Deconstructing or reconstructing?

(Photo by Betty Avery)

I heard some strong language this summer about church from various extended family members. I’m sure this is not just in my family! Conversation at family gatherings is not usually conducive for more thoughtful or caring conversations, but these phrases caught my ear and attention.

“I’m done with church.”

“I’m done with denominations.”

“I’m deconstructing my faith.”

Organic architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house. (flickr photo by Mariano Mantel)

This is the first summer I haven’t gone camping for at least 25 years, maybe my entire life. Since Tammy and I got married 23 years ago, our family holidays have focused on hiking, kayaking and sleeping in tents. Often in the rain. My family suggested we try something different this year, and I found myself connecting with God and nature in a new way—through architecture.

Learning about waiting

(Unsplash photo by Ümit Bulut)

I’ve been learning about waiting.

After avoiding it for three years, I tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of July—just in time to disrupt the return of the Grand Wallace Road Trip.

Each year we pile the kids into our vehicle and drive hard from Saskatchewan to Montana to Michigan and back to visit family. Or at least, we did until the pandemic started.

Vibrant, powerful book explores family violence

Arthur Boers’ new book unpacks the ways his father’s violence shaped the person he became. (Supplied photo)

Shattered includes vibrant, emotional vignettes. (Supplied photo)

In his new book Shattered, Arthur Boers writes, “I realized that I never understood my father, our relationship, or even myself.” In this coming-of-age story, Boers explores his relationship with his father, trying to make sense of why he both feared and loved him. How did his father’s violence shape the person that Boers became?

Mightier than the mountains of prey

The cast of Alone, Season 8, which was taped around Chilko Lake, B.C. (Photo by The History Channel)

I love the outdoors, but I’ll admit I’m far from being able to call myself a legitimate outdoorsman. I romanticize the idea of living out in the bush, being off the grid, being self-sustaining, focusing on survival. But I know it’s not as lovely as I make it out to be in my imagination, nor do I have the skills needed, or maybe the will, to do it.

Peter J. Dyck

(Photo by Central Photographic)

Peter J. Dyck was recognized with an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo on Oct. 18, 1974. Dyck was born in 1914 and immigrated with his family to a farm near Laird, Saskatchewan, in 1927. During World War II, he and his wife, Elfrieda were part of the MCC work in Europe helping refugees emigrate. Dyck studied and served as a pastor in the U.S.

Unity and uniformity

(Photo by Gilbert Mercier, Flickr)

As a preteen more than 50 years ago, I remember asking my mom about the difference between Baptists and Mennonites, given that we were members of a Fellowship Baptist church while all our relatives were Mennonite Brethren. My mom stumbled to find an answer.

Worship through visual art

“Tree of Life,” by Saejin Lee. (Reprinted by permission of the artist)

If you have flipped through Voices Together, you have likely found that visually it looks like many other worship and song collections, with one noticeable difference: the inclusion of visual art. Unlike previous collections, the new hymnal contains 12 works of art which are interspersed throughout the collection, depicting acts of worship and aspects of the Christian story.

Four models of multiracial church

(Photo by Daniel McCullough/Unsplash)

In his 2003 book, One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches, George Yancey shares the results of a major study funded by the Lily Endowment and conducted by Michael Emerson, Karen Chai and Yancey.

The researchers discuss four distinctive types of multiracial churches. Below, I analyze these types from a Mennonite perspective.

Are pick-and-shovel prayers still tearing through God’s rooftop?

(Photo by Shchekoldin Mikhail, Shutterstock)

In Mark 2:1, Jesus teaches the word to crowds gathered at his home. (Most readers don’t realize this was likely Jesus’s house). Jesus didn’t want the crowds. In the previous verses he healed a leper and told him not to tell anyone. However, the healed leper couldn’t keep his mouth shut, which resulted in large crowds forming at Jesus’s house.

Walnut Receiving Home

(Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada, Native Ministries)

In 1976, Jake and Trudy Unrau bought a home at 171 Walnut Street in Winnipeg and opened it up for Indigenous people visiting Winnipeg for medical appointments. In 1977, the Conference of Mennonites in Canada bought the home, and the Walnut Receiving Home became part of its ministry.

The gift of urgency

Jesus teaching from a fishing boat on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. (Photo by Annalisa Jones, Shutterstock)

An impassioned rant by a grandchild included these words: “Opa, why are you not dead yet?”

Why indeed.

The comment regarding my deserved death connects to the story of a recent event in my life.


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