Medium, message and Jesus: Future Church Summit observations

Jul 24, 2017 by

Think of a memorable scene from a favorite film. Conjure it in your imagination: characters speaking and acting, musical score playing. Now imagine it without music or with different music — it becomes a...

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God on God’s terms

Apr 13, 2017 by

As human beings, we tend to want God on our own terms. We want what we want from God when we want it. We want God to validate our assumptions, our preferences, our view of how the world works or ought to work....

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Two Words

Feb 15, 2016 by

In my Bible courses I learned that two Words guide us in our Christian walk: the Word of God written and the Word of God incarnate. When we are unable to agree on the interpretation of the Bible, the written...

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Jesus didn’t blow his own trumpet

Sep 14, 2015 by

Like a lot of Christians, I’ve often found Jesus’ reluctance to talk about himself strange and even unsettling. This is a particular theme in the Gospel of Mark — Jesus seeming to go out of his way to...

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Jesus valued social justice and so should you

Aug 20, 2015 by

Jesus was a social justice hero. He boldly spoke out against inequality, helped the oppressed, condemned the oppressor and embraced the alienated. Like today, many were drawn to His causes and could identify...

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To hell with the pigs!

Aug 17, 2015 by

Jesus asked the man possessed, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. They begged Jesus not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large...

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Jesus as “the Way”

Aug 14, 2015 by

One of the most popular and — at least for some of us —uncomfortable “I am” sayings is from John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Many...

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People of the heart

May 7, 2015 by

Every so often, the accumulation of paper and books and coffee cups and unopened correspondence on my desk crosses a threshold of clutter and despair that even I am no longer able to tolerate. I begin take...

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The myth of trickle-down change

May 4, 2015 by

I’ve heard some buzz in Christian circles that has troubled me. It is the idea that if we reach the most influential people in the world for Jesus, then everyone else will follow. I’ve seen this philosophy...

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The church and measurable goals

Apr 29, 2015 by

One of the ways ministries fund themselves is through writing grants. The process of writing these requests can be helpful and clarifying. A typical grant request includes a statement of need, measurable...

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Where is the line?

Apr 27, 2015 by

Jokingly I told a Mennonite farmer that we should be discussing glyphosate at our denominational convention. Can a Mennonite farmer spray glyphosate, the herbicide in the common weedkiller Roundup, in light of...

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The traveler

Apr 20, 2015 by

I saw him the moment I stepped outside my office, visible through the glass front doors — the man sitting beneath the church carport. He wore a beard and a ragged sweater, and beside him lay a small hiking...

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The necessity of finishing

Mar 31, 2015 by

This is from a Lenten series on the seven last words of Jesus. The following is on the sixth word, John 19:30. “It is finished.” It began with a barnyard birth and a flight from a murderous king. It began...

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What kind of Bible?

Mar 30, 2015 by

This book is neither a Bible commentary nor a Bible study. It is a personal reflection based on a life of pastoral ministry and social service. The author is now serving as pastor of two small Presbyterian...

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Jesus didn’t just look human

Mar 30, 2015 by

When I taught Bible at Messiah College, I often had students from fundamentalist churches. They certainly knew their fundamentals, one of which was “Jesus is God.” As we studied the Gospels, they never...

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Letting Jesus out

Mar 12, 2015 by

Lent caught me flat footed this year. I was in the produce aisle at Wal-Mart, looking for onions when I noticed the heavy ash cross on the forehead of another shopper. “What? It’s Ash Wednesday already?”...

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Is Jesus a revolutionary?

Feb 17, 2015 by

I’m starting to think that Che Guevara and the Jesus of the gospel according to Mark have an awful lot in common. I should explain, first, that I’m in the first month of My Jesus Project, a year-long...

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On the 12th day Of Christmas

Jan 5, 2015 by

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. — Paul, Acts 17:24 It’s almost impossible to think of congregations...

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Are you looking for Jesus?

Dec 22, 2014 by

As we celebrate Christmas, people who are marginalized are living in hope of the just society that Christ’s birth promised. They are seeking Jesus to find equality and justice. Looking for Jesus is not a new...

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Jesus was tortured to end all torture

Dec 16, 2014 by

I grieve over torture. I grieve not only for those subjected to abuse no human being should be forced to endure. I grieve not primarily as an American citizen who feels ashamed of the morally bankrupt national...

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Jesus laughed

Dec 8, 2014 by

Sarah Kehrberg (Cramer Avenue, Nov. 10) accurately portrays Jesus’ earnestness but seems to indicate he had little or no sense of humor. She writes: “He tells no jokes; his stories are not funny. And...

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Demonstrating Christ

Dec 4, 2014 by

“Be patient,” they say. “Be peaceful,” they say. “Just wait,” they say, “for this is how Christ behaved . . . MLK behaved . . . the truly godly behave.” But I...

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I like Jesus. Do I have to be Religious?

Nov 24, 2014 by

Are you tired of the hypocrisy and greed of prosperity gospel preachers? Fed up with politicians appealing to religious sentiments in order to win elections and start wars? Do you feel like there must be...

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Don’t throw in the towel on politics yet

Nov 4, 2014 by

There are plenty of reasons for cynicism or disillusionment with government in general, and electoral politics in particular. However, before throwing in the towel, I recommend reading, “Ten Things You...

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Opinion: Finding the center

Oct 13, 2014 by

What have we done with God’s good news? The church tends to define the good news as something we have — and if you become like us, we may let you in on it too. My vision for the Mennonite church is simple:...

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