In This Issue: Spirituality
This issue is dedicated as a surprise to our friend and colleague, Waldo Hiebert, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday (July 3) which also marks fifty years of active ministry for Christ. The first ministry opportunities took the form of witnessing in a local prison. Since then he has served Christ in a rich variety of ways. Within the past decade his thinking, preaching and writing has concentrated largely on “spirituality.” Waldo Hiebert and spirituality are virtually synonymous within the North American Mennonite Brethren churches.
Rachel Hiebert dug through her husband’s files and notes during his absences from home to provide Phyllis Martens with documentation and personal glimpses of Waldo’s Journey into Joy. As is the case with many spiritual giants, Waldo’s ministry mirrors his inner life, including the intense concern with spirituality and search for joyful acceptance with God.
Waldo himself contributes an article on the theme, Christian Disciplines. He is caught up with practicing the disciplines of which he writes. The themes and spiritual retreats have become so popular on campus that some students have encouraged faculty to make “The Christian Disciplines” a compulsory course. The reader is here treated to a synopsis of some of those primary themes.
Robert Friesen raises the question of what the New Testament writers mean when they encourage the followers of Christ to “be perfect. . . .” The article, while largely a word study, distils the New Testament teaching of Christian Perfection into practical forms of holy living.
Prayer has always been recognized as a central spiritual discipline. Jacob A. Loewen examines our public and communal prayers and in his incisive way, exposes the hypocrisy and cuts through the formalism to open up—practically—instructive lessons on “When You Pray . . .”
Mennonites (in company with other Anabaptists) have been pejoratively described as “spiritualists.” In an attempt to shed that historical image, to be called spiritual has often been a way of dismissing a person as irrelevant. Hans Kasdorf reminds us that Pietist spirituality was, in part, instrumental in generating and shaping the life and mission spirit of the Mennonite Brethren Church.
We dedicate these articles to you, Waldo. Accept them as gifts of love and appreciation from those whose lives you have touched.