Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog of Anabaptist-themed writing from a wide variety of sources including Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren, Conservative Mennonite, Quaker and other Anabaptist-influenced thinkers. To submit a blog, email kyoder@mennoworld.org.

Learning to leave well

By on Mar 27, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Learning to leave well

We need to find a new way to talk about the congregations that are leaving Mennonite Church USA: They’re not leaving us; we’re getting divorced. Leaving is something you do after four OK Cupid dates. But we have shared assets. We have children together (Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Mission Network, Everence) and we have the same parent (Mennonite World Conference). Do you want to stay involved in your children’s lives? Do you want to stay connected to your ex-in laws? How will you negotiate custody on holidays like Relief...

read more

Giving up my need to be right

By on Mar 26, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

Giving up my need to be right

Lent is a time to let go of things that hold us back, a time to return to God with our whole heart. As we approach Holy Week this year, I’ve sensed God inviting me to let go of my need to be right, leading me to ponder, “Why is it so important to be right?” If the need to be right is to prove ourselves and build up our egos, Jesus has shown we have nothing to prove and losing is often winning. We all mess up and get it wrong. We are all in need of grace and forgiveness. Our identity in Christ is sufficient and far exceeds our need to be...

read more

United by love, not doctrine

By on Mar 25, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

United by love, not doctrine

A couple of days ago, with the help of some friends, I planted the early vegetable garden with cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, Chinese greens and carrots. I use the square foot method — lots of diversity close together for maximal yield and minimal pest control. I start with well composted soil and try to balance those crops that need lots of fertilizer and drain the soil with those that need little fertilizer and are a net gain to the soil. Then I throw a row cover over them. Most prolific in the existing garden, however, and...

read more

The small politics of the church

By on Mar 24, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The small politics of the church

If you read a lot of Anabaptist theology you know that a key insight regarding the social and political witness of church is this: The social and political witness of the church is simply being the church. That’s it. The church should be the church. That’s Christian political engagement, being the church. Or, at the very least, having political activism flowing out of the life of the local church. This imperative distinguishes the church from conservative and liberal/progressive Christian politics, which can be tempted by...

read more

Toward Mennonite sexual integrity

By on Mar 23, 2015 in The World Together | 9 comments

Toward Mennonite sexual integrity

The Mennonite church needs a conversation about sexual integrity, how people respect their own bodies and those of other people. Sexual abuse — and even sexual promiscuity — requires dehumanizing male and female bodies as objects to consume. We live in a consumption-based culture. As Anabaptists, we should interrogate our complicity with all forms of consumption. A conversation about sexual integrity could help the Mennonite church find common ground that allows us to dialogue with each other more productively in both talking about...

read more

10 ways Mennonites are like hipsters

By on Mar 20, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

10 ways Mennonites are like hipsters

I’m not the first person to notice a certain similarity between Mennonite culture and hipsterism. Google “hipster Mennonite” and you come up with lots of clever folk out there who have noticed a certain superficial visual similarity. Admittedly, there are also a few differences. Never mind about those. Here’s my list, in classic countdown format, of ways in which Mennonites are like hipsters, or hipsters are like Mennonites. Actually, since we’ve been around longer, I have a certain suspicion that behind every...

read more

The Bible is not a book

By on Mar 19, 2015 in The World Together | 9 comments

The Bible is not a book

So often we hear, “The Bible says . . .” What exactly does that mean? Especially when topics are controversial, the conversation stopper is often something like, “The Bible is clear about that.” But what is the Bible? A book? In fact, it is a library of books. I often wish we would divide it into separate volumes to carry around for a few days. I guarantee we would stop thinking of the Bible as one book. The Bible library is a history of God’s people over time, places, cultures and contexts. It tells the stories of tribes, patriarchs...

read more

Leading with zeal

By on Mar 18, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Leading with zeal

I sat on the back porch, sinking into the lawn chair with a sense of triumph. I had just installed what was sure to be the ultimate squirrel-proof bird feeder. After spending a small fortune on birdseed, only to see it go to the squirrels, I knew something needed to be done. With a little planning, I created my fortified masterpiece. Soon after I sat down, the squirrels — who had been watching me work all morning — scampered to the base of the feeder and looked up. I smiled as I sensed their frustration. Over the next several hours I...

read more

About my humanist son

By on Mar 17, 2015 in The World Together | 12 comments

About my humanist son

A year ago, my son Bart announced that he no longer believed in God. He wanted to, he told me, but he just couldn’t. There were too many things going on, from his point of view, which gave evidence of the absence of God. Christianity Today suggested on its blog that if I had raised my son correctly, and had not focused as much as I did on social justice, that my son would still be a Christian today. The article then went on to warn other parents not to be like I am. I am not denying that there is some truth in what Christianity Today said...

read more

Pain management

By on Mar 16, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Pain management

Two recent conversations about pain . . . My daughter has lately been coming to terms with the horrors of World War II. They’ve been studying this period of history in school, and last night she watched a movie that told the story of war through the lens of a couple of young children. She was distraught and more than a little belligerent at the end. How could God possibly allow people to make things like gas chambers?! she demanded to know. I thought God was supposed to help people! What about all the promises that God makes to deliver...

read more