The Great Reckoning:
Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing like Christ
What do we do when the church looks nothing like Jesus?
Many followers of Jesus feel disillusioned by a broken religion—one that loves political power, promises prosperity, and feeds on fear. We are desperately trying to rationalize how a loving God can be connected to unloving churches, institutions, and people. We can no longer deny that our version of Christianity is not just imperfect but has been co-opted to inflict violence, racism, abuse, hate, and even death. The question before many Christians is no longer how their faith can survive within a secular culture. It’s how their faith can survive Christianity itself.
In The Great Reckoning, writer Stephen Mattson writes out of the rubble of the failed American faith called Christendom. Instead of doomsaying or casting aspersions, however, Mattson offers hope for seekers looking for inspiration, solace for Christians fed up with an unsatisfying religion, and clarity for those sifting through the remains. The Great Reckoning is a clear-eyed yet tender critique of where we’ve gone wrong, and a guide away from the culture wars and toward the life of Jesus.
Rather than further immersing ourselves in Christendom, what if we started rethinking what it means to be a Christian in the first place? What if Christians shed the hopes and dreams of Christianity and turned instead of the Christ at the centre of our faith?
Consider this a dispatch from the wreckage of American cultural Christianity, and an ode to the Jesus-looking faith we seek.
"The Trump era has convinced many people of what they've long expected: the Christian faith has been hijacked. Political agendas, corrupt institutions, culture wars, and hypocrisy have poisoned a religion struggling to emulate the person of Jesus. In The Great Reckoning, writer Stephen Mattson navigates the difference between Christendom and Christ, and offers a way back toward the latter." - Benjamin Corey, author of Unafraid and Undiluted
Let's Walk the Talk
of Reconciliation with Bill C-262:
Package of ~120 Free Postcards
Bill C-262 has passed 3rd reading in the House of Commons and is now up for debate in the Senate.
Request a package of free postcards and together with your church or community group, write our Senators, calling upon them to act for reconciliation between Indigenous and Settler peoples by supporting Bill C-262. Note that no postage required. All mail headed to the Senate is free!
Limit two packages per order.
Alternatively, if you can't wait for the postcards, please use this electronic letter—crafted by a coalition of faith based organizations— to write respective Senators immediately. It will only take a minute and it’s an impactful form advocacy that we encourage you to share with your community: https://mcccanada.ca/get-involved/advocacy/campaigns/call-your-senator-pass-bill-c-262
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has stated that the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is the key to genuine reconciliation between Indigenous and Settler peoples in Canada (Call to Action #43). Bill C-262 can help make that happen. Supported by a broad array of Indigenous, social justice, and faith-based organizations, Bill C-262 is “An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the UNDRIP.” The current government has expressed support for the Declaration. Now’s our chance to help them do the right thing…to help Canada take a tremendous step forward towards justice and healing.
Tips for hosting a postcard signing event in your community, and sample postcard messages, will be included in your order, and can also be downloaded here.
Please note that your contact information will be shared with Steve Heinrichs, our Indigenous-Settler Relations Director at Mennonite Church Canada, who may follow up with you to give support, make connections, and help build the movement.
Postcards are free. A flat shipping rate of $5.97/package (plus GST) will be applied. Postcards are bundled in packages of 450g, with an approximate count of 120 postcards.
The Bible Unwrapped:
Making Sense of Scripture Today
Many people have questions about Scripture they are too afraid to ask. Are all the stories of the Bible true? What about all the books that got left out? What do we make of all that violence? What do we do when biblical authors seem to disagree? And what if we encounter situations the Bible doesn’t address?
Drawing from the best of contemporary biblical scholarship and the ancient well of Christian tradition, scholar and preacher Meghan Larissa Good helps readers consider why the Bible matters. Known for presenting complex theological ideas in accessible, engaging ways, Good delves into issues like biblical authority, literary genre, and Christ-centered hermeneutics, and calls readers beyond either knee-jerk biblicism, on the one hand, or skeptical disregard on the other.
Instead, The Bible Unwrapped invites readers to faithful reading, communal discernment, and deep and transformative wonder about Scripture. Join an honest conversation about the Bible that is spiritually alive and intellectually credible. Read the ancient story of God in the world. You may even learn to love it.
"The Bible Unwrapped bears untold gifts, as rich and valuable in their own way as those brought to a child by wise ones two thousand years ago. Reading Scripture is the key to reading life which stands at the heart of following Jesus. Do not let this unique gift pass by unopened and unenjoyed." --Leonard Sweet, author, scholar, speaker
"You need this book in your church, and in your work with people who are searching for answers. It is the missing piece for our discussions on current topics and the Bible." --Dottie Escobedo-Frank, author, pastor, speaker
"For all its popularity, the Bible is often misunderstood. Meghan Larissa Good skillfully reminds us that the messy and sacred world of the Bible is not a how-to book for life but a window through which we can view God's story and encounter the living Christ." --Derek Hogan, assistant professor of New Testament, Campbell Divinity School
Year C, Lent 2019 At-Home Materials:
Blessed Hunger ... Holy Feast
This year’s Lent materials hope to help us rediscover and reclaim
confession. More than just telling God how we’ve messed up;
confession includes affirming our faith in God, whose love stays
with us and pursues us through the outstretched arms of Jesus. As
we become aware of the intensity of this love, we respond with newfound
love and thankfulness to Jesus for stretching out his arms to
Use the resource whenever and however it fits into your home’s routines and life stage realities. If your family has younger children, feel free to simplify, shorten and paraphrase the prayers and pondering thoughts. To use this booklet for daily worship times, repeat the litany for each day of the week, and read the daily scripture recommendations, which have been divided into seven short readings.
Braving the Future:
Christian Faith in a World of Limitless Tech
Humanity is nearing a technological tipping point. The blistering pace of technological, scientific, and social change is ushering in an era in which human bodies merge with devices, corporations know everything about us, and artificial intelligence develops human and even godlike potential. In possession of the most powerful tools history has ever seen, we will be faced with questions about wisdom, authority, faith, desire, and what it means to be human.
In Braving the Future, Douglas Estes equips Christians to thoughtfully and prayerfully prepare for a future of technological reign that is rapidly expanding. Drawing on Scripture, Christian tradition, and scientific literature, Estes offers a theology of work, creation, and personhood that is both prophetic and sturdy enough to keep pace with the technology of a future as yet unknown. He helps readers choose trust in God over fearful retreat and following Jesus over uncritical engagement with technology. The future may not look exactly like a science fiction movie, but are we ready to brave a future of limitless tech and boundless change?
“Douglas Estes has distinguished himself as not only a top-rate exegete of Scripture but also a cutting-edge exegete of culture. That’s why I can’t wait to get my hands on Braving the Future. We can count on Estes to offer us penetrating insights into what Scripture has to say about work, creation, and personhood, as well as faithful analysis of our tech-saturated world. Better yet, we can rely on him to guide us toward Christian fidelity in the face of some unprecedented technological changes in the years ahead.” - Todd Wilson
Anabaptist Witness, Volume 5, Number 2, October 2018:
The Mission of God and Global Partnerships
Mission partnerships must address historical sins, financial limitations, and theological differences. In spite of the difficulties, we remain drawn into partnerships by friendship and mutual need, by overlapping history and vision, and, ultimately, by the Holy Spirit. Partnerships are difficult—but how good and pleasant it is to dwell in unity (Psalm 133:1)! This issue of Anabaptist Witness collects papers on global mission partnerships from the 2018 Council of International Anabaptist Ministries Plenary, as well as a selection of additional articles on the theme.
Proceedings from the 2018 Council of International Anabaptist Ministries Plenary:
- "Global Mission Partnerships: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future" by Alain Epp Weaver
- "The Mission of God and Global Relationships" by César García
- "The Mission of God and Global Relationships" by Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi
- "Global Mission Partnership: Striving to Balance Limping Alliances" by Barbara Nkala
- "Reclaiming Mission: Reflections on Mission as Global Interconnectedness and Spirit-Empowered Evangelism" by Anicka Fast
- "We Were Not Disobedient to the Vision" by Richard Showalter
- "The Mission of God and Global Partnership: Case Study — International Missions Association (IMA)" by Yesaya Abdi & Tilahun Beyene Kidane
- "The Increasing Need for Authentic Global Anabaptist Partnerships" by Ruth Keidel Clemens
- "Where Are Our Nightmares?" by Anne Thiessen
- "Six Decades in the Making: A Story of Friendship and Ministry Partnership between African-Initiated Churches and North American Mennonites" by James R. Krabill
- "Mission Engagement in Nigeria in an Epoch of Partnership: A Case in the Anabaptist Tradition" by R. Bruce Yoder
- "Enfants sacrés et subsides coloniaux chez les missionnaires des Frères mennonites" by Anicka Fast (see English article)
read related article: Pedagogical Dilemmas in the Global Church: Reflecting on Power and Privilege in Relation to Colonial Subsidies and the Education of Missionaries’ Children in the Belgian Congo
Additional content available here.
Unsettling the Word:
Biblical Experiments in Decolonization
For generations, the Bible has been employed by settler colonial societies as a weapon to dispossess Indigenous and racialized peoples of their lands, cultures, and spiritualities. Given this devastating legacy, many want nothing to do with it. But is it possible for the exploited and their allies to reclaim the Bible from the dominant powers? Can we make it an instrument for justice in the cause of the oppressed? Even a nonviolent weapon toward decolonization?
In Unsettling the Word, over 60 Indigenous and Settler authors come together to wrestle with the Scriptures, re-reading and re-imagining the ancient text for the sake of reparative futures.
Created by Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations program, Unsettling the Word is intended to nurture courageous conversations with the Bible, our current settler colonial contexts, and the Church’s call to costly peacemaking.
Study Guide by Peter Haresnape now available (download PDF).
Read an article about the book by John Longhurst.
Read an excerpt, Lament on Coast Salish Land, by Céline Chuang in Bearings Online.
Also see reviews by John Bird of the Anglican Journal, Jen Galicinski of Radical Discipleship, David Warkentin of the MB Herald.
Also see the book launch video.
Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, Kwok Pui-lan, Christina Conroy, Leah Gazan, Joerg Rieger, Norman Habel, Stan McKay, Rachel and Chris Brnjas, Jennifer Henry, Lori Ransom, Rebecca Voelkel, Peter Haresnape, Robert O. Smith, Susanne Guenther Loewen, Carmen Landsdowne, Cheryl Bear, Joshua Grace, Rarihokwats, Darrin W. Snyder Belousek, Joy De Vito, Tamara Shantz, Marc H. Ellis, Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Sara Brubacher, Benjamin Hertwig, David Driedger, Pekka Pitkanen, Celine Chuang, Alain Epp Weaver, Musa W. Dube, Katerina Friesen, Anita L. Keith, Derrick Jensen, Roland Boer, Neil Elliott, Daniel Hawk, Randy Woodley, Lisa Martens, Tobin Miller Shearer, Walter Brueggemann, Miguel A. De La Torre, Vivian Ketchum, James W. Perkinson, Sara Anderson, Deanna Zantingh, Peter C. Phan, Sheila Klassen-Wiebe, Bob Haverluck, Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Chris Budden, Ellen F. Davis, Rose Marie Berger, Wes Howard-Brook, Gerald West, Julia M. O'Brien, Dan Epp-Tiessen, Ryan Dueck, Mitzi J. Smith, Sylvia McAdam, Robert Two Bulls, Ched Myers, Jonathan Dyck, Sarah Travis, Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Kyla Neufeld
Along the Road to Freedom:
Mennonite Women of Courage and Faith
In story paintings and words Along the Road to Freedom follows the journeys of mothers and grandmothers, mostly widowed, who led or attempted to lead families out of the former Soviet Union to peace, freedom and safety in Canada - primarily during the chaotic aftermath of the Russian Revolution and in the midst of World War II.
Purchase in bulk, and save:
- 5-9 copies - save 10%
- 10+ copies - save 20%
The Pastor/Congregation Duet
In a time of shifting worldviews and changing expectations of
the church, how does a pastor navigate the challenges, joys, and
pains of ministry? How does a church support, love, and hold
accountable its pastoral leaders? The key lies in the relationship
between pastor and congregation – in the duet they are singing,
in the rhythms of their life together.
In this book, Gary Harder reflects on the difficulties and rewards, the missteps and humour that are part of learning that ministry duet. Here he celebrates the mysterious ways God works through, and sometimes in spite of, the people singing God’s songs together. We reach for harmony. We hear dissonant notes. We catch only a glimpse of God’s beautiful music. And that is enough.
Also see related video.
"Gary Harder explores the rhythms of healthy pastoral-congregational relations, which he
likens to a duet – intimate and mutual. He gives rich examples of what honest, reciprocal, and
supporting relationships look like, and how these are critical for navigating conflict and change.
He is exceptionally self-aware, attentive to context, committed to wrestling with the scriptural
text and to search for the Spirit’s guidance. While ecumenically open, he sees ministry through
an Anabaptist lens –following Jesus into peace and justice and community and inclusion." — Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, PhD, Associate Academic
Dean, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto
"Gary Harder, a treasured and instrumental leader and pastor of the Mennonite Church in Canada, weaves together wisdom and insights gathered from over 50 years of pastoral experience. At the heart of healthy ministry is a relationship between the pastor and congregation, a partnership that can be beautiful, rich, messy and arduous, all at the same time. With many stories, and an occasional sermon woven throughout, the book is held together by a deep sense of gratitude and love, and a recognition of how a pastoral vocation never quite ends, even when the work is finished." — Dr. Irma Fast Dueck, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Canadian Mennonite University
2019 Lenten Guided Prayer Experience:
Prayers of Grit and Grace
Anticipating the theme and process: Participating in this 6-week experience will take you on a journey of discovery and challenge. As you pray with the scripture texts for Lent, you will be invited to consider how God is present in the gritty or difficult places in life in order to find the grace and hope.
Using the Weekly Prayer Sheets: Each week you will have a Prayer Sheet to guide you. Throughout Lenten Guided Prayer (LGP), we will be practicing contemplative prayer which invites you to notice how God’s spirit is moving within your everyday life experience, through listening, pondering, and wondering. We do this using the lens of scripture - in particular, the Lectionary readings from the Sundays during Lent.
Each sheet introduces you to the theme of the week and provides different suggestions for how to pray with the scriptures. Expect that some of the prayer exercises will easily draw you in, while others might stretch you into new ways of praying and responding. Since there are many prayer suggestions, it is not expected that you will pray with each one listed. Be open to however God leads you to express your prayer. There is no limit to how contemplative prayer can happen and where it can lead you. The key is that whatever you do, you do it in a prayerful, reflective way - even if it means getting curious about your resistance. Our hope is that through these prayer options, the themes of the Lenten texts can interact deeply with your life experience.
Sharing and Responding in the Weekly Small Group: For those who participate in a small group (we recommend 3-4 people), each week you will meet with a group facilitator to share some of your prayer experiences. People share only those things they feel comfortable sharing from their prayer times. Perhaps they share recorded reflections from their journal, some created artwork, a hymn that resonated, a calling they felt, what felt challenging, or something they saw that caught their attention.
$40 for congregations/organizations
$20 for individual use
$10 for students
The Challenge is in the Naming:
A Theological Journey
This volume is built around a collection of previously published
essays by the author over the course of thirty years, supplemented
by current reflections and personal narratives that place these
essays into a broader and engaging theological journey.
Also see related video.
“A rich blending of personal, church, and academic narratives and contexts. . . . This
interdisciplinary collection has the potential to become a pivotal resource for the next
generation of Mennonite theologians, scholars, and pastors.” - from the Foreword by Kimberly Penner and Susanne Guenther Loewen
“Theology . . . pays attention to how we name the Creator, the One beyond our naming . . . and how we name the ‘other’ in the context of relationship and dialogue . . . In addition, theological reflection includes intentionally naming ourselves, who we are, how we have experienced life within the web of intertwining relationships that have shaped us. Theology thus also names the world we live in, its complexity and its beauty, its joy and its pain.” - from the Preface by Lydia Neufeld Harder
Upside Down Living: A Bible Study Series
Raising kids is hard enough. But raising kids to heed Jesus’ upside-down call away from status and power and toward service and sharing? It can seem almost impossible. So how can parents model countercultural choices? What habits can help families joyfully follow Christ instead of the latest trend? Gather with your faith community to search the Scriptures and discuss how to raise faithful kids in the twenty-first century.
Upside Down Living: A Bible Study Series
Prayer can easily become an afterthought, a hasty sentence, a laundry list of all the things we want. But what is prayer is a time to find out what God wants for us—and for our world? What does it mean to pray that the kingdom would come here and now as it is in heaven? Explore these questions in this study, and learn prayer practices that nurture intimacy with God and sensitivity to God’s dream for the world.
Take a prayerful journey through the Christian calendar year with Steve Bell’s new book series. The seven-book series includes devotional reflections on the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Ordinarytime. Drawing on poetry, music, history and tradition, Steve’s unique reflections animate a rich spiritual tradition for the seasoned and the novice alike.
Purchase as a boxed set (without CDs), or buy books and CDs individually. Consider also the two-disc companion CD, corresponding to the Pilgrim Year book series. Included are seasonal songs drawn from Steve’s three-decade catalogue of music.
This boxed set price does not include the CDs. Please purchase the CDs separately.
Also see related book launch video.
Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
Is self-care different from being selfish or self-indulgent? Is it the same as caring for your soul? And what does self-care look like in light of following Jesus, who called his followers to deny themselves?
In Four Gifts, pastor and author April Yamasaki addresses these and other questions about self-care. Drawing on the ancient scriptural command to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, Yamasaki helps readers think about the spiritual dimensions of attending to your own needs, setting priorities, and finding true rest in a fast-paced world. She weaves together personal stories, biblical and theological insights, questions for reflection, and practical ideas for self-care. Four Gifts helps readers sustain their spirits and balance competing demands.
Feeling overwhelmed by the pace and stress of daily life? Find respite from superficial definitions of self-care and move toward deeper engagement with God.
Includes practical ideas for habits and practices that centre the heart, soul, mind and strength on God.
"In Four Gifts, April's powerful insights are on brilliant display. With an integrative mind-body-spirit approach and the rich wisdom of a woman of color's life well-spent, Yamasaki leads us on a journey that is worth following." - Christina Cleveland, author of Disunity in Christ