Sermon: Walking in the Way of Righteousness

IMG_4625By Joanna Shenk

Psalm 85:8-13

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a loved one in which they asked me if I thought holiness and righteousness were important… or if I valued them as a Christian. I can’t remember exactly how they said it, but it was said in a way that assumed I probably didn’t think they were important. I explained to them that it was frustrating to be asked the question in that way because it put me on the defensive… like I needed to prove something to them. To their credit, they understood and agreed it made for better conversation if they asked me how I understand holiness and righteousness or what has been my journey with those things. Continue reading

Sermon: Imprisoned by Hope

joannaBy Joanna Shenk, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Zechariah 9:9-12

I had a hard time getting out of bed yesterday morning. I was feeling the weight of a lot of things and wondered if it was futile and disingenuous to write a sermon that offered hope. I wasn’t feeling hopeful. I was feeling more like the title to the most recent Metallica album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.” The bad guys keep winning. Vulnerable people are endlessly oppressed. And it seems like so many people don’t even have a moral consciousness to appeal to. 

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Sermon:On Practicing a Mystical Anarchist Ethic

joanna shenk.jpgBy Joanna Shenk, February 5, 2017, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Isaiah 58:1-12

When my older brother went to college, I remember being taken aback when he said his roommate’s mom was an anarchist. I felt so sorry for his roommate and figured he probably had a terrible childhood. In my mind, being an anarchist meant something related to the anti-christ. It was all one category to me because I thought it was all related to the same word. Continue reading

Empire Cracking: Reflection from Joanna Shenk

joannaThis interview was taken by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann as part of a writing project for Geez Magazine entitled “She is Breathing: Listening for Another World and an End to Empire.” It was published in the Winter Issue.

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann: Where are the moments for you where you are beginning to see a crack in the empire? Where is resurrection alive and being practiced? What is the story that lingers on your heart and keeps you moving forward? Is this the moment we’ve been waiting for? Is another world being birthed before our eyes?

Joanna Shenk: This spring and fall our congregation is engaging in a two-part learning process. In the spring we took a couple months on the theme of Recognizing Structural Sin/Injustice. Continue reading