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By Jeff Gundy

"Creative non-fiction via a Mennonite poet that blends the background of the Amish and Mennonites, relatives background, and his personal existence tale to examine how he may perhaps stay in concord with the Mennonite excellent to "live on this planet yet now not of it.""

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The content of faith, for us, is not opposite to, exclusive of, other faiths. The whirlwinds of the North circle this way; south of the Equator they drive eternally against. With the form the same, direction is the factor of distinction” 23 Yet appealing as Rukeyser’s image of oppositions fused into larger unity may be, it does not relieve us of the genuine tensions between and among our disparate forms of belief and practice. F. Scott Fitzgerald offered another famous formulation: “The test of a first-rate intelligence,” he wrote, “is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

He turns the waterer over—he can’t carry two of them full, not without slopping all over his shirt—puts it down in the cobs, and goes back for the other. Then he picks up the wire basket he’s left by the door and begins gathering the eggs, nudging the hens aside to look under them, talking quietly to keep them from spooking. If Mary was alive, he thinks, he would carry these eggs in and see what she was cooking, and if it was ham and eggs and fried potatoes he’d smile and settle in a chair to talk with her while she finished the cooking and the girls bustled around setting the table Fantasia with Raspberries, Baby Chicks, Wine and Roses 45 and getting the last things ready.

24 My pilgrimage left me with a different set of opposed ideas, but with a similar conviction that I need somehow to hold them both at the same time—not easy, given that both sets claim to contain as much truth as we humans can know. I felt more connection than ever to the strength, fidelity, and commitment to nonviolence of many of those early Anabaptists—and more aware of the heady lure of power and violence that led others of them to the debacle at Münster. I felt more appreciation than ever for the skill, sacrifice, and lofty ambition that built the great cathedrals—and was more troubled by the intolerance and vanity of the state churches that hounded, interrogated, imprisoned, and sometimes burned my ancestors.

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