Introduction

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In Sharing Personal Convictions, the first booklet in the Welcome to Dialogue series, the writers speak of their personal understandings and beliefs. They share brief vignettes of the journey by which they arrived at their current understandings and invite readers to reflect similarly about the paths they have traveled.

Willis (Bill) Breckbill, in the first article, begins by stating his love for the Mennonite Church and his active involvement in various aspects of church life. He highlights changes that have evolved during recent decades and reminisces about the struggles that surrounded the issues’some of them on-going. He also shares aspects of his journey in dealing with issues.

Sandy Fribley asks penetrating questions as she reflects on policies concerning church membership. She compares today’s discussions with those that Jewish religious leaders had with Jesus during his public ministry. She sees the tension between preserving what is good from the past while remaining open to the fresh winds of the Spirit.

Titus Bender reflects on several experiences with the Bible at points between childhood and the present. He became aware of the lenses through which he was reading the Bible and of how his understanding of ?what the Bible said? was influenced by those lenses.

Dorothy Yoder Nyce highlights several writings related to the theme of ?homosexuality? by Mennonites beginning in the 1970’s. Her annotations recognize the broad diversity of understandings and also a call to reconsider some beliefs that were ?assumed to be true.? Are we raising helpful questions?

The questions on pages 48 - 51 are intended to stimulate your reflection on the topics raised by the writers. We hope that families, small groups, and Sunday school classes will find them helpful. Addresses are included so that you may send questions and comments to the writers. However, we believe that the greatest benefit will come from discussion among small groups, including with people whose viewpoints complement and differ from yours.

Dialogue is difficult, if not impossible, if we do not accept common meanings for the words we use. Therefore, a glossary is included so that you, the reader, will be aware of the writers? likely usage. Whether or not you agree with the definitions given, please use them as you attempt to understand the writers.

May the God of grace grant each of us humility and receptive ears and hearts as together we struggle to be faithful to the model of Jesus and to discern what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Contributors’ Addresses:

Willis (Bill) Breckbill, 1521 Kentfield Way #7, Goshen IN 46526

E-mail: [email protected]

Sandy Fribley, 1306 W. Clinton, Goshen IN 46526

Titus Bender, 821 Battlefield Rd, Ft. Defiance VA 24437

E-mail: [email protected]

Dorothy Yoder Nyce, 1603 S. 15th St, Goshen IN 46526

If God’s incomprehensibility does not grip us in a word, if it does not draw us into [God’s] superluminous darkness, if it does not call us out of the little house of our homely, close-hugged truths…we have misunderstood the words of Christianity.

  • Karl Rahner, Poetry and the Christian

 

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