Evana Network

evanacentered1The recent Mennonite media brought stories of the formation of a new network of individuals who seem to consider themselves more evangelical and more truly Anabaptist than others.  Its founders have chosen the name EVANA which combines EVangelical and ANAbaptist.

SuncoastEvangelical is not a new word to me.  In early retirement I represented Mennonites to the Suncoast Evangelical Association centered in Sarasota County, Florida.

The president and founder of the association had an unusually broad  understanding of evangelical.  For him evangelical was not determined as much by belief, as by behavior.

At my first meeting with the SEA I was asked to introduce the Mennonites of Sarasota County. At my second meeting he asked me to explain the nonviolent position of the Mennonites.

cross-flag1I took with me a small cross and a small flag.  I maneuvered these small items to demonstrate that a follower of Jesus could be loyal to both flag and cross, unless allegiance to the flag violated the way of the cross. In that event a follower of Jesus should choose to suffer and die.  This simple speech evolved into what I believe to be my most widely published article.

The president of the SEA asked me to go with him to meet a lesbian who had asked for an interview.  On the way I told him of my experience on the Listening Committee for the Mennonite Church and my change in perspective. (For a fuller account of my faith journey click here.) The lesbian had been a Mennonite and was now trying to find a safe way in the Christian community.

The president of SEA became so distressed by this event that he did the unusual.  He conferred with a Catholic priest who told him in effect that traditional views of homosexuality trumped grace. The Catholic Church’s high regard for tradition helped create the Anabaptist rift with the Catholic Church.

In my search for information about this new network, I googled “evana” and discovered it was a girl’s name of Greek origin, and means “peaceful”.   The news article about the new EVANA indicates a peaceful intent. But true peace will not come easily.

God Loves EverybodyTheir face book page declares that “freedom is found in Jesus Christ! We invite you to join us for 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Repentance from today until Pentecost on May 24″.

This leads me to ask questions:

Of what real good will the days of  prayer, fasting and repentance be to the Christian community?  Will not repentance help us be the answer to the prayer of Jesus that His followers will be one, so that the world may believe on him? Will divisions in the church  or unity and love win the world to adopt Jesus-like behavior?

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.
This entry was posted in Biblical Interpretation, Church, Homosexuality, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.