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For a faith-based online dating service, this is a perfectly reasonable question.
After a week of sitting with these questions and getting past both amusement and annoyance with them, I’ve actually found myself enjoying the challenge of putting into words both my faith and my wishes for a potential partner.
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I was surprised at how quickly insecurity about my religious identity reared up. I could identify myself by mentioning homemade noodles, mashed potatoes and lots of meat.
Am I really Mennonite enough for a Mennonite dating service? A seemingly benign query, it’s the first test to determine if I am truly a Mennonite. What about the Jello with marshmallows common at church potlucks? gives the full text of this early statement of Anabaptism. I’m trying to think of a church historian I can call.
Anyway, I reasoned, wouldn’t a Menno chap be just the kind of partner I’m looking for? I live two hours from the nearest Mennonite church, and I don’t attend every Sunday. Is this a question of my place on the liberal-conservative spectrum or of my belief in Mennonite pillars of faith?
After weeks of fighting the idea of dating online, I finally began the application process. Three food items that best represent Mennonites for you. If I were a Mennonite of Russian descent from Kansas, I might say zweiback or borscht.
The Mennonite community is traditionally rooted in hometown families. Or the famous Oakieburger that would place me as a member of Oak Grove Mennonite Church? The fact is that church identity—even one so solid both culturally and religiously as the Mennonite identity—is fluid.
If you are a Mennonite, your hometown can signal your place on the liberal-conservative spectrum, your possible economic level and the people you’d know by name. What is your interpretation of the Schleitheim Confession? It’s hard not to read between the lines and wonder what idealized version of Mennonites lurks behind each question.
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