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Fearless Generosity

I preached for the first time a few weeks ago--a challenging, stressful, and rewarding experience. I chose the topic of generosity with the help of one of the pastors from my church thinking “Hey, what’s a little stress at the end of my summer!” I didn’t realize that the parable that came with this topic was pretty confusing and not very warm or fuzzy. Still, things sort of came together in the end, and I thought I would share the thoughts on generosity and the parable of the talents that I collected for that sermon here as a blog post.

God's Epic Dream

The other day my housemates and I had an interesting conversation. We asked ourselves: if we are dreamers and made in the image of God, what is God’s dream?

This is what we realized: God’s dream is that He wants to redeem and reconcile the WORLD!

God's Epic Dream

The other day my housemates and I had an interesting conversation. We asked ourselves: if we are dreamers and made in the image of God, what is God’s dream?

This is what we realized: God’s dream is that He wants to redeem and reconcile the WORLD!

The Work of Love: A Sermon

With my colleague Doug being away on holidays, this past Sunday and next Sunday I'm going to try my hand at a two part sermon series on some themes in the second and third letters of John. If you've read both letters you'll know that they are probably two of the very shortest books in the Bible. And as I read second and third John this week I realized that both of two short books point back - intuitively enough - to the first letter of John. The first letter of John is a bit longer - almost four pages - and it seems like a more developed version of John's second and third letters.

A Thought on Cross-cultural Learning and Faith

What does cross-cultural learning have to do with our faith?

I believe it's at the heart of the good news that Jesus taught and lived: Reconciliation with God and reconciliation with each other. These are not mutual exclusive concepts. When we reconcile with each other, we have a more full sense of who God is and how God works in the world.

We Shall Remain

We Shall Remain is the title of a documentary series by PBS. We watched a few of the episodes while living in Virginia, where we heard very little of indigenous people, culture, or history. Whenever we asked about it, people we talked to said, "oh yeah, there used to be lots of indigenous people in this area" and would point to the main highways running through as ancient trade routes and the name of the valley "Shenandoah" as an indigenous name.

Circles of Sabbath

My hand rested on the shelf of books and I looked at the title of the volume under my palm. It was the same book that I'd remembered.
 
Another time, in the same small library, I'd pulled the book off the shelf and read it straight through in one evening. I'd resolved to live my life differently. To remember Sabbath… rest. Balance, rhythm, and the health and joy of God's gift of the Sabbath. 
 
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A Case of Narrative Negotiation

One class from my MA studies at Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding which continues to stick in my mind is a course called "Narrative Negotiation." We learned about the roles of worldviews in negotiating solutions to conflict and how sometimes it's not the issues or proposed solutions that cause a problem in carrying out a successful negotiation, but because groups are coming from completely different ways of seeing the conflict.
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My Most 'Precious Gift'

A couple of months ago I read a post that had been shared around among some of my Facebook friends. It told the story of a bride-to-be, just moments before her wedding, praying with her husband-to-be and thanking God for their blessed ability to keep it in their pants. One select quote from this story reads: “See, he is not only my Prince Charming because of his incredibly handsome looks, or wonderful humor, or the fact that we have so much in common. He is my Prince Charming because he helped me protect the most precious gift that I owned, my purity.”

Cancer Doesn't Grow Faith

Two weeks ago, I attended the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in Steinbach. As I watched my dad complete the Survivor’s Walk two and a half years after his last surgery and two years after his last treatment, I was thankful to God. Not because I believed that God saved my dad’s life. Believing that God saved my dad’s life, means believing that God chooses not to save over 200 Canadian cancer victims every day.

Encounters with Islam: Part II

It is easy to imagine angry fundamentalist types in the Middle East. And they most certainly exist- thugs or bigots who grew beards. Faces that never smile. Yet your typical strongly religious Muslim is often more friendly and respectful than the average Egyptian.

A guest once asked us if we have ever received harassment or insults from fundamentalists, or if we have been told we were not welcome. To this I quickly answered no. Not once.

Controlling My Complaints

I am a complainer. I almost always feel cold, hungry or tired—sometimes all three at once—and I am almost always vocal about it. Most of the time, unfortunately, I don’t even realize I’m complaining, but last weekend, waiting with my poor mother and sister for the waffle iron to heat up, I was aware that my whine of “I’m hungryyyy” had turned into a memory from my summer in North Kinangop, Kenya.

Blog of the Day: 'Sarah Bessey': Intersections of a spirit filled life

I've still this great list of blogs that people have been emailing me! They share some diverse opinions, and I think they are well worth sharing - so get ready for it. May is all about the blogs too.

Today I present to you 'Sarah Bessey: Intersections of a spirit filled life'. While she isn't neccesarily a mennonite, I did find her reflections on being an uneasy pacifist quite compelling.

Take a look for yourself, and explore a little further!

May Days

It has been a busy few weeks with travel, a new set of courses, and the happy arrival of my Uncle Bob and Cousin Jon. Due to all the activity, my body finally wore down a couple days ago and I contracted a cold and sore throat. However that did not stop me from staying up to stream game 7 of the Leafs-Bruins game- my first taste of hockey in over two years. Up 4-1 with only 11 minutes to play it looked like my beloved Leafs would pull off the series upset. You probably know what happened next.

Spain Photo Journal

This post first appeared on Isaac and Wanda's blog Life in Egypt

We are home safe and sound in Egypt after an MCC retreat in Spain. Barcelona is a place we had never imagined we would visit, and we were pleasantly suprised by the beauty and vibrancy of our destination. We will let our photos do most of the talking, but simply put; our time in the Spanish region of Catalonia was amazing!

Egyptian Cinema

This post first appeared on Isaac and Wanda's blog, Life in Egypt

We are currently on holiday after a wonderful MCC retreat in Barcelona, Spain! It has been a wonderful and enriching time. We will be sure to write about our experiences once we are back in a few days.

One little tidbit of excitement- while waiting for our flight in the Cairo airport, we were passed by the famous Egyptian actress Youssra. In honour of this celebrity sighting, we have a short essay on Egyptian cinema.

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