What does—and doesn’t—define us
Sometimes I think most of our Mennonite lay people, like myself, don’t realize how serious the Future Directions endeavour is that is going on right now. Many think that they are just another bunch of meetings, followed by numerous serious people making long, wordy pronouncements, and then, probably, not much will change.
It’s not difficult to see that what we know as the Anabaptist Mennonite church is at a serious crossroad in North America. Many congregations are leaving the main organization and there seem to be more traditional Mennonites attending non-Mennonite churches than Mennonite ones.
Somehow, the core of our belief system is slipping through our fingers. There must be something to this core, or else it wouldn’t have lasted for 500 years.
I hope the Future Directions Task Force is not being too sensitive to the great variety of sentiments and ideas it gathered over the last several years as it tried to check the pulse of our membership throughout this great land.
In some ways, the task should not be that difficult. Make sure we understand what the real Christian church was like that followed the earthly existence of Jesus of Nazareth until Constantine got hold of it circa AD 325. Then jump to Martin Luther and the Anabaptists, and understand what gave them their drive. Then make sure these core ideas and beliefs are put into language that we can all understand now.
That is what defines us as Mennonites. That’s it. Join us or don’t.
Richard Penner, Calgary