The 15th chapter of the Gospel of John begins with the verse, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener,” then it goes on to speak about the techniques and practices used to assure a rich harvest.
The Vancouver Canucks’ inability to score and some people’s penchant for blowing things up has caused me to agree with a zealous atheist. “Religion poisons everything,” contends Christopher Hitchens. He may be on to something—at least to the degree “Hockeyanity” has become Canada’s de facto religion.
In the past several years the Mennonite Church Manitoba board of directors consulted congregations to hear their wisdom and counsel for future direction. There was a desire for a more collaborative approach in bringing together congregations, individuals and other partners to build relationships and achieve ministry goals.
When I was asked to reflect on the joy of serving the church, the word “joy” stuck in my throat. My thoughts immediately turned to the recent challenging conversations and difficult decisions those of us who serve on the General Board of Mennonite Church Canada had to make this year. Instead of “joy,” words like “pain” and “loss” came to mind.
You and Mary run a lemonade stand as 50/50 owners. You opened for business on a handshake. Mary dies. Do you still have a business?
Mary’s husband or child may be your new business partner. Do you have the opportunity, obligation or resources to buy them out? If so, at what price and what are the terms?
The decisions we make as parents have long-term implications. This obvious reality made itself even more clear to me one night recently when we hosted our young adult son and several of his friends. The topic under discussion was wrestling, the made-for-arena-over-the-top-kind, that drives fans to squeal and non-fans to ridicule or bemusement.
Following the wrong drummer to Parliament Hill
The first in Dick Benner’s elections editorials, “Vote your core beliefs,” April 18, page 2, should have spoken to our constituency clearly. It should have delineated the political issues relating to our faith.
A few months ago our four-year-old daughter was overheard singing a song with only one line, which she repeated irritatingly till my patient wife didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Our little fireball of estrogen was singing a song of her own creation ripe with ironic truth: “I’m a different sort of challenge.” Amen, little sister.
Divorce can be seen as a double-edged sword that cuts two ways, with the potential to bring both pain and healing. With one edge, it ends a marriage and there is great loss and brokenness. At the same time, the sword of divorce severs what has died, and, in doing so, creates new possibilities of life and health.
Capitulation is tantalizing. Tucking our tails is tempting. This is why stories of the persevering human spirit are so inspirational. Those who overcome the black hole of capitulation surprise us by their tenacity. Mark Twain, with whimsical honesty, captures our capitulating nature: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world.