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

Darkness isn’t evil: editing hymn texts

By , and on Oct 28, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The words we sing in worship carry tremendous power to form our theological imaginations. The poetry we sing can become ingrained in our memories in ways that sermons and readings cannot. Songs learned in childhood remain with us throughout our lives. What language do we hope will form the generations that will grow up using Voices Together, the hymnal coming in 2020 from MennoMedia? We strive to balance the needs of today’s church with the repository of congregational song handed down for hundreds of years. Every hymnal committee wrestles...

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On division and negativity

By on Oct 24, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Like many Canadians, I had an eye on the national election the night of Oct. 21. Election results and commentary provided the background noise throughout the evening, as I had dinner with my son, as I went to the gym, as I watched a bit of soccer and talked with my wife, and as my head eventually hit the pillow. To the surprise of probably no one, the end result of a nasty campaign characterized by polarizing rhetoric, majoring on minors and minoring on majors, name calling, fearmongering, avoiding issues, peddling partial truths or simply...

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Create peace

By on Oct 22, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ arrest, the most relevant part for “creating peace” is obviously when one of the disciples pulls out his sword and starts swinging. Then Jesus says: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” Doesn’t that seem like a pretty long speech for Jesus to give as he’s...

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Real shepherd experience

By on Oct 21, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

Facebook told me the estate sale would have primitives. Several days later, Facebook added “cinnamon rolls.” I would be there. I don’t need any more stuff, primitive or not. I definitely don’t need another cinnamon roll in my body. There are enough rolls as it is. But I was there. Walking among someone else’s old things, eating my roll, drinking my sweet tea. Nothing grabbed me and insisted on going home with me, and that felt fine. And then, on the wall, a painting. One artist’s idea of what Jesus might have looked like. One arm...

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The lion, the lamb, and the candidate

By on Oct 17, 2019 in The World Together | 1 comment

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro is surrounded by reporters in the sanctuary of Columbus Mennonite Church. — Joel Miller

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro visited Edith Espinal at our church Tuesday morning. He met with her privately for about 20 minutes, listening to her story, followed by a press conference at which Espinal and he spoke. He expressed his support for Espinal and his commitment to families in similar circumstances. Local and national press showed up. So did lots of you. A strong showing of people old and young (who got to miss some school) declared by their presence that we stand with Edith. The Columbus Dispatch covered the event,...

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Who was I to hinder God?

By on Oct 16, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Cornelius and Peter lived in separate worlds. Left to their own devices, they would have stayed separate. But, as told in Acts 10-11, God intrudes on both of them by means of a vision. Their story — a tale of two conversions — holds profound implications for our understanding of the tension between the New Testament’s call to witness to Christ and its claim that the Spirit is at work beyond the church. A vision is a moment in which we see and hear something about God that can’t be argued away. Cornelius’ vision is of an angel who...

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Turmoil in Ecuador

By and on Oct 14, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

​Alexandra Meneses, Tanya Benavides, and Alba Silva from Quito Mennonite Church in Ecuador. The sign in the center says, “Where there is peace, there is justice.” — Doris Espinoza

Ecuador has generally been a very peaceful and politically stable nation, compared to its close neighbors, Colombia and Peru. Delicia and I have been serving the past four years with Mennonite Mission Network in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, and we have experienced this calm. However, Ecuador has struggled a lot economically. And now these struggles are coming to a catalytic moment as mass transportation sector strikes and a large indigenous march are exciting the nation. Ecuador’s current president, Lenin Moreno, has tried to distance himself...

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The power of fear and the fear of power

By on Oct 9, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (John 4:18a). “…you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). In my experience as pastor I’ve often been dismayed at the feelings of powerlessness many people experience. New members often feel that only those with a long history with the congregation have a voice, whereas those who have been a part of the church for generations feel the opposite, that it is the newcomers whose views get all the attention. Youth and young adults see older...

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‘Just memory’ of Vietnam

By and on Oct 7, 2019 in The World Together | 1 comment

Phung Thi Tuyet carries her teenage son Tran Minh Son to see the cow they received from MCC’s partner, Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange, to help with the family’s income and security. Tran Minh Son suffers from severe disabilities from birth, a side effect of exposure to Agent ­Orange, but considers the cow his own. — Matthew Sawatzky/MCC

HANOI, Vietnam — My husband, Josh Kvernen, and I visited Nguyen Thi Thanh, a 74-year-old woman living in the central part of Vietnam, as we laid the groundwork for a 2018 Mennonite Central Committee learning tour to the area. She was angry. “The poison [dioxin] has brought sorrow on the Vietnamese people, and my family in particular,” she shouted. “Why did you bring this poison to us here?” She was addressing her words to us because we are from the United States, whose military used Agent Orange for 11 years during the war in...

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God who demands hospitality

By on Oct 2, 2019 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

In August I visited my friends the Issa family, who live just outside of Jerusalem in the refugee camp of Anata in Palestine. The wall that divides the West Bank from Israel literally runs through their backyard. They are that close to Jerusalem, and they cannot legally enter. On a previous visit, their hospitality amazed me. They helped me and my delegation when we were lost, even though the language difference between us would have made it easy for them to say, “Sorry, we can’t help,” and walk away. This time I brought my...

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