For Bradley and Virginia Walker, livestock farmers in Endeavour, Saskatchewan, this year’s weather was a disaster. “The rain was so patchy,” said Bradley. “Some places got good rain, we got nothing.” The lack of rain meant they couldn’t grow enough hay to feed the 350 head of cattle on their organic beef farm. “Normally we grow enough,” he said, noting that wasn’t the case this year—there isn’t enough hay to get the herd through the winter months.
Life & Faith
While I have been a proud member of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) family since 1984, I no longer count the number of times I have heard colleagues, friends, and various leaders confidently state that biblical inerrancy is “not our thing.”
In March 2020, during the first pandemic lockdown, I found myself teaching from home (on Zoom), and feeling alone, adrift, and angry. A week or two later, I had a conversation with my seminary colleagues. It was my first conversation about the pandemic in the light of scripture and theology. That conversation renewed my hope…
As a young disciple of Jesus, I lived in B.C.’s Fraser Valley in the 1970’s and 80’s. At that time there seemed to be a church on every corner; a faith community from almost every denomination. The spiritual ‘buffet’ included a dramatic spectrum of worship styles and theological bents. The ecclesiastical options seemed endless.
“We need to listen to one another and engage charitably with others’ positions,” says Fitch, keynote speaker at the Equip Mini 2021: Engaging in Healthy Conversations Around Difficult Topics in the Church, the November 19-20 event for pastors and church leaders.
I was a rookie pastor and young father at the start of summer 1997, when Siegbert caught up to me in the church stairway. Siegbert is a seasoned German Baptist minister. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “While you’re on vacation, see how you can be a person of reconciliation.”
A familiar Scripture passage comes to mind when I ponder how to pray for the upcoming federal elections. According to Matthew 6:9-10, Jesus identifies us as people or citizens of God’s kingdom, and as the children or family of God. In our identity as citizens of God’s kingdom family, we are invited to pray for our nation — for his kingdom to come and his will to be done here in Canada as it is in heaven.
All of Joseph Gudo’s hard work was summed up in one small plate of food. He’d laboured for months in the field and uncountable hours in the kitchen all in service to this dish—a neat pile of mashed cowpeas (or black-eyed peas), buoyed by a bold pinch of cayenne pepper and dressed up with pops of colourful diced tomatoes and green peppers. This was everything he’d been working for, his heart and soul on a plate.
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There seems to be a definite dearth of common sense among homo sapiens. Humour aside, we face a very serious and expanding problem among us, a lack of wisdom. My seminary professor Tremper Longman III said that wisdom is a knowing how – that is, knowing how to navigate life.
As we begin, full disclosure: although a Mennonite Brethren pastor, by spiritual birthright I am very much a Pentecostal. By this, I mean that I was raised in the Pentecostal church, was born-again and baptized in the Pentecostal church, had powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal church, went to Pentecostal bible college, and pastored in Pentecostal churches for thirteen years. This was my world until seven years ago when the Lord led me to leave behind the Pentecostals and join the Mennonite Brethren.
“Thank you for not leaving us alone,” one woman told Paul Shetler Fast, MCC’s health coordinator and former representative in Haiti who was present for the Aug. 31 distribution. “We’ve felt very alone these last days waiting after the earthquake, hoping someone would come, hoping someone would not forget us.”
Today the word reconciliation doesn’t so much bring me hope as it does hurt. Over the summer, we have awoken to numerous gruesome discoveries on the grounds of former Canadian residential schools. How can we as a country reconcile hundreds of years of inflicting pain and suffering on the Indigenous people…
The more I ponder the negative impact of the pandemic on the church, the more deeply I am convinced that the church suffered its greatest blows not from outside forces but rather from internal conflict. Most churches witnessed divergent pockets of stakeholders anchoring themselves to convictions around defining the pandemic…
I know, everyone who serves in a pastoral role has been a pandemic pastor for a while now. But I am a sucker for a strong opening line. And I feel like I can say it a little more emphatically than most. You see, I am pastoring a community I have never known outside of the pandemic.