In this issue of Anabaptist World we’ve collected a set of articles exploring stewardship. As we worked with this content, I was reminded of the ways our team stewards information. There are different ideas of how a media outlet should manage what it publishes.
I’m grateful to be surrounded by our current team and to build upon the collective wisdom and experience of the editors and directors who came before us at The Mennonite, Gospel Herald and Mennonite World Review.
In a recent conversation, I was struck by this question: “Who does it benefit to pretend that Anabaptists are perfect?”
The question was raised because often when we publish bad news or controversial opinions, people ask why we gave space to it. Similarly, when we publish letters that express perspectives we do not personally agree with, again we are asked, “Why would you print that?”
I’ve come to think of the task of stewarding news and opinions as holding up a mirror and a telescope. When hard, surprising, devastating, challenging things happen in Anabaptist communities, it is our duty to hold up a mirror. We have not escaped the world’s brokenness. No matter how separatist or sectarian we can be — or how exceptional we think we are — we commit sins, make mistakes and argue over issues just like our neighbors in other denominations.
Specifically, reporting on sexual misconduct, as we’ve had to do several times in the short history of AW, is a joyless task. But not to report it would only contribute to the culture of silence that protects abusers. If it is troubling to read of those accounts — and I believe it should be — then I urge you to find ways to make sure our communities are working to create truly safe spaces, listen to victims and hold abusers accountable.
AW’s mirror shows a reflection of Anabaptism, even when we aren’t pleased with what we see.
Then there’s our telescope. Telescope articles extend our sight across distances. They may surprise us with inspiration, joy and creativity. They might come from a community you wouldn’t otherwise have learned about.
When pointed at the night sky, a telescope allows us to find stars, study their patterns and admire their brilliance. Just as stars can act as guides and light pathways, the stars on our pages can help us find our way and shine light on challenging situations and positive examples of living our faith.
Each issue of AW has a limited amount of space (of course!), and so being good stewards of its pages presents a challenge of discernment. We have to decide where to invest time, energy and resources. We won’t always get it right, which is why your input is invaluable. We are grateful that you support our efforts and take the time to reach out and provide feedback.