Pope Francis — a pastor for the global church

Jun 25, 2018 by

For much of the previous week, I had the privilege of representing Mennonites at meetings of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, which is celebrating its 70th...

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What kind of God?

May 7, 2018 by

Listening to discussions on pastoral leadership and church divisions, it sounds like we want strong leaders who lead in our preferred way and preach sermons that prooftext our theology. But I hear Jesus...

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Social media and the Reformation

Oct 26, 2017 by

What do Facebook and Twitter have in common with the Protestant Reformation? Nothing and everything. Oct. 31 is the 500-year anniversary of the German monk and professor Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to...

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Kriss: A falling tower

Oct 23, 2017 by

We came to the party late. Mennonite Church USA created a national denominational superstructure just in time for the whole idea to crumble in Protestant circles. I still remember my hopeful response as we...

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Future Church Summit: Be honest, and mourn

Aug 2, 2017 by

As the days have passed since the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, Fla., I get more and more frustrated. As usual, I was happy to see old friends and make new connections, but as the glow of those...

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Opinion: Uniformity is weakness

Aug 29, 2016 by

While living in Botswana, I talked with a friend who wore a medallion identifying him as a member of the Zion Christian Church. Attached to it was a fringe of blue cloth. I asked what that meant. “I do it...

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Parallel universes

Aug 15, 2016 by

Two parallel Mennonite universes passed in close proximity July 29. Thirty miles apart in south-central Kansas, two groups of Mennonites gathered. They were similar enough to focus on a common goal but...

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The conflict ladder of shame

Jan 18, 2016 by

Muslims daily lock and unlock the most hallowed building of Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This ancient structure encompasses Golgotha and the tomb of our risen Lord — both...

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Lancaster Conference nears decision on withdrawal

Oct 5, 2015 by and

Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s Bishop Board will meet Oct. 23 to consider an updated proposal to withdraw from Mennonite Church USA, effective on or before Dec. 31, 2017. The proposal, given as a draft to...

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Stretching the boundaries

Sep 28, 2015 by

Peter saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down. . . . In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter,...

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Finding the Spirit in anxious times

Sep 28, 2015 by

Author Peter Steinke suggests Old Testament understandings of salvation are connected to openness rather than constricting. Steinke writes about how healthy communities behave in times of anxiety. His...

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Thinking bigger?

Aug 31, 2015 by

A Mennonite Alliance is well worth considering (“More Than Before,” Editorial, Aug. 17), as Myron S. Augsburger proposed some time ago. If this would bring the spirit of Mennonite World Conference to our...

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Adventures in mis-unity

Jun 25, 2015 by

The following is a recent sermon I preached based on Gen. 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-11. Every once in a while the Spirit lays a message on my heart that seems to fall with a particular weight. As I pray, it seems...

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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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Lancaster district makes unity central

Jun 15, 2015 by and

In the midst of questions about Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s affiliation with Mennonite Church USA, a document calling for unity is gaining traction. The document, “Radical Center,” was born out of...

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A fervent prayer for church restoration and repair

May 1, 2015 by

While Mennonite Church USA is widely recognized as a “peace church,” we Mennonites seem to be far better at severing ties with each other than we are at repairing and restoring them. In my...

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Opinion: Christ-centered unity is still possible

Mar 30, 2015 by

Mennonite Church USA faces the pivotal question of what unites us and what divides. The dominant issue in our time is acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the church. It’s a question of what constitutes...

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Learning to leave well

Mar 27, 2015 by

We need to find a new way to talk about the congregations that are leaving Mennonite Church USA: They’re not leaving us; we’re getting divorced. Leaving is something you do after four OK Cupid dates. But...

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Giving up my need to be right

Mar 26, 2015 by

Lent is a time to let go of things that hold us back, a time to return to God with our whole heart. As we approach Holy Week this year, I’ve sensed God inviting me to let go of my need to be right, leading...

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Maintaining peace, withdrawing from MC USA

Dec 11, 2014 by

A paradoxical way to unite a deeply divided Mennonite Church USA popped into my mind. It happened one morning as I was memorizing and praying Paul’s prayer for the church (Eph. 3:14-21). One question looms...

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Take a break to pray

Sep 15, 2014 by

What if God’s people took a sabbatical from the issues that divide us? What if we took a break for a year and focused our energy on God’s power to change us and the world? What if during that year we...

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Leave or loyal?

Jun 23, 2014 by

I am frustrated every time I hear of a family or church that feels the only solution to disagreement over a hot-button issues is to disassociate. Given the bridges that are being built all over the world...

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Being the church together

Mar 20, 2014 by

The town of Molochansk in Ukraine was once home to 15,000 citizens. Over time, a lack of work prompted more than half to leave one of the oldest parts of what used to be the Mennonite Molotschna settlement to...

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Opinion: Double conversion

Mar 3, 2014 by

At the School for Leadership Training at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in January, we planned to offer keynotes, case studies and workshops on discernment. As SLT neared, churchwide rifts between same-sex...

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