Learning to Leave Well: Doing Better at Church Splits

We need to find a new way to talk about the congregations that are leaving MC USA. They’re not leaving us; we’re getting divorced. Leaving is something you do after four OK Cupid dates. We have shared assets. We have children together (MCC, MMN, Everence) and we have the same parent (MWC). Do you want to stay involved in your children’s lives? Do you want to stay connected to your ex-in laws? How will you negotiate custody on holidays like Relief Sale and Schmeckfest? Churches aren’t “leaving”–they’re moving out of the house we’ve shared for 60 years.

This metaphor is scary. The church is still, though sometimes only technically, opposed to divorce. How can we talk about “divorcing well” if it’s something we’re not supposed to do at all? If what Clinton Frame actually did was divorce Indiana-Michigan, then both parties need a moment of self-reflection, self-discovery, and learning how to live separately. Self-reflection is hard, but what I’ve noticed recently is how much churches are struggling to live separately. Continue reading

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Are Mennonites the Conservative Ones?: A Pastor’s Response to The Atlantic

Buy a coffin and prepare the funeral. If the Mennonite church was waiting for a death knell, it’s today’s article in The fucking Atlantic. That was my first thought when I finished Emma Green’s article. Do we have to start a #NotAllMennos? You know we’re on dire straits when we start #NotAllMenno-ing.

The article is filled will all the passion you can wring out of a regional conference meeting (even one fraught with the tension of impending self-destruction). She even included audio clips of the music sung at the gathering. (I pulled out my hymnal to hum along to “Calm Me, Lord” while I read.)

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