Talk:Martyrs Mirror Wiki

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WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE IDEA OF UPDATING THE MARTYRS MIRROR?

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 - John D. Roth

[edit] Response to Roth's column in The Mennonite

I think an updated book of martyr stories would be wonderful, though I also realize it may be like putting a hymnal together and having to determine which ones of so many good possibilities to include, and on what basis. I agree that criteria for defining "Anabaptist," whether by actual church membership or by other means, could be complicated, but this book wouldn't have to claim to be comprehensive, just an inspiring collection of stories representing some of the "great clouds of witnesses" we need to be paying attention to.

I recently used the Martyrs Mirror as a basis for some thoughts on Memorial Day that I posted on my blog [[1]].

Blessings, Harvey Yoder


[edit] Need to Relinquish Possessiveness of "Martyr Church" Identity

In addition to Roth's focus on the expanding view of what it means to be Anabaptist, I would add that our sense of martyrology also needs to be ecumenical[2]. That is, we have come to a time when it is possible to share our martyrs and the lessons in discipleship they offer as gifts for the broader Christian Church [3], and also to recognize the witness of martyrs from other Christian traditions. And because this is possible, it is also necessary: our witness as a self-sacrificing, peacemaking church now depends on our willingness to let go of exclusive claims to such titles, allowing them to be shared by other Christians.

Roth himself raises a point that summarizes my concern: "Although Martyrs Mirror has offered a powerful reminder that following Jesus often entails a cost, it may also have contributed to a tendency in some Anabaptist-Mennonite circles to claim those stories as a badge of pride, even arrogance. Holding on to a memory of suffering can foster an unhealthy 'victim mentality' or promote a caricature of other Christians as 'oppressors.'"

I am not for a moment suggesting that we do away with our martyr stories, as it would be futile to deny our past. But what we do need to do is to reshape those stories, to find ways to honor the witness of the martyrs that do not promote a triumphalistic self-understanding or rely on the demonization of brothers and sisters in Christ.

Peace to all. Julia Smucker

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