A ‘Buy Nothing Christmas’

Dec 5, 2017 by

A few years ago some Canadian Mennonites came up with the idea of “Buy Nothing Christmas.” Check out their website at buynothingchristmas.org. With humor they direct you to a “Buy Nothing Catalogue”...

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Kennel-Shank: Five names

Dec 4, 2017 by

Deonta Turner, Lemont Davis, Alandis Allison, Maurice Purnell and Juan Bahena Jr. I felt these five people’s deaths most deeply amid more than 500 fatal shootings this year in Chicago. Deonta Turner and...

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What is Christian hope?

Aug 28, 2017 by

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul — Heb. 6:19 Once, I received an email at my church account that claimed to be from a TV network. According to the email, they were seeking Mennonite...

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Hardship and hope

Jun 19, 2017 by

Having been away for some weeks, I read through several issues of MWR at one sitting. You report on hard things, like Mennonites fleeing their homes in Congo and our internal conflicts, but hope and...

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King: Buying the field even when it’s idiotic

Mar 13, 2017 by

Even more unsettling than usual: the stories in the Feb. 25 New York Times. There is Srinivas Kuchibhotia, an Indian immigrant and his friend shot in a Kansas bar by a man who wants them out of “his” U.S....

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A glimpse of hope

Jan 23, 2017 by

The past week has been a very challenging week. The inauguration on Friday of a new president, followed by protest marches across the U.S. and around the world, have had many of us oscillating between despair...

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Hope finds way to grow

Jan 2, 2017 by

The English language does a disservice to the word “hope.” It’s too short, too glib. Lips are finished pronouncing it almost before the sound establishes a presence. Spanish takes a different approach....

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Embrace the darkness

Dec 19, 2016 by

Hens lose their egg-laying gusto as the days get shorter. Rather than offer a winter respite to her flock, my wife chose brainwashing over relief. Already in October she festooned the chicken run with...

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Youth keep school-kit tradition going strong

Sep 20, 2016 by and

McPHERSON, Kan. — Berg­thal Mennonite Church has passed into history, but its spirit of service lives. Two of its youngest former members have taken the lead in keeping the legacy going. They’ve revived...

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Bible: We won’t weep forever

Aug 29, 2016 by

Isaiah is a prophetic book, and these passages revel in describing what is to come for God’s people, a time when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the water covers the sea. Among so many...

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It’s time for Christmas

Jul 18, 2016 by

At Christmas time we give gifts to people we love and to people we do not know. At Christmas time we stop trying to get even with people who have hurt us and instead we focus on showing kindness, even to...

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On not being anti-Trump

Jun 2, 2016 by and

During the past winter and spring, we have had conversations with Amish and Mennonite neighbors regarding the U.S. presidential candidates. Although our denominational press seems almost unanimous in its...

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A pilgrim’s sight

Apr 11, 2016 by

As I headed for retreat in Arizona’s Verde Valley, words of Eastern Mennonite Seminary colleague Linda Alley, insights honed as spiritual director, still rang: “I imagine it as a pilgrimage. The journey...

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7 weeks of celebration

Mar 28, 2016 by

Jesus is risen! When you read this, Resurrection Sunday may have passed, but this is our declaration for the next seven weeks. The organizers of the church calendar understood that Christ’s triumph over...

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Why do we eat soup during Lent?

Mar 22, 2016 by

Why do we eat soup during Lent? The question from a church member caught me a bit off guard as I was scrambling to get a few things together for a soup and bread Lenten lunch that our church was hosting last...

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3 reasons I’m not an atheist

Feb 29, 2016 by

The following are some points that I have picked up through conversations with many atheists in both Europe and Canada. That being said, I am not an atheist myself and therefore realize that my thoughts are...

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The triumph of Light

Jan 20, 2016 by

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:5 For as long as I can recall, my favorite part of Christmas has been the Christmas Eve service. Growing up, I remember...

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Mysteriously upheld

Jan 18, 2016 by

Experiencing the known world as falling apart is no new thing. That’s what reading Dead Wake, in which Erik Larson tells of the German sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania and how this drew the U.S....

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Bethlehem: beauty and brutality

Dec 23, 2015 by

The Sunday before Advent, I was preaching in Bethlehem. While there, a Palestinian friend I’ve known for nearly 20 years and who shares my appreciation for Orthodox icons gave me the wonderful gifts of a...

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Christmas celebration as protest

Dec 17, 2015 by

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” (Luke 2:1) The words are so familiar that we don’t give them a second thought. But this is how...

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O come, o come

Dec 8, 2015 by

I don’t know about you, but the sense of “waiting” this Advent season is feeling much more palpable than in past years. I have certainly had seasons when reflecting back over the year...

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The Bible’s final words

Dec 7, 2015 by

I have a thing about endings. For me, the last few lines of a book or TV show or movie make or break it. The final words are the capstone, a revelation of what the writer believes was really the heart of her...

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Hope and expectation

Oct 23, 2015 by

There are two kinds of wonder, Hal Shra­der said in a sermon at the Mennonite Church USA convention July 1 in Kansas City, Mo., as he preached on the Luke 24 account of Jesus’ resurrection. One is confusion...

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Hope is a decision

Oct 12, 2015 by

As the forces of discontent continue in our communities, recent headlines have indicated that the South is more racist than other areas. It is easy to regionalize the focus on racial tension while ignoring the...

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What makes a life matter?

Aug 19, 2015 by

It was 36 degrees Celsius around these parts yesterday, which, for many Canadians used to considerably more chilly climes, means a general experience of sticky, sweaty unbearableness that makes us despair of...

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