Adders’ eggs and spiders’ webs

Jul 20, 2015 by

What is the relationship between humans “be­getting iniquity” and God as a driving force in the world? Why do saints suffer and sinners prosper? The psalmist nearly lost his faith over that one. Who can...

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On the Emmaus road, Christ opens our eyes

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Themes of transformation and understanding in the Luke 24 Emmaus road story were the focus of adult worship services at the Mennonite Church USA convention. Hal Shrader, lead pastor of...

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Seminars help teens think about identity, faith, future

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Among a variety of topics covered by more than 100 youth seminars, many of the most popular ones sought to help teens think about identity. Brenda Yoder, an educator and counselor in...

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Racist violence, domestic terrorism

Jul 20, 2015 by

Our communities are reeling from the brutal, racist assassination of African-American parishioners in Charleston, S.C. The arson of six black churches in Georgia, North and South Carolina, following the...

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Junior youth have space to connect

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in many years, the Junior High Youth Convention was held within the convention center instead of at a nearby hotel. It was a big highlight for the 114 sixth- through...

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For youth, a guide to life’s road

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For 2,300 youth, the prevailing takeaway from Mennonite Church USA’s convention was: Jesus will meet you where you are. Hannah Yoder, 17, of Freeman, S.D., described how she saw it:...

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Youth speakers share stories of pain on life’s road

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Most of the six youth worship speakers addressed the week’s theme, “On the Way,” and scripture, Luke 24, by describing pain they had experienced and encounters they had with Jesus...

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Promises God does not keep

Jul 20, 2015 by

That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken. — Mary Poppins I did not truly understand the magnitude of making a promise until I had children. Multiple times a day they look deeply into my eyes...

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Heartbreaking moment

Jul 20, 2015 by

I am a 76-year-old lesbian, in a committed relationship for close to 30 years and a delegate to the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kan­sas City. For 25-plus years I have been respected, appreciated and...

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Oppressive or permissive?

Jul 20, 2015 by

Is this how the dream of a big-tent church dies? We hope not. But it seemed to some that Mennonite Church USA’s vision of unity in diversity went on life support at the Kansas City convention. The church is...

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Adult seminars: growth comes when values are lived

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The greatest periods of growth for the Christian church have been the most removed from institutional religion. Author Alan Hirsch offered critical, but optimistic, thoughts about religion...

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Diverse Ontario a leader in unity

Jul 20, 2015 by

The “promised lands” of Sam Steiner’s comprehensive history of Mennonites in Ontario are both geographical and spiritual destinations. Ontario was a land of opportunity for Mennonites who came from...

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Stubborn love

Jul 20, 2015 by

With all the talk of the transformational power of walking the Emmaus road and breaking bread together, it felt jarring to come home from the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City with the taste of...

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The biggest issue

Jul 20, 2015 by

“What’s the biggest issue your church is facing these days?” It’s a question that gets asked and answered in dozens of ways as Christians cross cultures and engage counterparts in other nations. In...

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Perilous times

Jul 20, 2015 by

In much contemporary discussion, scriptural authority no longer seems important. Instead, God’s love and Christian forbearance are listed higher. Our gracious God is “slow to anger and plenteous in...

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Servant projects help youth ‘rub shoulders with locals’

Jul 20, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arloa Bontrager of Goshen, Ind., has volunteered her time coordinating servant projects since the 2003 Mennonite Church USA convention in Atlanta. She thinks it’s one of the greatest...

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Convention frustration

Jul 20, 2015 by

My assessment of the Mennonite Church USA convention is one of frustration on two fronts: The delegates were in a cocoon, and we were manipulated to do the leadership’s wishes. There was no recognition that...

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Forbearance’s flavors

Jul 20, 2015 by

With Mennonite Church USA delegates passing “Forbearance in the Midst of Differences,” some of us are encouraged. Others, who were hoping for a step toward inclusion, are disappointed. Can we find ways to...

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LGBT advocates pursue acceptance at Kansas City

Jul 8, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizations advocating for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within Mennonite Church USA were allowed a presence within the denomination’s convention for the...

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Sharing pain, seeing Jesus

Jul 7, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pick a category of people at the Mennonite Church USA convention, and you could identify their pain. It might have been the pain of exclusion due to sexual orientation. Or of feeling the...

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Claiborne tells MC USA community is possible

Jul 6, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Writer and activist Shane Claiborne called members of Mennonite Church USA to dust off their romance with Jesus and not be afraid to look a bit odd while doing it in the closing worship...

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Worship service confronts convention’s wounds

Jul 6, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The emotional wounds inflicted by discourse and decisions in the Mennonite Church USA convention delegate hall were the focus of a contemplative and repentant evening worship service on...

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Palestine, racial justice statements pass; relatives of LGBT people lament exclusion

Jul 6, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Words of lament by relatives of LGBT people and resolutions supporting Middle East peacemakers and condemning the fatal shooting of nine people at a South Carolina church highlighted the...

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Sexual abuse: ‘Won’t somebody listen here?’

Jul 4, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laments and hopes by and for those who have endured sexual abuse were tied and untied in a July 3 evening worship service at the Mennonite Church USA convention. Moving from sorrow and...

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On sexual abuse, a vow to tell the truth

Jul 4, 2015 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mennonite Church USA delegates on July 3 approved a statement confessing the church’s failure to offer healing for survivors of sexual abuse and vowing to “change our ways.” The...

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