African American group urges denomination to address racial injustice

Jun 29, 2020 by

The African American Mennonite Association called upon fellow Mennonite Church USA congregations, which are predominately white, to be involved in healing and reconciliation amid the protests that erupted...

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Weaponized peace ignores racial pain

Jun 29, 2020 by

To the white eye, fires of protest violence might have illuminated only criminal destruction, not 400 years of oppression suffered by nonwhite people in the United States. As a result, some Anabaptists might...

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Kriss: White starting point

Jun 29, 2020 by

White Christians need to have conversations about race. Our silence and stammering in the face of white supremacy and its outcomes clouds our witness. Naming race-based privilege can feel deeply personal and...

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Neighbors confront violence, racism

Jun 29, 2020 by and

George Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for about eight minutes. Three days later, the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building was...

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Twenty bucks or billions?

Jun 22, 2020 by

Twenty bucks started the sequence of events that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in the custody of four police officers. Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit bill at a nearby store....

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Whiteness, weeding and watering

Jun 18, 2020 by

During the past months of pandemic restrictions and stay-at-home orders, I have found renewal and refreshment through gardening. In the midst of all the chaos and crisis of human society, gardening is a chance...

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Comfortably white

Jun 15, 2020 by

I’m a visionary. A generalist. A dreamer. Some of that is my personality. It’s also a privilege of whiteness. I can afford to have my head in the clouds and talk broadly about “shalom” and the Beloved...

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Love doesn’t cancel anger at injustice

Jun 10, 2020 by

Amid the recent events ­surrounding the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the latest fatal violence against African Americans, Mennonite Church USA joins in mourning and lament. We lament that...

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Opening blind eyes

Jun 8, 2020 by

George Floyd’s plea voiced the pain of generations of African Americans. “I can’t breathe,” he gasped as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck, crushing a black man’s life under the...

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Blackface in old yearbooks a reminder Bluffton is not immune to systemic racism

Mar 6, 2019 by and

Witmarsum editor’s note: Some of the images accompanying this post contain sensitive material that many may consider offensive. Bluffton University yearbooks from 1924 and 1930 include images of students...

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Freedom to resist

Nov 20, 2017 by

Some Mennonite colleges play the national anthem before sporting events. Some don’t. Some say it’s a chance to reflect on liberty. Some say it’s a chance to honor those in the military who fight for that...

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Anthem directive sparks disagreement at Tabor

Nov 17, 2017 by and

In the week after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game Oct. 8 in protest of athletes kneeling during the national anthem to challenge racial injustice, Tabor College coaches received an email...

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Freedom to protest

Nov 6, 2017 by

I would be ashamed to watch football players injure each other’s brains. But I compliment African-American and other players protesting racial injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem. They...

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Powell: The power of kneeling

Oct 30, 2017 by

Americans and Anabaptists, we have a problem. It’s a race problem. We’ve begun to have a conversation about racial injustice and the killing of black folks. But the issue keeps changing. Recently the...

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Washington Witness: Social media a tool for justice

Jun 5, 2017 by

Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old African-American boy, was fatally shot April 29 by police in Balch Springs, Texas. Body camera video has been used as evidence to dismiss officer Roy Oliver and charge him with...

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No peace apart from justice

Sep 21, 2015 by

Today is the International Day of Peace. Yesterday was recognized in many faith communities as Peace Sunday, and I had the privilege of delivering the sermon with a good friend of mine at Slate Hill Mennonite...

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What beats a trump card?

Sep 9, 2015 by and

While many have expressed genuine astonishment that Donald Trump has emerged as the Republican front-runner in the 2016 presidential race, those of immersed in the southern freedom struggle cannot pretend...

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More than rending the Confederate flag

Jul 7, 2015 by

Tearing cloth is not enough to show you are sad; let your heart be broken. — Joel 2:13 In the Jewish tradition, as part of the period of mourning after a death, the mourner wears a torn piece of clothing....

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No quick fix to cleanse this stain

Jul 7, 2015 by

Over the past number of months, people in the U.S. have been confronting the issue of racism and violence against African-Americans. Police shootings in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, and now the church...

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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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The only logical conclusion after Charleston

Jun 19, 2015 by

There have been far too many mass shootings in America. I still remember watching Columbine and Virginia Tech unfold on the news. I remember crying over Sandyhook, shock over the movie theater shooting,...

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Involving ourselves in stories — of suffering, redemption

May 14, 2015 by

Myths and stories breathe life into the way we construct our societies. Stories explain our origin, dictate our afterlife, and assign meaning to everything in between: friendship, marriage and families. As...

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Saving black lives

Apr 13, 2015 by

John Powell’s column, “Lives That Matter” (March 16), reflects his experience as an African-American in a society with a long history of racial injustice, which, as he suggests, continues. However, his...

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Dreams, deeds and the soul of Selma

Mar 9, 2015 by

Tens of thousands of Americans made the pilgrimage to Selma, Ala., March 7. They came to remember the sacrifices of everyday people who risked their lives to expand voting rights in this country. As President...

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