In our circles you hear a lot these days about what has been happening in the Mennonite intellectual arenas: Goshen, Hesston, EMU, etc. It seems that this whole peace and justice gospel has pretty much taken center stage. Now I know Jesus came to give us peace, and I believe that we are to live in peace with all people, insofar as it is up to us. But what I don't buy is that we can bring about world peace by anything we do, or that there will be world peace until Christ returns. And I believe that the secular governments of this world have been ordained by God to bring justice to bear on the wrongdoer, whether at home in the US or abroad. My main problem is with making the Gospel the Gospel of Peace instead of Jesus Christ. We have to be careful not to enthrone peace. To be honest, I'm sick of hearing about peace. Peace, peace, peace. Does that sound unchristian? Or should I say, does that sound unpeaceful? My bad. And I too believe that I have the Spirit of God.
Back to the church. So besides wondering what is happening to my denomination on a national level, I am deeply concerned about it at what has been my local level. I grew up in the Mennonite Church. Here at seminary I am discovering just how anabaptist I really am. I love my people, and I'm glad for our heritage. That's why I'm concerned. The church we went to today had no sermon. Instead people took turns sharing trite poems and banal anecdotes with practically no spiritual value, all interspersed with various songs. Some of the songs were about nature, but some were ones we grew singing, so they did bring back good memories. We actually went to the church with a positive attitude, expecting good things. But by the time Sunday School was over, we both knew we wouldn't be back. SS basically consisted of reading a couple of Psalms, employing a horrendous hermeneutic, and then making the application that we should all take better care of creation. Then we all went outside to kiss a tree and recyle a tin can.
So why am I bashing this church? I know it's not very nice. Part of it is just frustration at not knowing where God wants us to get involved (Dallas has a lot of churches). Part of it is sadness at seeing the lack of vitality and vision in some M. churches. The anabaptist heritage is amazing! We were born in a spirit of radical discipleship, missions, and community, with a commitment to biblical truth and unquestioning obedience to God's leading. It seems in some places that passion has been superseded by boredom and apathy. What a tragedy! I know I'm young and idealistic, but I certainly wouldn't apologize for it. Ideals and ideas are powerful motivators for affecting the world for good. I pray God will give me a chance to affect my church for good. What we need is a revival of that spirit that spawned the anabaptist movement to begin with: radical discipleship.