When I started this blog, there were a number of identities and/or topics I could have chosen. White, middle-class, raving liberal, parent, transracial adopter, movie-holic, software manager, amateur history buff, argumentative Christian – all would have provided ample material for a once-a-week-or-so posting.
But I wanted to write about topics that could use more of a voice in our post-9/11 (or post-3/19) world. Given the power the religious right has exercised in its vision of a war-loving, unbridled-free-market Jesus, there needs to be more advocates for an alternative (or, as I like to call it, “more accurate”) vision of Jesus’ social teaching.
So, I chose my Mennonite identity for the blog, not because I am a representative Mennonite (who are all over the map politically), but because the seemingly monolithic “Christian = Conservative Republican” equation needs to be challenged. Christians who support peace and progressive social policies are actually more in line with Jesus' social ethic than those who, for example, support aggressive, unilateral war, torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial, or even large tax cuts for the wealthy. I don't claim to have a monopoly on the truth, but I do feel the need to be at least a tiny voice in this vast wilderness of the web to advocate for social policy that reflects what God might want for us lowly humans.
Since then, I have been spending a lot of time in the Elkhart/Goshen, Indiana area, taking classes at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. This is the Mennonite Mecca of Midwest, where you don’t have to worry about people mistaking your religion for a cult. Spending time among so many well-spoken and serious Mennonites, who represent the faith far better than I do, is a very humbling experience. My Urbana-Champaign congregation is also filled with well-spoken and serious Mennonites, but it is so much easier to feel like a representative Mennonite there than in Elkhart, where there is so much more heritage and diversity.
One of the things that I didn’t anticipate with a blog name of “Musings of a Modern Mennonite” is that the majority of people who reach it (who do not personally know me) do so via an internet search of the word“Mennonite”. Here is a list of recent searches for people who have found their way here:
- mennonites torture
- hate mennonite
- mennonite bloggers
- mennonite blog
- mennonite blogs
- illegal mennonite immigrant or immigration
- mennonite standards
So, I’ve decided to replace “Modern” with “Minor”. Minor, not in the sense that I can’t buy beer legally, but in the sense that I am far removed from any hierarchical Mennonite authority, and you could find heresy here just as easily as dogma. “Modern” was never really quite accurate anyway, as a friend pointed out that I am more Post-Modern in my outlook, even though I wasn’t really using the term in that way. And, “Minor” still fits, alliteratively, which is more important than it should be.
My wife claims this change makes me *more* Mennonite, not less, since it is a very Mennonite thing to claim unimportance. It binds us all together in one big, quiet mass of respectfulness. How perfect, then, to confirm my Mennonite identity in a way that makes it seem like I am being respectful and humble.
I proclaim to thee, My Blog, by the power vested in me of knowing the password to my blogspot account, that henceforth, thou shall be known as: “Musings of a Minor Mennonite.”