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.

Before you punch a Nazi: A new Anabaptist response to white supremacy

By on Aug 15, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

There isn’t much to be surprised by in Charlottesville. There’s much to grieve, but none of it should be a surprise. All the elements of Saturday’s events have been in headlines for months, or years, and they are quintessential to this time: cars swerving into crowds; statues of Confederate warriors being removed; white nationalist rallies; Black Lives Matter; pedestrians injured. As if someone scrambled up bits of headlines until it yielded this. What do we do now? Grief wants comfort. Comfort is action. We want to do something. We have...

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Mennonite editor charged with sedition

By on Aug 14, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

In the middle of World War I, on June 15, 1917, the highly controversial Espionage Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The Act provided for a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for anyone convicted of interfering with military recruitment, and it imposed a penalty of up to $10,000 (more than $166,000 in today’s dollars) for anyone convicted of doing so. It also gave additional powers to the Postmaster General to confiscate any mail that could be considered “seditious or...

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10 reasons attending Western District Conference mattered to me

By on Aug 11, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

1. I was impressed with the pastors of Western District Conference. Some are new to me — but they are talented, gifted and delightful! I laughed with them; I struggled when some spoke of despair and loss of members. WDC invests in its pastors with resourcing, financial support and mentoring. 2. I prayed, sang, listened and practiced speaking languages other than English. I couldn’t quite get the Garifuna dialect; I got better with Spanish; I only spoke at my delegate table when the “talking stone” was in my hand — measured...

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A boy’s gift of water

By on Aug 9, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

It has been five years, and she still talks about Rico — the boy who offered his rationed bottled water to her. It was her first time in an international setting with agriculture, a lifestyle that transcends every language, culture and country. The Virginia Tech team of which she was a part was working on soil fertility and crop production methods with some of the local farmers. In the rural area of Guanacaste, (the western side of Costa Rica), tap water is unsafe to drink because of bacterial and sanitation issues. In many third-world...

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You are welcome to come near

By on Aug 8, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

In these hazy, lazy days of mid-summer, I find myself pondering the deep mysteries of wheelchair ramps. Naturally. Recently, our little church made the decision to move ahead with plans to add a ramp to our facility alongside a few other improvements to the foyer and entrance. Church business meetings and decisions about facility modifications do not tend to provoke much sustained theological reflection on my part. They probably should, but usually they don’t. At that meeting, however, I think I heard the voice of God. At a church business...

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The shame of our nation

By on Aug 7, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

U.S. President Donald Trump should feel indebted to religious voters, especially to evangelicals, who esteem themselves as “values voters.” A significant majority of them voted for him, believing they would have an advocate, if not a friend, in the White House. Now we are at a juncture where we can assess whether President Trump is meeting the expectations of a loyal constituency. How is Trump doing on his promises to conservative religious voters? Of course, many conservatives, both religious and political, were pleased that Neil Gorsuch...

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Future Church Summit: Be honest, and mourn

By on Aug 2, 2017 in The World Together | 6 comments

The World Together Blog

As the days have passed since the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, Fla., I get more and more frustrated. As usual, I was happy to see old friends and make new connections, but as the glow of those interactions fades I am confronted with the deep-seated disappointment that has been simmering below the surface since I left Orlando. We didn’t talk honestly during our week in Florida. We addressed some important issues during the Future Church Summit, certainly. The work on the Doctrine of Discovery reduced me to tears multiple times,...

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Communion: Where to draw the line?

By on Aug 1, 2017 in The World Together | 4 comments

The World Together Blog

One Sunday morning some years ago, I leaned against the back of a church pew, and with tears in my eyes confided to a friend. This woman is a sincere Christian, even though she’s not a member of our congregation. She tries to dress like us, and faithfully comes to church. Yet she’s not allowed to have communion. Why? Isn’t Christ’s sacrifice for her, too? My friend was taken aback. “But we have to draw the line somewhere!” she said. I let the subject drop for the sake of peace, but those words bothered me. We have to draw the line...

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Another taste of desert sand

By on Jul 31, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

It was the liturgy that first warmed my heart. I tried to be cautious, not to fall in love too quickly. How long should one wait to call a church one’s home? I still don’t know the answer to that question. I thought the three-ish months of spring 2014 was enough before I posted the first cautious, positive-but-noncommitted reference to Plow Creek Mennonite Church (actually, it was just a reference to Plow Creek Bakery) on social media. Then a week later, another post referencing Plow Creek Farm’s delicious strawberries. But the fact is,...

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If conservatives feel silenced, we need to speak

By on Jul 26, 2017 in The World Together | 12 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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