I am presently in Canada to participate in a ministers conference arranged by the Canadian Mennonite University with the title: How to Sing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land.
My job is to deliver an opening “inspirational” address and lead three bible studies.
First few days have been a matter of catching up with friends and letting body catch up with changed time zone.
The fact that my reading of Baptist is very much baptist or (ana)baptist is no secret. It is part a tribute to the Baptist tradition that it can accommodate a wide range of interpretations of the tradition.
Yet I am struck by the strength of the term Mennonite to identify a way of seeing the world in relation to peace and the centrality of Jesus that Baptist does not. This is not to dismiss my own tradition but to ponder again the meaning of terms such as Baptist to give a particular sense of identity that does not diminish others but places ones own perspective on the table.
Talking about tables Susanne and I have received great hospitality while here and after this first week are going on a bit of a road trip that will include a journey through the mountains, hanging out with various Mennonite types, and observing an ongoing research project that is part of Mennonite discernment and the including of marginal voices into a conversation.
I am here to participate in a conversation about church with the Mennonites but enjoying the sense of spirituality of this particular community in a quite refreshing way…think i might gain more than I give.