Watson: Deeper than charity

Jun 5, 2017 by

Reparations is a chilling word to most white people. An aggressive, accusatory word that will have many people skipping over this column before they finish the first paragraph. I invite you to stay with me. As...

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Gun shots and privilege

Apr 4, 2017 by

On a recent Saturday as my wife and I rode motorcycles to Albuquerque, N.M., two people were shot in my neighborhood. According to my neighbors, dozens of shots were fired. Thirty-six hours later on Monday,...

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Diversifying the face of mission still a challenge

Mar 13, 2017 by and

Ann Jacobs expected to be deeply moved during her first visit to West Africa with Mennonite Mission Network. What Jacobs did not expect was how a conversation in Accra, Ghana, would affirm the importance of...

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Theology that favors whiteness

Mar 2, 2017 by

Black theology and womanist theology, the theologies written by African-American men and women, speak to white as well as black audiences. Theology for Mennonites and the still predominantly white Mennonite...

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More than skin color

Feb 27, 2017 by

We are hearing important statements calling Anabaptist Christians to work for racial justice. These words come from people of color at a Mennonite Church USA leadership meeting and a Bethel College lecture....

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Powell: What kind of savior?

Oct 24, 2016 by

In a past column I asked, “Are you looking for Jesus?” I wrote that some people are looking for Jesus to provide material possessions. Their actions are geared to assure that people who are unlike them...

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Kriss: The road to 2042

Oct 10, 2016 by

According to U.S. Census figures, white people will be a U.S. minority by 2042. Comedian Hari Kondabalu jokes this shouldn’t make white folks nervous, as the 51 percent of people of color aren’t...

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Assumptions and book titles

Sep 29, 2016 by

“It is nice to find someone who agrees with me.” This was the second comment my seat-mate made within a minute of sitting next to me on the plane. Her first comment was a question, “What are you...

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Yoder-Short: Was Lydia black?

Sep 12, 2016 by

Images become stuck in our heads. Of course Lydia was white. And Cleopatra looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Lydia is frequently cited as the first European convert. Most children’s Bible storybooks confirm...

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Fierce urgency

Jun 20, 2016 by

As the presidential race becomes more intense, the rhetoric, division and hatred have intensified. There is a deep-seated hostility toward marginalized people. The idea of a postracial environment has taken a...

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Accessible education is a faith and justice issue

Feb 15, 2016 by

I’ve had several conversations questioning the validity of the quote, “Now we are faced with an onslaught of potential annihilation,” in my March 16, 2015, column. People primarily focused on gun...

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All lives DON’T matter — and that’s the problem

Feb 12, 2016 by

As a white person, I’ll tell you something: I feel threatened by the Black Lives Matter movement. There was a time, briefly, when I would have been one of those people who, if I saw the hashtag...

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Goshen professor earns Indiana’s highest civil rights award

Jan 18, 2016 by

GOSHEN, Ind. — Regina Shands Stoltzfus, assistant professor of peace, justice and conflict studies at Goshen College, has been awarded the Spirit of Justice Award by the State of Indiana Civil Rights...

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Opinion: Riots are failed cries for justice

Nov 23, 2015 by

In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” That comment resurfaced after riots by African-Americans in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore in the past two years. Deaths of...

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Our history is absorbed into our whiteness

Nov 10, 2015 by

In the beginning of his acclaimed book Between You and Me, written as a letter to his adolescent son, Ta-Nehisi Coates wonders how Mennonites came to be included within the “people who think of themselves as...

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Indiana Latinos, police pray together

Oct 26, 2015 by , and

ELKHART, Ind. — Gilberto Pérez Jr. didn’t like seeing a routine litany of run-ins between law enforcement officers and his Latino community in northern Indiana, so he did something about it. Speaking at a...

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Sin problems and skin problems

Oct 21, 2015 by

“Racism is a sin problem, not a skin problem.” Have you heard this statement? I recently saw it on Mike Huckabee’s extraordinarily problematic Twitter timeline last week during the democratic...

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Fighting for the dignity of every human being

Oct 14, 2015 by

We heard that Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested for climbing into his own home after accidentally locking himself out. Chris Rock started posting selfies when being pulled over by the police. And just a...

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The gospel according to Ta-Nehisi Coates

Aug 18, 2015 by

This is the final post of a six-part series examining theology through the lens of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me. See the other parts here. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the...

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Been down into the South

May 27, 2015 by

In 1961, when the Congress for Racial Equality planned a “freedom ride” through the South to test the integration of interstate transit, they were experimenting in nonviolent direct action — a radical...

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Understanding Baltimore

May 6, 2015 by

We live in a world where news about the news is almost as important as the news. Take for instance Baltimore. On April 26, Freddy Gray was killed while in police custody and over the weekend charges were...

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White fragility

Apr 27, 2015 by

We have heard many apologies in recent months, particularly from white communities, regarding racial, ethnic and gender issues. There has been a lot to apologize for. Politicians, sportswriters, newscasters...

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Goshen, Ind., confronts its sundown town past

Apr 20, 2015 by and

When Dan Shenk began researching the sundown town history of his city, Goshen, Ind., he was surprised how much information he found. He read about it in sociologist James Loewen’s book, Sundown Towns: A...

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The test question for your church

Apr 16, 2015 by

We tend to measure the “success” of a church by numbers. I propose in A Fellowship of Differents another way of measuring whether or not our church measures up to the kind of success that the Bible...

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When culture is right

Mar 16, 2015 by

Letters to MWR have suggested that some Mennonites are changing our views on homosexuality and accepting gay and lesbian people because we are being influenced by our degenerate culture and not sticking to...

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