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.

Gun shots and privilege

By on Apr 4, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

On a recent Saturday as my wife and I rode motorcycles to Albuquerque, N.M., two people were shot in my neighborhood. According to my neighbors, dozens of shots were fired. Thirty-six hours later on Monday, Rita and I were getting ready to go shopping; I needed a new shirt. As usual, I was taking my time getting ready. Just as I found the car keys, gun fire starting ringing out again. At first I thought it was firecrackers. From my perspective, the rapidness of the firing was faster than even an automatic gun could shoot. I was wrong. Within...

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Rethinking Judas

By on Apr 3, 2017 in The World Together | 4 comments

The World Together Blog

Growing up, we learn that Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus, and that’s true. What is also true is that Judas, I believe, is profoundly misunderstood. The truth is, while he did betray Jesus, I don’t think Judas was a bad guy — I just think he made a tragic miscalculation, like we all do at times. As I’ve said over the years, the cultural context where the story takes place matters. Jesus and the disciples were living under a violent military occupation of their country. Imagine if you will, living in an America where a...

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We are still willing

By on Mar 31, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

I remember Michael J. Sharp (MJ) as a rambunctious junior high kid from the time we overlapped life at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center and Scottdale in Western Pennsylvania. I’ve been aware of his work and life thereafter mostly through social media and Mennonite publications. MJ and I share a lot of geography, relationships and institutions in common. MJ represents much of the best of us as Mennonites, an image of what a Washington Post article calls “courageous but not reckless.” He was a millennial, a son of the church. MJ was...

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Nationalism, civil religion and greed-based economics

By on Mar 30, 2017 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

Among the ways the last book of our Bible is truly revelatory is in its portrayal of violence and harm as perpetrated by evil systems rather than simply by individual evildoers. It does so through a collage of dramatic images of the kind that we are used to seeing in political cartoons in our newspapers. A triumvirate of evil, manifest in many forms throughout human history and inspired by the epitome of all evil, Satan, is represented in the Revelation as follows: BABYLON The Great Harlot (massive addiction to a greed-based economic...

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No more palms, please

By on Mar 29, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

Most Christians never question where the palms on Palm Sunday come from. It never occurred to me, until my first year pastoring, that someone had to get the palms (and order them well in advance). But as we approach Palm Sunday, we ought to re-examine our theology of palms. Traditional (read: conventionally harvested) palms are shipped from a handful of countries including Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize. But because palm harvesters are paid by the number of palms, not the quality of them, the most efficient way to get palms is also the most...

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‘From death to life’

By on Mar 27, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. — Col. 3:15 On Easter morning in April 1528 in Augsburg, Germany, almost 100 Anabaptists were rounded up by the authorities during worship and told to denounce their faith. Some of those arrested lost their lives for refusing to do so. Lawyer Hans Leupold, one of the Anabaptists arrested, eventually was sentenced to die, mercifully, they said, by the sword rather than by burning. Said Leupold when he was told he would pass from life to death:...

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God’s love is cruciform

By on Mar 24, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Paul instructs us in what it means to follow Jesus, when he stated, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5:1-2). Here Paul defines what it means to imitate God and to “live a life of love” not merely by pointing us to Jesus but by specifying that we are to follow the example of Christ who “loved us and gave himself up for us…” (Eph. 5:1-2, NIV, emphasis added). Paul virtually...

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Transformed by the Word

By on Mar 23, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Renewal 2027 is a 10-year series of events launched by Mennonite World Conference to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. “Transformed by the Word: Reading Scripture in Anabaptist Perspectives” (the inaugural event in Augsburg, Germany, Feb. 12, 2017) fits well within the mandate of the MWC Faith and Life Commission to help member churches “understand and describe Anabaptist-Mennonite faith and practice.” In the midst of the many Reformation commemoration celebrations, especially in Europe, it’s...

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Spiritual but not religious

By on Mar 22, 2017 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

I am usually quite suspicious of oft-repeated expression, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Actually, “suspicious” might be putting it rather mildly. I have something bordering on a pathological loathing of this phrase. It’s possible that I have even visibly shuddered in disgust in the various contexts where this expression makes its predictable appearance. I usually encounter it in people who either refuse to consider church in the first place or who have left it behind for the usual assemblage of real or imagined grievances. Or...

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Inflated relief a new goal for today

By on Mar 21, 2017 in The World Together | 3 comments

A worker for Middle East Council of Churches delivers an MCC relief kit to Sosamma, 91, who left her home after a missile hit it in the summer of 2016. — Middle East Council of Churches

Last year, Mennonite Central Committee declared its $42.2 million response since 2012 to war in Syria and Iraq the single largest crisis response in MCC history. That would be true if a dollar’s value remained constant. However, after adjusting for inflation, MCC’s assistance to victims of war seems to have peaked about 70 years ago, in an era when those victims included European Mennonites. MCC staff acknowledge they made an accounting error last fall, and have been working to clear things up. While it is hard to know precisely how much...

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