#4 in a series of rabbit trails based on footnotes in my new book, Spirituality With Clothes On.

Is “famous Anabaptist” an oxymoron?

The note on page 93 is either hopelessly out of date or shows the age of the writer, or perhaps both. I list examples of “well known” authors and thinkers who embrace Anabaptist values and are not necessarily part of any formal Anabaptist or Mennonite institutions: Tony Campolo [80], Stanley Hauerwas [74], Brian McLaren [59], Stuart Murray [59]. First of all, note their ages, then notice that they are all men. Then go back to my blogs posted a few months ago for International Women’s Day and call me a hypocrite!

Now, “well known” is relative of course. “Well known” to whom? And, just because you are well known does not make you a better representative of Anabaptism. In fact, one could argue that it is the opposite as the nature of Anabaptism is to be simple, humble, fringe, minority, radical, etc. However, it has been a hobby of some Mennonites to associate certain more famous people than themselves as agreeing with the principles of the movement. Somehow this makes us feel less insignificant and unacceptable if there are a few “well known” people who also embrace our strange and radical values. “So and so thinks similarly so I can’t be that ridiculous.”

Perhaps a better list would have included Greg Boyd [57], Bruxy Cavey [50], Tripp York [42], Shane Claiborne [39], Julie Clawson [38], Rachel Held Evans [33], Sarah Thompson [32], executive director of CPT, not the actress. We obviously still live in a male-centric world because I found it hard to come up with “well known” female authors and thinkers who might sympathize with and/or promote Anabaptist ideas. Who is “well known” to you who could be part of this list?