Most of us had never heard of the tiny island off the coast near Hiroshima called Okonoshima. In fact, we discovered, it was also erased from many maps on purpose. Yet in this tiny space of just 4km across, things happened which still affect lives around the world today.
Many churches are exploring the what 'formation' means in their life and work. At First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg we are doing the same. Here is a sermon I preached on the theme. I would welcome any comments or feedback.
The texts were 2 Samuel 12:1-7a (Nathan confronting David); 1 Kings 3:16-28 (Solomon's judgment between the two mothers)
NARPI stands for Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute and is run through collaboration among several organizations across South Korea, Japan, and China. Their goal is to meet regularly for several weeks in the summer to gather peacebuilding practitioners and students from Northeast Asia to share their experience, get to know one another, and learn new knowledge and skills for peacebuilding in their contexts.
It took two weeks and some intense times together, but by the second "cultural night" of NARPI (Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute), groups were no longer isolated by country or regional cultures. A Mongolian and Japanese team did a dance, Korean and Japanese women led a song, and Chinese and Mongolian participants were the emcees. Yet the richness of each person's identity was clearly present.
Akido is sometimes described as a nonviolent martial art. At the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute in Hiroshima, Japan, I had the privilege of learning a bit from a Japanese Mennonite professor and akido practitioner. I remember a few key points that seemed a fitting metaphor for following Jesus' nonviolent way.
It's hard to hear the stories. The images are sickening. My imagination cannot grasp the kind of suffering the people of Hiroshima endured and even survived. My faith in humanity shakes when thinking of what humans did to each other and to creation.
Mountaintop removal. Tar sands. Mass destruction of earth and creation for sake of getting at the coal and oil underground. While there are inevitably complexities for each community facing companies that look for energy sources in their neighbourhoods, and there are no simple stories, on an instinctive level I know it's wrong.
A statement made by Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Executive Director Ken Warkentin concluding a recent Canadian Mennonite piece “We’re Sorry” caught me off guard. In it he took, what I understood to be, a moderating posture between the two ‘sides’ of those addressing sexual diversity and the church. He concluded with the words “I want to challenge both groups to be able to say, ‘We might be wrong.’” I was left wondering why the comment lingered with me. What is the function of such a comment? My gues
I wanted to share something in my sermon this Sunday that reflected my experience at Assembly 2012. I decided to reflect on the two passages that conclude Being a Faithful Church document 4 (BFC 4). Here is the sermon I came up with. It focused on Hebrews 5:12-14
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
"The Wounded Heart of God: The Asian Concept of Han and the Christian Doctrine of Sin" by Andrew Sung Park is not light bedtime reading. Yet, I think this is one of the most influential theological books that I have read. The thorough articulation of the concept of "han" fills the gap of what I have noticed in trauma studies and trauma healing resources.
Now that I've finished my master's in Education and a certificate in Peacebuilding from a Mennonite university, I suppose I should know something about Anabaptist education. In truth, though, from my experience, studying, and research, Anabaptist education seems very similar to just "good" education.
He poured the bowl full of water, then held it out, balanced on his palm, fingers angled down and away from the thick bronze base. Slowly, he moved the wooden mallet around the edge. Expecting the resonance of the singing bowl, I was shocked to see sparkles of water emerge from the rim. As he continued, water suddenly splashed up, bursting into the space above the bowl, and drenching his face and front. Laughing, he pointed out the obvious: with water in the bowl, the energy of resonance became visible.
In my last post I was pushing towards more care in how we articulate possible notions of faithfulness tied up in practices intimately linked with having a social awareness and engagement. So how then does one articulate and engage the world when it is of course possible to undermine any given expression? I think part of the shift is to not 'over-code' a given situation. Simply living in the 'hood and buying 2nd-hand and organic does not itself imply goodness. How do we describe and articulate the network of relations that are at play in our actions? Let the theology, if th
A number of blogs that I follow push back (most recently here) pretty hard against a type of personal activism that ends up creating a structure a moral evaluation with no sense that effective change is produced or even possible. What do I mean by this? I mean simply that personal activism can be a therapeutic response to the guilty conscious of privilege. There is nothing new in that statement and many of the blogs that I follow outline and deve
I once heard a story about the influential biblical scholar Brevard Childs. A student asked him how to become a better interpreter of the Bible. Childs's response, as it was told to me, was become a more profound person. Now perhaps some arrogance could be read into that statement but I think there is an important insight to consider here. Around the time I heard this quote I was attending a doctoral level seminar in biblical theology. Part of the course included presenting various forms and methods of interpretation (biblical criticisms). As we wrestled with these approaches
Two women, working as "maids" in 1960's segregated southern United States, cross racial lines to take a risk in telling their stories to an eager young writer.
Watching "The Help" in Virginia, I couldn't help but wonder about the impact of such a film in what was the historic "south."
These days, you might see more people wearing hooded sweatshirts than normal. You might see more people eating Skittles than normal. If you notice this, don't feel intimidated. If this warning sounds absurd, it should.
South of the border, there is a news story that is stirring up racial tension and is bringing to light some questionable legal decisions and processes.
There are a few indisputable facts in this story.
I have come to expect that the people I invite over to my house may feel uncomfortable doing so. This is not surprising as even until recently my street in particular has made it into the news as the site of criminally violent acts. While there may be some notion of ‘at least its not the North End’, the Spence Neighbourhood still evokes some unease in many people that I encounter. I often feel a little apologetic about that reality and sometimes even act preemptively to minimize possible feelings of unease. Now I get this unease. While there remains misunderstanding with r