Online Down UnderBy John D. Roth
That the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand exists at all is a testimony to the movement of the Holy Spirit — and the power of modern communication technology.
Although scattered across vast geographical distances and representing a wide range of theological orientations — including Hutterite, Baptist, Bruderhof, Anglican, Pentecostal and Mennonite —the individuals and groups who make up the AAANZ have offered a unique Anabaptist-Christian witness in the territories Down Under for nearly two decades.
One crucial element to the movement’s success is the passion its members share to follow Jesus in daily life, to practice some form of Christian community and to promote reconciliation and peace in their local context.
But another essential component of the group’s identity is its online journal, On the Road, which has appeared quarterly since 1998 at anabaptist.asn.au.
As the title suggests, On the Road is aimed at readers who are eager to think about the Christian faith as a journey rather than formal membership in traditional religious institutions or adherence to precisely formulated confessions of faith.
Each issue of the richly illustrated journal includes articles by four or five contributors on a relevant, sometimes controversial, theme. The past two years, for example, have featured issues on literature, the arts, women and the church, war and terrorism, radical ministry, and sexuality.
Contributors consistently bring a strongly biblical orientation to their essays. Though a shared Anabaptist orientation is unmistakable, the articles often reflect quite different perspectives, creating an unfolding conversation.
Editor Nathan Hobby opens each issue with a brief introduction to the topic, followed by a column by Mark and Mary Hurst, Mennonite Mission Network staff workers, called “The View from Ephesians 4: ‘To prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service,’ ” and a report from the movement’s president, Doug Sewell.
A lively book review section, updates on local AAANZ gatherings or regional conferences, and an invitation soliciting contributions for the next publication generally round out each issue, which usually runs 30 to 40 pages.
I am struck by the way On the Road helps to create a sense of community for its widely scattered subscribers and by the freshness that an ecumenical perspective can bring to Anabaptist themes.
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