March 21, 2019

In 2008, Houston-area mega-church pastor Kerry Shook and his wife and mission’s director Chris published the book One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller, so perhaps you’ve read it. I confess that I have not. But I do know that the major premise of the book is to imagine what you would do with your life if you knew that you only had one month to live… Read more

March 14, 2019

Ever since the extent and gravity of John Howard Yoder’s sexual offenses have come to public light, it’s common to hear the question, Where does Anabaptist-Mennonite theology go now? This week the Institute of Mennonite Studies is hosting the conference Liberating the Politics of Jesus, which promises to provide a compelling answer to that question. One of the conference organizers, Darryl W. Stephens, provides a bit of background: The vision of liberating the radical political ethic of Jesus Christ, as witnessed… Read more

March 12, 2019

This weekend, after three years of regular bedtime readings, my 9-year-old and I finally finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For those who haven’t spent three years reading the books or twelve hours watching the movies, I’ll summarize briefly. The evil Lord Sauron forges 20 rings of power, 3 for elf kinds, 7 dwarf kings, 9 for human kings, and 1 for himself to rule over them all. After Sauron is killed in battle, his ring still gives his… Read more

March 7, 2019

Last weekend I had the good fortune of hearing Lisa Sharon Harper speak in South Bend on the theme of her book The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right. Harper is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a consulting group that aims to “help communities shrink the narrative gap, by identifying core issues and building community capacity so they might work toward common solutions for a just world.” In her sermon based on her book, she… Read more

March 4, 2019

One cool thing about working at AMBS is that there’s a table of free books in the lounge—books that have been remaindered by the library or donated by retired faculty or alumni. And sometimes those books include John Howard Yoder’s personal bound copy of the first eight issues of the Concern pamphlet series.* As GAMEO describes, Concern is the name given to a series of pamphlets initiated by a group of young American Mennonite graduate students, relief workers, and missionaries who… Read more

February 28, 2019

A few years ago the good people at Sojourners invited me to write a short article on the varieties of approaches to Christian nonviolence. In “A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence,” Sojourners (January 2016), I describe eight distinct approaches to nonviolence, each exemplified by a Christian thinker or activist: 1. ‘Realist’ Nonviolence Walter Rauschenbusch (1861- 1918) Key Work: A Theology for the Social Gospel (1917) 2. The Nonviolence of the Disinherited Howard Thurman (1899-1981) Key Work: Jesus and the Disinherited (1949) 3. The Nonviolence of Christian… Read more

February 25, 2019

Recently I had a conversation with an AMBS colleague about the distinction between Anabaptism and neo-Anabaptism. After I shared with him what I thought the differences were, I did what I normally do when I’ve just said something with more confidence than is warranted: I went back to my office and looked up the terms on the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO!). Problem is, there’s no entry there for neo-Anabaptism (yet). And the original entry for Anabaptism is written in part by the father… Read more

February 22, 2019

Last year the church where I serve as teaching pastor, Keller Park Church (South Bend, Indiana), celebrated its 50th anniversary—or our very own year of Jubilee. To celebrate this occasion, I preached a series on the Jubilee theme as found in the Gospel of Luke (with allusions to Isaiah and Leviticus). Below is the fifth sermon of the series. (While you’re here, check out the other sermons, Revolution, Release, Rest-oration, and Remembrance.) If you ever read straight through one of the Gospels, you’ll be… Read more

February 19, 2019

Here’s a roundup of some stories that caught my attention from various Mennonite outlets over the past few weeks. If there’s any I should include in a future dispatch, let me know in the comments. 1. Militant Mennonites Over at Canadian Mennonite, Karl Koop writes about an aspect of Mennonite life that many Mennonites would like to ignore: pro-war Mennonites. Koop writes, To be sure, there has always been a nonresistant or pacifist thread running through the Mennonite story. Throughout the centuries,… Read more

February 15, 2019

Last year the church where I serve as teaching pastor, Keller Park Church (South Bend, Indiana), celebrated its 50th anniversary—or our very own year of Jubilee. To celebrate this occasion, I preached a series on the Jubilee theme as found in the Gospel of Luke (with allusions to Isaiah and Leviticus). Below is the fourth sermon of the series. (While you’re here, check out the other sermons, Revolution, Release, and Rest-oration.) When I was in college, I tried to keep a regular… Read more

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