On the great day of judgment, all of humanity was gathered in a celestial banquet hall. It was a huge space, with a massive round table in the middle. The table was so big that it accommodated what seemed to be hundreds of thousands of people, probably more. As one looked to the left or the right, there were people as far as the eye could see. Yet somehow, by some supernatural optical phenomenon, one had no trouble seeing clearly everyone seated directly across the table. In a position of prominence was the Almighty herself, who interestingly had an appearance not unlike the way God was portrayed in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” yet whose Voice was unmistakably feminine. After a while, some grumbling was to be heard, as people began to take notice of who was present. Finally, a lone voice cried out, a voice with a thick Brooklyn accent, saying, “Hey God, I’m happy to be here, of course, but I see my old neighbor Moshe sitting over there and I know that rotten sonofabitch rascal ought to be in the other place. What gives?” (more…)
During this particular moment of time, as large numbers of younger Evangelicals are leaving the church for nominalism or into the camp of the 16% of the US which make up the spiritually “unaffliated”, I believe that the Anabaptist Tradition has massive resources to offer the North American Body of Christ at large, especially the conservative Evangelical tradition of my upbringing.
I am utterly compelled that the thought and praxis of the Radical Reformation uniquely confronts the weaknesses of North American Evangelicalism, a tradition credited (through the almost universal marriage with the GOP) with the 8-years of unjust Bush policies (two wars, the Patriot Act, trickle-down economics, etc), as well as a virtual obsession with “biblical” issues like abortion & gay marriage (and, yes, Obama has not fared much better in his quest to set records with drones and deportations).
In addition, Anabaptism is well-equipped to confront narcissism, instant gratification, consumerism and celebrity worship saturating us everyday. As Nancey Murphy wrote a few years back, referring to the “distinctive” characteristics of Anabaptism (nonviolence, revolutionary subordination, the separation of church and state and learning to live with less),
“All four of these radical-reformation distinctives can be seen as strategies for living in such a way as to curb the will-to-power.” (more…)