For Mennonites Only (and Others)

John S.Coffman, A young Mennonite evangelist who toured Florida on mission in 1895

The Old Fool is a member of the Mennonite Church USA, has served it in various capacities throughout his life time, and writes this as a gesture of love and care.

Yesterday noon the Old Fool presented a short version of his faith journey to the mens fellowship of the College Mennonite Church.  During the Q & A period he was asked if he thought that the Mennonite Church would resolve its differences over homosexuality. 

Perhaps too quickly The Old Fool  answered “of course!.”  He has been pondering this optimism since then.  He is optimistic for the institutional church with regard to homosexuality because he is convinced that The Wind of God is blowing in the direction of compromise and inclusion. He believes that  The Wind wants the Institutional churcch to be like Jesus and The Wind, though it is sometimes resisted and grieved, will prevail.

The Old Fool is optimistic also because of an insight gained through Philip Gulley who said that the institutional church mirrors society. From the last election it appears that society and its government is moving in the direction of inclusion.  If Gulley and The Old Fool are to be believed, then it is almost inevitable that the institutional church will mirror the growing inclusiveness of society.

Conservative Mennonites walking on Clearwater Beach in the nineteen-thirties

The Old Fool is aware that some scholars find weaknesses in institutions. But he doesn’t despair. He has lived long enough to see institutions designed to stay the course become agents of change.  Could it be that The Wind is blowing over the world and its institutions, and wants the whole world to be like Jesus?  Will not the yeast leaven the whole? 

Change strikes fear. Individuals and congregations withdraw from the Institutional church as it changes. They become independent in order to be separate from the world and be holy. Can it be that in doing so they become not holy, not Anabaptist, and not like Jesus

Welcoming Churches, annoying Pink Mennos, Menno Neighbors, a growing number of churches not to be named, and even some conferences are in the vanguard of subversive change in order for us in the institutional church to be more like Jesus? They listen when they are not listened to. They love those who don’t love them. They own those who reject them.

Please share with others who may be interested, including pastors and other persons of influence in the Mennonite Church USA. 

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About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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