It's been quite a while since I have posted here. This September is the least busy that I have been in a long time, and I intend to take some time to read, write, and reflect, as I work on my thesis project for the MTS degree at Conrad Grebel University College.
In his famous address at 1984 Mennonite World Conference, in Strasbourg, France, Ron Sider described shalom as “being in right relationship with God, neighbor and the earth.” Shalom, he said, “means not only the absence of war, but also a land flowing with milk and honey. It includes just economic relationships with the neighbor. It means the fair division of land so that all families can earn their own way.
I’ve recently started the practice of praying with my one-year-old son before bed. We’ve had mealtime prayers going for a while now, usually in the form of a song, and at night I usually sing to him, too. Now that he’s starting to learn some words and showing evidence of understanding more and more of what we say to him, though, I thought it seemed like a good time to take up the spiritual practice of a spoken bedtime prayer with him; after all, it’s never too early to start a good habit!
It’s been over a month since the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly was held in my new/old hometown of Winnipeg, but I for one am still thinking about everything I heard there. I didn’t go as a delegate (being between churches makes that difficult!), but I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) discussions. As some of my previous posts suggest, our Mennonite theologies of sexuality are of particular interest to me, so I wanted to share a few of my highlights of that aspect of the Assembly.
I have been absent from this blog for a while. I wish I had a grand excuse, like gallivanting around Europe, or road tripping across the country, or building a treehouse for my daughters. But my only excuse is a lack of thoughts and words worthy of this blog. Also, a lack of motivation. But here goes. . . .
Today's guest blogger is Peter Brown, 23, is a recent graduate from CMU. He recently took a trip to Iran (May 25 - June 15) for interfaith dialogues. He travelled to Qom, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tehran. The following are some reflections that resulted from the interfaith dialogue.
Today's guest blogger is Tim Wenger, a masters student located in Winnipeg, MB. He writes about how we need to remember that as Mennonites, our social justice work is rooted in us following Jesus. For more of Tim's writings you can visit his blog, http://tttpas.blogspot.ca/ .
My Saturday morning began with discord. I woke up, checked Facebook, and found my newsfeed full of statuses that made me feel sick. I couldn't stop reading, every line filling me with anger. Who were these people glibly posting such hurtful articles? How had I let myself become vulnerable to their opinions by allowing their voices into my life? I rounded these Facebook "friends" up and without a second thought, clicked delete.
Less than a month ago a vigil was held in Winnipeg for the school aged girls kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria.
Today I discovered, in much heartache, that our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to be persecuted. 56 people were said to have died in a recent escapade by a local terrorist group who are also responsible for the kidnappings.
The other day I was enjoying a night out sans children. However, even if children aren’t physically present, they are still always in our hearts, on our minds, and still dominating the conversation. Honestly, I don’t even know what I talked about before children. Perhaps world events. Probably not.
Life has been… hectic. I am reluctant to use the word “busy” because I hate how society has come to embrace the word like a badge of honour, or throw the term around as an excuse for everything. And I find that the more people use the term, the more empty their schedules, and lives, appear. With such a harsh interpretation of the word, you can see why I try to stay away from it. And yet, it still creeps up into my vocabulary, and into my life. But I digress.
This Saturday at 6pm, the #HopeForOurGirls All Night Vigil will take place in Assiniboine Park. Attendance by all is welcome, for the entirety of the night, or just an hour.
We gather to offer solidarity and love to the families of the 200 plus girls who were stolen from their schools in Nigeria.
One of the gifts the church has attained in the modern era is the ability to interact with the global church in an ease of access never before seen. Communication, travel, and access to world news has never been easier. For those in the church akin to reading world news, you may have heard about the girls kidnapped in Nigeria just over a month ago.
When I shared the story of my attack, I got a wide variety of responses from my friends, family, and co-workers. It is difficult to know what to say to people after things like this happen, so I was grateful whenever someone attempted to talk about it with me or to give me advice.
One of the best gifts my father has ever given me is an online subscription to The New York Times. He has always been an ardent fan of good news sources. The man has a ridiculously insatiable desire to learn. It was inevitable that such an appreciation would be passed on to his children as well. However, while my father devours every article on current events and sports, I tend to skip over the bleak headlines and head straight to the more superfluous articles and slide shows in the House and Garden and Style sections. Hardly academic, but enjoyable nonetheless.
As many of my friends already know, I flew directly from Bogotá to Canada in early May, rather than journeying to Barrancabermeja to complete the final month of my stint on team with CPT. I have been asked many questions about what happened to me, so I will describe the incident here. If reading about violence is a trigger for you, I recommend you stop reading here.
Now, as I am quite sure is realized, I am by no means a fulltime blogger. What do I do with the rest my time? Well, I am studying for my masters degree, and I work with a restorative justice program. My study and my practical work inform one another in ways that are gifts - and yet I still have a dream that what I study and what I work with will one day no longer exist.
I’ve been thinking lately about the Trinity, the central way that Christians throughout history have expressed who God is to us – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From recent conversations both at church and in academic circles, I’ve come to realize that for many Mennonites, the Trinitarian nature of the divine is crucial. One such person was my uncle, the late Mennonite theologian A.
This Easter is going to be different.
I probably sound hypocritical stating how uncomfortable I am talking about death in one post and then writing about that very topic in another post. I didn’t plan on talking about it anymore, but lately, it’s all we’ve been talking about.
On Sunday, Boo came out of her Sunday school class proudly holding a colorful beaded cross. “It’s a cross,” she stated proudly. And then her whole face and demeanour changed. “Jesus died here. I am so sad. Jesus died. Why did Jesus have to die?”
As we experience another Holy Week leading up to Easter, I’m thinking of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I know, she’s not the first biblical figure who comes to mind at this time of year – we tend to associate her almost exclusively with the church seasons of Advent and Christmas – but if we look to the Gospel narratives of Jesus’ life we find that Mary reappears at the end of her son’s life. And I really do mean that she reappears.
“But we can't do this forever, and we face the much wider problem of poor air quality every day. The Saharan dust will pass, but we will continue to fail its citizens on air quality. Children's developing lungs are at particular risk, both long- and short-term.” –The Guardian
Before I left Canada, I met up for coffee with a friend of mine in Waterloo—a pastor named Steve Tullock. We talked about my upcoming work in Colombia with Christian Peacemakers Team, and he told me about Colombian friends of his who had gone to his church in Canada.
At this moment, I am sitting in the warmth of a sunbeam, sipping a cup of tea, and enjoying a quiet afternoon while both my girls nap. What a glorious moment. Or, at least it would be, except for the dead ladybug sitting in a jar on the windowsill next to me.
It’s springtime. Dead bugs are a common presence around here. But this bug is different. For starters, she has a name. Odette. And she is loved dearly by my eldest daughter, Boo.
This past week we celebrated a pretty significant birthday in our family. Baby E, who will now be referred to just as E, turned one! I am experiencing every emotion possible.
Like every mother, I wanted to make E’s birthday special. I wanted her present to be thoughtful, useful, and oh-so-fun. I hand-painted her a card to show just how much I love her. I invited her favorite people over to help us celebrate, and I thought long and hard about just what her first cake should be.