Preaching in a ‘maze of postmodern reality’
Say a prayer for pastors, teachers in seminaries and Mennonite schools, bishops and executive ministers, and any others who are tasked with leading the rest of us Anabaptist Christians through the maze of postmodern reality.
It’s not so much that the Anabaptist story that should provide a firm, steady footing, doesn’t exist. It’s more a case of us generally having lost interest in the relevant history, of our having mixed our vague notions of how and why a radical reformation was necessary for Jesus’ sake, and having tossed it together with pop-religion around us.
Our leaders, I fear, must watch in horror as people wander off to more comfortable places, precisely because they don’t know the story of how they were made, and why. One cohort leaves to get away from the too-progressive dialogue; another seeks the comforting, familiar answer-monologue that defies interpretation, that echoes what they’re used to. And who does that leave in the pews, and service projects and discernment groups?
The phenomenon I’m talking about here is not new. The nomadic disposition Anabaptist Mennonites adopted long ago—when military participation, for instance, challenged a firmly held faith tenet—historically disoriented our focus and is haunting us to this day. Among us, the fragmentation of the Gospel has resulted in division into sub-denominations that purport to be Anabaptist Mennonite, but are unable to worship together with their sibling churches over disagreements about dress codes and women’s status theologically, for instance. A profligate wastage of a Holy Spirit.
Say a prayer for pastors, teachers in seminaries and Mennonite schools, bishops and executive ministers, and any others who are tasked with leading the rest of us Anabaptist Christians through the maze of post-modern reality. “What must I teach, what must I preach to this motley, postmodernist crew today?”
—George Epp, Rosthern, Sask.
Imagining a different world
Re: “Climate imagination” column, Sept. 19, page 11.
This column really gets to the source of our world problems—that “European imperialism and colonialism created a world-system that persists to this day. In this system, certain voices have more power than others.”
Columnist Randolph Haluza-DeLay points out the key element of colonialism being the drive to capture the wealth from so-called “natural resources.” Under this system, even people became commodities. It persists today, with wars started on the basis of greed and the want of power. But it is exemplified most through the continued opening of new oil/gas fields in the face of horrendous impacts of climate change.
Haluza-Delay points out that our “ ‘fair share’ of the causes should translate equitably into a ‘fair share’ of the money and resources toward solutions,” and asks the important question: What would it take for Christians to imagine a different world?
—Geoffrey Strong (online comment)