Monthly Archive: October 2006

Living in a world of Post-s, -ists, and –isms

[I have been invited to share this with you all and look forward to joining the conversations. Please note that this is NOT in edited form, that it is merely a spewing of thoughts. I look forward to further feedback and discussions. Please note also that I’m eager to find a different phrase to encapsulate what I love about the movement of the post-Christendom church … perhaps “grassroots christianity” or “grassroots Christ-living” …]

Living in a world of Post-s, -ists, and –isms:
What the Emerging Church movement can teach Anabaptism

Mennonites in the United States are slowly realizing that we live in drastically different times and in drastically different ways than our Anabaptist leaders lived. Are we living in such a way due to evolving revelation or have we let go of our fundamental radical roots? (more…)

Why is Iraq in Such Trouble?

Hi, I’m a young anabaptist named Nate. Some of you on this site know me. Anyway, I thought I’d post something on an issue I believe is of great importance: What’s wrong in Iraq?

Conservatives blame liberals for being “soft” on terrorism. Liberals blame the neocons. And everybody in America seems to ultimately blame the insurgents and “terrorists” who “hate freedom and the democratic process.”

But as usual, things are not that simple. Not nearly. There are several factors that most middle east scholars and experts foresaw. Let me enumerate some of them, since I believe it is imperative for us to understand world events so we can make a difference: (more…)

Reflections on Mennonite Young Adult Fellowship Retreat

This past weekend I, along with a couple of other YAR writers, went to a campground outside South Bend, IN for a weekend of conversation, games and networking with about 50 other young ethnic Mennonites in their twenties. I decided to go to the gathering after reading about it in Katie Ho’s post a month ago. I figured it would be a good way to reconnect some small part of the Menno community after being out of the country for two and a half years. And in that regard, I wasn’t dissapointed. While there were a few old friends in attendance, there were also lots of new and interesting people to chat with, including the chance to meet a fellow YAR blogger for the first time in person (Brian Hamilton). There were thoughtful sessions by Ken Hawkley, former Mennonite Church USA young adult worker. The Bike Movement crew did a presentation about their trip, their conversations and their upcoming documentary. And Jason Shenk and Nicole Bauman led a discussion session on young adults and the Mennonite church as part of their new roles with AMIGOS. To balance the serious parts there was also Menno Run, a version of survival. With Anabaptist hunters instead of wolves and foxes and Anabaptist instead of rabbits and deer. All this with liberal doses of engaging conversations. (more…)

‘A True Global Culture of Peace’

If there’s one thing I envy the Catholic hierarchy, it’s their ability to respond quickly and compellingly to particular situations as they arise. On Tuesday, the Vatican published statement addressing the UN committee on disarmament, who is working through its discussion and draft resolutions this week and next. (The UN site keeps a running tab of press releases from the committee if you’re interested.) In a work of sharp analysis, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace speaks challengingly and specifically about its hopes.

…The Holy See acknowledges the many initatives undertaken by the United Nations and by regional organisms and civil society to avoid the race in armaments, to promote mutual trust between states through cooperation, information exchange and transparency in possesion and purchasing of arms. Nevertheless the Holy See urges the international community to assume its responsibility in establishing an obligatory legal framework aimed at regulating the trade of conventional weapons of any type, as well as of know-how and technology for their production.

And they go on to name a specific proposal they want to endorse.

Now, I’m sure that the MCC United Nations Liaison Office is speaking with similar precision. But if only we had some way to express our own collective convictions as Anabaptists!

Tempting Faith shows Bush exploitation of Christians

I’m not usually one to post videos on blogs, but this two part series on the Keith Olbermann show covers the new book by David Kuo, a longtime conservative Christian political operative and deputy director of White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction appears to be just what its title claims: a thorough expose of the way the Bush administration has strung along Christian leaders over the last 6 years. The general themes of broken promises to conservatives won’t come as a surprise, but the specifics coming from an insider are still very disturbing. One minor, but telling quote from the book:

[Christian leaders] were given passes to be in the crowd greeting the president or tickets for a speech he was giving. Little trinkets like cufflinks or pens or pads of paper. Christian leaders could give them to their congregations or donors or friends to show just how influential they were. Making politically active Christian personally happy meant having to worry far less about the political Christian agenda.

But you can watch it all in gory glory for yourself in Part 1:

and Part 2: (more…)

Bearing Gifts

Those who attended the Mennonite Youth Convention in Orlando, FL in 1997, may recall Tony Campolo commenting that ironically, “In the Catholic Church the wine turns into Jesus’ blood, but in the Mennonite Church, the wine turns into grape juice.” This past Saturday, at the wedding of two of our friends my wife and I participated in our first Catholic Mass. Not only did we partake in the ceremony of the Eucharist, but we had been asked to be the “Gift Bearers” (not to be confused with the “gift receivers” who collect presents for the bride & groom). The gift bearers carry the gifts- that is, the bread and wine – to the altar and present it to the priest. We considered it an honor to be asked to take on such an important role in the service. (more…)

fallout

another Eric A Meyer (who happens to be a more prominent web designer than i am (you’ll find him, not me, if you google us)) made a google maps air strike simulation called HYDEsim. it shows on a map the basic range of an explosion using variables that you set.

he’s recieved some flack for ‘aiding the terrorists’ (ha), or the simulation being to simple (it doesn’t take into account some wider effects of an explosion), etc – though he points out that it’s not an easy thing to mock up with simple javascript.

it’s a nifty little learning tool, but more interesting to me is his recent blog post about it, talking about various places it’s been used and various people’s responses to it.

The ‘Reign of God’ is among you…

The Associated Press reported, on October 8, that 75 people attended the funeral of Charles C. Roberts. About half of the “mourners” were Amish.

In a world run by retaliatory violence, a community near Lancaster PA took a chance on the Reign of God.

That’s history. It’s irrefutable. It’s staggeringly convicting. It’s Anabaptism – lived.

Confidence

“One is hardly tempted to lose confidence in the future after listening to a group of young people discussing the important problems of life. Of course the number who approach the future reflectively and with real appreciation for the issues involved in the readjustment of traditions to new situations is not large. There are not many such groups and even in these the number who really take part in the discussion is small.

“Nevertheless their wholesomeness is impressive. I can’t always withhold a sense of pity for them. With traditions crumbling and accepted standards inundated by a sea of moral relativity, they have a desperate task on their hands to construct new standards adequate for their happiness. There is always the temptation to be too rebellious or too traditional, to be scornful of the old standard even when it preserves obvious virtues, or to flee to it for fear of being lost in the confusion of new standards. Yet the best way of avoiding these dangers is to subject them to the scrutiny of a thoughtful group which knows how to discern the limitations of any position, old or new.”

— Reinhold Niebuhr, Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (104)

Good encouragement; good caution.

Bible verse of the day

From Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NRSV)

“This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it” (emphasis added).

straight to jesus

npr’s Fresh Air did a report today on Exodus and the ex-gay movement. I only heard the first part, but found it fascinating.

For those of you who have seen ‘but i’m a cheerleader‘ and thought it was over the top – think again. most interestingly, the men in the ‘ministry’ aren’t allowed to join health clubs (gay), share cigarettes (um… gay), use ironic/sarcastic humor (totally gay), or wear certain styles of clothing. gay styles. totally totally gay styles. oh my goodness those styles are gay.

For those of you who haven’t seen ‘but i’m a cheerleader’ – go watch it now. it’s great fun.

Rich Mennonites in an age of hunger

This past week, the executive board of Mennonite Church USA gave its approval for a $9.8 million building campaign. The new building, which will be built on the grounds of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will house both the offices of MCUSA and Mennonite Mission Network. MMN had approved the proposal back in July, but the board of MCUSA held back, wanting more information. You can read the full news release here.

I personally know (and respect) two of the members of the MCUSA board, so I need to tread somewhat carefully here, but I’m still not convinced that a new building worth $6 million (the rest will cover operating costs) is the best way to go. (more…)