Clear your schedules

Sep 24, 2018 by

I can’t agree with Hillary Watson, who says it’s OK Sunday school is dying (Gathering the Stones, Sept. 10). We have a responsibility to clear our schedules of all that doesn’t contribute to growing...

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Are truth and unity mutually exclusive?

Sep 24, 2018 by

I love the paradoxes of God: “God is love,” the Bible states, but it also says, “God is holy.” God is portrayed as both the vulnerable lamb and the wrathful lion. He is king and servant, Alpha and...

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Watson: Sunday school is dying

Sep 10, 2018 by

Sunday school is dying. And that’s OK. Technically, the whole church is dying in the Western world. Few expect the church to actually die, however. Religion remains a uniquely powerful force in human...

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Yoder-Short: To be great or humble?

Aug 27, 2018 by

“More to the right!” “No, go left!” “From where I stand it looks like you just need to center it.” We are on a youth-group service trip. The shouting isn’t about politics. It is about locating...

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Our hymns shape our church

Aug 27, 2018 by

“Out of the fullness of the heart, the language of each mortal springs. If you would truly know a man, just listen to the songs he sings.” — Amish hymn writer John Paul Raber, Songs from Within...

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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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Don’t silence the hurting

Aug 13, 2018 by

Sexual-abuse survivor and victims’ advocate Trudy Harder Metzger preaches an important word when she says we should not expect survivors simply to forgive and move on after abuse has stopped. Survivors need...

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Kraybill: Let God do the sorting

Aug 13, 2018 by

From a boat on the Sea of Galilee, a fisherman demonstrates the ancient art of casting a circular net. Weights along the outer edge sink rapidly, pulling the web around any living thing below. Waters next to...

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Winds of change

Dec 26, 2017 by

It seems like everyone is writing about church these days. Asher Witmer wrote a series examining his history and experience with the Mennonite church, and what he is seeking and hoping for. Harvey Yoder...

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Mennonite or follower of Christ?

Dec 18, 2017 by

If the early Anabaptists were alive today, I am quite certain the Mennonite church would run them out of their congregations. I realize that’s a pretty strong statement, and not altogether fair. But I’m...

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Another taste of desert sand

Jul 31, 2017 by

It was the liturgy that first warmed my heart. I tried to be cautious, not to fall in love too quickly. How long should one wait to call a church one’s home? I still don’t know the answer to that question....

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Longhurst: Liberals who thrive

Mar 27, 2017 by

Last fall, researchers from two Ontario universities set out to discover why mainline churches in Canada are dying. Of the 22 Anglican, United, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches they surveyed, all in Ontario,...

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Spiritual but not religious

Mar 22, 2017 by

I am usually quite suspicious of oft-repeated expression, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Actually, “suspicious” might be putting it rather mildly. I have something bordering on a pathological...

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Heavenly tablecloths with fresh ideas

Aug 1, 2016 by

Peter is hungry and goes to pray. A vision of unclean food, arranged on a heavenly tablecloth, appears. He is invited to eat. Peter, the good Jew, refuses. He is told not to “call anything profane that God...

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Christian identity

Jul 21, 2016 by

Identity enters us from a variety of angles: for some it is some kind of inner self, for others it is one’s vocational passion, for others it is successes — physical, financial, possessions, for others it...

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Inclusion of people with disabilities in the church

Jun 27, 2016 by

Who is welcome at your church? What makes you so sure? What evidence do you have to prove this? It was a typical Sunday like any other. I walked into the sanctuary at 10:30 a.m., quickly found my seat in the...

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12 symptoms of religious politics

Jun 17, 2016 by

The biggest turnoff to people about the Christian church is the politics that take place when it becomes institutionalized. My generation is especially exhausted by inauthenticity in spiritual leaders and...

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What’s missing in church — discipleship

May 27, 2016 by

According to missional leader Mike Breen, a disciple is someone who is learning to have the character and the competency of Jesus. It’s about faithfulness and fruit. Or as Dallas Willard once described it:...

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Sanders says it

May 23, 2016 by

Two months ago at Sent, the Anabaptist church-planting conference, I spoke with some young church plant­ers about what brings millennials to church. “May­be we should be more like Bernie Sanders,” I...

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What does church mean to us?

May 19, 2016 by

I spent a good chunk of one recent morning in an online discussion about the future of Mennonite Church Canada with a handful of other young-ish pastors from across the nation. It was interesting to be...

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Why is church so hard?

May 13, 2016 by

For the past couple of years, my blog’s tagline has been: “Religion is easy; discipleship is hard.” I’m starting to think that perhaps this slogan is only half right. Discipleship certainly is hard,...

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No broken people allowed

Apr 26, 2016 by

How do you handle it when a drug addict wearing a dirty t-shirt and raggedy shoes walks into your church? What’s your response when he has something to say and it goes longer than typical for personal...

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Reciprocal conversion

Apr 12, 2016 by

Acts 9:1-20 When we hear this story, we usually focus on Saul: doubter turned believer; persecutor turned supporter; villain turned hero. I imagine this can be an inspiring focus for those who have come to...

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What about sexual violence by adolescents?

Apr 5, 2016 by and

Dove’s Nest has heard from churches that are struggling with situations of abuse in which an adolescent is the offender. These situations are terribly painful and complicated, but not terribly uncommon. An...

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The importance of excluding people from the church

Apr 1, 2016 by

Jesus and the apostles were not just focusing on how to include as many as possible in the church through evangelism, but also on how to exclude unbelievers, heretics and sinners who refuse to repent. If we...

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