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Why I Wish I Were a Mennonite
My name is Aaron D. Taylor and I’m a charismatic Christian. If you ever see me driving with my glasses on, I may look dignified, but don’t let my appearance fool you. Throughout my life I’ve been slain in the Spirit and drunk in the Holy Ghost on numerous occasions. I’ve felt the anointing, laid hands on the sick, cast out devils, and been prophesied over countless times. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable in my Pentecostal/charismatic skin, but I can honestly say today that I wouldn’t trade my Pentecostal/charismatic heritage for anything. I’ll admit it’s been a very long time since I’ve “shaken under the power” or “danced in the Spirit”, but to this day I pray in tongues, lay hands on the sick, and if I ever need to get the devil off my back, I’ll gladly pull out the “Sword of the Spirit” and start quoting Scripture. We Pentecostals and charismatics have a lot to be proud of. We were a miniscule, lower class fringe movement 100 years ago and now there are over 600 million of us around the world!
So why do I wish I were a Mennonite? Yesterday was my 30th birthday and when I think about the past 30 years of history, on nearly every moral issue that speaks to how Christians are supposed to live as a peculiar people surrounded by a godless culture, the Mennonites have been right and we’ve been wrong. While charismatic leaders were “naming and claiming” plush clothing, fancy cars, and million dollar mansions, Mennonites were teaching their children to live simply so that others could simply live. While charismatic leaders were petitioning the government to keep under God in the pledge of allegiance, Mennonites were warning their children about the dangers of nationalism. While charismatic leaders were building “apostolic networks” to win the world for laissez-faire capitalism, Mennonites were sharing possessions, building communities, and identifying with the poor. While charismatic leaders were putting bowling alleys and coffee shops in their multi-million dollar church buildings”, Mennonites were providing a decent living for third world farmers by setting up international co-ops and selling fair trade coffee.
One of the most amazing events during World War Two was that a small Italian village called San Giovanni Rotondo never was bombed. The Allied forces tried to eliminate a German base there several times, but they never succeeded. The reason? All the pilots who flew near the village suddenly saw a monk who stretched out his hands towards them, signing that he wanted them to turn back.
General Bernardo Rosini of the United Air Command reported that
“Each time that the pilots returned from their missions, they spoke of this Friar that appeared in the sky and diverted their airplanes, making them turn back. Everyone was talking about these incredible stories. But since the episodes kept recurring, the Commanding General of USAF General Nathan F. Twining, who happened to be in Bari, decided to pilot himself a squadron of bombers to destroy a target near San Giovanni Rotondo.
“When he and his pilots were in the vicinity of the target, they saw the figure of a monk with upraised hands appear in the sky. The bombs got loose from the plains falling in open areas, and the planes made a sharp turn to return to base without the pilots intervening.
“Back on the ground, everybody asked everybody else about the happening and wanted to know who was that friar. The General was told about Padre Pio and decided to visit him with the pilots in that squadron. The pilots immediately recognized Padre Pio, and he told the general: “So you are the one that wanted to destroy everything.”
A week ago many Charismatic and evangelical Christians started to express their anger towards the increased rocket attacks from Hamas. They eagerly reported how many rockets were fired every day. They described the pain, fear and horror Israelis felt when they had to flee into bomb shelters (see the clip above). They mourned that four Israeli soldiers had been injured by the rockets.
However, no one I saw mentioned that while these rocket attacks to that point had killed no one, four civilian Palestinians were killed and thirty were injured in the counter attacks of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). There’s no doubt that we as Christians need to sound the alarm when the Israeli people is facing suffering and fear because of the violent terrorist attacks of Hamas. But that duty forces us to sound the alarm even more if the Palestinians is faceing more suffering and fear because of violent IDF attacks. (more…)
Ramone Romero is posting the most beautiful, heart-breaking and hopeful artwork and poems I’ve ever seen, on his blog Wheeping Jeremiahs. He expresses prophetic tears over the political idolatry of many American Christians. I’ll let some of his paintings and poems speak for themselves:
My children! My children!
Put down your flags!
I am not calling you to carry
the righteousness of any nation,
but to carry the Cross!
I am not calling you to defeat your enemies,
but to love them as I loved you.
“Do not listen to those who prophesy
in accordance with your flags,
for I have not sent them;
they are prophesying lies in My name
and are following a ‘Christ’ they have made
in their own image—an ‘anti-christ.’
“They do not listen to Me when I speak,
nor do they turn from their pride,
but instead continue to follow their passions.
They have become like brute beasts,
unreasoning creatures of instinct
who revile what they do not understand.
“Do not follow the beast,
but repent and return to the Lamb!” (more…)