Geez whiz: historic peace churches & modern Christianity

Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 04:07 pm
Today's newspaper had an article about "Geez" (as in Jesus) magazine (http://www.geezmagazine.org). Intrigued, I went to the site and read around. It seemed that there was a real connection with the Mennonite church so I decided to do a little reading on them too.

Boy was I surprised! My only brush with the Mennonites is from when I lived for a while in Oklahoma and they had road signs warning you to watch out for the horse and buggys driven by Mennonites.

I had the same kind of eye pop experience when I discovered that Quakers did not dress like the guy on the oatmeal box anymore.

From what I've read today, the Mennonites, the Society of Friends (Quakers) and The Church of the Brethern constitue a group known as the historic peace churches. All three espouse pacificism, helping others and simple living, even among their most progressive members, or so it seems.

I'm curious and I would like to hear about how people in other religions or people with no religions think about these "historic peace churchs".

Thank you!
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 04:11 pm
Richard Nixon was a Quaker - a wayward one, I would guess.
I have always respected these churches, to the degree that I understand them. As I recall, Joanne Dorel was a Quaker.
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 04:32 pm
I didn't know that Joanne was a Quaker. That is interesting in and of itself.

I don't identify with any religion but if I had to I would probably name myself as "Quaker".
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 04:42 pm
I don't know about the others, but I have always had a special respect for Quakers...based on their work against slavery, their promotion of decent prison conditions and decent conditions for workers, and their lack of hierarchy and institutionalism in their churches.
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 09:05 pm
I know of the Mennonites from the ones that live in Chihuahua, Mexico. Some come into town to buy things that they then take to their villages. They also sell cheese here, queso menonita, which is a mild white cheese similar to queso asadero, and Muenster, although it's softer than the latter.

Over the years they've become more liberal in their ways. They've begun to accept the use of automobiles lately. I sold an old Toyota of mine to a Mennonite a couple of years ago. He bought it for his son.

The Spanish they speak tends to be pretty rudementary, enough to get by on on the street. The German they speak is a bit archaic. They usually do not speak English, like the people I sold the Toyota to.

This from "Mennonite Colonies in Mexico Accept Change Slowly":

The Mexican government desired to settle the barren northern areas of their country with industrious farmers such as the Mennonites. In 1922, at the invitation of President Alvaro Obregón, 20,000 Mennonites left Canada and settled in the state of Chihuahua. Mexico agreed to sell them land at reasonable prices and level no taxes for 100 years if the Mennonites would produce the bulk of cheese needed for northern Mexico. President Obregón granted the Mennonites full control of their schools including maintenance of their language, independence of religion in both home and schools and exemption from military service.

Over the years the Mennonites have slowly accepted some changes in their lifestyle. Most have accepted the automobile and have adopted Mexican and North American architecture rather than older European styles. Their schools are fully accredited by Mexico, and teachers are college trained either in North America or Mexico. The curriculum is more extensive, including English, Spanish and geography; schools are in session longer; women as well as men are allowed to teach; and teaching is now a full-time occupation. However, criteria that determine church membership among Chihuahua Mennonites remain strict: only the children of Mennonite parents can become members and they must obey church tenets to remain in the church. Mennonites now speak Spanish as well as German and live side by side with the Tarahumara Indians.

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Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2006 10:36 am
Thank you for that fascinating piece of information, InfraBlue!

I wonder if there are other religious groups that have been courted and persuaded into setteling areas in similar ways.

Reading about these religions in light of the current Christianity popular in America today I think the difference can be summed up by considering the difference between

God helps those that help themselves.


God will provide.
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Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2006 03:21 pm
In the interest of sparking a conversation, here are some blurbs as they appeared in my paper yesterday.

Edited in Canada and designed in Oregon, Geez is a mostly straight-faced, sometimes slightly irreverent journal promoting "holy mischief in an age of fast faith." It pokes, piques and prods Christians, and the unconverted among its readers, to live out the revolutionary values of Jesus in a consumer-driven, postmodern, materialist world. Geez is committed to "an irreverent expression of incredulity (as when wars are fought, fortunes amassed, raw power pursued, using the name of God.)"

In other words, Geez has a bias. That's not, the editors insist, a bad thing, especially when you're out to change popular attitudes toward materialism, energy consumption, the environment and an institutional church that is committed to making its members feel good. And you're determined to do it all in the name of Jesus, without accepting any paid ads in the process.

"I've found a lot of people who don't claim to be Christians," he says, "but they are spiritually minded. They want to live right, in a sustainable and ethical way." Then, too, there are Christians "burned out" by the institutional church, he says. "Some are outraged by fundamentalist war-mongering and the fact that that part of Christianity is the most visible."

Let me ask, what do any of you, no matter your faith, belive are the revolutionary values of Jesus?

Living with less has been a real focus of mine for the last few years. Making do with less just feels right to me somehow, at this point in my life. Having less, wanting less, and getting rid of a lot of "more" has made my life much less stressfull.
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Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2006 03:56 pm
My family boasts of soldiers in both the Union and the Confederate army as well as a branch of Quakers from New Jersey who sold provisions and equipment to both sides.
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Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2006 05:49 pm
This is something that I find very interesting, Noddy.

I was reading about embargos against Cuba and how the Mennonites worked both sides of the situation.

And other situations.

To me, this feels very "Christian" but these days, it doesn't seem very "Christian" in how the word is now preceived and I am a little bewildered that the A2K Christian faction has nothing to say about this....
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