Proud and yet protective

John Bergen (pictured below) is coming to Rainbow this coming Saturday December 6 in order to share about his recent stint in Iraqi Kurdistan with Christian Peacemaker Teams. 


John participating in a recent Ferguson demonstration.

John was a youth group  member during my years as associate pastor at Bethel College Mennonite Church. He was (and continues to be) a bright, compassionate and passionate follower of Jesus.

When John was in high school he often told me he wanted my job. My response was usually, “how soon and should I fear losing my job to you?” This fear that he might steal my job increased the Sunday he preached a rousing sermon at BCMC. One gentlemen, so impressed with John, offered to pay his entire seminary education bill ON THE SPOT. John was still in high school at the time and hadn’t even decided on where or if he would pursue undergraduate studies. So yeah, did I say John was bright?

I remember well the day I baptized John. I knew that he was taking his commitment to follow Jesus seriously. Where would this lead him, I wondered. Where would this lead us who love John and who also seek to follow Jesus? Now six years later, John is poised to begin as a full-time CPT-er in Israel/Palestine. I was just in Hebron. I saw where he will live and work and I feel both proud and protective of John. Serving Jesus in this way will require risk and sacrifice. And yet I don’t worry as one without hope. That is because I am confident that John is following a deep call that has been instilled in him and nurtured by so many.

I don’t know if John will ever pursue seminary studies. I am confident that John will be a life-long learner and he will remain passionate about following Jesus in the world. And I am confident that he has a lot to teach me, which is nothing new.

Everyone has a chance to meet and learn from John this coming Saturday December 6 starting at 6 pm. Here is more detailed information:

No Friends But the Mountains:
A Dinner and Conversation About Christian Peacemaker Teams in Solidarity with the People of Iraqi Kurdistan
John Bergen has spent the last two-and-a-half months working alongside activists in Iraqi Kurdistan with Christian Peacemaker Teams. Join us for a Kurdish dinner, conversation, and an interactive talk focusing on the stories of the Kurdish people resisting occupation and oppression by foreign powers, fossil fuel companies, and local governments. Amidst ongoing displacement and war, Christian Peacemaker Teams continues to work alongside Kurdish people providing nonviolent alternatives that bridge divides and heal the legacy of violence in Iraq.

All donations will go to support Christian Peacemaker Teams.

John wants to make enough food so if you know you are coming, please RSVP by clicking the link below:
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