Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog, The World Together, of Anabaptist-themed writing from a wide variety of sources across the Anabaptist world. To submit a blog post, email rstella@mennoworld.org.

Finding my Jerusalem

By on Feb 19, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

The conversation over a fellowship lunch at church dealt with the California parents charged with child neglect and abuse of their 13 children, charges to which they pled not guilty. I noticed the men were matter-of-fact and trying to figure out what kind of Virginia Tech graduate (we’re all fans here) would do what this father did. The women? Pity for the children. Not that the men didn’t feel for the kids, mind you. They just leave their emotions at the door quicker than do the women. A child said, “I wanted to adopt the 3-year-old,...

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Do we want to get well?

By and on Feb 16, 2018 in The World Together | 4 comments

The World Together Blog

“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” — Prov. 26:11 We find ourselves, again, in a place of sadness, anger and pain in the aftermath of a mass shooting. A teacher and 17 students were killed and more injured Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Schools exist to nurture the gifts and talents of our children. They’ve become killing floors. As a nation, we are unwell. We are right to look to Jesus in this time of tragedy for comfort, wisdom and healing. But we should not be surprised if...

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‘Remember that you are dust’

By on Feb 13, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Growing up in a Mennonite church, I knew nothing about Lent. But when I was in seminary, I worked as an assistant minister in a United Methodist church. In 1982 I participated in my first Ash Wednesday service, and it was one of the most meaningful services I had ever attended. The lighting in the building and sanctuary was dim; the organ played softly. We read Scripture litanies calling for repentance, and long prayers of confession. An elderly, distinguished retired pastor gave a fiery...

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5 tips for holding convictions with humility

By on Feb 12, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Entreat God. God delights in the humble, and he wants to help us grow in humility. Our first step must be to pray for humility. Discern others’ background. Often others’ beliefs are shaped by their experiences. Understanding whom others are reacting toward helps us understand their reasoning. Have they been exposed to people who took our conviction to the extreme? Sometimes there is no reasonable understanding of other peoples’ perspectives. However, many times they do have some logical points, so let’s respect what we...

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Nonresistant love

By on Feb 8, 2018 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

I was 17 the first time a friend asked me the question, “So what do Mennonites believe?” In a typical Mennonite response, I checked my way through a list of unique positions that my church holds, one of which is the idea of nonresistance. “Nonresistance? Is that, like, similar to pacifism?” Oh, no. Is it? Let me consult my references… The practice of some version of nonresistance or pacifism is perhaps the only link that unites Anabaptist churches across the spectrum today. Whether Old Order Amish or liberal Mennonite, our churches...

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Should the church have rituals and traditions?

By on Feb 5, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Of those traditions kept by my conservative Mennonite church, a foot-washing ritual was one of the more notable. It is a practice based in the example of Jesus who washed the feet of the disciples and then instructed them to follow his example: When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you...

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Facing death with laughter

By on Feb 5, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

I’m in the process of editing a 20-page essay on the spirit of the Ausbund, a German book of Anabaptist songs still used in some Amish circles. Many of the lyrics tell stories of Anabaptist martyrs. The focus of this essay is the joy with which many Anabaptist martyrs faced their death. In fact, the essay is quite startling with its focus on laughter. This was a new thought to me, but the author quotes very liberally from the Ausbund, and provides both the German lyrics and an English translation. As you read these illustrations, you catch...

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Undone via confession

By on Feb 2, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Once a week or so, I join a few Anglican clergy for morning prayers. Like many who grew up in a “low church” tradition with its relentless demands (real or perceived) for extemporaneity in prayer and worship, I have taken a sort of refuge in the solidity and predictability of the durable prayers and liturgies found in the high churches. I’m glad for a few Anglican friends who don’t mind a stray Mennonite showing up and stumbling along through forms that still feel at least somewhat foreign (and beautifully so). One of the things that I...

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Faith bodies must affirm opposition to nuclear war

By and on Feb 1, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved up its “Doomsday Clock.” Nuclear war is a real possibility. Faith bodies must pressure Congress to act. In the 1980s, as the Cold War raged and the arms race escalated, faith groups in the United States and across the globe made a theological case that a nuclear war cannot ever be won. The arms raced robbed the world of financial resources to combat other pressing moral issues, including poverty and the environment. Now, as the Donald Trump administration flirts with a new arms...

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The Proverbs 31 woman revisited

By on Jan 31, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

The unnamed woman in Prov. 31:10-31 appears to be the woman who has it all and who does it all. She has a supportive husband and grateful children. She is a capable household manager and a commercially successful buyer and seller of goods and property. She is generous, optimistic, wise, kind-hearted and God-fearing. Her many activities and abilities make an impressive litany. Such a biblical superwoman is indeed rare: “She is far more precious than jewels,” says verse 10. In fact, the poem’s portrait is probably not any one woman, but a...

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