Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog, The World Together, 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.

Thank you: Spanish ministry training

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

Thank you: Spanish ministry training

Mission, leadership development and service are essential parts of church life. Anabaptist Biblical Institute (Instituto Bíblico Anabautista) has been a great partner, a companion and a vessel in my own and others’ pastoral and church ministry — especially in theological and biblical formation. As Mennonite Church USA’s convention begins in Kansas City, and an offering for the Racial/Ethnic Leadership Education fund (which partly includes this important ministry for Spanish-speaking leaders in MC USA), I am reminded of my...

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Is it still possible for white people to love?

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

Is it still possible for white people to love?

What happened in Charleston is evil. I’m wrestling with this question: Is God’s salvation potent enough to dismantle this present evil? This tragedy is actually a series of tragedies, a network of sin woven throughout time and space but converged on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the form of terrorism. It didn’t begin Wednesday night, and it certainly didn’t end with the arrest of Dylann Roof. The Charleston terror killings are the tip of the racist iceberg. But the real evil, the hidden and denied evil, is what...

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Adventures in mis-unity

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

Adventures in mis-unity

The following is a recent sermon I preached based on Gen. 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-11. Every once in a while the Spirit lays a message on my heart that seems to fall with a particular weight. As I pray, it seems to me that the message is directed not so much to my own local congregation as to the wider Body of the church. Sunday felt like one such message. Even in our brokenness, Pentecost still comes. May God receive the glory from every stammering tongue. Our congregation has been exploring the theme of reconciliation. But perhaps some of you,...

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Just one expectation in Israel and Palestine

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

Just one expectation in Israel and Palestine

Great moments occur from time to time in our lives regardless of whether or not we notice them. One of my most recent moments happened during Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee’s two week “Come and See” tour to Israel and Palestine. As we traveled through the land of Israel and Palestine, the scriptures suddenly came alive in a fresh manner. As I observed mountains, hills, valleys and walls, I thought to myself, “Indeed, the Old Testament is true.” In Deut. 11:11, Moses said of the Promised Land: “but the land...

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The fight of truth

By on Jun 23, 2015 in The World Together | 0 comments

The fight of truth

When truth is being spoken it is hard to only hear what you want to hear. Truth has a way of speaking directly to the soul even when the mind has tried to dull the hearing. There are many conversations seeking a hearing. Mennonite Church Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been giving voice to residential school survivors. The community of LGBTQ, their family and friends have been asking for the church to listen in our national church’s Being a Faithful Church process. People concerned for the health of the earth and its...

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Why Pope Francis’ climate encyclical matters

By on Jun 22, 2015 in The World Together | 1 comment

Why Pope Francis’ climate encyclical matters

Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical came out June 18, and there are many reasons for hope. It’s encouraging to see a such a high-profile Christian leader taking a strong stand on both ecological issues and those of global poverty. I’m grateful for the way Francis is intertwining care for the earth and social justice, a message which draws deeply from and amplifies Catholic social teaching. If we are to have a culture of life, it can’t stop with opposing abortion, capital punishment and war. Our expression of Christ’s love must...

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The only logical conclusion after Charleston

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

The only logical conclusion after Charleston

There have been far too many mass shootings in America. I still remember watching Columbine and Virginia Tech unfold on the news. I remember crying over Sandyhook, shock over the movie theater shooting, fear that my own mentor could have been a victim of the shooting at Seattle Pacific University. Those were frightening, awful, gut wrenching moments, in their own right. They and many more ripped our hearts out and created trauma for so many families. But what happened at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., is...

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Let’s support the full Confession of Faith

By on Jun 18, 2015 in The World Together | 5 comments

Let’s support the full Confession of Faith

The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995 is a beautiful document. If you haven’t read the entire booklet, I encourage you to do so. Currently the most talked about part of the Confession of Faith is one sentence in Article 19, which states: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.” Ohio Conference recently passed a resolution based on the fact that the conference “believes in and upholds the entire Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995.” The...

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Friendly conservative suggestions to progressives

By on Jun 17, 2015 in The World Together | 41 comments

Friendly conservative suggestions to progressives

We in Mennonite Church USA are uneasy about our apparent impasse over same-sex relationships. As Michael King writes in his first “Blogging Toward Kansas City” entry (King plans to offer blog reflections leading up to the national convention June 29-July 5 in Kansas City, Mo.), many in our church insist that we must allow “faithful dissent” on this issue and find “some clean, clear, genuine way to live with diversity of understandings”; yet, this dissent is itself “an ingredient of the impasse” because others in our church...

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Righteous exclusion

By on Jun 16, 2015 in The World Together | 3 comments

Righteous exclusion

I was on a mountain bike ride talking with a kind man who I have biked with before. He knows I am a pastor, so he was talking about getting plugged into a new church. He shared that his parents attend a Presbyterian Church USA congregation, and said: “their church lets women be elders and deacons and preachers — I think they might even let gay people preach.” As we continued biking, and as I thought about what he had shared, I realized: by controlling and excluding the voices of women and gays, his church felt that it was being...

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