Hello and welcome to my new blog. I’m excited to be here.
I have been an avid blog reader for many years now and, at any given time, I am following at least 20-some blogs. My preference tends to lean towards lifestyle/parenting blogs because, as a mother of two, they regale me with stories to which I can relate.
Classes are going very well. Students are appreciating the role-plays, practical illustrations, and the newly published textbook, which was partially funded by Waterloo North Mennonite Church (Waterloo, Ont.).
Some people are of the opinion that Jews and Muslims have always been, and always will be, in conflict. This is not true. Ishmael and Isaac both received a blessing from their father Abraham (Gen. 17:20), and in the end they came together to jointly bury their father (Gen. 25:9).
I got a warm welcome when I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, but, of course, nothing like the unprecedented welcome that Stephen Harper received! He was here with about 145 parliament, news and support people. Some will worked on economic and trade matters that are important to the present government. I hope that they also sought to understand the political realities and that they will work towards peace in this land.
Recently I was talking to a taxi driver. The conversation went like this:
PB: Were you born here in Bethlehem?
I have received a new call from Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) and Mennonite Church Canada to go to Palestine/Israel for nine weeks to teach Pastoral Care and Counseling in the biblical towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth. There are over 70 churches and 55,000 Arab Christians in Palestine. Unfortunately, few of the pastors have been trained in the practice of pastoral care. I will seek to respond to some of that need.
What does active pacifism look like? What exactly is violence when you get past the classic images of guns and combat? What unique insights does my Christian faith have to offer in an interfaith conversation about injustice and oppression? These were just a few of the questions I found myself reflecting on during my summer 2013 training with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).
As our friends participating with the Honour Walk prepare for their three-week walk to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in honor of residential school survivors, we invite you to join us in walking alongside them for a brief while and sending them off with our blessings. We will be walking from Canadian Mennonite University to the West perimeter highway on the morning of March 6, taking about an hour and a half. Walkers will then be driving to Stony Knoll to begin the walk to Edmonton.
In the last season of my life have been engaged in learning how to love and honour my Aboriginal neighbours. I have been journeying with some friends and as a group we have longed to love honour residential school survivors, and we are doing so with an event we are calling an Honour Walk.
Heads Up! Circles of Support and Accountablity, a restorative justice initiative in Winnipeg, MB, is having a fundraiser and awareness night TOMORROW!
Dates: Sat, Feb 01, 2014
Join them for an evening of bowling, celebration snacks and raffle prizes, all in the name of building safer communities and healthier lives when people are released from prison.
Location: 768 Mountain Ave. (St. John Cantius Frat. Soc.), Winnpeg MB
Tickets: $25 or $15 for low income (call CoSA to order)
Hey folks! For anyone looking for a new place to try, I have to recommend L’Arche Tova Cafe in Winnipeg. This lovely cafe, aside from serving tasty food, is a cafe committed to helping employ the developmentally disabled. I experienced this lovely little place for the first time a few weeks ago, and will most certainly be going back.
Pt. I – Anticipation
Behold! This is the season of waiting. We mirror
And remember the shadows and hints of prophetic words
That were actualized in the birth and life of Christ
These weeks of waiting are reminders of the preparations
And promises that the Lord gives us in participating
In the narrative of Christ and in celebration of this season
As we are and were in deserts, we with the life of the Christ,
Are given gladness. In barren lands our thirst will be satisfied.
We Mennonites hail from a rather iconoclastic tradition, but Christmas seems to be a partial exception to this. You see, this is a time of year when many of us set up small scenes of miniature statues – almost shrines – of Mary, Joseph, the newborn Jesus, and their many visitors, divine, agrarian, royal, and animal. Nativity scenes give form and dimension to the biblical narratives of that night and its incredible, paradoxical event: that of God becoming incarnate, God being born as we all are, and coming to dwell among human beings as one of us.
Well, we’re already up to Third Advent, meaning Christmas is right around the corner.
In reading Nelson Mandela biography, as well as a book by Richard Stengel called 'Mandela's Way', I was inspired to write the prayer of a peace leader. This prayer is informed by the many lessons and values that can be found in the astonishing life of Nelson Mandela. It is meant to be a communal prayer, but it can also be read as a personal one. I share this prayer with you, with this encouragement; we are all leaders, we can all bring peace to the places we live in.
Prayers of a Peace Leader
Okay, so now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about the “f” word: feminism. (What did you think I was going to say?!) Feminist theology is part of what I’m studying and I sometimes get some pretty strange reactions when I tell people that fact. I’ve even had someone refuse to include that tidbit about me when introducing me to a congregation, in case it was offensive to someone! It seems there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about feminism out there, so I thought I’d briefly explain how I understand feminism and why it’s important to me.
Recently the Conrad Grebel College newsletter and the Canadian Mennonite have lent some publicity to the fact that myself and a fellow MTS student have received SSHRC research grants. In light of this I feel like a summary of my research direction is called for, on the medium of this blog.
A few weeks ago, my little family (my husband, my baby son, and I) celebrated parent/child dedication along with our church community. Though it’s obviously a different sort of event than the infant baptism practiced in other Christian traditions, I still felt like it was a significant occasion in this new aspect of my identity: being a mother. It’s no small thing to promise before our community to try to raise our child in the Mennonite, Christian faith that’s so important to me.
This past summer, the worship theme at my church, Toronto United Mennonite, was about how the church is or can be salt and light, as per Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:13-16. The following is part 2 of a sermon I preached in September on this theme, with slight revisions. Part 1 can be found here.
Scripture passages: Matt. 5:13-16, 1 Cor. 1:1-7 (NRSV)
Before a couple years ago, I couldn’t pinpoint Cambodia on a map. I mean, generally I knew it was in Asia somewhere near Vietnam and Thailand. Really I didn’t have a clue about this country. When it came to what language was spoken, what were cultural customs, the name of the capitol city, or any sort of historical background, I was completely ignorant. I’m glad to say that this has slowly changed.
This past summer, the worship theme at my church, Toronto United Mennonite, was about how the church is or can be salt and light, as per Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:13-16. The following is part 1 of a sermon I preached in September on this theme, with slight revisions.
Scripture passages: Matt. 5:13-16, 1 Cor. 1:1-7 (NRSV)
Monday October 7th marked an anniversary of 250 years since the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was made. This proclamation, or promise, recognized the Aboriginal people of Canada as sovereign with rights to land. This proclamation was made legal part of Canada's Constitution. A gathering of more than 200 people, Aboriginal and Mennonite included, at the Idle No More Event on Monday evening in Winnipeg, MB came together to recognize that this constitution of Canada has not been in honoured in 250 years.
For those of you who are justice minded and love a good conversation starter, I want to direct you to Kris Miner's blog.
LINK: Kris' blog - http://circle-space.org/2013/08/19/working-with-restorative-justice-circ...
Like me, you may be following the recent news from Quebec about the “Charter of Values” that’s being proposed, and, like me, you may be feeling appalled at the very idea.
A few weeks ago, my sister and I swapped stories about our summers spent working for Camps with Meaning. In a conversation that ranged from outrageously horrible mosquitoes to silly camp songs to holy, breathless evenings spent in worship around a campfire, we spoke often of how empowered and inspired we felt after a summer of camp. My sister then mentioned that it was when she was at camp that she felt the best about her body.