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.

What is a call to ministry?

By on Jul 21, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament. My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and history. Our friends were these passionate Presbyterians, and I was saying something judicious about finding the idea of ministry attractive, when he said to me, “So why don’t you go into ministry?” “Because I’m not called,” I demurred. “So get called!” he said. I did, eventually, get called, though maybe not in the way he...

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Grieving with those who grieve

By on Jul 20, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Have you ever felt unsure of what to do as you watched a friend grieve a loved one? My wife recently lost a cousin in a tragic car accident. As I watched the family grieve, I found myself wondering what to do. It felt a bit ironic because almost five years ago, four days before my wedding, my mom was also killed in tragic accident. This was the second funeral I attended since Mom’s, and each time I found myself at a loss for what to do. You would think it would come easy for me, since I know what grief is like. But it’s almost as if...

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My denomination continues to swing left

By on Jul 19, 2017 in The World Together | 11 comments

The World Together Blog

We delegates at the 2017 Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando met for an initial four-hour session and then a concluding one-hour session. In between those sessions, a number of non-delegates joined us for an intensive Future Church Summit. For 14 hours, 97 tables of six to eight persons sought to imagine our denomination’s future. Each table used a tablet computer to submit responses on topics such as: • What draws us to this faith? • What do we want to affirm and take forward [from our past]? • What do we need to lament,...

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Reflections from Orlando: Change is happening

By on Jul 18, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

I spent most of the first week of July in Orlando, Fla., being a delegate at the Mennonite Church USA convention. Confession: I don’t like conventions. There’s the dungeon-esque nature of the whole place — arctic air conditioning, high ceilings, no windows and dim lighting, miles of mottled carpeting, the food (when finally located) so wrapped in plastic that it’s positively mummified, and so on. Then there’s the emotional and social paradox: surrounded by thousands of people but alone. Convention might be paradise for pastors and...

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It’s hard to love when they’re trying to hurt you

By on Jul 17, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Most days, I go for a run. About three miles. Lately, I’ve been choosing a route that takes me along a trail that winds through a public park. Recently, my run has been a struggle. Not because of the summer heat, or tired legs. Those things I can handle. My struggle has been with people. Young people. Boys throwing rocks at me as I pass, calling me names. A little girl on the playground who cocked her hand like a gun and pointed it at me, drawing attention to my whiteness. One day my struggle came in the form of violent ambush. Teenagers...

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Mennonite girls from everywhere can cook

By on Jul 14, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I am disappointed that your cookbook includes recipes for things like tacos. To me, that’s not Mennonite food. — anonymous comment on Mennonite Girls Can Cook Herald Press recently published a beautifully illustrated book called Mennonite Girls Can Cook. As a Menno who loves good food, it’s hard not to like this attractive work by 10 very creative members of my faith. Their use of the label “Mennonite” raises a question, however. Doesn’t this just add to a stereotype that Mennonites are fair skinned...

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Would we stand strong?

By and on Jul 13, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Six Brethren were arrested 300 years ago in Solingen, Germany. What was their crime? In 1716, the six men, ages 22 to 33, had been baptized as adults. This crime was a capital offense, the punishment could be execution. The six men were first marched to Dusseldorf for interrogation. It is said they sang hymns as they walked to their imprisonment. The German authorities wanted to be fair. They sent priests and ministers from the state churches to speak with the six men, to persuade them to recant, denounce their re-baptism, and at least attend...

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Following Jesus with a new fellowship

By on Jul 10, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Today after I got dressed and I looked in the mirror, I just “felt” German Baptist. I don’t expect anyone to understand that feeling, and maybe I’m putting far too much into what fellowship I’m with. I hope this doesn’t come off that way. As I gazed at the woman looking back at me, I loved her. I loved her covered head, even if it’s not the covering I’d choose. I loved her modest dress and the smile she was wearing. The woman in the mirror was, of course, me. I then realized that this September would mark five years since I...

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The ‘Christian’ politics of stone-throwing

By on Jul 5, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

One of the challenges in any era is what to do when there is a difference of opinion. Two key areas come to mind: theology and politics. Yep, so-called Christian politics. When I was in my 20s, I deconstructed my faith and politics like crazy. I encountered the idea that the good news of Jesus was so much bigger than I had ever known. Not only did Jesus die and rise to save me from my propensity toward the way of rebellious dehumanization, but he saved the whole of creation from its “bondage to decay” (Romans 8). The gospel is cosmic in...

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Mennonite Church USA pep talk for Orlando

By on Jul 3, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

This week, July 4-8, Mennonites from across the U.S. will gather in Orlando, Fla., for the Mennonite Church USA biennial convention. I have spent my whole life going to these conventions, so it feels weird not to be going this year. There are many things to celebrate in regards to MC USA, but as you will see by this email exchange with a friend, knowing how to relate to all the denominational policies and procedures can sometimes be painful. Here is just one example of a very recent denominational decision that has many in the church feeling...

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