Pacifist and combat veteran together at footwashing basin

March 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Mia Kivlighan, EMU  Darin Busé, a United Methodist pastor, came to Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a distinct plan: in his studies, he would “seek healing so that I could learn to heal healers.” The pain and wounds he sought to heal are deep and old and shared by many who have seen war: Darin is a combat veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Army three weeks before his 19th birthday. He worked as a psychological operations specialist in several major combat operations, including Honduras, Panama and in Iraq during the First Gulf War. “I have confronted evil face to face,” […]

A forgotten epidemic

February 27, 2016 Thirdway

By Katharine Oswald Haiti is home to the world’s worst cholera epidemic today. The outbreak was instigated in 2010, unknowingly, by United Nations (U.N.) peacekeepers. Five years later, Haitians are still waiting for an adequate response to this disaster. I sat beneath an almond tree in Poirée, a rice-planting village on the outskirts of St. Marc, in northwestern Haiti. Though 40 townspeople formed a tight circle around my makeshift interview station, my attention was focused on the slight woman seated across from me. “Did you contract cholera?” I asked her.  “Yes.” “Did anyone else in your family contract it?” A […]

Clumps of Trees Holding Hands

February 26, 2016 Melodie Davis

We enjoy visiting the churches our daughters are a part of when we get the chance to spend a Sunday or weekend in their community. Not only does it give us a taste of the spiritual nourishment they are getting and the people they see and pray with every week, but participating in their worship also offers us a chance to sample sermons from different pastors. It’s better than just being a straight-up cold-call visitor (so to speak) in a church you’ve never visited before and will likely never visit again—where the attachments and connections are nil. Pederson talked about […]

Not by bread alone

February 26, 2016 Celeste Kennel-Shank

People do not live by bread alone, Jesus tells Satan when he is tempted in the wilderness. Though Jesus “was famished”—or perhaps because of that—he knows in his body that food is not all that we need for sustenance. Jesus’ words have kept returning to me in the past weeks. Our relationship with food can become distorted. We mix food and fellowship, which isn’t necessarily bad until the occasion becomes more about eating than connecting with each other. At a local winter farmer’s market, along with crops that can be stored in the cold months, vendors sell prepared food. One […]

Landfill Harmonic

February 26, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

When I started working at a newspaper shortly after graduating from college, I learned a valuable lesson early on: When presented with a compelling story, resist the temptation to use flowery adjectives, and don’t try to overdramatize a story that is already dramatic. If someone overcomes an obstacle or rallies for an improbable victory, then the story should lead the author, not the other way around. Chavez noticed a void of opportunities for the children of Cateura, so he decided to provide music lessons. Simple storytelling and allowing the characters and subject matter to lead the way is the primary reason […]

Praying by the Prisons

February 25, 2016 Thirdway

Praying by the Prisons By Randy Klassen Every so often, the Lord’s Prayer erupts as a public issue, as it did recently in a Saskatchewan community. Should it be recited in a public school? Personally, I have more than enough challenges keeping it in my own home, or my own heart. Do those of us who serve “in the name of Christ” (those of us who work or volunteer for MCC have that as our guiding star) let this prayer speak into, and even challenge, our own daily practices? A few months ago, I went on an early morning walk […]

Dogs, Sin, Shame, and Me

February 19, 2016 Melodie Davis

I’m sure most readers have seen the hilarious videos on YouTube of dogs being shamed by their owners for chewing up a pen, taking apart the new dog cushion they so lovingly provided, snacking on their slippers, and so on. While I would never shame a dog just to make a video, I’m always amused—even if angry—when I have to shame our one-year-old overgrown pup, Velvet. Will she never learn? So, afresh, I got to see her turn her head, put on the sad face, and suffer my glare. They know your wrath is coming even as they mischievously enjoy […]

Bridge of Spies

February 19, 2016 Carmen Andres

[This review may contain spoilers] The Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies is an inspiring story and a great piece of filmmaking. Critics praise the collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, calling the film gripping, satisfying, and even eloquent. It is a timely story that invites us to examine our own roles in our current culture, where fears of terrorism too often drive opinion and policy. But the heart of the film is Hanks’s James B. Donovan, a man of quiet tenacity and compassion who believes in the value of the Constitution and that “every person matters”—even an enemy. The Cold War […]

Let the little children come

February 12, 2016 Tammy Alexander

By Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office Just before Christmas, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration would begin a new series of immigration raids. Immigration raids are, unfortunately, not a new tactic for the administration (Operation Cross Check last year picked up more than 2,000 immigrants, including Mennonite pastor Max Villatoro). A troubling feature of these newest raids, however, is that they target women and children. In the past few years, the number of migrants seeking asylum—i.e., protection—from the three Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has risen sharply. This refugee population consists […]

Hail, Caesar!

February 12, 2016 Vic Thiessen

A Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, a Greek Orthodox priest, and a Jewish rabbi walk into a bar—no, they go fishing—no, they sit in a Hollywood studio office in 1951 and debate whether an upcoming film’s depiction of Jesus will be offensive to reasonable people. I had a grin on my face from almost the beginning to the end of this marvelous comedy. That absolutely hilarious scene is the best of many whacky and wonderful scenes in the Coen brothers’ new film, Hail Caesar! It’s a film that begins and ends with Jesus on the cross, has countless references to […]