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July 29, 2004


David Morrison

Hugo, but which communion is going to better prepare or enpower you to be the witness to Christ that He wants you to be? I have often considered that God often wants us to be in our least comfortable place (Abram, get up and get going across the desert to the land which I will show you....).

I don't know much about Menonnites from direct personal experience. But I know that they offer a light in the gathering darkness which few can match and to which, in my view at least, the contemporary ECUSA cannot hope to approach.

Jonathan Dresner

There are lots of traditions and folk customs about prayer in the Jewish tradition. One has to do with praying in a consistent manner (strictly speaking, you should sit/stand in the same place in the sanctuary every day) in a comfortable environment (one reason the rabbis were so concerned with health over the centuries), so as to reduce distractions and strains which might interfere with one's concentration on prayer.

Class and personal history don't seem, on the face of it, as good reasons for prefering one church over another, given the stark theological and liturgical differences between them. But it does no good to pray in a place where you cannot concentrate on prayer.


Given my personal background and temperament, I'd probably fit better in a conservative Anglican church. Pentecostals are more interested in feeling than thinking, and to me,even Hillsong can't compete with Bach. But I stay, not only because I like the people and the work I do, not only because the Theology fits, but because its good for me. It's good for me to rub shoulders with people from vastly different social classes to my own. It's good for me to shiver under a leaky roof, and play basketball with former gang members who have seen things I have no idea of. It's good for me to be challenged in my arrogance, supported in my weaknesses, and not having to always puzzle everything out. It's good for me to rock to Gospel Hip-hop, although I hate the stuff. And it's most of all, good for me to be somewhere that challenges my notions of good taste in favour of God's. I want to be somewhere that isn't ashamed of Jesus, and being passionate about Him. Is that ECUSA, or ACNZP? Hell, no.


And, strange as it may seem, I want to be accountable for my actions. I want to have the best required of me. I don't want to be comfortable, I want to end up Christlike. Our church does that.

Orange Hans

I am saddened to hear of your decision to leave Pasadena Mennonite Church. I am also a convert to the Mennonite church, having grown up an atheist. Unfortunately, I live about 1300 miles from my congragation, but I yearn to be part of that community [First Mennonite, Upland, California]. I worship at a Lutheran church, primarily because I know that I (and my sons) will consistently hear the basic gospel preached, although I disagree with some Lutheran theology.

I know it can be difficult to fit in as a convert. When I moved to Oklahoma over 10 years ago, I started attending a very conservative Mennonite church (not MCUSA, "Holdeman Mennonite") that's over an hour's drive from my home. When my marriage failed, I found it impossible to keep attending that church--the standard of moral perfection was just too high.

My personality type is INTP--community living is not my first priority, but it is good for me--it keeps me out of the shell I'd like to create for myself. [Marriage also does this for me!]

A coincidence: I also lived at the UCLA Co-op for 2 years in the early 80s. My fondest memory: getting compliments for how I cooked French toast. I am happy to see that they have renovated Robison Hall--it was real shabby in the '80s.

I plan to go to a Mennonite seminary once I [finally] finish my undergraduate degree. As a potential pastor, I am interested in how people 'choose' churches, although often God chooses for us by opening and closing doors. God wants you to be where you can use the gifts he's given you. By reading your blog, I can see that he has given you many gifts; I am saddened that you will not be using them in our church--we need to be shaken out of our complacency sometimes.


Really sorry to hear this, Hugo.

Is it fair to say that your decision has more to do with the culture of the Mennonite Church than with anabaptist-mennonite theology in general?

Of course, one would like to think that the two are the same, but then one doesn't live on the moon!

David G.

Hugo, I'm glad to find this site and learn a bit more about what prompted your move from PMC to All Saints. Thank you for including the excerpt from Bethany Torode. I don't recognize my own motives for seeking community among those she lists, but I'll revisit this list in reflection.

I hope you are well and that your plans and hopes as I knew them are moving forward. I miss seeing you, but I'm glad to think you're in a place where "every fiber of your being" is more at home.

Wishing you peace, joy, and good workouts at 24 HR-FT.



Thanks, David!


My wife became friends with, and started attending service at our local mennonite church. she was looking to belong and be accepted. she says I am the man of her dreams, and she loves me....she left two weeks ago because they teach, and she now believes, we were living in a false marriage of adultery. she and i both had been divorced prior to meeting, prior to accepting god in our lives and prior to attending the mennonite church. my life is destroyed. our children are now torn from their only home and my marriage is not a marriage except in my heart. and yet she loves me and doesnt want a divorce, just can never again be my wife.....im just trying very hard not to lose it totally.....john


John, I am very sorry to hear about what your wife has done. I pray in the name of Jesus that your wife will come back to you, that he will assure her heart that these people are sincerely wrong. I live right by mennonites, and I have felt the guilt of this too just by living around them, I am not divorced by my husband has been... but I just keep praying, and reading the Bible there are lots of passages that say that divorce ends a marriage, that even if you were remarried your never to go back to the original spouse, I'm sure you already know this.


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