Friday, November 11, 2011

IT ONLY TOOK 500 YEARS

When I read stuff like this, I don't know whether to laugh or cry, be happy or sad, be thankful or disgusted, and so on.  I think that I will go with disgusted.  It is not common for anyone, including religious folks, to acknowledge their dark side, and Luther and his contemporary followers certainly had plenty to acknowledge [more on that soon].  Five hundred years seems like an awful lot of "fullness of time" to fess up, especially to folks who would be claimed as sisters and brothers.  So, read this and choose your own reaction:
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Wittenberg, Germany--Mennonites planted two trees in the "Luthergarten" in Wittenberg, Germany in early October to mark the deepening of Mennonite-Lutheran relations.

The garden project, initiated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), is being developed in anticipation of the 2017 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg. Churches from around the world are being invited to sponsor a tree and also to plant a corresponding tree in a significant place for their own church.

Larry Miller, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference, planted a red maple next to a tree planted nearly two years ago by the Lutheran World Federation, when it invited a number of other global  church communions (Anglican Communion, World Methodist Council, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Catholic Church) to participate in the garden project.

In his remarks, Miller recalled that when the Lutheran planners for this earlier event asked whether Mennonites should be invited, they said "no, not yet." He added: "The 'fullness of time' in Lutheran- Mennonite reconciliation was drawing near but had not yet come in power, as it did in Stuttgart less than one year later" in July 2010 when Lutherans issued an official apology for the historical persecution of Anabaptists and discrimination against Mennonites.

A second tree was planted in the Luthergarten by Frieder Boller, president of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mennonitischer Gemeinden (AMG) in Germany. The AMG and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany have engaged in ecumenical dialogue and joint communion for the past 15 years.

The tree plantings in Wittenberg preceded a German Lutheran/Mennonite symposium on the topic of "Healing of Memories--Reconciliation in Christ," which both celebrated recent advances in Lutheran/Mennonite relationships and discussed new possibilities for their future.

In keeping with the commitment to plant corresponding trees in Mennonite soil, MWC and the Dutch Mennonites planted a tree at the Mennorode conference center in connection with recent Dutch Mennonite 200th anniversary celebrations. And the AMG is planning to plant a tree at Menno Simons' house in North Germany.

At the Mennorode ceremony, Fernando Enns, AMG Vice-President and professor of Peace Theology and Ethics at the University of Amsterdam, described the tree as both a gift and a vocation--"a reminder of our common gift of reconciliation of the Holy Spirit" and "the calling to live and grow into reconciliation" so that the gift does not become an experience of "cheap grace."

At the same event, Kathryn Johnson, LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs, commented: "For us Lutherans, our 'Mennonite action' has been both a grace-filled moment and a step in a process still unfolding." She added that Lutherans do not want to celebrate their 500th anniversary by themselves but together with other Christians. "We will see our gifts and our sins and shortcomings more clearly in the company of others."

9 comments:

Bizzy Brain said...

BFD that the Lutherans and Mennonites are not reconciled into perfect spiritual harmony and unity. To begin with, what sort of Lutherans are we talking about? The “anything goes” Lutherans? Or the more traditional Bible believing sort? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran church body in the United States, allows non-celibate gheys to become ordained ministers. The smaller Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod do not ordain homosexuals. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and most Lutheran churches in Germany allow ghey and lesbian clergy.
So, Mennonites, what is lost by being snubbed by a mostly liberal church? Answer: Absolutely nothing. In fact, it would be to your credit to forget this whole ecumenical nonsense.

Bizzy Brain said...

BTW, women cry, men weep.

Phil L. said...

The strength of inter-denominational unity increases as the distance from Biblical Christianity increases.

Sick Sigma Sez said...

Another reason for Mennonites not to fret is that the Lutherans, as well as all liberal churches, have lost their spiritual bearings. There is Biblical Christianity and there is everything else. One can feel a kind of bogus unity with the everything else, but at one’s own peril. For example, the Bible says fornication is a sin and fornicators who have not repented will not spend eternity with God. The everything else “Christian” says fornication is not a sin and sledge hammers that point of doctrine home by ordaining fornicators. The liberal churches have abandoned the Bible and make up shit as they go along. Why worry about planting an effing tree to support that?

Hugh G. said...

“Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is dispos’d; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes:
For who so firm that cannot be seduc’d?”
Sir Walter Scott

Hugh G. said...

For you in South Milford, the verse means that it is best to stick with your own kind in order to remain strong in your beliefs. Mixing and mingling with others may confuse you into adopting their apostasy.

hoosierdaddy said...

WTF - taking 500 years to figure out that you are sorry for killing off xian believers because they don't interpret the Bible like you do? Seems a bit harsh, even for BB and you other guys [assume you are all guys since scripture is pretty clear about a woman's place in discussion of religous topics]. You seem to confuse unity with unanimity. It's nearly impossible to get the latter in a single congregation, and thus inconceivable that it could be accomplished among any of the thousands of xian denominations and sects.

And Bible believing/Biblical xianity? What a vacuous term. Which parts of the Bible you going go with when one part seems to conflict another part? Or when the words seem too difficult to contemplate - "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" or even the more drastic "Love your enemies"? The god that says "thou shalt not kill" or the one that commands the slaughter or men, women and children? [and go ahead and rape the young girls while you are at it]. Surely a cause for women to cry and men to weep.

Dr S said...

Hmmmm - lots of food for thought, but having just graded over 40 tests, the mind is rather mushy and thus curmudgeontary will have to wait.......

Phil L. said...

Probably am not familiar with what the Bible has to say about a woman’s place in discussion of religious topics as it has nothing to say about it. It does say a woman is not supposed to be in a position of spiritual authority over a man, thus no female pastors are ordained in certain denominations, but even in those denominations, women are permitted to teach the Bible and lead Bible studies.
For apparent contradictions, I recommend a good Bible commentary. For instance, one may ask how the Bible can command “love one another” in one passage and “hate” your father and mother in another. Obviously something has been lost in translation, and a commentary would point out that the “hate” back in King James’ day meant to “love less.” Hating one’s parents in that sense meant to love them less than one loves the Lord.
Thou shalt not kill, probably means thou shalt not murder, an important distinction. You should not kill/murder your next door neighbor, but killing an enemy on the battlefield is not murder (in the eyes of many.)