Celeste Kennel-Shank Archive

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.

Healthy living for the here-and-now

September 26, 2013 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Going grocery shopping when I was a child, my parents avoided checkout-line conflict by allowing me to choose one candy bar as a treat. I’ve continued the tradition as an adult, permitting myself one special item in addition to our household list. It may have been the time I chose carrot-kale-spinach juice as my treat, or maybe it was when I picked probiotic tea with nutrient-packed chia seeds, that I realized I’ve become a bit of a health nut. Yet it is possible to care for our health without going overboard. We can stay away from fad diets and try […]

Combating gun violence, first with lament

August 23, 2013 Celeste Kennel-Shank

“This violence needs to stop,” she said. “I don’t even know what to say. This is sad.”

HIV still a threat

June 28, 2013 Celeste Kennel-Shank

Waiting for the results of the HIV test offered by a local nonprofit, I prayed for those who have the virus. I imagined how I might feel if I were among them.