bluffton University yearbooks from 1924 and 1930 include images of students...

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The day God ‘thought twice’

Mar 4, 2019 by

“I am the Lord Your God . . . I change not!” so declared Jehovah in Mal. 3:6, in the context of noting that because God remained faithful to his covenant to the children of Israel, the descendants of Jacob...

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Despairing for Mennonite Church USA

Feb 28, 2019 by

When Mennonite Church USA was formed in 2000 by the merger of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church (minus the Canadian halves of those two denominations who joined to form a...

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Mennonite publications should uplift the community

Feb 26, 2019 by

Mennonite publications play an essential role in our community. Not only do they share news from Anabaptists around the world, they’re also a vital forum for honest and difficult conversations. No matter how...

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How a national emergency order endangers the ‘other’

Feb 22, 2019 by , and

We write as victims of violence, who know the trauma inflicted by evil people who target the “other.” As the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and the rabbi of the New Light Synagogue in...

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On nostalgia

Feb 20, 2019 by

Funerals often produce interesting conversations. Especially when the funeral follows the tragic and unexpected death of the matriarch of a massive family with deep history in and connection to the local...

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Love supreme, supreme danger

Feb 18, 2019 by

I’ve been catching up on the literature of Christian Peacemaker Teams. But today when I read their publications, I more often read the adjective “Christian” in reference to problematic nouns like...

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The politics of minority self-destruction: a call to surrender

Feb 14, 2019 by

Fellow Christians: In a nation undergoing historic dimensions of polarization and partisan self-destruction, our hour has again come to navigate our perennial struggle over citizenship responsibilities —...

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Do you belong to an ethnicity or a church?

Feb 11, 2019 by

The accusation was stripped of niceties. “The only way your churches can stay afloat is by having large families. Few people are joining you from other backgrounds.” The Amish and Mennonites, this unnamed...

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Mennonite food

Feb 8, 2019 by

I grew up on a small mixed farm on the prairies, with a large garden that provided all of our fruits and vegetables for a year as well as providing some produce for market. I definitely took it for granted...

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God multiplies our efforts

Feb 6, 2019 by and

“The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail” I Kings 17:14. Ana Hinojosa remembers growing up on the Texas-Mexico border near Brownsville in the late 1980s. Her family’s house...

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Reasons we support same-sex marriage — or not

Feb 1, 2019 by

1. Our nation recognizes two men or two women committing themselves in marriage. We who follow Jesus often resist the norms of society around us. Nonetheless, our surrounding culture impacts us: we...

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