Complexities in Nigeria’s democracy and development

December 30, 2015 Thirdway

By Cora Siebert, advocacy research intern for MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office. Nigeria’s presidential election in March 2015 was heralded in the media as a monumental turning point in the country’s political history. Local and international media alike deemed the election to be free and fair, resulting in Goodluck Jonathon willingly and peacefully transferring power to a new leader, Muhammadu Buhari. This is in a country with a long history — since independence from Britain in 1960 — of rigged elections and military coups.  It was also one of the first times in contemporary African politics that an incumbent was defeated […]

Stories for Christmas – Part 3: Touched by Grace

December 25, 2015 Melodie Davis

Note from Melodie Davis: The writer of this week’s special story for Christmas is Elizabeth Raid, who lives in Newton, Kansas, with her husband, Lou Gomez Jr. They have five children and 13 grandchildren. This story (now slightly abridged) was included in a story anthology, Fifty Shades of Grace: Stories of Inspiration and Promise, published by Herald Press in 2013. Used by permission. Perhaps you can enjoy it while reflecting on your Christmas blessings as you sit by the Christmas tree or wherever your favorite meditation place is. ****** Touched by Grace by Elizabeth Raid A cup of hot chocolate and […]

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 25, 2015 Matthew Kauffman Smith

I don’t blame anyone for loathing the Star Wars franchise. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry now in the hands of Disney. Go into any store—not just toy stores—and you’ll find all kind of tie-ins: vitamins, bandages, cereal, notebooks, and action figures. If you have Star Wars fatigue, or if you never cared for the franchise, then skip the long lines and sleep through the hubbub. If you can separate the hype from the art, however, and look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as a solitary story, then you’ll appreciate it for what it is: a well-made film. I was talking […]

Peace on earth, goodwill to all

December 24, 2015 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Each year at Christmas we sing songs and read Scripture texts about the “little town” of Bethlehem. It is easy to get caught up in a sentimental version of Christmas, with a cozy manger scene and everyone gathered around, gazing tranquilly at the new baby. The reality was probably a lot more messy. Giving birth in a cave and placing the newborn in a feeding trough was not exactly a sign of greatness to come. And the shepherds that came to see the child? According to Alan Culpepper’s commentary on Luke, “shepherding was a despised occupation […]

Stories for Christmas—Part 2: A Real Family?

December 18, 2015 Melodie Davis

Note from Melodie Davis: The writer of this week’s column is Susanne Coalson Donoghue, an author, poet, blogger, spiritual director, mother, and grandmother. This is an excerpt from her book, Meditations for Single Moms, originally written when she was in the thick of single motherhood—a situation so many young women through the centuries have faced. Here’s a story Susanne remembers from one hurtful interchange with her young daughter at Christmas. Excerpt used by permission of Herald Press. ****** A Real Family? by Susanne Coalson Donoghue “Mom,” my eight-year-old daughter said to me one Christmas morning, “we aren’t a real family.” […]


December 18, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Double, double, toil and trouble. The new adaptation of Macbeth is a horrifying reminder why Shakespeare still has the power to affect audiences four hundred years after his death. Most everyone knows the play is the tragic story of Lord and Lady Macbeth’s ambition, but the enthralling gambit in director Justin Kurzel’s effort is to paint ambition as the food they eat when grief has taken every other reason to go on. Some moments felt too gut-wrenching to bear. That’s the way the play was written, with madness and desolation at the heart of the tale of a man who […]

Should the church take sides or stay neutral with the #BlackLivesMatter movement?

December 17, 2015 Drew G. I. Hart

Originally posted Nov 25, 2015 by Drew G. I. Hart on his blog Taking Jesus Seriously at The struggle has come near, so what should we do? When is it the right time to take sides, standing with those that live with the daily threat of violence, suffering, and death? Who decides? In the midst of 400 years of white supremacist terrorism many Christian communities still do not want to take sides. Neutrality and the middle way has always been a tempting option for those not directly violated by the concrete death-dealing forces taking people’s lives away quickly through bullets […]


December 11, 2015 Vic Thiessen

Likely to be a major winner at the Academy Awards, Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is not only a great film but a vitally important one. That importance has less to do with the specific story it tells than with the film’s general subject matter: investigative journalism. I believe risky investigative journalism is the most important prophetic work of our time. The specific story is based on true events, so I will take the liberty of describing more of the plot than usual, with a spoiler warning for those who don’t know the facts and might want to watch the film without […]

Christmas Story from a Hutterite Colony

December 11, 2015 Melodie Davis

The serious countdown until Christmas is on. It is always hard for pastors and columnists to find or write new material for big special days as they roll around. But there are stories that grab us and stop us in our tracks to say, yes, yes, this is what Christmas is truly about. But when he said his line, he simply could never get it right. The first story comes from a present-day Hutterite colony. Yes, people still live in communities where they share possessions based on the practice of the early Christians in Acts 2: “All those who had […]

Piecing a patchwork towards peace

December 11, 2015 Charissa Zehr

By Charissa Zehr The quilts were hung with care and pride at the front of the open-air pavilion where the graduation ceremony was to take place. The vivid colors and detailed piecework narrated the story of a community that was ripped apart and has worked their way back towards wholeness, piece by piece. On one side, the quilt portrays a rather idyllic scene – children at play, animals, vegetation, and people going about their daily tasks. The opposite quilt stands in stark contrast. The mountain backdrop is similar, but one house is engulfed in flames; armed people in fatigues line […]