Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog 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.

If we burn, you burn with us

By on Nov 28, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

If we burn, you burn with us

In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, the main character, Katniss, in the midst of the battle, delivers a powerful line to the president: We could take this at the simple level of a threat, like, “We aren’t going down without a fight.” In the context of the greater themes of the series, though, I don’t think we should read it that simply. Here’s how Twitter user, @deray, a protester in Ferguson these last few months, put it: “If we burn, you burn with us” is Katniss’ statement about the shared human experience....

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The Light of Christ at our messy tables

By on Nov 26, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

The Light of Christ at our messy tables

As I jostle the lighter into place above the already burnt, saggy vanilla candle that adorns the center of our dining table, next to a stack of mail, a half-dozen decorative gourds, and my breast pump, I ask my children: “Who do we light a candle for tonight?” We’re settling into our typical — somewhat chaotic — dinnertime, as our 4-year-old daughter climbs into her chair and our 7-month-old son gnaws relentless on a wooden spoon from his clip-on chair attached to the head of the table. As the days are getting shorter and the...

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A Thanksgiving liturgy for 2014

By on Nov 25, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

A Thanksgiving liturgy for 2014

American Thanksgiving is this week. People are zipping across the country to spend the day together with family and friends. This is the holiday that I have most relished adopting since I have lived in the U.S., but I find that in the frenzy of activity it is easy to forget it meant to be a celebration of praise and thanksgiving to God for the abundance with which we are blessed. Last year I decided to add an extra week to Advent, focusing on thankfulness and gratitude. I have decided to do the same this year which meant I began my personal...

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I like Jesus. Do I have to be Religious?

By on Nov 24, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

I like Jesus. Do I have to be Religious?

Are you tired of the hypocrisy and greed of prosperity gospel preachers? Fed up with politicians appealing to religious sentiments in order to win elections and start wars? Do you feel like there must be something bigger and more beautiful than the simplistic story you’ve heard in church? Jesus feels the same way. Jesus didn’t come to set up a new religious system. As a matter of fact, many of Jesus’ contemporaries could have described him as profoundly anti-religious. His message ultimately relativizes all religious practices. Walking...

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We need help discerning what are disputable matters

By on Nov 21, 2014 in The World Together | 7 comments

We need help discerning what are disputable matters

My church, Mennonite Church USA, like many denominations, is in a state of crisis over an issue I never thought would become a subject of dispute in my lifetime, the question of whether congregations can accept members in faithful same sex relationships. As a pastor and counselor, I’ve met with many members who have lived for years with the pain of being gay or lesbian in a church in which their gender orientation is seen as unacceptable and wrong. In the past, this 3-4 percent of our members has largely suffered their isolation in...

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Choosing joy

By on Nov 20, 2014 in The World Together | 1 comment

Choosing joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. — James 1:2 In the wake of my father’s death, I found myself doing something strange. I identified anything good that had come of his death, and clung to it. I know this sounds crazy — to search for goodness in something terrible; but there was so much terrible in my life, that I needed something — anything — to ease it all. I was blessed to have been able to see so many people I love gathered at my home and at the memorial services. I was...

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What’s happening in the emergent church conversation?

By on Nov 19, 2014 in The World Together | 5 comments

What’s happening in the emergent church conversation?

I was asked recently for my view of what’s happening in the emergent/emergence conversation in North America. Here’s a very short overview, from my perspective. The conversation continues to grow, not by creating a new slice of the pie, but by seasoning nearly all sectors of the pie. Even where the word “emergent” is not used, ideas from emergence leaders are being considered and adopted, leading to new experimentation and openness. Influence in the Roman Catholic world is still relatively small, but growing numbers of...

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Protecting ourselves, mistreating others and smudging

By on Nov 18, 2014 in The World Together | 2 comments

Protecting ourselves, mistreating others and smudging

We do a lot of driving in our family. Driving to volleyball, guitar, swim club, band rehearsal, grandma and grandpa’s, and on and on it goes. Many days it is in the car that some of the best, most important, and sometimes only conversations with our kids happen. Today my daughter and I were off to the doctor’s office for a routine visit and the talk turned to the trials and tribulations of teenage life. We talked about cyberbullying, peer pressure, romantic dramas, sports, classroom dynamics, terrible teachers and a whole host of other...

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An open letter to the Mennonite family

By , on Nov 14, 2014 in Letters, The World Together | 64 comments

We are Richard and Jewel (Wenger) Showalter. As church planters, missionaries, educators, mission administrators, parents and now grandparents, we have walked as part of the Mennonite family throughout our lives. We love the Mennonite church and the broader body of Jesus Christ. Our lifelong passion has been to reach out to those who do not yet know Jesus. During the past 30 years, we have been privileged to do this in friendship with churches both in North America and around the world. Now in North America the church is engaged in a...

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Religiously ‘easy’

By on Nov 13, 2014 in The World Together | 0 comments

Religiously ‘easy’

Some passages are almost impossible to imagine preaching a sermon on: People of God, you are like a donkey in heat, like a dog that goes around humping table legs (Jer. 2:24).  Kudos to Jeremiah for courage — I can’t imagine that message went over well. Be that as it may, the charge is a compelling one: many of us are religiously “easy.” With nothing offered to us, nothing given, nothing proven, nothing promised, we essentially drop pants and give ourselves to the first god passing by. (Forgive the crudeness, but the shock...

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