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.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, not the Amish romance

By on May 22, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

About every two to three months, I get messages from a young woman or two wanting to become Mennonite or Amish. They’ve done no research and are looking for dress patterns or, as they call it, “Kapp” patterns. Each time I’m a bit grieved because I know, in reality, nothing on the outside matters if the inside isn’t changed. I labor over how to answer them, knowing I was once in a similar position but with a lot more research under my belt. A “plain” church or fellowship can be of no use if you aren’t fully informed about the...

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God as Father

By on May 21, 2018 in The World Together | 6 comments

The World Together Blog

I’ve noticed more often lately that some of our Mennonite preachers and writers avoid calling God “Father.” Is this theologically correct? Is it wise? Do we want our children and newcomers to the church to lose the sense of God as Father? Do we really want to remove “Father” from our hymns, songs and creeds? Recently, our choir sang a song called “The Lord’s Prayer,” which begins, “Our God in heaven…” It was beautiful and uplifting! But was it really necessary to change the words? The argument goes that since God is...

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Just come home

By on May 17, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

This is the story I was told: A young man had made some poor choices. He was at the end of his rope and knew he had failed himself, his parents, and the commitment he made to his God years before. Sure, he’d had good intentions and he had been sincere. Life happened; he made wrong choices; he had fallen and now he wondered if there was any way to get back up and start over again. One evening as he sat down in the middle of the mess where he was living, he called his folks. He wasn’t sure that he really wanted them to know his dilemma, but...

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What superhero films teach us about heroism

By on May 15, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Over the weekend, I watched the new blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War. Although I enjoyed it, I am puzzled by — and a bit concerned about — the massive and continuous popularity of superhero movies. Part of their obvious appeal is their fantastical action and mythic themes. Superhero movies allow us to escape to an imaginative reality filled with awesome good guys and bad guys who battle each other in clever and eye-popping ways. The fate of the universe (or at least the earth) usually hangs in the balance. Why don’t we get tired of...

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A new litany for ordination

By on May 13, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Ordination is a big deal. It only happens once in a lifetime. There is a standard litany for ordination. But, being a writer, as I prepared for my ordination last month, I couldn’t help rewriting the litany. The standard Mennonite ordination comes from the Minister’s Manual, a handy little book published in 1998. The pocket-sized manual contains the words of institution for all our critical rituals and life transitions. I believe in the power of a standardized litany, the power of all pastors reciting the same words of commitment at...

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What Jesus’ ascension means for us

By on May 10, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

So Christ ascended to heaven. What’s the big deal with that? Workers get Ascension Day off in a few places around the world, and they fly kites in Bermuda. But there are no Ascension Day sales events here in the U.S, like there are for Easter and Christmas. Mothers will get Mother’s Day cards, and maybe flowers and dinners out, and that’s the least we can do for them. (I had to look long and hard to find more than a few Ascension Day greeting cards online.) But Christ’s Ascension to heaven is as big a deal as Christ’s descent to the...

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How outward appearance matters

By on May 7, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Mennonites can easily categorize the type of church another Mennonite comes from simply by their appearance. Do their wear a veil, a bonnet or a doily? Solid colors? Cape dresses? Ankle-length skirts? Pants? Two-layer tops? One suspender? Two suspenders? Or no suspenders? Did they arrive in a horse and buggy, an all-black vehicle, a 15-passenger van or a new car? We often assume those more liberal than us are judging us as outdated, and those more conservative than us think we’re less spiritual. (Perhaps we assume others are judging us...

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Stories of resilience in community

By and on May 4, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

More than 70 years ago, my great-grandparents immigrated to British Columbia from the Neider Chortitza Mennonite colony in Soviet Russia, now known as Ukraine. My great-grandparents, and my grandmother and grandfather were part of the first 33 people who received assistance from Mennonite Central Committee after traveling from their colony to the Netherlands where they found safety. They went on to farm in Abbotsford, B.C. For many Mennonites, our story is about persecution, war, hunger and uncertain futures, but also hope that a foreign land...

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Lift high the cross

By on May 3, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Recently, my friend’s cousin in Palestine was killed. Because we live in a 21st-century world with instant access, I watched on social media as his shrouded body was lifted high in the air and paraded down Prayer Road, while his mother wept and could not be consoled. I listened to the heartbroken crowd confidently cry out, “Allah Akbar”— God is the greatest. I wept with my friends, even from thousands of miles, as we watched his body lifted high for all to see. I’ve never witnessed a funeral like this — one that comes so soon after...

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Becoming the children of God

By on May 1, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” — 1 John 3:1 We are the children of God. For a lot of us today, this phrase, “children of God,” has been cheapened. It’s been universalized to refer to practically everyone. It’s become a way of saying that every person is worthy of respect, dignity and fair treatment. I agree with that way of looking at the world. Every single human being has inherent value. As followers of Jesus, we are called to love everyone —...

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