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.

Behind the scenes of making a hymnal

By on Sep 18, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

What is your all-time favorite hymn or spiritual/religious piece of music? If you go to church and participate in regular worship services, you also likely enjoy the songs and hymns most churches count as a very important part of their worship of God. It is the music portion of a service that most often moves me emotionally, even to tears, and I’m not alone in that. You probably have a number of favorites, depending on the mood and circumstances. Of the many privileges I have had working as a writer for the Mennonite churches these past 42...

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What belief should cost us everything?

By on Sep 17, 2018 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Nike’s new 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick is causing a bit of a stir. Kaepernick is famous for his decision to kneel during the American national anthem before a football game to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Kaepernick has been unable to land an NFL job since then. He is currently pursuing a grievance of collusion against the league and its owners who he says are keeping him out of the league because of their displeasure with his protests and his...

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Mennonite identity amid the Fresno fiasco

By on Sep 12, 2018 in The World Together | 10 comments

A lot of talk has been happening in the Mennonite Twitter world (which is a pretty weird overlap of two very different realms) in the past few days about changes in a master’s program at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. Since I am a student in that program, I thought I would write out my thoughts publicly as well. The Masters of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture is a distance ed degree offered by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, which is a Mennonite Brethren school and part of Fresno Pacific University in California. Three big-name...

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Fresno Pacific’s theological cocktail

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

The World Together Blog

Last week, Mennonite World Review reported that Fresno Pacific University in California had removed the president of its seminary, Terry Brensinger, and announced that pastors Greg Boyd, Brian Zahnd and Bruxy Cavey would no longer teach in the seminary’s M.A. program in ministry, leadership and culture. According to MWR reporter Tim Huber, several students have complained to the administration or even dropped out of the program altogether. The story raises all sorts of interesting questions. At least on my Twitter feed, the one asked most...

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Change without a bang

By on Sep 4, 2018 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

As a child, one of the things that fascinated me about Mennonites of the past was dress, particularly the head covering. What would it have been like to be marked, physically, by your religion? To have people look at you and know you were a Mennonite? Head coverings and plain attire were mostly past when I was growing up — the province of grandmothers and old photographs. And so I could romanticize dress regulations a bit — toy with the idea that perhaps there was something desirable in the certainty and identity that rules on dress...

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When Christians sell out Christians for political power

By , and on Sep 3, 2018 in The World Together | 28 comments

The World Together Blog

There’s a story in the Old Testament about the king of Babylon, Belshazzar, who hosted a dinner for his religious leaders and royal elites. The blindingly arrogant king, surrounded by adoring sycophants, hauled out the holy articles stolen from the temple in Jerusalem to swank up his party (Daniel 5). The lesson of Belshazzar is that co-opting the things of God for the purpose of arrogant power is dangerous business. God showed up in a puzzling display of divine judgement — a great hand appeared and began to write on the wall. On Aug. 27,...

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Our hymns shape our church

By on Aug 27, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

“Out of the fullness of the heart, the language of each mortal springs. If you would truly know a man, just listen to the songs he sings.” — Amish hymn writer John Paul Raber, Songs from Within (1991) The first version of the collection of Anabaptist songs that later became known as the Ausbund was published in 1564, several decades after the beginning of the free church (as opposed to a state church) movement. The Ausbund has gone through various revisions and expansions and is still the standard hymnal used by many...

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Truth is knowable — his name is Jesus

By on Aug 20, 2018 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

Our small group met a few days ago and once again enjoyed moments of laughter, food, spiritual discussion and prayer together as we discussed the Gospel of Mark. At one point, we briefly discussed how to discern truth. One person mentioned that he’s fascinated by comparing how two TV channels handle one story so differently. In that setting, we laughed as we considered how various sources spin a story to cater to their audience and bank accounts. But, in reality, this trajectory is quite tragic. News organization should portray truth...

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Balancing the needs of introverts and extroverts in the church

By on Aug 16, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

“What are you reading?” my bus mates asked me on tour this summer. “Quiet by Susan Cain. It’s about why introverts deserve to live.” Leave me alone; I’m reading. The subtitle of the book is “The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” Besides the Bible, it is one of the most helpful books I have ever read. Defining extroversion and introversion may be best described as being high-reactive or low-reactive. Introverts react more strongly to highly stimulating environments, causing them to prefer solitude, to...

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Our responsibility as clergy regarding abuse

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

The World Together Blog

In what has to be one of history’s most poignant, trenchant ironies, Tuesday’s report from a grand jury in Pennsylvania about decades of sexual abuse by predatory priests and of cover-ups in high ecclesiastical offices was released on the same day that Roman Catholic Christians were celebrating the memory and ministry of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan priest and martyr. For having hidden Jews in his monastery and publishing anti-Nazi literature, Kolbe was killed at the Nazi prison camp, Auschwitz, in 1941. He might have survived had...

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