Posted by: thebylog | June 30, 2005

Mennonites Going ‘Out There’

The other Mrs. Darling-induced idea to be rethought has to do with the Christian’s duty in society. I have, for some time, held that Christianity mustn’t be confined to a narrow range of societal areas. She seems to think otherwise, particularly in the context of conservative Anabaptism.

While true that Mennonites involving themselves in many careers may not reflect their traditions, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Because to assume it is a bad thing is to assume that traditional Mennonitism couldn’t be changed for the better. This is a grave misestimation, in my opinion.

I believe that the traits that define true Christianity can be relevant even to our highly complex society. Principles of simplicity and peace and other-centered living and sacrificial giving, I am convinced, can be applied in the University as well as the farm, in the business world as well as the cabinet shop, though each environment will present its unique challenges.

If I believe that traditional Anabaptism represents truth, and if I believe that truth is relevant to all of society, I must also believe that traditional Anabaptism is relevant to all of society in order to be honest with myself. I must be able to reconcile these beliefs and take traditional Anabaptism where it isn’t used to being. If I can’t, then one of those two foundational beliefs is wrong.

One of the cool things about Christianity, and part of the reason that it is so convincing as a truth-claim, is that it allows for the development of all parts of the person, including the intellectual part. To forsake that part of the human experience doesn’t lend itself to a satisfying worldview.

This is why I believe that Mennonites shouldn’t shy away from academia or any other field that isn’t inherently compromising, but should embrace it and use it to serve God as He leads them to these places.

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Responses

  1. Byran says, “If I believe that traditional Anabaptism represents truth, and if I believe that truth is relevant to all of society, I must also believe that traditional Anabaptism is relevant to all of society in order to be honest with myself.”

    Hmm. When I read this I knew immediatley why I feel that the Annabaptists should not dilute who they are.

    Byran nailed it. It’s because, in my heart of hearts, I dont feel that most of what they have to offer is relevent to society because I dont believe a lot of it represents truth.

    This is not to be taken as a slam at Mennonites. On the contrary I think very highly of the people I left. But I have to say that this is a huge eye opener for me.

    I never thought of it like this. I am amazed that I feel the Conservative Mennonites emphasis on what is required to be saved is irrelevant . But as soon as I read that I knew. It was like an audible voice to me.

    I want to privately sort this out and see why I feel this way. Amazing, really!

  2. I also especially noticed this paragraph: “If I believe that traditional Anabaptism represents truth, and if I believe that truth is relevant to all of society, I must also believe that traditional Anabaptism is relevant to all of society in order to be honest with myself.”

    I’m not sure what you are calling traditional anabaptism…

    But this reminds me of why I consider myself a Christian first, (and not an anabaptist primarily)because I am following Jesus who is the truth. This truth is for all people groups living now, and for every different people group of the last 5,000+ years. It’s relevant to all of them.

    Somewhere after that, I am part of a culture (anabaptist, mennonite) that emphesizes (can’t think how to spell it) some beliefs more than others. (Maybe should I say, religious culture?)

    Cultures change, the truth does not. That’s why I’m a Christian first. My cultural identity loyalty is not my primary loyalty. My primary loyalty is to the kingdom of God and what God is doing where ever.

    Mennonites tend to confuse culture and spirituality. (Just a general observation of the very conservative ones anyway) “I am spiritual if I do what my culure says and believe what they say.” kind of thinking. I suppose someone will protest that it’s not just a culture. I agree, it’s the two strands braided together that can make it confusing. That’s why church members have such a hard time sorting through what really is sin. What my culture has told me is sin seems just as important as what God said…
    What my culture acts like is important (neatness,frugality, conservative, ?? doing things just so) must be what God thinks too… (But He’s thinking generosity, genuineness, brokenness and vulnerability, friendliness…)

    The way I deal with it is to keep in focus who I am really following.

    Just some ramblying thoughts…(i’m having trouble spelling tonight 🙂

  3. The Scripture says we are to be, quick to hear and slow to speak. I will follow Mrs. Darling’s idea and do the thinking part before I speak futher.

    It will be interesting to “hear” what others think of By’s thoughts here.

  4. Oh, boy. I know this may really open an entirely different can of worms, but after reading in Mrs. Darling’s comment that she feels that “the Conservative Mennonites emphasis on what is required to be saved is irrelevant” I thought about a recent discussion I heard. The topic ran along these lines, “Is the Christian woman’s veiling a prerequisite for salvation?” I personally do not believe it is. I do believe, however, that a Christian woman will WANT to wear one both to recognize God’s order and to keep from bringing dishonor to her head while praying or prophesying.
    But I don’t believe it is a salvation issue.

    –Delia

  5. I don’t think it is at all a prerequisite to salvation. Salvation does not come by obedience but obedience comes from a heart of worship to the one who has given us the precious gift of salvation. I think that if we truly love our Lord we will want to find every possible way to please Him and obey Him. But we shouldn’t judge those who haven’t come to the point of a certain application of obedience, though we should strive to obey God in every area. We shouldn’t judge another’s salvation by whether they are obeying in all the same ways we are, because they could be obeying in ways that we have overlooked. But the best is to try to grow in obedience in every area, and not on our own strength but out of a trust in the Lord and His grace.
    -Marcel

  6. “Traditional Anabaptism” is only as good as the truth that it represents. I probably would be better served to replace “traditional Anabaptism” with “true Christianity,” but “tA” gives some people a better idea of what I believe “tC” is.

    What it comes down to, ultimately, is: a) what is “truth”? and b) how much do we trust in God’s goodness and wisdom in His setting up that truth?


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