Welcome.  This blog is a place where I post reflections, musings, occasional announcements, and items of interest.  They are directed toward the congregation I pastor, Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship, but are often of general interest beyond the particularities of what is going on among us here.  

This blog takes its name from the belief that peace, to be peace, pertains to the whole of our relationships – our self-image, our memories, spirituality, family, our economics, politics. I understand peace as originating in and flowing from the effervescent life of God. Creative peace is the underlying impulse of our evolving world – that for which the cosmos and its creative Spirit yearns, the telos of our desires.  To paraphrase the Apostle Paul writing to the Romans, all creation groans for whole peace.  Peace is not the absence of conflict or tension, a sort of static pool of sedation, but the active presence of relational harmony leading to increased co-operation and health.  The concept of whole peace is expressed well in the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ which connotes holistic communal wellbeing.  Mennonites, from their beginnings in the Anabaptist movement of the 16th century, have strived to be ‘people of God’s peace’ (also the name of a favorite hymn).  At its most basic level, this means that we take the teachings of Jesus seriously and seek to become disciples of the Peacemaster, aka Prince of Peace, Jesus the Christ.  This looks different in every context and involves ongoing experiment (to borrow Gandhi’s term) in loving one’s neighbor, whoever that neighbor may be, friend, enemy, or other.  I invite you, no matter how else you choose to classify yourself, to consider yourself a part of God’s shalom, whole peace, movement. 

On a lighter note, regarding how this blog title fits with my life, I rarely leave food on my plate for any meal and thus regularly enjoy the whole piece.

————

The tagline, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” comes from a series of expressions of Jesus known as the Beattitudes, contained within the larger teaching of the Sermon on the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters five through seven.  Each Beattitude is intended to be counter-intuitive to the way we usually conceive of the world.  Jesus also says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  “Blessed are the merciful, for the will be shown mercy.”  In this context Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Making peace, nurturing peaceful relationships, cultivating an environment where peace is welcomed, continues to run counter to many of the norms we find expressed in 21st century American culture.  The quest for dominance, self-advancement at the expense of others, and wealth accumulation for its own sake are all underlying values that claim to have the corner on the marker of what it means to live a Blessed life.  Given the choice of who I allow to shape my understanding of blessedness, I go with the gospels.

The unfinished expression, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” dot, dot, dot indicates that peacemaking is an ongoing activity and way of life.

7 Responses to “Welcome”

  1. anabaptistcountryman Says:

    Dear Sir,
    Every so often, I venture out into WordPress for an hour to “look about” and came across your article relating to the Wisteria. Despite dilgently trying, I am unable to find any way to “leave a comment” on the “Neighbour”/Wisteria issue page, and note that you had asked for same.
    Without a photo, it is difficult to picture the scene described, however Wisteria will take several years, all being well, to flourish. If the neighbour who wishes your approval has erected wooden structures, and the neighbours are becoming increasingly agitated, you may wish to remind the owner that Wisteria can be started on aluminium wires … IF they do well, he could adjoin wood later, as the plants thicken and flourish.
    Whilst he appears unconcerned about being neighbourly himself, and this may not be to his ideal, if it would, perhaps, prevent any building aggression and bring peace through reasonable compromise, I forward the preceding for your information and consideration, and remain,
    Yours sincerely,
    Philip Livingstone

  2. double portion Says:

    I SAY THERE…
    anyone else think that a special thingie
    that explains the workings of this website
    would get one extra points with god
    you know gold gems and such
    and not that straw and hay stuff ….
    in terms of getting rewards:)

  3. a double portion Says:

    well now
    all on my own
    sigh
    i found out that those emails
    from noreply
    were the means
    to see ifn
    my comments got any comments
    and sigh
    as fur as i can figure out
    nary a one….
    which means i am doing my job well
    in the land of contrarians
    and reverse checkers
    and those not of this world:)

  4. a double portion Says:

    sigh
    finding one’s way around
    sites
    can be a bit overwhelming
    somtimes
    or too
    wishin one knew the ins and outs
    of how the site functions…
    laid out in a simple easy format..

    a kind of review of basic concepts
    and functions…

    a for instance….
    in a bit of another vein
    but still kinda related…
    knowing the number of pages
    there be
    say of sermons
    or total number of sermons…
    a kind of summary of such things
    and sigh
    it seems as if it be a bit tedious
    ifn one would say
    like to quickly acess the first page
    in terms of the beginning ones….
    is there a way say to do that
    other than click click click click
    till one gets there
    oh my sooo wearisome that can be
    especitally on a slow connection…
    oh woe is me ..

    oh no i had intended to click
    the notivy me of follow up….
    but clicked absent mindedly first
    submit comment
    and then i clicked hopefully 🙂
    notify
    and then submit again
    and then i got somthing about
    i had dublicated… same message…
    so tho this is not the same as i have added to it..
    sigh will it get submitted
    oh my the ways of computers
    can be soooooooooo
    exasperating 😦

  5. joelmiller Says:

    Ginger,
    Yes, you’re welcome to visit and explore with us. You may wish to see the “Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship” page for starting time info. and directions. Blessings, Joel

  6. Ginger Says:

    Is anyone welcome to visit your church?
    I am “seeking more.”
    It seems like a lot of people say they are Christian, yet they do everything the world does.
    I was a missionary in Africa and Papua New Guinea for 5 years, and find coming back to a modern US city very difficult.
    I can’t explain what I am looking for, but hope that you are open to “explorers” at your church.
    Please lt me know.
    Thank you,
    -Ginger

  7. amelia mengon Says:

    Joel,
    Your Lillian is beautiful! Put her together with Mom Dad, & Eve, and you have a picture of love, a picture of something so wonderful it must be divinely inspired. I enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing
    amelia


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