Highlight – Life Among the Leaves

The highlight of this day (Saturday) was reading from every page of the February 18, 2013 issue of the  Mennonite World Review, a magazine that attemps to  put the Mennonite world together.  To me, this reading took me among the “leaves” of the church.

According to Berry, the leaves can  be a metaphor for the part of the church which is privileged to engage in scholarly, scientific research and the open exchange of information and testing of ideas.  I found the pages of the world review to be like the leaves. I went through the World Review “leaf by leaf.”  

  • The front page was the news that more that sixty racial-ethnic leaders in Mennonite Church USA gathered Jan. 25-27 to encourage unity, celebrate multicultureal progress and outline ways to help the church thrive as its membership becomes more diverse.  
  • On page 3 the MC USA congregations were urged to learn about immigration in preparation for the church’s biennial convention in Phoenix this July.  Hope was expressed that  those who come to convention will acccept immigrants as a part of the church, whether or not they are legally in the US. 
  • On Page 5 there are three columns.  John Powell considers himself to be a voice from the center.  He wrote that “Drifting apart is easy.  Being the Beloved Community requries corrective head and heart actions.” JaneYoder Short challenged readers to think big, biblicly. She wrote that while we look to the Bible for answers, not all biblical interpretations and directions are equally valid or equally important.  It is possible to miss the point.  Ryan Rodrick Beiler, a program administrater of Mennonite Central Committee based in East Jerusalem, asked, Do Israel’s weapons provide real security?  He wrote, “Surprisingly, Israeli law restricts private gun ownership . . . long waits, training reqirements, mental and physical health checks and shooting exams — all for only one pistol and a lifetime supply of 50 bullets and a permit requiring renewal every three years.”
  • On Page 12, we learn that of the responce of MC USA conferences  to a 2009 resolution that they aim to agree, disagree in love. The Central and Western districts, Allegheny, Mountain States, Indiana-Michigan, Southeast, and Central Plains Mennonite Conferences have each engaged the goal to agree, disagree in love and remain in relationship.   
  • On page 13, On March 9, Neffsville Mennonite Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania will be the scene of a Music Night that will highlight the diversity of Mennonite Music. In 2015, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania will host the global assembly of the Mennonite World Conference that will cconnect thousands of North American Mennonites with their European roots and with the African, Asian, and Latin American congregations that make up the majority of the global Mennonite church.  This year’s Music Night will give a taste of that event.
  • On page 17, Eastern Mennonite University’s Howard Zehr hosted a restorative justice webinar on January 30, 2913.  Ninety persons participated in the webinar including the parents of a murder victim and the perpertrator of the crime, prosecuting and defense attorneys and others envolved in restorative justice.
  • Pages 18-20, carried developments among the colleges, unversities and seminaries of the church: Bluffton College, Canadian Mennonite University, Goshen College, Eastern Mennonite University, Fresno Pacific University, Bethel College, Tabor College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  

The Old Fool encourages subscribing to and reading the Mennonite World Review as it tries to do its part to put the Mennonite world together. 

Next, the Old Fool ponders the role of the Mennonite pastor in the health of the church.


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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