Is our religion about fixing America?

Sep 20, 2017 by

During the 1980s, I worked as a civil legal aid attorney for indigent men and women. Their legal claims concerned debt relief and access to health care, food and housing. More than any other time in my life,...

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Communion: Where to draw the line?

Aug 1, 2017 by

One Sunday morning some years ago, I leaned against the back of a church pew, and with tears in my eyes confided to a friend. This woman is a sincere Christian, even though she’s not a member of our...

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Bible: The food committee leads the way

Jul 31, 2017 by

What great lessons this month for antiracism and breaking down racial-ethnic barriers! When the Greek-speaking Jews complained their widows were being slighted in the distribution of food, the apostles...

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Longhurst: Valuable social assets

Jul 31, 2017 by

One and a half billion dollars. That’s how much the places of worship are worth in Winnipeg, Man., where I live. That figure comes from what is called the “halo effect,” the value of the social,...

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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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What is a call to ministry?

Jul 21, 2017 by

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament. My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and...

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Vows to keep

Jul 17, 2017 by

Unity has been given us by the Holy Spirit. It is a gift. We are commanded to keep the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3). The vows we made in marriage did not say “until we disagree.” It is until death...

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Following Jesus with a new fellowship

Jul 10, 2017 by

Today after I got dressed and I looked in the mirror, I just “felt” German Baptist. I don’t expect anyone to understand that feeling, and maybe I’m putting far too much into what fellowship I’m...

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Yoder-Short: Arrogance and grace

Jul 3, 2017 by

Aunt Grace made her first appearance years ago. She reappears at the sound of pompousness. Aunt Grace is the creation of a friend. I imagine her with grey permed hair and gaudy red lipstick. She entered the...

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Eat our way to joy

Jun 30, 2017 by

Joy strikes out of the blue nothingness. You can’t expect it or manufacture it or capture it. For Christians, the completeness of our joy comes from Jesus. After he taught on his abiding in us and our...

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Christ’s ultimatum

Jun 19, 2017 by

For several decades Mennonites have spent an enormous amount of energy and resources deciding the best way to organize. Has it brought us to a better end? My sense is we are more divided than ever. Is all this...

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The paradox of progressive political theology

May 4, 2017 by

I’d like to try to point out, as a progressive Christian, something that has been bothering me about progressive Christian political theology — a paradox, tension and inconsistency that keeps popping...

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To leave or not leave?

Dec 14, 2016 by

From time to time, I walk alongside people wrestling through the question of whether they should start attending a different church group. I sympathize, because I have been there myself, and know that it can...

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Why are so few U.S. churches named after John the Baptist?

Dec 9, 2016 by

According to our local phone directory, there are numerous churches with names of spiritual greats, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Saints Michael, Andrew, James and Stephen; and the Saints Peter, Paul...

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Impositions and invitations

Oct 14, 2016 by

“Hey, pastor, what do you have to say about this graffiti? What do you think it means?” The question came from the teenage son of our German friends as we were walking around the old town of Rethymnon on a...

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Eucharist as appetizer

Oct 10, 2016 by

When our local church gathering ended last week, Emily turned to me and said she was hungry. Maybe that’s not that strange — our church ends about 12:15, just in time for lunch, but it’s not...

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5 common errors when Christians disagree

Sep 19, 2016 by

Note: This is a full-out, “chip-on-my-shoulder” rant. I tried to soften the blog post by using personal pronouns and not giving specific controversial examples, but I can’t deny that I’m annoyed and...

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Value of diversity

Aug 15, 2016 by

I appreciated “Different Assignments” (Editorial, July 18). Rachel Stella points us to an understanding of the church that transcends our denominational orientations. Anabaptists are rooted in a...

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Virtually real church

Aug 15, 2016 by

This summer, my family acquired one of the latest revolutions in virtual reality — a headset that uses a smartphone as a display. It looks like a giant visor, and once you hold it up to your eyes and strap...

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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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Trust while shrinking

Feb 1, 2016 by

“Change is always occurring. But when that change appears more dramatic than usual, it can feel frightening. . . . I think that the Christian church across Canada is experiencing such a time of dramatic...

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Change in the church

Jan 28, 2016 by

Change is always occurring. But when that change appears more dramatic than usual, it can feel frightening. I wish there was an emoticon for anxiety to accompany my thoughts on change. I think that the...

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Baptisms of water, spirit, blood

Jan 11, 2016 by

In 1 John 5, three witnesses are named that authenticate Jesus: the baptisms of water, spirit and blood. An authentic Anabaptist witness will embrace all three. Too often, churches will emphasize only one and...

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Before you leave your church

Nov 4, 2015 by

Is it wrong to call it quits on your church? The question comes from the longing I sense in my generation for authenticity and spiritual life, and that it seems we don’t often find that in our churches. When...

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An apathetic generation?

Oct 27, 2015 by

For the past several years, the current generation of 20-30 years old has often been labeled as lazy, self-centered and disinterested in local and global affairs. Ranging from simply not caring enough to...

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