Writing of our life together in “Rhoda’s Choices” caused me to ponder again my journey of faith. My reputation has become so closely attached to “change” that I’ve decided to look for the things about my faith journey that have not changed.
Sixty-three years ago I went to Tampa with a secure faith in the Bible as having the answer to human need. Now I want it to be clear that I have grown in my knowledge and understanding of the bible, and believe its core message that the salvation of the world is through Jesus.
If I were beginning a life time of preaching with what I know now, I would expect to use the bible as the chief source of my sermonizing. I would not use the bible as a science or history book; but because of the wisdom in it, and as the chief source of knowledge of the life of Jesus.
My webmaster has installed a “traffic control” that shows me that the post, “The Path to Transition” is my most popularly read blog. This suprises me. I wonder if the readers understand that I am suggesting a transition away from preaching primarily about the crucifixion of Jesus to preaching the life of Jesus on earth as the hope of the world.
So let this be clear, if I were to begin a preaching career today, I would walk into the pulpit with bible in hand, and its core story of Jesus life would be the controlling message of my sermonizing. And my choice would be a pulpit in a Mennonite church.
Of course other pulpits are worthy of the gospel. A brother who is disgruntled with the Mennonite church was asked why he stayed where he is. He exclaimed in response “where would I go?” He explained that he knows of no church that is more active in its community, more open, or loves him, and would be more likely to care for him in a crisis than his own Mennonite Church.
So, let this be clear, the Mennonite Church remains the church of my choice; not because it is the only true church, but because it is a church that gives its preachers a rich history and a promising direction into the future from which to preach Jesus life as hope to the world.
My medical doctor is a native of India and a Hindu by religion. On my first appointment he asked me many questions about myself, as was to be expected. When I was about to leave, I said, “you have asked me many questions about myself but I haven’t asked you anything.” “Sit down,” he said “and ask me.”
My first question was, “what brought you to Goshen?” He answered that he was attracted to Goshen because it is a small community and unusually open.
I learned later that he takes his family regularly to Chicago to be with a larger Hindu Community, sends his children to the Bethany Christian School operated by Mennonites, and collects guns as a hobby. Through Rhoda’s illness and passing I have learned to trust him. The nurse practitioner on his staff is a daughter of a former pastor acquaintance of mine and she is a member of Community Mennonite Church.