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

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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.

Inspired by ‘this ground’

An aerial view of Camp Assiniboia. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/campswithmeanin)

In 2015, some of the summer staff at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camps with Meaning wrote a song called “This Ground.” The song makes the simple observation that nature inspires us to pray. It encourages us to notice the beauty of creation all around us, hinting that there’s much to learn about God in the natural world.

‘Bring what you have’

(Photo by flo222/Pixabay)

I was driving the night shift that week, hauling wood chips to the pulp mill in The Pas, Man.

I pulled into the Esso C-Store in Nipawin, Sask., a little after 11 p.m., closing time. As I filled my mug, I apologized for keeping the clerk around so late.

“Oh, no,” he assured me. “The fair closes tonight, so we’re staying open till midnight to catch the traffic going home.”

The waiting place . . .

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In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh the Places You’ll Go there is a section about “the waiting place.” It is depicted as an undesirable and useless place to be. I wonder if our Advent waiting sometimes feels like that kind of waiting. I wrote a little poem in the style of Dr. Seuss about Advent waiting:

Oakella Prison Farm

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Herb Wiebe, facing camera, visits with an inmate at the Oakalla Prison Farm in Burnaby, B.C., in 1970. A growing number of British Columbia Mennonite men volunteered to befriend inmates through the M-2 (Man to Man) program, a prison visitation program then in its early days in Canada.

Every tribe and language

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I expect everyone has forgotten what I had to say when I spoke at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s chapel a few years ago. But I know some remember that I asked students to read Scripture in their own languages. For a few international students it was the first time they heard the Bible read in their mother tongue. That has not been forgotten.


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