When I first read this passage in Luke’s gospel, in preparation for preaching on it, I thought, “Oh, this is just too easy.” Unlike some stories which leave you scratching your head, this one seems all too straightforward. If even an unjust judge listens to a persistent widow, how much more will God—a just judge—listen to our cries?
1. In what situations have you prayed for justice or deliverance? Have you ever begun to doubt that you were praying hard enough, or even to doubt the existence of God? How do you keep your faith when there is so much injustice and suffering in the world? Do you find the story of the persistent widow encouraging? Do you find Anita Fast’s interpretation of Luke 18:1-8 convincing?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for attuning oneself to the Holy Spirit. We are all wired differently. This means we will often have to take different approaches to spiritual growth and engage in different spiritual practices than our fellow believers. This is a difficult thing to do, to go against the grain and norms of one’s church, but it is completely necessary for many of us.
What makes people happier: spending money on themselves or giving to others? It might surprise many of us to learn that research done by Elizabeth W. Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, shows that spending money on other people may have a more positive impact on happiness. Therefore, people who live generous lives may po-tentially live happier lives.
Be careful of what the church is ‘shifting’ from
I’ve never been successful with New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat less or get organized. For some reason, however, a promise to read Scripture every week is one resolution I finally kept!
Nine people from the Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church pose with certificates earned by reading the whole Bible in 2013. Pictured from left to right, front row: Esther Pham, Rebecca Pham and Lily Hue Do; and back row: Pastor Kuen Yee, Vernie Yee, David Yee, Deborah Yee, Ut Van Ngo (chair of the board of elders), and Pastor Thomas Pham.
How would you respond if challenged to read the whole Bible in a year? When Kuen Yee issued the challenge to her congregants at Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church at the end of 2012, the pastor couldn’t have guessed at the success her church would celebrate one year later.
A damage report from Super Typhoon Haiyan compresses a huge disaster into one page of stark statistics. This report is for just one assessment area. (Photo by John Chau / Used by permission)
Dann Pantoja, second from left, and his team pray for the pastor of a local church. ‘His house was totally destroyed,’ says Pantoja. ‘His wife and children were hungry when we arrived. Many of his neighbours died. He cannot locate the families belonging to his congregation.’ (Photo by Daniel Byron ‘Bee’ Pantoja / From the PBCI website)
Makeshift tarp shelters began rising up soon after the Nov. 8 super storm subsided. (Photo by John Chau / Used by permission)
Like the news, the winds and rain that came with Super Typhoon Haiyan have let up. But the damage from the storm that slammed regions of the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, remains on the mental and emotional front page for survivors.
Mary Klassen and James Neufeld bring a rare commitment to volunteerism.
Ever since Sam’s Place opened in 2009, Klassen has spent her retirement from teaching volunteering full-time at this used bookstore, café and music venue, an activity of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba.
Meghan Harder poses in a human-sized nest she built in Waterloo Park, Waterloo, Ont., as part of her art challenge to our current culture, to think about how dependent Canadians are on technology. She wonders how humans would—or will—live if their possessions and supports are taken away from them. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Harder)
Meghan Harder’s art works at themes of political, social and environmental issues, using mixed media, public installations, interventions and performance.
At Box 13—a series of events that use repurposed industrial spaces around the Waterloo Region for an annual weekend of art viewing and sales—she presented photographs of some of her installations and performances.
What was it like to be a conscientious objector during the Second World War? Did Mennonites participate in the War of 1812? Did Mennonite women contribute to First World War relief efforts? Do Mennonites celebrate Remembrance Day?
Munching on a fresh zwieback (because sauerkraut and spring rolls would be too messy to eat on the podium), John Thiesen, archivist at Bethel College’s Mennonite Library and Archives, introduced the 2013 Menno Simons lecturer, Marlene Epp.
Composer Tim Corlis, left, with Gerard Yun, Kenneth Hull and Mark Vuorinen, conductors of Conrad Grebel University College’s three choirs, who came together to perform Corlis’s musical setting of Psalm 150 on Nov. 30, 2013, at one of the college’s 50th-anniversary events. (CGUC photo)
Composer Tim Corlis, right, is pictured with Lena Williams, who established the Henry A. and Anna Schultz Memorial Fund in memory of her parents. The fund was used to commission Corlis to write a musical setting of Psalm 150 to help Conrad Grebel University College celebrate its 50th anniversary last fall. (CGUC photo)
As home to the Music Department at the University of Waterloo, the culture at Conrad Grebel University College is steeped in harmony. The college hosts dozens of concerts each year: instrumental ensembles, jazz band concerts, vocal performances and choral presentations.
I was 18 when I first walked on to the Columbia Bible College campus for new student orientation.
Filled with nervous anticipation, I approached the registration table. A young woman smiled and called me by name. Stunned, with no time to dwell on how she could possibly know my name, I was whisked away to my new home.