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Posts Tagged ‘Mennonites’

My friend and brother, John Wagenaar, occasionally distributes a memo to his other siblings in the Southside Mennonite Church family in Springfield, Ohio. As a fellow gadfly, I look forward to reading John’s wise reflections. One of those memos, Memo 20, surfaced out of the rubble in our house during a recent attempt at conforming to American, domestic orderliness. “Would others benefit from John’s trenchant remarks?” I thought. Believing you will, I reprint them here. [BTW, my additions are in brackets]

Memo 20

Please eat responsibly: Know where your food comes from (and, please listen to gospel bluegrass, WYSO, 91.3, Sundays, 6 – 8 A.M.).

I’m not much on sports but, boy, you just have to love those Dutch!—going all the way to the top in the world soccer cup. The Spanish beat the Germans, though that would have been an intense contest between the Dutch and Germans, fraught with historic intimations and possible civil consequences (I once saw a bumper sticker in Yellow Springs: “IF YOU’RE NOT DUTCH, YOU’RE NOT MUCH.” Turned out she wasn’t Dutch at all, but had spent time in Nederland). Anyways, the Spanish don’t stand a chance against the mighty Dutch. The game is today, during our business meeting! Can we adjourn? [PS: Netherlands 0, Spain 1 in extra time]

While I’m at it, I’d like to put in a good word for wine and sex—both of which seem to have fallen in disrepute in recent weeks in our church (The wine meditation seems a little hokey: “relevance” stuff we’ve come to expect from the salaried Mennonite curriculum committee, and is the reason I fear “themed Sundays). Mennonites have this guilt and shame thing (cf. “Being Mennonite,” The Mennonite, July 2010, 26): An intrusion of American temperance mentality and Methodist revivalism upon a basically European Mennonite consciousness?

Do Mennonites really know how to have fun? (more…)

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“Probably the biggest difference between most Mennonites and Baptists is that Mennonites do not participate in the military. Mennonites believe that peace is the will of God and the way our lives should be lived daily. Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective states: ‘Led by the Spirit, and beginning in the church, we witness to all people that violence is not the will of God. We witness against all forms of violence, including war among nations, hostility among nations, hostility among races and classes, abuse of women and children, violence between men and women, abortion and capital punishment.’”

“Another difference would be that Mennonites believe strongly in separation of church and state, and believe that allegiance to God takes priority over allegiance to country. Baptists wouldn’t sort out the issues in this way.”

“Again, quoting from Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective: ‘We believe that the church is God’s holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ as its head and to witness to all nations, government and society about God’s saving love. . . . In contrast to the church, governing authorities of the world have been instituted by God for maintaining order in societies. . . . As Christians we are to respect those in authority and to pray for all people, including those in government. . . . We may participate in government and other institutions of society only in ways that do not violate the love and holiness taught by Christ and do not compromise our loyalty to Christ.’”

Quoted from “Baptist and Mennonite Differences” in “Mennonite Glossary” on the “Who are the Mennonites?” page in the “Third Way Café” website. Third Way Café is a program of Third Way Media, a department of the Mennonite Mission Network, an agency of the Mennonite Church USA.

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Watch the following four-minute video and you might be surprised by the answer it gives to that question.

For more help, check out “Who are the Mennonites?” in the “Third Way Café” website. You also may want to look through the “Anabaptist” file in my electronic “File Cabinet.”

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