This is an independent blog and is not affiliated with any particular church, group or conference. The term Bruderthaler refers to a specific ethnic or cultural Mennonite heritage, not to any particular organized group. All statements and opinions are solely those of the contributor(s). Blog comprises notebook fragments from various research projects and discussions. Dialogue, comment and notice of corrections are welcomed. Much of this content is related to papers and presentations that might be compiled at a future date, as such, this blog serves as a research archive rather than as a publication. 'tag

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forgetting the Dead

en Denkjemol

    As Mennonites, we seem to have a complicated relationship to the dead.  Officially, we, as Brüderthaler, seem to have a belief against honoring the dead.    Interestingly, my grandmother reiterated this when I questioned whether or not she wanted to view Grandfather’s grave in the country churchyard.  “No,” she replied, “he is not there – that does nothing to remind me of him.”
    This is despite the fact that she often joins her non-Mennonite family in recognizing their duty to decorate and clean the graves of her non-Mennonite family located in the city cemetery an hour away. 
    Half-Swedish, I also belong to a Scandinavian culture that has often historically blurred the lines separating the living from the dead -- the paradoxical personal resolution of the opposing cultural beliefs that I have had no problem resolving in favor of the Swedes. 
    The theory behind the Brüderthaler tradition is that in the graveyard, we have merely buried a husk and that the essence of the person is now in Heaven with the Heavenly Father.  If we want to speak to them or miss them, the appropriate response is to not waste one’s time in an empty graveyard, but instead to live a Holy life so that we too might join them in paradise.  The bodies are of no account, merely resting in storage, carefully arranged so that they will raise facing Jerusalem (east) when they are called for at the end times Resurrection. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Work on Definitions

Defining Oneself

    This past weekend, I have spent considerable time attempting to develop stronger, more universal definitions for many of the terms that I use in my essays and which I tend to encounter in my reading.  I also spent a fair amount of time writing an essaic criticism of the rhetorical argumentation in a recent series published in Fellowship Focus on the emergent churches.  The emergent church movement is a new concept to me, so I was able to approach the articles with an open mind.  However, the quality or organization of their particular line of argument was often inconsistent, non-linear, even self-contradictory, leaving me, the reader, confused and uncertain.  Note that one finds it much easier to criticize the work of another than to recognize the same deficiencies within oneself, which is why there is a certain intellectual strength to be found in the Scholastic or even consensus-building process -- and why most books and literary efforts shower such profuse praise on those who assisted in the editorial process.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Evangelicals, Mennonites and the Emergent Church

Response to Harvey Schultz’s Methodology in “What is the Emerging Church Movement?”

Note:  The tone of this essay is quite strong -- be advised in reading it that both authors are trying to critically engage a set of terms and ideas in an effort to advance teachings and understandings of these very important topics.
    Generally, one is excited to come across a hardcore, realistic engagement by a church leader of a leading, if not controversial, theological or philosophical issue.  All to often, we are spoon fed “talking points”, cozy “3-point Homilies”, and slickly packaged ethical and theological truths along with the supporting bumper sticker moralizing.  One of the great differences between Anabaptism and American-style Evangelicalism is the implied accountability the Anabaptist retains as a member of the congregation.  We do not achieve Salvation through the Church so we cannot blame the Church for our success or failure.  We are responsible to explore the scriptures and participate in the Spirit of Fellowship so as to be able to discern and recognize Truth and right doctrine.  We are to come forth in our true conscience and to participate in the consensual congregational fellowship of the believer found in the correct relationship to God, our fellow humankind, the Church, and God’s Creation.  The “Nuremberg Defence” is simply not available to the Anabaptist -- we cannot say that we believe this or that because we were told to, because that is what we have been taught, or that “it” made as good sense as anything.  Simply put, as Anabaptists, we have been called individually and congregationally to engage the Scriptures and the world in a Spiritually tuned manner.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Multi-Axis Identities, the Lustre Synthesis

Multi-Axis Identities as a Unifying Concept:

Note:  This is a reflection on the organizational difficulties in mapping out an organizational structure for a proposed cultural and spiritual history of the EMB church or Brüderthaler Mennonite culture.

    While I understand previous thoughts regarding a structure based on the name changes, I am not sure that this as effective for delineating the generational shifts in perception of the conference, the self-identity of the membership, or the growth stages of the conference.
    I would recommend an organization based on growth stages (Erikson’s developmental models provide some intriguing ideas), with a strong emphasis on biographical details of the men and women who created the conference, supported the missions and were called to service.
    What we need is a system that recognizes that the EMB were often a very loose fellowship of many different groups who were more involved or more influential at different times but always present in shifting alliances -- the missionaries, the Mennonites, the non-Mennonites, the Evangelicals, the Urbanites, the Rural Farmers, those who wanted to Reform existing movements, those who wanted to plant new endeavors.  Furthermore, I am more and more convinced that many of the church bodies joined and remained part of the conference for different reasons -- some wanting fellowship with reform-minded congregations, some wanting to join resources but otherwise be left more or less to their own devices, and those who wanted to join resources to generate a strong missions presence, and those who wanted to maintain a strong ethnic identity.  Even amongst the ethnic Mennonites, you had Kleiners, General Conference, those who leaned towards the MB, the Bruderthaler, the cultural Mennonites, etc. 

Mennonite Culture

606 agriculture AIMM Alcohol Alt-Oldenburger Amish Amish Prayer Amish voyeurism Anniversary of Russian Mennonites Architecture Archives Athletes Baptism Bess und Bettag Bible Study Bluffton College BMC Bob Jones University Bruderthaler Burial Customs Camp Funston Canadian Government Catherine the Great CCC Chaco Civil Rights Colonist Horse Congo Inland Mission Conscientious Objectors Consensus Cultural Criticism Death decals Definitions Dialogue diaspora Discipline Discrimination Divorce Drama Drugs Easter Emergent Church Movement ethnic violence Ethnicity Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Evangelical Mennonites Evangelicals exile Famine Fastpa folk art Footwashing Frente Menonita Front for the Defense of the Mennonite Colonies Furor mennoniticus Gardens gay Gay Marriage Gelassenheit Gemeinshaft Gender Studies General Conference German German Bible Gnadenfelde Goshen School Grace School grief Halodomar hate crimes Heirloom Seeds HMS Titanic Holocaust Holy Kiss Horses Hymns Identity Formation identity politics Immigration Immigration Song Inquisition Inter-faith Mennonites Jewish Diaspora Kairos Kleine Gemeinde Krimmer Mennonites Language LGBT Lustre Synthesis Lutheran and Mennonite Relations Magistracy Marriage Martyrs' Mirror MC-USA MCC Kits Mennonite Brethren Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Mennonite Decals Mennonite Diaspora Mennonite farming innovations Mennonite Flag Mennonite Heritage Plants Mennonite Horse Mennonite Identity Mennonite Literature Mennonite Refugees Mennonite Women Missions Molotschna Cattle Breed Movies Music Non-resistance Pacifism photography Pietism Plautdietsch Flag Plautdietsche Poetry Politics Postmodernism quilts Radio refugees Rites Roman Catholic and Mennonite Relations Roman Catholicism Russian Mennonite Flag Russian Mennonites Russian Orthodox Church secularism Shunning Southern Baptists Taxation Television Ten Thousand Villages Terms Viki-leaks Water Dowsing Wenger Mennonites Women's Studies World War 2 World War I


A. F. Wiens (1) A. H. Leahman (1) A. J. Wall (1) Abraham Gerber (1) Abram Groening (1) Adam Carroll (2) AIMM (3) Albert Wall (7) Allison Mack (1) Anne-Marie Goertzen Wall (1) Annie C. Funk (1) Aron Wall (1) B. F. Hamilton (1) Benjamin Mubenga (1) Benjamin Sprunger (1) Bernhard Dueck Kornelssen (1) Berry Friesen (1) Bitter Poets (3) Bob Jones University (2) Brandon Beachy (1) Brendan Fehr (1) Bruce Hiebert (1) C. Henry Niebuhr (1) C. R. Voth (1) Calvin Redekop (3) Carolyn Fauth (3) CBC News (1) Charles King (1) Chris Goertzen (1) Connie Mack (1) Corrie ten Boom (1) Dale Suderman (2) Daniel Friesen (1) Danny Klassen (1) David Classen (1) Dennis Wideman (1) Diane Driedger (3) Dick Lehman (1) Donald Kraybill (1) Donald Plett (1) Dora Dueck (1) Dustin Penner (1) Dwaine and Nancy Wall (1) Edna Ruth Byler (1) Eduard Wust (1) Elliott Tapaha (1) Elvina Martens (1) Eric Fehr (1) Esther K. Augsburger (1) Ethel Wall (1) Frente Menonita (1) Fritz and Alice Wall Unger (1) Gbowee (1) Georg Hansen (1) George P. Schultz (3) George S. Rempel (1) George Schultz (1) Gordon C. Eby (1) Goshen College (4) Gus Stoews (1) H. C. Wenger (1) H. F. Epp (1) Harold S. Bender (1) Heidi Wall Burns (2) Helen Wells Quintela (1) Henry Epp (1) Henry Toews (1) Ian Buruna (1) Isaac Peters (6) J. C. Wall (3) J. T. Neufeld (2) Jakob Stucky (1) James Duerksen (1) James Reimer (1) Jason Behr (1) Jeff Wall (1) Jim Kuebelbeck (1) Joetta Schlabach (2) Johann F. Kroeker (1) John Howard Yoder (1) John Jacob Wall (1) John R. Dick (1) John Rempel (1) John Roth (1) Jonathan Groff (1) Jonathan Toews (2) Jordi Ruiz Cirera (1) Kathleen Norris (4) Kelly Hofer (3) Kevin Goertzen (1) Keystone Pipeline (3) Leymah Gbowee (1) Linda May Shirley (1) Lionel Shriver (1) Lorraine Kathleen Fehr (2) Margarita Teichroeb (1) Marlys Wiens (2) Martin Fast (1) Matt Groening (2) Melvin D. Epp (1) Menno Simons (3) Micah Rauch (1) Michael Funk (1) Moody Bible Institute (2) Nancy Wall (4) Norma Jost Voth (1) O. J. Wall (2) Orlando J. Wall (3) Patrick Friesen (4) Peter Wall (1) Philip Landis (1) Phillip Jakob Spener (1) Rachael Traeholt (2) Randy Smart (3) Rhoda Janzen (1) Rob Nicholson (2) Robin Martins (1) Robyn Regehr (1) Roger Williams (1) Rosella Toews (1) Ruth Lederach (1) Sam Mullet (3) Sam Schmidt (1) Scot McKnight (1) Stacey Loewen (2) Stanley Hauerwas (2) Steven Wall (6) Susan Mark Landis (1) Taylor Kinney (1) Tom Airey (2) Victor Toews (4)