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.

Cultivating hearts of worship in pursuit of racial justice

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

Cultivating hearts of worship in pursuit of racial justice

Worship changes things. It forces every spirit, opponent and plan contrary to that of God’s to bow at his feet. As we exalt God to his rightful place in our hearts and in the world, he takes over and makes things right. This we know, either through experiences of our own, hearing the testimony of others, or through reflecting on the biblical text. And yet, in spite of the fact that we can attest to how the presence of God changes things, we often seem reluctant to engage. So often, we rather rely on our own know how, our own expertise, to...

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Dear church: Be a place that embraces

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

Dear church: Be a place that embraces

I entered Elizabethtown (Pa.) Mennonite Church on Aug. 27 with trepidation, unsure of how the “Listening and Vision Casting” meeting process would unfold or how comfortable I would feel speaking to the question of whether Lancaster Mennonite Conference should leave Mennonite Church USA over the “issue” of homosexuality. Looking around the packed sanctuary to see a sea of white faces, gray hair and a smattering of coverings, I felt out of my element. As we began, however, I was surprised and impressed with the process...

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What’s with the grapes?

By on Sep 1, 2015 in The World Together | 10 comments

What’s with the grapes?

I love communion. I was delighted to learn that my first pastorate was in a congregation that took communion once a month (more often than many Mennonite churches). But there is one question I’ve struggled with since I was child, taking my Wheat Thins™ and seedless grapes from the pastor: What’s with the grapes? Why do we feel the urge to serve our children Jesus Lite (trademark pending)? I searched the Scriptures. I studied them for seven years, earned two degrees, and have yet to find where Jesus said: “Let the children come to me,...

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Is pacifism enough?

By on Aug 31, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Is pacifism enough?

There is a small village called Gangjeong on South Korea’s Jeju Island, the largest island of Korea. The island is in the middle of China and Japan. Every year more than 10 million tourists visit this beautiful island. Gangjeong Village and the surrounding area were once a protected nature reserve comprising 10 percent of Jeju Island. In other words, this village and the surrounding area were the most beautiful part of Jeju Island. However, over the past seven years, this small fishing and farming village has been struggling against the...

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What we mean when we say we want Christian unity

By on Aug 28, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

What we mean when we say we want Christian unity

I’ve been reading Andy Crouch’s Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power for about four months now and I’m barely a third of the way through it. Not because it’s bad! Quite the contrary: it’s one of those books that I have to set down every page or two because I need to think about the point being made. That, and I bought it on Kindle, and I’ve come to realize that I hate reading e-books. So Playing God comes out only when I forget to bring another option, and even then I move forward in fits and starts. But this weekend’s spurt...

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Fitting in

By on Aug 27, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Fitting in

A few years ago, I was out for a walk with my son and we happened upon a little playground we’d never visited before. He hopped out of the stroller and started to play. After a few minutes of having the place to ourselves, several cars pulled up and moms started unloading their small children, all around Ben’s age. I realized it was a playgroup meetup and then I noticed that I knew a couple of the moms slightly. Those two women I knew invited me to stay and play with the group, but as more and more moms arrived, I realized I didn’t feel...

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Are Quakers already dead?

By on Aug 26, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Are Quakers already dead?

We Quakers think a lot about our own demise. I’ve lost count of how many events, conferences, books and lectures have essentially centered around the question: Will Quakerism survive? I believe this is the wrong question. The ultimate fate of Quakerism is not nearly so important to me as whether we are ignited by a living movement of the Holy Spirit today, in our own time and place. Labels and Quaker brand loyalty aren’t worth much if we aren’t willing to follow Jesus — wherever he leads. It concerns me how frequently this...

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God is not sad

By on Aug 25, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

God is not sad

A recent Christian trend was to pray something similar to, “Lord, let my heart break for the things that break your heart.” It was usually a prayer asking for increased empathy toward the poor, an increased desire to stop ignoring injustice in the world. It’s a poetic prayer, really. I am sure I’ve prayed it in the past. But recently I have become more attuned to similar statements about God being heartbroken over injustice. It has occurred to me that this statement is not entirely true. God is not sad about the...

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God’s presence in a new reality of loss

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

God’s presence in a new reality of loss

Recently a violent storm hit my life, ripping through my heart and shaking the foundation of my faith, when my husband Joel, suddenly and unexpectedly died. I was thrust into a new reality where nothing looked familiar. I was angry at God for taking Joel so soon and would cry out, “so now what do you want from me?” At one point in my pain, I claimed to others that we could take classes to prepare for about anything, but there was no class for preparing for the loss of a loved one. Then one day, I discovered a book, entitled Portrait of...

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Being a troubled nonviolent resister

By on Aug 21, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

I want to be a nonviolent resister because as a Red Letter Christian I am committed to taking seriously what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. There’s no way to read through chapters 5-7 in Matthew without recognizing that Jesus called his followers to reject violence, “turn the other cheek,” and do good to those who would do us evil. Jesus told us that we are to love our enemies, and that probably means we shouldn’t kill them. As I remind my fellow Red Letter Christians to be peacemakers, even as Jesus proposed in Matt. 5:9, I...

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