Practicing Our Values

5 02 2008

by Christine Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

“One of the greatest challenges we always face as we start to plan a conference is how to convey the kingdom values that are central to who we are at Mustard Seed Associates. I teach a class on urban ministry and cross-cultural adaptation, and one of the questions I like to ask is: ‘What will the culture of the kingdom of God look like?’ Most of us have no idea. I believe that God’s love and compassion, justice for the poor, concern for those at the margins, freedom from oppression and good stewardship of God’s creation will be at the center of God’s kingdom. Many people will probably get a shock when they enter the kingdom because it will be a real cross-cultural experience for them.

“It is the vision of this ‘shalom kingdom’ that is at the center of all we are and do at Mustard Seed Associates, in which God’s eternal family from every tribe and nation–rich and poor, young and old–live together in the midst of a restored creation in harmony, mutual care and peace, not just with God but will all who are part of God’s international community.”

Read more about how we hope to practice our values at the conference here.


Journey with Jesus–Lenten Resources

17 01 2008

Last year, Christine Sine developed a guide for Lent in response to the frustration of hearing friends say they would give up chocolate for Lent. There is much more to Lent that giving up a vice.

Posted below is the downloadable Lenten guide entitled “A Journey Into Wholeness.” Christine had hoped to update it for this year, but with conference planning, she has not had the time. It is still poignant and challenging, so please feel free to use it to get the most out of this important season of Lent.

The New Conspirators: Why a Monastic Rule?

2 01 2008

by Christine Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

“I was introduced to monastic rules of life in rather an unusual way. I love mystery stories, and was delighted when, about 15 years ago, I discovered a series of novels set in the 12th century in an abbey at Shrewsbury on the Welsh-English border. Brother Cadfael, a “squat, barrel-chested, bandy-legged veteran of fifty-seven,” first swept into my life in A Morbid Taste for Bone, journeying into Wales to bring back the bones of Saint Winifred as patron saint for the Abbey.”

Continue reading Christine’s reflection on the importance of monastic rules here.

Advent Resources 2007: Australian Nativity

30 11 2007

by Mark Pierson

Gas Station Nativity

Bonding time: the Nativity in Townsville, Jan Hynes, 2007
All reflection images are by Australian artist Jan Hynes, set in contemporary scenes around her home city, Townsville.

Luke 2: 8-20, The Message

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”


At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:


Glory to God in the heavenly heights,


Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.


As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.


Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!


View the entire reflection set here.

Advent Resources 2007

26 11 2007

Here is the latest from Christine Sine on YouTube, set to “Let Your Kingdom Come” by Tracy Howe:

The New Conspirators: Seed Share–Racism Is In the Eye of the Beholder

31 10 2007

by David Park, Next Gener.Asian Church

Caucasian Adventures“Racism is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t say this as a cute turn of phrase–I mean it in the sense of a well-known parable: you may call it a speck or a plank, but I assure you, it’s in your eye. The problem with racism is that we see what we want to see, but what we fail to see is how it affects our sight. Rather than acknowledge real differences in ethnicity and race, we choose to turn a blind eye to it as though plucking our eyes out would prevent the sin altogether. In our haste for the kingdom come, we gloss over tainted histories and plant quasi-innovative churches in the belief that good doctrine and right worship together will solve our differences. But don’t you see? We’ve been trying that for hundreds of years already.”

Read the whole article here.

The Journey Is Just Beginning

9 04 2007

This beautiful quilt submitted by Carol Honderich is the last of our Lenten offerings. I have saved it until after Easter because it seems to sum up the whole of the journey that we have taken together over the last few weeks. But I also realize as I reflect on its message that our journey is not really over but just beginning.

What decisions have you made during Lent and Easter this year that will have a lasting impact on your life? What changes have you decided to make that flowed from your reflections during this season? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas from what we have shared and suggestions for the next step of the journey.


Although I didn’t make this for this series, I would like to share a Lent Quilt that I made a few years ago. There are seven blocks – each block (week) following the Life of Jesus from prophecy to resurrection. The blocks are traditional quilt blocks, selected for the connection I could make with the season and the story of Jesus. The fabrics are satins. The border and sashing quilting design (difficult to see in this photo) is a grapevine, with (top left) the Communion Wine Goblet and Bread and (top right) the Crown of Thorns and the nails of the cruxifiction.

The Blocks/Themes of this quilt are:

(Top Center) Star and Cross – the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah – prophecy of his birth (star) and death (cross).

(Row 2 – Left) Road to Jerusalem – Both figuratively and actually, the life and ministry of Jesus was a “road to Jerusalem.” This block has significance for Jesus’ entire life, and for the three years of his ministry, and especially for the days prior to the Last Supper, the cruxifiction and resurrection.

(Row 2 – Right) Hosannah – Representing Palm Sunday

(Row 3 – Center) Golgatha – Representing the Cruxifiction

(Row 4 – Left) Cross and Crown – Representing the fulfillment of the prophecy – even death did not prevent Jesus from becoming the King of Kings.

(Row 4 – Right) Lilies – the traditional flower of Easter, used in this quilt block to represent Easter Sunday and Jesus’ resurrection.

Thanks again for your meaningful series.

Carol Honderich, Marketing Assistant

Mennonite Mission Network