1. What strangers have you encountered this Christmas season? Who are the wise and contemplative thinkers who help us to see where heaven is reaching down to earth? How do we make room in our lives for strangers and wise ones?
It all began in January 2014. My husband Gary and I started to research conventional nativity art and arrived at a new vision. We decided to focus attention on the very humble and usually invisible Joseph.
From then, the painting took three months to create, beginning with buying old sheets from Mennonite Central Committee for sewing some first-century costumes.
That Jesus is thus a union of divine and mortal signals an ancient truth that underlies all worship: from creation onward, in love’s deep sacrifice, God’s outstretched eternal finger touches the outstretched finger of the mortal Adam. (Credit: Commons.wikimedia.org)
What many hero stories fail to show is the cost of redemption for all the bit players in the story, all those ordinary people who attempt to get on with life, often oblivious to the grand narratives in the making. (Credit: Commons.wikimedia.org)
While gifts sometimes do fill a material need—the poverty-stricken student accepts with gratitude a food voucher or a decent blanket—at their truest, gifts are part of the self that is offered to another self. (Credit: Commons.wikimedia.org)
A gathering of strangers
This is my seventh year living in Canada. My transition from Japan to Canada wasn’t easy, since I love my country and my family. I especially love the church where I became a believer, Atago Mennonite, in Miyazaki. I still have a heart that one day my entire family will come to know Jesus.
I have a goatee. I’ve had it for a while and, as my wife reminds me, my kids can’t even remember me without it. I can barely remember me without it. So, given that I’m already stubbled, it’s pretty hard to get excited about Movember.
November has become the month—other than hockey playoff time—when men grow facial hair to make a statement.
What statement? Good question.
When I was a child, my mother used to bake buns every Saturday. It seemed to me that she would make hundreds of them. She baked so that on Sunday we could have faspa. There was something sacred about faspa. Something about that light meal contributed to my concept of sabbath. In my mind, I made a connection to the divine when I smelled fresh baking.
“Do more. Be more.” These words sound a little like the mantra of a motivational speaker. They are, in fact, the name given to a new five-year strategic fundraising plan for Rosthern Junior College (RJC). The plan includes the ambitious goal of raising $1.5 million to be allocated toward three clearly defined strategies:
Librarian Vic Froese, left, Terry Schellenberg, Arlyn Friesen-Epp and Dave Bergen are pictured in the new library at Canadian Mennonite University’s Marpeck Commons.
For the past year-and-a-half, residents of Winnipeg have watched as Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) built a pedestrian bridge linking its north and south campuses over a busy thoroughfare. On Nov. 29, as CMU was preparing to open the doors for the public to view the new facility, the excitement was palpable.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba planned an event to be held on Nov. 15, 2014, at the Immanuel Pentecostal Church in Winnipeg, a venue MCC was renting for the large event. But days before, MCC cancelled the event based on objections the congregation’s leadership had to an indigenous smudging ceremony that was to be held on church grounds.
The landmark event was intended, in part, to promote reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. That goal will likely be achieved to a far greater extent than organizers ever imagined, but the path will be circuitous and theologically bumpy.
“Regardless of our perspectives on ‘just war’ and pacifism, as Christians we are all united in our desire for peace and justice in our community and around the world,” says Michael Pahl of his idea to hold an annual Peace Prayer Walk in Morden, Man., last year.
“We’re not meant to save the world; we’re meant to leave it.” So says the protagonist of Interstellar, a grand science fiction epic from Christopher Nolan. One of Hollywood’s best ‘blockbuster’ directors (Inception, the Dark Knight trilogy), he has created the best film to come out of Hollywood this year. It may also be the most dangerous.
Aden Bauman sits at his home work bench after retiring from 46 years of running a watch repair business. His photo and story are part of the ‘Portraits of perseverance’ project by Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen. (Credit: Karl Kessler)
Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen openly admit to being inspired by Harvey Wang’s New York, a 1990 book of photographic “portraits of men and women in vanishing jobs and professions.”
Combining their gifts for words and pictures, two Mennonite Church Canada pastors who are long-time friends have produced a 2015 inspirational daybook.
We just got back from a church lunch. Sitting at our table was our young family, a couple in their early 30s and three people in their senior years: a couple and a widow. While our life situations were different, I am learning to pay attention to moments where young and old listen to each other.
In 1985, around 2,500 people walked the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage route in northern Spain. Ten years later, the number jumped tenfold. The year that I did it, 2005, there were 95,000 of us. The popularity of this endeavour is one thing, but more surprising is the fact that most pilgrims profess no religious faith or motivation.
1. The church is wounding people deeply based on sexual orientation. This is not what God wants. We must do better.
Superlatives for the KJV, as it’s known, abound: ‘The greatest work of prose ever written in English,’ ‘The most beautiful book in the world,’ ‘The most important book in English religion and culture,’ one of the ‘books of the millennium.’
Given a choice between the absolute accuracy of the translation or the elegance and beauty of the language, the translators unfailingly chose elegance and beauty.
Have you heard the Bible recently? Not read it, but listened to it—heard the words of Scripture, not just seen them on the page.