What kind of people would want to follow a guy who related to everyone in his diverse community, especially the folks everyone else avoided? What kind of people would want to build a new society based on cooperation with compassion and justice and revolt against the powers of violence and intolerance? What kind of people would rather feel the vulnerability of forgiveness than feel the power of judgment?
Apparently, a lot of people. And they are finding in the Anabaptist tradition that is at the roots of Florence Church of the Brethren Mennonite, just such a movement.
Greg Boyd suggested at the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary today that a whole wave of New Anabaptists, like himself, seek communities who worship “a God who looks like Jesus and who is raising up a people who look like Jesus.” When they come knocking on Mennonite or Brethren church doors, will they find the welcome and the passion for which they long?
Here are some of the markers which draw folks to Anabaptism:
■ First… Anabaptist depth of discipleship and salvation as a way of life.
■ Second…, Anabaptists have taught us to take up the cross of Jesus’ powerful confrontation with the powers-that-be, with the consequent challenge that entails for social nonconformity in 21st-century America.
■ Third, the kingdom of God is no longer only an inner and future reality. It is, instead, the primary allegiance for disciples now and at every level of our existence—personal, social, economic and political.
■ Fourth… the Anabaptist notion that all of God’s children are called to mission and ministry at the moment of their freely-chosen baptism….All in the faith community are leaders, whether seminary trained or not.
(Tommy Airey in Missio Dei #20, 2012)
Greg Boyd encouraged us to ask ourselves these two questions:
- How is our life different because we are following Jesus as his ministers of reconciliation?
- Are we as congregations manifesting the Kingdom of God as much as we can?
I am eager to hear more this evening when Greg speaks at College Mennonite Church at 7:30 pm entitled “Living Truth: The Promise of the Anabaptist Tradition In a Post-Christendom Culture.”