A call for Christians to dismantle ‘isms’

Cogitation 25/203 Saturday 22 June 2019 Last Sunday, visiting pastor Oscar Sawali challenged listeners to dismantle “isms.”

Pastor Oscar Sawali (left) poses with Steve Wiebe-Johnson, Africa director for Mennonite Mission Network.

The world is going backwards in terms of racism and religious intolerance, the pastor from South Africa said. He sees the church again being part of the oppressive system. He suggested Christians have become immune to challenges happening around us, as though we have lost hope as we assimilate with political power. “It’s always dangerous when political power uses the name of Jesus,” he said.

He called for Christians to see all people as human beings. “We might be different but we are one,” he said of those who come together to do God’s work.

Pastor Sawali called attention to the Muslim leaders in the US who have sent a message on the proper interpretation of the Koran to clerics around the world.

On the situation on the Mexican/US border, he called for Christians to give Jesus a human face there. It is evil to separate children from their parents or other caregivers, he said. In Acts 13:10. Paul tells the magician Elymas “will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”

You can listen to the sermon on the the church’s website. Google Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Indiana and click on podcast for June 16.

A turn around Fidler’s Pond

A walking path now circles Fidler’s Pond in Goshen.
I like the thistle. My dad did not. I recall the summer task of hoeing out thistles along fence rows on our farm.

Greencroft Goshen

Area outside the community center.
Residents can elect to plant and care for a garden plot. We have not yet elected to do so.
Resident gardens are fenced, with a ready water supply, and buildings to keep the tools.
Bird nesting in the oak tree near our patio.

A walk around Goshen

“Only rain down the drain,” this sidewalk painting instructs. Many of such varied signs are appearing around town.
Waiting to cross the tracks on our walk home from the library.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Victor Hugo, drawn by the great sculptor Rodin.

I finished reading the book. Seeing the story through Victor Hugo’s eyes brings the Romantic Literature movement of the late 18th to mid-19th century into bold relief. Emotion, freedom, individuality, imagination are given a field day. Glorification of the past, of nature, of the medieval are fully in play.

The central point Hugo makes in the novel concerns Fate. Fate holds people hostage from their own best interests and the best interests of others. Nobody wins.

I loved the fidelity to the historical period; recoiled at the brutal injustice and horrid prison conditions; wondered what so many people did for food; shuddered at the single-eyed scheming for gold, or, in another vein, how the quest for the material superseded cultivation of the spiritual; smiled at how superstitions and appeal to the superhuman have parallels today; and reveled in the brilliance of how Hugo got to the heart of the matter, Hugo’s spell lives on.


Murphy watched us have lunch as guests of Cindy Miller, one of Marty’s former work colleagues. Good dog.

Welcome to summer.


3 thoughts on “A call for Christians to dismantle ‘isms’

  1. Thanks, John. The Victor Hugo novel sounds like a good read. The Greencroft residents have some tidy gardens. Of all the photos you shared, I was most impressed with the stump that had been repurposed into a small lending library! Summer has finally arrived and some warmer weather. Enjoy your walks!

    Monty & Ginger

    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. I agree, welcome to summer! A beautiful weekend to spend outside. Walks around the farm and at Marks around the pool was the ticket of the week end. One more week of work.


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