Why I Am Anabaptist

For me the only real reason I have come to faith is that I really like Jesus. As a child I remembered sitting in Sunday School and periodically God would speak to me. It was never an audible voice but it was so loud that you knew it was from beyond you. It was always given to me with the kindness of Jesus. Not like the smiting and disappointed God then many Christians profess as their intrinsic belief of God. For me everything rides on Jesus. One of my best friends likes to make fun of me because I am always reading the Gospels. When he first asked me why I told him “If I get everything wrong, but Jesus right, then I am completely satisfied.” For me, Jesus is everything.

During my pre-teen years I witnessed and experience some troubling moments in my life. When I was 10, I saw someone murdered and this was the first of a few deeply scarring and traumatic experiences in my life. That same year I was told twice that the anti-Christ was going to come back and murder me but it was okay because it was part of “God’s plan”. Also, I was beat up a lot as a kid. Its surprising now considering I am a 6’4 man, but, when I was younger and still today, I have a very timid and sensitive personality. My experiences of Christ and reading about him gave me healing to forgive all of the violence that I endured just as he did on the Cross. And, his words on “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” and “I could send a legion of angels, but, my kingdom is not of this world” have always stuck with me. It was always the outer validation that I needed to affirm my inner knowing and experience that something about violence was detrimental to human life.

I was quite the angry teenager growing up. I angrily pursued things as an agenda to make enemies with others (though I didn’t see it that way at the time). During High School I violently pushed Political agenda upon others. In the 2004 election, I pushed President Bush to no end and I bashed John Kerry with militant conviction (I don’t think I needed to do this, he did this for himself). When I went off to College I saw the error in this. The more I drew to Jesus, the more he pulled me into a larger Kingdom. A Kingdom where peace, hope and love reigned. And, although it has taken me a few years to work through some of the pain in my life, this was to me an admirable life to live. I didn’t need to make enemies with other Political parties and I didn’t really have to invest much energy into Politics at all. As I was drawn in by Jesus in his life, I drew closer to his politics of Peace and Justice, of Healing and Restoration.

Even though I was raised Evangelical all my life, I found Anabaptist theology when I was 21. I credit it for giving me a better life and faith direction. Its something I believe that the world needs. I believe the world needs it because Anabaptist’s center everything around Jesus and I believe the world needs him. While Anabaptist history is often mocked, or viewed as irrelevant, we can learn from their mistakes that we don’t need to flee from the world (not all of them did). But, we can learn to love and restore and absorb the pain and the violence just as Christ did.

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8 thoughts on “Why I Am Anabaptist

  1. Nice post. I actually have no idea what an anabaptist is, but you seem to have a good grasp on what matters, Jesus.
    I was an angry teenager to, so I can relate to your post. I also used to bash politicians… so I think we have allot in common 🙂
    God bless you as you read the Word of God and learn more about Jesus.

  2. Lanie says:

    I don’t know how much credit I would give to any denomination or movement but It’s always good when we move away from a belief set that has been thrust upon us and ingrained in us and find for ourselves why Christ is worth following. There is no denomination, no movement, no political group, and no person who can ever accurately portray God or represent him.

    Good thing about grace, eh?

  3. I’ve been feeling a strong pull into the Anabaptist tradition recently. Granted, I’ve grown up in the sister Baptist tradition. I’ve been wrestling with what to do with that — especially as a woman who feels called into ministry. Your words seem to be more whispering of the Spirit…

  4. Lisa Z says:

    Mike, I really appreciate your writing. And I completely get your sentiments here, wanting to lead a non-violent life both in actions and thoughts. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. I’ve been inspired by the Anabaptist tradition for a long time. I first heard of them while reading Bruce L. Shelly’s Church History in Plain Language. Anabaptism came up again recently when I found out my family was also being drawn to their beliefs. It’s probably time to do some more research.

    It seems we typically see smaller (in number of followers) expressions of belief as fringe by definition. We determine the validity of a belief by whether it belongs in the “head” or large section of a long tail graph. Increasingly, I wonder if the small expressions are actually the true center of a circle of belief instead, and the majority the less authentic fringe.

  6. Jrock says:

    Wonderful read, am glad I met you on twitter! You have some great articles on your site I just stumbled on them

  7. Matt says:

    That 3rd paragraph, sentence by sentence, was me. I’m so glad Jesus rescued me from deadend politics and drew me closer to him.

  8. Rach says:

    Resonate!
    Totally on the same page with the God/Jesus thing… Something I’m wrestling with ay the mo.

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