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.

5 tips for paying attention to your life

By on May 26, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

What does it mean to pay attention to your life? I am contemplating that question as I sit in my quiet place listening to the birds sing and watching the mountains glow in the early morning light. Paying attention is about taking notice to ourselves, God, our neighbors and the earth on which we live. Pay attention to your body Taking notice of my body is first about my physical body. What are the signals that tell me I am going too fast or too slow? What are the promptings that make me aware I am not getting enough exercise or eating the right...

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Matthew 18 doesn’t always apply

By on May 24, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

It’s true — I’ve publicly and strongly disagreed with some well-known Christian leaders. It’s also true that some of them have very publicly disagreed with me. In those exchanges, however, I will frequently find some voices on the internet posing this question: “Did you go and talk to them privately first, as instructed by Matthew 18, before writing this?” It’s a fair question, and one worthy of its own post. Matthew 18 does, in fact, offer an appropriate method for holding individuals accountable and promoting reconciliation in...

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Trusting the Bible with eyes wide open

By on May 23, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I grew up with total trust in the Bible. I soaked up its stories as a boy. God was at work in the world, and the biblical heroes and heroines got to join in! And I heeded its teachings. My parents modeled this: I remember my father greeting with a “holy kiss” the other ordained men in our district churches and my mother always wearing a “prayer covering.” Both behaviors were done because they read Scripture passages teaching those things. As I grew older, I realized that this was a naïve, simplistic view of Scripture: Many commands...

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What does church mean to us?

By on May 19, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I spent a good chunk of one recent morning in an online discussion about the future of Mennonite Church Canada with a handful of other young-ish pastors from across the nation. It was interesting to be invited as I tend to be less suited to thinking on my feet at meetings or committees or focus groups than I am to writing blog posts where I can hedge my bets and endlessly qualify every statement and default to lame attempts at self-protective humor. I mostly agreed to participate in this conversation because I was frankly giddy at the...

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Why women should ‘do’ theology

By on May 18, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

To be completely honest, this question has been puzzling me for a long time. As you know, I studied theology for seven years, and even though I have completed my degrees, I still consider myself a theologian because I am always reading up on new topics of interest and trying to gain more academic insight. Perhaps one day I shall get my doctorate. Anyway, the reason this question intrigues me is because to me it seems like common sense that women should be taken seriously in the field of theology, but from experience, I know that is rarely the...

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Praying about mental illness when you can’t find the words

By on May 17, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Last year I suggested that one way the church can stop hiding mental illness is by recognizing that the Bible includes stories of people with mental illness: like King Saul, King Nebuchadnezzar, the man living among the tombs and others. This year, my congregation again set aside one Sunday for mental health awareness, this time featuring story-telling, art and poetry. It was a wonderful first Sunday back from my study leave. At the same time, I know that since mental illness doesn’t confine itself to one Sunday a year, our mental health...

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By what moral authority?

By on May 16, 2016 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Leading with moral authority takes uncommon courage in these fractious times. Who has the audacity to move out onto that vulnerable edge? Who has the integrity, love and theological grounding to do so in trustworthy ways? There are countless ways to get it wrong. We know of at least one way to get it right — someone with an authority that astounded his listeners because it was unlike the authority of the religious leaders of his day. Many of us, including myself, know what it’s like to be silenced by those in authority, put in our place,...

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Why is church so hard?

By on May 13, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

For the past couple of years, my blog’s tagline has been: “Religion is easy; discipleship is hard.” I’m starting to think that perhaps this slogan is only half right. Discipleship certainly is hard, but religion doesn’t seem to be such a piece of cake, either. I recently read a really tender, honest post from my friend Hye Sung, in which he wrestles with the fact that he rarely attends church, despite his strong faith in Jesus and his belief that Christian community is very important. What does it mean for him, and the millions of...

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The Gospel in translation

By on May 12, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

People are drawn to the story of God’s mighty acts, the story of Jesus, not simply for the story itself, but because they hear that story in their own native languages. If the apostles had been speaking Greek, everyone would have understood them — Greek was the lingua franca. But the Greek wouldn’t have been compelling. The Greek wouldn’t have touched their hearts and opened their ears in the same way as the Parthenian and Medite and Elemish and Cappadocian and Pamphylian and Arabic did. Translation is often what makes the Gospel...

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What being Anabaptist is not

By on May 11, 2016 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Over the years, since I personally rediscovered my Anabaptist roots and have spent time exploring and uncovering what it means to be an Anabaptist-minded Christian, I’ve had many conversations with folks about what being an Anabaptist is. I even wrote an article here defining an Anabaptist in which I link several other articles. I participated in a synchro-blog with other like-minded folks exploring three distinctives that we felt defined Anabaptism. But there are still people I run into who, when I mention being an Anabaptist, say, “Yeah,...

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