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.

An uneasy peace with Memorial Day

By on May 31, 2016 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Being steeped in Anabaptism yet greatly appreciative of the liberties secured by the sacrifice of blood and treasure by millions of citizens over many years, I feel mental dissonance about Memorial Day. I do not desire to dishonor the genuine sorrow of loss, nor the legitimate pride in sacrifice undergone in pursuit of worthwhile ends, nor to tarnish the memory of those who made selfless decisions for the greater good. On the other hand, how does one reconcile celebration of war with a theology that celebrates the king of peace? It seems...

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What’s missing in church — discipleship

By on May 27, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

According to missional leader Mike Breen, a disciple is someone who is learning to have the character and the competency of Jesus. It’s about faithfulness and fruit. Or as Dallas Willard once described it: A disciple is what it would look like if Jesus were you. “As a disciple of Jesus… I am learning from Jesus to live my life as He would live my life if He were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything He did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner that He did all that He did.” (Dallas Willard, “Divine...

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5 tips for paying attention to your life

By on May 26, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

What does it mean to pay attention to your life? I am contemplating that question as I sit in my quiet place listening to the birds sing and watching the mountains glow in the early morning light. Paying attention is about taking notice to ourselves, God, our neighbors and the earth on which we live. Pay attention to your body Taking notice of my body is first about my physical body. What are the signals that tell me I am going too fast or too slow? What are the promptings that make me aware I am not getting enough exercise or eating the right...

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Matthew 18 doesn’t always apply

By on May 24, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

It’s true — I’ve publicly and strongly disagreed with some well-known Christian leaders. It’s also true that some of them have very publicly disagreed with me. In those exchanges, however, I will frequently find some voices on the internet posing this question: “Did you go and talk to them privately first, as instructed by Matthew 18, before writing this?” It’s a fair question, and one worthy of its own post. Matthew 18 does, in fact, offer an appropriate method for holding individuals accountable and promoting reconciliation in...

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Trusting the Bible with eyes wide open

By on May 23, 2016 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

I grew up with total trust in the Bible. I soaked up its stories as a boy. God was at work in the world, and the biblical heroes and heroines got to join in! And I heeded its teachings. My parents modeled this: I remember my father greeting with a “holy kiss” the other ordained men in our district churches and my mother always wearing a “prayer covering.” Both behaviors were done because they read Scripture passages teaching those things. As I grew older, I realized that this was a naïve, simplistic view of Scripture: Many commands...

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What does church mean to us?

By on May 19, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I spent a good chunk of one recent morning in an online discussion about the future of Mennonite Church Canada with a handful of other young-ish pastors from across the nation. It was interesting to be invited as I tend to be less suited to thinking on my feet at meetings or committees or focus groups than I am to writing blog posts where I can hedge my bets and endlessly qualify every statement and default to lame attempts at self-protective humor. I mostly agreed to participate in this conversation because I was frankly giddy at the...

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Why women should ‘do’ theology

By on May 18, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

To be completely honest, this question has been puzzling me for a long time. As you know, I studied theology for seven years, and even though I have completed my degrees, I still consider myself a theologian because I am always reading up on new topics of interest and trying to gain more academic insight. Perhaps one day I shall get my doctorate. Anyway, the reason this question intrigues me is because to me it seems like common sense that women should be taken seriously in the field of theology, but from experience, I know that is rarely the...

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Praying about mental illness when you can’t find the words

By on May 17, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Last year I suggested that one way the church can stop hiding mental illness is by recognizing that the Bible includes stories of people with mental illness: like King Saul, King Nebuchadnezzar, the man living among the tombs and others. This year, my congregation again set aside one Sunday for mental health awareness, this time featuring story-telling, art and poetry. It was a wonderful first Sunday back from my study leave. At the same time, I know that since mental illness doesn’t confine itself to one Sunday a year, our mental health...

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By what moral authority?

By on May 16, 2016 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Leading with moral authority takes uncommon courage in these fractious times. Who has the audacity to move out onto that vulnerable edge? Who has the integrity, love and theological grounding to do so in trustworthy ways? There are countless ways to get it wrong. We know of at least one way to get it right — someone with an authority that astounded his listeners because it was unlike the authority of the religious leaders of his day. Many of us, including myself, know what it’s like to be silenced by those in authority, put in our place,...

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Why is church so hard?

By on May 13, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

For the past couple of years, my blog’s tagline has been: “Religion is easy; discipleship is hard.” I’m starting to think that perhaps this slogan is only half right. Discipleship certainly is hard, but religion doesn’t seem to be such a piece of cake, either. I recently read a really tender, honest post from my friend Hye Sung, in which he wrestles with the fact that he rarely attends church, despite his strong faith in Jesus and his belief that Christian community is very important. What does it mean for him, and the millions of...

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