Are other Christians Mennonite?by Carole Boshart, Eugene, Ore.
I just finished reading James Schrag’s column, “Add Words to Deeds” (Nov. 4), and I appreciated what he said. But it also raised a question for me that I have been thinking on for a long time. Are Mennonites Christians, or are Christians Mennonites?
That is, do Mennonites have the firmest grasp on the Christian faith, or do we just operate within a system that we judge how “Christian” someone is by using Mennonites as a measuring tool? To use Schrag’s example of the farmer who came to help: If the farmer was of another faith and did his good deed because his faith system prompted him, would we say he was being Christian or he was being Mennonite?
Growing up entrenched in the faith that used to be called Old Mennonite, I assumed that all Christians practiced their faith—in word and deed—the way we did. Later, I learned there are all types of Christians who live out their faith in more ways and varieties than I had imagined. Now, as I look back on my early years and see and read how Mennonites are presenting themselves to the world at large, I can see even more clearly how the perspective of my early years was formed. This is not a criticism or critique of how Mennonites are but a realization that looking out from “inside” the Mennonite faith is like wearing glasses that are ground to a Mennonite “prescription.” Maybe we need to do that in order to retain what is unique to our faith. But the danger is that we view and discern what we see using the Mennonite prescription instead of one that is unfettered by the past, our present and where we see ourselves going in the future.
Associated Issue: Mission connects people - Nov. 4, 2008
Associated Article: Add words to deeds
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- WEB EXCLUSIVE: A modern Christmas story
- Preach-off raises $2,994
- Top 10 stories for Mennonite Church USA in 2008 include rescue, student deaths
- MCC braces for coming economic storm
- Online registration soars for Columbus 2009
- CPT begins three-month project in Congo
- MEDA expands service for microfinance
- Vietnam Mennonite Church legalized
- MCC launches Seed program for young adults
- MC USA leaders visit two Congo groups