Join ‘Naked Anabaptists’ on Facebook

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May 3, 2010 | Feature | Volume 14 Issue 9
By John Longhurst, Mennonite Publishing Network Release

No, it’s not what you might be thinking—nobody is nude. At least, not literally, although more than 300 people have joined the Naked Anabaptist group on the Facebook social media site to metaphorically explore what it means to strip down to the bare essentials of the Anabaptist faith.

The new group was formed by Winnipeg Mennonite pastor and blogger Jamie Arpin Ricci, to discuss issues raised by Stuart Murray in The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith.

According to Arpin Ricci, who pastors Little Flowers Community Church in that city’s West End, the group exists to “further the vision of Stuart Murray’s new book, and to push beyond the assumptions and cultural expression of this historic Christian tradition.”

Questions and comments on the site have been varied and widespread.

After reading the first 50 pages of the book, Leonard Hjalmarson of Oklahoma said, “Two things stand out so far: first, that many of us who are Anabaptist are not fellowshipping in Anabaptist traditions. And, paradoxically, some of us who are in Mennonite traditions are frustrated that they aren’t more Anabaptist.”

Byron Rempel-Burkholder, editor of Mennonite Publishing Network’s Rejoice! devotional, wondered, “Must Anabaptism be manifest in Anabaptist denominations, or should we be content to leave it as a theological orientation or a movement?”

Matt Stone wanted to know, “How can neo-Anabaptists and hyphenated-Anabaptists live out their faith commitments within non-Anabaptist churches, when community is such an emphasis in the Anabaptist path?”

The Naked Anabaptist Facebook group can be found by searching for “Naked Anabaptist” at

With files from Ross W. Muir, managing editor

See an interview with author Stuart Murray.

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I have been a firm supporter and advocate of Anabaptist beliefs and core values. However I still find it difficult to accept nonviolence as a core value. Coming from an Indian it might be uncharacteristic.

We still don't wait for the ravens to feed us or the miracle of loaves and fishes to feed us. Then why do we not defend ourselves or depend on the kingdoms of the world to defend us? Why do we restrict Holy Spirit guidance limited by an aesthetic value? I know the historic precedence in this belief, but why do we follow a history rather than a living God who can guide through his Spirit? Even revelation talks about his messengers using violence.

-Jesus asking his disciples to get swords at the garden of Gethsamane, Luke 22
-Jesus' statement that he is come to bring sword rather than peace, Matthew 10:34
-The Israelites were expected to fight by their slavery in Egypt

Just as we don't expect God to cook our food, why do you expect God to defend ourselves when Bible says: do resist evil? When God is punishing somebody how would you be doing his will by being peacemakers? Divine violence in natural disasters is violence which occurred in the Old Testament and in New Testament.

Our own body does not testify this as our bodies include white blood corpuscles and antibodies that fight against pathogenic germs. Our body does not do nonviolence against pathogens, but the only thing is that it does it under the implied and direct instructions of the brain.

The great fulfillment of Israelites coming back to homeland was not done by nonviolence by Jews and also by the people who drove them to Israel from Europe by the hunters and fishers.

God's justice on evil involves violence for a just reason and everlasting peace.

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