Thoughts from a Virtual Church Visitor: Welcoming and Gathering

So far on my mini-May-sabbatical I’ve engaged with about twenty different church worship services: emailed services, live-streamed services, pre-recorded services, Zoom services. Lots of them have been Mennonite, but I’ve also hung out with some Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ, and non-denominational folks. In my first post about this experience, I suggested some ways to…

Reflecting on My Ordination

Ten years ago today, I was ordained as a pastor in Mennonite Church USA. It’s an odd kind of anniversary—one that feels like it should be celebrated somehow, but one for which there are no set celebration models. So I’ve spent my day being a pastor—answering email, writing a sermon, making phone calls, visiting a…

What do You Do?

“So, Joanna, what do you do?” My comfort level with this question depends on the context. In this case, I was at a neighborhood get-together with several new neighbors I didn’t know very well. The 79-year-old man asking the question is active in a local conservative independent evangelical church. The 60ish-year-old man also listening in…

Just Like Jesus

Lately, I’ve kinda felt like Jesus. Not Jesus when he was kind-hearted and compassionate–blessing the children and touching the lepers. Not Jesus when he was in the miracle groove–oozing healing power onto everyone who touched him or turning a few iffy fish into the best potluck meal ever. Not Jesus when he was impressing (and…