A Little Christmas Leaven

“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”. Galatians 5:9

How does leaven enter the lump? It only takes a small amount.

Tucked into this December’s issue of the MB Herald[1] is a short piece of Christmas poetry entitled Bow down or Stand tall[2]. Under the poem, the MB Herald tells readers it is written by Ruth Naylor, a retired pastor, ordained in Mennonite Church USA, who works as a spiritual director and has published numerous poems and articles. What the Herald does not tell us is where these other pieces appear, like in the Quaker’s Friends Journal[3] or in a book of poems called A Family Affair[4], where Naylor’s bio mentions she completed a two-year training program with Shalem Institute for Spiritual Guidance[5]. Not only is Naylor a spiritual director[6] but also a member of Spiritual Directors International[7].

Naylor, who was raised in the Quaker faith, also remained active in an ecumenical peer group of northwest Ohio spiritual directors that she formed in 1990. A member of Spiritual Directors International, she continues to provide one-on-one direction to five pastors of northwest Ohio churches in three denominations—Mennonite, Lutheran and Methodist.
“They just want a listening ear,” she explains. And, she adds, “It’s a gift to me; it keeps me more attuned to God’s presence and to praying without ceasing.”
– RUTH NAYLOR: KEEPING THE FAITH http://www.bluffton.edu/blufftonalumni/magazine/spring2012/alumni/ruth.html

So what? It’s just a little poem in the MB Herald with only a light sprinkling of mixed spirituality. What effect can such a small compromise possibly have? Maybe nothing. Or maybe it’s just evidence that leaven has already spread through the Mennonite lump.


[1] http://mbherald.com/december-issue/
[2] http://mbherald.com/bow-down-or-stand-tall/
[3] See: November 1, 2013 http://www.friendsjournal.org/day-thanksgiving/
[4] https://finishinglinepress.com/product_reviews_info.php?products_id=1825&reviews_id=489
Friends Journal is published by Friends Publishing Corporation. Their goal is “to serve the Quaker community and the wider community of spiritual seekers through the publication of articles, poetry, letters, art, and news that convey the contemporary experience of Friends.”
Also see: Who are the Quakers, and what does the Friends Church believe?http://www.gotquestions.org/Quakers-Friends.html
[5] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/shalem.htm
[6] See: Spiritual Direction http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualdirection.htm
[7] See: Request for Help: Our Church is Becoming Involved with “Spiritual Direction” and Spiritual Director Internationalhttp://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?tag=spiritual-directors-international


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