Discipleship

a paradigm parable

This isn’t the “Part II” I intended to post, but perhaps I’ll save that for a rainy day. I found this post this morning and thought I’d repost it here. Via The Parish.

1 And it came to pass that Jesus came to America, not in the way of Joseph Smith’s story; rather, he showed up at Chili’s in a Southern state. He was tired and hungry and wanted bread and wine. 2 When he discovered the wine available at Chili’s, he immediately left that place and went to a local restaurant with a better menu. 3 The place was frequented by many different people of various races and religions (some having no religion) and political leanings. 4 He sat at a table in the rear of the bar and ordered a red table wine (under $15) and a basket of bread. 5 After the server brought the bread and wine, she asked if she could get Jesus an appetizer or lunch. 6 “Nay,” Jesus replied. “But please, invite all the patrons to come have bread and wine with me.”

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Midwest going through hard times

The housing bubble has way-popped over here in Elkhart. There are a ton of houses around here for sale and no one with enough money (even with subsidies) to buy them. And last week an organization that supports housing for low-income folks had to close its doors as the result of circumstances, no operating costs and its board looking out for its own interests instead of the common good. So many foreclosures! :(

So for the folks in the Elkhart MVS unit, it’s been a tough week. But the South central community is still strong…and we believe, getting stronger.

One way we are getting stronger is that we are learning to support one another through these tough times. The NY Times said that foreclosure rates are on the rise, and if communities aren’t organized to pull together, the vacant houses will rip gaping holes in its social fabric. We are also reaching across ethnic boundaries, and learning together to look beyond capitalist assets to enrich our lives. Two examples of the budding community economy: (more…)

Young Adult Ecumenical Project

I wanted to share this project that we started as a Sunday school class as a way to get to know other young adults in the area across denominations. Out of this project we hope to develop a website in our area for local young adults to list events and network better. I’d challenge other young adults groups to consider doing something similar as way of connecting with your local community by joining forces with other Christian brother and sisters.
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Advice time! What should I know or do before going to Bolivia?

It looks like I’ll be spending some time in a different hemisphere before too long. Details aren’t finalized, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be going to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, for about four months starting in January. My church has been supporting an orphanage there for longer than I can remember. I’ve been hearing about this children’s home since I was 12 years old and seriously thought about going there at other decision points in my life. This time, I’m actually going and not just listing it in my options.

If we had smilies on YAR, I’d use the one where the character jumps up and down excitedly with a giant grin.

Since this will be my first trip to the Third Word—technically I was in central Jamaica when I was three, but I don’t remember it—I know I have a lot of mental work to do in the next two months. I can never be fully prepared. I expect to be changed a lot while I’m there. But there’s no reason I can’t start that personal process in the mean time.

What/who do my fellow YARs recommend I read, listen to, watch or talk to before I go? If you’ve been to Bolivia, or Santa Cruz, or even this orphanage (like Denver), what do you wish you would have known before you went? What should I pay close attention to while I’m there? What surprised you the most? What do you wish people would ask you about? (more…)

Come be my Light, by Mother Teresa

The NY Times featured an article about a new book containing revealing letters written by Mother Teresa (title above). The letters detail that one of the impetuses for her to leave the Lorento convent and live among Calcutta’s poor was a feeling of spiritual emptiness…a feeling she apparently struggled with for her whole life. The NYTimes says:

‘“I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe,” wrote Flannery O’Connor, the Roman Catholic author whose stories traverse the landscape of 20th-century unbelief. “What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe.”’

How do those words feel to you, YARs? Like, what do you think? I’m excited to hear. The NYTimes continues: (more…)

a note on dogma

Well a note of introduction first since I’m new to this blog. I work for MCC, grew up in North Philadelphia, and live in Lancaster. I suppose I count as a Mennonite- chose to be one a few years ago, and constantly in a flux of being in love with the church and embarrassed by it. I guess thats true of what I think of myself too for that matter. Thanks for allowing me to write on the blog- its good to be here.

I’ve been thinking a bit about Anabaptist dogma and the death of imagination. Deep in the blood of Anabaptism is a concern for discipleship, or obedience. This discipleship has changed forms I think over the years, but culturally we are an obedient people- obedient to something. It’s a blessing I suppose in many ways. We as a church have fought hard to work for the kingdom on this earth as it is in heaven. Discipleship values the material and the contemporary. Its an affirmation that what is here, the world, is good but broken and in need of restoration. Its this very discipleship that enables us to be radical in the face of war, capitalism, oppression, and nationalism. It’s a good thing.

What’s troubling about discipleship is that it has turned the Anabaptist church into an economical people. I think we see this in a variety of ways. In my short time in the Mennonite Church I’ve come across many people who are all too convinced they are destroying the environment and causing wars every time we so much as breath. (more…)

an ordination sermon

I attended the ordination service this past Sunday at James Street Mennonite Church. I recorded most of the service with a hand held digital recorder and thought some of you might find the sermon interesting. A little background first: Elizabeth Nissley, who has been an associate pastor at James Street since 2002, was ordained; Lancaster district bishop Linford King also received the ordination credentials for Kathy Keener Shantz. (Her credentials had been held by Pacific Southwest.)

The sermon was preached by Jane Hoober Peifer, pastor of Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, and it can be downloaded here. Thanks to Denver for uploading it for me.

Music

If you remember, in my intro post, I mentioned that I am a youth pastor. I am in my 8th month of youth pastoring now, and I would like to discuss with YAR an issue that am dealing with as a pastor: Music.

Nine months ago (before I was a YP) music was not an issue at all in my life. I listened to whatever I wanted to, and on occasion I would censor some “bad stuff” from myself. For instance, if the song blatantly objectified women (i.e. anything on MTV), promoted violence, sex, drugs etc. I would try to avoid it. That being said, my personal “censoring filter” was pretty generous. By and large, if I liked the way it sounded I listened to it. (more…)

A Theology of Enough: Speed and the Working Week

I apologise for my long silence. I’ve recently been thinking a lot about “a theology of enough”, pace of living, and sustainability in all areas of our lives. Instead of crafting a beautiful and articulate essay, I thought I’d offer my ramblings and learn from what responses and questions, if any, fellow YAR readers have to offer to the considerations. I think considering the way we pace our lives, and in particular our working lives, is a spiritual discipline, and therefore an important idea to consider – whether for the first time or as a reminder. (more…)

An invitation to share from our lives

After reading through the 21 comments on Do we look like Jesus? I heard a lot of frustration of people saying that we spend a lot of time analyzing on this blog without much action. When I think back over the posts from the last month or two I notice that we do spend a fair amount of time talking about ideas. Which is very important. But blogs can also be a place to share about experiences from our lives as lukelm shared about his experiences in the Dominican Replublic.

Perhaps its time for a shift in focus here on the blog to a bit more of a story telling mode. I’d love to read more about the ordinary and extraordinary actions that make up your daily lives and perhaps the lives of people around you. How are are we attempting to live thistly Christian lives? Leave a comment or write a completely new post.