Balancing the needs of introverts and extroverts in the church

Aug 16, 2018 by

“What are you reading?” my bus mates asked me on tour this summer. “Quiet by Susan Cain. It’s about why introverts deserve to live.” Leave me alone; I’m reading. The subtitle of the book is “The...

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Our responsibility as clergy regarding abuse

Aug 15, 2018 by

In what has to be one of history’s most poignant, trenchant ironies, Tuesday’s report from a grand jury in Pennsylvania about decades of sexual abuse by predatory priests and of cover-ups in high...

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Non-dualistic thinking and apocalyptic theology

Aug 14, 2018 by

Many progressive Christians talk a lot about a spirituality that prizes non-dualistic thinking. This emphasis on non-dualistic thinking comes from contemplative Christian traditions that have been in...

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Why ‘church in nature’ isn’t enough

Aug 13, 2018 by

There’s this mildly irritating phrase that I have encountered with some frequency over the course of the decade or so that I have been a pastor. I’m sure you’ve encountered something like it in your own...

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The frightening task of preaching

Aug 9, 2018 by

Preaching is a privilege, a frightening task. By frightening, trembling before God is meant, not a fear of speaking in public. Jesus said we are judged by our words (Matt. 12:36-37). James said people should...

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Hearing God’s voice louder

Aug 8, 2018 by

Our theme this year in our congregation at Trissels Mennonite Church is “Moving toward Jesus together.” Occasionally during a worship service we will ask a person to share “something Jesus said or did...

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How to pray for the people you love

Aug 7, 2018 by

To introduce our summer preaching series on Philippians, I called my sermon How to Pray for the People You Love, because that’s what the apostle Paul does in the opening verses of his letter. Some years...

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A moral debate with God

Jul 31, 2018 by

In July 1943, American bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany. The Allies wanted to cripple the Nazi war machine by targeting the city’s factories. Unfortunately, precision bombing was impossible. The only way to...

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What do historians look like?

Jul 30, 2018 by

The first time I submitted a piece of scholarship for consideration to an academic journal — at age 21 and having just earned B.A. in history — a rejection letter came in quick response. Why? Because I...

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Young people key to resilient global church

Jul 25, 2018 by , and

A greeting from the Vietnam Mennonite Church to the world. Throughout its history, the people of the VMC have never failed to demonstrate their resilience and their commitment to live out the peaceful way of...

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Americans, this is who you are

Jul 20, 2018 by

My American friends have been apologizing for how their president is behaving on the international stage — castigating Canada, undermining NATO, praising dictators, starting trade wars. “This is not who we...

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Our hypocrisy on ‘social action’

Jul 19, 2018 by

Mennonite Central Committee and other relief and service organizations are often criticized for being too focused on physically bettering people’s lives and not enough on evangelizing them. Some of the...

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Spirituality is imperfect

Jul 18, 2018 by

Last week at our Mustard Seed House community meeting, we made lavender wands. We had perfect examples to follow, many of them beautiful images from Pinterest and DIY websites. We had good instructions with...

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Open letter to Jeff Bezos: Amazon or Anabaptist?

Jul 17, 2018 by

Dear Mr. Bezos, The opposition of Amazon (hereafter referred to as “your company”) to a tax law to help the homeless in Seattle was the last straw. Let me explain. After your company stopped construction...

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Enduring the cross, despising the shame

Jul 16, 2018 by

If I were to try to convince someone to become a Christian, shame is not a quality I would advertise. I would probably talk about the wonderful sense of being set free from guilt, the comforting presence of a...

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Faith the size of a wheat seed

Jul 12, 2018 by

“Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). I love that verse. Such a good reminder to stop, chill out, and allow God to move. And I believe that he can and does move, I say devotedly as the sun...

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Loving our neighbors without fear

Jul 11, 2018 by

I saw two movies recently. The second was First Reformed. The pastor of a small Christian Reformed church somewhere in New York struggles with a tension between hope and darkness in his own life and runs into...

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Finding our better angels in divided times

Jul 10, 2018 by , and

Who hasn’t known relationships torn apart over divisive politics? Churches, families and businesses all know the tension that can accompany political discussions, especially in recent years. Is it possible...

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A Lancaster historian seeks Mennonite hair art

Jul 9, 2018 by

It’s a well-known story. It was July 25, 1896, and there had been a party at the home of John Musser in Witmer, Pa., and many young Mennonites had gathered to socialize, perhaps discussing the quarterly...

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To judge or not to judge?

Jul 5, 2018 by

As a child, I rarely heard cursing. Thus, I often didn’t recognize inappropriate language when I did hear it. My friend and I could watch the same movie — she would hear curse words every other minute, and...

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The face of Jesus on the border

Jun 29, 2018 by

I had just completed a week-long Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored learning tour alongside nine other writers and artists in and around Tucson and the border wall that divides Doug­las, Ariz., from Agua...

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Foster care and our own refugee crisis

Jun 28, 2018 by

In our yard is a huge oak tree, its branches shading the sandy dirt underneath. Under the tree, a collection of spoons and cups pilfered from my kitchen litters the ground. My 6-year-old daughter is the queen...

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Love for lawbreakers: Reading Romans 13 with Romans 5

Jun 27, 2018 by

I had taken a vacation from the news for a couple weeks, but I couldn’t help but notice all the discussion in my Facebook feed about immigrants being separated from their children. Everybody seems to have...

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Immigration injustices aren’t new

Jun 26, 2018 by

I clearly remember that cold winter morning in January 2007. I arrived at the airport at 3:30 a.m. to report for my job, as a supervisor for a major airline in Brownsville, Texas. I walked to the ticket...

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Pope Francis — a pastor for the global church

Jun 25, 2018 by

For much of the previous week, I had the privilege of representing Mennonites at meetings of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, which is celebrating its 70th...

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