Updating The Naked Anabaptist: New five-year edition released

October 14, 2015

News release

Updating The Naked Anabaptist
New five-year edition releasedNakedAnabaptist5th

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Five years ago, Stuart Murray’s book The Naked Anabaptist made waves with its look at the central beliefs of Anabaptism and their relevance for Christians today. Now Herald Press has released a new edition of the book, drawing in stories and perspectives from North America and the global church.

The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith examines seven core convictions of Anabaptism, looking beyond the traditions of Mennonite, Amish, and other historically Anabaptist groups to the development of this Christian tradition rooted in Jesus and his teachings. It shows an alternate, healing path from the temptations of societies mired in materialism, individualism, nationalism, and state violence.

Murray, chair of the Anabaptist Network in the United Kingdom, originally wrote The Naked Anabaptist primarily for a British audience unfamiliar with Anabaptism. “I was very surprised by the interest among North American readers,” he said. “This revised edition is oriented more to North America, with examples of the application of Anabaptist convictions in this context.”

The new edition features an updated resource section on Anabaptism. Murray expands and updates his definition and discussion of Christendom, the historic melding of church and state that 16th-century Anabaptists reacted against as they sought to return to a biblical vision of voluntary belief and church membership.

Like the original edition of The Naked Anabaptist, this revised edition reaches out to seekers and to any Christian hungry for a biblical faith rooted in Jesus. Murray steps away from the ethnic understandings of church that have sometimes become part of historically Anabaptist groups, turning instead to Anabaptist biblical understandings that have sparked interest from the emerging church movement, historic denominations, and new Christian movements.

Stuart 1In The Naked Anabaptist, Murray does not call for shifts in Christian denominational allegiance. Instead he shares the values of authentic discipleship, heartfelt worship, sacrificial service, simple living, and radical peacemaking that he finds in historic Anabaptist beliefs and at the heart of Jesus’ gospel vision.

Murray calls for Anabaptist churches to recover a missionary and evangelistic vision for the future. In societies that are both increasingly secular and multifaith, the Christian challenge is to learn afresh to tell the story of Jesus and his teachings, Murray says. Like the original edition of The Naked Anabaptist, this revised edition helps provide Christians with some of the historic tools for that present-day task.

Murray has a PhD in Anabaptist hermeneutics. He is the founder of Urban Expression, an urban church planting agency with teams across Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation, writes in the foreword to The Naked Anabaptist, “Murray offers this dialogue not to try to get people to join the Mennonites or any other Anabaptist group but simply because it’s to the advantage of both Anabaptists and the rising tribe of kingdom people to learn from and support one another.”

The Naked Anabaptist is available for $14.99 from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as bookstores.

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–Ardell Stauffer

High-resolution photo available.

for more information
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Changing Hearts and Minds

Today, Friday, September 26, is Native American Day in the U.S. and last weekend’s Missio Alliance talks on issues of cultural tension, peace, justice, and reconciliation remain on my mind. Our editorial director Amy Gingerich wrote about it here.

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Below is a list of resources that speak to these issues. These books were the most popular at our Missio Alliance conference book table—which I was pleased to staff—and are great for personal as well as group study.

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As the speakers at the Missio Alliance conference pointed out; it’s about the gospel and getting the message of peace to a torn, tired, and hungry world. May these resources help us instill a deeper faith and embody the hope of Christ as we share Him with others.

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What MennoMedia resources have you used that have most changed your thought processes and helped you grow spiritually? Let us know!

 

Blessings,
Jerilyn Schrock
Herald Press sales and marketing manager 

Announcing a New Tagline for Third Way Website and a Request for Your Help

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At MennoMedia, we are in the midst of an update and relaunch of Third Way. This website is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, helping the general public understand what following Jesus as Mennonite or Anabaptist Christians is all about.

A couple weeks ago we identified the new tagline chosen for the updated website, “Simply following Jesus.” While we looked at and tested and played with a number of phrases, this one seemed to say it all in a way appropriate for the website.P1060424

New tagline and logo look for Third Way website.

The new site will focus on six key values, in addition to a general section on Mennonites:

  1. Jesus,
  2. Community,
  3. Peace,
  4. Simplicity,
  5. Service,
  6. Justice.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but I wanted to use this blog to solicit your help and ideas for one new section focusing on community or the communal aspect of our faith, even though Mennonites are not generally living in the same houses or a commune or closed-type community like, for instance, a Hutterite colony.

It’s “community” in a broad sense like spiritual connectedness, but it also includes flesh and blood connectedness—the ties we experience as we get to know, love, work, and fellowship with others trying to follow Jesus in all aspects of our lives. The early disciples certainly formed a community; the early Christians lived together and had “all things” in common, including the purse; and the Reformation-era Anabaptists were a further-flung community over several countries at the time, bound together by common beliefs and suffering.

Over the years of hosting Third Way, we found persons deeply longing for and needing the kind of community they hear exists among some Mennonite and Anabaptist faith communities. One frequent complaint and question at Third Way has been: “There is no Mennonite church anywhere near me, so how can I find that kind of community?” The underlying question with that is “Can’t you please help start more churches in outlying areas?” We have frequently referred such pleas to regional Mennonite conference bodies for their awareness, prayer, and possible action—church plants or exploration. But people are longing for cross-generational community.

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I have heard people say “I wish my church was like that” when it comes to offering support, especially in times of serious illness, grieving, and even tough decision making. I have heard people speak of visiting their own loved one in a hospital and observing others who had no one visiting, or they accompanied a family member for cancer treatments, and saw that others had no one accompanying them. It’s the barn-raising spirit in urban or suburban form.

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Just today over at Practicing Parents blog, Lee Hull Moses writes about helping to raise other people’s kids: “We’re all in this together. That’s why we take meals to new parents and offer to babysit. It’s why we share hand-me-downs and advice. But it’s also why we volunteer in schools and read books to kids who are not our own. It’s why we advocate for laws that protect and provide for children. It’s why we support community programs that work to keep families out of poverty.”

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These are some of the things we mean by community, and lots more. Who is living and writing about this kind of stuff in blogs, articles, or even church newsletter format? Where would you point us? Who might be willing to share their experiences and insights? (You have a supper club meeting once a month or more? That’s community! How does it work, keep going? You have a small group that is your community? Who is doing a good job of expressing those kinds of connections? You have a service group or mission activity that has built relationships and connections across cultures or neighborhoods? That’s community.)

I hope to hear from you with recommendations, links, names of blogs, writers, pastors who are all about community. Go!

And thanks for your leads. That’s community.

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How do you define community? What makes community work for you?

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To know more about the work that MennoMedia is doing to update and relaunch the Third Way website, click here and here. And sign up here for the MennoMedia Links newsletter to be among the first to know about new products like this.

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Comment here or email me privately at melodied@mennomedia.org or any of us here at MennoMedia.

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If you want to support the outreach word of MennoMedia through Third Way website, here’s a way to do so online. Bless you!