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.
As I gather my garden harvest, I can only marvel at the bounty of all that grows. My shelves are filled with things canned and delicious. It seems as though every time I visit a neighbour, there is another gift I can give, because my garden has not stopped producing.
And so, I stop and take a brief moment, just to be thankful.
Thank you God for your extravagant adundance.
Thank you for the beauty you create in this world.
Thank you for neighbours so share our excess with.
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)
What does it mean to think of the Bible as our story, or to think of faith as entering into God’s story? In Adult Ed. at my church, we’re currently looking at the Bible studies from last July’s Mennonite Church Canada Assembly, so I’ve been thinking more about the implications of what I heard there.
The following is an outline of a piece that I would someday like to write.
For those of you who may know me, you know that my roots are pure prairies --- something I am proud of. While I do struggle with aspects, one thing I can always count on is the absolutely beautiful generosity given out, often unceasingly.
Consider, for example, the response of some Saskatchewan Mennonite farmers to Ontarian farmers in the east dealing with drought.
If you’ve been reading my blog since last year, you might remember my first article on technology, which was part interview, part opinion piece. I thought I’d revisit the topic and try to articulate the way my mind has changed about it. It’s not a drastic change – I’m not an avid fan of gadgets now (as evident by the picture I chose, found here) and I still don’t have a cell phone (though my husband has one)!
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.
My friend once wrote me an email, saying that she had been praying for me. While she had been praying for me, she saw a vision, and wrote to share it with me
She saw a picture of me skating on a river. It was a long river, where it was cold and the ice was hard. I kept skating and skating, even though it was cold and hard work.
Since we’re getting near the end of wedding season (which has been far less hectic for me this year – I was only invited to one wedding!), I thought I’d bring up this topic again. For me, it’s an endlessly fascinating topic, not only because I’m married, but also because within the past few years, I’ve moved from a context where most of my friends are married to my current context in Toronto, where most of my friends are single. It’s been an interesting shift to make.
I believe that one of the great joys in life is meeting strangers. Sometimes strangers are kindred spirits. Sometimes strangers are a window from a world you don’t understand, but get to glimpse into, just for a moment. Sometimes they are shadows of who you were, and again other times they are glimpses of who you want to be.
Let me tell you the story of one stranger in particular that I met early this month in Waterloo, Ontario.
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.
I’ve been impressed with the campaign begun earlier this summer by several Canadian Mennonite University and Canadian School of Peacebuilding students in response to the government’s plans to cut funding to refugee health care. As you may know, they worked out how much it costs each Canadian per year to provide this health coverage. The answer? 59 cents. So, in a clever video, they explained these costs and asked people to find 59 cents in change and mail it to the office of the Prime Minister.
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.
Since I no longer live in one of the Mennonite “centres” like Winnipeg and Waterloo, I find myself sometimes feeling cut off from the larger Mennonite church. Earlier this month, though, I was sent as a delegate to Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly, “Dusting Off the Bible for the Twenty-First Century,” which was held in Vancouver. I’d never been to one of these gatherings before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I ended up having a great time, and left feeling refreshed and reconnected to the larger church.
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
As someone in my late 20s, I don’t really consider myself a “young adult” anymore, yet I keep encountering that ambiguous label. In a recent CBC Doc Zone documentary about young adults entitled, “Generation Boomerang,” a psychologist talked about a new category that has emerged in our society in this particular generation.
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.
Having reviewed two albums from talented American Christian groups I feel it is high time I move North of the border. Canada has a number of accomplished and excellent Christian groups. Currently there are none as popular as the group “downhere.”
Marc Martel and Jason Germain put together “downhere” in 1999 when they met at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport Saskatchewan. To date they have created five studio albums and a number of uncut and demo albums. The album under review today is their 2006 release “Wide-Eyed and Mystified.”