Sunday, March 7, 2010


Hello Everyone and Happy March!

First up, I wish to thank Char for sharing her unique and thought-provoking perspective with us. I very much enjoyed her post and if you haven't done so yet, I urge you to check it out!
YMR has a new post this week, so please welcome Angel.

Angel is a Mennonite and I think you will enjoy her journey as well!

Here is Angel's Introduction:

I'm Angel, I have four adult sons, and I'm a fibre artist who makes stuff from junk. It just doesn't get more exciting than that!

1) What religion do you practice?
I'm called a Christian, but I have a hard time saying I "practice" a religion. It's more like a relationship with God.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was raised Christian, no particular denomination. I was sent off to church when I was two with my sister who was a year older than I. (This was back in the early sixties.) We went mostly Brethren in Christ churches, which is Christian Anabaptist. When my family recently moved to a new town, we found this Mennonite church suited us well, so we go there now.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
Not conservative, but beyond that it depends on the day. My views change as I mature. I don't believe now what I believed when I was 20. I've learned something since then. Therefore, it's difficult to use one label or the other.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
See above.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
I defer to the dictionary definitions.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Who knows? I can speculate, but all I know is it's a good place.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
No, some do not go to heaven because they don't want to. No one is forced to go; therefore there has to be another option.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Being a Christian is a good fit for me because I follow Jesus. However, I don't view myself as belonging to a religion as much as to a particular church. If there had been another church of another religion or denomination that met our needs, particularly our need to serve, we would go there. For me, it's more about the community of the church than the label it carries. Our church holds many values that I cherish. We are peace loving, we are environmentally aware, men and women are equal, we discern collectively as a community as opposed to taking our direction from one person or a few people, we are not fundamentalist or literalist, and much more. You are welcome to come to our church no matter whom you are. Perhaps we're an anomaly in the modern Mennonite denomination, but I'm not the only one who sees we are not judgmental or preachy. Also, I like how Mennonites are practical and active. A timely example, we have been in Haiti for over 50 years, and brought critical help within hours after the earthquake, and also have a multifaceted, multimillion dollar plan to help Haiti. We were one of the first to have structural engineers on the ground there.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Our church follows the usual Christian calendar with some variations from year to year. I do whatever our church suggests if I can, and whatever else I feel like doing at the time. I'm not particularly faithful to holy days. I suppose I'm more practical than faithful. I don't feel bad if I miss anything. I completely missed Advent and Christmas this year at our church, and I felt sad because I always enjoy that, but I didn't feel guilty or like I have to make it up somehow.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Of course, and I have. There are many reasons why. It's kind, loving, peaceable, respectful, and I enjoy learning about why people believe what they believe. If I were ever asked to participate in something I felt was offensive, then I would kindly decline, but that has never happened, and I would still be interested in learning about it.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I wish I could say I was an expert, but I don't know enough about it to comment.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
Are you referring to the Roman Catholic church? That's up to them. Our lead pastor is a woman. Women and men are equal to us and involved in positions of the church according to their gifts, not gender.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
Not a whole lot since I don't really consider myself religious per se. My decisions are based on love, reason, principles, life experience, the experience and discernment of others, the Bible, and convictions of the Holy Spirit. When something is right, it's right for lots of reasons, not just because I read it in the Bible, or because an old guy in a robe said so.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?As long as he's happy.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
That's between God and the person.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
As a Christian, tons. The Pope would be a good example of a Christian who I completely disagree with on some points, but completely agree with on others, but how many Christians completely agree with the Pope? And don't all religions have people like that?

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, thankfully, but I've been the object of prejudice from people who have misconceptions or preconceived ideas, often based on the stereotypical Christian described earlier, and sometimes from other Christians whose beliefs differ greatly from mine, particularly fundamentalists. As with any prejudice, it is usually fueled by ignorance. I often get stereotyped when I say I'm Mennonite or a Christian. I must do everything my husband tells me, and wear dresses all the time, and do everything the Bible says to the letter, and, most disturbing, I must be totally irrational and a bit stupid if not gullible, but I'm not like that at all, and neither are most people at my church. I'm well grounded and well read, ridiculously logical and rational, and I'm open minded and welcome other viewpoints. Sadly, I understand where that stereotype comes from, and thankfully, I've found a church where that is rare.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
In some cases, yes, in some cases, the opposite is true. Our church certainly does not. We value all humans equally, and offer hope and help to all.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
No, the Holy Spirit does.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. It doesn't make any sense, and I've never been presented with anything to convince me otherwise. Even my near death experience did not present any evidence to the contrary, but only confirmed my convictions that there is no such thing.

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