Searching for treasure

Sep 6, 2017 by

The kids could hardly wait until it was time. They’d watched us spread out the wood shavings on the lawn. Then they stayed to watch us toss pennies, nickels and dimes into the shavings. Finally, it was time....

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Nationalism, civil religion and greed-based economics

Mar 30, 2017 by

Among the ways the last book of our Bible is truly revelatory is in its portrayal of violence and harm as perpetrated by evil systems rather than simply by individual evildoers. It does so through a collage of...

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Christ-centered values

Mar 27, 2017 by

I agree with letter writers published in the March 13 MWR who were concerned about reading the Bible in our quest for ethical and moral values. I especially depend on Jesus to focus these values. I have been...

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Transformed by the Word

Mar 23, 2017 by

Renewal 2027 is a 10-year series of events launched by Mennonite World Conference to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. “Transformed by the Word: Reading Scripture in...

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Bible: Delight in God’s handiwork

Jan 16, 2017 by

“Praise the Lord, sun and moon and all you shining stars!” Psalms 104 and 148 are different from the three psalms we have studied earlier in that they are entirely focused on the natural world, on...

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Bible: Overflowing pastures, joyful hills

Jan 2, 2017 by

No doubt some Sunday school attenders will brave ice or snow in order to discuss Psalm 65, where “valleys deck themselves with grain”! This should remind us that other Christians reading this lesson may be...

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Bible: Celebrate creation and Creator

Dec 19, 2016 by

“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy!” Our texts for the five Sundays in January are psalms. The one theme that holds these five psalms together is praise for some aspect of creation —...

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Bible: Saviors and forerunners

Dec 5, 2016 by

The story announcing the birth of John the Baptist begins in Luke 1:5. Both Zechariah the priest and his wife, Elizabeth, lived “blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”...

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Bible: Two blessed mothers in Israel

Nov 21, 2016 by

What was Mary thinking, on what seemed like an ordinary day as she went about her household duties feeding the animals or spinning wool? How should a girl in everyday clothes and a dirty apron relate to a...

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Making a case for ‘The Message’

Oct 11, 2016 by

Two months ago, I decided to do something radical: I began using Eugene Peterson’s The Message as the basis for my daily devotionals. At first I referred to this practice as “my daily dose of heresy” in...

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Bible: The high priest and the foundation

Sep 26, 2016 by

Heb. 1:1-9 sets the tone for the entire letter to the Hebrews with its focus on Christ, the great high priest. God “has spoken to us by a Son,” the text says, “whom [God] appointed heir of all things,...

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Yoder-Short: Was Lydia black?

Sep 12, 2016 by

Images become stuck in our heads. Of course Lydia was white. And Cleopatra looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Lydia is frequently cited as the first European convert. Most children’s Bible storybooks confirm...

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In Philadelphia, Scripture speaks to an urban context

Aug 29, 2016 by and

When he was 15, Juan Marrero, now an Anabaptist pastor in Philadelphia, used a pair of boxing gloves to settle a dispute with a young man who attacked his aunt and broke her ribs. Hand-to-hand fighting isn’t...

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Bible: Boundary-shattering generosity

Aug 15, 2016 by

The key to understanding Paul’s wrestling with the “what about Israel?” question in the Book of Romans is to recognize that he concludes with a strong affirmation of God’s saving intentions. In their...

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God’s sovereign, healing love

Aug 1, 2016 by

Romans 8 concludes the first half of the letter with a powerful message that affirms the good news (gospel) of God’s sovereign mercy. Paul counters two competing “gos­pels” — the gospel of the Roman...

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Setting your mind on things above

Jun 8, 2016 by

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth — Colossians 3:2 (NRSV) “Set your mind minds on things above” sounds like something that should be so easy to do and fairly...

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Bible: Salvation for a tax collector

May 9, 2016 by

Humility is a theme of all three of these stories in the Gospel of Luke. We might expect such a theme from the story of people bringing the little children to Jesus and Jesus’ saying, “Whoever does not...

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I joined a Bible study that worries me

Mar 17, 2016 by

Recently, I sent a truly terrifying text: “I THINK I WANT TO JOIN YOUR BIBLE STUDY.” This text has been locked and loaded in my mind for months. I’ve wanted to join this group of women for their weekly...

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Bible: No need to wait to wipe the slate clean

Feb 15, 2016 by

Growing up, the first day of school was the most sacred day on my annual calendar. Whatever regrets, whatever mistakes had marked the previous year were suddenly rendered gloriously irrelevant...

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Bible: The day will come when you’ll forget

Feb 1, 2016 by

What do flatbread, dead donkeys and tambourines all have in common? (Hint: They’re not just key ingredients in the world’s worst dinner date.) They are symbols of remembrance, memory devices meant to...

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Bible: That’s your first miracle?

Jan 18, 2016 by

It’s no small thing to choose a first miracle. After all, this will be your public introduction, the image that will travel with your name as word of you gets out. Pundits and commentators will pick it apart...

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Women of the Bible set examples in East Africa

Jan 11, 2016 by and

MUSOMA, Tanzania — Infertility, single parenting, poverty, the raising and teaching of children, life with an unbelieving or unfaithful husband and maintaining faith in desperate times: These issues confront...

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Bible: God with us! God with them?

Dec 21, 2015 by

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” Immanuel. God with us. What a dangerous name. Jacob and Laban strike a deal: seven years...

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Bible: Paul, the restless preacher

Nov 10, 2015 by

The next four cities Paul and his companions visit — Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth — are all in what is now Greece. As they push westward, Luke demonstrates the promise the risen Jesus made to...

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Friendly conservative suggestions to progressives

Jun 17, 2015 by

We in Mennonite Church USA are uneasy about our apparent impasse over same-sex relationships. As Michael King writes in his first “Blogging Toward Kansas City” entry (King plans to offer blog reflections...

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