We have much more to offer (To Mennonite Blog #7)

Ron Whiteby Ron White, Eastern District Conference moderator, Church of the Good Samaritan

“Mennoniting” requires us to embrace our Mennonite heritage: peace building and love for all humanity.  As a Sunday school teacher I get the opportunity to discuss principles taught by people like Menno Simons or Christopher Dock and how they apply to the lessons we are studying that day. It brings our rich Mennonite heritage a bit more to the forefront of our thinking.

I have found, however, that though embracing our Mennonite past is important, looking into our Mennonite future is equally important. I noticed that the original blog in this series discussed our personal identity and I feel that is where this starts. The devil’s first recorded attack on Jesus starts, “If you are the son of God…” The attack challenges Jesus’ identity: who He is and what He plans to do.  We all tend to perform only to the limits of how we see ourselves.

How I see myself in Christ Jesus impacts how I “Mennonite.”  I find that I have to yield to seeing myself as God sees me instead of telling God how I see myself. It may sound like the same thing but there is a difference.  It is only seeing through These Loving Eyes that my real potential to “Mennonite” comes to the forefront. It is only from this vantage point and through this revelation that we begin to see what we have in these earthen vessels so that our “Mennoniting” is ready to move into Overdrive.

The fact that Mennonites have a long history of making major differences in people’s lives through amazing generosity and self-sacrifice is well known; Jesus was clearly caught on a number of occasions doing similar things, such as giving to the poor.  Traditional Mennoniting has been great, but as I look to my future, I know that if all the changes I participate in on this planet can be produced by any charitable organization, then I have left behind the real Difference Maker that can’t be matched by those secular organizations; we are capable of so much more.

If the future of my Mennoniting, however, produces the lame walking along with school kits for children, the blind seeing along with providing needed quilts, and deaf hearing along with welcomed food supplies, then my “Mennoniting” will produce something that the secular organizations can’t duplicate.

I feel the question of “How do I Mennonite?” is an outstanding one and I appreciate how Mennoniting has led me to good works in the past. But for me, the follow-up question is just as important: And where does my Mennoniting go from here?

Next week, Alex Bouwman, youth leader at West Philadelphia Mennonite Church, will reflect on balancing identity with action.  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)