In Winter

winter.jpgBy Kate Foran
With an invitation to Word and World’s Heart and Hearth: A Writing Retreat for Women.

The nights are getting chillier and the ground is covered in frost by morning.

On days like this, even getting out of from under the warm covers to start the day requires deliberate intention. There’s a choice to be made. You have to ready yourself. Same with stepping outside in the cold—you have to attend to the transition between the cozy heat inside and the bite of cold on the other side of the door. One by one, the layers pile on. Continue reading

Rebels and Saints

indexBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

For the last two weeks, Isaac has asked me to read the same story every night- The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter. It is the story of Alia Muhammad Baker who saved all the books from her library just before the library was burned to the ground during the US bombing of the Iraq War. It ends with her dreaming of peace from her home filled with books from floor to ceiling. Each night, Isaac asks what happened to Alia? What happened to the books? We finally looked it up and they re-built the library and she is the librarian again with all the books and stories she held safe from our mass destruction. Continue reading

A Spirituality of the Feet Moment

OzBy Dr. Oz Cole-Arnal (far left in photo), former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

As a “once upon a time” born-again fundamentalist Lutheran, nurtured and raised in a Pennsylvania steel town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who bought into that epoch’s anti-Catholicism and anti-Communism, I reflected the standard “White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant—Male” (WASP-M) privilege while being blithely unaware of the advantages this reality provided. My intense discovery of the quintessential Protestant core belief that we are made right with God, through no works of our own but solely though divine love manifested through Christ’s cross and made personal through trust in this radical God of love, combined with my academic love and success, led me to the ordained Lutheran ministry and the hope of teaching New Testament after a stint in parish ministry. Such a dream was turned on its head by a more profound conversion on the evening of April 4, 1968 when the blood of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poured out on the balcony of Memphis, Tennessee’s Lorraine Motel. At the very moment I heard the news of his death, I feel to my knees and through my tears, vowed never to be silent in the face of injustice. Whether or not I have been true to that pledge remains in God’s loving hands, precisely where it belongs, but I highlight here one glorious moment of a fifty-year pilgrimage that I celebrate to this very day. Continue reading

Meeting the Sacred in Our Daily Lives

IMG_9157By Marcia Lee

Every month, I host a gathering at Taproot Sanctuary, an intentional community of mostly people of color working on living in right relationship with the earth and our neighbors.  These gatherings are Circles of Trust.  They are in the lineage of the work of Parker Palmer through my work as a facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal.  The purpose of these gatherings, or mini-retreats, is to create a space for us to listen to our inner voices and to support each other in following the calling of our own souls.  We do this type of deep listening best when we are in spaces where we can trust that our words and actions are not repeated and that the people in the community with us are listening to us not for their own benefits, but to just be a witness and support of us.  We use what we call third things to accompany us.  The third thing might be a poem, song, or something in nature.  These third things allow us to focus in on the issue at hand in a more gentle and circular manner. Continue reading

Loving Our Enemies in the Work for Social Change: An Interview with Jonathan Matthew Smucker

SmuckerIntroduction: Jonathan Matthew Smucker (right) is a Mennonite political organizer and author who recently published Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals. He is currently working in his home town of Lancaster Pennsylvania with Lancaster Stands Up to support Jess King, a Mennonite candidate for US House of Representatives. In our conversation we explored his relationship with his Mennonite faith and how his work relates to loving our enemies. 

Note: A shorter version of this interview curated by Tim Nafziger was published in the October 2018 print edition of The Mennonite.

Tim Nafziger: How would you introduce yourself to Mennonites who aren’t familiar with your work?

Jonathan Matthew Smucker: I grew up Mennonite in Lancaster County in a rural, working class pretty conservative area. We went to Bart Mennonite Church until I was nine and then we went to Ridgeview Mennonite Church. Continue reading

A Revelation

Descending, Front CoverAn excerpt from Tommy Airey’s recent release Descending Like A Dove: Adventures in Decolonizing Evangelical Christianity.

A few weeks into 2016, the Flint water crisis went viral. Tap water was poisoned with high levels of lead and bacteria. As complaints from residents came pouring in, city and state officials did nothing to change the situation. Just denial. For almost two whole years.

A month after the crisis made the headlines of every major newspaper in the world, Flint native and retired autoworker Claire McClinton drove sixty miles south to visit a group of us organizing for clean and affordable water in Detroit. These were Claire’s opening remarks:

We send you greetings from the occupied city of Flint. You can go to the gas station and get lead-free gas. You can go to the hardware store and get lead-free paint. Even a capitalist knows the dangers of lead. But we can’t go to our sink and get lead-free water. I’ve got PTSD. In fact, everybody’s got it if you care about humanity.

Continue reading