Haven’t looked much at your site for lack of time. But wanted to post what may be an interesting “other side of the story” for your readers–short version, again, busy now. My husband was raised Catholic, I was raised Lutheran, both baptised as adults in ‘liberal’ settings, married as born-again Christians. We lived in a rural area and our mainstream church was being torn to peices by ‘in-fighting’ (actually ended up closed and sold as residential) and my husband wanted to visit the Mennonite church. I was horrified!!! Knew and loved some neighbors but…. they must think I’m a heathen… we wouldn’t fit in. We did visit and enjoy their warm and friendly fellowship from time to time for a couple of years. We were REALLY rural and I homeschooled because of the awful journey (timewise) to and from school. I had a third grader, a first grader, and 2 pre-schoolers. and found out I was expecting TWINS. Something had to give. My husband asked what we would have to do to send our children to their private school. (Again, I’m goin’, “Whoa, here”) It was very reasonable and we complied. We grew dearer friends and closer in fellowship over five years time and we applied for membership. They recognized that Christ had saved us before they had met us, they accepted our baptisms as genuine and did not claim salvation was “of them”. At this point, we’ve been with this church for over 20 years. Our children are all grown and married… in the church… happily. We have many grandchildren…. I can’t imagine leaving it. However, I know many, most, fellowships would be harder to live in than this one. This is a very conservative fellowship, but our church is blessed with mature beleivers and a lot of love. Being “NMB” (non-mennonite background), is like a ‘club’. I get contacted by others who are considering or have joined others churches. Every organization is made up of its members. No 2 people are alike and certainly no 2 groups of people are alike, but what our family has found I would never leave. I know whats out ‘there’ and it is vastly inferior.
Q:If you are a non-mennoite and desire to know more about the Mennonites and joining the Mennonite Church…Do they accept people from the outside? What do you have to do to be accepted ? What if you served in a war and have taken a human lives during mortal combat…Are you forever unclean? What if you also was a former police officer but now know that violence solves nothing ..Can a person of this stature but one who now feels deep regret about lifes choices …Could this person ever become a Monnonite?
A: In North America, most Mennonite churches will accept just about anyone. The key is change. Mennonites are Christians and therefore to achieve salvation one most repent for their sins.
Christians and by proxy Mennonites do not believe a person is eternally condemned if they turn their life over to Jesus.
Now if you’re planning on joining the traditional buggy type Mennonites, your journey may be much more difficult.
Q:Surely, Sir, it was assumed that no Mennonite worth his mayonaise would be collecting nuts in a wood without loyal Mennonite collaborators. Any person with two eyes and a mouth knows that.
For you see on this particular day our Mennonite family: Abus, Abigail, Andrew, Little Abus, Adam, and Abacus were in the woods efficiently collecting nuts in a rewarding and productive family outing. Young Adam, curious (only on the inside), is lured away like even the surest of footed goat can become by The Devil’s Touch, temptation in a stockpile of nuts.
Young Adam, dazed, confused, entranced, is lured deeper and deeper (by The Devil) into the wooded hills until his foot catches a root arching from the ground as if reaching up through the dirt into Heaven for Jesus, Mary, Noah, Yaweh, Joseph, his Coat, Ramses, all Ten Commandments and the Prophet Isiah Washington to proclaim its faith.
Now look: a similar scenario we find ourselves in. Poor hard working, simple young Adam (remember: with family, lured by Devil, now alone) falls in the woods. Nobody is around to hear it. Does he make a sound?
A: You win.
Like a good Mennonite though, I put my nose to the grindstone and did a bit of digging through my website server logs looking at IP addresses. I then cross-referenced them to the timestamp on the email allowing for a +/- on lag and sending times. What I found was very interesting…
Q:What is the Mennonite position about Christmas, New Years, Easter, birthdays, and other Holidays??? If celebrated, what are examples of appropriate gifts?
A:The big two we celebrate are Christmas and Easter. For Christmas, the gifts tend to be very practical. The women get things for the kitchen, fabrics to make their dresses, etc… Men tend to get tools such as hammers, screw drivers and the like. Depending on your parents, there might also be the bi-annual batch of treats, candies, and fizzie drinks.
Children might get a toy or two but mostly practical stuff.
As for Easter, that is part two of the bi-annual treats. Bags of treats are hidden around the yard for the children to find.
Q:What is the mennonite position on interracial marriages??? (Mennonite male to multiethnic female.)
A:In the community I grew up, it’s heavily frowned upon. There is the odd exception but the couple involved tend to be heavily looked down on and generally have their lives made difficult enough that it is just better to leave. In the more liberal Mennonite communities such as the ones in Canada, it definitely happens and is accepted.
Q:I live in a Mennonite community. I love it. My children go to school with Mennonite children. My question is, is it hard in our society for the Mennonite children today? We are so materialistic, I wonder if they notice or if they are comfortable the way they are?
A:Mennonite children definitely notice the materialistic aspects of the world. In fact, they notice it much more than the average child.
As you mentioned, Mennonite children cannot have many of the things an average North American child has and because they cannot have them, the desire is even greater. If you live in a strictly Mennonite community secluded from outside influences such as the one I grew up in, in Paraguay, the desire isn’t there because one isn’t aware its out there.
Having said that, once I reached a point in my life where I had easier access to material items, I appreciated them much more.
Q: Okay, so let’s pretend a Mennonite is off working hard in the woods collecting nuts for his family’s winter stores. Said Mennonite loses his focus after being enchanted with a particularly LARGE pile of nuts and is uprooted on a rock.
This hard working Mennonite was performing this particular hard working task by his lonesome.
So listen, a hard working, responsible, productive, nut collecting Mennonite falls in the woods. Nobody is around to hear it. Does he make a sound?
A:First off, I admire the persistence with the question Ted.
I’m glad we got the hard working fact correct. However, as we also know and I didn’t mention in the previous answer, Mennonites have large families and are community based. Many hands make light work. This fact would very much ring true in our aforementioned predicament which means our Mennonite friend would in fact be working with fellow family members gathering the nuts hence making the question irrelevant yet again.
Q: Why is it that Mennonites stare so much?
A: Well Timmie, just like when you keep a dog caged up for most of its life and then let it run free, it goes wild, so Mennonites stare because they’re out of the pen and want to “thoroughly” see everything they’ve never witnessed before.
Q: Listen, if a Mennonite falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear, do they make a sound?
A: Unfortunately, there is a fatal flaw in your question. Why is there a Mennonite falling in the forest?
A Mennonite is always productive & working and therefore wouldn’t be lolly gagging around in the woods. He could only be in the woods for the purposes of work and therefore wouldn’t be wasting time falling.
Sadly, your question is irrelevant.
Q: How come Mennonite men shave their face but the women can’t shave anything?
A: Its not so much that the women can’t shave, it is the fact that they are not aware of the western custom of shaving.
As for the men, the reason the men shave is because it is seen as unclean.