Generations Mennoniting together (To Mennonite Blog #5)

by Ubaldo Rodriguez, New Hope Fellowship/Nueva Esperanza (Baltimore, Md.)

Ubaldo RodriguezI appreciate the opportunity to express my Latino perspective of what it means to Mennonite. I grew up as a Catholic and I became a disciple of Jesus in a Mennonite Church in Colombia, South America.

I define myself as a disciple of Jesus who is part of the Mennonite family and uses the Anabaptist theological glasses by which I read the Scriptures in a particular way: using the historical Jesus as the  paradigm for personal and social ethics for Christian living; participating with God and my community of faith in the formation and transformation of individuals and societies; discerning in community our mission or reason for existence here and now in our particular context; making disciples in order to keep expanding the kingdom of God.

I believe the communal Christian life is like a boat that continuously moves back and forth from the river to the pond. When the boat is on the river of the Spirit, it brings life, newness, challenges, and hope for the future.  In the river, we take the risk of being led by the flow of the Spirit and many times we end up in wonderful places and situations where we never expected to be. On the other hand, when we are on the still waters of the pond of tradition, we are like a lighthouse that guides those who are traveling in this world with no direction and purpose in life.

In my own experience, I have been in both –the river and the pond waters in the Mennonite Church.  What I have been discovering is that both places are important in order to be relevant in this changing and needy world.

I am glad that the Lord allowed me to live in this particular time of history in the Mennonite Church, because along with many brothers and sisters we have this great opportunity to be history makers.  I believe we are living in the time that the prophet Joel prophesied (2:28), when the Lord is going to pour out his Spirit on all people–in our case, all those riding the Mennonite boat in the river of the Spirit sharing the richness of our Mennonite Anabaptist theological tradition.

Menno Simons saying
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This promise gives me hope for unity, for integration; for working together as people of God in the same spirit, a spirit in which the older generations share their unfinished spiritual dreams to the younger generations and empower them to accomplish those dreams by the power of the Spirit through a fresh vision.

This sounds very exciting to Mennonite in a new way.  This is one of the times in our Mennonite history when we need leaders with the spirit of Caleb and Joshua, (Numbers 14:6-9), who saw the challenges as opportunities to experience God’s faithfulness and mighty presence among them.  As the Mennonite church, we should keep moving forward; the desert of power and fear of change should not stop us from moving to the promise land that flows with milk and honey.

“Franconia’s got talent–” we have people with amazing gifts that can take the conference to the place where the Lord wants us to be.  So now we wait and see what Mennonite history will tell about us, if we were a generation that made a difference.

Next week, Maria Byler, Philadelphia Praise Center, will share a ritual component of Mennoniting.  How do you “Mennonite”?  Join the conversation on Facebook & Twitter (#fmclife) or by email.

Who am I?  (To Mennonite Blog #1)
Serving Christ with our heads and hands (To Mennonite Blog #2)
Quiet rebellion against the status quo (To Mennonite Blog #3)
Mennoniting my way (To Mennonite Blog #4)
Generations Mennoniting together (To Mennonite Blog #5)
Body, mind, heart … and feet (To Mennonite Blog #6)
We have much more to offer (To Mennonite Blog #7)
Mennonite community … and community that Mennonites (To Mennonite Blog #8)