God can be funny sometimes. In an inconvenient and mildly irritating way. During a sermon writing break on Saturday, I took the dog for a walk. As I was nearing home—only about a block or two away—I saw a strange thing, at least for small town southern Alberta. A shopping cart full of miscellaneous items—bottles, […]
A guest post by World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns … I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least a dozen more interesting ways to spend my time than going to the doctor. I don’t enjoy check-ups, even though it’s the best way to stay healthy. [...]
I've got a friend named Dave. Okay, that's not his real name. But he's real, even if his name isn't. I mean, it's a real name. My brother in law is called Dave. But it's not the name of my friend.Dave is a great guy. He goes out every day, seeking the homeless to help them out. He'll serve meals, connect folks with resources. help people move, get people housing and so much more.
There's a dire famine striking East Africa. Here's how you can help.
That title is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? And doesn’t it over-reach by suggesting that empowering entrepreneurs is a solution to poverty? Consider systemic racism in North America, conflict in Israel-Palestine, famine in South Sudan, violence in Congo, and other ills at home and around the world. The causes of poverty are so many and so far-reaching, that business solutions alone are not enough. We need multiple solutions, including the creativity and energy of entrepreneurs. Read More ›
Please welcome back Pastor Greg Henneman, Director of the Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) initiative at Church and Community Development for All People. Here, he reflects on God's call to mutuality:
Psalm 130 has long been the psalm I identify with most. I resonate with the psalmist crying from the depth of the heart. As one who served in the military, I have experienced the twice repeated phrase “more than those who watch for morning, more than those who watch for morning.” I love the modern expression of the song by Sinead O’Connor. But while this psalm is an old favorite, this week I have noticed something new. In verse 7, Israel is invited to put its hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is “steadfast love.” Steadfast love sounds good on its own: a love that is not conditional and doesn’t wax and wane like our love of a favorite song or restaurant. But this is only the surface of it. The word translated steadfast love is the Hebrew word 'hesed' which means 'mutuality'.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in ministry it is the power of mutuality. It was including homeless people in on the creation and weekly leadership of Community of Hope that made it work. Mutuality is at the core of the United Methodist Church’s focus area of ministry WITH the poor. Mutuality is the secret sauce that makes Church and Community Development for All People a place of ever growing relationships and expanding programming. Within the Fresh Market and the Free Store, it is impossible to tell from racial or socioeconomic background who is provider and who is recipient. Mutuality is more than a management concept to involve people from the bottom up in order to create diverse community. Mutuality is who God is. God is in the cry from the depth of the heart. God is equally present in the broken heart of divorce as in the joyful heart of newborn parents. God is as much in the mud covered eyes of the blind, the leper, the addict, and the prostitute as God is in the faithful church goer.
When we are willing to put aside our ego and be vulnerable enough to share ourselves with others, the God of mutuality is moving. When we are humble enough to admit we don’t have all the answers and open our heart in prayer, the God of mutuality speaks. When we look at others asking what we can give instead of how we can receive, the God of mutuality provides. I am often asked, what is the greatest asset of our community. Every time I respond by saying, relationships. It is in the mutuality of people who look out for each other and care for each other and support each other that the peaceable kingdom grows. The mutuality of God’s love is what forms us and shapes us and leads us forward. We find God in serving the other, because the God of mutuality found us “out of the depths”; and, when we are willing to go down in the depths with others we find the God is mutuality is there.
Andreas Ehrenpreis is not a well-known name in church history, but what he managed to do is truly astonishing. Born 1589 in Illingen, Germany, Andreas was brought up as an Anabaptist – a persecuted, radical Christian movement that emphasised faith, peace and justice. At seven years of age, his family joined a Hutterite community in Morovia, modern-day Czech Republic. […] Continue reading →