Radical Discipleship: An Invitation to be Led by the Spirit in Prayer

JoBy Rev. Joanna Lawrence Shenk

*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.

A version of this article was first preached at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco on March 31, 2019

During Lent this year I experienced a stripping away, a reorientation in a vulnerable and uncomfortable way. I recognized my need for God and guidance by the Spirit anew. It has led to questions such as:

Where is the Spirit at work?
Am I attentive enough to follow the Spirit’s leading?
Am I courageous enough to follow?
Do I actually need God or do I think I’m okay with my analysis and intention to do good in the world?

 

In this time prayer has become a central practice. Continue reading

Rock! Paper! Scissors!

lc7apk0_2_orig.pngWe are excited to share that Jesus Radicals has started a new online journal- Rock! Paper! Scissors! Tools for anarchists + Christian thought and action. The first issue is out edited by Joanna Shenk on The Movement Makes us Human.

In a time when the inhumanity of heteronormative, white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy are publicly normalized by the powerful, Jesus Radicals shares stories of resistance, love, and transformation. The Movement Makes Us Human, the title of a newly released book on the life and thought of social movement veteran Dr. Vincent Harding authored by co-organizer Joanna Shenk, is also the theme of the first issue of the Jesus Radicals online journal.

Check out the Journal here!

Call for Content: 2 More Days!

PrintFrom Joanna Shenk, the author of the newly released The Movement Makes Us Human and the co-curator of Jesus Radicals:

In a time when the inhumanity of racism and greed are publicly normalized by the powerful, Jesus Radicals want to share stories of resistance, love, and transformation. The Movement Makes Us Human, the title of a newly released book on the life and thought of social movement veteran Dr. Vincent Harding authored by co-organizer Joanna Shenk, is also the theme of the first issue of the Jesus Radicals’ online journal, Rock! Paper! Scissors! Tools for anarchist + Christian thought .

We believe that involvement in movements for justice — like #metoo and Black Lives Matter and the resistance at Camp Makwa — invites us to embody our deepest humanity. This way of being human connects us across lines of difference and normalizes solidarity in the face of alienation and hate. Continue reading

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

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. 

Continue reading