1. Where would you place yourself and your congregation: believing in absolute truths, wondering if there really is any truth, or somewhere in between? Do you agree that many Christians are finding they need a new way to think about faith?
“Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him’” (John 18:37-38, NRSV).
A curious lyric caught my attention as I was listening to “Don’t Swallow the Cap,” a song by The National, a melancholic indie rock band: “I have faith but don’t believe it.”
I remember a special gift from my Grandpa: a $20 bill in a Christmas card. It came with one instruction: Grandpa had to see my purchase. It was a lot of money for a 10-year old! It was the first time I’d had that much money, and I was a little concerned about using it wisely. It took a few weeks to decide, but eventually Grandpa was shown a sweater and a few books.
Part of my role in overseeing Mennonite Church Canada’s assemblies includes reading every word on assembly feedback forms. As I reviewed the 128 forms we received this year—a record number—I was struck by how often people stressed the importance of being together as members of our national faith community.
Phil Kleinsasser urged the faithful to "sow" their money in the offering plate in order to “reap” abundance in all areas of their lives.
Even urban Mennonites lay claim to an agrarian heritage. According to many speakers at Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, held last month at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), this is important despite the urbanity of most Mennonites and North Americans in general.
Melanie Kampen camped out at the Native Women’s Protest site near the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg earlier this month, to protest the government’s lack of response to the 1,182 missing and murdered indigenous women from across Canada. (Photo by Chris Swan)
On a very windy, cold and dark Oct. 3 night, Steve Heinrichs, director of indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, and a few others strung 20 dresses on fishing line on both sides of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge that spans the Red River near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.
“Everything I’ve done has been a team sport,” quips Ray Funk as he reflects on his life’s achievements.
Good News: The Advent of Salvation in the Gospel of Luke. Darrin W. Snyder Belousek. Liturgical Press, 2014, 140 pages.
William Loewen has written a theological book disguised as a novel. This makes it challenging to classify, but it also opens new possibilities for how it can be used. I would recommend this book for a book club or other group discussion, especially for young adults who are exploring their own spirituality.
After getting a coffee I sat down to read The Winter We Danced.
On the table next to me I noticed a book someone left behind. On the cover was a bold notice stating “2.5 million copies sold.” The book was a contemporary work of fiction re-telling the conquest narrative of America expanding into the West doing battle in “Indian country.”
Village houses face the main street with barns attached behind and fields beyond that. Young people gather for “singings.” A bone setter relieves headaches by carefully manipulating the neck. These are all aspects of Mennonite life in Russia as presented by Janice L. Dick in her new novel, Other Side of the River.
Sue Clemmer Steiner’s recent publication crosses genres within autobiography. It is personal memoir and spiritual recollection. It is reflections on a life in pastoral ministry. It is a historical snapshot of a 1950s eastern Pennsylvania traditional Mennonite community and a Mennonite girl facing the social upheaval of the 1960s. Steiner offers poetry and evocative images.
Of memories I have of family members, the one about my Uncle Sam’s arrest on April 19, 1944, and his imprisonment, which became legendary in our community, left an indelible mark. Uncle Sam was born in the U.S. and was 18 months old when the family moved to Duchess [Alta.]. He had been baptized into the Mennonite Church and attended regularly.
When I was little, I remember my dad explaining our relatives to us: “She’s my cousin, twice removed.” It’s an expression that talks about a relationship that is a bit more distant. Today I want to talk about our neighbours, once removed. Why is it easier to hurt people when they are removed from us? What does it mean to be a Christian when so many of our neighbours are once removed?
1,2,3 John, Believers Church Bible Commentary. J. E. McDermond. Herald Press, 2011, 344 pages.
This is the 24th volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.