Opinion

CPT changed its name

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan met with Kak Bapir and some of the villagers of Basta village from the Pishdar district on Feb. 2, 2022. Basta villagers have been partnering with CPT since 2008. Basta village is one of the hundreds of villages that have been targeted and bombed by both Turkey and Iran for a long time. CPT is working alongside the villagers to stop the Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombings. (Photo courtesy of CPT)

The organization formerly known as Christian Peacemaker Teams has changed its name, replacing the meaning of that first letter with “Community.” I have two reactions. First, the name change is good for the organization. Second, it shows that the broader church has not caught the vision of the peacemaker Jesus.

Passing on what we have received

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash)

There is something about snowstorms that brings out the best in people. A stuck car will quickly attract a group to help push it out. My wife and I often find our neighbour has shovelled our walks before we get to them. After one particularly intense storm, six neighbours got their snowblowers together and worked in tandem to clear the street.

Harold Cardinal

(Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Cree chief, lawyer and author Harold Cardinal speaks at a symposium on “Native Peoples” at the University of Waterloo, Ont., in 1976. The event was planned by Conrad Grebel College students, and attracted Indigenous students from other universities, as well as Dene and Haudenosaunee participants and civil servants.

Communion with creation

Arli Klassen stops for a picture by Grand River. 'I am learning to see who God is, and how God has revealed Godself to the world through the physicality of creation,' she writes. (Photo by Keith Regehr)

I’ve been pondering a new-to-me thought in the last few weeks. In reviewing the Scripture texts selected for Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday this year, from the worship resources produced by Indonesian Anabaptist church leaders, I stayed with Psalm 104.

Solitude and community

(Photo by Matthew Henry/Unsplash)

Almost 400 years ago, the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from [people’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Pascal was probably being hyperbolic, but he was making a profound point, one that aligns with something I discovered and wrote about during my own recent season of solitude:

Be at peace?

(photo © istock / jeff kingma)

I once memorized Romans 12, and verse 18 always stuck with me: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As Christians, shouldn’t we be at peace with everyone? Shouldn’t we make all efforts to mend relationships and right wrongs?

Well, maybe it doesn’t always work out that way.

‘The ears of the family’

A few months ago, my wife and I watched a film called CODA. Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a child of deaf adults (CODA). Her parents and brother, who is also deaf, rely on her to interpret the outside world to them. They need her to be present on the fishing boat on which they earn their living, to monitor radio communications and listen for warnings, among other things.

Key 73

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Conference of Mennonites in Canada)

The banner at the Conference of Mennonites in Canada gathering in Vancouver in August 1971 read, “That the world may believe,” based on John 17:21.

The ‘chicken whisperer’

(Photo by William Moreland/Unsplash)

Genesis 1 describes God’s creation activity as, among other things, blessing the male/female that God had created, and commanding them to rule over every living creature that moves on the ground. Meanwhile, Indigenous spirituality offers stories of hunters extending thanks to the fallen creature that gave up its life so the hunter’s community might have food, shelter, warmth, tools.

On evangelization

(Photo by Jon Tyson/Unsplash)

I am in favour of talking about faith in Jesus. I especially like to do so with those who do not hold to that faith. Some call that “evangelism” and use it as a dirty word. We all know great abuses have occurred doing evangelism. Still, I am in favour of it. I even want to talk about conversion.

Prayer and lasting

(Photo by Jon Tyson/Unsplash)

For a few years now, I have felt good about my slow but steady pace of reading reflectively through Scripture. It is a spiritual discipline I’ve moulded in a way that works for me. Prayer, however, is one that, although certainly not absent from my life, could use some work.

Perpetual epiphany

The 14-point silver star under the main altar in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem marks the spot where, according to tradition, Jesus Christ was born.

It was a lifelong dream coming true. In a crowded stairwell I inched toward what we had all come to see. Down in the basement, below street level, the room smelled of the smoke from oil lamps dangling precariously overhead, the very place, according to tradition, where Jesus Christ was born. I was in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Dancing problems

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Problems with dancing have been discussed at numerous times in many church settings. On July 3, 1951, the Northwest Mennonite Conference delegates discussed the Alberta education system that offered lessons in various types of dancing. Delegates approved a resolution that read: “Such teaching encourages the sensuality of our age.

The heart of evangelism

(istock.com photo by doidam10)

In warmer months, a circle of seven or so adults gathers in my backyard on Sunday afternoons. We earnestly discuss Scripture, share the highs and lows of our lives, ask what God may be saying to us this afternoon. We pray. We pass bread and glasses of grape juice. Sometimes we even sing.

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