Plain groups: work-family bond resists worldly ways

Mar 27, 2017 by and

HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — Today’s North American economy presents daunting challenges for building the ideal faith community, according to David Martin of Cheyenne, Wyo. “Why does there seem to be among...

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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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Kraybill: Do you want to be made well?

Jan 2, 2017 by

With cancer in his middle-aged body and the prospect of lifespan shortened, Doug Brewer joined a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2014 while health permitted. Near the start of the Via Dolorosa — the...

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Supporters witness a victory at Standing Rock

Dec 19, 2016 by and

Representatives from Mennonite Central Committee were present Dec. 4 at the Oceti Sakowin camp near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest when the word spread that the “water protectors” had won a...

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Book review: ‘Becoming Amish’

Dec 5, 2016 by

The same desire and longing I identified in the rock/rebellion anti-establishment culture during my early 20s I have found in Christian culture and especially in Anabaptist groups who believe in living out...

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Watson: Love the land together

Nov 7, 2016 by

Recently, in an endless Facebook scroll, I saw the phrase “reintegration of Trump voters.” The phrase, now lost to the annals of endless scrolls, stuck with me. On Nov. 9, the “yuge” year-plus...

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Challenging the narrative of rural decline

Oct 28, 2016 by

As the 2016 US election rattles into its final stretch, rural people and communities have gotten an ill-deserved bad rap. Commentators along the urban coastlines, seeking to understand rural voting patterns,...

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Watson: Suburbs, city of God?

Sep 26, 2016 by

In most circles, theological ones included, the suburbs are spoken of as the illegitimate child of urban and rural life — and with good reason. The suburban ideal emerged in the 1950s and 1960s under the...

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Jesus, Moses and the rights and wrongs of leadership

Aug 16, 2016 by

In response to Andy Wade’s Sunday morning reflection at our Celtic retreat, I have been rereading and pondering the Beatitudes in Matt. 5:1-12 this week. The passage begins with a phrase I had never noticed...

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Anabaptist Renewal Circles seeks to spark a revival

Aug 10, 2016 by and

SOUTH HUTCHINSON, Kan. — As the North American church declines, people still love Jesus somehow. But Jesus’ followers? Not so well-loved. “They think we stick with our own,” said Hugh Halter, the...

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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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All are in God’s circle

Mar 28, 2016 by

Recently a teacher was explaining how even preschool kids know who is in and who is out. They know who they want in their block-building circle and who they don’t. Ideas of inclusion and exclusion form...

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As rural life changes, a church lets go of the past

Feb 29, 2016 by and

In its heyday, First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, Minn., saw between 400 and 500 people fill its pews and balcony on a Sunday morning. Built in 1955-56, it was the home of a General Conference Mennonite...

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Are Quakers allowed to speak in tongues?

Sep 17, 2015 by

The first time I heard someone speak in tongues was at the World Gathering of Young Friends, an international Quaker gathering held in 2005, in Lancaster, England. It was a minister from Philadelphia Yearly...

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Pastors in Northern Ireland cut church to the core

Aug 31, 2015 by and

Pastoral colleagues Karen Sethuraman and Gordon McDade thought they were doing everything right. Their traditional church in Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland, had lots of people, programs and a strong community...

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God’s presence in a new reality of loss

Aug 24, 2015 by

Recently a violent storm hit my life, ripping through my heart and shaking the foundation of my faith, when my husband Joel, suddenly and unexpectedly died. I was thrust into a new reality where nothing looked...

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What’s the point of the church?

Jul 17, 2015 by

At our block party this week, a new friend and I were laughing about how coming out as a Jesus follower might be one of the weirder things to do these days. In her spiritual awakening, she was realizing that...

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Why I’m for forbearance

May 22, 2015 by

On a Sunday several weeks ago, my family and I had several neighbors over to a “goodbye party” for our next-door neighbor, John, who had decided to move to an apartment closer to his son’s family after...

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Are we training pastors for jobs that no longer exist?

Apr 24, 2015 by

It’s safe to say that the traditional expression of church has varied little in the Western world. This form worked well when the dominant culture was agrarian, most people were uneducated and illiterate,...

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Women overflow praise seminar

Mar 30, 2015 by , and

ORODARA, Burkina Faso — No room was big enough to hold the more than 225 women from the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso who gathered for a seminar Feb. 2-6 at Orodara Mennonite Bible School. By...

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Paralysis moves group to help

Mar 9, 2015 by and

LeRoy Goossen of Fresno, Calif., marked 20 years of paralysis Jan. 5. But thanks to a brotherhood of volunteers that traces its origin to his Mennonite Brethren church, it is rare for a weekday to go by...

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Community will save the world

Feb 11, 2015 by

I once read a blog post by a Unitarian pastor who said she believed community would save the world. I think she may be right. In fact, I think this is just another way of saying what Jesus said: that the...

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Conrad Grebel president promotes the three ‘Cs’

Feb 2, 2015 by

BLUFFTON, Ohio — The three Rs have been viewed as foundations of education since the days of the one-room schoolhouse. But the president of Canada’s Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont.,...

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The biggest obstacle to spiritual formation

Jan 29, 2015 by

I’ve spoken at a quite a few churches over the last few years and have had even more conversations with ministers and pastors at churches. Most of these conversations have been about hospitality, about...

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Isolation is not a recipe for faith

Jan 13, 2015 by

Some time ago, I went through a period of crisis in faith. I’d never experienced anything quite like it before. There were no precipitating life events; no new questions or revelations had swept in to upset...

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