Star Trek and faith: a cosmology of reconciliationScience and Faithhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Star-Trek-and-faith-a-cosmology-of-reconciliationStar Trek and faith: a cosmology of reconciliationBy Zachary Headings

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New Zealand’s prime minister, trees teach compassionate justiceTreeshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/New-Zealand’s-prime-minister,-trees-teach-compassionate-justiceNew Zealand’s prime minister, trees teach compassionate justiceBy Mark Hurst
What to do with back-to-school energy when you’re not going back to schoolCareer Cornerhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/What-to-do-with-back-to-school-energy-when-you’re-not-going-back-to-school-What to do with back-to-school energy when you’re not going back to schoolBy Carmen Hoober
Banners of peacePeacemaking in Lithuania https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Banners-of-PeaceBanners of peaceBy Joe Sawatzky
Dangerous memories of the Trail of Death: Facing our past and moving toward peaceTrail of Deathhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Dangerous-Memories-of-the-Trail-of-Death-Facing-our-past-and-moving-toward-peaceDangerous memories of the Trail of Death: Facing our past and moving toward peaceBy Peter Anderson
Not silence, but actionGP0|#b5f369f8-27f6-44b5-94b6-79da803f7935;L0|#0b5f369f8-27f6-44b5-94b6-79da803f7935|Canada;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#89f1dfe2-8e50-4b9f-b81a-f3f6dcbc35fc;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebfhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Not-silence,-but-actionNot silence, but actionBy Wesley Bisset Ncube
A peek behind the curtain of servant projectsServant Projects at MennoCon 2019https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/A-peek-behind-the-curtain-of-servant-projectsA peek behind the curtain of servant projectsBy Lauren Eash Hershberger

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Service Adventure from both sideshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Service-Adventure-from-both-sidesService Adventure from both sidesBy Anna Yoder Schlabach<p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US" style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span></p><div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I grew up in Goshen</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> [Indiana]</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, attended </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Goshen High School</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, and, l</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ike</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> my sister, parents and grandparents before me, I was pretty sure I was heading to Goshen College. But I had a strong desire to do it on my own terms. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">o, rather than head straight from high school to college, I took</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> time out </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">for a year with</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> Service Adventure in Albany, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">O</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">regon</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">My service placements were at </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">a</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> nursing home and an </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">after-school</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">program. At the </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">nursing </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">home</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">completed</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> training to be a CNA</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> (</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">certified nursing </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">assistant</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">)</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">so I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">could help</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> dress, feed, toilet</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and transfer the residents. I liked being helpful and needed in practical ways. But what I really enjoyed was visiting with the </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">residents. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">When one of my </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">hospice </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">residents died, I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">was</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">surprised by how attached I had </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">become</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and I grieved her</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">My service placement </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">in</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">the </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">after-school</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> program helped vary the age range of people </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">with whom I worked</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. I also grew attached to the children I played with each day. But after that year</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> I had clarity that neither nursing nor teaching </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">were career</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> path</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">s</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> I wanted to pursue. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Each month</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my two </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">housemates and I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">had </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">individual </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">check-ins with our leaders, Steve and Ronda. I loved check-ins. They were a wonderful time to process my work and relationships inside the house. I felt valued and supported by </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">leaders. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I also valued witnessing their marriage up-close. My </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">parents’</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">marriage was the only one I knew</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> so</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> watching Steve and Ronda parent together, make decisions together, fight together</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and travel together was very educational. They were </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">a</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">fun, playful couple. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Steve was </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">sillier</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and Ronda was more responsible, but they both knew how to have a good </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">time. They were</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> honest with us about how hard it was for them to move to a new place and not know anyone.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":240}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">When I returned to Goshen College in the fall, I felt ready</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, and I</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> declare</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">d</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> a major of Undecided. Service </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Ad</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">venture </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">didn’t give me a clear path forward, but it helped me rule some things out </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">a</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">nd gain a wider perspective on the world. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Fast forward 10 years later</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, when I had completed</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">a seminary degree from </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Iliff</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> School of Theology in Denver. I knew I didn’t want to be a pastor right away</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and our friends, Gabe and Bethany Bauman Baker</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">had just</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> finishing their </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">second </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">year of being </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ervice </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">A</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">dventure leaders in Albuquerque</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, New Mexico</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. They encouraged </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my husband and </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">me</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">to consider applying to be </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">unit</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> leaders </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">there</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. Based on what </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> remembered of </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ervice </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">A</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">dventure, I thought it sounded like a great idea. Rather than jumping into traditional pastoring, we could experience another part of the country, I could tend a tiny flock, and we wouldn't have to cook dinner every night. It sounded amazing.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Spoiler alert</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">: </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">t</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> is more fun to be a </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ervice </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">A</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">dventure participant than it is to be a leader. We began the year with </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">five</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">18-year-old</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> girls</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> four</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> from the U</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">nited </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">tates</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">one</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> from Germany. All brought gifts and challenges</span><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">w</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">hich</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> in hindsight</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> is probably what Steve and Ronda would have said about our Oregon crew. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Just when we </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">hit </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">our stride in December, a fire rendered ou</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">r</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> house unlivable</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The six of us slept on sleeping bags for a week in a church member</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">’</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">s living room. The day after the fir</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">e</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Brian and I</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">discovered</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> we were pregnant. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">That was a hard time. I hated not being in control</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">and I hated that I had an audience of </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">four</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> watching </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my every move.</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> I was full of feelings and had no privacy. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">One night, a week before the girls were to go </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">home for Christmas</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, we </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">had</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> our</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">weekly house worship night</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">.</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> Our</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">German participant</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> read the Christmas story </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">and</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> reflected </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">on how</span><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">—</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">like us</span><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">—</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Mary and Joseph were homeless (and pregnant) and </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">struggl</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ed</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">to figure out where they could stay and what their future would look like. In that moment, I was grateful for her reminder that other people had been in this situation</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Christmas break gave us a reset</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. When </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">the girls </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">returned</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> from break, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">we had found a place to live for the rest of the year. Things calm</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ed</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> down again</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> as </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">we formed a new</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> routine in the new space.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Then we </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">discovered we</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> were having twins. That was a game changer. How could we be leaders and take care of twins? Would we need a new house? A new van? The fire and its aftermath had </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">taxed our</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> congregation as well</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">.</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">D</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">id they still have capacity for sponsoring the unit? </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Ultimately</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">there weren’t enough participants for the coming </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">year, so the unit closed and our two-year commitment with it. That meant </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my husband and I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">could spend </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">th</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">e</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">last few months focused on </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">t</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">he girls</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">without having to prepare for the next group</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">It</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> was a blessing, because I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">was put on</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> bedrest for the final </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">three</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">months of my pregnancy</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">couldn’t leave Albuquerque or </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">even </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">be up on my feet for </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">more</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> than 15 minutes at a time.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Gabe and Bethany </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">took the</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> girls to the Grand Canyon for our </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">year-end</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> trip. It wasn’t </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">how I</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> wanted to finish</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. But I learned how </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">to let other people step in and do the things I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">could no longer do. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The year had a lot of unexpected turns, but I think it was certainly a year of good learning for all of us. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">On the whole</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, my two years</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> of</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> participating in and leading </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">S</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ervice </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">A</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">dventure in Albany and Albuquerque </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">were the most</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> formative </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">of my life.</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> They </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">s</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">tretched </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">and</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> inspired me and laid the groundwork for </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">my future</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. As I think about my current work as a pastor, I </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">r</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">ecognize how</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> my </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">service </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">time at the </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">retirement </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">home prepared me for pastoring older people in the congregation</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. I recognize how</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> my time as a leader prepared me for the messiness of church life and pastoral care and leading</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, a</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">nd I think it also prepared us for parenting.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"></span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":200,"335559740":480}"><br></span></p></div></div>
Learning to Live by God’s Privilegehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Learning-to-Live-by-God’s-PrivilegeLearning to Live by God’s PrivilegeBy Joe Sawatzky<p>Toward the goal of becoming an "anti-racist" organization, Mennonite Mission Network works with other Mennonite Church USA agencies in hosting LURE, or Learning to Undo Racism Events, for our office staff.  In March, Lynda Hollinger-Janzen, writer for Mission Network, led us in a book review and discussion of White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White, by Daniel Hill, an evangelical pastor from Chicago.  Through personal testimony and insights gleaned from a variety of disciplines, Hill identifies seven stages through which white persons can expect to move on the journey from unawareness to active participation in overcoming racism.<br></p><h3>Acknowledging my white privilege<br></h3><p>In my 40 years, I have lived in the United States of America and South Africa, two of the most notoriously racist societies in the world.  The United States, having abolished slavery only in 1865, has perpetuated its legacy through racialized terror, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration.  South Africa saw a tortured colonial history morph into apartheid, the white supremacist system of "separateness" based on race. Apartheid, which ended only in 1994, continues to cast its pall over that nation.  </p><p>Yet I have also lived my life in the context of the church which, despite its failures, tells the story of Jesus who gave his life "for many", in order that "they may all be one" (Mk 14:24; Jn 17:20).  To use the biblical metaphor that Hill employs and which the Anabaptists readily embraced, I understand salvation in Christ as a "new birth" into the love of God and the love of neighbor (Jn 3:1-10; 13:34-35).  My calling and my challenge, therefore, is to "work out my salvation" from the sin of racism and toward the fellowship of the Spirit (Phil 2:12).</p><p>As I was reading Hill's book, I encountered a couple of personal disappointments related to my understanding of my vocation.  These disappointments capped an extended period of restlessness in my life and provoked moments of profound spiritual dejection.  Making matters worse, I sometimes saw my dejection mirrored in children whose self-assessment rose or fell with their athletic achievement.  These factors—my exposure to anti-racism education and my life situation—exposed the degree to which my dejection proceeded from unfulfilled expectations of status, success, and professional performance. These success markers were all rooted in my socialization as a white male, which taught me to expect to acquire certain life distinctions by such an age.<br></p><h3>Being reshaped by God's privilege<br></h3><p>I also was moved to ponder again the age-old quandary between "grace" and "works" in the experience of salvation.  As radical reformers, the Anabaptists, like the Protestant reformers, considered salvation to be God's gift of grace in Christ. But they argued that the human being is not passive—as are infants in baptism—in the appropriation of that grace.  Nevertheless, because Anabaptism prizes human responsibility in the experience of salvation, its followers may fall prey to chasing salvation "as if it were not a gift", as though what we achieve makes us loved of God (1 Cor 4:7).  </p><p>To be sure, authentic faith is faith that works; "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17, 26).  Yet the faith that justifies one before God is that which seeks neither earthly reward nor human praise but accepts God's grace in Christ. That grace is the privilege of knowing Jesus—the spiritual bread of which one may eat and never be hungry (Jn 6:35).  </p><p>I am still learning that the satisfaction of that security, the peace of God's privilege, is the power that overcomes our bondage to the privilege that destroys ourselves and others in our quest for salvation. <br></p>
Ending a year, starting a journeyhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Ending-a-year,-starting-a-journey-Ending a year, starting a journeyBy Michelle Moyer-Litwiller <p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">As we have gone through these last 10 months, we have all had highs and lows. This year has been life-giving, but also challenging. We have learned about ourselves and each other. We have become rooted in both our Service Adventure community and the larger community in which we live.  </span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">This year has allowed us to learn more about what Service Adventure is, create deep, meaningful relationships, and experience our individual and group transitions together.</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">  </span><br></p><p>When Rudy and I began as unit leaders here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last fall, we really had no idea what to expect for what our year would look like. What we have come to realize throughout this year is that, as in life, you cannot have expectations. Each day, week and month is going to be different from the last, and flexibility is the key to getting through. </p><p>The basic structure of our weeks is the same: The participants go to their work placements, Rudy and I work one or two days at the hospital, Monday we have learning components, Wednesday is worship night, and Thursday is Taco Thursday at church. However, the end results are always different. We go on trips, people get sick, difficult things happen at work, and when the dust settles, the only constant has been this group of participants and leaders, moving through it all together. Being a Service Adventure leader requires you to take many different roles and complete many different tasks. Just like in life, you cannot forecast what exactly you will be doing on a day-to-day basis. </p><p>Rudy and I have greatly enjoyed spending our year with these four wonderful individuals. This year has flown by, but at the same time, I look back to August and Florian's hair was only as long as mine when the unit began! </p><p>We have appreciated the time to create relationships with the participants both individually and as a group.  Once a month, one or both of us meet with each participant individually. We go on a walk, a bike ride, get coffee, or just chat in the casita. These one-to-one sessions have been some of the most sacred times for us this year. The intentional, dedicated time spent to learn more about each other is a gift in our busy world. It gives us a moment to decompress and connect on more than a superficial level. Coming into this program, this was probably one of the most intimidating parts for me specifically. </p><p>However, for the most part, we leave each one-to-one feeling more connected and aware of what is happening in each other's lives. We will be the first to say we don't always know what we are doing or how best to handle situations. Yet, we are learning how to be better at this from each person in the unit. Sometimes it may take patience and forgiveness from each other, but that is all part of life and living in community with five other people. One-to-ones have been very valuable in learning how we can help our community thrive. It has been a time to listen and reflect with one another. </p><p>We have had the opportunity to travel a lot this year, which has been some of the best time for us to cultivate relationships as a whole group. Though there is a lot of time spent in the car individually watching movies and sleeping, by the end of the trip, we often move to a time of being together and just enjoying each other's company as we suffer through the last few miles of what seem like never-ending car trips. </p><p>Also, the intentional group time each week at meals, learning components, and worship nights allow us to slow down and be together. At the beginning of the year, our group collectively decided to have house meals every night of the week. This was not a requirement, but a request to have a time of connection every night to debrief our wonderful, terrible and average days. These intentional experiences allow the group to dig deeper into what it means to live in community.</p><p>This year has been a transition for all of us. We have all come to a foreign place separately to live together. Each of us have moved away from our families and are experiencing this new place with one another. Transition brings exciting change and new experiences, but it also brings difficulties and stress. This year, our first year of Service Adventure leadership, brings a uniqueness we will not have with future units. Everything we do is a first for the whole group. This complete newness has brought its own challenges, but it has also brought us closer to one another. As a group we have transitioned from strangers, to a unit, and finally to a supportive community for each other. As this year comes to a close, we have each begun preparing for our own separate journeys. For Rudy and me, we are preparing for our second year as leaders. We have been interviewing participants for next year and exploring possible placements. For the participants, they are beginning to take the next steps in their own paths. Even though we will be parting ways, we will always be a part of each other's lives; we have created connections and relationships that we hope will be lifelong.  </p><p>We have learned that having expectations for Service Adventure is inadequate, and that our role, more than anything, is to be flexible and supportive through all the transitions that we face. This year and this group have been a blessing for us, and we look forward to seeing how different it will be to experience another year of Service Adventure with a new group of people. We are sad to see the end of this year, but excited to see everyone take the next step in their own journeys.<br></p>
Reflections on service in Albuquerque, New Mexicohttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Reflections-on-service-in-Albuquerque,-New-MexicoReflections on service in Albuquerque, New MexicoBy Sophia Amstutz<p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">When looking back on my year in Service Adventure, I initially felt overwhelmed. How could I sum up an entire life-changing 10 months in a few paragraphs? I decided to think of a few words that came to mind when I thought back over this last year: community, adventure, and love.</span><br></p><p>Community is something that needs to be built and tended to. When we attended our very first church service, I remember looking around thinking, "You're gonna get to know these people; this is your new church family, your new community!" My home church in Ontario is a small congregation full of sweet people, mostly retired/elderly folk. We are a tightknit community that often puts on potlucks, community barbecues, and interesting Sunday school discussions. I was happy to come to Albuquerque and find a similar environment that felt familiar enough to relax me. I soon got to know members of the congregation through fellowship over meals, fun game nights, cookie decorating, and scattered youth events. I'm so thankful for the support from my church community this year, both as an individual and as a Service Adventure participant. </p><p>Speaking of community, there has been a great sense of friendship and support within the Service Adventure household this year. Our group has made real, deep, honest connections with one another that I think we will always cherish. I have felt a sense of community in our household routines of meal planning, grocery shopping, and chores. I have felt myself opening up to be honest with the people around me, and growing real friendships based in trust and love. I always look forward to dinner every night because I know we will all sit down, exchange funny stories, listen to any struggles, go over the latest upcoming activity, and just be goofy, as friends are. The long road trips and meeting new people along the way have also allowed us to grow closer together when facing something new. I have so enjoyed experiencing new things with familiar people and being able to process it together later. It has caused us to grow stronger together and will only make it harder when it's time to say goodbye.</p><p>Next, I want to focus on the adventure part of this year. I am the type of person who likes to keep moving, who enjoys routine in small doses, and who always wants to push myself out of my comfort zone. The adventure aspect of this program for me was more than just traveling around in or out of the state. It was also about going somewhere without my friends or immediate family and experiencing something totally new for myself. Adventuring by starting a new job, talking to new people at work, setting up my things in a new room. Adventuring by exploring our own neighborhood, and going to the YMCA for the first time. New beginnings are always an adventure to me. </p><p>Leaving home to explore new things also came with challenges. I definitely struggled with homesickness throughout different points this year. Having a loving family and boyfriend is such a blessing, but it can also make leaving them so much harder. Throughout this year, I have had to develop an inner strength and resiliency and learn to dig deeper and rely on myself more to get through struggles. </p><p>Finally, and in some ways most importantly, is love. I have felt and reciprocated so much love this year: through my work, my housemates, my host family, and my church community. Every day when I walk into the preschool at work, the kids sitting on the carpet for circle time get up and run toward me for a big hug. This is my favorite part of the day because I am immediately greeted in a warm embrace by a group of charging 3- and 4-year-olds. I've felt so much love and appreciation through these kids that I honestly can't express on paper. These children have impacted my life so much that I've grown to love them and will miss them all dearly. </p><p>This year has also been a very special opportunity to spend more time with my aunt and uncle, whom I normally get to see maybe once a year. Being able to spend time with both of them and having opportunities to connect more has been a blessing that I will always cherish. It's been so awesome being able to do things such as meeting up with my aunt at different protests, going out for breakfast and having meaningful conversations, exploring New Mexico through hikes and road trips, going out on tea dates, or just staying home and watching a movie. I have felt so loved and cared for throughout my time spent with them and am sad that soon these opportunities are coming to an end. </p><p>Lastly, love has been spread all around our Service Adventure home this year. The support that each of us provides to one another has been really meaningful to me. Small expressions of love have been shown through cooking meals for each other this year or taking the time to guide someone (and I'm mostly referring to me) on how to properly care for and maintain our bikes. Asking each other how our days went and genuinely caring when someone had a bad day, or thanking someone when they took the extra time to do something nice for the house, are just a few of the examples of the love I've felt. This group has been an amazing example of how to love one another and live in harmony together.  </p><p>To conclude, I want to thank the church once more for supporting this program and allowing all of us to create our own life-changing memories this year. I am going to miss so much about this place: our house, the beautiful weather, our church congregation, my aunt and uncle, and my second family I've made. These final weeks are a bittersweet experience for me; I am excited to reunite with my family and start the next chapter of my life, but I will always miss my Albuquerque home once I'm gone. <br></p>
Resu-mayhem Rescuehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Resu-Mayhem-RescueResu-mayhem RescueBy Carmen Hoober<p>I don't think I've ever met anyone who enjoyed writing a resume. And why would they? Resume writing can be a soul-sucking exercise in self-promotion, often setting off an existential crisis leading one to question the meaning of life itself. And I'm not even exaggerating. Putting together your resume is like the career equivalent of going to the dentist. There is no hiding what you have or haven't done for the health of your career. And "keeping your resume updated" as so many people (like myself) admonish you to do is like flossing. No one does it until it's time to go to the dentist (or apply for a new job). So, my best advice is to AVOID RESU-MAYHEM (<<< see what I did there?) and give your resume a touch every six months or so. </p><p>Despite a few naysayers, the resume is still something you need to have, and it's not likely going anywhere anytime soon. For as technological as we have all become and as "Linked In" as we may be, the classic one-page resume is still the standard in a vast number of industries. So, what is one to do with resume-related anxiety? And, once you get past the anxiety, how do you ensure that your resume will stand out in the pile? Or even make it past the robots? </p><p>I am by no means a professional resume writer, and this is not a complete treatise on all-things-resume, but here are some thoughts and tools for crafting a resume you can feel good about.</p><p>1.       <strong>Mindset.</strong> I have a tendency to be pretty hard on myself and feel like I should be much farther along in life than I actually am. I am also still in recovery from a raging case of <a href="/blog/Overcoming-the-Impostor-Syndrome">Impostor Syndrome</a>. But I learned a little trick: sometimes when I'm looking at my own resume, I pretend that it's actually the resume of a friend. Creating some psychological distance helps me view my experience and skills more objectively and honestly. Furthermore, I tend to speak kindly to my friends, which is equally important when I'm feeling vulnerable or inadequate—both of which are emotions that come up for me when I look at my resume. </p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>A resume is a marketing tool. It is a highly curated representation of your experience and unique abilities. If there was ever a time to kick the inner critic to the curb, that time is now. Many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of marketing ourselves but would gladly sing the praises of others.  So, I have to kind of flip a mental switch: if my friend had XYZ experience, how would I encourage them to talk about it? </p><p> </p><p>Be prepared to advocate for yourself! Jay-Z was right, "closed mouths don't get fed."  So, open up your mouth…err computer, and start being your own best friend.</p><p> </p><p>2.       <strong>Formatting.</strong> You guys. I love looking at pretty resumes! In my line of work, I get to look at a lot of resumes and, at first glance, I love the ones with crisp formatting and lots of whitespace and even a sense of (restrained) visual style. There are a bajillion resume formats to choose from: in Word, in Google Docs, and all over the internet. But here is the sad truth. Many of the jobs you are applying for online are being read by <a href="https://searchhrsoftware.techtarget.com/definition/applicant-tracking-system-ATS">Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)</a>. Applicant Tracking Systems are programs that companies use to manage and find the best candidates for open positions. Resume formatting has always been important, but with ATS it has become even more important. While technology is always evolving, right now the robots have a hard time "reading" more stylized resume formats thereby sucking even more fun out of a process that had almost zero fun to start with. This handy-but-depressing graph shows how they work. </p><p><img src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2019/Carmen%20Corner%20Graphic.png" alt="Carmen Corner Graphic.png" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p> </p><p>You see why it's important to have a robot-friendly resume? I have switched my own resume over to an ATS-compatible template and I have to say…I miss my pretty resume! But, there are lots of good reasons to go the ATS-friendly route—namely, that your resume will actually stand a chance of being looked at.  One aspect of how it works is that ATS look for keywords that match a particular job description. Chrissy Scivicque from <a href="https://eatyourcareer.com/">Eat Your Career</a> says,</p><p> </p><p>"Research shows that 80 percent of recruiters search resume databases (both internal and external) for job-specific and industry-specific keywords. So without a keyword-rich resume, you're virtually invisible to 80 percent of recruiters…. A strong resume should have about 25-35 keywords liberally distributed throughout. However, many people also choose to include a straightforward bulleted list of keywords, just to make sure all the bases are covered. While this isn't as suave as skillfully weaving them into the text, it's a generally accepted best practice." </p><p> </p><p>Normally, wordsmith that I am (rubs hands together), I'm into the whole "skillful weaving" thing, but I have also added the bulleted list section into my resume. Keyword selection is kind of tricky and the best advice is to mirror the exact wording in the job description. And don't assume the robots know that (for example) web develop<strong>ment</strong> is the same as web develop<strong>er</strong>. It's best to use the same. Exact. Word. The simpler the style and formatting and font you use the more likely your resume will be correctly "understood" by the ATS. So DEFINITELY no charts or tables or pictures or Comic Sans font, and it's also supposedly better to stay away from two column templates.</p><p>A fun tool to use is at <a href="https://www.jobscan.co/">Jobscan</a>—where you can upload your resume and run a side-by-side scan with a job listing (you get a few free scans, but you'll have to pay for a membership if you plan on doing a bunch!). You can upload your resume and copy and paste a job description and it shows you how well you match up. I did this myself and it was more helpful than I anticipated! </p><p>IMPORTANT: Because you should be tailoring each resume/cover letter you send out, it's a smart tactic to create one generic resume that you can tweak for different opportunities. And if you work in a field like graphic design it may be a good idea to have one version for the computers and a more stylized one you can hand to people. </p><p> </p><p>3.       <strong>List the problems you solve</strong>—<strong>not your job duties. </strong>Here is where I think most people miss an opportunity. Revisiting your job description can jog your memory and lead to inspiration, but it's not enough just to write down your responsibilities. Under each position you've held, list not just what you did but <strong>why </strong>you did it and <strong>what difference</strong> it made. Most resume experts advise that whenever possible you should follow the <a href="https://resumegenius.com/how-to-write-a-resume/accomplishments-on-resume-quantify-achievements">"Problem-Action-Result"</a> formula.  They don't necessarily need to be written in that exact order, but each element should be present.<br><br> <br><br><em>Instead of</em>: Responsible for tracking client contacts<br><br><strong> </strong><br><br><em>Try</em>: Developed a new tracking system for client contacts reducing staff confusion and contributing to a 25% increase in program completion.</p><p style="text-align:center;"> </p><p>The general advice is always to quantify your achievements as much as possible, but sometimes that's hard. Use exact numbers when you can, but estimated numbers are also acceptable if you have a solid explanation to back it up. Even when the result can't be quantified make sure to show some kind of explicit impact, like "enhanced team cohesion."</p><p>Thinking about your day-to-day work this way is challenging! Sometimes a good way to get started is just to do a brain dump on a blank document of everything you've ever done at work. Ask yourself some of these questions: What problems do I solve? What do I create or build? How have I increased sales or profits? Did I contribute ideas, plans or strategies that allowed the organization to meet or exceed its goals?</p><p>Then, once you have a first draft of a resume, ask a friend or a trusted coworker to take a look—sometimes they will see or remember things you've missed. Read it out loud. Does it make sense to someone outside your current organization? It goes without saying you shouldn't inflate your experience or be dishonest, but remember that again, this is your ADVERTISEMENT. Now is not the time to downplay your accomplishments!  In fact, you <strong>should</strong> feel a sense of pride and achievement when you look over your completed resume. </p><p>4.       <strong>OUT with the objective and IN with branding statements and profiles. </strong>In my adult lifetime, we have thankfully, MERCIFULLY, moved on from the outdated "Objective" section that used to be located at the top of every resume. I give this ALLLLLL the praise hand emojis! </p><p>What was that? You don't know what I'm talking about??? </p><p>Well. </p><p>For the Gen Zers in the back who might read this someday, let me explain. The <em>objective</em> was the portion of the resume where you came up with some kind of nonsensical, flowery statement that basically boiled down to, "I want a job." The problem with this approach was that it mostly focused on what YOU want (a job, duh) and not on what you would contribute to the organization (or your <em>value proposition</em> if you prefer marketing lingo). </p><p>There are still some holdouts who are #teamobjective and I'm sure they have their reasons, but seriously people, let it die.  Fast forward to 2019 and instead of an objective statement that says "To utilize my strategic, synergistic, out-of-the-box, thinking to obtain and contribute to a position in the BLAH BLAH BLAH field" we can…wait for it…<em>brand</em> ourselves. </p><p>OK, so maybe that's not so much fun either. Did you know you're a brand? It kind of took me by surprise too. Basically, any decision you make in life builds your brand: your haircut, your car, your job, your church, the coffee you drink (or is it tea?), whether you travel with your own reusable straw…etc. Do you chafe at the idea of "branding yourself" and turning yourself into a commodity? Guess what? That's ALSO part of your brand (#nonconformist)!!! Seriously. You can't get away from this. </p><p>A <strong>branding statement</strong> in a resume (also called a <strong>headline</strong>) is something that goes underneath your name and contact information and before your experience. This is a short statement or sentence that explains who you are and the value you would bring to an organization. </p><p style="text-align:center;">Branding Statement/Headline Examples:</p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>Experienced Administrative Assistant with a Passion for Non-Profit Service</em></p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>Human Resources Professional Specializing in Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention</em></p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>Innovative Program Manager Prepared to Exceed Goals</em></p><p>Many times, this is used in conjunction with a <strong>profile </strong>(also called<strong> summary, qualifications </strong>or<strong> summary of qualifications</strong>). This<strong> </strong>is basically a short paragraph (although I've also seen it bulleted) with three to four sentences that allow you to explain your skills and qualifications.  </p><p style="text-align:center;">Profile Example (here is one version of mine):</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Enthusiastic and self-motivated human resources professional with over 10 years of diverse experience in social service and non-profit agencies. Excellent written and verbal communication skills with proven success in building relationships across all levels of organization. Poised to identify and leverage strengths of others to set and reach goals, motivating them towards personal and professional development and success.</p><p>5.       <strong>A special word to all the perfectionists:</strong> as you put together your resume, your perfectionistic tendencies will be a great asset. But I also want to say that there is not just ONE WAY to have an amazing resume. There is not ONE magical template. There is not ONE singular turn of phrase that will connect with every hiring manager whose desk your resume will land on. Resume construction is NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some ways to really mess this up, but there are also MANY ways to do this "right." I now approach my own resume crafting as an iterative process. Everything is editable! </p><p> </p><p>6.       <strong>The resume…and the rest.</strong> Remember that your resume is ONE part of your broader strategic plan to get a J-O-B. Instead of lingering in anxiety and avoidance, tippy tap your fingers over to the resources I've listed in this article. And for crying out loud, don't just sit at your computer blindly sending out resumes. Develop your network! Get out and talk to people! It's estimated that 70-80 percent of jobs are gotten through your connections anyway.<br><br> <br><br>To put all of this in perspective, don't be tempted to believe the lie that the stuff on your resume is indicative of your inherent worth. I don't care how many achievements you have listed or how skillfully you can weave keywords into your text, when you sit down for an interview the playing field is A LOT more level. I tend to believe that HR folks are generally good people who are drawn to their profession because they want to see others succeed in roles that benefit the individual as well as an organization.  The resume is still important but good HR professionals look beyond the slick, keyword-rich, ATS-optimized resume to the <em>person</em> behind the resume. This should both comfort and scare you.  The resume is just a tool to get you to the interview.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Here is something sad. People often bypass applying for AMAZING opportunities because they "don't have time" to update their resume (Right. Just like "I didn't have time" to go to the dentist and kept rescheduling my appointment…for three years). And then when they DO get the process rolling, it's in a frantic rush because there's a deadline. So avoid Resu-mayhem. Check your mindset and just do it already (And also? Don't forget to floss). </p><p><strong>Resources</strong></p><p>The internet has resources for daaaaaayyyys about building your resume, but I've curated a few things here that I've found helpful or interesting.</p><p><strong>Applicant Tracking Systems</strong></p><ul><li>This <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/jobs/comments/8ml5s8/i_made_a_guide_on_how_you_can_overcome_some/">Reddit thread</a> is pretty specific about what you're up against.</li><li>Not all ATS are created or used similarly: <a href="https://www.hireright.com/blog/e-recruiting-integration/the-truth-about-applicant-tracking-systems-ats">This article</a> helps explain some of the nuances.<strong> </strong></li></ul><p><strong>Resume Lingo </strong></p><ul><li>All of this resume lingo can get confusing, because there can be multiple words to describe the same sections. Here is some more information on how to use <a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-add-a-branding-statement-to-your-resume-2063330">branding</a> , <a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-write-a-resume-headline-2061036">headlines</a>, and <a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/resume-example-with-a-headline-and-a-profile-2063613">profiles</a> along with examples of how all of this can look. </li></ul><p><strong>Importance of the Cover letter: </strong><a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/do-you-need-a-cover-letter-to-apply-for-a-job-2060117"><strong>Yes, you should include one</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.jobscan.co/blog/tailor-resume-job-description/"><strong>Tailoring Your Resume</strong></a></p><p><strong>FREE ATS-friendly </strong><a href="https://www.jobscan.co/premium-resume-templates"><strong>resume templates</strong></a></p><p><strong>Tips for identifying and using </strong><a href="https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/resume/resume-keywords"><strong>keywords</strong></a></p><p><strong>Resume Scanning with </strong><a href="https://www.jobscan.co/"><strong>Jobscan</strong></a></p>
The Mission of God and the Fullness of Faith: A Reflection on John 20:19-29https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/The-Mission-of-God-and-the-Fullness-of-Faith-A-Reflection-on-John-2019-29The Mission of God and the Fullness of Faith: A Reflection on John 20:19-29by Joe Sawatzky<p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">"As th</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">e Fat</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">her has sent me, so I send you."  These words, from the resurrected Jesus to his disciples, have become the namesake of Sent, Mennonite Mission Network's church planting and revitalization initiative.  They also appear at the center of John 20:19-23, the theme text for Mennonite Church USA's bi-annual convention in 2019.  On a personal note, I return to these words often in my quest to define the complex, and often controversial, word "mission."  Even more, I find that these words may help us to renew our understanding of Christianity itself as an essentially missional and multi-dimensional faith.</span></p><p>First, Christianity is a missionary, or if one prefers, a missional faith.  Mission comes from missio, a Latin word meaning simply, "sending."  Consequently, when Jesus refers to himself as "sent" from the Father, and to disciples as sent from him, he is speaking of mission as God's basic way of relating to the world.  God is not aloof but active in creation and sends the church beyond the four walls and locked doors of the house where its members meet to proclaim the good news that God has come in Christ to liberate the world from the power of sin (20:19-23).</p><p>But, second, if we accept that God has created the church not for its own sake but for the world, we must say more about how we are sent.  Following John 20:19-29, I will propose three dimensions of faith that characterize our mission as a response to God's mission.</p><p>Our first response of faith to God's grace in Jesus Christ is worship.  In the text, worship erupts<a href="https://mennonites.sharepoint.com/sites/MMN/mrkcom/WritersSpace/John%2020.19-29.docx#_msocom_1">[JS1]</a>   as the joy of disciples as they experience the real presence of the resurrected Jesus.  "The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord."  This joy was the fruit of the Lord's "peace," as he greeted them and as he showed them the wounds of his love outpoured for them on the cross (20:19-20).  In the Mennonite tradition, it is customary to speak of discipleship as "the essence of Christianity," yet it may be less common for us to esteem worship, joy, and spontaneity as authentic signs of our "following after Jesus."<a href="https://mennonites.sharepoint.com/sites/MMN/mrkcom/WritersSpace/John%2020.19-29.docx#_ftn1">[1]</a>  Yet the text affirms that discipleship begins with Christ's call, and Christ's call elicits our worship.</p><p>Our second response of faith is implied in Christ's commission to disciples, to which we have already referred: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  The sentence itself connects Jesus' mission to our own, and the sentences that follow in the text give clarity to that connection.  As Jesus was conceived and anointed by the Holy Spirit, so disciples of Jesus are born of and sent by the Spirit: "he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"  Jesus' next statement connects sending in the power of the Spirit to the "forgiveness" and "retention" of sins: "if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if<a href="https://mennonites.sharepoint.com/sites/MMN/mrkcom/WritersSpace/John%2020.19-29.docx#_msocom_2">[JS2]</a>  you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (20:21-23 NRSV).  Though I do not have room here to discuss the precise meaning of the forgiveness and retention of sins, the disciples' commission here means something like what the apostle Paul called "the ministry of reconciliation," in which God's love for us in Christ "while we were yet sinners" or "God's enemies" is the basis for our extending mercy to one another (2 Cor 5:18; Rom 5:8-10).  Moreover, because Paul refers to this ministry as diakonia (Greek for "service" or "waiting on tables" [cf. Acts 6:1-7]), we may refer to this dimension of mission as "work."  Even so, this work flows from the touch of God's grace, the breath of the Spirit from the mouth of Jesus on the faces of disciples.  The wind powers the work.</p><p>Like the first two responses of disciples in this text, a third dimension of faith—Thomas' confession of Jesus' identity—arises from the greeting of peace.  Because Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them, Jesus returned to show himself to Thomas.  Upon seeing the marks of crucifixion on Jesus' resurrected body, Thomas's lips are loosed in praise—"My Lord and my God!" (20:24-28). As the disciples "rejoiced when they saw the Lord," so this disciple gives a verbal and articulate testimony of Jesus upon beholding him.  Thomas gives word to his experience of Christ.  Authentic discipleship and mission involve the proclamation of the word.</p><p>These three—worship, work, and word—are of the essence of our missional faith, just as our missionary God is One-in-Three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As a people of mission, our calling is to bear whole witness to this God— through worship, work, and word—for the world that God so loves (John 3:16).<br></p><p><a href="https://mennonites.sharepoint.com/sites/MMN/mrkcom/WritersSpace/John%2020.19-29.docx#_ftnref1">[1]</a> On discipleship or "following Jesus" as "the essence of Christianity", see Harold S. Bender, The Anabaptist Vision (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1944).<br></p>

 

 

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