I am going to make this blog post relatively short. I feel I need to clarify a few things from the other post (which I am thankful has been shared on MWR: http://www.mennoworld.org/blog/2013/5/23/coming-out-mennonite/ and other places). I would like to thank everyone for sharing 🙂
First and foremost, a Mennonite or Anabaptist is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. They believe that the Sermon on the Mount is to be taken literally, and that Jesus not only taught (but also demonstrated) peace to those who were far and to those who are near. Being a Mennonite is about the Theology behind not only the peace stance, but many other stances as well (including love for all people, a desire to be open-minded in approaches to following Christ, and missional living).
I realize that the Mennonites are sometimes seen as an ethic group, and the ethnic group itself also does bring certain values and traditions for which I am thankful. Yet, I believe that ethnicity itself does not make or define a Mennonite. I am grateful to have experienced ethnic foods and four-part harmony, and these things have become of great value to me. I am also thankful to have visited Chinese Mennonite churches and an Ethiopian Mennonite church a few times, because their traditions also bring something out to us 🙂
Personally, I like to describe myself as a zweibach-eating, borscht-loving Mennonite because to me, it shows that the Mennonites included me into their culture. I am a third culture kid (born of an Asian mother and Germanic father) and so I never felt like I really had an ethnicity to claim as my own. The Mennonite identity became my identity. However, I also believe that one can be a rice loving Mennonite or a taco eating Mennonite :).
It is my hope that the Mennonite church increasingly becomes more diverse over time (and I believe that they already have and are working towards that). Yet, I do think both “ethnic” and “non-ethnic” Mennonites have something to offer which is most helpful. The “ethnic” Mennonites root us in some ways and the share inspiring stories of their grandparents and great grandparents who faced persecution… the newer Mennonites add fresh perspectives… we both need each other
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to clear everything up and thanks again to those who have shared this piece 🙂