Stuff (Many) White Mennonites Like

This week in class, I was invited to complete the official “Stuff White People Like” test, as well as the “How Queer Are You?” quiz (created by a classmate), in order to assess my levels of whiteness and queerness respectively. If you haven’t checked out these online blogs, you should definitely do so. They are hilarious and are one way to get us talking in self-effacing, but also truthful, ways about race and sexuality.

So, in that same spirit, I offer here my highly unofficial list of “Stuff (Many) White Mennonites Like.” In order to measure your own level of “White Mennoniteness,” give your point for each of the following criteria that you enjoy. Please feel free to add your own (and if there are any other mainline or other varieties of Christians out there, feel free to propose your own criteria, too)! And, just to be fair, I should thank many of the pastors and friends that I have encountered along the way who have helped to build this list.

#1 Arriving for committee meetings 5 minutes early (or 10 minutes late but with an appropriate sense of internal guilt)

#2 Sermons that last 15 minutes (or less)

#3 Baked Oatmeal (or other varieties of baked/soaked grains: click for a great recipe)

#4 Birkenstocks, sometimes with socks (check out Laura Amstutz’s great blog from yesterday for more on this topic…)

#5 Singing traditional African songs from the hymnal at “Amazing Grace” tempo

#6 Drinking wine and/or beer in secret

#7 Singing #606 (#118), “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” in public spaces

#8 Unpaid internships

#9 Sharing intentional community horror stories as a badge of honor

#10 Fried dough (in any form)

#11 Martyr complexes

#13 Thrift stores (and the opportunity to recount how low cost our outfit is)

#14 Strange nonviolent school mascots (Larks, Beavers, Maple Leafs, Threshers, Royals and the list could go on…)

#15 The British Broadcasting Channel (BBC)

#16 Hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants

#17 Analyzing (and overanalyzing) group processes

#18 Shane Claiborne and the New Monastics

#19 Self-effacing Mennonite jokes (Example: What is the difference between a Mennonite and a canoe? A canoe tips.)

#20 Insisting that we don’t know how to dance

#21 Do-it-yourself projects

#22 NPR

#23 Consensus (or the pretense thereof)

#24 Jell-O salads with an array of mix-ins (carrots, cottage cheese, etc.)

#25 Collecting used bicycles

#26 Catholics and liturgy

#27 Canning and freezing things

#28 Humility (or the pretense thereof)

#29 International experience

So, how much of a white Mennonite are you? And what would you add to the list?

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Stuff (Many) White Mennonites Like

  1. Great list! I’m at 22. Here’s my suggestion, and I’m sure I’ll think of more:

    30. Recycling saran wrap, tin foil, and/or plastic baggies

  2. Hannah Heinzekehr

    Yes! Good one. We always wash our ziploc baggies! And, I guess this white Mennonite does NOT like the #12. Hmmm…..

  3. Denise Risser

    Great list Hannah! (And great addition Jeremy). It would take me awhile to think of a few more. 🙂

  4. Missy

    31. Ultimate Frisbee (or the pretense thereof)
    32. Engaging in gluttony to feed the poor (aka, Mennonite Relief Sales)
    And, I love that the whole list is a version of #19 =)

  5. Laura

    We were just talking about how gross Jello Salads are at our Easter potluck. (Incidentally potlucks should perhaps be on your list).
    Also, I don’t know about Leafs, or Threshers, or Royals, but Beavers can be pretty darn intimidating. I saw my first live one ever at a zoo a few years ago, and seriously they have some teeth! And they’re huge!

  6. I’m 24 out of 29 – more Mennonite than I anticipated. I agree that potlucks and reusing plastic baggies, etc., should be on the list. I also think that singing 4-part harmony prayers before meals (such as Johnny Appleseed) should be added. When I brought a “secular” boyfriend home to family event of some sort, he was totally weirded out by our 4-part sung prayer before digging in to eat. (Same could go for 4-part “Happy Birthday”)

  7. I only got 3. But coming in from the outside the list resembles the type of Mennonite I want to avoid becoming. Missing is something about genelogy or last name connections.

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      Matt, You are totally right. This post is meant to be humorous, but I hope it also helps us think about the ways these things get conflated with what it means to be Mennonite, when really they are cultural trappings which can sometimes get in the way.

  8. Mimi

    You forgot to mention the Mennonite Game! Where we meet another Mennonite and then try to establish our connections. Where we feel like bad Mennonites if we can’t find one and good Mennonites if we do.

  9. –Yarn

    –Canning

    –making anything at home that can be easily acquired elsewhere. (jelly, jam, grape juice, marshmallow)

    –singing in harmony

    –being annoyed at how much the Baptists spend on their facilities

  10. Love #5, I think, on the potluck theme.. Feeling a bit smug about making food from Simply in Season or More with Less to bring to a potluck that includes hidden garden excess ingredients. Eg. “None of those unsuspecting children will realize that in addition to my chocolate cake being fair trade, gluten & gmo free, it also includes a pound of leftover beets! Score!”

  11. Great list. I love #5. I think a great addition would be something about making food for potlucks using recipes from a More with Less book that not only make use of excess garden veggies, but also hide said veggies in ways young children will not notice. Eg. Fair Trade gluten/gmo free chocolate cake starring beets!

  12. Even though I found your blog randomly, I am Mennonite and I think I might amend your title to be “Stuff (many) White American Mennonites (possibly of the Swiss tradition) Like”. In good contemporary Mennonite fashion there should be a large number of qualifiers.

  13. Melanie

    Don’t forget footwashing (although I think a lot of Mennonites secretly hate it, but pretend to like it, or at least tolerate it). Also sharing time at Sunday worship.

  14. – Intentional Community
    – visiting your relatives on the family farm (or, at least, having relatives on the family farm…)
    – discernment processes

  15. Jeni Hiett Umble

    Love this! Add re-using tea bags to the list!

  16. nextlevelchallenge4all

    Singing African-American spirituals, like Wade in the Water, while standing motionless/perfectly still.

  17. Ooh, I think I am scoring pretty high on the White Mennoniteness Scale. I’ll have to create or look for a “Stuff Lutherans Like” blog.

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      There you go, Sheri! I guess that kind of post doesn’t quite fit with the themes of “A Sacred Life,” but I had a blast putting this list together. It was really fun to pull together something lighter!

  18. Eliza

    Catholics and liturgy? You have to explain this one to the Lutheran-Mennonite who still loves chanting. : )

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      Eliza, especially at AMBS, there seems to be a lot of interest in developing realtionships between Catholics for social justice and Mennonites, as well as in Catholic spirituality and liturgical practices. We Mennos have not historically had much (if any) liturgy built into our services, so I think some people are really drawn to it!

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