As MennoNerds, we all have found certain distinctives of Anabaptism to be central in our expression of faith. This article is part of a MennoNerds Synchro-Blog in the month of May on Anabaptism. This blog will explore some of the Anabaptist distinctives that my fellow Mennonerd, Tyler Tully, has written up on his blog (http://thejesusevent.com). To read what other Mennonerds are saying on Tully’s Anabaptist formational arguments, I’d encourage you to check out: http://mennonerds.com/special-blog-series/mennonerds-on-anabaptist-convictions/).
“It is indeed an important and necessary thing for us to come into God, but it is quite another for God to come into us. In the first instance, we are still the center of attention. In the second instance, Jesus Christ becomes the focal point.” – Richard Foster
Since the majority of my blogs are largely written from an academic point of view, I have decided for this Syncro-blog I’d like to do things a little differently. Therefore, I have written three poems on the three aspects that Tully brings up in his blog. Before each poem, I will give a brief explanation as well as Tully’s description of the main points of each argument.
My first blog is written in neutral terms. It is a description of how although different denominational branches may differ in their practice and methodology, we all share the same common denominator that we worship Christ first and foremost. Being Christ-centered is a call to alertness and active discipleship rather than passive obedience. It is a reminder to always come back to the core truths of what God is illuminating to us rather than to simply search out academic meanings for hours. Of course, as an academician I fully support seminaries and the learning that takes place there, but before the mind, must come the heart. And before the heart must come the Spirit. Only when we choose to live a holistic life that gives God precedent in every aspect of our lives, will we come to an awareness of who He is and what He is doing in our midst.
- The first distinctive that Tully notes in his discussion on what makes an Anabaptist is: “Jesus Centered- Jesus stands as the lens by which we read the entire Bible, and the exemplary by which we engage all theology. Jesus takes all precedence in matters of faith and life for us. He is the exact representation of God and the King of our Kingdom. His example, teaching, and identity matter more than anything. His values, ethos, and commandments often put us at odds with the priorities, laws, and expectations of Christendom and State. Anabaptist communities operate as alternatives to the systems around them. It is the centrality of Jesus above all things that defines every other particularity within Anabaptism.”
If I were to draw a circle
I would put Christ in the middle
All around it would be a dotted line
A line that is flexible
And yet in some strange way
Faith is flexible because
There are times when healthy discussions are fruitful to body-life.
There are times when we don’t necessarily know exactly what this verse or that verse may mean.
It’s flexible because
There are different expressions of worship and faith.
Some may prefer to be evangelical and charismatic
Others prefer to make faith more of a private matter.
Neither expression is necessarily right or wrong
Because we need both.
We need Catholics, and Orthodox
We need Episcopals and Lutherans
And we need Anabaptists.
Faith is also unchangeable because it is a constant
There are certain things we can’t mess with
Christ being at the Center is one of them.
When Christ came into our world, He came as an Agent of God’s peace and Light
He sought to bring about radical reformation and change
People talk about Martin Luther being the first reformer
But it happened much earlier than that
It happened the day that Mary said yes to the Cosmos being inside of her.
It happened the day Noah said yes to building the ark.
It happened the day God gave Adam a second chance.
We are called to consider
What being Christlike is and how we will choose to put Christ in the Center.
It’s no longer about dogma and dissertations.
It’s a simple childlike faith.
But even though it’s simple, it’s hard
It calls for a radical shifting of our worldview
And it calls for overturning the powers that be in this world.
Our Ultimate Allegiance lies with Christ,
Who chose not to partake in a worldly empire
But rather a heavenly one.
If you’ve got this
You’ve got Anabaptism.
If you’ve got this
You’ve got Christianity.