Let me share some wishes for Canadian Mennonite, which are largely my prayer for the overall endeavour of faith. These are topics I’m drawn to and challenges I note.
- Tuesday afternoon. I’m drawn to church that happens when people are not sitting inside on Sunday morning. Sunday services can be a blessing but what happens when we shift more energy to Tuesday?
- Marginal Mennonite. I long for points at which church goes to the margins, or vice versa: prisons, back alleys, personal care homes, remote First Nations, war zones, homes for those with intellectual disabilities. Mutual transformation can happen on the margins in ways it cannot at the centre.
- Evangelical affinity. I’m leery of overly personalized faith, but I’ve long had a soft spot for evangelicals. For part of my life I attended a Vineyard service every year or two because I loved the openness, personal examination, conviction and less cerebral approach.
- Diversity. I believed in diversity before it got narrowed to include only approved groups.
- Diversity. I do not believe everyone must agree with me. It would seem preposterous to believe the opposite, but for much of my life I did.
- Maybe there is something more important than being right.
- The Mennonite “we.” As Canadian Mennonites, who exactly do we mean when we say “we”? Most new congregations in our denomination consist of people who are not white and don’t know who peacebuilding legends Peter and Elfrieda Dyck were. Plus, a quarter of global Mennonites are Ethiopian.
- Intense and quirky. I love big ideas and intense questions. I also like quirky, light and fun material. I did once co-edit a magazine that offered “holy mischief in an age of fast faith.” And, of course, we all love stories.
- Healing. My heart aches for the broken relationship between Indigenous peoples and the rest of society. And for the broken relationship between all of us and the earth. These matters are impossibly big. We are people of impossibility. The church is in a strong position to bring truth and healing. I rejoice for glimmers of this healing and pray they increase many fold.
- Isms and phobias. Talk of isms and phobias abounds. In those critical conversations, I think we do well to address dynamics like anger, forgiveness, meekness and humility. On all sides, we do well to examine our hearts and test the posture of society against the holy paradox of Scripture.
- Intergenerational. The world is embarrassingly obsessed with youth and newness, but tradition and old age are as much gifts as youth. Especially when the wisdom of elders emerges.
- Solace. I feel the pandemic meddled with individuals and society in ways we have yet to apprehend or address. I hope we can find understanding and solace.
- Prophetic. The church has to have something to say about tech and overconsumption.
- Bible. Love of enemies. Dying to self. Emmanuel. The upside-down Beatitudes. Love.
I’m also interested in what interests others. What are the pains and passions we may be slow to speak of? What’s beneath the surface? What’s happening at the heart of the church?
- Johann Funk’s sermon, “Listening to the Spirit...,” was delivered at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship on March 13. In the Nov. 14 issue we omitted “Inter-Mennonite” and used the wrong date.
- The correct title of Sarah Ens’s book—listed on page 30 of the Nov. 14 issue—is Flyway, not Flyaway. Ens says of the title: “A flyway is a flight path used by birds as they migrate . . . I thought of this book, which follows our many routes to home, as a kind of flyway.”
Will Braun welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Corrected Nov. 28, 2022. "Back alleys" was originally misspelled.