Stewarding our Bodies

Now that we’ve discussed Stewarding our Theological History, where are we headed for the month of November?

Stewarding our bodies. For many Christians, it can feel like our bodies are anything but an entrusted gift. Aren’t our bodies these dirty, achy, lustful, hungry, high-maintenance prisons that keep our souls in bondage? Paul himself, pits flesh against spirit, saying that ” the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh” (Galatians 5:17) And Jesus, frustrated with the disciples who fell asleep on the night of his betrayal said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38).

And yet, Paul also recognizes that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19), and we know that Jesus wouldn’t be Jesus without his fully human body. Salvation and human bodies are very connected things. The Gospel and human bodies are very connected things.

So how are we to steward and nurture our bodies? How would God have us treat our bodies? When do we use them and how do we nurture them? How do we enjoy them together?

For the month of November we’ll be asking these questions. I look forward to delving into the discussion with you!

Stewarding our Theological History: What do we do with our Anabaptist Heritage?

Now that we’ve spent September defining Stewardship - nurturing what God has entrusted to us so that we can enjoy it together - it’s time to delve into our first topic: Theological History. Our theological history goes all the way back to Jesus, and we’ll delve into that later, but this month’s focus will be specifically on Anabaptist and Mennonite history. What does the Anabaptist and Mennonite story have to offer us? How can we nurture it? And how do we enjoy it together?

I’ve become all too aware of how divided people in Mennonite churches can feel when it comes to theological history. Is our theological history only for the Swiss-Germans or Russians among us who can trace their family lines back to some of the original Anabaptist martyrs? Sometimes it feels that way. I lament that sometimes cradle Mennonites (such as myself) act that way - but it can’t be further from the truth!

Anabaptists from the start were all about choice. They believed people should be able to express the faith they’ve chosen - not one thrust upon them at birth. That’s why we practice adult baptism instead of infant baptism. So if our faith is a choice and not a birthright, then that means Anabaptist and Mennonite history is the history of everyone who has CHOSEN to follow Jesus and to be baptized into a community of faith. That sounds like everyone at Lima Mennonite Church.

I hope we can embrace this rich, storied Anabaptist and Mennonite history as something God has entrusted to ALL of us who have chosen as adults to follow Jesus. I hope we learn more about it together this month, and that most of all, we can enjoy it as a treasure to be cherished from God’s great store of abundance.

Part of that enjoyment is dinner and discussion with me (Emily) every Sunday after attending the 4pm events at Bluffton University. I encourage all of you to get to at least one!

Lima Mennonite's Year of Stewardship (thoughts from Pastor Emily)

(This post was first published on September 1, 2017 in the Lima Mennonite Links email newsletter edited by Larry Oatman and Karen Jantzi)

I’m excited to tell you all about our Lima Mennonite Church journey for the next year: A Year of Stewardship.  I must admit, a few times since I’ve made the decision to do this, I thought, “how did I come to this again? I must’ve forgotten to be a hip 26-year-old pastor when I came up with this Year of Stewardship idea. And how are we supposed to talk about money all year?”

And then I remind myself: Stewardship is about so much more than money! Stewardship is about nurturing what God has entrusted to us so that we can enjoy it together. And God has given us many, many things.

So as we delve into this idea of stewardship together this year, prepare to be met with many unexpected monthly themes, some lively conversation, and hopefully questions and topics we haven’t thought about this way before.

September’s theme is stewardship itself: What is stewardship? How do we do it well? And what happens when we do? I look forward to delving into scripture and conversation together.