It's hot! It's about 107 degrees here in Raleigh and expected to stay about the same well into next week. It looks like it's uncomfortable everywhere though, so stay in, stay cool, and enjoy this issue of PeaceSigns.<read more>
by Berry Friesen
Over 35 years of work for five private nonprofits, I became convinced of the importance of mission to organizational effectiveness. When effective leadership is at the helm, "mission" is always front and center.<read more>
Given that experience, I find it easy to embrace the missional emphasis of Mennonite Church USA. Although a network of congregations and local conferences may be distinguishable in many ways from a nonprofit, I see little difference in the critical role that mission should play in shaping identity and forms of engagement.
Let's carry that analogy a step further to the way nonprofits make plans and set objectives.
by Merrill R. Miller
"Otterville" is copyrighted and is not to be reproduced in any form without permission. Contact Merrill Miller at <MerrillM@MennoMedia.org><read more>
The biblical narrative is rich with texts that describe God's desire for people and nations to be in right relationship with the Creator, with creation, and with each other. The prophet Micah expounds on this vision when he foresees a day when nations will abolish war and injustice, and every person will live a life of dignity without fear (Micah 4:1-5). God's desire for people, communities, and nations is to enjoy a life that is free from poverty, injustice, and any other form of oppression. This is a basic principle that must guide and shape all human interaction.<read more>
In 2003 I attended an Asian regional interfaith meeting in Indonesia. The US attacks on Iraq were underway with constant television coverage of the rapid push of troops toward Iraq's capital of Baghdad. Discussions of the war dominated tea breaks and lunch hours. There were a lot of expressions of anger and criticism of the invasion was emotional. The war was having alarming repercussions on the countries in Asia, increasing religious tensions and encouraging oppressive regimes in some countries to become more bold in their repression of civil and human rights groups.<read more>
During Matins (our morning Office) these past few weeks, we have been working our way through the Book of Numbers for our Old Testament reading and I have found myself becoming very focused on the idea of "craving" which is discussed in chapter 11 of that book. By way of reminder, by the time we get to Chapter 11, the Chosen People have been wandering in the desert for a very long time and things have not been going so well. But God has provided enough for his people by raining down manna from heaven for them. This manna is enough to survive on and is presented fresh five mornings a week in enough quantity to feed all the people all day, while enough is available on the day before the Sabbath to last two days. The manna is described as tasting like "cakes baked with oil" (11:8), which sounds pretty good to me, but I digress...<read more>
Coming up with a title for this article was the first obstacle that I encountered as I sat down to write it. The real emphasis of what follows is intended to be that things are not simple! This should come as no surprise to anyone, but often we try to simplify life to make things easier, to make things fit with what we wish were true, or even to fit neatly into our theology.<read more>
Even though I grew up on the fringes of my denomination, somehow I was still infused with the value of community so prevalent within my faith.<read more>
My parents made sure I was connected to their families in upstate New York by driving 26 hours (one way) from Mississippi every Christmas. I experienced a Laura Ingalls Wilder kind of holiday season with Grandma's big house filled with lots of uncles, aunts, and cousins. Milk fresh from the dairy cows in the barn. Hay forts. Grandpa's carpentry shop. Trips to the sugar bush. Tables busting with the kind of food that only Grandmas can make. Snow forts, snow sleighs, snow sleds, snowmobiling, snow fights, snow shoes, snow anything. These trips connected me with my roots even though I was growing up in a very different place far away.