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.

If conservatives feel silenced, we need to speak

By on Jul 26, 2017 in The World Together | 7 comments

The World Together Blog

I was not able to attend the Mennonite Church USA Future Church Summit in Orlando, Fla., but I followed with interest from a distance. I have since been putting together a composite picture of the event — a bricolage of stories and impressions from friends who did attend, seasoned with perspectives shared in the Mennonite media. In her commentary on FCS, Joanna Harader makes two claims that I would like to explore in greater detail. First, she grants that the feelings of disenfranchisement expressed by conservatives are sincere, but claims...

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Did the Future Church Summit silence conservatives? No

By on Jul 25, 2017 in The World Together | 24 comments

The World Together Blog

As I try to process my experience at the Mennonite Church USA Future Church Summit in Orlando, Fla. — and especially as I think about the events of the delegate session — scenes from my son’s teen years keep coming to mind. Our son, who has multiple mental health and developmental struggles, often expressed feelings that made no sense to me. If I asked him to do something he didn’t want to do, I was bullying him. And considering he really didn’t want to do anything besides play video games and listen to his music, he felt bullied a...

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Medium, message and Jesus: Future Church Summit observations

By on Jul 24, 2017 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

Think of a memorable scene from a favorite film. Conjure it in your imagination: characters speaking and acting, musical score playing. Now imagine it without music or with different music — it becomes a different scene. Adding music doesn’t add just audible background — it adds meaning to what the characters say and do. The music shapes your perception of the scene as happy or sad, pleasant or frightening, triumphant or tragic. This illustrates the phenomenon observed by media theorist Marshall McLuhan. How what we view, hear, or read...

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What is a call to ministry?

By on Jul 21, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament. My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and history. Our friends were these passionate Presbyterians, and I was saying something judicious about finding the idea of ministry attractive, when he said to me, “So why don’t you go into ministry?” “Because I’m not called,” I demurred. “So get called!” he said. I did, eventually, get called, though maybe not in the way he...

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Grieving with those who grieve

By on Jul 20, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Have you ever felt unsure of what to do as you watched a friend grieve a loved one? My wife recently lost a cousin in a tragic car accident. As I watched the family grieve, I found myself wondering what to do. It felt a bit ironic because almost five years ago, four days before my wedding, my mom was also killed in tragic accident. This was the second funeral I attended since Mom’s, and each time I found myself at a loss for what to do. You would think it would come easy for me, since I know what grief is like. But it’s almost as if...

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My denomination continues to swing left

By on Jul 19, 2017 in The World Together | 23 comments

The World Together Blog

We delegates at the 2017 Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando met for an initial four-hour session and then a concluding one-hour session. In between those sessions, a number of non-delegates joined us for an intensive Future Church Summit. For 14 hours, 97 tables of six to eight persons sought to imagine our denomination’s future. Each table used a tablet computer to submit responses on topics such as: • What draws us to this faith? • What do we want to affirm and take forward [from our past]? • What do we need to lament,...

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Reflections from Orlando: Change is happening

By on Jul 18, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

I spent most of the first week of July in Orlando, Fla., being a delegate at the Mennonite Church USA convention. Confession: I don’t like conventions. There’s the dungeon-esque nature of the whole place — arctic air conditioning, high ceilings, no windows and dim lighting, miles of mottled carpeting, the food (when finally located) so wrapped in plastic that it’s positively mummified, and so on. Then there’s the emotional and social paradox: surrounded by thousands of people but alone. Convention might be paradise for pastors and...

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It’s hard to love when they’re trying to hurt you

By on Jul 17, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Most days, I go for a run. About three miles. Lately, I’ve been choosing a route that takes me along a trail that winds through a public park. Recently, my run has been a struggle. Not because of the summer heat, or tired legs. Those things I can handle. My struggle has been with people. Young people. Boys throwing rocks at me as I pass, calling me names. A little girl on the playground who cocked her hand like a gun and pointed it at me, drawing attention to my whiteness. One day my struggle came in the form of violent ambush. Teenagers...

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Mennonite girls from everywhere can cook

By on Jul 14, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I am disappointed that your cookbook includes recipes for things like tacos. To me, that’s not Mennonite food. — anonymous comment on Mennonite Girls Can Cook Herald Press recently published a beautifully illustrated book called Mennonite Girls Can Cook. As a Menno who loves good food, it’s hard not to like this attractive work by 10 very creative members of my faith. Their use of the label “Mennonite” raises a question, however. Doesn’t this just add to a stereotype that Mennonites are fair skinned...

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Would we stand strong?

By and on Jul 13, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Six Brethren were arrested 300 years ago in Solingen, Germany. What was their crime? In 1716, the six men, ages 22 to 33, had been baptized as adults. This crime was a capital offense, the punishment could be execution. The six men were first marched to Dusseldorf for interrogation. It is said they sang hymns as they walked to their imprisonment. The German authorities wanted to be fair. They sent priests and ministers from the state churches to speak with the six men, to persuade them to recant, denounce their re-baptism, and at least attend...

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