The Church We Long to Be

Last week I participated in the Mennonite Church USA Future Church Summit. It was a structured conversation about who we want to be as Mennonites and what we hope for our church. Here is a summary of what I heard: “Jesus” this and “Jesus” that. Mennonites love Jesus. We want to follow Jesus. Everything else…

Inclusive Communities

Acts 11:1-18 One thing this story tells us is that the church rumor mill is as old as the church itself. Even without the benefit of telephones, newspapers, Facebook, or Twitter, the apostles and believers in Judea have heard about what Peter did in Caesarea–namely, he baptized a bunch of Gentiles. Now you might think…

On Doing Faith Together

*This reflection is excerpted from a sermon on Mark 1:14-20. You can also listen to the audio.] This is one of those overly-familiar texts. One of those Bible stories we’ve heard over and over again since we were kids. I looked up the scripture, saw the heading–”Jesus calls the disciples”–and I knew what the text…

On Being Church

*This reflection is excerpted from a sermon based on Matthew 18:15-20 that  I preached about three years ago. (Funny how the lectionary works like that!) – – – – – The Greek word that gets translated as “church”–ekklesia–shows up on only two occasions in the Gospels. Both in Matthew. The first is: “You are Peter,…

Let’s Talk About the “Third Way”

If you have been reading recent statements by Mennonite Church USA leaders, or even engaging in more private conversations about the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the Mennonite church, you have heard the term “third way.” A lot. Coming from denominational leadership, third way seems to be code for status quo. Calls for people to…

Sermon Snippet: Acts 15

Here are a few excerpts from this past Sunday’s sermon on Acts 15–a.k.a. The Jerusalem Council. My fifteen-year-old informs me that she was trying to read during the sermon, “But then you got loud.” I’m afraid you won’t be able to experience the full effect of my pulpit pounding–you’ll just have to use your imaginations.…

Story-Shaped Theology

This morning I came across this beautiful question in a sermon from Randy Newswanger: Are my understandings of God, my understandings of healing and redemption, my understandings of community and celebration large enough to hold the specific details of your story? I think this question is at the heart of church. We base our shared…