Radical Inquiry for All

This post begins with a prayer for the earth offered by Unity that was placed on Facebook by my cousin Nate Lehman.

radical_inquiry.wikiIn my last post I identified the concept of radical inquiry.  Radical inquiry is illustrated by three overlapping circles with questions. The question in the top circle is “Who am I?” I have tried to reveal who I am on this website by posting My Faith Journey, My Political Pilgrimage and Heritage, a Fantasy Sermon and other pages listed on the black ribbon under the banner.

J. Irvin Lehman

J. Irvin Lehman

In those pages I may not have given enough credit to my father. He influenced me in many ways. He was a pastor, evangelist, and Bible teacher. I do not always follow my father’s views, but I admire his spirit. He called teachers of views unlike his own as “my brothers.” (Am I my father’s brother?) In that spirit he worked with those whose beliefs and practices were more liberal or more conservative than his own. He told me that he learned early that God answered the prayers of women whose heads were uncovered.  Full of grace and truth, he passionately followed Jesus.

The church does not need to believe what my father (or I) believe, but it does need his attitude toward others. The Anabaptist Renewal circles appear to be on the right way. They introduce themselves by their commitments. Their second commitment is to be full of His grace and truth as they passionately follow Jesus.

The first disciples of Jesus passionately loved and followed Jesus, but they did not always understand him.  Sometimes they stood in his way. The disciples rebuked the people who brought little children to sit on his lap for his blessing. The disciples ask Jesus to send away the Canaanite woman whose daughter needed help. Jesus commended her for her great faith.

pinkIf today’s disciples are full of His grace and truth, how passionately will they follow Jesus if he embraces persons who are LGBTQ? Pink Mennos? Signers of a letter that called for the church to be governed by love instead of by law?

Will the Circles dare to follow Jesus and embrace those who don’t wear pink or sign letters, but who take a silent (sometimes noisy,) variant position? Or knowledgeable persons who believe scientific evidence rather than a literal interpretation of the Bible? Or uninformed persons who choose to ignore the claims of science for a too simple faith that asks no question?

Please tell your friends of this website www.0ldmennofools.com.  Let’s enlarge the circle!   Click here to subscribe.

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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2 Responses to Radical Inquiry for All

  1. Myron S. Augsburger says:

    Martin, thank you for being open in your sharing. I too pray for unity but also integrity. We are not on the same page. I’m for accepting gay people in love and provide these lonely souls with a loving fellowship, but that does not mean accepting a continued practice any more than accepting persons with their continuing in adultery, or sexual promiscuity. On the latter I had to excommunicate, but on the former we had gay members who committed themselves to celibacy.
    The church needs to rediscover what it means to be a believers church with mutuality in discipleship. In my class at AMBS under Yoder he said there are two internal marks of the church and two external: the internal, conversion and discipline; the two external evangelism and freedom from/among the powers. I believe this is right and needs to be re-actualized in the church.
    With you, I pray for revival, and for unity of spirit even without uniformity.
    Shalom. Myron

  2. One thing we can agree on is that we are not on the same page, and that we respect and love each other nevertheless. Neither can we know what Yoder would say in response to today conversation if he were alive in today’s church.

    We can know what Yoder’s successors at AMBS are saying. If I were to write a third book in the Roots and Branches series, I would have to include some pages on the children of Lee Roy Berry who became a Mennonite under the influence of the Newtown Gospel Mission in Sarasota. One of his daughters will be in the Yoder chair at AMBS as a theologian beginning in July of this year. Dr. Berry has written a blog at the invitation of President Sarah Wenger Shenk. I hope to have specific links to Shenk’s and Berry’s thoughts in my next post.

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