God’s Blessing to the Weak

RachelThe benediction given by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber at the funeral of Rachel Held Evans (re-posted by Diana Butler Bass on social media).

Blessed are the agnostics. Blessed are they who doubt. Blessed are those who have nothing to offer. Blessed are the preschoolers who cut in line at communion. Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are those whom no one else notices. The kids who sit alone at middle-school lunch tables. The laundry guys at the hospital. The sex workers and the night-shift street sweepers. The closeted. The teens who have to figure out ways to hide the new cuts on their arms. Blessed are the meek. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you. Continue reading

Dad’s “Heart Shield” Bible

By Ken Sehested

Pictured below is my Dad’s “Heart Shield” Bible, a copy of the New Testament on to which a metal plate front cover has been attached. The engraved cover, now smudged by corrosion, reads “May this keep you safe from harm.” It was sold by the Know Your Bible Sales Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufactured by the Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, and was designed to fit into a soldier’s uniform shirt pocket. Multiple stories exist of soldiers reportedly spared serious injury when bullets struck this tiny piece of body armor.

Dad's _Shield and New Testament_

An inscription inside the cover indicates that Dad’s sister, my Aunt Juanita, gave him this gift. No date is listed, but it was sometime before Dad landed with the first wave of soldiers storming Omaha Beach in the June 1944 Allies’ D-Day invasion on the French coast in World War II. Dad was among the fortunate survivors, though he carried for the remainder of his life a piece of German artillery shrapnel embedded in bone behind his right ear. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Pentecost

20190221_073837Pentecost, Year C
Acts 2

By Wes Howard Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young people shall see visions, and your old people shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2.17)

Late this past winter, we had to remove a big, old spruce tree from the south side of our little house here in the Issaquah Creek watershed. The City had replaced a sewer line adjacent to our house a few years earlier, and it had severed a major root of the tree. We knew it was only a matter of time for that old spruce. It finally gave up and down it came to protect our house from the risk of it falling on the roof. Continue reading

To Flip the Script of What a Christian Minister Can Be

Ben2By Ben Wideman, campus minister for the 3rd Way Collective in State College, PA

*This is part of a series of pieces from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

Discipleship is a word that gets tossed around a lot in campus ministry. It is at the core of many different organizations on our campus. We even have a campus ministry that was founded at Penn State and now present on more than a dozen campuses across the country called DiscipleMakers. Most of these organizations see discipleship as a sending call to embody a literal biblical call to make non-believers or non-practicing Christians into disciples of Christ (based on the Matthew 28 passage often referred to as the Great Commission). Continue reading

Freedom Movements

RubyFrom the front porch of Mother Ruby Sales (May 19, 2019).

Do freedom movements seek to build a new table or do they seek to gain more seats at a broken down one? Do they create new powerful people or do they create new token elites? Do nonviolent movements use the same language to talk about ourselves and lives that we learn from the guardians of power or do we speak in new and multiple tongues that express the largeness of our individual and collective lives?

Confronting U.S. Warring Madness

CPT IK

Rebekah, Runak, Kamaran (foreground left to right), and I hiked to a cave and waterfall. PC: Weldon Nisly                  

An excerpt from the monthly update of Weldon Nisly, a retired Mennonite pastor and part-time member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraqi Kurdistan (CPT IK) delegation. 

A few years ago, after 25 years as a human rights and women’s rights activist, Gulistan Saeed decided to seek change within the political system. Elected as a Member of Parliament of the KRG, she was granted her request to serve on the human rights committee.

Gulistan welcomed the CPT IK team to the KRG Parliament and listened as we shared the Deraluk families’ sorrow and request for assistance. She promised to take their case to her committee and to an independent Kurdish human rights committee to help the families find their missing loved ones. She also expressed eagerness to work with CPT on future human rights cases and encouraged CPT to bring these Deraluk families to Erbil to meet with other Members of Parliament. She recommended that CPT and the families have a press conference to help the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and the world hear the traumatic impact of Turkey’s cross border bombing of civilians. Continue reading