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These stories appeared in the latest issue of MWR. Stories can be found sorted by issue here. To see more subscribe online or to the print edition here.

God of war?

By on Dec 9, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

Ronald J. Sider’s attempt to rationalize genocide in the Hebrew Scriptures (“Jesus and the Old Testament on Killing,” Nov. 25) is just that, rationalization. Theologian Marcus Borg writes: “The Jewish Bible is not God’s story of Israel but Israel’s story of Israel.” God is unchanging. God does not go from commanding killing in the Old Testament to exemplifying only love in the New Testament. God would never issue a command to “kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Sam. 15:3). If...

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Fond farewell to the blue hymnal

By and on Dec 9, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

People sang all 658 hymns from Hymnal: A Worship Book and raised $800 to help Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church purchase copies of the new Voices Together hymnal. — Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe/Canadian Mennonite

WINNIPEG, Man. — Over the span of a single weekend, Sean Goerzen sang or played every hymn in Hymnal: A Worship Book. All 658 of them. “I feel like I know the hymnal in a very intimate way now,” he said with a laugh. Goerzen organized Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church’s hymnal sing-a-thon, a two-day event to raise funds so the church can purchase copies of the new Mennonite worship and song resource, Voices Together, coming in 2020. About 80 people came and went over 13 hours of singing, split into four sessions Sept. 27-28. About six...

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Bible: David’s prayer, Mary’s song

By on Dec 9, 2019 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Ted Grimsrud

In the first three lessons of this quarter, we looked at how 1 Chronicles 15-17 presents kingship and the temple in ancient Israel. Now we turn to a story that seems to stand in contrast with David and Solomon. Then, we look in 1 Chronicles 17 at a fascinating prayer from David that we may compare with Luke 1. Mary is told that she will give birth to a son who will be given “the throne of his ancestor David” (Luke 1:32, see also 3:31). Her beautiful response (1:46-55) makes the most sense when we read it in the context of the expectations...

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U.S. MBs submit letter to national service commission

By on Dec 9, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 2 comments

The U.S. Conferences of Mennonite Brethren Churches submitted a letter on Nov. 8 to the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service, affirming “many of the convictions” that other Anabaptist groups stated in a joint letter in September. USMB had chosen not to attend a gathering of 13 Anabaptist groups convened by Mennonite Central Committee on June 4. The USMB letter, signed by three national leaders, says it is “uniquely our response.” One difference from the joint letter is its emphasis that not all its members...

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The good kind of power

By on Dec 6, 2019 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

“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 power in positive terms. Mennonites have often pitted “faithfulness” against “effectiveness.” We can be skeptical of people or groups that are effective, grow in number and wield power. This, we all too often believe, is a sign of having sold out. Many of us prefer holding a sign on the corner, not having much impact but knowing...

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Advent: from ranting to singing

By on Dec 4, 2019 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

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. The prophet begins with a clarion call: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:1-5). For 21st-century Christians, this raises the question of just where we might go. Well, the prophet says, go to the place of judging between the nations, beating swords into plowshares and learning of war no more. I respond, “That...

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Cowboy church reaches ranching culture

By and on Dec 2, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

New Trail Fellowship Pastor Stan Norman leads a church that’s “distinctively country.” — Brethren in Christ U.S.

It was Saturday afternoon of the rodeo. Stan Norman climbed into the bull pen, baptizing two bull riders in a stock tank surrounded by the largest bulls and broncs. “All I asked the bull riders was they cover my backside, so no bull would come after me,” he said. Norman is the founding and senior pastor of New Trail Fellowship in Abilene, Kan. It’s a cowboy church — part of a movement of churches reaching people from ranching backgrounds. For many years, Norman pastored traditional Brethren in Christ churches in Kansas and Oklahoma,...

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Bethel avoids probation, accreditation ‘on notice’

By on Dec 2, 2019 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

A Higher Learning Commission review team recommended placing Bethel College on probation in August after visiting in May for a routine 10-year evaluation. In November, Bethel learned concerns about assessment and finances resulted instead in being put “on notice.” — Taylor Brown/Bethel College

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — Bethel College avoided probation in November when it learned its accrediting body chose instead to put the college “on notice” due to concerns about its financial health and assessment practices. The Higher Learning Commission made a ruling of “Accreditation-On Notice” at the conclusion of its once-a-decade accreditation process. The ruling was announced Nov. 22. College administrators had been informed after a review team’s site visit in May that the recommendation would be for probation. “On notice”...

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MDS to respond to hurricane in Bahamas

By and on Dec 2, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas with 180 mph sustained winds for two hours, resulting in heavy damage. — Mennonite Disaster Service

For Mennonite Disaster Service executive director Kevin King, the destruction left behind in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian was unbelievable. “As far as one could see, everything was destroyed or damaged,” he said of his early October assessment trip. “People were traumatized.” King visited the two northern islands, the Grand Bahamas and Abaco, that received the most damage. He was there with Willie Reimer, a former Mennonite Central Committee Canada staff member from Winnipeg, Man., to do an assessment about whether MDS should...

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Book review: Speaking of God

By on Nov 27, 2019 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Speaking of God

Speaking of God is the task of all Christians. A lot has been said, and the story of this conversation is not a simple one. But Anthony G. Siegrist has done it well. In Speaking of God: An Essential Guidebook to Christian Thought, he links the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation with how people have talked of God over the past 2,000 years. I’m not kidding: Siegrist means to tell this whole story — and does so in a gentle and patient teaching tone. By the end of the 240-page book, complicated theology terms are couched in a...

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