This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Christian practices

About fourteen years ago, a bold project began. Known as the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, this endeavor launched a website,, and published a book, Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for Searching People.

The goal of the project materials is to help Christians “explore twelve time-honored practices shaped by the Christian community over the centuries and still richly relevant to contemporary experience.”

Defining Christian practices, in part, as “shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, when woven together, form a way of life that is faithful and has integrity,” an ecumenical group of pastor-scholars identified the following list of ways that learn, teach, and express our beliefs about what God’s up to in our lives and in the world:

• honoring the body
• hospitality
• household economics
• saying yes and saying no
• keeping sabbath
• testimony
• discernment
• shaping communities
• forgiveness
• healing
• dying well
• singing our lives

Over the next months, my contributions to this blog will focus on each of these practices.

I hope my reflections will help our denomination consider the theological implications of the conflicts we are in the midst of. Thanks to the folks at, I am learning to ask, in this time of upheaval and uncertainty, what have we received from the past that we are shaping for the future?

There is so much more that I could say about all of that, from analysis to opinion, but for now, I want to simply say this: My name is Malinda, and rather than curse the darkness, I want to light some candles.

Will you join me?


Malinda Elizabeth Berry is a member of the teaching faculty at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary where she teaches theology and Read More

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