Healing through conversation

Menno, the man portrayed on the fan

Menno, the man portrayed on the fan

A sad thing happened at the door of my Castle.  Eldon had brought me a gift from the Mennonite assembly in Kansas City.  It was a hand device commonly used to agitate and cool the air called a fan.  On the fan was a portrayal of Menno Simons and the words, “I am a fan of Menno Simons“.  I pasted the fan on the outside of the door for all to see, and I overheard occasional bemused comments by those who  passed by.  But, a fellow resident either liked or disliked the fan so much that they lifted it and took it away.  Even though I told my friends that Menno would have me forgive, I quietly nursed a grievance against the unknown person who had robbed me.

Joyce and I went to the College Mennonite Church to hear a lecture by Peggy Gish.  She is a peacemaker who reported her observations of a church founded by the Brethren Church in Nigeria in 1923.  Now the Anabaptist church is stressed.

Peggy Gish

Peggy Gish

Not ordinary stress, but the kind of stress brought by being robbed of possessions and forced to watch family members murdered because they would not become Muslim. Many martyrs forgave their tormentors. I felt rebuked because I had nursed a hurt in my heart toward the one who did such a simple thing as stealing my fan.   Click here to go to a published version of Peggy Gish’s lecture.

While the Nigerian church is suffering because of outside persecution, the Mennonite Church USA is suffering from self-inflicted wounds.  Its people cannot agree on policy, so it divides and thereby brings the message of Jesus into disrepute.

Hope flows from the report of gatherings of diverse pastors in Lancaster City and surrounding churches who meet for conversation and lamentation.  If you wish to learn more interesting details including some youtube lamentations click here.

Stoner and Frances Krady - Rhoda's parents

Stoner and Frances Krady – Rhoda’s parents

Lancaster City was somewhat of a home for me in my youth.  Rhoda’s father, D. Stoner Krady, was founding pastor of the first mission in Lancaster City and later served as bishop of the other churches in the city.

Let us celebrate
healing through lamentation

Gain hope be joyful

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Healing through conversation

  1. Alton Longenecker says:

    I sit here and gaze on this picture of Stoner and Frances. You see, they were my mother’s aunt and uncle and so I remember of visiting in their home many times. Plus he was the bishop. We attended North End Mennonite Church, now Blossom Hill. However, I find this photo compelling to me. Stoner seems happy, perhaps even joyful. And I don’t think he was somehow caught off guard by the photographer. He just didn’t seem to understand that Lancaster Conference clergy were suppose to always look dour. Thank you for posting this lovely picture of your in-laws.

    • I told Lois, a daughter of Stoner and Francis, about your post and she said, Papa was always happy. I know from listening to some of the older children that Papa was happiest when he was telling about Jesus. After he had the calling of a bishop their Papa was burdened. He sometimes had to do disciplinary tasks that were not consistent with his nature. Yet his joy beamed through, in the mind of Lois

  2. Raymond Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing especially your process following the loss of the fan.
    I sometimes fear that Trump will become our President. While in the shower I decided that if he becomes President I will pray Phil.4:8 for him. Then, just like the water pouring over my head, The Spirit said”Oh, you would need to wait till he is President?. I’ve got my orders and that feels much better

  3. Thanks, Raymond. You are one through whom God’s Spirit speaks.

  4. Nate Lehman says:

    Today, everyone seems to be talking, and who is listening? Who is loving?
    When you can listen to a man or woman with whom you disagree until he/she is finished talking, actually finished, and then when it is your time to speak simply say, “You are saying that you believe….” and then repeat back to that person as clearly as possible what you heard, you are following the wishes of the Holy Spirit in Christ.
    Do not try this exercise unless you are willing to die to your ego and allow the other to live, for this is Christ-like and you will change. You can experience peace and joy difficult to explain. This is YOU centered listening and not practiced by people who are dividing. You will become one with the other and fulfill the message of the teaching of the love of Jesus. For when you think you know how I need to live to follow the Creator, you no longer love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.