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Author Paul Schrag

The Person Who Was a Message

Media critic Marshall McLuhan said in 1964 that “the medium is the message.” He was talking about television. The most important thing about TV, McLuhan suggested, is not the messages it delivers but the way it delivers them. TV changes the way people think. Pictures overwhelm words. A print culture becomes an electronic culture. Now […] Read More

Ever since Paul spoke to the Athenians about the “unknown god,” people have asked how a belief in Christianity’s unique truth fits into a world of many religions. Today, the unprecedented mingling of cultures and faiths in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />North America makes the question more pertinent than ever. A new […] Read More

Mennonite congregations that are trying harder than ever to attract new members find themselves in a quandary: They’re entering a popularity contest while burdened with a handicap that limits their appeal. The handicap is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus preached this gospel when he said, “Woe to you who are rich.” When he told […] Read More

Peace Petition’s Value

Those engaged in public witness for peace must frequently ask themselves what good their efforts do. More than 13,400 Mennonites can ask themselves that question now. As of Sept. 14, that’s how many people had signed a Mennonite Church USA letter to President Bush opposing a possible war with Iraq. The signature-collecting campaign can be […] Read More

As we mark the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, let us hear the words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). These words […] Read More

Is it easy or hard to pray? Many Christians have experienced both: times when prayer is as natural as breathing, and times when it seems hard, even impossible. We suspect that for more Christians than care to admit it, prayer is often difficult. But no one else would know they feel this way. Who will […] Read More

Plato said the unexamined life is not worth living. Could it also be true that the unexamined faith is not worth believing? That might overstate the case. But there is value in holding our beliefs up to scrutiny, seeing how they fare under critical analysis. There is risk in this, too. We might be misled […] Read More

“Your kingdom come,” we pray, as Jesus taught his disciples to do. “Teach me kingdom ways,” we sing. But what do we mean? The concept of the “kingdom of God” of which Jesus spoke often, is a fertile one, rich with meanings. The simplest definition of “kingdom of God” might be “the place God rules.” […] Read More

My family helped me with an experiment. I read some Bible verses and asked if they had anything in common. After about half a dozen verses, our 8-year-old daughter, Abigail, said, “They’re all about boys and men.” Apparently, they were. The verses all contained male pronouns or references to “brothers” or “men.” Actually, the verses […] Read More

No one wants to be offensive. Least of all Christians, whom one might think would be the least displeasing people of all. Christians try to love their neighbors. What’s not to like? Nothing, if that were all there is to Christianity. But there’s also the belief that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way […] Read More