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.

The biggest obstacle to spiritual formation

By on Jan 29, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The biggest obstacle to spiritual formation

I’ve spoken at a quite a few churches over the last few years and have had even more conversations with ministers and pastors at churches. Most of these conversations have been about hospitality, about how we can create more welcoming and hospitable faith communities. And over the years I’ve come to discern what I think is one of the biggest problems facing our churches when it comes to spiritual formation generally and hospitality specifically. What is that problem? Scarcity. Here’s how Brene Brown describes scarcity in her...

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Blessed are those who mourn

By on Jan 28, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Blessed are those who mourn

My friend Tim asked me to speak at his church about mourning, and how it can be a pathway to God. It got me thinking that we Americans don’t make a lot of room for mourning. Unlike some other cultures, we don’t have embedded traditions that make space for grief and loss, besides the brief funeral. We feel generally entitled to happiness (is that entitlement related to our high rates of depression?) and we generally expect ourselves to keep moving. Stoicism and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is part of the fabric of our national...

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How does race work?

By on Jan 27, 2015 in The World Together | 4 comments

How does race work?

Chances are you aren’t blatantly racist. I wouldn’t give much of my time if you tried to convince me I was. But does race still work in unique and particular ways to affect how we see and experience the world? Absolutely. We have all been socialized by certain ideas and perceptions regarding race. It’s unavoidable. Thus experts today such as Michael Emerson, author of Divided by Faith, speak of racialization rather than racism. Which simply put, is how race works; the effects of “race” being played out in social, public and cultural...

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A deadly sin Mennonites seldom talk about

By on Jan 26, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

A deadly sin Mennonites seldom talk about

It may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! . . . The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. — I Corinthians 6 (The Message) It seems ironic that Mennonites, highlighted in one of the world’s largest books on self denial and suffering, Martyrs...

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Listening for the God that doesn’t meet expectations

By on Jan 23, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

Listening for the God that doesn’t meet expectations

This is an excerpt of the sermon Harader preached on 1 Samuel 3 on Jan. 18. Read the sermon in its entirety here. The very first sentence of this story tells us that “the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli.” And this sentence tells us right away how things are supposed to work. Samuel is a boy and Eli is a grown-up. Samuel is serving under Eli. Which means that it is God who is not following protocol here. God has no business coming directly to Samuel. God’s supposed to go through Eli. Eli is a priest at the temple. His...

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Kids in worship: The other problem

By on Jan 22, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Kids in worship: The other problem

“[My daughter] doesn’t sit still and read a book. She is tired, squirmy, talks loudly, wanders. . . . I once took [her] out the service to correct disobedience five different times. . . . My husband and I have refereed fights. We’ve followed crawling babies around the sanctuary.” That’s part of how Melissa Florer-Bixler described the experience of having her children sit with her in worship. She describes why it’s important to her that even her youngest children sit in worship instead of being in their own room somewhere else in...

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Peace is a calling

By on Jan 21, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Peace is a calling

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. — Matthew 5:9 Just over 20 years ago, in a 100-day period, the genocide in Rwanda resulted in the deaths of almost 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus, just about 20 percent of the country’s total population. Last November, I visited a former Catholic church, now a memorial, an hour outside of Kigali in the village of Nyamata. On April 10, 1994, about 10,000 people were killed in and around this church. People had gathered in the church and padlocked themselves inside....

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I don’t have a hammer, but I have a Mennonite hymnal

By on Jan 20, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

I don’t have a hammer, but I have a Mennonite hymnal

This is the text of a speech made by Bobby Switzer at the Laurelville Worship and Song Leaders’ Retreat held Jan. 10. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land, I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out a warning, I’d hammer out love between my brother and my sister, all over this land! — Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. I don’t have a hammer, but I have a Mennonite hymnal. I did not grow up Mennonite or singing, and now I cannot imagine my life without either. I distinctly remember the...

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Never be afraid of what is right

By on Jan 19, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

Never be afraid of what is right

Martin Luther King Day, which commemorates King’s birthday, is one of those days that I think should be celebrated throughout the world. It is a day used to promote equal rights for all Americans, though I like to expand that to consider it as a day to promote equal rights for all people. And it seems to me that there is no better time to consider this than now. The protests in Ferguson last year, the bombings in France and the growing militancy of extremist groups, the ongoing challenges of injustice, oppression and indifference in so many...

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‘Selma': Recognizing yesterday is today

By on Jan 16, 2015 in The World Together | 2 comments

‘Selma': Recognizing yesterday is today

Last night I went to see Selma, and I was absolutely enthralled. The artistry was beautiful. The actors authentic. The lines soul stirring. When the credits began to roll, I felt as if I had just been through a weeklong revival. I was exhausted and full, convicted and encouraged, reeling and rooted. I won’t recount the events of the movie here. I won’t spoil any scenes. Although, I really, really want to, I won’t give away any of the incredibly thoughtful and relevant lines of the movie either. Today all I want to do is be...

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