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.

Who’s got the keys?

By on Apr 29, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

There’s a particular mystery to this story that I never even noticed until my professor Len called my attention to it this past fall. There are nearly 50 parables of Jesus recorded in the Bible — stories featuring farmers and bakers and bridegrooms and landlords and Samaritan heroes and prodigal sons. But out of all of these stories, there is only one character that is ever given a name: Lazarus. Unexpected details like this rarely appear show up in the Bible without good reason. So here we have a real mystery: What is the significance of...

read more

Not a fragile faith

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

The World Together Blog

In a recent Bible study, we were looking at John 20 where Jesus appeared to the disciples. Gathered behind locked doors, Jesus appeared in the midst of them and said “Peace be with you.” Then he did an amazing thing. He breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. This is a significant development. It was a graduation. They would now carry on the faith — not by receiving more teaching by Jesus but by listening to the Holy Spirit. It was an empowering. It was an unleashing of the law written in their hearts. It would be...

read more

No broken people allowed

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

The World Together Blog

How do you handle it when a drug addict wearing a dirty t-shirt and raggedy shoes walks into your church? What’s your response when he has something to say and it goes longer than typical for personal testimonies? Maybe your church doesn’t get that kind of visitors, but so far, every church I’ve been a part of has experienced that at some point or another. You want to know my response? I feel awkward. It makes me feel uncomfortable because it disrupts the nice little box that I’ve put church life into. Oh, I know how I should respond,...

read more

Being fully present

By on Apr 25, 2016 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

I ate my best apple several years ago. It was a large mottled Gala, and juice ran down my chin. It deserves the title of ‘best’ not for its quality, but because more than any meal I’ve eaten, that apple had my full and total attention. Most of us aren’t present to life that deeply. We eat distractedly, pray with an agenda rather than intimacy in mind, and listen to plan our response rather than understand. We can’t even watch TV anymore without a second screen in front of us. How eager we are to hide from the present! How easy to...

read more

Studying the Apostle Paul — a matter of life and death

By on Apr 22, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

My latest project is The Paulcast: A Podcast all about the Apostle Paul. After my introduction episode, titled “Surprised by Paul,” I launched straight into a series called “Entering the Conversation.” Here’s why. In my experience, many people talk about the things Paul wrote down without doing the hard work of entering the world Paul lived in. So, without knowing it, we read this statement or that in one of his letters and hear something totally different than those first-century church communities would have heard. We also have the...

read more

How a fixation on Psalm 23 may hinder us

By on Apr 21, 2016 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

Like almost everyone else in the whole world, I love the Shepherd’s Psalm. It well deserves its place as our most favorite passage in the entire Bible. Even unbelievers are familiar with Psalm 23. Whenever I invite people to join me in reciting it, as I sometimes do at graveside services, for example, I’m amazed at how many are able to join in. It is little wonder the passage has such broad appeal. It is one of the most personal of all Scripture texts, full of references to “I” (4 times) “me” (6 times) and...

read more

Plan a Pentecost party

By on Apr 20, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

This coming May 15 is the day we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday. My overall enthusiastic response to that appears in the lyrics of a song written by late gospel legend, Andrae Crouch: “Let the church say amen.” I don’t know how many others feel this way, but I personally feel that the celebrations for Pentecost should be as big as the Super Bowl, the World Series or the Olympics. And the holy day did not just begin in Christendom, but it has foundations in ancient Jewish traditions. In fact, the Jewish equivalent to our...

read more

How Jesus rope-a-doped the devil

By on Apr 18, 2016 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

The phrase “rope-a-dope” refers to a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches. Muhammad Ali popularized this technique in his 1974 boxing match against George Foreman. Ali allowed Foreman to angrily swing away at him against the ropes, leading Foreman to eventually punch himself out in the process. It recently occurred to me how this boxing technique is a lot like what Jesus did on the cross. On the cross God absorbed all the sin of the world, allowing evil to do...

read more

Talents and testimonies

By on Apr 15, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

A few weeks ago my son and I joined our church family on the annual weekend spring retreat. It was held at the Laurelville Mennonite Church Center near Mt. Pleasant, Pa. One of the activities available at Laurelville is a prayer labyrinth. It is situated at the top of a long, gradually winding, hilly path. From this labyrinth, which is a large circle and consists of winding stone and pebble paths, you can look out across a breathtaking view of a valley. As I set out for an afternoon walk to the prayer labyrinth, I found sunshine, deep vividly...

read more

Could empire be a good thing?

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

The World Together Blog

For me, and most people I know, the word “empire” has a negative connotation. As well it should. The economic and military might of human empires has been one of the most destructive forces in history. From the genocidal campaigns of Genghis Khan to the modern day invasions of Iraq, the prerogative of empires is to establish their power through conquest and domination. In the process, they’ve destroyed the lives of billions. The early Christian communities knew this. The ancient church lived under Roman occupation — first as Jews in...

read more