‘Tell God I say yes’

'I am reminded of the Mary who stands at the foot of the cross in tears...' (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

They come through the church door into the foyer. My limited vision can make out only their forms, but I recognize them, desperate folks who stop by on occasion to check out the food supplies available that day.

Rosengart church

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Lawrence Klippenstein photo collection)

Mennonites lived in Prussia/Poland for more than 400 years, but our understanding of the Mennonite experience in this area requires further study. This is the former Mennonite church at Rosengart (now Rozgart), near Elbing (now Elblag). Peter Klassen (1930-2019) has worked hard at shedding light on the Mennonite experience in Prussia.

Choosing forgiveness

'Many of us carry deep pain and find forgiveness to be quite impossible. There are hurts that feel like they’ve cut to the very heart of our being.' (Image by mohamed Hassan/Pixabay)

In my work with single, high-risk mothers and women who experience abuse in intimate relationships, many conversations about forgiveness have arisen. I recently shared about choosing the path of forgiveness and I could instantly feel the tension rise. Their bodies shifted, their breath became short, their brows furrowed.

We belong to each other

'Being church together beyond our local congregation has to be more than recognizing someone from school or family gatherings.' (Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

It was Sunday morning on a Mennonite Church Canada Joint Council meeting weekend. We divided up into three groups to visit three different congregations and then we regrouped over a late pizza lunch to hear about the visits. 

Unlearning ‘Christianese’

'It might surprise you how many people are interested in hearing about your faith journey and your God experiences when you share them honestly, clearly and humbly.' (Image by athree23/Pixabay)

“Christianese” is what some people call insider jargon Christians use to talk about God and faith. One of the primary problems with Christianese is that it doesn’t make sense to outsiders. Someone once compared it to legalese, which has its place and purpose, but is confusing and meaningless to people who aren’t lawyers. 

Speed sprayer

Photo credit: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Readers raised on fruit farms—including this archivist—may remember the high-pitched whine of an orchard pesticide sprayer in action. Pictured, Peter J. Sawatzky of Ruthven, Ont., is operating a “speed-sprayer” in his apple orchard.

Speak Jesus

(Image by Thomas B./Pixabay)

In the mid-1960s, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman coined the phrase “the social construction of reality.” The phrase emphasizes that the world of power and meaning is created through the careful management and manipulation of social symbols.

Bethel Bible Institute

Photo: By Rudy Regehr / Mennonite Heritage Archives

Can you help identify these three men at Bethel Bible Institute (BBI)? Is John Poettcker in the centre? The formation of Bethel in Abbotsford, B.C., was proposed in 1937 at the ministers conference of the Conference of United Mennonite Churches of B.C.

Rhythms of reconciliation

'We can forgive and trust God’s healing power to transform our broken hearts.' (Image by succo/Pixabay)

My two-year-old has developed a habit of throwing his bowl across the kitchen when he’s finished his food. Sometimes it clears the dining area and we find it in the playroom with a messy trail of porridge!

Every time I tell him not to do it, he says, “I sorry, Mommy. I won’t.”

Credible Christians

'People who are sceptical of organized religion are actively seeking out insights on Jesus and spirituality from people who aren’t overtly affiliated with the church. People like Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Brand (pictured) . . . to name a few.' (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/RussellBrand)

“People are no longer interested in religion or church, but they are still interested in Jesus.” This is a statement many Christians, including myself on occasion, proclaim confidently.

Walking a different path

Marlene Friesen of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., enjoys a sunrise view of the Dead Sea during a walking tour of the West Bank last spring. (Photo by Albert Friesen)

Out for a late afternoon hike in the desert with a Bedouin host from our camp, we happened upon their camel herd. (Photo by Albert Friesen)

Hikers pass Mar Saba, a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in AD 483 and now considered one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world that still maintains many of its ancient traditions. (Photo by Albert Friesen)

Many of the valleys we walked through were carpeted with wild flowers. (Photo by Albert Friesen)

One of our fellow hikers speaks with a local shepherd comparing walking sticks and hiking poles! (Photo by Albert Friesen)

When we first started telling people we were going to hike the Masar Ibrahim Trail in the West Bank, Palestine, they were incredulous.

“You’re going where? You’re doing what?”

Helena Kruger's sewing class

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Pioneer Mission Photo Collection

According to CBC, Canadian households buy four times as much clothing as they did 30 years ago, and throw away 46 kilograms of clothing per year, of which 85 percent ends up in the landfill, where it creates greenhouses gases as it decomposes. We are addicted to cheap and cheaply made clothing, the report claims. Helena Kruger of Steinbach, Man., loved to teach sewing classes for many years.

Informed ethics

'Christian social scientists use the research-based tools of their trade to probe the issues of the day, then combine them with theological tools. Only together do they serve the goal of figuring out how to live so that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.' (Image by Tumisu/Pixabay)

A man saw the title of the book I was reading with my morning coffee. It was something religious-sounding, so he engaged me about faith. Eventually he asked what I did, and I said I teach at the nearby Christian university. I teach sociology. “Oh, sociology?” he said. “Then you can’t really be a Christian.”


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