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.

Give up complaining for lent

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

Give up complaining for lent

“You better stop whinin’, pinin’,” sang Dolly Parton on her album Better Get to Livin’. If you’re “overweight, underpaid or under appreciated,” you’ll get no sympathy from her. Her advice: Stop complaining and “better get to livin’. Get your “dreams in line and then just shine, design, refine ’til they come true.” Reverend Will Bowen could say “Amen” to that, albeit without the country twang. In 2006 the Kansas City pastor challenged his congregation not to complain for 21 consecutive days — the time,...

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Who defines the common good?

By on Feb 26, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

Who defines the common good?

Who determines what is in the “common good” and “national interest”? These terms are themselves so flexible as to be rendered nearly useless. Depending on the definer and their perspective these terms can be dropped into any camp to support particular partisan visions and to demonize enemies, outliers or appeasers. Take for instance the myriad drums which beat for new war across 2,000 miles from Kiev to Mosul and Tehran. Defenders of the National Interest suggest ISIS must be destroyed, Tehran’s nuclear ambitions must...

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Rethinking the mission trip

By on Feb 25, 2015 in The World Together | 3 comments

Rethinking the mission trip

During the recent 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live, they did some looking back. Some of my favorite sketches featured Jake and Elwood, the Blues Brothers. The sketch was so good that eventually a movie was made. It was a tale of redemption for Jake and his brother Elwood, who go on “a mission from God” to the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up. I might be stretching history a bit, but I do find it interesting that the movie came out in 1980, about the same time that short-term mission trips started to become...

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Why I love being a black girl

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

Why I love being a black girl

I have led a number of conversations on white privilege. The conversations have a tendency to all go the same direction. We as facilitators often use the negative experiences of people of color to establish a foundation for observing white privilege in action. We start with experiences today and hope to connect them to a larger historical context. I am not offering a critique (today). I am acknowledging this because I was blown away when a young white person in a workshop on white privilege said: “I’m kinda glad I’m white....

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God’s devouring fire

By on Feb 23, 2015 in The World Together | 6 comments

God’s devouring fire

Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him. — Psalm 50:3 When God comes near, there’s a devouring flame — a fire that burns away all the stuff in our lives that gets in the way of God’s love. When God’s love gets ahold of our lives, God’s fire begins to burn away all the stuff that blocks the flow of divine love in our lives. This blockage is what we call sin — the stuff in us and in our world that blocks the movement of God’s love, the circulation of God within...

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Church splits will never resolve the traditionalist, progressive divide

By on Feb 20, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

Church splits will never resolve the traditionalist, progressive divide

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit . . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God . . . ” — Paul (from Ephesians 4) Mennonite Church USA’s Virginia Mennonite Conference held a delegate session held Feb. 7 in Waynesboro, Va., where sociologist and pastor Conrad Kanagy raised sobering questions about whether the Mennonite church will be able to reconcile its differences and stay together. Kanagy conducted a recent...

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Being a Mennonite academic

By on Feb 19, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Being a Mennonite academic

It’s interesting being a Mennonite and an academic. Sometimes I find my Anabaptist-Mennonite sensibilities grating against the norms of academia: my “priesthood of all believers” mentality against intellectual elitism, my discipleship/faith-without-works-is-dead mentality against the divorcing of theory from practice, and especially, my appreciation for the “plain sense” and the poetry of Scripture (in the vernacular!) against the inaccessibility of academic language. Sometimes it even gets ugly, such as the time when I blurted out,...

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Preparing to enter Lent — thoughts on Ash Wednesday

By on Feb 18, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

Preparing to enter Lent — thoughts on Ash Wednesday

Three years ago I developed a creative arts Lenten retreat based on the Revised Common Lectionary passage. And guess what? The Lectionary has cycled back around to those same passages this year. The following is from the “Holy Spaces” retreat I developed. We begin our Lenten journey into holy spaces with the observance of Ash Wednesday; with a reminder that we come from dust and we will return to dust. The black smudge on your forehead. The ashy grit under your fingernails. It is a holy space, yes. And an uncomfortable space. To...

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Is Jesus a revolutionary?

By on Feb 17, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Is Jesus a revolutionary?

I’m starting to think that Che Guevara and the Jesus of the gospel according to Mark have an awful lot in common. I should explain, first, that I’m in the first month of My Jesus Project, a year-long effort to more deeply live into the life, teaching and example of Jesus through prayer, study and action. Each month, I explore a new dimension of Jesus with a mentor; this month is Jesus the Radical with Christian Anarchist Mark Van Steenwyk. Maybe I should blame all of these radical thoughts on the younger Mark, not the elder. But in my 43...

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Issue-based discussions must start with Scripture

By on Feb 16, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Issue-based discussions must start with Scripture

We are a people who believe that the Bible is the revealed Word of God. We suffer those who disagree with that premise to participate in, and in some cases lead discussion on how this portion of God’s church on Earth responds to cultural challenges and changes. Similarly, we discuss from the basis of emotion and a desire to love when we should be discussing how, as we understand it, God’s Word relates to the issue at hand. I challenge this church to begin discussion of cultural topics with a dispassionate study of Scripture to discern...

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