David Driedger's blog

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Faith Formation

Many churches are exploring the what 'formation' means in their life and work.  At First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg we are doing the same.  Here is a sermon I preached on the theme.  I would welcome any comments or feedback.

The texts were 2 Samuel 12:1-7a (Nathan confronting David); 1 Kings 3:16-28 (Solomon's judgment between the two mothers)

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An affective fellowship

A statement made by Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Executive Director Ken Warkentin concluding a recent Canadian Mennonite piece “We’re Sorry” caught me off guard.  In it he took, what I understood to be, a moderating posture between the two ‘sides’ of those addressing sexual diversity and the church.  He concluded with the words “I want to challenge both groups to be able to say, ‘We might be wrong.’”  I was left wondering why the comment lingered with me.  What is the function of such a comment?  My gues

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Out of practice

I wanted to share something in my sermon this Sunday that reflected my experience at Assembly 2012.  I decided to reflect on the two passages that conclude Being a Faithful Church document 4 (BFC 4).  Here is the sermon I came up with.  It focused on Hebrews 5:12-14

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

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A plea for descriptive and inquisitive intervention

In my last post I was pushing towards more care in how we articulate possible notions of faithfulness tied up in practices intimately linked with having a social awareness and engagement.  So how then does one articulate and engage the world when it is of course possible to undermine any given expression?  I think part of the shift is to not 'over-code' a given situation.  Simply living in the 'hood and buying 2nd-hand and organic does not itself imply goodness.  How do we describe and articulate the network of relations that are at play in our actions?  Let the theology, if th

Keep it to yourself

A number of blogs that I follow push back (most recently here) pretty hard against a type of personal activism that ends up creating a structure a moral evaluation with no sense that effective change is produced or even possible.  What do I mean by this?  I mean simply that personal activism can be a therapeutic response to the guilty conscious of privilege.  There is nothing new in that statement and many of the blogs that I follow outline and deve

A profound reading

I once heard a story about the influential biblical scholar Brevard Childs.  A student asked him how to become a better interpreter of the Bible.  Childs's response, as it was told to me, was become a more profound person.  Now perhaps some arrogance could be read into that statement but I think there is an important insight to consider here.  Around the time I heard this quote I was attending a doctoral level seminar in biblical theology.  Part of the course included presenting various forms and methods of interpretation (biblical criticisms).  As we wrestled with these approaches

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An uneasy neighbourhood

I have come to expect that the people I invite over to my house may feel uncomfortable doing so.  This is not surprising as even until recently my street in particular has made it into the news as the site of criminally violent acts.  While there may be some notion of ‘at least its not the North End’, the Spence Neighbourhood still evokes some unease in many people that I encounter.  I often feel a little apologetic about that reality and sometimes even act preemptively to minimize possible feelings of unease.  Now I get this unease.  While there remains misunderstanding with r

Community and Authority

I am not entirely sure how my recent piece in CM will be received with respect to church authority.  The basic point of the column was draw attention to both the conflicting or contending lines of authority that we have drawn and also, most importantly, to acknowledge that we have drawn them.  This was not a piece about rejecting authority much less rejecting God or the Bible.  It was rather about taking responsibility for the authority we name and claim.

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At the corner of comedy and tragedy

About ten years back I was the caretaker of an apartment block that a church had renovated to provide low-rent stable apartments in Winnipeg's West End.  The visionary and work-horse of this and many other projects was the late Harry Lehotsky.  I can still remember coming back to the apartment one evening seeing two faces peering out of what should have been an empty basement suite.  I went to check it out and there was Harry and the superintendent who oversaw all the blocks.  They were on a 'steak-

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Proximity and resources

Winnipeg experienced its tenth homicide last week.  The shooting took place around the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation parking lot at Portage and Young.  We were likely just leaving our house at that time to run a few errands.  I am trying to retrace the moments to see if anything comes to mind.  We would have been close enough to hear the shooting.  Learning about the shooting does not seem to phase me personally, despite the proximity.  In the larger media and civic perspective this will of course

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Is this heaven? . . . No its the 44

A few weeks ago in the first Sunday of Lent I challenged our congregation to fast from the fruits of privilege.  One minor act on my part has been to ride the bus as often as possible.  As a country-boy the bus has always been a source of fascination for me and this spiritual exercise paid dividends this last week as my experience ended comprising about half the sermon

Debating the existence of my caring about the debate over the existence of God

I recently had a conversation with an atheist that did not fit the narrow conception I had of how that should have gone.  It was a helpful and constructive experience.  In any event the encounter spurred me to do a little snooping around on the internet for local atheist blogs and see what was happening around Winnipeg.  In the process I ran into The Winnipeg Skeptics.  One of the contributors has his own blog Startled Disbelief.  I started reading various

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A Fistful of Dollars

Yesterday I swung by the University of Winnipeg to pick up a book.  On my way back to the car I noticed a flash of colour standing out against the dirty white snow on the curb.  Lying there, as though nestled on some heavenly cloud was a bundle of cash.  There lay $100 dollars staring up at me with no indication of ownership.  I suddenly found myself in some sort of poorly contrived morality sketch.  What should I do?  Some of thoughts that ran through my head;

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Christ, Who Fills Everything in Every Way

This past Sunday I preached on Ephesians 4:4-16.  I wanted to draw attention to two themes in the book.  First is the abundance of language about abundance.  Believers are filled with riches, power and wealth.  Second, this is set within the context of the body of Christ which (who) fills all things.  A broad theme in my recent reading is on the notion of capitalism as that body which currently (and rapidly) seeks to fill everything.  From last Sunday’s sermon,

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Preaching Existentially?

I am detecting a consistent trend in my preaching.  I am targeting the individual.  This comes in part from my own experience and formation in existentialism but also in my experience of the Mennonite church in which it is easy for individuals to point to our good works in social services and non-violent initiatives.  And then when the individual is called to account it is typically with some moral leveraging or slightly shamed response of what else we could be doing.

On Blogging

I have to admit I feel little bad about my comments on Paul's most recent post below.  He offered a light hearted reflection on how we can complain about 'problems' most people would like to have.  The post triggered a history of comments I have heard (and made) over time.  I responded critically.  I do not feel bad about responding critically but I do feel bad that my reason for blogging and responding may not be clear.  I read blogs only when I feel I can learn substantially <i>or</i> when I feel there is the opportunity for a rigorous exchange of views and approaches.  Blogs

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Romans 13 - Be Indebted to No One for Nothing

Romans 13 has long been a thorn in my Anabaptist side.  John Howard Yoder of course went a long way in clarifying the distinction between being subject to those in authority and actually obeying those in authority.  That reading however still left me with many unanswered questions as to what Paul is calling the church towards.  In preparation for the Romans readings of this season of Advent I reread Giorgio Agamben's The Time

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The Good Neighbourhood

My wife and I recently purchased our first home.  The house is located in a neighbourhood of Winnipeg in which I have spent the vast majority of my adult Manitoba life.  Moving back from Ontario it was like coming back home.  I am referring to the Spence Neighbourhood in the West End of Winnipeg.  I have lived on Spence St, Young St and I now reside on Langside.  What is clear to me is that everyone, everyone from Winnipeg somehow knows this is a 'bad' neighbourhood.  This is so implicitly ingrained in my psyche that when I tell people where our house was I began to rationalize or

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