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 editor@mennoworld.org.

The temptation of political power

By on Jan 20, 2020 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Of the brutal Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is supposed to have commented: “He may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.” This quote sums up the dominant political philosophy found throughout the world. A politician’s shared party affiliation or alliance with us is more important than the politician’s behavior. What’s most important is that our side gets to exert as much political power or influence as possible. Sure, we think behavior and character and holding ethical ideals are important,...

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Can we beat our addiction to war?

By on Jan 17, 2020 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

The U.S. military strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s military force, has raised questions in the minds of many Americans about what we believe about military action and warfare. From my peace-church friends I have heard expressions of anger, frustration and sadness. Friends who hold a just-war ethic believe there are moments that require quick and specific military action in the name of peace and freedom. This moment has revived debates about the military actions of past U.S. presidents and partisan arguing about...

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Understanding and responding to Middle East anger

By on Jan 15, 2020 in The World Together | 2 comments

A mother and sick child in Baghdad, Iraq, suffer from sanctions in 1998. — Mel Lehman/Common Humanity

A defining moment for me in understanding the Middle East was the four nights of bombing I endured as a humanitarian worker in Baghdad in 1998. I’ll never forget that terrifying experience: lying on the interior hallway floor, balled up in a fetal position, praying like I’ve never prayed before or since, as the bombs sent by Americans fell around me. I remember the building shaking and the odd sound that shaking made between the ear-splitting explosions. And I distinctly remember how the dust shook loose by the bombing fell on me from the...

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It hinges on a hyphen

By on Jan 13, 2020 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Let me be honest with you: I don’t want my kids to be evangelical Christians when they grow up. It was only recently, in one of those rare moments of fatherly self-awareness, that I realized this. My teens are clearly not following my route into the Christian faith. Shouldn’t I be concerned about this? I decided to be honest with myself: I wasn’t. Being a parent means seeing our most closely held beliefs — even ones we’re not entirely aware we hold — played out in front of us in our day-to-day decisions while taking care of those...

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Pacifism in church history

By on Jan 9, 2020 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

There is not a single extant Christian author before Constantine (in the fourth century) who said killing or joining the military by Christians is ever legitimate. Whenever the surviving Christian texts mention killing — whether in abortion, capital punishment or war — they always say Christians must not do it. When the Roman emperor Constantine issued the decree in 313 that ended persecution and made it legal to be a Christian, Christians entered a dramatically new era. In spite of the teaching of Christian authors, a substantial number...

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Clothes and wounds

By on Jan 6, 2020 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Often when I revisit a familiar biblical story, something new emerges. Sometimes that new thing is a simple truth, other times it’s a detail that I simply overlooked as if it wasn’t important. This happened when I re-read the story Jesus told to explain to a lawyer exactly what a “neighbor” is. While Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this teaching by Jesus, only the Gospel of Luke includes the “Good Samaritan” parable about the wounded man who was bypassed twice and then helped by a third person. The detail that caught my eye this...

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The beauty of paradox

By on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Why do Christians have such difficulty reaching agreement? The answer may lie in the very nature of God and the gospel. Our challenge is to embrace a God of mystery who is also relational and trustworthy. This is a paradox. A paradox is a truth with two sides that appear to contradict but in fact complement each other to make a fuller truth. Embracing paradox is essential for faith and biblical interpretation. Consider a text replete with paradox: Jesus’ anointing at Bethany (Matt. 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:1-8). Just...

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A personal Anabaptist political manifesto

By on Dec 23, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

“The worldly are armed with steel and iron, but Christians are armed with the armor of God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and with the Word of God.” Schleitheim Brotherly Union, article 6, 1527 “All of the sovereigns, protectors, and rulers are only swineherds in contrast to the sovereignty of Christ.” Pilgram Marpeck, 1531 Among the many striking images contained in illustrated versions of Martyrs Mirror is the etching of Simon den Kramer defying the public procession of the sacrament in the town of Bergen op...

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Celebrating the holidays — and every day

By on Dec 16, 2019 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Celebration is what we are called to. We are called to practice joy by celebrating. What we have to learn is how to celebrate life. Celebrating life is not a party but an awareness that every moment is special and asks to be lifted up and recognized as a blessing. To celebrate means to lift up the moment and say, “This is God’s moment.” To celebrate is to lift up today and say, “This is the day the Lord has made!” Celebration doesn’t mean to celebrate only the good moments. Ecstatic joy embraces all of life and does not shy from...

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Burying Bibles

By on Dec 12, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

Keith and Judy Harder of Hillsboro, Kan., look at old Bibles they have collected before burying them in November in their corral. — Keith and Judy Harder

We were moving to smaller quarters in Hillsboro, Kan., and needed to downsize, including downsizing our library. Books collected over years that documented my intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage and their authors who were my friends and mentors and in some cases my tormentors needed to go. Lovingly I held each book and tried to remember its impact on my life and why I kept it before it was sent to a second hand bookstore or library or the trash. And then there were the Bibles that filled one whole shelf that were outdated or literally...

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