My Journey into Anabaptism

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It’s quite a simple story actually. 

My father, a former devil worshipping drug dealer back in the 60’s became a Christian during the hippie movement and immediately gravitated toward the Anabaptism.  So much so, that he attended a Mennonite Seminary and became a Mennonite pastor.  Upon my dad’s graduation from Seminary, he and my mom moved to North Battleford Saskatchewan where I was born in 1980. 

My first 21 years of life were significant and formative and all that goes along with growing up through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.  We moved a few times, I was bullied, I was a bully, I was a geek, I was a jock, I had lots of friends, at times I didn’t have many friends, but my parents faith and my family remained the same all the way through. 

As a pastor’s kid I saw the ugly and beautiful of church life.  The ugly turned me away for a long, long time.  Ugliness has a way of doing that. 

I found myself searching all over the place for ‘something.’  I couldn’t even describe to you what I was hoping to find.  It was a journey that brought me face to face with a toilet bowl, vomiting my guts out.  As the vomit was flowing I thought to myself; ‘there is more to life than this.’ 

So I went to an English-speaking Bible School in Germany.  Wholeheartedly committed to Jesus.  Met a girl.  Broke up with that girl after Bible School.  I drove fork lift for a year at a window factory.  I got back together with that girl.  I started attending a Mennonite University.  A few years later I married that girl.  Graduated, became a pastor at a Mennonite church in Winnipeg, had a kid, and moved to British Columbia.   

During my years as a pastor in Winnipeg I noticed something.  Something very important.  Anabaptism has a grittiness to it that speaks peace, grace and hope into contexts that are hopeless.  I saw first hand people literally following in the footsteps of Christ in their particular time and place.  It was nitty-gritty and beautiful.  It was something that my father caught onto years before.  Something that I was completely ignorant of during my first 21 years doggy paddling through church.  There is something very important about the Anabaptist voice.  This blog is a place and space to poke and prod with curiosity that “something”. 

My hope for this blog is that it will be a place to ‘navigate the collision’ between my context and Anabaptism.  I will regurgitate my thoughts, wonderings and inspirations and hold in tension some difficult questions of faith and life together in community.  I write to help myself understand what I am actually thinking and process life as an Anabaptist Mennonite Pastor.  But I also look to connect, offer a place for people to engage what I am thinking and join in conversation about life and stuff.  “Anabaptistly” is a place and space in which to seek what living Anabaptistly actually looks like.  Whatever I write about here, what ever I find myself thinking about, is be grounded in an Anabaptist faith. 

I look forward to the conversation…

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8 comments

  1. David Warkentin · April 17, 2012

    Hi Chris,

    I’m an MB pastor in Port Coquitlam, and am friends with Ryan Dueck (found your blog via his). I’ve appreciated your reflections, particularly the “grittiness” of Anabaptism and faith in general. Glad to know there are like-minded folk in the lower mainland!

    Keep it coming!

    • chris lenshyn · April 17, 2012

      Hey thanks for connecting David.

      Likewise. It is great to know that there are like-minded folks. Keep on keepin on!

      Peace.

  2. Maria Dueck · April 17, 2012

    Hey Chris,
    thanks for posting this! It sure hits home on many levels. Growing up within the Anabaptist faith we tend to miss noticing so much of what we are living. It is a challenge to really appreciate where we come from when we take it for granted without really understanding it.

  3. Adrianna Wright · April 17, 2012

    Is ENFP implied in the exclamation point in your bio? 🙂

    • chris lenshyn · April 17, 2012

      Bahahahahahahaha. I was tempted to put that I am a raging ENFP but wasn’t sure how people would take it!! !!

  4. W Bergmann · April 18, 2012

    Keep writing Chris!

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