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Mennonite

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by fluffy_rainbow, Dec 17, 2004.

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  1. fluffy_rainbow

    fluffy_rainbow I've Got a Secret ;-)

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    When I was involved in a Christian homeschool care group in high school, I was friends with four kids from a Mennonite family. They all had very unique names-Leaf, Stone, Sheoban, and I can't remember the youngest son's name. Anyway, I always thought it was neat how family oriented and disciplined they were. They were a very reverent, modest family. The men wore dress slacks and button down tops every day and the women wore long sleeve blouses buttoned to the neck and ankle length skirts. I wonder if they leaned more towards the Amish tradition? Anyway, I was curious about the Mennonite faith. My specific questions are:

    1. Do Mennonites watch television or listen to music?
    2. Do they have similar doctrine as the Baptist church?
    3. What are the rules about makeup, manicures, clothing, and hairstyles?
    4. Are there any guidelines against eating certain types of food or drinking wine occasionally?
    5. Is dancing of any sort permitted?
    6. What is their official stance on marriage, dating, and courtship?
    7. What is their official stance on artificial/synthetic birth control (specifically condoms and hormonal contraceptives)?
    8. Do they celebrate Christmas, Easter, and other religious holidays?
    9. What are their policies about work and career paths?
    10. What is their stance on substances such as caffeine, nicotene, and prescription drugs?

    Thank you for your help! :wave:
     
  2. CelineDion

    CelineDion New Member

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    I know they allow worship dancing...umm i dont think they can wear makeup or anything and must dress the way you described. they believe children are gifts from God. i havve to go but will put more later.
     
  3. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

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    1. Some mennonites do not watch TV, and others do. We used to tell this joke about TV: Did you know the Gospel Herald (weekly mennonite newspaper) publishes a list of people who quit watching TV? Yeah, it's the obituaries! :D TV is always an issue, I have often heard pastors preaching against it, but most of the MCers I know still have a TV.

    2. I don't know specifics of Baptist doctrine so I can't answer.

    3. Modesty, modesty, modesty! Those are the only rules about any outward appearance. Mennonites are not about rules, they are about loving God, other people and maintaining personal holiness. If you can do those things dressed the way you are, then it is okay.

    4. There are no forbidden foods. Drinking is frowned upon.

    5. Public dancing is frowned upon. Sexual dancing will get you shunned if you don't repent.

    6. Marriage is encouraged but not demanded. There are many mennonites who remain single for life so they can devote themselves to missions and other things of the Lord. Living together outside of marriage is forbidden. Mennonites encourage long courtships and short engagements. A two or three year engagement pretty much never happens. Once you decide to marry, they like you to do it within a few months to protect yourself and your fiance from sexual temptations.

    7. There is no official stance on birth control. Again, we don't have rules.

    8. Some mennonites do not celebrate Christmas at all, most do in some manner, although it's usually lower key than many denoms, and children's pagents and that are rare. Christmas singings, where everyone meets on or around Christmas to sing Christmas songs and hymns usually take the place of Christmas pagents. I have never seen a Christmas tree in a mennonite church and hope I never will. I hear once about a tree in the chapel of Ashland College in Ohio, and it was the topic of shocked discussion around the mennonite world for weeks. Easter is called Resurrection Sunday to differentiate it from the pagan holiday called Easter, which celebrates the goddess Estarte, not the resurrection of our Lord. And yes, it is the most important holiday of our year, too.

    9. Careers should reflect your faith in Christ by contributing something significant to the world. It is through our careers that we show the world the love of God. Many are doctors or other medical careers, farmers, builders, food processors, architects, and me, I've been a park planner for a long time, building public parks for the good of their communities. Whatever a mennonite chooses, it's usually chosen with a view to what the world will get out of it, and not just what the individual will get out of it. But again, we don't have rules or policies, so it is entirely left up to the individual to choose a career path.

    10. Some mennonites avoid caffeine and some don't. There is no official policy about it. Cigarette smoking is frowned upon because it ruins your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, plus it wastes money. If a person needs perscription drugs, then they need them. There is no teaching against taking medicine, and we believe it is perfectly scriptural to do so.

    But I have to reinforce to you that there is no list of rules by which all mennonites must live. It's not like a cult or a club where you have to abide by the bylaws or be kicked out.
     
  4. fluffy_rainbow

    fluffy_rainbow I've Got a Secret ;-)

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    Thank you for that information. That is most helpful. God has been leading me in the direction of being a part of the Mennonite congregation. The trouble is, there are no Mennonite churches in my area. There are all several hours away from where I live.
     
  5. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

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    Where do you live?

    A lot of times, mennonites meet in home churches or in meeting rooms of hotels, libraries, hospitals or other places, and not in buildings of their own.

    I can try to find a congregation near you if you need help finding one.
     
  6. fluffy_rainbow

    fluffy_rainbow I've Got a Secret ;-)

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    Awesome. I live in Acworth, GA zip code is 30101. Thank you again for your help.
     
  7. Crazy Liz

    Crazy Liz New Member

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    You can try searching here. I found two in Atlanta:

    Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship (10291)
    Atlanta *GA
    Web: http://www.atlanta.ga.us.mennonite.net


    East Atlanta Christian Fellowship (13565)
    Atlanta *GA
    Web: www.EastAtlantaChristianFellowship.com

    I don't know how far that is or if you might find some closer. Where I live the nearest ones don't necessarily have a zip code with the same first 2 digits, so try out the site for yourself.
     
  8. Matthan

    Matthan Veteran

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    I live in central New York where a lot of Mennonites have settled after being pushed out of the Lancaster, PA area. Here is what I know about them.

    Most of these new neighbors are "black buggy" Mennonites. They do not have TV's or radios, but do have electricity, telephones, and other necessities (including microwaves, LOL) They use tractors, but only with steel wheels.

    They practice their faith in a manner extremely similar to most true Baptist sects. The main difference is that most of their church services are in German. They are very "religious" people, and true to their (our) God.

    To the best of my knowledge, the women use NO makeup at all. They use other things that most of us use (the store brand of head & shoulders shampoo, bandaids, prescription drugs, etc. they go to regular medical doctors, and take very good care of themselves, too. Hairstyles? Their hair is worn in a bun, under a little "bonnet". The little girls are sooooo cute with those bonnets on.

    I do not know about wine or spirits, but I believe they do not use it at all. I think they do use whiskey for midiscinal purposes only (cough treatment, etc.) Otherwise, they seem to eat the same general things we all eat (I have seen hundreds of them shoping for groceries in our local food stores. Their carts would pass for your carts, but they are very careful shoppers. They always pay with cash or a check, never a credit card, etc.)

    I've never seen or heard of them dancing. They do "bundle" when courting. and, to prevent "in-breeding", every year they select several older teenagers to go live in other similar Mennonite communities in the hopes they will find that special someone, fall in love, and switch communities. It mixes up the genes, don't you know.

    Concerning birth control, I have no direct knowledge. I do know that several local families have more than a dozen children, and some wives seem to just wear out at relatively young ages from giving birth to so many children.

    They celebrate NO religious holidays around here, but do not hold it against anyone who does. Talk about your perfect neighbors!!!

    Concerning career paths, most young men follow in their father's pathways. However, every single Mennonite man (and older boy) that I know has at least three occupations. Here is just one example. A dairy farmer that I do business with occasionally also has a woodworking shop (he is a MASTER woodworker, fantastic in his quality, and reasonably priced like you would not believe). He also raises "field-raised" chickens, and he breeds dogs (yes, a puppy farm, but with care and quality that most professional breeders can only envy).

    None of the Mennonites that I know drink coffee, but tea is a big seller. I know several younger men who use tobacco (chew), but most do not. I do not know any Mennonites that smoke anything. And, as I have already said, they go to regular "English" doctors, and use perscription drugs as needed.

    Now, here are a few more facts about these wonderful people. the absolute worst punishment they can receive, next to excommunication from their sect, is having their name read aloud in church. Names are read for virtually any infraction of their particular code of conduct. One of my friends bought a "bobcat" loader (farm machine) and needed to use it before the steel wheels he had ordered were ready. He did, and another Mennonite observed him, and blew him in to the bishop. His name was read in church the following Sunday, and he was really, really, really embarrassed!!! He told me there were good and bad Mennonites too, just like among us "English."

    And, women often have two or more jobs, especially younger women and older teen girls. In addition to working (hard) in their homes, many of them also work in local shops, greenhouses, etc, most of which are also owned by Mennonites. They are wonderfully polite and friendly.

    The younger ladies, men and children often ride their bicycles to work, to church, to school, and to the store (and everywhere else, too). And several young Mennonite youngsters locally have "pony carts" they drive to school and around the local roads for pleasure.

    Mennonites play hard, too. They often have rather spirited ball games (both softball and hardball), but the umpire never, ever gets insulted. Pitchers will often "brush back" a hitter that is too good, but no one ever fights.

    Now, here is a real tear jerker (the good kind). I needed a halter repaired recently, so I took it to a Mennenite-owned tack shop (the owner is around 35 or so, his wife is around 32 maybe). He was not in the (unlocked) shop when I arrived, so I walked to the house nearby. I knocked on the door, and saw a little girl (cute beyond belief, with long, natural blonde hair, about 3 or 4) inside, so I waved by "flipping" my fingers of my right hand. She immediately opened and answered the door. I asked if her daddy was home? "No, he is out hunting." I asked if her mother was home? "Yes, but she is taking a nap." I then whispered to her that I would come back another time, but her mother came into the room at that point. She took my order for the repair, and I closed the door and started walking to my truck. I heard a tapping on the door glass behind me. And, when I turned around, there was the little girl "flipping" me a little tiny wave goodbye. I could only see the upper half of her head and her hand, but I know she was also smiling.

    Matthan <J><
     
  9. BT

    BT Fanatic

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    I am surrounded (literally) by a Mennonite community. I don't know much about their beliefs.. someone told me that they are kind of "works" oriented but I don't know if that's true or not. Horses and Buggies are an every day sight here and they grow some of the greatest crops that you've ever seen. We're famous (the city) for our farmers market which is I would guess 95% Mennonite families. The community is VERY VERY protective of the Mennonite families and they are NEVER EVER harassed or bothered or honked at or anything. They are great people.. that's about all that I could say for a fact (in my experience)... theologically I'm not sure where they are at or what they believe...
     
  10. Lena75

    Lena75 New Member

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  11. Crazy Liz

    Crazy Liz New Member

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    There is a lot of variation among Mennonites as to distinctive dress and rejection of technology. Some groups dress just like everyone else (although they are encouraged to be modest and not flashy) and use every kind of technology. Probably the majority, actually.

    Theologically, the key word is discipleship, not doctrine. Whereas doctrinally-oriented protestants tend to emphasize beliefs and use Romans as their grid for interpreting the rest of scripture, Anabaptists (and Quakers, too!) tend to use the gospels, and especially the Sermon in the Mount, as theirs. This may make them appear to be more works-oriented, and to a degree this might be true. Some Mennonites can be legalistic in their thinking. But by-and-large, the emphasis is on working out our discipleship practically in the way we live our lives. This is true whether or not any peculiarities of dress or use of technology are adopted.

    Finally, Mennonites tend to be much more group-oriented than the general American population. Those who reject technology do so largely because they perceive of technology as making people more self-sufficient, rather than interdependent. This is also why some Anabaptist groups, like the Hutterites and the Bruderhof, live communally. Mennonites don't do this, although you may see more intergenerational families in some communities and a few young people living in intentional community households in others. In other, you may see neighbors sharing a lot with each other so that they can be more charitable. For example, they may intentionally consider together whether everyone might not have to own their own lawnmower, but a couple could serve the whole neighborhood.
     
    ZiSunka likes this.
  12. Ailanthus

    Ailanthus Tree of Heaven

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    There are so many different types of Mennonites and Amish out there, your questions are impossible to answer. There are some Mennonite churches that are very liberal, and there are others that are very conservative.
    I went to a Fellowship Mennonite church for about 5 years; they are one of the most conservative types of Mennonites you will find.
    I can understand how being a Mennonite can appeal to you, because it appealed to me once also. The seperation, the fellowship, etc... its all very nice. However, some Mennonite groups can be overboard with their rules and regulations, which makes me question if they are trying to achieve salvation by works.
    And of course, I'm sure you've heard the following joke about many other denominations:
    A Christian man dies and goes to heaven. While he is being shown around by one of the saints, he sees a group of people far off in the distance standing in a circle and singing.
    The man asks the saint, "Who are those people waaay over there?"
    The saint lowers his voice and says, "Those are the Mennonites, but be very quiet because they think they are the only ones here."
     
  13. Lena75

    Lena75 New Member

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    LOL! ^_^ Yeah right, the only ones! :D
     
  14. Matthan

    Matthan Veteran

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    ForU, the people I described in my post are Mennonites, pure and simple. We also have a large number of Amish living here, they too having been pushed out of the Lancaster PA area. They are also very primitive in their farming, which most of them do. many use horses for all farming and harvesting, and they still manage to compete with "English" farmers who use tractors and every kind of modern machine.

    The local Mennonite men rarely have any facial hair. The Amish males that are maried always have beards, but never moustacses (pardon the spelling. You know, the hair below a man's nose lol).

    Matthan
     
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