With Valentine’s Day upon us again, our thoughts turn again to romance, flirtation and all the complications of commitment. Commitment to the Church, of course.
We just wish that the Church wasn’t so demanding.
That’s the Mennonite Church, at least.
I understand that some other Churches are known to pretty much shrug their shoulders and give all appearances of being happy with a casual, on again, off again relationship.
Not so, the Mennonite Church. It’s the kind of Church that wants to come along to all our work parties. It asks plaintively if we’re ashamed of our relationship when it comes out that we haven’t told all our friends and acquaintances about our relationship with the Church. We say that other people just wouldn’t understand and would think that we’re like those other Mennonites. But the Church doesn’t accept that.
It might purse its lips, sigh and back pedal a little, nodding and admitting that everyone is at their own place in the journey. But it’s pretty clear that the Church thinks it knows well and good where that journey ought to end.
And anyway, it won’t be long after that little concession that it will call us up and ask if we’re free on Thursday. Or another day, if that doesn’t work for us. And then it’ll probe to try to figure out our shared interests. It just wants to be there for us. Always.
There’s no easy way to tell it that sometimes we’d rather just stay home and read a good book. I mean a book that’s not a bible study guide, a new theological interpretation of anything, or even a work of Mennonite literary acclaim.
It nods eagerly when we say that we want to see more of the world, and experience new things. It’s thinking of ecumenical dialogue, and maybe going to a movie or two, and being friendly with neighbours. That sort of thing. It’s fine with that. In fact, it wants to come along. It might hint at evangelism with those neighbours, but it might not. It’s coy that way.
Of course, it knows that we might leave. The Church has known its share of break-ups. The ones where whole groups of people leave at once may hurt the most but there have also been a lot of cases of people just hoppin’ on a bus. And the Church is left blinking in the headlights wondering again what went wrong.
It longs for the days when commitment lasted a lifetime. Never mind that in those days some of those relationships were downright abusive. Remember when the Church used to tell us what we could and couldn’t wear and gave us the silent treatment if we so much as spoke out of turn? None of us really want to go back to those “good old days.”
But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day. Let’s not dwell on the bad stuff.
We like you, Mennonite Church. We like your commitment to the stuff we care about. You make us think and you make us feel something we don’t feel with anyone else. Every now and then you make us laugh (no, not usually on purpose, but still). We’ve had some good times and here’s hoping we’ll have some more.
Flirting with a Menno
This cocktail is a slight twist on the Kir Royale, a Valentine’s Day classic. It’ll work on plenty a non-Mennonite as well. It’s bubbly, a little sweet and has a hint of chocolate. Don’t worry about having chocolate during Lent. We’re Mennonite; it’s ok. Just don’t drink so many that you start committing yourself against your better judgement.
- 1/2 oz framboise
- 1/2 ounce creme de cacao
- sparkling wine
Measure the framboise and creme de cacao and pour into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a cherry and/or some Valentine’s Day paraphernalia. Drink.