the theme of the UNOH conference was "fools for a revolution" with jesus, of course, being our model fool. i attended one session led by stuart murray williams on the foolishness of the anabaptists. he told the story of a well-knonw hero of the faith, dirk wellems (see his story) who was a 16th century reformer immortalized for saving his captor, only to be burned at the stake. a model for a non-violent response of a jesus follower. stuart explained that dirk's response was one of reflex; he didn't have time to deliberate the ethics of the situation. it was an emergency and dirk returned to save his pursuer without second thought. it cost him his life. non-violence is a central commitment of the anabaptists.
the most compelling part of the session, however, was a question stuart posed after sharing dirk willems story. he asked us "what reflexes are cultivated in your community?" he explained that this question is not based on core values, mission statements or beliefs, but an impulse without thought. it gave me pause. the group spent the rest of the time discussing this question and i sat quietly, thinking about communality. what are our reflexes? certainly over the years god's work and our choices are producing spontaneous actions characterized by the kingdom. i thought about hospitality and generosity as two reflexes, instincts as it were, working in our midst. it is a good question worth our consideration.