Volume 18 Issue 9

Small self vs. whole self

In my last article I wrote that Spirit attunement and ego consciousness are rival states of being. Jesus refers to this internal rivalry by pitting the self against the Self. Jesus teaches that in order to truly live, one must deny one’s self, crucify one’s self or lose one’s self. Paul teaches this as well, with regular references to “dying to self” and being “crucified with Christ.”

The shape of church to come?

Do empty churches indicate a lack of faith, or do they need to adapt to different ways of nurturing faith in people both inside and outside their walls? (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Churches across Canada--including this one in downtown Montreal--are closing for lack of congregants, to be replaced by gyms, spas, restaurants and upscale condos. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Darian and Jacob Wiebe-Neufeld, centre, enjoy a game of Sorry! with a couple of regulars at the St. James Drop-in Centre in Montréal. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Two staff and a St. James Drop-in Centre member jam in the art room. The artistic and musical talents that were in evidence among the members were amazing. After meeting the people, the idea that anyone from any walk of life can become homeless really sank in. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Maison de l’Amitié doesn’t look like much from the outside, but its tiny garden and park benches provide a good place for community members to talk. A Swiss couple who stayed in the student residence for a few nights told director Dora Marie Goulet, “It’s a one star facility, but gets five stars in its connections!” (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

A cross has stood on the top of Mount Royal in Montréal since 1643 as a lasting reminder of God’s grace when a flood was averted. The cross standing there today is brilliantly lit every night and can be seen for miles. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

The skyline is liberally punctuated with steeples, but they loom like tombstones over the churches of Montréal. The beautiful buildings are mostly dead on Sundays, and I wonder where the church has gone.

For kids too!

As the mother of two boys aged 6 and 11, I am happy to see the wide variety of faith-shaping resources for parents of young children available from Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre.

Children are sponges. Adding Anabaptist faith-based books, DVDs and downloadable resources to the other materials they view helps shape their faith as they grow.

‘The truth was hard’

I was standing beside Neill Von Gunten, former co-director of Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministries, and trying to peer over heads to see into the “Churches Listening Area” at the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) national event in Edmonton last month. An aboriginal leader had just prayed, and a church leader suggested a song; “We are Marching in the Light of God.”

Unlocking a mystery

In 2010 Todd Burpo, a Wesleyan pastor from Nebraska, told the “astounding story” of his four-year-old son Colton’s “trip to heaven and back.” Heaven is for Real (Thomas Nelson Publishers) tells the story of the tribulations of the Burpo family: too little pay, Todd’s kidney stone emergencies, a business that was barely making ends meet, and finally Colton’s ruptured appendix, following

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