My name is Matt and I have been checking out your blog for a while now and decided that I wanted in on the action.
I am a Mennonite born and bred — in fact a Canadian Mennonite (so the y’all that I used above is put on). You can’t get much more particularistic than that can you? I am what is known as an ethnic Mennonite — quite an odd concept and all but there you go. I grew up in a church that was deeply conscious of the problems inherent in an ethnic definition of the term Mennonite and dealt with it by trying to do everything it could to get rid of anything distinctively Mennonite/Anabaptist. Maybe we were embarrassed about being Mennonite — God knows it was awkward to be associated with horses and buggies all the time. So we just tried to fit in with all the evangelical churches in town.
But the fact that we were just like all other churches meant that there was no good reason to go to our church (unless you liked Mennonite food!), so when I moved away for college I went to all kinds of different churches. Not until I worked for a Canadian Chinese Mennonite Church (OK, the category of Canadian Chinese Mennonite is even more particularistic than Canadian Mennonite!) did I find myself becoming committed to Anabaptist theology.
While I am Canadian, I find myself in the US of A. I am doing graduate work in the South. I attend a fantastic Mennonite church that nurtures and disciplines me in ways that continually astound me.
Â I want to think of myself as a radical but it is pretty difficult since I am at a school that runs on pretty dirty money and I rent in a rather gentrified neighborhood. And while I still try to dress like I am 21, I am really 31. So I guess I am a wannabe-young, wannabe-radical Anabaptist — a WYWRA. Not nearly as catchy as a YAR.
But I look forward to being a part of this blog and learning from everyone.