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.

Telling the truth in a world of lies

By on Sep 28, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

There was a headline yesterday, the day after the big U.S. presidential debate, that made me despair of being a human being in the 21st century. I guess to be precise, it was a tagline underneath a headline, but it was no less depressing for being in a smaller font. The tagline wasn’t found on some trashy tabloid website where you would expect to find a predictable parade of click-baiting garbage. No, this was a national mainstream media article. The offending sentence read thus: ‘Find Out Who Lied About What and Why’ Perhaps...

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Shame isn’t always a bad thing

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

The World Together Blog

My parents were pretty effective in correcting their nine children by using frequent verbal reprimands, even the occasional “Shem dich!” (Pennsylvania German equivalent of “Shame on you”). They mostly had the kind of relationship with us that made us want to stay on their good side and to enjoy their blessing and approval. Today any use of shame to correct behavior tends to be seen as a Very Bad Thing, since shame, as opposed to guilt, is about being a failed or flawed person rather than about a basically good person engaging in...

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What this generation of Anabaptists really needs

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

The World Together Blog

Christianity is messy. At least in America. We have far too many factions and variations of church — pick which one you like best, and when the going gets rough, pick again. This generation doesn’t need more churches; it needs a revival of faith. I’m speaking specifically to Anabaptist churches. Not because they are worse than others and not because they are better. I speak to Anabaptists because I am one. I understand this denomination the most. I feel the frustrations others feel as they work with their Anabaptist brothers and sisters....

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A simple way to world peace? Recognize America as ‘beast’

By on Sep 22, 2016 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

I offer what follows as a thought experiment, an attempt to flesh out a recent late night rumination. I finished reading a fine book by Douglas Fry, Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace. Fry, who is an anthropologist, seeks to refute the notion of “man as warrior” that assumes that human beings are innately hardwired to fight wars. Fry focuses on hunter-gatherer societies; he argues that some of these societies, presumably more revelatory of human nature, are not warriors. I like Fry’s argument, though since I don’t know much...

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‘But I’ve seen him do so much good’

By on Sep 21, 2016 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Please note: This reflection references an incident of sexual abuse. “But I’ve seen him do so much good.” It was heartbreaking when I came across this line in an account about a woman who had been abused by a charismatic educational leader. After choosing to entrust her story of abuse to pastoral leaders, she also met with defensive resistance when she asked for fuller truth-telling about what appeared to be the lead pastor’s protection of the abuser. The resistance was cloaked within this disclaimer: “But I’ve seen him...

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5 common errors when Christians disagree

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

The World Together Blog

Note: This is a full-out, “chip-on-my-shoulder” rant. I tried to soften the blog post by using personal pronouns and not giving specific controversial examples, but I can’t deny that I’m annoyed and even saddened by how frequently I hear these arguments used (sad, because I think we miss out when we find excuses not to obey God). My apologies in advance for the preachy diatribe that you’ve already probably heard a million times. EXCUSE #1: “We all interpret Scripture differently.” TRUTH #1: Showing grace isn’t ignoring...

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Understanding spiritual disciplines

By on Sep 16, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

One semester in seminary, I had to take a class on the spiritual disciplines. Over the course of the semester, I had to regularly engage in historical and traditional aspects of the Christian faith. There were retreats of silence and contemplation. There were periods of devout study, and it was when I first regularly began to keep the spiritual discipline of Sabbath (a habit and routine that I still keep today). For me, it was a time to discover how regular methods of work and rest, listening in silence, fasting and prayer, and contemplation...

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The goodness of useless things

By on Sep 14, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

It turns out you can eat corn smut. Who knew? The ancient peoples of Mexico, that’s who. They call it xuitlacoche, and they covet smut as a mushroom-y filling for quesadillas. I first discovered that you can eat corn smut in a radio program I heard last fall, and I’ve been half-hoping to see it break out in our tiny sweet corn patch ever since. I got my wish this year. As summer ripened, the corn tasseled and silked. Ears stretched and pebbled under green husks. And then I saw it: the tell-tale bulging of smut, blue-gray vegetable tumors...

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When to stop praying for our kids

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

The World Together Blog

“I’ve quit praying for my kids,” she said. “It’s no use. God hasn’t answered my prayers, so there’s no use in keeping on. If I’m honest,” she continued, “I have to say that I’m kind of mad at God right now because he hasn’t answered my prayers.” So how long do we pray for our kids? Once they’re out and on their own, is it time to stop? Maybe they’ve settled in another community and have jobs of their own. Possibly they are no longer dependent on us. It seems they no longer need (or want) our advice. Besides,...

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If ISIS killed your child

By on Sep 12, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I recently read a blog post by a U.S. Army chaplain, who talks about his struggle with Jesus’ call to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. In a military context, he regularly finds himself asked some version of the question: “If ISIS killed your child, would you pray for them?” His answer? “Yes, while I am on my way to kill them.” I understand this answer. It’s my natural answer, too. When others wrong me, I want to strike back. I want revenge. There’s something deeply human in the idea that we can somehow...

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