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While ideally we Anabaptists, hope that all Christians will be pacifists, we know that for many it is a process.
We did talk a bit more about this very issue in our hangout.The topic was: how do we maintain our peace stance as Anabaptists while also being welcoming to veterans and those who currently serve in the military?How do we react to those who wish to be part of our community but who may not be at the place yet where they can truly agree with all of our finer points of theology?I’m thinking of starting a series on some of these topics – the taboo issues our churches (not just Mennonite, but in general) face.Some of which are: LGBTQ issues and the constant debate that is taking over the arena on whether to become welcoming and inclusive, the death penalty and abortion, as well as what is truly “acceptable” behaviour to engage in before the wedding night.And if so, is this not the same as what soldiers are attempting to do in war?
We talked about the need for occasionally not being afraid to offend people. He didn’t spend hours constructing politically correct language, so why should the 21 century be all hung up on this?So is it possible for someone to not be a pacifist and to be a Mennonite? Many Mennonerds shared very important stories that evening about people they have welcomed into their churches and because of the loving and supportive community have gradually begun to re-evaluate pacifism and some of them have claimed it for themselves.In this way, many of us agree that belonging is more important than theologically agreeing with the community. When I was 12 years old, I began attending a Mennonite church.I shared with the Mennonerds the struggle I see myself in as someone who hopes to pastor a flock one day.As someone who grew up in a rural Canadian Mennonite church, pacifism was so ingrained in us. After Salvation, pacifism was the second most important thing. and was deeply surprised that a few American Mennonites do not consider themselves absolute pacifists.These are all things that young adults wish were discussed in church, and yet, most churches dare not discuss for fear that perhaps they will be seen as being too “liberal” or not taking their faith “seriously enough.” More on this in a later post.