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About Mennonites |
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I thought I might post this to help Australians work their way through the confusing and fragmentation that is anabaptism.
I have been reading various anabaptist material from various anabaptist publishers for a while now, both conservative and progressive. What I have found is a confusing array of beliefs and practises. So much so that one truly has to wonder what exactly anabaptism is all about.
For example I have bought commentaries from Mennonite Publishing Network, 'home of Herald Press...' ( In their commentary of Genesis, page 71 states for chapter 9:6, "This interpretation is understood to grant to the legal system the right of capital punishment.....In spite of the history of its interpretation, Genesis 9:6 does not authorize and promote capital punishment..."
Now, when I read a conservative commentary, (by D.D.Whedon) on Genesis 9:6 that I bought from Christian Light Publications, a conservative anabaptist publisher (, I read on page 186:"This is the reason for the stern and stringent command. He who slays a man slays God's image (my understanding is that Whedon is referring to God making us humans in His image), and God demands blood for blood. The muderer's life is forfeited, and it is not only the right, but the duty, of the magistrate, who "bears the sword", to fulfil the ordinace of God."
There are other examples of contradiction, such as: There is one group of anabaptists who will not watch TV and another anabaptist group who will have not much to say about TV. You will have one group of anabpaitsts who will not vote at all, and then you will have another group of anabaptists who will not only vote but will actualy support a political party's campaign. You will also come across anabaptists who will encourage you to take part in protest marches and another group of anabaptists who will have nothing to do with protest marches or street demonstrations. You will find anabaptists who will tell you that originally, anabaptism was based on non - resistance, another group will tell that anabaptism is about being pacifists, and yet another group will tell you that anabaptism is all about active peace making ( I interpret this as 'in your face and protesting anabaptism'. So, you, perhaps like me will be wondering just what anabaptism is all about? -should you watch TV or not?, should you take part in protest marches or not?, is anabaptism non - resistance right, or should anabaptists attend protest marches and lobby on justice issues. Should anabaptists try to save the life of convicted murderers or should we let the State kill them? At times, I find various types of anabaptism so contradictive and confusing I am tempted to throw up my hands and say Enough already!!!! Tonight I had thoughts that in comparison the anglican communion seems more united than anabaptism, (not sure about this one).
So if some north american anabaptist tries to tell you, 'THIS is anabaptism', the most logical question to ask them 'what type, conservative or progressive or something in between?'.
I recommend you save time, money, and effort and simply observe the golden rule, 'don't do to others what you would not like done to you'.And, I beleive that anabaptism is about the golden rule and non -violence. For me, after years of purchasing and reading expensive books and the like, anabaptism is as clear as mother's milk. As for the rest, it is merely very expensive commentary. Hopefully, anabaptist missionaries from North Amercia will decide just what anabaptism is, then they can let the rest of us know how to practise it. If anabaptist in this country stick to non - violence as the essence of anabaptism I guess this is what we, as Australian anabaptists should aim for. Hopefully, anabaptists in Australia will be saved from the fragmentation that has plaqued North American anabaptism and I suppose, anabaptism in general.
By the way, I am an anabaptist and I am against capital punishment for justice reasons, not religious reasons - innocent people have been put to death by various governments. I wonder what God will do with those in North America who have legally, based on the available evidence, put innocent people to death?
Thankfully, here in Australia, we do not have the death penalty, even for arsonists.
One is innocent until proven guilty.

Logan, Qld Australia
2/26/2009 5:58:00 AM
Beyond the News: Mennonites and Muslims |
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Living in an all-girls dorm, most of my new college friends are Muslim.

Obviously, I don't embrace their religion... but, of all the Abrahamic religions, I have found Muslims to be most true to their religion and respectable.

I once had feelings for a young man... Unfortunately, he was a deeply religious Muslim. To the point where he didn't look women in the eye (so as not to lead himself into temptation), and he rolled up his pants to expose his ankles (as Mohammed apparently did). He also exhibited an extreme amount of politeness and modesty of heart. Among other things.

My point: I had a profound amount of respect for his character and how committed he was to his religion. I hate to say it, but it made me see how shameful Christians have become. Many supposed Christians have no problem talking about giving up drinking and [premarital] sex for lent, or by spewing blasphemy touting it as a light-hearted joke (such as Kathy Griffin at the Emmy's).

To be honest, I wish most Christians treated their religion with as much respect as the Muslim man I had feelings for treated HIS religion.

I wish I could be a revolutionary haha.

2/25/2009 10:12:00 PM
About Mennonites |
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good site at:


2/21/2009 7:43:00 AM
Wider View | Atheist Bus Campaign
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I wanted to respond to some of the comments you made in your article on the Atheist Bus Campaign. The slogan, "There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life," does suggest that those who don't believe in God are more interested in self than anything else. But since I have close friends who have struggled with the idea of God, and who also choose to live lives of responsible service, I can't generalize that so easily. Especially as I also see many church members who seem to deny themselves nothing.

Our devotion to Christ should make us more like Him, but there are enough of us who bear his name but not his likeness that I hesitate to point fingers at the atheists.

Newton, KS USA
2/20/2009 11:19:00 PM
Another Way | Stress tips: Comment
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I don't have a stress tip, but I have a comment. I enjoy the stress tips a lot and find them insightful and useful.However today's tip, Tough Out the Stress of Big Transitions, 2-9-09 is obviously written for young or middle-aged people, not for old ones. What was said can still be true in some instances. But mostly big transitions for older people, especially those nearing the end of life, are not temporary, there may not be any future exciting things to look forward to, and the bumps may never even out--they may get worse.Just thought I'd mention that perspectives change as we age.
Thanks for listening.


2/12/2009 8:23:00 AM
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