Ruth Zemel, a daughter of Haya Zemel and Eitan Zemel of Armonk, N.Y., is to be married Sunday in Healdsburg, Calif., to Matthew Paul Brown, a son of Deborah Brown and the Rev. Mitchell Brown of Wilmette, Ill. The bridegroom’s father, the pastor of the Evanston Mennonite Church in Evanston, Ill., is to lead a ceremony that will include both Jewish and Christian elements at Healdsburg Country Gardens.
"Elements"? Let's start with Mennonism:
Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches given their commitment to nonviolence...By 1530, most of the founding leaders had been killed for refusing to renounce their beliefs. Many believed that God did not condone killing or the use of force for any reason and were therefore unwilling to fight for their lives. These pacifist branches often survived by seeking refuge in neutral cities or nations...
...Mennonite theology emphasizes the primacy of the teachings of Jesus as recorded in New Testament scripture. They hold in common the ideal of a religious community based on New Testament models and imbued with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. Their core beliefs deriving from Anabaptist traditions are:
* The authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
* Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ
* Believer's baptism understood as threefold: Baptism by the spirit (internal change of heart), baptism by water (public demonstration of witness), and baptism by blood (martyrdom and asceticism or the practice of strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline).
* Discipleship understood as an outward sign of an inward change.
* Discipline in the church, informed by New Testament teaching, particularly of Jesus (for example Matthew 18:15-18). Some Mennonite churches practice the Meidung (shunning).
* The Lord's Supper understood as a memorial rather than as a sacrament or Christian rite, ideally shared by baptized believers within the unity and discipline of the church.
One of the earliest expressions of their faith was the Schleitheim Confession, adopted on February 24, 1527. Its seven articles covered:
* Believer's baptism
* The Ban (excommunication)
* Breaking of bread (Communion)
* Separation from and shunning of the abomination (the Roman Catholic Church and other "worldly" groups and practices)
* Pastors in the church
* Renunciation of the sword (nonresistance, nonviolence and pacifism)
* Renunciation of the oath (swearing as proof of truth)
But let's get political:
For more than 60 years, Mennonites have witnessed to the good news of Jesus Christ in Israel and Palestine. In recent decades the human rights situation for Palestinians has deteriorated dramatically. Today, a power imbalance of Israelis over Palestinians distorts the lives of everyone living in the region and fails to provide the longed for security. A system of forced segregation and oppression imposed by the Israeli government, which some have called apartheid, and the resulting spiral of violence calls for urgent collaborative action by all Mennonites including the agencies currently working in the region.
The Mennonite Central Committee is heavily 'invested' with Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza:
MCC supports a wide variety of Palestinian and Israeli peace-building initiatives. These include conflict resolution among Palestinians, education among Israelis on injustices to Palestinians and dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis.
MCC supports agricultural research and development in the Bethlehem area with funds from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and supports the improvement of wells and water pipes in the area of Qalqilyah and Tulkarem.
With Global Family sponsorships, MCC supports a Roman Catholic school in Zababdeh, West Bank, and a children's center in Khan Younis, Gaza.
The MCC-UN Liaison Office, along with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the UN, has been involved in advocating for a just settlement of the conflict, especially in relation to the separation barrier.
and it gets worse:
The Mennonite Central Committee continues to promote a radical pro-Palestinian agenda, including support for demonization of through divestment campaigns...MCC's website features more highly distorted reports on the conflict, while erasing the context of terrorism...the MCC is actively involved in the political activities of radical Palestinian groups. This analysis highlighted MCC support for the "Bridges Not Walls" campaign, an initiative that notably lacks any reference to the impact of Palestinian terror. Similar biases were found in MCC's July-September 2004 "Peace Office Newsletter", including highly political attacks against Israel, that labeled the construction of the security barrier as an Israeli "systematic land-grab policy". This language repeated the political rhetoric of Palestinian groups, ignores the terrorism that led to this response, and has no place in the activities of a humanitarian organization.
...MCC provides subsidies to radical Palestinian political groups. Including BADIL, an advocacy group for Palestinian refugee claims and the subject of previous NGO Monitor reports. BADIL’s application for UN recognition was recently rejected due to its extremist political position.
The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, a self-described "ecumenical grassroots" Christian organization that claims to work for peace and justice in the region, is also the recipient of MCC assistance...Sabeel's actions demonstrate its commitment to an extreme anti-Israel agenda that promotes and fuels conflict, in place of working towards peace and reconciliation, all with the support of the Mennonite Central Committee...The MCC, through Sabeel and other allies, is also involved in promoting the extremist political campaign designed to isolate Israel through calls for boycott and divestment.
...This NGO has adopted radical Palestinian positions and erased terror attacks against Israelis, further fueling the conflict instead of promoting reconciliation and compromise. By using the resources provided for humanitarian activities to promote extremist political campaigns against Israel, MCC has violated its mandate.
So, am I worried about the theological elements or the political?
And if you are interested in Methodists, check here.