Thursday, September 22, 2016


A few weeks ago, Clint asked me if I'd listened to any of Malcolm Gladwell's podcasts.
(I hadn't.)
He and Max have listened to the ten part series called Revisionist History, and seeing I've enjoyed (and often quoted) Malcolm Gladwell's books, he thought I should give em a go.

(Malcolm Gladwell, who, for the rest of this post will be referred to as MG), wrote Tipping Point, Outliers, Blink among others. I do love the thoroughness of his research on topics I didn't know I'd find interesting.

ANYWAY, the ninth podcast in the series (and you don't have to listen to them in order) is called Generous Orthodoxy and it's about Mennonites.

You can listen to it here.

The inspiration behind his talk was a letter written by Chester Wenger, a 96 yr old American Mennonite pastor, living in Pennsylvania, titled An Open Letter to My Beloved Church.  
It was published in The Mennonite, which is an online magazine for another branch of the Mennonite denomination.

I'll post an excerpt here, but if you have time, click on that link above and read the whole thing. The reason he wrote the letter was to address the issue of homosexuality. One of his eight children, a son, is gay. When it became legal to do so, in response to his son and partner's request, Charles married them in a small private ceremony. And in doing so was stripped of his credentials.

  • When I reported this event to Lancaster Conference leaders, they responded with grace-filled pastoral listening, while acknowledging that what I’d done was out of step with established credentialing agreements with other Mennonite Conferences. Afterward the LMC credentialing committee met on Sept. 10 and retired my credentials and I am at peace with their decision and understand their need to take this action.

  • When my wife and I read the Bible with today’s fractured, anxious church in mind, we ask, what is Jesus calling us to do with those sons and daughters who are among the most despised people in the world—in all races and communities?

Watch MG on Colbert:


So much to think and pray about.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. People who think.
2. People who communicate well.
3. A God who has infinite patience and love for us in all our brokenness.



September said...

What a lovely interview! He's dead on when he says the moment we remember is when someone gets real. I find that in church all the time. And Colbert's response was right on, how we hold back on it.
I'm going to check out the podcasts. Thanks for the info!
Happy Saturday!

September said...

Ok, I listened to the podcast. It was beautiful.
"It's an oxymoron, of course.  To be orthodox is to be committed to tradition.  To be generous, as Fry describes it, is to be open to change, but Fry thought the best way to live our lives was to find the middle ground because orthodoxy without generosity leads to blindness, and generosity without orthodoxy is shallow and empty.  One of the hardest things in the world is to find that balance..."  I was touched by several moments, including this, the primary desire of the father: "Don't give up on Jesus" and a statement from the son that totally resonates with me right now: "I was going to proceed with a life outside of the traditional church community."
Thank you Jane. This helped me.