Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mennonite Musings

[Note: A little off my usual content, feel free to read or skip...   :)  Just in the mood to share something different.]

On Sunday, our church hosted a hymn sing. My daughter invited several friends from school. Just before we arrived to pick them up, one girl's father asked her why she wasn't wearing a dress. "You have to wear a skirt if you're going to a Mennonite church," a comment I found humorous as I'd donned jeans for the same event, anticipating a chilly evening in the church gym. When the girl mentioned that my daughter doesn't have a cell phone he said, 'Well, that's because she's Mennonite. They can't." While my daughter is one of the only teens without a cellphone in our high school (a fact which she reflects upon daily lest I forget), she is also one of the only cell-deprived adolescents (the only?) left in our church.

With all the cell-less time, she had time to go to the hymn sing. Ever heard Mennonites sing? We're not supposed to be proud. But we are. I am. I didn't record the singing, but this video (not our church) or this one gives you a glimpse of what we experience each week. Although I'm Mennonite for many reasons, the singing is one of the things I would most miss were I to leave the denomination.

Four-part acappella harmony causes people to feel many things. Joy. Sorrow. Hope. Peace. An urge to boogie.

In my parents' youth, dancing was disallowed, believing it could lead to all kinds of sordid behavior.  But things have changed. At the hymn sing my 4yo son and his little 3yo friend from Sunday School entertained themselves by coloring pictures, holding the hymnal and pretending to sing at the top of their lungs, pushing toy trains around the gym floor and by--gasp--dancing. The 3yo girl took off her shoes and socks and started bouncing to the music (again...HYMNS!) while my little guy swung his hips and laughed. [Please note that this was pure child joy! No disrespect intended!] After a while, my son came to ask if he could take off his shoes and socks as well. I said no, that we only had a few minutes left.

Moments later, I watched the 3yo's dad sprint to the back of the room. I looked. Blinked. Looked again. His little daughter stood there, sans pants (but thankfully still clad in shirt and underwear), obviously enjoying the music and slightly amused by all the attention she suddenly received.

Quite thankful that I hadn't allowed the removal of shoes and socks (for once the foot garments were off, it would have only been too easy to imitate the rest!), I reflected on my ancestors and their feelings about dancing. Maybe they should have reconsidered the 4-part acappella harmony. Never know what it might lead to. :)


  1. Lol. Our daughter loves to dance during the song "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy" but haven't taken anything off. Mennonite singing must be inspirational! ;)

  2. I loved this! (My spiritual perspective is very different...) Music feels sacred to me. I can't listen now, with my son sleeping nearby, but I can imagine.

    Lovely to imagine the kids' dancing.

  3. I think you should write a post titled--
    "You Know You're a Mennonite If..."


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