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Futurists Tom and Christine Sine to speak at People’s Summit in Winnipeg

   
 


Tom and Christine Sine

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Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Church USA joint release
April 11, 2008
- by June Galle Krehbiel

Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA to hold bi-national gathering

NEWTON, Kan. — Discovering the good life. That’s the way futurists and authors Tom and Christine Sine from Seattle, Wash., describe their mission. Not the wealth-is-good life that marketers for the new global economy depict. Not the limiting life of a Sunday-only theology. Tom and Christine Sine challenge Mennonites and others to discover the good life that celebrates God’s Kingdom 24-7.

“Rediscovering the Kingdom of God is a new reason to get out of bed on Monday,” says Tom Sine. “It’s a new vision of good life and better future that is not the individual pursuit of happiness, but one found in the paradoxical teachings of Jesus. Only in losing life in service of God and others will we ever find the good life of God.”

We need to raise the bar on what it means to be church.” – Tom Sine, futurist

People’s Summit for Faithful Living

That message lies at the center of Anabaptism. It’s a theme Tom Sine and his wife, Christine Sine, will speak on during opening worship at the People’s Summit for Faithful Living, July 8 to 10. The event will be hosted on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Man.

Members of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada are invited to the bi-national gathering to discuss the task of being a faithful community of God amid the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

The summit will also provide a North American launch for Tom Sine’s latest book, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time (InterVarsity Press, 2008). The book describes God’s work through new leaders more deeply committed to missional lifestyles and congregations. (www.thenewconspirators.com).

Health and wholeness

A few blocks from busy Interstate 5 in Seattle, the Sine home fills one floor of their triplex. Outside, Christine’s organic urban garden sprouts biodiversity. Inside, the dining room table, used for computer work and daily blogs, often expands to gather others from the triplex and wider community for international foods and good-life conversation.

Born in Australia, Christine Sine trained as a medical doctor in Sydney, practiced medicine in New Zealand and served as the chief medical officer for Mercy Ships International. Today she heads up the Sines’ ministry called Mustard Seed Associates, teaches courses on mission for Fuller Theological Seminary and speaks about and consults on international health care and mission service. She also is gifted in writing liturgies.

The pivotal point of her life, she tells, came in the mid-’80s in a refugee camp in Thailand where she found herself for the first time doctoring amidst the horrors of war.

“People were starving. I had kids dying in my arms. It was a wake-up call to not just poverty, but all kinds of violence and oppression,” Christine says.

Questions surfaced. How could she make sense of the overwhelming situations in the refugee camps, especially in Africa, and their inconsistencies with the Western way of life? Where were her experiences taking her? Inspired in part by Mennonite missionary James Metzler’s book From Saigon to Shalom (Herald Press, 1985), Christine felt led to the theology of the desire to see all things restored, renewed and made whole.

“My medical training led me in the direction of God’s view of health and wholeness and how we enable others to enter into health and wholeness — physically and spiritually,” she says. “My growing passion is to help people find a rhythm in their lives that connects to the rhythm in Jesus’ life and to the rhythm practiced by the early church.

Her most recent book, GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life (Barclay Press, 2006) shares her understandings of wholeness.

Scripture speaks to all of life

Tom was born in Idaho, learned about God from his loving Methodist grandparents and spent his childhood and teen years in San Francisco. Tom felt a call to ministry at age 16 when he heard an uncle report on his missionary work in Bolivia with World Gospel Missions. Tom attended Cascade College in Portland, Ore., and earned a doctorate in American intellectual history at the University of Washington.

In the early ’70s Tom received a free subscription to the magazine Post-American (now called Sojourners). It introduced him to “the whole Anabaptist Christian world,” he says. What captured his attention was “the belief that scripture speaks to all of life, not just my personal spirituality, but the way I live my life, my lifestyle, community, mission, what social responsibility looks like, how you do politics, economics, authentic discipleship.” He read John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus, Donald B. Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom. Soon Tom became a convinced Anabaptist.

Tom Sine has worked as a social worker, an educator and in community development in Haiti. In addition to serving as a team member for Mustard Seed Associates, Tom consults in futures research and planning for both Christian and secular organizations. He is an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary but is best known for his books and speeches. He claims, however, that he would “much rather be cooking for people than talking at them” and likes preparing dishes from all over the world.

Change is needed

“What we will talk about at the summit is some of the daunting challenges that face us as we move into an uncertain future with increasing global challenges and rapidly declining North American church,” Tom says.

All are called, he and Christine understand.

“If we believe that, then we owe it to everyone in the church to help them change giving patterns, to change time priorities … to shift the equation – to change priorities from people inside the building to those outside,” he says. “We need to raise the bar on what it means to be church.”

Tom and Christine Sine are members of St. Albans Episcopal Church. For more information about the Sines and their ministry, Mustard Seed Associates, see www.msainfo.org.

To attend the People’s Summit in Winnipeg in July, call toll-free at 1-866-888-6785 or register online at summit.mennoniteusa.org (for Mennonite Church USA) or at www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/534 (for Mennonite Church Canada)

Sine books

Tom Sine publications at The Resource Centre
Tom Sine, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time (InterVarsity Press, 2008)
Tom Sine, Mustard Seed Versus McWorld: Reinventing Life and Faith for the Future (Baker Books, 1999)
Tom Sine, Cease Fire: Searching for Sanity in America’s Culture Wars (Eerdmans, 1995)
Tom Sine, Live It Up: How to Create a Life You Can Love (Herald Press, 1993)
Tom Sine, Why Settle for More and Miss the Best? (Word Books, 1987)
Tom Sine, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy (Word Books, 1981)

Christine Sine publications at the Resource Centre
Christine Sine, Godspace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life (Barclay Press, 2006)
Christine Sine, Travel Well (World Vision Resources, 2005)
Christine and Tom Sine, Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best for Your Life (Baker Books, 2002)
Christine Aroney-Sine, Tales of a Seasick Doctor (Zondervan, 1996)