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August 11, 2008



I appreciate voices like yours that are pushing our fellow MB's to re-think their presuppositions about faith and spirituality! I read the article in the Christian Leader when it came out and could only say a loud "Right On!" as I read. I am thankful for people like you who continue to clear the way for others of us of MB heritage that experience Christ in new (ironically 'old') ways!


Thanks for the kind words. Certainly not all the responses have been kind. I can understand that labyrinths and ancient practices may not appeal to some, just as they will appeal to others (like yourself). My hope and prayer is that we can be a people where both can live together and benefit from one another. I'm not in any way trying to reform of transform the MBs, maybe just open us up to some new practices. I'm grateful for my Mennonite heritage and glad to remain. If the table of the first century was big enough for Jews AND Gentiles, I figure it's big enough for differing perspectives within our denomination.

Thanks again. -Tim

Dear Tim,

Maybe somebody already made a remark about this, but to most other sources I checked the Occasio you mean is actually Prudentia. On the image from Comenius Occasio can be seen on the right side being watched by Prudentia on the left foreground, but Occasio has been cut off from the picture you have used for this blog. See here for example:


Occasio Emblem

Occasio Emblem The image of Occasio is taken from a work by famous Czech philosopher and pedagogue Johan Amos Comenius (Moravia 1592-Amsterdam 1670), the Orbis sensualium pictus (1658). The book contains pictures with text in Latin and the vernacular, and was intended for teaching. Occasio is the Opportunity we must seize before it flies away and vanishes: "Occasioni (quae, fronte capillata sed vertice calva, ad hoc alata facile elabitur) attendit captatque eam", or, " She watches Opportunity (which, having a forelock but being bald at the back of its head and being winged, escapes easily) and seizes it." "She" is Prudentia, looking at the past with one of her two faces and at the future with the other. Occasio was chosen by Tjebbe van Tijen as an emblem appropriate for a project aiming to archive such volatile materials as Internet documents. An other image of Occasio can be found at Alciato Emblem 122 (Latin) from the 1621 edition of Andrea Alciato's Book of Emblems. See also Prudentia, from Comenius Orbis Sensualium Pictus at the Universidad Nacional de EducaciĆ³n a Distancia.

I read your responses to the letters-to-the-editor about your article on prayer labyrinths and other religious practices. I'm a little surprised at what sounded like sarcasm from someone in your position; but, I suppose we all succumb to that now and then, so I will extend a little grace. However, you made one statement in particular that has prompted a question. You wrote, "There are many MBs who are afraid of anything new." That comment may well be true. However, in light of all the warnings in scripture about false teachers (2 John, 2 Peter) and attempts to deceive even the elect (Mark 13:22) it seems rather imprudent of you to embrace, yea endorse some of the practices talked about in your essay. Wouldn't it be better to reject them and stick with the tried and true, rather than embrace them only to learn a generation later that they were dangerous? (by the way, I'm not an MB)


I remember reading your article back when it came out and thought, "thats cool." As, I am reading and hearing about the backlash I am saddened.

I grew up in a very traditional Catholic country. What I saw was a dead religion (the country claims 90% Catholic with about 10% practicing), exemplified by the enormous but empty cathedrals. One summer at a camp I met a group of teenagers who were Catholic but very excited about Christ. We spent time praying with each other and it pushed my beliefs about Catholics. What I realized was that religion is not what saves you but Christ. It is not as if there were no Christians before Luther (or Menno) came around!!!!

As I look at some evangelical churches these days... I see a dying religion. But instead of being empty in the building the people are empty on the inside. I am not saying all evangelical churches are dying... but if we as evangelicals fail to listen to the questions that our culture is asking we fail to allow Christ to answer them.

How people pray is not a matter of right and wrong (unless you are suggesting that we sacrifice virgins in our prayer ceremonies)... you are right, we should be excited that teenagers are excited to pray!!!!!

I wish that my MB church would return to such a radical, counter-cultural, risky, peace-loving faith of Menno Simons.


I remember reading your article and being drawn in ... again ... to the new ways of thinking/praying/worshiping/experiencing/expressing our love to, and for, God. I have taken part in a prayer labyrinth and it was the most moving and meaningful prayer experience in probably, well probably ever. There are practices that other persons of faith (whether Christian or other) that I don't understand and that do not resonate with me. But I would never assume that just because I don't "get" them I should ban those practices for all or be afraid of them.

Amen to your refereces to some of our accepted "props" used in the church today: the organ, cymbals and tambourines, a sanctuary, pews, the sermon, the baptistry, the professional pastor, etc.

I suppose I am sounding a bit defensive. It seems that I have held on to a tad bit of bitterness that stems from being raised southern baptist (absolutely NO offense meant to fellow baptists!) in churches that did not encourage me to think for myself, to ask questions, to let the Holy Spirit guide me and speak to me. I will not follow someone else's "recipe" for acceptable church gatherings, prayer practices, or anything else for that matter.

God is moving! God is moving people! God is moving people to different ways of living!

Let God be God.

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