Ask a Hutterite

The blog of a real, live Hutterite.


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Reflection: Interview with CBC’s Nora Young on Spark

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“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

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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