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.

Spiritual but not religious

By on Mar 22, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

I am usually quite suspicious of oft-repeated expression, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Actually, “suspicious” might be putting it rather mildly. I have something bordering on a pathological loathing of this phrase. It’s possible that I have even visibly shuddered in disgust in the various contexts where this expression makes its predictable appearance. I usually encounter it in people who either refuse to consider church in the first place or who have left it behind for the usual assemblage of real or imagined grievances. Or...

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Inflated relief a new goal for today

By on Mar 21, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

A worker for Middle East Council of Churches delivers an MCC relief kit to Sosamma, 91, who left her home after a missile hit it in the summer of 2016. — Middle East Council of Churches

Last year, Mennonite Central Committee declared its $42.2 million response since 2012 to war in Syria and Iraq the single largest crisis response in MCC history. That would be true if a dollar’s value remained constant. However, after adjusting for inflation, MCC’s assistance to victims of war seems to have peaked about 70 years ago, in an era when those victims included European Mennonites. MCC staff acknowledge they made an accounting error last fall, and have been working to clear things up. While it is hard to know precisely how much...

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A view of heaven and earth

By on Mar 17, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

When I was a kid, I remember envisioning heaven as I sang hymns and praise songs at church. I remember it being a very bright, light-flooded expanse of space with gold floors, in which a huge group of people were gathered around a traditional throne with God in its seat. I don’t really remember having any sense of where Jesus or the Holy Spirit were in the midst of all of it, but I do remember feeling a rush of warmth and security as I sang love songs to a God who had rescued me from my own inadequacies as well as loved me in the midst of...

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Dating is worship

By on Mar 15, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

We know that everything should be done for the glory of God, but sometimes it’s easy to subconsciously leave some activities off the list. Such as dating. In dating, it’s easy to get our focus off God and on ourselves and our wants. I’ve heard people react to using the Josh Harris I Kissed Dating Goodbye approach that puts a lot of pressure on dating; it encourages our tendency to make checklists 10 miles long of the criteria a person has to meet just to get the first date. The focus is on me — satisfying my marital...

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In need of amazing grace

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

The World Together Blog

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see. I am not the biggest fan of Christian music, but this song always manages to stir my soul at a deep level. I like the idea of Amazing Grace. Or to put it more honestly, I need Amazing Grace in my life. I half-jokingly shared with a co-worker that I start and end every day with, “I sorry; please forgive me.” If there was ever an award for offending people, I think it would go to me. What really gets me is that I am...

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Save the pigs and all of us

By on Mar 10, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Some churches have the best locations. When I lived on the west coast I would gaze longingly at the sight of little churches with ocean views or in the heart of leafy green neighborhoods with fruit stands and local markets and beaches nearby. When I’m in the Alberta Rockies, I often sigh plaintively at the sight of houses of God that dwell in the shadow of snow-capped mountain peaks. When I’ve traveled in Europe or South America or the Middle East, I marvel at majestic cathedrals in historic cities or sturdy stone sanctuaries in quaint...

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Dear President Trump: Provoking God?

By on Mar 7, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Dear President Trump: Lent is a season to reflect upon and repent of all in our lives that is out of sync. The Daily Lectionary readings for today are about provoking. The people provoke God to anger because of their stubbornness and rebellion. As they prepare to cross the Jordan after 40 years in the wilderness, Moses charges, “you have been rebellious against the LORD from the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place” (Deut. 9:7). The marketers and moneychangers provoke Jesus to anger by turning the temple into...

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Supporting life during Lent

By on Mar 6, 2017 in The World Together | 7 comments

The World Together Blog

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? — 1 John 3:17 (NLT) I’ve always found it hard to read this kind of text, and found it equally difficult to get through an Associated Press article on current victims of famine in eastern Africa, and especially in Somalia. An excerpt: Her eyes glued to the feeble movements of her malnourished baby with protruding ribs and sunken eyes, Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim struggled to hold back her tears in...

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Holy fire and human flailing

By on Mar 3, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Lord Jesus, please hear the heart of your handmaiden. I read this morning in Leviticus 10 of the death of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. As is the case every single time I read it, my heart aches for Aaron and his wife and his family. Here is Aaron, in his mid-80s at least, and his sons — were they reckless youths? We know they had no children according to the scriptures. It seems so harsh, Lord Jesus, so final, so – well, so without warning. I always struggle when I plow my way through this passage and read of a father who “said...

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Theology that favors whiteness

By on Mar 2, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Black theology and womanist theology, the theologies written by African-American men and women, speak to white as well as black audiences. Theology for Mennonites and the still predominantly white Mennonite churches would appear in a different light after engagement with these writings. Here are a few examples. In her book Sisters in the Wilderness, prominent womanist Delores Williams describes the multiple kinds of “surrogacy” endured by black women — that is, instances in which these women performed services that were rightly the...

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