We’re Mennonite. Which way to Switzerland?

It’s bedtime. The issue of Catholics and Protestants comes up, like we just dropped into the 16th century.

That moves to Mennonites. The kids want to know what Mennonites are all about.

We have a Mennonite name and heritage. (You know Friese, Frieselandt, Froese etc.)

I figure it’s a good time to share some family pride (in a humble Mennonite sort of way.)

So I note that Mennonites are a peace-loving bunch: people who got their start looking for Switzerland but got buffeted everywhere else to be burned at the stake and hung in public squares and drowned in freezing rivers all because 1) they disagreed on some finer theological points with both the new Protestants and old Catholics (issues like dunking and sprinkling and other ways and means of having coffee and donuts), and, 2) they refused to do something as ignoble as pick up a gun to fight for anyting as temporal as some ol’ king or queen.

(Picking up a hoe, now that was different, which explains a lot about my son. See http://www.dailydad.net/2012/the-gardener/)

Since it was bedtime and the kids were ready to dream pleasant dreams, I leave out the parts about the burnings and hangings and drownings.

‘No, the Mennonites don’t fight,’ I say.

‘Well, that’s not us,’ says Liz. ‘We fight all the time.’

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Bonus link: Mennonites are historically known for their particular way of keeping disputes ‘in the family.’ It’s a pattern also painfully obvious in other cultures. For more on that in the Arab world, see here http://www.thomasfroese.com/2002/beyond-sept-11-which-road-will-we-take/

 

 

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