Anabaptist footprints, fingerprints

October 24, 2012 | Viewpoints | Number 21
Vic Thiessen |

On a cold, windy afternoon, the first snow is falling outside my office window. For many, this is a depressing sight, especially so early in October, but for me it heralds the coming of winter and the joys of cross-country skiing, my favourite outdoor activity. Winter is also a time for sitting in front of a fire or under an afghan and reading a good book—my favourite indoor activity.

Since Bible college, reading has been my primary tool for understanding God and learning how to faithfully follow Jesus. The Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre offers a considerable selection of profound books just waiting to be read, but I want to draw your attention to one that was published in September.

For passionate, faithful disciples seeking a dynamic, inspiring, engaging, liberating, empowering, healing and transforming read, take a look at Fingerprints of Fire . . . Footprints of Peace: A Spiritual Manifesto from a Jesus Perspective by Noel Moules.

Moules is a co-founder of the Anabaptist Network and a teacher whose Christian Education program called Workshop has inspired thousands to become more faithful followers of Jesus. He’s also the person who came up with the provocative title of The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray. Many Mennonite congregations have encouraged their members to read, Murray’s book, which has inspired readers to a renewed enthusiasm for the unique distinctives of our Anabaptist theology. Murray also chairs the Anabaptist Network in the UK.

Fingerprints of Fire . . . Footprints of Peace presents Moules’ lifetime of teaching in an easy-to-read format that is ideal for individuals and discussion groups. It is the perfect follow-up to Murray’s book, taking us beyond naked Anabaptism to the daily challenge of being faithful followers of Jesus—or in Noel’s words,; shalom activist—in the 21st century. The book is full of stories, insights and provocative questions which can help each of us deepen our spirituality and to live our lives from a Jesus perspective.

Murray writes, “Noel Moules sums up the integrating themes of his life and teaching, . . . challenging conformity, encouraging creativity and inviting readers to journey with him into new understandings and ways of living.” Alan Kreider, author and retired Professor of Church History and Mission at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, writes, “All who read this book will find Noel to be a wise guide . . . and a joyful bearer of hope.”

Whether you agree with everything Moules writes or not, you will be struck by his passionate faith and disarming humility. You can catch a glimpse of Noel and his book on YouTube: Noel will visit Canada late next spring and is hoping to connect with some Mennonite churches.

The Anabaptist movement is playing a key role in revitalizing Christianity in the UK. In 2013, Michael Nimz, Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker, will tackle a new assignment as a resource minister with the Mennonite Centre Trust in the UK. I know he would appreciate your financial and prayer support as he helps shape authentic Jesus followers in the UK.

In the meantime, enjoy the winter and take the opportunity to dive into some great reading.

Vic Thiessen is Executive Minister, Church Engagement and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Mennonite Church Canada.

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