I have the honour and privilege of blogging with Anabaptist and Mennonite writers from around the net on an online collective called Mennoneds (http://mennonerds.com/)
Mennoneds is made up of a group of women and men who are interested in theology, church policies, spirituality, peacemaking, and other relevant topics. If you go to our website you’ll notice that we have feeds into the main page showing the latest topics we have all blogged about. We even have a newspaper that comes out now with highlights and we’ve even been doing some Google Hangouts to talk about things live.
Hopefully some (or most) of you have actually checked out Mennonerds. I know that there are a few people who follow my blog but don’t follow Mennonerds, and so I’d like to let you in on the top 10 blogs that I have come upon in June and July. Starting in August, I will be posting once a month with the top 10 blogs that I have come across that month. This way, you can all get a taste of what others in our group are saying rather than just my own opinions.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 blog topics for June and July.
DISCLAIMER: You’ll notice that this month I don’t have any blogs written by women. The women that I blog with on Mennonerds are indeed very talented and I’m so happy that we have both genders represented in what we’re doing (so important). The fact that I haven’t chosen any of the females this month has nothing to do with my overall opinion of them or their writing ability.
1) “We’re Going to Be Surrounded By Angels” – Ryan Dueck
A short story about Ryan’s encounter with a homeless man and how it impacted Ryan and his ministry. Ryan challenges us to think about what it really means to be “taken advantage of” and urges us to explore our current perceptions of those who are different than us.
2) “Troubled Minds – Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission” – Jamie Arpin-Ricci
In this blog post, Jamie interviews Amy Sampson daughter to a woman who has schizophrenia and who wrote a book on our views towards mental illness in the church. Very powerful and important for pastors and lay leaders to read as mental illness affects virtually every church and yet so often we don’t know what to do about it.
The biggest thing that stood out for me in this post was the following quote, “Within many churches, the assumption is that people who follow Jesus should be healthy, comfortable, and happy all the time, that we are impervious to the consequences of the fall that affect our moods, thoughts, or brain function. This is not Christian truth, but it’s deeply ingrained in our thinking, and the presence of mental illness conflicts with it. With this worldview, it’s easy to believe that people with mental illness deserve blame, marginalization, or condemnation.”
3) It’s Easy to Be a Pacifist in Indiana – Try Gaza – Scot McKnight
Scot explains to us the importance of pacifism drawing from early church convictions and challenges us to re-evaluate what it truly means to bear Christ and not the sword.
4) Chunky Churches – Robert Martin
Cute, light-hearted, and down to earth – but with an important message! Robert shares a story of how his daughters learned about the importance of different “flavours” of Christians while attending a Lutheran church one Sunday. It takes me back to a time in my own life when I was 16 and attending the Mennonite Church Canada conference in Abbotsford, B.C. Speaker, Mike Preschon said, “You can’t be a vanilla Christian – you gotta be chocolate, rocky road, or something!” I guess that was an important thing for me to hear given that I still remember it several years later.
5) What We Wouldn’t Hear in An Early Anabaptist Meeting – Steve Kimes http://stevesbasics.blogspot.ca/2013/06/what-we-wouldnt-hear-in-early.html
A humourous blog post about some of the common complaints we hear in churches today and how things would have been different 400 years ago with the early Anabaptist reformers.
6) Why Theology Matters – Ryan Robinson
A more serious post about the importance of understanding and doing theology and how bad theology can create dangerous churches. Ryan reminds us that even atheists have a theology because theology has to do with our world view. A great piece for seasoned theologians, amateur theologians, and people who just randomly come across this page alike.
7) My Day with the Mennonites – Kevin Daugherty
A personal story about Kevin’s journey to the Mennonite church. Personal stories, especially from non-ethnic Mennonites who have joined the church are always welcomed and appreciated because they act as testimonies, encouragements, and challenges to us to reach out.
8) The Origins of Sabbath – Ryan Robinson
An important blog post discussing one of the Ten Commandments that often seems to get ignored. We know what Sabbath is but how exactly do we keep it? It’s one of those commandments that is easier said than done. Ryan gives us some pointers and helps us to understand that it’s not about duty or “checking off a box”, but rather about the motivation of our hearts.
9) Do Liberal Christians Hate Scripture? – Andrew Mugford
I first met Andrew when we were both students at Tyndale University College in Toronto, Ontario and have since learned much from him through his blogging and just through conversations together. I have found Andrew to be a deep thinker and one who does not easily give into popular opinion but rather approaches theology logically and with caution. In this post, Andrew wrestles with the liberal vs. conservative issue suggesting that one really doesn’t need to choose only one camp and that labels are passee.
His blog links to another article which makes an argument for liberal Christianity. Although I would identify myself as a liberal Christian I do have some issues with this article. My main issue is that this article makes liberal Christianity exclusively about LGBTQ issues. Although many liberal Christians are in favour of LGBTQ issues, this is not the one and only area nor is it a “be all end all”. I have known several liberal Christians who actually are not in favour of LGBTQ and believe it to be a sin. I also know of many liberals who believe we need to approach it with caution and weigh both sides of the camp equally despite their personal opinions. So, I have a bit of a problem with the author suggesting that to be a liberal Christian means solely to be “gay-friendly”.
10) Preacher’s Qualifications – Robert Martin
Here’s one for all you pastors out there! Robert shares a circular with us about what makes a good preacher – with a sharp twist and surprise at the end!
BONUS: Lastly, I’d like to leave you with one blog post just for the fun of it:
Discovering the Blog – Justin Hiebert
Here Justin tells us how people first came upon his blog. He shares the most common Google search items that have led up to people (hopefully) being enlightened by Anabaptist theology.
Just for the fun of it and for those who are interested, here are a few of my favourite search items that people have used to locate my blog:
How to tell if a feminist introvert loves you
Can extroverts enjoy gardening
God likes extroverts
Running through open door
If your parents are Mennonites what does that make you
Being from America – maybe we should have clarified that we come in peace
Extroverts – shut up