Ask a Hutterite

The blog of a real, live Hutterite.

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Interview: Sunday@CMU

Founder's Hall in Autumn.

Founder’s Hall in Autumn.

From September to December 2014 I lived in residence at the Canadian Mennonite University while I worked through an intensive course of study primarily in the area of biblical and theological studies. Towards the end of my stay I was interviewed by Aaron Epp for Sunday@CMU, a short program aired on Golden West Radio stations throughout southern Manitoba.  The episodes aired on February the 15th and 22nd. Continue reading


Hans Decker: Orthodoxy won’t get you into heaven

Prediger Hans Decker was not your ordinary Hutterite minister. The text below is a prime example of his visionary thinking—thinking that occasionally got him in trouble with the status quo thinkers of his day. This document was first published in August of 1985. The German was modernized by Lothar Korff, and the English translation is my own. Continue reading

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Reflection: Elder Gerry Oleman on “Healing from Colonization”

Elder Gerry Oleman. Member of the St’at’imc Nation from Tsal’alh (Shalalth B.C.)

Elder Gerry Oleman is a member of the St’at’imc Nation from Tsal’alh (Shalalth, B.C.)

Last fall Elder Gerry Oleman spoke on campus at Brandon University. After my last class of the day, I struggled with whether or not I should bother checking it out because I had errands and needed to make it home on time for Susan to use the car for her weekend classes. Besides, I was exhausted and running on mere fumes of my last caffeine fix–an unfortunate addition to my life since I’ve gone back to school. Since noon, I was mixing up my lowercase Bs and Ds: a sure sign that my brain wasn’t in learning mode anymore. Yes, it was Friday afternoon. Continue reading


Reflection: Interview with CBC’s Nora Young on Spark


“Being interviewed guarantees being misunderstood.”

So says the Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell in a rare interview with Jian Ghomeshi aired in early June on CBC Radio’s Q. My own experience with a variety of media corroborates this. Continue reading


In memoriam: Prediger Samuel Gross

Sam Vetter's Obituary

Last week the Manitoba Hutterite community mourned the loss of a beloved Servant of the Word. Prediger Samuel Gross passed away on June the 12th following a struggle with cancer. He served the church and his community for over 40 years as a leader and minister. Sam Vetter was widely respected for being well-read and his gift for communicating the gospel message. Continue reading


Question: Hutterites and musical instruments

Question: What is the Hutterite stance with regard to the use of musical instruments, e.g. piano, guitar, violin, saxophone, etc. in your homes, schools and worship services?

A handwritten Hutterite hymnal. [photo: Kelly Hofer]

Response: Hutterites have an uncomfortable relationship with musical instruments. Considering that several key personalities in the Reformation and early Anabaptist movement were against all forms of music, this is to be expected. Regarding instruments and other issues, Martin Luther said, “If it isn’t expressly forbidden in Scripture, you may do it.” Ever cautious, Konrad Grebel countered, saying, “If it isn’t directly commanded in Scripture, you may not do it!” Aiming a direct critique against the Catholic liturgy, which wasn’t in the vernacular, Huldrych Zwingli said that corporate worship should focus on helping people understand scripture. Balthaser Hubmaier, however, was OK with singing: he felt singing texts that are understood by the singers is pleasing to God. Continue reading


Reflection: American Colony (Episode 3: Rockin’ Road Trip)

A special evening

Photograph by National Geographic Channels / Collins Avenue Inc.

American Colony: Meet the Hutterites
Episode 3: Rockin’ Road Trip
Aired: June 12, 2012

There are two stories unfolding alongside each other in this episode. To begin, the young people of King Ranch secure permission to attend a wedding in Canada. Secondly, the married ladies of the community are planning a weekend get-away with their husbands. Both storylines are fraught with challenges and conflict. In this reflection I will only discuss themes presented by the first strand, but also explore discoveries regarding the integrity and authenticity of American Colony‘s filming and editing process. Continue reading