Practicing Reconciliation

Practicing Reconciliation provides a blog space to pose hard questions and test possibilities as we form a storm-worthy moral canopy for these anxious, precarious and violently polarized times. We need a moral canopy under which we can stand together, even with our differences. We need a moral canopy to provide faith communities with the resilience to withstand the onslaught of the storm, and to provide compassionate, just leadership on behalf of those most at risk. Such a canopy can only be woven of hard-won convictions, usually forged in crucibles of suffering and tested with strenuous, respectful and socially embodied argumentation until proven storm-worthy — and worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In her Practicing Reconciliation blog, AMBS president Sara Wenger Shenk, prods us to move beyond polarized thinking toward wholeness and abundant life in Christ, who is our peace.

President Sara Wenger Shenk reflects on sources of beauty that provide “a fragment of sturdy ground to stand on” in the uproar of these days.

In his guest post, Safwat Marzouk, PhD, associate professor of Old Testament, encourages us to remember our stories of migration and invasion in order to cultivate empathy for others.

What is the kind of "storm-worthy moral canopy" that can help faith communities to wrestle well with what matters?

A cold and broken hallelujah

November 15, 2016

Perhaps all we can manage today is a cold and broken hallelujah. But tomorrow we must unite as a church worth its salt.

A reflection on Isaiah 40 in a time when comfort seems in short supply.

Please note: This reflection references an incident of sexual abuse. "But I've seen him do so much good." It was heartbreaking when I came across this line in an ac...

When I called my parents on their 72nd wedding anniversary in early July, mother told me dad had brought her a bouquet from his garden. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

Leading with moral authority takes uncommon courage in these fractious times. Who has the audacity to move out onto that vulnerable edge? Who has the integrity, love and theolog...

Truth be told, I assiduously avoid watching or listening to the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. When family members turned on the TV to watch the f...

A Call to Arms

December 10, 2015

It is time for a call to arms. No, not the kind you think. Not the kind that has a Christian college president calling on students to arm themselves to “end those Musli...

In late September, many of us were enthralled by a rare celestial display: a super moon in total eclipse, also known as a blood moon because of its reddish glow—clearly a ...

Worthy is the Lamb

October 1, 2015

I awoke this morning, longing for leaders with vision that transcend our debilitating, small-minded fractiousness. And thankful for those who do! Ancient mythic images emerge...

Contrary to popular opinion, theology—pondering the relationship between created beings and God, between science and the wisdom of tradition—isn’t boring or po...

Written Saturday July 25, 2015 Anger doesn’t need to be bottled up, avoided, denied. According to my mother, and the apostle Paul, being angry with good reason is in or...

I find great joy in featuring AMBS’s young, smart, spirited and faith-filled faculty on Practicing Reconciliation. Here is a post by Dr. Jamie Pitts, assistant professor o...

(a 40th anniversary tribute to Gerald) It’s one of my husband’s favorite lines: “With my body I thee worship.” It may seem unseemly to mention it here...

by David B. Miller I am pleased to post “Living into the Tension…” by Dr. David B. Miller about “the woman caught in adultery.” Miller, who is ...

I am pleased to post this heart-wrenching lament (first shared as a chapel sermon) from Dr. Safwat Marzouk, AMBS assistant professor of Old Testament. He decries the ISIS slaugh...

For my blog post this Holy Week, I’ve chosen to share the text of the short sermon I preached at the conclusion of the service of Lament, Confession and Commitment at AMBS...

Praying with Jesus for Unity

February 24, 2015

I am delighted to post this thoughtful reflection by Mennonite sages and Anabaptist scholar teachers par excellence, Alan Kreider and Eleanor Kreider. "Praying with Jesus f...

What a bloody mess! Birth.

February 2, 2015

What is the Spirit birthing? I wonder. We don’t know what the baby will look like. We do know that birthing is wracked with pain; that labor is exhausting, sometimes...

My deep formation as a child included the resounding word from pulpits, parents and teachers: Without a vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). I was captivated. ...

I am delighted to post this advent homily by Dr. Mary Schertz, AMBS Professor of New Testament and Director of the Institute of Mennonite Studies, one of three powerful sermons ...

Leading in Anxious Times

November 24, 2014

It’s a sleepless night. I can’t remember another one. Short nights, yes. But one entirely without sleep? No. At least not since those notorious all-nighters during c...

I am pleased to post this piece from Dr. Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, associate dean for leadership education and director of the AMBS Church Leadership Center. Her recent prese...

I love my job. I often awaken with gratitude welling up—this despite enormous stress throughout “our industry”: theological education. Two years into the jo...

“Go…. So that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-3). “Go.” Leave what is known… for some place that is not yet known. The call of ...

Spiritual Smuggery

July 18, 2014

The preacher talked about being “spiritually smug” in the sermon and something went ping in my head. None of us would want to think of ourselves as high on the spiri...

Avoiding Avoidance

May 29, 2014

Dr. Malinda Berry is joining the AMBS faculty this July. I am pleased to post her recent piece from Mennonite Life in the series, "On Teaching John Howard Yoder," as a...

Thoughtful friends occasionally send me reading suggestions. Carl Keener, professor emeritus of biology at Penn State University, wrote to me last week with extended comments ab...

I just completed reading a new, beautiful book written by two cousins about my grandparents, called A.D. & Annie: Stories, letters and memories of A.D.Wenger and Annie Lehma...

I fear no evil

April 2, 2014

I preached on Psalm 23 last Sunday--the Lenten psalm of the day. I’m guessing some folks might have thought “Why would a seminary president go out of her way to prea...

I’ve long said I wish as a church we could open our hands to receive the irreconcilable dilemma we’re faced with around sexual orientation, as a gift from God. Am I ...

In an earlier blog post, I called this A (potentially transformative) Teachable Moment in the life of our church. A number of AMBS faculty offered ideas about conversations we s...

In an earlier blog post, I called this A (potentially transformative) Teachable Moment in the life of our church. A number of AMBS faculty offered ideas about conversations we s...

Bleak Mid-Winter Lament

January 9, 2014

Over the recent long days of snow and extreme cold in northern Indiana, Chanticleer’s “In the bleak mid-winter” held me in its grip. Not sure why. I turned to ...

Imagining the Good Life

November 18, 2013

A few years ago, Jewish ethicist and educator Hanan Alexander published a book called Reclaiming Goodness—Education and the Spiritual Quest. “People are searching...

In this post I share a “pastoral letter” from Anabaptists in the United Kingdom who are praying for us. Alan Kreider notes this in introductory comments to the lette...

The pulse of our church-wide network of connection is racing in recent weeks. Anxiety has spiked for some persons with the reemergence of deliberations around John Howard Yoder&...

Time has its way. As does the Spirit. The accelerating interest in and widespread appreciation for John Howard Yoder’s theological work has also provoked renewed calls ...

Standing our ground

July 22, 2013

Many people raised our voices in loud lamentation last week when a court ruled that a man who killed his unarmed 17-year-old black neighbor was legally justified within Florida&...

Facing hard truth

June 6, 2013

Practicing reconciliation means facing the hard truth about what is broken. Most often what is broken is a relationship with someone we trusted or who trusted us. No doubt all o...

One of the top reasons I make brief runs through Facebook postings is to see what people are reading. What we post reveals what we care about. It announces which perspectives we...

Chapel last Friday was a retelling of the post-resurrection story of Jesus and Peter on the lake shore in at least six different ways: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?...

There was a lot of talk in my growing up years about being “separate from the world.” At least some of the markers of that separateness were enforced by bishops and ...

I remember the panic that welled up as I took the phone call from Germany. We were meeting in Croatia as an MCC “fraternity” of students working in Eastern Europe. O...

I’m a seminary president, but in many respects, don’t fit the stereotype. Often when a knotty theological issue comes up or a biblical interpretation seems in questi...