When it Rains

rainBy Jordan Leahy

When I was a kid, I was terrified of thunderstorms. Celestial rumblings and quaking ground elicited great anxiety until much later in life than I care to admit. When I saw the clouds approaching, I’d prepare a makeshift nest in the closest beneath the staircase. I’d take books or a card game and hide out until the storm passed.

In adulthood, I find such storms soothing, a relief from summer heat and time to be close with my family. Storms create a time for various activities of stillness and rest. When the clouds come into view, anticipation builds at the coming refreshment. Continue reading

My spouse was one of the clergy standing before the white nationalists in Charlottesville

PASTORS+By Liza Neal

My spouse was one of the clergy standing in a line before the white nationalists in Charlottesville.  We both knew God is calling us to stand up to white supremacy.  We understood the risk.  Only one of us was going because we didn’t want our child to lose both parents.

That weekend I thought a lot about Peter’s wife.  She is barely mentioned.  In the synoptic gospels Peter’s mother-in-law has a fever, Jesus heals her, and she offers hospitality.  You can’t have a mother-in-law without a wife… Continue reading

Sermon: Fig Cakes, Tamales, and a Heap of Raisins

tamalesBy Joyce Hollyday
Circle of Mercy: October 1, 2017, World Communion Sunday
1 Samuel 25

We held a sheep-shearing day every spring at Swan Mountain Farm, where I used to live. Mark, the chief shearer, always started with the rams because, he explained, they “come with handles.” Mark grabbed Charlie by the horns and wrestled him over on his side. Charlie, like all the sheep, began that morning as a massive ball of fluff, as wide as he was tall, his wool discolored a dingy brown by dirt. By the time the clipping was done, he was a skinny thing, and the thin layer of wool left on him was shockingly white. As soon as he could get his feet under him, Charlie escaped into the pasture. Mark then repeated the process with Chip. And when he ran into the pasture, the two rams, not recognizing each other with their new haircuts, aimed their horns, charged at each other, and butted heads repeatedly. Continue reading

Lying awake these nights

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By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I lie awake feeling the weight of the world on my chest. Death haunting our country again. Fifty lives and hundreds wounded. All from guns. I can’t twist my head around any rational for guns. I don’t understand the safety argument. I think of the man in the window and the media argument that he fits “no mold” for motive or terrorism. They can’t say it. That he fits exactly the mold of the violent rampage that rules this country. White men. There is a violent disease filled with numbing, racist hatred. It is a disease that knows no empathy, no kindness, no vulnerability, no self-knowledge, no community. It is a lonely, despicable rotting disease. I lie there with tears in my eyes and rage in my belly at the patriarchy and white supremacy that rules.

And then…I think of these two baby boys that sleep soundly feet away from my bed. I love them more than anything. I love their laughter and their tears and the people they are becoming. I think of this disease that is ready to pounce and swallow them whole. What can I do? How can I mother in a way where they refuse the outstretched hand offered to them as white men? My heart gives in and weeps.

Vincent Harding, rebels and MJ Sharp

Untitled-designBy Joanna Shenk, pastor at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco.
Written for The Mennonite.

Alongside writing Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Vincent Harding also wrote and delivered a speech to Mennonites in Amsterdam that same year. He made a call to Mennonites that, unrealized in that era, was fulfilled by Michael Jesse (MJ) Sharp.

At the Mennonite World Conference in Amsterdam in 1967, Harding urged the mostly Western Mennonite audience to take seriously the concerns and anger of the poor and dispossessed across the world. He articulated why these people were angry and why they were justified in that anger due to the colonization of their land, the exploitation of their people and the theft of their natural resources.

Continue reading