Living Simply Archive

Reducing infant deaths

November 27, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Singing “Nothing is lost on the breath of God” in church on a recent Sunday, my mind called up the face and tiny body of the stillborn child I blessed most recently. I had read about a church that held a memorial service including that hymn after the pastor had a miscarriage. The song is now connected for me with the pregnancy loss I’ve seen in my work as a hospital chaplain. In caring for parents after miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of an infant, I have witnessed a deep pain and sadness distinct from other expressions of grief I […]

Choosing smartly

September 26, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Living simply and adopting new technology aren’t necessarily at odds. One simply has to be careful how one uses technology and to watch out for potential abuse.

Friend of homeless?

August 28, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Why don’t we bring our friend from downtown into our house? Why have I been satisfied with collective responses without being willing to also make a personal sacrifice?

My ‘to don’t’ list

June 26, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

April Yamasaki, pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., gave me and other readers of her blog a great idea: an “I don’t do” list, alternatively called a “to don’t do” list. An “I don’t do” list is “a way of making time for sacred pauses in life and ministry,” Yamasaki wrote. “The things we don’t do make it possible to do some other things.” The tasks that are part of our life together are all valuable and honorable, but we can appreciate what we each do without all doing the same work. Sacred Pauses is also the name […]

Competing for a house

May 29, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Nurturing those communities, with our time and energy as much as physical spaces, is the point of all the resources with which we are entrusted.

Honoring heritage, by any name

April 25, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Names matter. They mark us as shaped by particular people who chose them or carried them down. In the end, though, there’s probably no wrong choice. What matters is living out our values in daily life, by any name. A colleague who recently became engaged asked my thoughts about last names. I’ve received such questions for as long as I can remember. Sometimes the asker notes my hyphenated last name, which is on my birth certificate, as a reason for being curious about my thoughts. In starting a new family and household, it’s worth considering carefully how to best honor […]

Resolve to judge others, and ourselves, less

February 25, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

By freeing ourselves from human standards of worthiness, we can serve others with joy.

Hope in a weary world

January 24, 2014 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Hope begins with recognizing that the way things are is not how they should be.

War’s failures repeat

December 26, 2013 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Whether threats of war are more urgent, or if there is a time of reprieve and further diplomatic efforts, our call is to bind the wounds of war and to speak out about the idolatry of violent force.

Does God want fasting?

October 24, 2013 Celeste Kennel-Shank

According to Isaiah, a fast honoring God’s will is one that seeks to end oppression, one in which we are attentive to what we have and how we share it.