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Counter Cultural Engagement

There are at least three good reasons to start new Anabaptist faith communities.

First, starting a new faith community represents one important way to express faithfulness to Christ.  Following Jesus has historically led us into the development of new faith communities.

Second, it helps we Christians keep the Gospel relevant without being culture-bound.  I use the word, “relevant” with caution.  I have seen many new projects do dumb things in the name of “relevancy”.  Nevertheless, as Western culture gives way from modernity, Christendom and an industrial economy to post- all of that, the way we did church in the last century is less and less coherent.  We need new forms of church to speak into the culture being created.

Third, starting a new faith community helps the people of my tribe leave our Mennonite ethos of separation behind, and become more engaged with the wider society.  There is a lot of litter across the history of the church with the relics of expressions of churches that practiced physical separation from the world, rather than a counter-cultural engagement with the world.  Anabaptism is, at its best, a counter-cultural engagement with the world.  Mennonites and our spiritual cousins settled for separation for good historical reasons.  However, the time has come to renew our commitment to radical discipleship, authentic community, and genuine peace building, and to do so in the form of new churches.  Starting new faith communities in the brave new world we are creating must become thoroughly Anabaptist in perspective. – JW

2 responses to “Counter Cultural Engagement

  1. julietkilpin ⋅

    Amen to that Jeff! In partnership with you and others you know Urban Expression would say we are one group trying to live out a ‘counter-cultural engagement with the world’, and I guess Mennonites are part of those pioneering faith communities with UE in North America. One question several UE pioneers have asked in the UK is how is it possible to start a new ‘Mennonite’ faith community in the UK? Still remains a bit of a mystery to me! JK

  2. Hans

    500 years ago we were the RADICAL reformers. The pendulum swings a few times, then we were the “quiet in the land”. Is it time that the pendulum swings the other way again? What are we missing, that we are not radical reformers now?

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