Saturday, May 31, 2008

Das Doopsgezinde Domine

I have been called many things in my life, but never a Doopsgezinde domine. Probably the second largest group after Germans here are Dutch. I am accustomed to people not knowing what a Mennonite is when I tell them I am a Mennonite pastor. But I have discovered that if I use the Dutch word for Mennonite, Doopsgezinde (in Dutch "baptism-minded") then they know what I mean, though they may not know much about Doopsgezinde.

I have enjoyed learning to know the Dutch here. Jill and I have good Dutch friends in California with whom we lived on my last sabbatical. There is a couple here where the wife is very friendly and the husband comes across as kind of gruff, though inside he is actually very soft. This is not the first time I have met a Dutch couple like that. She is the one who called me das Doopsgezinde domine, which would be Dutch for the Mennonite pastor.

Many of the people in the adult sector of Taize are either at least a decade older than me, that is over 50, or a decade younger. Taize puts you in the adult section when you turn 30. I was pleased that for my supper clean up duty, I was put with younger people. I have had many good conversations. They ask very honest questions and are very open. One young man talked to me about how love of enemies led him into the Dutch army reserves as an engineer, where he can work at rebuilding. I am thankful for such conversations.
The picture shows the town of Taize on its hill. I am just about to climb the hill on my bike. I will have a few more things to say about Taize I am sure, but today I leave for Basel. This has been a week full of grace and peace.

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