Reflectionsfrom MHF Executive Director, Paul Leichty
Thanksgiving this year comes on the heels of the surprising outcome of the most unusual and contentious election in the United States in recent memory. Many folks are feeling uncertainty and even anxiety for the future. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome, two things are clear:
- There will be strong attempts by the party in power to change many of the programs and policies that affect the health of Americans.
- There will be strong resistance by the party selected by a majority of the American voters to those changes.
How will we as Mennonites who are concerned about both public health and public conversation navigate these tumultuous waters? Is this a situation that we can be thankful for?
I would like to think that we can be thankful! We can be thankful for the opportunity to be a witness to some of the core values of our Christian faith that go well beyond the deeply divided partisan politics in our country today. Let me suggest a beginning outline to our witness:
- Affirmation that God is the supreme ruler of our world, of the church, and of our individual lives.
- Affirmation that in the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, all things are coming together under Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:10, 22)
- Affirmation of God’s desire for all people to live under conditions of well-being; health of body, mind, and spirit; and relationships of peace and justice (all of which are encompassed in the Hebrew Bible’s concept of shalom).
- Standing in solidarity with those on the margins who are experiencing hatred and violence, whatever their race, ethnicity, abilities, social status, religion, or sexual orientation might be.
- A prophetic call for Christians to adjust our lifestyles to build a sustainable future for all people on our planet, especially for the poor and marginalized.
- Support for laws, policies, and processes which move in the direction of wholeness and health for the greater number of people and for the world as a whole.
- Public speech which is both truthful and respectful of all persons regardless of whether we agree with their positions or actions.
None of this is easy; indeed, it is only possible by the power of God’s Spirit. Yet we can be thankful that in the providence of the Creator God revealed most fully in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we as Christ’s church have been given this Holy Spirit which overcomes all of the powers and systems of this world. May we all live in that reality in the days ahead!
Paul D. Leichty
Executive Director, Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship
November 23, 2016
Paul D. Leichty, M.Div. is Executive Director of Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF), currently on medical leave. Paul has served as a pastor, church musician, computer support person, disabilities advocate, and administrator/organizer of a number of church-related ministries. In addition to responsibilities at MHF, Paul is Executive Director of Congregational Accessibility Network and outgoing Director of User Services at Mennonite.net. He is a member of Agape Fellowship of the Mennonite Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife, Twila Charles Leichty.