Cautious counsel on Mennonite relationships

Ben Baumgartner
Contributing Writer

In this season of budding flowers, chirping birds and warmer days, many of you may have noticed that love is increasingly in the air. While this is undoubtedly a good thing, I would like to warn everyone about a dangerous trend that has shaken the Mennonite Church, and of which Goshen College is sadly not exempt.

This monstrosity that I speak of is the existence of girl-boy relationships between Swiss-German and Russian Mennonites. I hope to make you aware of some of the risks involved if you or anyone you know are considering such a disastrous mistake.

You can read more about the innumerable conflicts that inevitably arise if an inter-ethnic relationship is pursued, not least of which would be the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” Obviously hybrids such as “verenika” with sauerkraut would be simply repulsive, and although it has been suggested that Swiss cheese could go well on a “zwiebach,” I wholeheartedly reject this merger-ist propaganda.

Plus, once dinner is done, what will the after-dinner entertainment be?

Those of you hailing from the Russian Mennonite tradition may be willing to have a piano in the home to enjoy from time to time, but for most people, this is nearly unspeakable.

Or, if a more recent pastime such as Rook is pursued, what will the Rook card be worth?!

Finally, when the kids grow up, I assure you that choosing a college will be the source of ceaseless arguments. If they decide to head out west, is it Hesston College or Bethel College. If they stay in the Midwest, is it Goshen College or Bluffton University?

The decision of where to go to college is not an easy one, but it can be alleviated when one recognizes that ethnicity must always be the deciding factor. That’s why I, a Swiss-German Mennonite, chose to come to Goshen College after living the life of an exile in south central Kansas, a land full of Goertzens and Friesens, tempting obscenities such as Bohhne Beroggi (don’t ask) and Russian Mennonite museums.

Lest you be deceived and think it wise to go to a college that is not ethnically compatible, take the sad story of my roommate, Abe Pauls, as a warning.

This tall, handsome man, (traditional Russian characteristics) has spent many a cold, lonely night longing for a girl to share a warm bowl of “borscht” or a bit of “pluma moos” with. Alas, it is not to be. With few girls sharing his motherland ancestry, Abe has decided to remain single rather than marry across ethnic lines – a decision for which I humbly applaud him.

So, take heed my friends, and stop this hideous trend in its tracks, or mongrel names such as Neufeldt-Miller and Lehman-Friesen may be springing into existence, God forbid.

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