#1 How Do Mennonites Use Instagram?
This is a divisive question that results in roughly three opinions regarding Mennonites and social media:
- Mennonites of Old Order – Strict, traditional, and live similarly to life in the 18th century. This category of Mennonite would refrain from technology, amenities, and certainly social media.
- Standard Mennonites – Most Mennonites embrace small technological luxuries (such as having a plain black car or a basic phone). They may still live modest and straightforward lives that do not embrace extravagances such as social media.
- Progressive/Evangelical Mennonites – If you come across a more liberally-minded Mennonite, there is a chance that you will not even know they are of the Mennonite faith. While the Old Order and standard Mennonite would dress in a bonnet and long skirt – A progressive Mennonite may dress like everyone else in contemporary society. Able to blend in as what would be considered more ‘normal,’ this is the group that would be more inclined to utilize social media and Instagram. This can be seen in the Mennonites that appear on the Instagram page for MennonitesUSA.org.
Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, such as Amish members from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that create their own social media accounts to spread the word of God.
- “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:17.
- “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” – Ephesians 4:25.
- Answering Your Assumptions About Mennonites; August 3rd, 2020.
#2 How Do Mennonites Use YouTube?
There are many ways that Mennonites use YouTube, most of which are related to educating outsiders about their culture. In a way that invites non-Mennonites to explore their religion, Mennonites will post personal videos or have documentaries filmed about their way of life.
Some YouTube videos that are popularly rated/published by Mennonites include:
- My Life as a Mennonite
- Answering Your Questions – Mennonite and an Amish
- CDC Documentaries – A Mennonite Girl Must Decide
- National Geographic – Living In a Perfect World
- The Mennonites of Manitoba – Prairie Public
- A Day in the Life of a Mennonite Mom – Positively Amy
- The Mennonites of Belize
- Iowapbs.org – Amish and Mennonite Heritage
- “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16.
#3 How Do Mennonites Live?
There are approximately 2.1-million Anabaptists worldwide (Mennonites, Quakers, and the Amish), with roughly 1-million of them being Mennonite.
Opting for a life that is not quite as isolated as the Amish, yet still not embracive of modern-life – Mennonites exist in-between the two extremes. Inviting minimal electricity into their homes, they seek to create a lifestyle that is modest, humble, and devoted to God.
The ways in which Mennonites live are:
- With minimal electricity (such as a home phone and a black, simple car)
- For the primary purposes of hard work (typically farming), worship, and family
Their lifestyle is cumulatively quite similar to other Christians. Mennonites seek to spread kindness, share with their community, and evangelicalize the word of their Lord, God/Jesus Christ (the two often referred to interchangeably within Christianity).
Besides this, Mennonites will typically live in isolated areas where they can worship freely and live a pacifistic life that avoids all war and violence.
- Tend the farms
- Own businesses
- Support the family
- Run the home
- Birth and care for the children
- Sew all clothes and textiles
Again, the main pillars of the Mennonite lifestyle can be summarized by three terms –
Work, worship, and family.
- “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:.6
- “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24.
- “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” – Proverbs 14:15.
- Pacificsouthwest.org – Who Are the Mennonites; Menno Media; April 10th, 2018.
#4 How Do Mennonites Dress?
The bible says in 1 Timothy 2:9: “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”
With many scriptures that highlight how a woman should remain modest, non-sexual, and chaste until married – this translates to the dress code within the Mennonite denomination.
There are less moral-driven codes for the male-side of attire.
For male Mennonites they are simply instructed to keep their wardrobe basic, easy, and not too time-consuming. There is less of a focus on remaining modest, as there is a focus on remaining focused on work and worship. A man’s wardrobe is only intended to be non-distracting and effortless to put on (this allows more time for farming, providing, praying, and being with family).
The Mennonite dress code includes:
|For Mennonite Women||For Mennonite Males|
|No male clothing / No pants||Black pants with suspenders|
|Long dresses or skirts to the floor (apron)||White shirt|
|No jewelry, tattoos, or adornments||Beard; no mustache|
|Bonnet (white if married; black if unmarried)||Black or straw hat|
|Simple shoes||Black shoes|
The overall dress code is to keep matters:
- Non-hierarchical or status-aware
- Plain (as self-proclaimed ‘plain people’)
- “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5.
· “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.
- How to Sew a Dress – Mennonite Style; The Mennonite Mom; June 5th, 2019.
#5 How to Become a Mennonite?
The Mennonite Church is oftentimes the easiest branch of conservative Anabaptism to join. If you are interested in converting to the faith of Mennonites, it will be a shorter process than that of joining a similar Anabaptist group, the Amish.
Nonetheless, there are always exceptions to this, and it will significantly depend on the conservative or progressive nature of that conference or community.
Firstly, it is necessary to address those that will not be permitted to become a Mennonite:
- Those who are divorced
- Those who have remarried
- Those that cannot adapt to the lifestyle and legalism of Mennonites
Besides this, most converts will be welcomed if they can abide by Mennonite guidelines.
The steps to becoming a Mennonite are:
- Find the congregation or community that you would like to join.
- Make an appointment with the church leader or pastor of that Church.
- Ask what it takes to become a part of the conference. Be direct in your intentions and let them know that your heart is with God. If one is able to accept the dress code and strict culture of the religion, the pastor may allow you to visit meetings before being fully-accepted into the Church.
- If you are certain of your decision after observing multiple meetings, you will take the steps to formally be accepted and live as a member of their rural community.
- Lastly, you will become baptized and officiated as a full-fledged Mennonite, able to then move into the community.
Each community has its own rules, so you will have to go through the clergy-system of that designated community. If they have specific traditions that you may not be aware of, try to determine if they align with your approach to Christianity.
Ultimately, if someone wants to be apart of the Mennonite society, they will likely not be rejected. One will only be rejected or excommunicated if they fail to uphold the Mennonite standards for worship.
Do note – You may also have to learn the language of that community (if they speak Pennsylvania Dutch, German, Spanish, or any other popular Mennonite language).
Here are the Membership Guidelines from MennoniteUSA.org.
- “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,” – Ephesians 4:22.
- “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8.
- The Mennonites Film – Being Mennonite in America; April 26th, 2017.
#6 How to Cook Mennonite Sausage?
Farmer’s sausage is a highly-popular dish of Mennonite cuisine.
Mennonites are typically drawn to well-rounded meals that may include:
- A hearty meat
- Starch/carb-filled side dishes
- Cheese or dairy
Keep in mind that Farmer’s sausage is often not cooked, but instead, smoked.
As sourced from Food.com – The steps to cook their famous dish of Mennonite Sausage are:
- If desired, peel frozen farmer sausage. (The best way is to hold it under a trickle of warm water.) Break sausage into 4-6 chunks.
- Place potatoes and carrots into a roaster or large casserole dish. Add water to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Place frozen sausage chunks over the top (so drippings will flavor the vegetables), cover, and bake at 375F for 1-1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven and drain juices from casserole dish into a saucepan. (You may want to put the sausage and vegetables in a serving dish now and keep warm in the oven.).
- For gravy: Mix flour and milk together, adding milk gradually so a paste forms and slowly gets thicker — you don’t want lumps! (Actually, a Tupperware gravy shaker works best for this. You can just throw it all together and shake it up without worrying about lumps at all.).
- Add milk mixture to drippings and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until gravy is thickened. (Depending on how much water content your sausage had, you may need to add a little more flour or milk to achieve the desired thickness.).
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
- “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.” – Leviticus 11:7-8.
- Farmer Sausage Skillet Supper At Home – Easy Cooking Recipe; October 13th, 2018.
#7 How Do Mennonites Celebrate Christmas?
Mennonites celebrate the Jesus-oriented holiday of Christmas; however, they retain a simplistic approach of minimalism that mimics their approach to all things in their lives.
Because of this, Mennonites avoid extreme spending, lavish gifts, or unnecessary frivolities.
If the tradition feels too luxurious or extravagant – It will simply be avoided.
The ways in which Mennonites celebrate Christmas may include:
- Simple gifts
- Hanging holly and quaint decorations
- Caroling or singing hymns
- Keeping the focus on Jesus, God, prayers, and worship
- Giving thanks for their blessings
- Personal reflection of Jesus’ sacrifice
Nonetheless, traditions and acceptabilities will vary from community to community.
While a progressive congregation may give small gifts,a more legalistic group (such as the Old Order Mennonites) may not give gifts.You will see in the clip from Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village (an Old Order community of Mennonites) that they write:
“For some Old Order Mennonite Families, a brand new handkerchief was another special present.”
Holiday Smart supports this by adding:
“The Mennonites, similarly to the Amish, do not celebrate Christmas with decorated trees or Santa Claus, and lights and presents are uncommon. Ultimately, the Mennonites place more importance in Good Friday and Easter, as they believe the death and resurrection of Christ created hope for eternal life.”
- “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6.
- Mwc-cmm.org – Mennonites World Conference – A Different Christmas; December 16th, 2020.
- How Do the Old Order Mennonites Celebrate Christmas Morning?; December 11th, 2020.