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.

Praying for America

By on May 5, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

May 5 is the National Day of Prayer in 2016. Therefore, I invite you to take an extra 15 or 30 minutes out of your day to pray. But how should we pray? If you happen to attend one of the local city gatherings for prayer, or follow a movement on TV or the radio, what will you likely hear? People on their knees in prayer? Unfortunately, no. ‘Prayer rallies’ typically have strong political overtones calling for leaders to “take back America for God”. These prayers tend to follow… Some Christians will pray for a movement of leaders who...

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How not to be a pacifist when facing spiritual warfare

By on May 3, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I have a confession to make: Although I am an absolute pacifist, I have always longed to be a bit of a rebel and write something militaristic. For the past few years, my Bible college and seminary buddies have taken great pride in teasing me about my peaceful views. I decided to kick it up a notch and admit that even a good Mennonite kid likes a little warfare now and then! I am an absolute pacifist in all areas of my life except three. I cannot be an absolute pacifist when it comes to matters of sin and salvation. I cannot be a pacifist when...

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A good Christian

By on May 2, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Most of us who fall into the “Christian” category of humanity walk around with at least some conception of a “good Christian” in our heads. It might not be a very good conception. It might not be very clear or coherent or compelling in any way. It might even be downright repellent to many, inside or outside of the Christian camp. It might be a fire-breathing, red-faced white Republican for whom Christian faith seems to mean a long list of things to be against, sprinkled with a generous dose of syrupy personal piety, muscular Americana...

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Who’s got the keys?

By on Apr 29, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

There’s a particular mystery to this story that I never even noticed until my professor Len called my attention to it this past fall. There are nearly 50 parables of Jesus recorded in the Bible — stories featuring farmers and bakers and bridegrooms and landlords and Samaritan heroes and prodigal sons. But out of all of these stories, there is only one character that is ever given a name: Lazarus. Unexpected details like this rarely appear show up in the Bible without good reason. So here we have a real mystery: What is the significance of...

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Not a fragile faith

By on Apr 28, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

In a recent Bible study, we were looking at John 20 where Jesus appeared to the disciples. Gathered behind locked doors, Jesus appeared in the midst of them and said “Peace be with you.” Then he did an amazing thing. He breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. This is a significant development. It was a graduation. They would now carry on the faith — not by receiving more teaching by Jesus but by listening to the Holy Spirit. It was an empowering. It was an unleashing of the law written in their hearts. It would be...

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No broken people allowed

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

The World Together Blog

How do you handle it when a drug addict wearing a dirty t-shirt and raggedy shoes walks into your church? What’s your response when he has something to say and it goes longer than typical for personal testimonies? Maybe your church doesn’t get that kind of visitors, but so far, every church I’ve been a part of has experienced that at some point or another. You want to know my response? I feel awkward. It makes me feel uncomfortable because it disrupts the nice little box that I’ve put church life into. Oh, I know how I should respond,...

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Being fully present

By on Apr 25, 2016 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

I ate my best apple several years ago. It was a large mottled Gala, and juice ran down my chin. It deserves the title of ‘best’ not for its quality, but because more than any meal I’ve eaten, that apple had my full and total attention. Most of us aren’t present to life that deeply. We eat distractedly, pray with an agenda rather than intimacy in mind, and listen to plan our response rather than understand. We can’t even watch TV anymore without a second screen in front of us. How eager we are to hide from the present! How easy to...

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Studying the Apostle Paul — a matter of life and death

By on Apr 22, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

My latest project is The Paulcast: A Podcast all about the Apostle Paul. After my introduction episode, titled “Surprised by Paul,” I launched straight into a series called “Entering the Conversation.” Here’s why. In my experience, many people talk about the things Paul wrote down without doing the hard work of entering the world Paul lived in. So, without knowing it, we read this statement or that in one of his letters and hear something totally different than those first-century church communities would have heard. We also have the...

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How a fixation on Psalm 23 may hinder us

By on Apr 21, 2016 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

Like almost everyone else in the whole world, I love the Shepherd’s Psalm. It well deserves its place as our most favorite passage in the entire Bible. Even unbelievers are familiar with Psalm 23. Whenever I invite people to join me in reciting it, as I sometimes do at graveside services, for example, I’m amazed at how many are able to join in. It is little wonder the passage has such broad appeal. It is one of the most personal of all Scripture texts, full of references to “I” (4 times) “me” (6 times) and...

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Plan a Pentecost party

By on Apr 20, 2016 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

This coming May 15 is the day we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday. My overall enthusiastic response to that appears in the lyrics of a song written by late gospel legend, Andrae Crouch: “Let the church say amen.” I don’t know how many others feel this way, but I personally feel that the celebrations for Pentecost should be as big as the Super Bowl, the World Series or the Olympics. And the holy day did not just begin in Christendom, but it has foundations in ancient Jewish traditions. In fact, the Jewish equivalent to our...

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