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.

Eat our way to joy

By on Jun 30, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Joy strikes out of the blue nothingness. You can’t expect it or manufacture it or capture it. For Christians, the completeness of our joy comes from Jesus. After he taught on his abiding in us and our abiding in him, he told the disciples, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11, NRSV). Jesus didn’t give the disciples instruction on how to get their lives straightened out, and then experience joy. There was no technique for joy. There was just him, just abiding in...

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The problem — and pressure — with wanting a king

By on Jun 29, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

It doesn’t matter how old we are; we feel the pressure of peers. It happened to the Israelites, and it happens to us. It’s our natural bent to look about us and see what others are doing. We watch not only what they are doing, but how they are doing it. Before we know it, we are following their lead and playing copy-cat instead of basing our decisions on what God is asking us to do. It happened to the Israelites, and it became their downfall. God had a plan to govern his people through prophets, judges and priests — a theocracy. His plan...

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The future (Mennonite) church

By on Jun 28, 2017 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

I’ve been told to come to the Mennonite Church USA Future Church Summit with a smile, ready to make new friends. And I will. I basically smile all the time anyway; that’s just how my face looks. Honestly, I have to try hard to not smile at inappropriate times like funerals or public scoldings. Also, I like friends and am happy to make new ones. So I will bring my friendly smile to the Summit. I will also bring my deep longings for the future of my church: that we might be a truly inclusive, Christ-centered, joy-filled, community of...

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How Christians can reduce and prevent terrorism

By on Jun 27, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

We live in a world that is sadly marked by violence and terrorism. It seems like very few days go by, if any at all, without some horrible act of terror or random violence. The lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election was heavily dominated by the question of what to do about violence and terrorism. It’s an important question — perhaps one of the most important questions this generation could ask itself. Different candidates had different thoughts and ideas they put before the American people, but none of the candidates truly...

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Bearing witness to the state

By on Jun 26, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

There is a certain strand of Anabaptist two-kingdom theology that says church and state should be so entirely separate that the church has nothing to say to the state. The church, according to this view, has no call to “bear witness” to the state. While I don’t think a church that nags the state is helpful, neither do I think Christ’s call is for his followers to have nothing at all to say to those in government. One confusing factor is that when we hear “the government,” we tend to forget that this mysterious “other” is made...

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Gelassenheit: A spiritual journey

By on Jun 23, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

My brother-in-law recently showed some footage of a family gathering in Switzerland many years ago. In the video, I was on a reclining lawn chair, trying to be oblivious to what was going on around me. My two kids were having the time of their life cavorting with their Swiss cousins. Unfortunately, the grimace on my face revealed that I wasn’t exactly having the same delight as my children. I was in my early 40s when this was filmed. I was working on construction during my summer off from teaching in order to pay for our trip to visit...

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Where did we get vacation Bible school?

By on Jun 22, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

If your church is anything like mine, it’s currently hosting hundreds of children for vacation Bible school: a week-long program of Bible stories, worship, missions projects, crafts and games. And if you’re anything like me, you’re both volunteering for VBS and wondering just when this model of Christian education became a staple of the church year. In 2015 Michael Altman noted the lack of a good history of VBS. Now, I’m not the historian to write that book, but I did have some time last week to dig a bit. In his 1964 history of...

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Binding and blinding

By on Jun 21, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Back in February, I remarked that Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind should be required reading for all who spend time on social media, particularly those who like to go to war over ideas. I said that this is a book for our cultural moment if ever there was one. These were not throwaway comments or exercises in hyperbole. I meant it then, after reading half of the book, and I am even more convinced of it now, after finishing it. If you are prone to heroically wading into the ideological trenches armed with unshakeable convictions about...

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Unseen logic

By on Jun 20, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Several years ago, my life group decided to each pick a one-word theme for our year instead of a list of New Year’s resolutions. Never having been someone to make New Year’s resolutions, I liked the idea of keeping it simple. I can’t remember what my word was last year. Or the year before. But this year’s word has actually been a concept I’ve returned to repeatedly in the past several months. The word is “unseen” since I wanted to remind myself of the reality of the unseen spiritual world with its counterintuitive...

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Is a God who loves enough?

By on Jun 19, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

“I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” — Ex. 3:7-8 Contemporary pastors and priests preach mostly about the love of God. People in the pews long ago accepted this understanding of God; indeed, we take it for granted. Yet the preachers persist. In contrast, preachers give...

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