Midwives of justice

Jan 29, 2020 by

One Friday afternoon, five of us met around a table: four representatives of our neighborhood organization and the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Those of us from the neighborhood had been...

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What if we never tried to set up a church?

Jan 27, 2020 by

I had a call from Santiago, Bolivia, a couple of evenings ago. We talked about current politics in Bolivia, after the tumultuous public upheaval following the October presidential elections. Evo Morales, the...

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An evaluation of the Anabaptist doctrine of nonconformity

Jan 22, 2020 by

There’s a weird Anabaptist doctrine I don’t think many millennials understand. It might be one of the biggest obstacles for new believers, and the final straw for those who choose to leave. This doctrine...

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The temptation of political power

Jan 20, 2020 by

Of the brutal Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is supposed to have commented: “He may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.” This quote sums up the dominant political...

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Can we beat our addiction to war?

Jan 17, 2020 by

The U.S. military strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s military force, has raised questions in the minds of many Americans about what we believe about military action and warfare. From my...

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Understanding and responding to Middle East anger

Jan 15, 2020 by

A defining moment for me in understanding the Middle East was the four nights of bombing I endured as a humanitarian worker in Baghdad in 1998. I’ll never forget that terrifying experience: lying on the...

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It hinges on a hyphen

Jan 13, 2020 by

Let me be honest with you: I don’t want my kids to be evangelical Christians when they grow up. It was only recently, in one of those rare moments of fatherly self-awareness, that I realized this. My teens...

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Pacifism in church history

Jan 9, 2020 by

There is not a single extant Christian author before Constantine (in the fourth century) who said killing or joining the military by Christians is ever legitimate. Whenever the surviving Christian texts...

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Clothes and wounds

Jan 6, 2020 by

Often when I revisit a familiar biblical story, something new emerges. Sometimes that new thing is a simple truth, other times it’s a detail that I simply overlooked as if it wasn’t important. This...

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The beauty of paradox

Dec 30, 2019 by

Why do Christians have such difficulty reaching agreement? The answer may lie in the very nature of God and the gospel. Our challenge is to embrace a God of mystery who is also relational and trustworthy. This...

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A personal Anabaptist political manifesto

Dec 23, 2019 by

“The worldly are armed with steel and iron, but Christians are armed with the armor of God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and with the Word of God.” Schleitheim Brotherly Union,...

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Celebrating the holidays — and every day

Dec 16, 2019 by

Celebration is what we are called to. We are called to practice joy by celebrating. What we have to learn is how to celebrate life. Celebrating life is not a party but an awareness that every moment is special...

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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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