Mennonite children following in the Footsteps of Jesus . . . or Marx?

Previously on this blog, a light was shone on a new Mennonite Sunday School curriculum called Shine[1] which will be teaching contemplative spiritual practices to children beginning this fall. This new curriculum also teaches children that they are called to a ministry of reconciliation and peace. In every session of Shine there is a section called Peace Notes. The second of the three goals of these Peace Notes is as follows:

Goal: Follow in the footsteps of Jesus by . . .

- Providing an alternative to worldviews that emphasize individualism, power, and the accumulation of wealth [2]

Is this following what Jesus taught, or is this a Marxist view? It was Carl Marx who said that . . .

Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole… ”[3]

How can providing a Marxist alternative to North American capitalism and our God given right to individualism be a way to train children in the ministry of peace, when . . .

“In reality, however, the Marxist system itself is responsible for the destruction of millions of human beings at the hands of its political parties and dictators, making it the greatest killing machine of all time.”[4]

Is the Shine curriculum teaching a Christian worldview to the children? Do parents want their children to be taught a Marxist worldview in Sunday School? Where are the watchmen on the wall? Who is teaching the children? Who will stand of for the truth?

Endnotes:

[1] Contemplative Spiritual Formation in Mennonite Sunday School Curriculum
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/contemplative-spiritual-formation-in-mennonite-sunday-school-curriculum/
[2] The Shalom Arc: The Shine Curriculum’s Approach to the Bible
www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxOo14k75j4
[3] Karl Marx, Capital (London, UK: Sonnenschein, 1982), 660–1. Cited in Harry W. Laidler, History of Socialism (New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968), 152–3.
[4] Marxist Economics – Introduction
http://www.allaboutworldview.org/marxist-economics.htm

Contemplative Spiritual Formation in Mennonite Sunday School Curriculum

The September issue of the Mennonite Brethren Herald[1] is promoting a long awaited new curriculum for children from age 3 to grade 8. Shine has been in the works for three years, and is now available and coming to Sunday School classrooms in a Mennonite church near you.

The new Sunday school curriculum Shine: Living in God’s Light for fall quarter 2014 is now available from MennoMedia and Brethren Press, the publishing houses of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

- New Anabaptist curriculum Shines
http://mbherald.com/new-anabaptist-curriculum-shines/

The article explains the importance of one of the aspects of this curriculum – the spiritual formation of children:

Why is spiritual formation for children important, and why do you call it that now instead of “Sunday school”?
Sunday school indicates a school model based on acquiring information. We certainly want children to become biblically literate, but we hope for something much deeper. Spiritual formation happens in vibrant communities of God’s Spirit. One of the things we try to convey is that children’s natural language of prayer is thanksgiving. They need to experience joy and hope. Children also need to know that God walks with us in difficult times. God’s love transforms our lives, so we can show God’s love and call others to follow the Prince of Peace.[2]

To find out what this spiritual formation for children looks like, a link provided to the Shine resource website[3] explains further what will be taught:

Spiritual practices help children to pay attention to God’s activity in their lives, and show them ways that they can shine their light to others.

Engage your children in the language and habits of worship through prayer, ritual, celebration, and silence. Each Shine session has a spiritual practice to teach your group. Student resources will reinforce these practices, helping your children to take these practices with them in their daily lives.

What are some of the spiritual practices that Shine sessions include?

Breath prayer . . . Centering prayer . . . Collage prayer

Examen . . . Giving . . . Grace at meals . . . Hospitality

Intercession . . . Labyrinth . . . Morning and evening prayers

Noticing God in creation . . . Prayer doodling

Reciting scripture . . . Sabbath keeping

Service . . . Silence . . . Solitude . . . Thanksgiving prayers

Walking prayer . . . Whole body prayer . . . Worship

- Spiritual practices with children
https://shinecurriculum.com/for-teachers/spiritual-practices-with-children/

One of the many Shine curriculum resources is a PDF guide for instructors and teachers on how to make a prayer path labyrinth for the children:

Prayer path (labyrinth)
A prayer path (labyrinth) is referred to in Spiritual practices of several teacher’s guides. Prepare one for your congregation or one per classroom.

https://shinecurriculum.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/PrayerPath.pdf

The alarming truth is that many of these spiritual formation practices that children are going to be learning in the Shine Sunday School curriculum at Mennonite churches are rooted in mysticism and contemplative spirituality. For example . . .

Breath prayer

“…the practice of breath prayer involves “picking a single word or short phrase and repeating it in conjunction with the breath. This is classic contemplative mysticism.””
-Breath Prayer—Not Biblical Prayer
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/breathprayer.htm

Centering prayer

“Centering prayer is an unbiblical and dangerous practice. It can put a person in an altered state of consciousness and open him up to a spiritual connection that is not in harmony with Scripture.
Instead, we are to seek God in prayers that are non-repetitious, with a focus on God’s word and truth, with an active mind seeking to find the true and living God through the revelation of the Scripture and communion with his son Jesus.
In short, avoid centering prayer and avoid whatever church promotes it.”
Centering Prayer
http://carm.org/centering-prayer

Examen

What is the Ignatian Examen?
Ignatian Examen is an occult visualization technique taught by Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuits in the 16th century. His exercise teaches one to visualize oneself in the presence of Jesus and then interact with Him during his earthly events, e.g., “at the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the cross, and laying Jesus’ body in the tomb.”6 This has one adding content to Scripture from his imagination and opens a person to demonic manipulation (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8).
-Evangelical Mysticism?
http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6433

Labyrinth

“The labyrinth is just another way to perform contemplative or centering prayer.”
– Ray Yungen, LABYRINTHS, Prayer Paths That Promote the Occult
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/labyrinth.htm

Silence

“…like putting the mind in neutral. Contemplatives say it is like tuning into another frequency. New Agers call it different things like a thin place, sacred space, ecstasy; whatever it is called, both New Agers and Christian leaders are telling us we must practice silence and stillness if we really want to know God.”
-The Altered State of Silence
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/thesilence.htm

In conclusion, instead of practicing labyrinth prayer paths and the Ignatius Prayer Examen, perhaps it’s time for Mennonites to examine some very important questions. Where are the watchmen on the walls? How many parents dropping their children off at Sunday School in their Mennonite churches will be aware that the new Shine curriculum will teach them how to practice contemplative spirituality? What will become of each three year old child whose parents faithfully bring them to their trusted church to be trained in a 10 year contemplative curriculum? Is this what Sunday School teachers in Mennonite churches want to be teaching to the children in their care? Who will defend and teach the truth? Who will guard and teach the children?

______

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Vladimir Lenin

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Mark 9:42

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
___

Endnotes

[1] http://mbherald.com/2014/09/
[2] http://mbherald.com/new-anabaptist-curriculum-shines
[3] https://shinecurriculum.com

RELATED:

Mennonites and St. Ignatius
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/mennonites-and-st-ignatius/

Mennonites Teaching Contemplative Spirituality to Children
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/mennonites-teaching-contemplative-spirituality-to-children/

Anabaptists and Jesuits – Lest We Forget
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/anabaptists-and-jesuits-lest-we-forget/

‘Menno-blight’
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/menno-blight/

Understanding The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6844

The Labyrinth Journey: Walking the Path to Fulfillment?
http://www.forcingchange.org/the_labyrinth_journey

McLaren’s New Book – A New Kind of Year Long Church Curriculum
http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/

Muddy Emerging Convergence in Sunday School Curriculum
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/muddy-emerging-convergence-in-sunday-school-curriculum/

Mennonite Brethren Still Spreading Stillness

As more and more evangelical leaders are compromising and crossing the ecumenical bridge toward Rome[1], quietly joining them are the Mennonite Brethren. They are not blatantly announcing it, but just revealing the direction they have been taking more subtly for some time now. It began silently, and still continues to spread through contemplative spiritual formation being taught in their seminaries and churches.

A recent example of this can be found on the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary website (www.mbseminary.ca) where viewers can watch a faculty testimony video and read a news article commending the Assistant Professor of Ministry Studies for Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Canada and Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg). . .

SEMINARY PROFESSOR RECOGNIZED BY EVANGELICAL PRESS ASSOCIATION
May 21, 2014
The Evangelical Press Association recently awarded Professor Andrew Dyck a 3rd place award for his article, “Sowing Seeds or tossing nutshells?” published in the October 2013 issue of MB Herald. The “Higher Goals” competition honors individual aspects of a publication, such as reporting, column writing and design. Professor Dyck received this honor in the Evangelism category. To read the article online, go to… http://mbherald.com/sowing-seeds-or-tossing-nutshells/.
Source: http://www.mbseminary.ca/%5B2%5D

The sincerity and qualifications of this seminary professor are not the issue. The disturbing trend that is becoming more apparent is that the Mennonite Brethren have become more comfortable with their acceptance of contemplative spirituality and those who teach it.

Last September in St. Catharines, the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren churches promoted a contemplative workshop (led by this same professor). . .

Day in the Word
Being with God in Stillness and Scripture
September 21

Evangelicals have often emphasized having a personal “Quiet Time.” 
This has meant setting aside time regularly for reading the Bible, reflecting and praying—often accompanied by some form of journaling. Believers have sought to nurture their personal relationship with Christ by doing these activities every day.
Over time, however, Bible reading can be reduced to rote reading, intellectual study, or a springboard for one’s own musings—without listening for God’s communication. Similarly, Quiet Time can become so filled with activity that there is no quietness in which to pay attention to the Spirit’s still small voice. Believers are left wondering whether Jesus’ followers can hear God’s voice, or even whether God still communicates to people.
If this is your experience, your participation in this one-day workshop can help to open your heart and set you on a path to hearing God’s voice and refreshing your relationship with him.
Two experienced pastors will lead participants into fresh and time-tested ways of having a conversational relationship with Jesus:
- by addressing this topic in the light of scripture and experience; 
- by guiding the group into two spiritual practices that open the possibility of encountering God as personal and communicating. 
These practices are stillness, and “sacred reading” of Scripture (i.e. lectio divina).

Seminary Credit
If you’d like to take this worshop as a seminary credit please contact Andrew Dyck at adyck@cmu.ca for a syllabus with a reading list and assignments.

About the Workshop
This one-day workshop provides an ideal learning environment and time context for those with busy schedules. The material is presented in a clear and concise manner that is suited to persons of any age, to newcomers as well as seasoned Christians and mature students of the Word.
By means of gifted teachers and leaders and with the use of numerous visual aids, you will be amazed at the truths you will come to understand as we methodically walk through the spiritual disciplines of stillness and lectio divina.
You will enjoy learning in a comfortable, relaxed setting, and have the opportunity to fellowship with others during breaks and over lunch.
Come and discover the treasures of Christ for yourself.

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e82odozp134c7152&llr=bwatvmcab

This workshop on stillness and Lectio Divina was also offered last fall to students at Mennonite Biblical Seminary . . .

This fall, one of the courses offered by the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary to equip future pastors and teachers and missionaries is listed on the CMU 2013-14 COURSE TIMETABLE:
BTS-5960M Being with God in Stillness and Scripture (1.0 credit hour) This course will draw on biblical, historical and experiential resources for developing a conversational relationship with Jesus Christ through the practices of stillness, and `sacred reading’ of Scripture (lectio divina). Students will complete several assignments after participating in a one-day workshop. (In 2013 this workshop will be offered in two Ontario locations.)
Instructor: Andrew Dyck
http://www.mbseminary.ca/cmu-courses

http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/stillness-and-lectio-divina-at-a-mennonite-biblical-seminary/

What are these practices of stillness and Lectio Divina? Briefly…

Stillness:

Different than finding a quiet place away from noise and distractions, the silence is referring to a stillness of the mind.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/thesilence.htm

Lectio Divina:

While some people think lectio divina is just reading Scripture slowly, and what’s wrong with that, it is the focusing on and repeating a word or small phrase to facilitate going into the “silence” that is the real danger. There is certainly nothing wrong with reading Scripture carefully and thoughtfully. Thoughtfully, we say. In eastern-style meditation (and in contemplative prayer) thoughts are the enemy.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/lectiodivina.htm

As controversial as these methods are, Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (http://mbcm.ca/) has also condoned contemplative prayer as taught by this same professor. On their website, another article called Does praying include listening?[3] by Andrew Dyck explores listening prayer, stillness and silence. . .

“Several emphases in Scripture suggest that stillness and listening are indeed meant to accompany our praying. Psalm 131 (a favourite of mine, not least because it challenges my ambitions) addresses the LORD with these lines, “I have calmed and quieted myself / I am like a weaned child with its mother.” As I once heard the Rev. Mike Stewart of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Abbotsford comment: in our culture of ambition, noise and busyness, silence with God is one of the most important practices we can cultivate in our congregations.

… Praying—asking God—needs to be embedded in the silence of stilling our souls, of depending on God to be praying on our behalf to God, and of being alert and attentive to life.

I learned this some years ago, when I discovered that in spite of praying for many people in my pastoral role (e.g. beside hospital beds, during prayer meetings, leading worship services), I rarely felt moved to pray for people in my private prayers. When I told this to a wise spiritual director, he said, “Tell this to God, and just be quiet and wait. Pay attention, and see how Jesus invites you.” In the coming months, as I did this, I discovered occasions when I found myself deeply desiring God’s goodness for someone I knew. By becoming silent with God, I learned how to ask God.

I am convinced that silence needs to be an integral part of our praying—not only when we are alone, but also in our times of praying together. Communal prayer trains us in private prayer (that’s why we’ve been given the Psalms). Therefore, prayerful silence needs to be a normal part of our worship gatherings. And not  just 30 seconds of “let’s- pause-for-a-moment-of-silent-prayer,” but much longer intervals of stillness—even minutes long, or more!—since we can’t ‘still and quiet our souls’ in a mere 60 seconds.

When silence and listening become embedded in our practices of praying without ceasing, perhaps our lives will indeed become incense to God.”

Although Andrew Dyck does not specifically refer to Roman Catholic sources, he ends his article with the recommendation of a prayer website called Sacred Space. . .

A RESOURCE:

I recommend the website www.sacredspace.ie for incorporating silence with prayer. This daily prayer site is provided by Irish Jesuits, who emphasize that “when you pray you are not alone. You are part of a global community.” This prayer guide is organized around 6 simple steps: (a) become aware of God’s presence, (b) desire and acknowledge the freedom God gives us, (c) become conscious about oneself with God, (d) meditate on The Word of God, (e) have conversation with Jesus, and (f) conclude with God’s glory. When I use this guide leisurely, allowing for ample silence during and between each step, I have often  been refreshed, challenged, invited and renewed by God’s Spirit.

This guided prayer website belongs to the Jesuits, the order founded by Ignatius of Loyola that led the counter reformation. Their mission continues today in the new evangelization plan to bring the “separated brethren” back “home” to the church of Rome[4]. After the Jesuit recommendation at the end of Andrew Dyck’s article, a note from the MBCM says:

This blog is the second in a series of monthly posts that are offered to “equip, resource and inspire” the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba in praying.

Apparently, MBCM must agree that Jesuit guided prayer is a good global link to Jesus. They also give their readers a link to Andrew Dyck’s blog, where in his recent post, Repetitive Prayer: Vain or Meaning-full?[5], he recommends Taize, The Jesus Prayer and a book called Take Our Moments and Our Days – An Anabaptist Prayer Book: Ordinary Time. Arthur Boers, an editor of this book, is an ordained Mennonite Church USA minister and a Benedictine oblate at St. Gregory’s Abbey. (Boers also wrote Day by Day These Things We Pray – Uncovering Ancient Rhythms of Prayer (Herald Press 2010), a revision of his earlier book called The Rhythm of God’s Grace: Uncovering Morning and Evening Hours of Prayer. It’s about monastic prayer disciplines (fixed hours of prayer, the daily office, etc.) which Boers first discovered in a book by a Jesuit priest that made him realize he had much to learn from other traditions.[6]

What will the students coming out of Mennonite Brethen Biblical Seminary, their churches, and their places of service look like in 10 years from now? Andrew Dyck’s spiritual direction began just over 10 years ago, when…

“Andrew Dyck of King Road MB Church in Abbotsford, B.C. was awarded a Study Grant for Pastoral Leaders given out by The Louisville Institute. He was one of only 40 pastors from across North America to receive the award in 2002, out of 236 applicants…
Dyck also joined nine other MBs to begin a two-year series of retreats and spiritual direction under the leadership of Steve Imbach, focusing on prayer, listening to God and discernment; this experience is intended to prepare them to give spiritual direction to others.”
-Mennonite Brethren Herald • Volume 41, No. 14 • August 2, 2002

MB pastor wins sabbatical award 

old.mbherald.com/41-14/profile.html?view=p

It was only a matter of time until this spiritual direction led by Steve Imbach would lead to more contemplative spirituality and eventually go mainstream in the Mennonite Brethren churches[7]. Imbach co-founded the contemplative SoulStream (soulstream.org) for those seeking a contemplative community through spiritual direction training, retreats and courses in the Vancouver, B.C. area. Soulstream draws heavily from the teachings of Thomas Merton[8], a trappist Monk. In 2004 a retreat for pastors in the BC MB Conference (Mennonite Brethren of British Columbia, Canada) took place at Silver Star Mountain Resort. This prayer retreat for pastors and their spouses, focusing on spiritual direction[9], was also led by Imbach of SoulStream.

What began with a little bit of stillness and spiritual direction has now spread, like yeast through an entire lump of dough. Only a decade after contemplative spirituality was introduced, it is now being taught at Mennonite Brethren Seminary[10] and is showing up in most Mennonite churches.

Considering that the meditation methods of monks are being so highly esteemed and taught in the Mennonite Brethren seminaries and conferences, wouldn’t it be safe to say that the Mennonite Brethren are no longer following the footsteps of their namesake, Menno Simons, who bravely left false teaching? Instead of standing on the Solid Rock, many who still call themselves Mennonites seem to be picking up speed on their slide down the slippery slope of silent contemplation and ecumenical compromise.

Were he here to today, what would Menno Simons blog about that?

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1 Corinthians 5:6

________
Endnotes:

[1] See:
The Great Convergence and the End of the Age http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/06/great-convergence-end-age
TV Preachers [Copeland, Robison] Glowingly Describe Meeting with Pope to Tear Down ‘Walls of Division’ http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15760
CBN Building Bridges to Rome http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/cbn-building-bridges-to-rome/
Is Beth Moore’s “Spiritual Awakening” Taking the Evangelical Church Toward Rome? http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1591
Evangelical Church Takes Another Big Step Toward Rome—This Time? Franklin Graham http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=159664
[2] Also found here: http://www.mbseminary.ca/news-updates/seminary-professor-recognized-by-evangelical-press-association
[3] http://mbcm.ca/does-praying-include-listening/
[4] “. . .the Counter Reformation (tha) was founded to bring the “Separated Brethren” back to the “Mother of All Churches” . . . was largely headed by Ignatius Loyola, the man who founded the Jesuit Order in the mid 1500s and launched an all-out attack against those who dared stand against the papacy and Rome… While most Christians think that the Counter Reformation is a thing of the past because we are not seeing Inquisitions today, this movement continues until today and with renewed effort through various avenues of the evangelical/Protestant church. In a way, it is more insidious than the Inquisitions, because now it has infiltrated Christianity and is being disguised as the “new” Christianity. . . By their very roots, Jesuits are proponents of mystical prayer practices. The founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, created “spiritual exercises” that incorporated mysticism, including lectio divina. Today, millions of people worldwide practice the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.” “
SOURCE: The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c97.shtml
[5] http://bringinggifts.com/2014/07/08/repetitive-prayer-vain-or-meaning-full/
[6] See also:
MB Herald promotes ancient rhythms of monastic prayer http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/mb-herald-promotes-ancient-rhythms-of-monastic-prayer/
The Influence of Mennonite Oblate Arthur Boers Reaches 100 Huntley Street http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/the-influence-of-mennonite-oblate-arthur-boers-reaches-100-huntley-street/
[7]Disappointment in the MB Herald (UPDATED 2013) http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/disappointment-in-the-mb-herald/
[8] Catholic lay monk Wayne Teasdale says this of Thomas Merton:
“Thomas Merton was perhaps the greatest popularizer of interspirituality. He opened the door for Christians to explore other traditions, notably Taoism (Chinese witchcraft), Hinduism and Buddhism.” [Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions - Wayne Teasdale]
[9]Contemplative Mennonite Retreats http://rollovermenno.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/contemplative-mennonite-retreats/
[10]The Stillness and Lectio Divina at a Mennonite “Biblical” Seminary? http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/stillness-and-lectio-divina-at-a-mennonite-biblical-seminary/

Related:

Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=633

The Road to Rome: The New Evangelization Plan to Win Back “the Lost Brethren” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=654

CERTAIN MEN CREPT IN http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c151crept.shtml

Upcoming Conference Concern

Because some Mennonites have had a connection with Sabeel, and because Paul Wilkinson, who has been mentioned on this blog, recently spoke in a Mennonite Brethren church in Canada and warned about an upcoming Sabeel conference in that very city, today Mennolite is linking to a post at Olive Press about Sabeel’s upcoming Canadian conference. Originally scheduled for two months from now, it has recently been changed to next spring. The Canadian Friends of Sabeel conference is called Facing the New Jerusalem:
 Face-to-Face with Christian Zionism and with Palestinian Christians, and will be held in a university in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Read about it here:

Canadian Friends of Sabeel or Enemies of Israel? http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/friends-of-sabeel-canada/

Related:

What is Christian Palestinianism? http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/what-is-christian-palestinianism/

Mennonite Palestinianism http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/

Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1 http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2 http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/

More Mennonite connections with Sabeel, for research purposes:

Network seeks to mobilize Israel-Palestine peacemaking
http://mennoworld.org/2014/08/12/network-seeks-to-mobilize-israel-palestine-peacemaking/

Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN)
Steering Committee
http://mennopin.wordpress.com/about/steering-committee/

Same Sex Marriages in Mennonite Church

After ban lifted, same-sex couples wed at Germantown
by Tim Huber, Mennonite World Review

After a federal judge ruled Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional May 20, Germantown Mennonite Church in Philadelphia hosted two marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

Pastor Amy Yoder McGloughlin said she performed a June 24 wedding for a couple in the church who had completed a covenant ceremony six years earlier.

Plans came together quickly to secure legal protections for the couple’s children.
“Oddly enough, these were my first queer weddings ever,” McGloughlin said, noting that a July 2 wedding she officiated fell on the 20th anniversary of the couple’s original covenant ceremony. “We were very clear about the difference between a wedding and a recommitment. This was not them doing this for the first time, this was them fulfilling their marriage rights that in our congregation they already had.”

The ban’s reversal, one year after the Supreme Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, took many in the church by joyful surprise. A third couple in the church traveled to Vermont to get married legally in early July, having made their plans before the federal judge’s ruling.

More here:

http://mennoworld.org/2014/07/14/after-ban-is-lifted-same-sex-couples-wed-at-germantown/

‘Wisely’ Revised Mennonite Perspective on Sin

The author of a recent article in The Mennonite, a monthly magazine for members of Mennonite Church USA, wonders if today’s same-sex marriage debate is a timeless biblical command or just one of the latest ‘wisely’ revised fresh perspectives of our culture.

“It is increasingly apparent that many Christians in covenanted same-sex unions manifest the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ministries, just as Peter recognized the work of the Spirit in uncircumcised Cornelius. This witness is significant because the Holy Spirit’s presence suggests a life in faithful relationship with God and because the Holy Spirit often runs ahead of the churches’ formal decision-making. First came the Holy Spirit baptism of Cornelius and the irruption of the Gentile churches, followed by the Jerusalem Council’s process of discernment and authoritative decision.


Above all, it is clear that mutual, self-giving love can and does occur in a marriage between two Christians of the same gender, reflecting the union of Christ and the church. 


That is, a couple of the same sex can meet the “sacramental” requirements of marriage, illuminating Christ’s presence and serving as a means of grace to the world. No less than heterosexual marriage, such unions can be exclusive, permanent and issue in shared lives of service to God.”

- Martin Shupack, 2014-06-01 ISSUE: Beyond dual[ing] narratives on same-sex marriage The Bible, experience and Christian charity allow for the exception of same-sex marriage. http://www.themennonite.org/issues/17-6/articles/Dualing_narratives_on_samesex_marriage

At this rate, where will the Mennonite Church USA be found on the following list?

Where Christian churches, other religions stand on gay marriage http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/18/where-christian-churches-stand-on-gay-marriage/

How soon until all the dialogue and ‘wise’ revisions puts more Mennonites adrift in the sea of politically correct compromise. . .

Presbyterians (USA) Vote to Allow Homosexual ‘Marriages’ by 3-1 Ratio http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15681

Mennonites bending their ears to the earth

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1

Next month, on July 28-31, Mennonite Church Canada will be gathering together at Native Assembly 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.[1] Together, Mennonites and aboriginals are going to celebrate through song and ceremony on the land, hear from elders and teachers, and bend their ears to the earth. Here they will discover old and new teachings which will bring them “closer to the Spirit, to each other, and to the land.”

According to the schedule, each of the four days opens with sacred fire prayer times followed by workshops that teach such things as Water, Fire, Wind and Earth: Creator’s Medicine Chest, following the Natural Laws of Nature, and the 7 Sacred Teachings of the Ojibwe to see what the animals have to teach them. Another workshop is about reading the Bible outdoors in God’s ‘second book’, the land, to see what happens when one is read in the presence of the other.

Participants, leaders and speakers include representatives from the Mennonite Central Committee, Canadian Mennonite University, Mennonite Women USA and various First Nations members, leaders and elders.

One of the workshop leaders is Dave Courchene – Nii Gaani Aki Innini (Leading Earth Man), who carries his message of hope and peace to the world. He believes his ancient Indigenous knowledge is “the foundation in supporting the New Life that Mother Earth is now entering, and that the Elders have confirmed has arrived.”[2]

A member of the Pine Creek First Nation will light the first Sacred Fire on opening night of Native Assembly, and the Summer Bear Dance Troupe will perform on opening day.

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen” Jeremiah 10:2

As these Mennonites participate in First Nations ceremonies, bend their ears to the earth, and learn old and new teachings from aboriginal elders to bring them closer to the Spirit, each other, and to the land, are they not putting the creation before God, who created all things for His glory(Romans 1:25)?

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:10-11

Endnotes:

[1]http://home.mennonitechurch.ca/event/NativeAssembly2014/theme
[2]http://www.trcm.ca/public-education/speakers-bureau/speakers-bureau-member-profiles/dave-courchene/

Related:

How should a Christian view environmentalism? http://www.gotquestions.org/environmentalism-Christian.html

The Environmental Agenda, The New World Religion: The Spiritual Roots of Global Government http://www.garykah.org/GaryKah/The_Environmental_Agenda_files/The%20Environmental%20Agenda%20.pdf

Cult of Green: The United Nations Environmental Sabbath and the New Global Ethic http://forcingchange.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/cult-of-green-the-united-nations-environmental-sabbath-and-the-new-global-ethic/

All for Gaia – Earth Day and Total Transformation by Carl Teichrib http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/09/4-earth-gaia.htm