Though I ended up disagreeing with him fairly significantly on pacifism, the interpretation of the atonement, homosexuality and capital punishment, I remain grateful beyond words for the life, work and example of evangelical Anglican leader John R W Stott, who died aged 90 last week.
For many people these days, much 'religion' has become synonymous with division, bigotry and violence. Sadly, there is plenty of good evidence that this is so. But it is not the whole picture. There are very strong faith traditions that point in exactly the opposite direction.
Goshen College, a prominent Mennonite liberal arts institution, has reversed its decision to play the militaristic and nationalistic US national anthem at sports events. Andy Alexis-Baker welcomes the move, after a long process of lobbying which he and others led. Never before have so many Christians - and not just Mennonites or other Anabaptists - stated so clearly that these anthems and rituals have no place in Christian formation, he observes.
One hundred years ago, nonconformity and nonresistance were hallmarks of Mennonites’ peace witness. Today, Mennonites are more actively engaged in society, and the pursuit of justice is an essential part of peacemaking. How did this change come about?
A leading Mennonite college in the USA has started to play a version of the national anthem. Student David Jost is one of the objectors. He argues that loyalty to the God of Jesus Christ precludes endorsing nationalism and state violence.
It has been well said that peace is not the absence of noise, trouble or hard work – rather it is to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart, says Jill Segger in the first of a series on the Quaker Testimonies.