I enjoyed worshipping with Forks Mennonite in part because it reminded me of Marion Mennonite, the church of my childhood and youth. Both of those churches have changed enough through the years that at age 86, changed as I am, I would still feel at home among them. I believe that I can describe the churches as living “roots” and I am at home among them,
In the 1950s, I was the young pastor of the Ida St. Mennonite church in Tampa, Florida, a church that I now recognize as also having been among the “roots” of the tree that is the church. But, now I focus on one of those who grew up Tampa’s Mennonite Church, Tampa’s Jimmy Brenneman, now Dr. James E. Brenneman, president of Goshen College. He spoke on Wednesday noon to the Men’s Fellowship of the College Mennonite Church. I had the privilege of chairing the meeting and of introducing him. His topic was “GC’s Vision to Lead the Way in the Social and Economic Revival of the Midwest.”
The topic amazed me. I read local newspapers and I know that the Midwest needs social and economic reviving. But can GC lead the way? I wondered.
President Brenneman told us that partly because of the advances in technology the time is here to “reset the button” at Goshen College. He revealed to us the creative “imaginings” at work inside the college that are stimulating the faculty and administration’s vision of its future. These imaginings could give the college a significant role in the social and economic revival of the Midwest. Clearly there is a rustling among the leaves of the tree that is the church.
The rustling continued after the meeting. I happened to converse with a retired physician. I introduced him to the Old Fool, and told him why he calls himself the Old Fool. Then he told me of his passions, one of them being for gays and lesbians. He said that by looking at the image of a brain he can tell whether the person is straight or gay. We had a few moments of mutual respect.
The Old Fool is not a leaf; he is a retired pastor/churchman who enjoys the fresh breeze blowing among the leaves of the tree that is the church. He understands himself to have a role as part of the trunk of the tree, carrying nourisment from roots to leaves, and from leaves to roots of the tree that is the church.
If you appreciate the quality of this conversation on sensitive issues please subscribe for your pastor and other leaders in your church.