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 editor@mennoworld.org.

The quest for a nonviolent religion

By on Sep 27, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

The good news is human beings are a lot less violent today than at any other time in human history. The bad news is religion has been — and continues to be — a major contributor to violence. Those are a couple of the points that I gleaned from reading Steven Pinker’s important and optimistic book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Pinker is a professor of psychology at Harvard University and he has amassed a mountain of statistics and charts demonstrating something that may seem counter-intuitive: human beings...

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Mennonites and empire

By on Sep 26, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Every Mennonite in the small town of Goessel, Kan., knows the date 1874. It is emblazoned on the “Turkey Red Wheat Palace,” erected on the centennial of Mennonites’ migration to the Great Plains from Imperial Russia. Having spent the first years of my life in Goessel, I happen to take 1874 as a historical benchmark. When I recently was back in the area to give a talk on religion and race, I did some reading on the Kaw (or Kanza) people, for whom my home state is named. White settlement pushed the Kaws south into Oklahoma, where their...

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The catch

By on Sep 25, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

A meditation on Luke 5:1-11. Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God… We grope for what is spiritual-but-not-religious. Beyond the rusted institutions. These have utterly failed to meet human need. Too often, the church is a performance, a club, an obligation. So we go beyond the four walls, where Steadfast Love cannot be contained or confined. We come to the shore. Water and trees and birds bring life and hope and wonder. Jesus meets us there. He is the...

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Are truth and unity mutually exclusive?

By on Sep 24, 2018 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

I love the paradoxes of God: “God is love,” the Bible states, but it also says, “God is holy.” God is portrayed as both the vulnerable lamb and the wrathful lion. He is king and servant, Alpha and Omega, God and man. Many times when you look at these paradoxes what seems at first to be impossible to combine actually turns out to be impossible to separate. How could a loving God not hate the injustice and mistreatment of his people? Isn’t the best king one who has served his people and lived among them? What is a better picture of...

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Behind the scenes of making a hymnal

By on Sep 18, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

What is your all-time favorite hymn or spiritual/religious piece of music? If you go to church and participate in regular worship services, you also likely enjoy the songs and hymns most churches count as a very important part of their worship of God. It is the music portion of a service that most often moves me emotionally, even to tears, and I’m not alone in that. You probably have a number of favorites, depending on the mood and circumstances. Of the many privileges I have had working as a writer for the Mennonite churches these past 42...

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What belief should cost us everything?

By on Sep 17, 2018 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Nike’s new 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick is causing a bit of a stir. Kaepernick is famous for his decision to kneel during the American national anthem before a football game to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Kaepernick has been unable to land an NFL job since then. He is currently pursuing a grievance of collusion against the league and its owners who he says are keeping him out of the league because of their displeasure with his protests and his...

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Mennonite identity amid the Fresno fiasco

By on Sep 12, 2018 in The World Together | 25 comments

The World Together Blog

A lot of talk has been happening in the Mennonite Twitter world (which is a pretty weird overlap of two very different realms) in the past few days about changes in a master’s program at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. Since I am a student in that program, I thought I would write out my thoughts publicly as well. The Masters of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture is a distance ed degree offered by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, which is a Mennonite Brethren school and part of Fresno Pacific University in California. Three big-name...

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Fresno Pacific’s theological cocktail

By on Sep 10, 2018 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Last week, Mennonite World Review reported that Fresno Pacific University in California had removed the president of its seminary, Terry Brensinger, and announced that pastors Greg Boyd, Brian Zahnd and Bruxy Cavey would no longer teach in the seminary’s M.A. program in ministry, leadership and culture. According to MWR reporter Tim Huber, several students have complained to the administration or even dropped out of the program altogether. The story raises all sorts of interesting questions. At least on my Twitter feed, the one asked most...

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Change without a bang

By on Sep 4, 2018 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

As a child, one of the things that fascinated me about Mennonites of the past was dress, particularly the head covering. What would it have been like to be marked, physically, by your religion? To have people look at you and know you were a Mennonite? Head coverings and plain attire were mostly past when I was growing up — the province of grandmothers and old photographs. And so I could romanticize dress regulations a bit — toy with the idea that perhaps there was something desirable in the certainty and identity that rules on dress...

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When Christians sell out Christians for political power

By , and on Sep 3, 2018 in The World Together | 28 comments

The World Together Blog

There’s a story in the Old Testament about the king of Babylon, Belshazzar, who hosted a dinner for his religious leaders and royal elites. The blindingly arrogant king, surrounded by adoring sycophants, hauled out the holy articles stolen from the temple in Jerusalem to swank up his party (Daniel 5). The lesson of Belshazzar is that co-opting the things of God for the purpose of arrogant power is dangerous business. God showed up in a puzzling display of divine judgement — a great hand appeared and began to write on the wall. On Aug. 27,...

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