Today, we as disciples of Jesus are to be good news people in bad news times, not with stories of stray cats or Colorado foxes or even a ‘chicken soup’ like feel-good testimony, but with life-transforming news that brings hope, peace and joy to the present and future. And friends, we can bear witness of such a thing.
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.
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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.
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…
“What do you do with the mad you feel?” was a familiar song on Mr. Roger’s TV show in the 1970s. His iconic cardigan and the little red trolley were not the only notable things about him. Fred had profound and honest insights into our life struggles, mirrored by his Christian faith.
Full disclosure, my friends – I have times when I do not experience contentment. I demonstrate moments of discontent. However, I do eventually land in a space I call contentment equilibrium. Like you, I am on a journey to a spiritual satisfaction in Christ. The following is what I have learned about contentment. It has enabled me to better walk this journey…