For discussion

1. What powerful stories have you heard in your congregation? Who did the telling? What was the setting? What made the story powerful? How did it influence the teller or the listeners? Was it important that the teller was physically present and not recorded on a video clip?

For discussion

1. Who in your congregation takes a leadership role in interpreting the Bible? How do they acquire that role? What happens if anyone challenges their interpretation? Who has been most influential in the development of your personal understanding of the Bible?

For discussion

1. Bruce Hiebert says we will make better ethical decisions if our brains are filled with biblical images. Do you find his arguments convincing? Have we been doing a good job of immersing ourselves in the biblical stories? Have we been filling our minds with too many non-biblical images?

For discussion

1. Tom Yoder Neufeld says that teaching and learning are acts of faith, especially when it comes to sacred texts such as the Bible (page 6). What learning or teaching experiences have stretched or deepened your faith? Are there settings that are more effective than a traditional classroom? What factors encourage or hinder us from being eager to learn?

For discussion

1. How has your community been impacted by the drive for economic development? What has your community lost through development and what has it gained? How are decisions made about when and where development will happen? Is there a role for the church in these decisions?

Crossing the (pipe) line

Clouds hang over the Haisla community of Kitamaat Village, just across Douglas Channel from the proposed site of the Northern Gateway supertanker terminal. (Photo by Will Braun)

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (Photo by Will Braun)

A second Enbridge pipeline through the Hermitage woods, 2000. (Photo by Will Braun)

A trail through a part of the Hermitage woods that will soon be home to Enbridge Line 6B. (Photo by Will Braun)

I never expected that Enbridge—the Calgary-based pipeline company best known for its contentious Northern Gateway proposal and a nasty spill from one of its U.S. lines in 2010—would push its way so far into my life.

For discussion

1. What are some of your warm “waiting for Christmas” memories? What is it about Advent and Christmas family traditions that make them so special? Do you have negative memories mixed with the nostalgia? What role does gift-giving play in Christmas nostalgia?

Coming home

In my first year at Canadian Mennonite University, my first year away from home, I kept a running countdown to the Christmas holidays on the whiteboard stuck to my dorm room door. Only 12 days until I fly home, 19 days until Christmas.

For discussion

1. Do you consider yourself as a rational being or more of an emotional being? Do you find others reacting more rationally or more emotionally? In what ways has the Mennonite Church tended to appeal to our heads rather than our hearts? Has this been changing?

Culture and character

Friesen says that a modern mall has similarities to a cathedral—it is a secular cathedral with rituals and liturgies.

After many hours of methodical and systematic doubting of all that he held certain, seventeenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes came to an astounding conclusion: the only thing that he could know for certain, beyond any reasonable doubt, was that he was a thinking creature.

For Discussion

1. Carol Penner says, “sinning against our neighbours once removed just doesn’t feel so bad.” Do you agree? Who might be a “neighbour once removed”? What might be some examples of sinning against such a neighbour? What is it about injuring someone close at hand that is abhorrent?

Ethiopian Church grows in maturity

Church leaders pray for Steve Brnjas and Fanosie Legesse (kneeling) before they began their teaching tour in Ethiopia in May. (Photo courtesy of Fanosie Legesse)

Fanosie Legesse poses with the child hit by their car while travelling in Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Fanosie Legesse)

Wanda and Doug Roth Amstutz with (from left) Abigail, Sophia and Amani. (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

(From left) Doug Roth Amstutz, Tewodros Beyene (MKC Church Chair), Kenna Dula (MKC General Secretary), Wanda Roth Amstutz. (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

(From left) Yeshiareg Yohannes (MCC Ethiopia office administrator, secretary), Yeshiareg Yohannes (MCC Ethiopia office administrator, secretary), Solomon Teferi (MCC Ethiopia Assistant Program Manager), Don Peters (MCC Canada Executive Director), Mekonnen Dessalegne (Program Manager). (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

As Fanosie Legesse and Steve Brnjas were driving through a small village in rural Ethiopia, their car slowed to pass through a narrow street when suddenly a boy darted into the car’s path, and was hit. His body flew and landed a few feet away. The driver stopped, though hesitantly, sensing there might be trouble. The passengers got out to see how they could help. It didn’t look good.


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