Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog, The World Together, of Anabaptist-themed writing from a wide variety of sources including Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren, Conservative Mennonite, Quaker and other Anabaptist-influenced thinkers. To submit a blog, email kyoder@mennoworld.org.

White privilege, white nationalism, racism and Charleston

By on Jul 7, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

White privilege, white nationalism, racism and Charleston

There is a reason, perhaps less in importance but perhaps just as insidious, why Christian communities of faith need to stop in their tracks and post a new life sign about the end of racism in the Church. That reason is the growing, venomous and potentially culture-crushing development in the U.S. of white nationalism. Perhaps you don’t know about it, and I confess I didn’t until I read Vanderbilt University’s law school professor, Carol M. Swain’s book, The New White Nationalism in White America. Her piece of research that is also...

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Love should never feel like a lost cause

By on Jul 6, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Love should never feel like a lost cause

I dared to hope that the decisions in Thursday’s delegate sessions at #MennoCon15 would surprise me. They did not. Yet last night I felt as stunned and hurt as if I had actually believed a better outcome was possible, as if I was shocked the Membership Guidelines resolution passed, as if I had expected better of my church. Perhaps it is only that I wish I could have expected better. But working for inclusion in recent years has made me cynical and reluctant, withholding of trust, and perhaps it hurts that much more to be hit when you see it...

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A new Mennonite observes convention

By on Jul 3, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

A new Mennonite observes convention

Almost every interaction I’ve had with the Mennonite church has made me feel right about belonging here. I’ve observed this many times with my home congregation, such as the way certain songs are sung just when I was thinking of them, or the way gospel truths are expressed so simply during the children’s time. As a new Mennonite, Kansas City (Mo.) 2015 is my first Mennonite Church USA convention. Already I’ve seen things that tell me I belong. For example, I love that the convention bird’s name is Stella. Now I...

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Bending the curve toward love and life

By on Jul 2, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Bending the curve toward love and life

I dreamed I was at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City, Mo. In a seminar, we were each to remember an experience of God’s grace. My dreaming mind went to this true story: When I was seven, I ate bananas intended for something else. We lived on a four-lane Mexico City street with a tree-lined median. Racing to the median, I dumped the evidence then ran back — forgetting cars. With screaming brakes and horn, a Jeep hit me. A nearby stoplight had turned red; traffic was slowing; I was more bruised in ego than body. I scrambled...

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An unexpected pastoral blessing in Kansas City

By on Jul 1, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

I was not prepared to be called forward in front of 4,500 people. I was sitting on the far edge of the room where the air conditioning didn’t quite reach, wearing the almost neon yellow jersey of the Colombian national soccer team, and in a fit of pre-convention planning, I had dyed my hair bubblegum pink. During the opening worship on June 30 at Mennonite Church USA’s Kansas City, Mo., convention, none of the pastors were prepared for the spotlight. We hadn’t been warned that we would receive a special blessing or that we...

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The road to Emmaus/The road to convention

By on Jun 30, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

The road to Emmaus/The road to convention

Our biennial national Mennonite Church USA convention begins today in Kansas City, Mo., and there are two resolutions coming before the delegates that highlight disagreements about how our denomination should include LGBTQ people. The resolutions are fairly new, but the disagreements themselves are not. Many Mennonites, myself included, have spent a lot of time hashing out the details of the biblical and theological basis of our beliefs about inclusion. We have quoted scripture and examined the Greek terms and expounded upon our theologies of...

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Thank you: Spanish ministry training

By on Jun 29, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Thank you: Spanish ministry training

Mission, leadership development and service are essential parts of church life. Anabaptist Biblical Institute (Instituto Bíblico Anabautista) has been a great partner, a companion and a vessel in my own and others’ pastoral and church ministry — especially in theological and biblical formation. As Mennonite Church USA’s convention begins in Kansas City, and an offering for the Racial/Ethnic Leadership Education fund (which partly includes this important ministry for Spanish-speaking leaders in MC USA), I am reminded of my...

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Is it still possible for white people to love?

By on Jun 26, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

Is it still possible for white people to love?

What happened in Charleston is evil. I’m wrestling with this question: Is God’s salvation potent enough to dismantle this present evil? This tragedy is actually a series of tragedies, a network of sin woven throughout time and space but converged on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the form of terrorism. It didn’t begin Wednesday night, and it certainly didn’t end with the arrest of Dylann Roof. The Charleston terror killings are the tip of the racist iceberg. But the real evil, the hidden and denied evil, is what...

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Adventures in mis-unity

By on Jun 25, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

Adventures in mis-unity

The following is a recent sermon I preached based on Gen. 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-11. Every once in a while the Spirit lays a message on my heart that seems to fall with a particular weight. As I pray, it seems to me that the message is directed not so much to my own local congregation as to the wider Body of the church. Sunday felt like one such message. Even in our brokenness, Pentecost still comes. May God receive the glory from every stammering tongue. Our congregation has been exploring the theme of reconciliation. But perhaps some of you,...

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Just one expectation in Israel and Palestine

By on Jun 24, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Just one expectation in Israel and Palestine

Great moments occur from time to time in our lives regardless of whether or not we notice them. One of my most recent moments happened during Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee’s two week “Come and See” tour to Israel and Palestine. As we traveled through the land of Israel and Palestine, the scriptures suddenly came alive in a fresh manner. As I observed mountains, hills, valleys and walls, I thought to myself, “Indeed, the Old Testament is true.” In Deut. 11:11, Moses said of the Promised Land: “but the land...

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