Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a Christian relief, development, and peace organization that works with people in local communities around the world. MCC volunteer Rebecca Spurrier, right, talks with Nadya Serdyuk, a resident of the Dolina Home for the Elderly in Ukraine.
The politics of compassion
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Yet Anabaptists have not always been at the forefront of cultural and political engagement in American life, making The Compassion Forum a bit of a departure from the norm. Churches such as the Brethren in Christ have usually carried out their mission of Christian discipleship, peacemaking, and social justice through their own congregations and denominational agencies. When Anabaptists have entered the public sphere it has usually been through acts of civil disobedience rooted in the practices and beliefs of the sixteenth-century Radical Reformers.
By hosting The Compassion Forum, Messiah College is bringing its unique Christian identity to bear on political and cultural issues in a new and exciting way. As national politicians begin to address social problems from the perspective of Christian faith, it is fitting that Messiah joins the conversation and perhaps even helps to shape it. Not all of the students, staff, and alumni will agree with everything Obama and Clinton said at the Forum, but this should not prevent us from dialoguing in a civil fashion about our differences and providing a venue where such a discussion might take place. This, after all, is the purpose of a liberal arts college.