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.

Beyond exclusion and hate

By on Mar 20, 2019 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

“Jesus has come to transform people not to exclude them” (Richard Rohr, Wondrous Encounters). It was these words of Richard Rohr that held my attention this week long before the tragic shootings at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. This horrific event shook many of us up with the urgency of our need to embrace those who have often been excluded. It was these words that revolved in my mind as I broke down the second wall in my Lenten garden today. So many thoughts have tumbled through my brain since then. How often I wonder do we...

read more

Bringing the gospel to the marketplace

By on Mar 15, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

For some time now, I’ve tried to slow down when I’m shopping. I don’t like shopping all that well, so my inclination is to fly around the store with my cart, grab my goodies, and whiz out the door while ignoring people as much as possible. But one day I realized that when I shop, I am surrounded by people whom God loves. Maybe He would like to talk to me about them or share something with them through me. I hung an “open” sign on my heart, and began noticing and talking to people, whether it was clerks or other shoppers. One day I...

read more

Why no baptisms?

By on Mar 13, 2019 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

Despite serving a growing congregation, I have a concern: I have not performed a single baptism for a middle school, high school, or college-aged person in over five years. Granted, my current congregation has a limited number of youth. Nevertheless, the last two baptism and membership preparation classes I taught resulted in no one expressing any interest in joining the church or being baptized. Is this simply a fluke, or is there a bigger problem going on? From what I’ve heard from other Mennonite pastors, my experience is in no way...

read more

Hidden churches

By on Mar 11, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

While on a visit to the Netherlands in January, our hosts showed us around. Part of our tour included visiting two historic Mennonite “hidden churches.” Both churches were built in the early 1600s when Mennonites were tolerated by the Protestant authorities. They weren’t persecuted, but they also weren’t openly accepted. Mennonites were allowed to gather for worship, but their buildings had to be hidden — they couldn’t show up in the architecture of the city. Catholics had a similar status. The two hidden churches we visited are...

read more

Why churches should not measure their growth against the economic boom

By and on Mar 8, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

We are living through a truly epic economic boom. Half of the people in the world are now in the middle class and fewer live in absolute poverty than at any point in human history. In our own country, giant corporations have exploded with growth, especially the FANG group (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google). These big companies, and all that global economic success, are ultimately about the ability to scale — to expand proportionally while staying focused on their mission. A lot of religious congregations are under financial stress. It is...

read more

Blackface in old yearbooks a reminder Bluffton is not immune to systemic racism

By and on Mar 6, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Witmarsum editor’s note: Some of the images accompanying this post contain sensitive material that many may consider offensive. Bluffton University yearbooks from 1924 and 1930 include images of students wearing blackface, and this should come as no surprise. This is not an isolated abnormality — it is the reality of colleges and universities across the nation. Earlier this month, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam admitted to wearing blackface after an image from his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook went viral. The photograph in...

read more

The day God ‘thought twice’

By on Mar 4, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

“I am the Lord Your God . . . I change not!” so declared Jehovah in Mal. 3:6, in the context of noting that because God remained faithful to his covenant to the children of Israel, the descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. Does our immutable God change his mind? Two apparent instances — and there are likely others — jump out from the biblical record. The first: When the people of Nineveh responded to the reluctant prophet Jonah’s preaching — “When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, he abandoned his plan...

read more

Despairing for Mennonite Church USA

By on Feb 28, 2019 in The World Together | 11 comments

The World Together Blog

When Mennonite Church USA was formed in 2000 by the merger of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church (minus the Canadian halves of those two denominations who joined to form a separate denomination, MC Canada), its total membership was well over 100,000. Now, 18 years later, that number has dropped to about half of what it was. I have no analysis as to why exactly this has happened, but I do think just about everyone involved would agree that these are difficult times for this young denomination. I also think that...

read more

Mennonite publications should uplift the community

By on Feb 26, 2019 in The World Together | 14 comments

The World Together Blog

Mennonite publications play an essential role in our community. Not only do they share news from Anabaptists around the world, they’re also a vital forum for honest and difficult conversations. No matter how we engage with one another, the goal should be to build up our community and to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. A recent post from the blog of Harold N. Miller, a Virginia pastor, was republished on Mennonite World Review’s website. In it, Miller made a case against same-sex relationships and advocated celibacy for those of us who...

read more

How a national emergency order endangers the ‘other’

By , and on Feb 22, 2019 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

We write as victims of violence, who know the trauma inflicted by evil people who target the “other.” As the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and the rabbi of the New Light Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we’ve seen beloved members of our congregations shot down in our holy spaces within the space of three years. We share a grief that stems from violence that began with hate-inciting speech — one attack motivated by fears of African-Americans, the other by fears of Jewish support for a wider open-door policy for persecuted...

read more