Thoughts from Greencroft Rehab

What do two old people do while the older man is in rehab after a bout with pneumonia?  They care for each other, that’s what.  John Lederach, father of John Paul Lederach, loaned us the signed copy of his son’s book, Reconcile – Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians.

My Joy and I are ordinary Christians and we enjoy sharing the insights of this devoted and scholarly author.  The father has a close place in the memory of My Joy.  She was uniquely blessed when her tenant farmer father moved to a school district in Nebraska that required her to graduate from High School. After graduating, she volunteered to do laundry at a summer camp where she met John Lederach who encouraged the young women in the laundry to attend Hesston College that fall.

From Hesston College she followed the young Canadian who was to become her “Dave” to the Goshen, Indiana, area.  Decades later she became My Joy and I became her Martin, and we went together to hear John’s son John Paul speak on “What a Healthy Church would Look Like.” (Click on the link to connect to the lecture.)  A healthy church is a compassionate church.  The lecture prepared us to benefit from the book.

The book comes from a scholar who has actively promoted peace in many problem areas of the world.  This gives it a grassroots aura. My Joy and I have read to each other and discussed the first four chapters of the book. We are thinking carefully.  While sitting here in front of the computer I have skimmed ahead in this amazing book.

From my perspective John Paul Lederach’s book is Anabaptist, theological, and Biblical. It explores ancient stories and poetry of the Old Testament, exalts Jesus and his life and is an exposition of the enigmas of the early church and the apostles.  It is Jesus centered. As Bill and Lynne Hybels wrote in the foreword, This book truly has the power to change the world.   

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.
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5 Responses to Thoughts from Greencroft Rehab

  1. Donald Blosser says:

    Martin — you are so right…. This book is one of the simplest, most profound statements about congregation life, conflict and reconciliation/healing that I have read in a long – long time. John Paul is a world mediator of international reputation, but the Mennonite Church has not asked him to walk with them (us) as a committed fellow-follower of Jesus. John Paul has a marvelous spirit, and tremendous level of professional expertise. What is wrong with us that we don’t ask for his help??? Do we actually enjoy the experience of fighting among ourselves so much that we don’t really want to be reconciled to each other? We would lose the excitement of the battle !! (Sorry !!)

  2. Beth says:

    Hi Martin,
    Sounds like you’re on the mend. My mom is enjoying the book too. It’s a small world, especially in the Mennonite church. John Lederach was teaching at Hesston College when I was there and I took one of his classes. I had forgotten the story about his influence on my mom attending college.

  3. Carl Metzler says:

    Good morning, Martin. I am so pleased that you are well enough to be blogging again. I would like to emphasize your statement from John Paul Lederach: “A healthy church is a compassionate church.” It is so sad that the concept is abroad that a healthy church is a church that has a set of rules to determine who is in and who is out. May God forgive all of us for allowing that to come to pass.

  4. harold Bauman says:

    Thanks, Martin, for urging your readers to become acquainted with John Lederach’s book, Reconcile. Our small group is working through the book and we are almost finished with it. Very biblical and full of wisdom in regard to dealing with conflict.

    I am glad to hear that you are exhibiting your self that I have known. I trust you will keep on improving. Blessings on you. Harold

  5. Sam Troyer says:

    I am glad your up and going on your blog. I was there as Eldon and his helper were setting up your computer. This book you speak of sounds like a must read. I’ll be heading to Indy to our annual conference tomorrow morning early since my Joy (Betsy) is mostly home bound and I sleep with a C pap it will be a one day conference for me. I am praying for a good conference where we’ll pass the forbearance stance on the gender issue which has churches splitting and running, which is no way for followers of Jesus to act.

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