Tag: mennonite

National Day of Mennonites

With everyone and everything getting a “National Day”, I thought it was deserved to have a National Mennonite Day.   In January alone there are ridiculous days for: Hangover Day, Bloody Mary Day, Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, Drinking Straw Day, etc etc.  I don’t know who promotes these ideas or how they get established.  I assume that someone makes the first step in “declaring it”.  Maybe someone will read this and know how to take it to the next step.  Do we contact a Senator?

Here is my declaration:  I am nominating January 31st (the death date of Menno Simons) as “The National Day of Mennonites”.   We don’t know his birthdate so I went with his death date instead.

If you know what to do next, please let us all know.  Maybe someday the mail will stop and the banks will be closed.  We could get a day off from school and work.  Mennonite Schools should definitely be closed to honor the day!

I did my duty.  Now do yours.  Write letters.  Protest.  Make T-shirts and wear them to conference.  Make banners to hang at your church.  Everyone should be able to enjoy a National Day of Mennonites.  There could be sales but wait…Mennonites don’t spend money.  Oh well, we’ll think of something!

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Go Mennonite Cooks!

Chef Gordon Ramsay Has Absolutely No Criticism for Mennonite Girls

Chef Gordon Ramsay Has Absolutely No Criticism for Mennonite Girls

LONDON, UK

Surly British chef and television host Gordon Ramsay was briefly tongued-tied on Friday, after being stunned by the kitchen chops of Mennonite cookbook author Lovella Schellenberg and her team who appeared on Ramsay’s television show. The host of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef usually rips chefs apart leaving them crying in their soup by the end of the episode, but Ramsay was so impressed with the Mennonite Girls that he offered no criticism for the first time in his career.

“What can I say?” said Ramsay. “The culinary ability of these Mennonite ladies is unparalleled in the history of network television cooking shows.”

The Mennonite Girls impressed the famed chef with Ellen’s hamburger soup recipe and Anneliese’s meatballs with mushroom sauce, before leaving him speechless with Charlotte’s Toberlone cheesecake.

“These ladies cook with soul,” said Ramsay. “There’s not a single thing I would change about any of these dishes.”

Ramsay says he plans to make the ‘Mennonite Girls Can Cook’ cookbook mandatory reading for chefs in all his restaurants, and is considering modifying the format of Hell’s Kitchen to allow for more Mennonite content.

“These ladies turned Hell’s kitchen into Heaven’s kitchen,” said Ramsay. “I guess it’s true. Mennonite girls really can cook!”

(Photo credit: by gordonramsaysubmissions )

Mennonites and Black Lives Matter

I have been processing the Mennonite support of BLM ever since I read an article by Ervin Stutzman and responded in a blog (https://mennonitemafia.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/judge-and-jury-folks/).

Today I learned that Mennonite Mission Network is giving money to Black Lives Matter.  To be fair, it is a ‘The Voices Project to offer nonviolent direct action training and organizing strategies to the movement.”  https://serve.mennonitemission.net/Stories/Pages/Mennonite-agency-agrees-BlackLivesMatter-too.aspx.

Let’s break this down and look at this issue from a “Mennonite” point of view:

Mennonites have historically rooted for the oppressed, downtrodden and poor.  It’s easy to see that the church would want to lift these folks up.  Mennonites also have strong connections cross culturally and have a large urban and non white membership.  It makes sense for the church to support a civil group that many white people don’t relate too.

The other side of this issue is where it can get messy.  Some will deny the anti-military and anti-police undertones in the Mennonite Church.  I don’t know anyone who claims this is preached from the pulpit, but most will say it is an unwritten sentiment in the faith.   I wasn’t “taught” by my Mennonite father (who was a pastor) that military and police professionals are evil but the fact that these professionals were not allowed to be Mennonites added up to the conclusion that they are not Christians or at least not Christians worthy of being Mennonites.   Professions that carry guns were not on my slate for employment – they weren’t jobs desirable by true Christians.  I didn’t know any military/police personally until I attended a Baptist Church with my wife.  That was the first time that I really gave thought that there could be God fearing people even if they were required to kill someone.  The thought of military/police service was so foreign that I wasn’t permitted to be a boy scout because the uniform and organization was too similar to the military.

So why would the Mennonite Church feel any need to support “Blue Lives Matter” when they are not given the same respect and support as the oppressed and downtrodden.  A poor black man is gunned down.  It can’t be his fault.  It has to be the non Christian policeman who is abusing his power.  When was the last time that you heard of a Mennonite Church supporting or ministering to police or military personnel?  Do we have any missionaries in that field?  Any chaplains in the military?  Why would we?  We don’t support them or agree with what they do.

Here is the danger.  We may admit that some good comes from the police and military but we keep our distance so our hands don’t get dirty.  We stress that our involvement in BLM is “nonviolent direct action training and organizing” but lets not forget that the reaction from protesters has also been very violent and causing social unrest.  How many innocent police officers have been gunned down and killed even though they had no involvement in shooting anyone?

The Mennonite Church is rushing into support one side while again judging police.  I would love to see MMN give $10,000 to an organization that is ministering to those called to serve while carrying a gun.  Or don’t they deserve that?

Exodus 2:14
The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?”
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A Heart for God

I wrote this four years ago.  I forgot about this experience until reading it again.  I hope you enjoy it again too.

Last night I was traveling home from Houston to Philly on a late night Southwest flight. I pulled a pretty high number for seating and I was afraid that I was going to get a middle seat in the back of the plane. It turns out that I sat in the first row (with extra leg room YAY) at the window next to a woman with her daughter. Our conversation somehow evolved into world religions and without being mean, this lady had less than a first grade education on the subject. After finding out that I was raised Mennonite, she wanted to continue talking about “Messonites”. I tried to correct her but she continued on her discussion of Messonites and what that means. She didn’t seem to grasp the whole concept and I didn’t want to get into a heated discussion.

You might think that I wasn’t impressed by this person but I was. She was traveling with a 20 year old daughter in a wheel chair. The daughter is paralyzed from the waist down from a car accident at the age of 16. They were traveling to Philadelphia to be a part of a medical study on exoskeletons. She went on to describe the procedure and showed me video clips of a prior fitting. Very interesting stuff. So interesting that I went home and Googled it at 3 a.m. to learn more about it. This mother and daughter are very close – it was obvious. They were affectionate and caring and clearly have a close relationship.

For what this mother lacks in knowledge of world religion, she definitely has a big heart for her daughter. That’s what I came to appreciate about her. That’s what God wants to appreciate about us. We don’t need to be a seminary scholar – we just need to have a heart for HIM. I’m sure He will celebrate Thanksgiving if we can do that. It’s not by outer appearance or by great things that we do but whether we love God with our whole hearts.

(Acts 13:22 NIV) After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

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Mennonite Church USA

DAILY NEWS POSTS

Lancaster Mennonite Conference leaders vote to leave MCUSA

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11.19. 2015 Written By: The Mennonite, Inc. staff 3676 Times read

With a vote of 82 percent, credentialed leaders in Lancaster Mennonite Conference (LMC) have voted to leave Mennonite Church USA. LMC credentialed leaders  have been participating in a process of discernment regarding LMC’s denominational affiliation with Mennonite Church USA. This process recently culminated in a resolution from the Board of Bishops that credentialed leaders were invited to affirm. The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Early on Nov. 19, the results of the returned ballots from active credentialed leaders of Lancaster Mennonite Conference were counted regarding LMC’s denominational affiliation.  The results returned with 82.3 percent of participating leaders affirming the proposal and 17.7 percent not affirming. Approximately 80 percent of eligible credentialed leaders participated in the vote.

This vote means the ratification of the Bishop Board resolution to withdraw LMC’s affiliation with Mennonite Church USA. LMC will now enter a two-year implementation period of withdrawal.

In a Nov. 19 statement, LMC said, “[This] announcement will likely be received in very different ways by leaders and congregations of Lancaster Mennonite Conference and across the denomination. Leaders were encouraged to interact with others in loving and respectful ways and to pray for the Lord’s leading in the life of LMC in the days ahead.”

On July 23, Weaver sent a letter to leaders in LMC informing them of the a proposal suggesting withdrawal from Mennonite Church USA. Since then, more than 1,800 people attended LMC listening meetings to offer information and gather feedback about the proposal. Seven hundred and twenty-six attendees filled out response sheets afterward. An Affiliation Task Force helped collect responses, which the Bishop Board used to guide their work. On Oct. 23, the Bishop Board affirmed the proposal.

In an interview with Mennonite World Review, LMC Executive Conference Minister Keith Weaver noted there were a number of reasons for questioning affiliation with Mennonite Church USA, including greater acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer individuals in hiring policies and leadership roles.

Lancaster Mennonite Conference joined Mennonite Church USA in 2004. With 13,838 members in 163 congregations, LMC is Mennonite Church USA’s largest conference.

https://themennonite.org/daily-news/lancaster-mennonite-conference-leaders-vote-to-leave-mcusa/

Romans 16:17-18 (NIV)

All the churches of Christ send greetings.

17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

Revenge – pt 4 in Guns and Church

Revenge and Vengeance

We are taught not to commit revenge.  Personal vengeance is illegal.  We are required to allow the proper authorities to bring justice.  If we strike out in revenge to kill someone accused of killing a loved one, we will likely be punished for murder ourselves.

But happens when a country is attacked?  If a people group/country kills citizens of another country, retribution is expected.  Quick, harsh and deliberate punishment is expected.  The latest reaction comes from France for the attacks on Paris.

Does retaliation bring peace?  Does it bring justice?  Is a government retaliating violence any different than an individual seeking revenge and vengeance?

What would have happened if the USA hadn’t invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks?  Would we have experienced more peace or less?  Were our actions simply vengeance or were they righteous actions to protect our country from further attacks?

Are we killing enemies before they kill (as we attempted in Iraq) or are we killing out of revenge and vengeance?  If we are seeking vengeance, who is in authority to judge it?  Is government vengeance righteous or evil?  Is it helpful or hurtful?  Does it lead to peace or more violence?

Are we as Christians more at peace by defending ourselves and protecting others or are we more at peace by allowing God to be our defender?  Are we at peace when we live in fear?  Is fear motivating us to defend ourselves?  Can we stand and worship in God’s peace while preparing to protect ourselves with violence?

Romans 12:19

19 Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.”

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Guns and Church, part 2

You’re sitting in church and a gunman enters . . .Do you run? Do you fight? Do you stand? Do you defend the defenseless (i.e. children)?   In you faith world what is right?  What is moral?  What is Godly?  What would Jesus do?

Does “Turn the other cheek?” apply to physical violence and possible death or was Jesus referring to verbal insults?

Is it morally correct to stand by and allow a mad man to kill innocent people out of hatred?

Where does love come into the picture of protecting loved ones?

We wouldn’t allow a pediphile to harm our children.  Why would we allow a gunmen the chance to kill them?

Is it better to be armed in church to stop violence or to pray that violence never comes our way?

Is it morally correct to pray and worship in a house of worship while holding a gun for protection?

If a pastor or speaker wears a bullet proof vest for his/her protection shouldn’t he/she offer protection to the congregation?

Is carrying a gun into a church service with hundreds of people more dangerous than not having any protection at all?

Finally – Can a loving, forgiving, merciful, patient, carrying follower of Christ kill another human who is threatening to kill others?

Luke 22:36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.  NIV

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Church Splits – Can’t we get along?

We hear it all the time – if Christians love each other, why are there so many different churches?  Why are there church splits all the time?  The Mennonite Church has been suffering through this lately, but let’s be honest, they have suffered with it since the beginning of the anabaptist beliefs.

Churches split.  Churches split from their denomination.  Denominations split.  Individual members leave.  Do we really not love each other or is there another issue?

We are people in a fallen world.  We have free will.  Let’s face it – if you get two people together they may not agree on anything!  Sometimes I can’t even agree with my wife over what to eat for dinner.  We disagree on movies.  I like to listen to talk radio – she hates it. We agree on most things but you see the point – there are not too many people that you want to live with.

Magnify that free will by 300 church members or 95,000 denomination members.  You get the point.  It is really hard for all of us to get along!  Churches split over stupid issues – the color of carpet or church name.  Sometimes they split over serious issues – doctrine, worship style or leadership.

In the past, Mennonite churches split over insurance, TV and coverings.  Now it is facing the not so small issue of gay marriage and leadership.  Will gay marriage be like insurance and be a non issue in 20 years?  Or will it continue to be a doctrinal plank that divides the church?

The little town that I live in has 2,800 citizens and 7 churches.  I don’t go to any of them – I drive 25 minutes to a different church on the other side of our county.  Why?  Good question.

Acts 15:38-40 (NIV)

38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.

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Guns and Church

If you’re like me, you are getting tired of hearing about guns!  The gun subject is like abortion – you are likely to be on one side and no amount of arguing is going to change your side.   I’m not going to write about all the issues (you can read them anywhere).   I’m going to limit the discussion to one small question:

How do you feel about people carrying their guns into a church service?  If you find that shocking, think again.  It’s not just in Texas that people are carrying concealed weapons.  Friends of mine have told me that they carry their guns everywhere – including church.

So, you’re in the middle of worship and you notice a gun on the person’s belt in front of you.  Do you feel safer or more in danger?  Does this need disclosed to the congregation?  To leadership?

What kind of message does that give to others?  To our children?

If you really want to dig deep – how about our Anabaptist roots – should we be defending ourselves in the first place?  Should we lay down our lives in testimony of our faith or kill a madman that walks into our house of worship to kill Christians?

If you don’t want to think that hard, go back to the first question: How would you feel about guns in your church service?  Go.

Mark 14:46-48 (NIV)

46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?

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Preacher’s Kids

Thank you to everyone who read my blogs in October about Isaiah.  We are doing well and appreciate the comments, notes and prayers.

This month I am switching gears and will be blogging about Preacher’s Kids (missionary kids included).  I hope you enjoy them.  Please comment your experiences.

I was the youngest of 3 siblings – 2 older sisters that were perfect (except my oldest sister who wanted to be a hippy for a short time).  They were (are) pretty.  They got straight A’s in school.  Musical.  You get the picture.  And then there’s me.  The only boy in the family and the youngest who had to follow 2 perfect sisters.  OK – get your Kleenex out.  I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  I just wanted to paint my picture.  My dad was a Mennonite pastor (please see my blogs on Mennonites).  This only made me more glaring as a boy following perfect sisters.  I couldn’t sit still in church.  I could be a brat in Sunday School.  I ran around the church property like it was mine.  Unlike my sister’s attraction to sacred music, I played “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the church organ and played an electric guitar. I smarted off to a policeman one time because he stopped me from riding my mini-bike on the parking lot.  He asked if I had permission to ride here.  I said “go inside and ask my Dad, he’s the pastor.”

My mom’s idea of crowd control during church was to pinch my arm with her long finger nails.  She would threaten to make me sit up at the pulpit with my dad if I didn’t behave.  When I went to my dad for help I heard the famous line “Everyone is watching you because I am the pastor.  If I can’t manage my family then I can’t manage the church.”  I heard that quote 1,235,416 times in my life.  “You can’t go to dances “quote”.  “You can’t go to movies “quote”.  “You can’t have long hair “quote”.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my dad and mom.  I love God.  I love church (sometimes).  Overall I had a great childhood and I appreciate what I learned being a preacher’s kid.  It had a lot of benefits.  I received gifts from people.  I had a huge play yard and when it rained I could play in the whole church building.  I had special privileges (I’ll get to those in another blog).  I was a happy kid.

I just grew up knowing that I was in the spot light and I had to be careful not to shame my dad.  I had to be at every service.  I had to meet old people that came to visit at our house.  I had to hear about conferences, congregations, bishops, elders, budgets, doctrine.  You name it, the preacher’s kids heard about it.  We were always told “You can’t repeat this to anyone.”  Yeah, like I cared about Mrs. Ripper going into early menopause!  Who was I going to tell that to?

So sit back.  You will read some blogs that are sad and some that are funny.  If you are a preacher’s kid, you will get it!

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