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On theological writing

It’s interesting being a Mennonite and an academic. Sometimes I find my Anabaptist-Mennonite sensibilities grating against the norms of academia: my “priesthood of all believers” mentality against intellectual elitism, my discipleship/faith-without-works-is-dead mentality against the divorcing of theory from practice, and especially, my appreciation for the “plain sense” and the poetry of Scripture (in the vernacular!) against the inaccessibility of academic language.

On theological writing

It’s interesting being a Mennonite and an academic. Sometimes I find my Anabaptist-Mennonite sensibilities grating against the norms of academia: my “priesthood of all believers” mentality against intellectual elitism, my discipleship/faith-without-works-is-dead mentality against the divorcing of theory from practice, and especially, my appreciation for the “plain sense” and the poetry of Scripture (in the vernacular!) against the inaccessibility of academic language.

"You lost me"? Young adults in/and/of the church

A 17th-century Dutch church. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this month, I was one of many who gathered in the new Marpeck Commons building at Canadian Mennonite University to hear from a panel of “young adults” on their age group and the church. [1] Judging by the size of the audience (they had to go get extra chairs!), and a feature article on a similar topic in the Feb. 16, 2015 issue of Canadian Mennonite, [2] this is an issue that many churches are currently profoundly concerned and anxious about.

The next phase

We’re having a baby boy. We’re excited and scared and overwhelmed and underprepared. Mostly excited, but it’s taken me a little while to get here.

I have two young girls. They are my world—a world I never could have imagined for myself. It is a world of tea parties, ballet, Barbie dolls, pink-pink-pink, and Disney princesses galore.

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Six resolutions

I’m a fan of new beginnings and fresh starts and the start of the New Year is the ultimate in possibilities and promise. Yes, I am a fan, a big fan, of New Year’s resolutions.

I usually compile my list on January 1, but this year was different. Hubby and I enjoyed a post-Christmas, pre-baby trip to NYC, just the two of us. It was lovely, but Hubs just doesn’t do resolutions. “If you want a make a change, you make it. You don’t wait for a certain day,” he claims. He’s right, of course, but he’s not exactly the audience I’m looking for when comprising my resolution list.

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Making space for the stranger

We are accustomed to reading the narrative of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) as something of an ethereal event, a moment of encounter with the divine realm during which Mary’s feet didn’t quite touch the ground. But in our preoccupation with the other-worldly, we can overlook the fact that this is one of the most this-worldly narratives in the entire Bible, since its principal concern is Mary’s sharing of her body and blood with God, making it possible for God to become incarnate. [1]

Making Space for the Stranger

We are accustomed to reading the narrative of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) as something of an ethereal event, a moment of encounter with the divine realm during which Mary’s feet didn’t quite touch the ground. But in our preoccupation with the other-worldly, we can overlook the fact that this is one of the most this-worldly narratives in the entire Bible, since its principal concern is Mary’s sharing of her body and blood with God, making it possible for God to become incarnate.[1]

Buy Nothing Day

Did you know that Thursday, November 27 was American Thanksgiving? You might not, since this holiday seems to have faded into the shadows of the sinister Black Friday—which is today.

I don’t really understand the history of Black Friday, and I’m too scared to google it, but as far as I know, it’s a day that celebrates excessive greed. Unfortunately, it’s made its way up to Canada, and everywhere I look I am bombarded with Black Friday blowout information. It makes me sad, especially since a part of me wants to partake in it so badly.

Swords into ploughshares

“So they took up arms, these and a million other Canadians - men and women - who put on the uniform and beat their ploughshares into swords.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

“The regenerated do not go to war nor fight. They are children of peace who have beaten their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks and know of no war. They give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. Their sword is the sword of the spirit which they wield with good conscience through the Holy Ghost.” – Menno Simons, 16th century Anabaptist leader

Squash!

It’s full on fall and what a lovely season it is.  We spent last weekend browsing the stalls at our local farmer’s market, stealing samples and purchasing way too many baked goods.

I love farmer’s markets. They make me feel healthy, even if the only purchases I make are cinnamon buns and homemade donuts. However, this time we splurged on apples and squash. 

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Thoughts on Ottawa

I’m finding it difficult to respond without cynicism as I think about the violent events which occurred in Ottawa this past week. By now, we’ve heard the sequence of events repeated hundreds of times on the news, and we’ve heard Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s interpretation of events repeated, too. He was quick to label this a “terrorist attack” and to speak of it as an unprovoked attempt to destroy our “freedom” and “democracy” – and, I might add, he was also quick to bring God into it at the end of his speech, which caused me deep discomfort.

Who's in or out, and why?

At the beginning of this month, I had the pleasure of going to “Ex-Mennonite, Near Mennonite: Liturgical, Non-denominational, Secular,” a conference hosted by the Chair in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg (one of the perks of living in Winnipeg again!). Though it might seem like a strange fit for someone like me who considers myself committed to remaining within and contributing to the Mennonite church, I actually found it very interesting.

Peace, Pies, and Prophets

Do you  know a lot about Pies, Peace, and Prophets? Come to a live comedy performance of I’d Like to Buy an Enemy by Ted and Company. Bring a handcrafted pie for auction (along with a short story about your pie- fact or fiction). If you don't want to make a pie, come bid on a handcrafted pie! I'm hungry just thinking about it!

Christian Peacemaker teams will be hositing this fundraiser event at 7:00 pm on November 9, 2014 at Home Street Mennonite Church (318 Home Street, Winnipeg, MB).

Mary's river

Mary Magdalene is one of the most controversial and mysterious biblical characters. She often gets a bad rap. She was pegged as a prostitute and temptress by Pope Gregory I, and her reputation remained tarnished for around seven centuries before biblical scholars redeemed her by untangling the three women whose stories Gregory had merged. It was not until 1280 that she was recognized as a leader and canonized by several different church denominations.

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Mid-point reflections from Gaza

This is midpoint in my five-week ministry here in Gaza and Bethlehem. Things are going well. While my students in Gaza are doing research, book reports and various kinds of homework, I have had the opportunity to teach classes at the college, lead workshops in the community, help to establish the peace studies center, and interact with the Muslim and Christian communities of Bethlehem. 

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First report from Gaza

I am writing this from prison. All 1.8 million of us who are living in Gaza are in prison. The walls around Gaza keep us (except us privileged foreigners) from leaving to work, to shop or to go to another church, town or country. We cannot sell our crops or manufactured goods. Some have meager food and very little money to buy it. We are trapped in a small space about 40 miles long and 10 miles wide."

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This Weekend: Ex-Mennonite/Near Mennonite FREE Conference

Hello fellow Mennonites, near Mennonites, and perhaps even ex-Mennonites. I just want to take a quick to highlight an event going on this weekend in Winnipeg -- it sounds like a really interesting FREE conference. I'm hoping that between school, work, and other commitments, I'll have have a chance to pop by -- let me know if you'll be there, and maybe you can write a blurb for the blog! 

 

Title: Ex-Mennonite/Near Mennonite: Liturgical, Non-denominational, Secular 

#Brag-worthy

Jesus said, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:2-4).

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CMU Farmers Market TODAY

The CMU Farmers Market is TODAY folks! We've got 28 vendors lined up, a toonie lunch (farmer sausage on a bun) to offer, and a forecast of sunshiney goodness.

Also, I'll be a vendor there this year!

 

Something special about this year: 
1) Busking Corner - We're introducing a busking corner this year, open to students and non-students alike. Its free to reserve a slot, and musiciansare welcome to put out a hat or boot, as well as sell their CD's.

Losing and gaining

September has been a whirlwind of change. It always is. One day we’re enjoying the lazy days of summer, when our mornings are spent park-hopping, lunches are always picnics, and supper is usually topped off with bicycle rides and ice cream cones. Bedtime is flexible, shoes are optional, and everyone goes to bed with dirt and sand under their fingernails. 

And then September comes around and BAM! Everything changes. Preschool starts. Work resumes. Alarm clocks are set and bedtime is enforced. Sometimes if feels like life does a full 180 in September.

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