Hints of Being a Mennonite American Baptist Pastor

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 August 3, 2015


     One of my seminary professors was Dr. David Augsburger, a great teacher and a Mennonite in the midst of our American Baptist seminary. That was 36 years ago and was my first brush with Mennonites. Dr. Augsburger dressed like us and was rumored to even drink wine, a reality that I was beginning to see was normal. In my growing up years I had only encountered wine on neon signs that said either “Wine and Liquor Store” or “Fine Dining and Wine.” My family didn’t go out to restaurants much, but when we did it was Big Boy and, without a doubt, there was no fine wine in the premises.

Over the years I’ve come to know a number of other people who are Mennonites and the men put their pants on the same way I do. I’ve even preached in the Mennonite church here in town three times when we do our pulpit exchange Sunday.

In recent times I’ve noticed hints of Mennonite beliefs in my belief system. The main one that seems to be getting stronger is pacifism. I’m not so pacifistic that I want our military downsized, but this week has made me think a lot about violence. In the newspaper today there were articles on a policeman killed in Memphis, a physician in Pennsylvania accused of killing another lion in Africa, a man charged with the beheading of his wife and pet dogs, an update on the Minnesota dentist who had killed a lion and the people who want him killed. There was also an article and action shot of two professional baseball teams in a brawl, and a listing of the various policies that the Ferguson, Missouri violence has caused.

In other words, how thin would my newspaper be if the articles on violence weren’t there?

I’m not putting a peace sign on my Civic, but it seems that the human condition and tendency is to push the violent key pretty quickly. Here in Colorado Springs a fourteen year old boy was gunned down by the 31 year old uncle whose nephew had accused the fourteen year old of taking his cell phone. Gunned down!

In Denver the James Holmes trial is winding down, the young man who killed twelve and wounded seventy at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Yesterday bombs exploded within thirty minutes of one another outside two separate Las Cruces, New Mexico churches. Las Cruces!

About six weeks ago nine people were killed in a Charleston, South Carolina church in the midst of a prayer service.

There just seems to be an unhealthy trend going on here! So I’m leaning towards the Mennonites. American Baptists have a strong history of non-violence also, but we’re not quite as committed across the denomination like our Mennonite friends.

Bottom line! There needs to be an immediate increase in the production of “chill pills.”

Peace out!

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