I’m Anabaptist, but even more than that, I’m a follower of the resurrected Jesus. If these two identifiers ever get out of order, something in my faith journey has gone seriously awry.
I didn’t even embrace Anabaptist theology until seminary. Actually, it was a long journey that started with two strands of complementary thought: the emerging church and an Anglican Bishop, namely N.T. Wright.
Neither Wright nor the emerging church is specifically Anabaptist, but much of what these voices were saying (when I was in college / seminary) gave me the courage to move into the Anabaptist way of faith. These voices questioned “traditional” modes of understanding the Scriptures and politics, pointing me to a much richer faith experience than I could have hoped for.
I grew up in the Mennonite Brethren denomination, which is on paper Anabaptist. In my childhood and early young adult context, this was not the case outside of educational institutions. All of the MB churches I ever was part of or visited were basically right wing evangelical communities with some unique traditions.* The traditions were great, but I eventually wanted the theology that had been left behind in more ways than one. And this is why I’ve chosen to remain part of a historical Anabaptist denomination (Brethren in Christ) as a church planter.
Yet, as I’ve attempted to demonstrate, it wasn’t as though my faith journey started with such a perspective, rather I’ve been influenced by many Christian traditions.
Early in college, a book came out by Brian McLaren reinforced the desire to have a “Generous Orthodoxy,” gleaning what I could from the multifaceted diamond that is the Church. I read books by Catholics, went to charismatic conferences, read emergent authors, listened to dynamic podcast preachers, attended Mass (especially Life Teen “contemporary” Mass), and absorbed everything I could from conferences like Youth Specialties: National Youth Workers Convention.
I’m an Anabaptist, but really, many wonderful strands of the Christian Tradition continue to shape me.
The more I’ve experienced the worship of high church liturgy, the more I’ve found myself caught up in the mystery of God’s love. I love the smells and bells of a Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican/Episcopal worship gathering. In fact, if I wasn’t Anabaptist… I’d probably become Anglican.
(Read HERE the entire article. Thanks to Carson Clark for this link.)