About Us

YAR is a loose affiliation of self-identified young Anabaptist radicals. We’ll break down each element of the title to try to shed some light on what exactly we are identify with. Rather than offering a definitive answer, this page is an ongoing compilation of the way different YAR contributers have answered the questions in their post and their comments. If you’ve got some thoughts to add, you can email admin@young.anabaptistradicals.org
to request a user name. Just include a little bit about yourself and why you{d like to join.

Young

We aim to be young in a non-exclusionary way. A number of YAR members offered some helpful perspectives on what this means in response to a post about agism by Mfalme. j.daniel opened the commenting with a a proposal that “Young Anabaptists be defined as those of the 21st century (i.e. those living in the 21st century).” Trini concurred:

I’d say young would be defined as anyone who’s not still living in the sixteenth century. There’s a certain relevance attached to the word ‘young’, which is not relevant to age, but in terms of relearning and re-experiencing the Anabaptist vision. I’ve been a member of a Mennonite church now for approximately 2.2 weeks… so that makes me young.

I’ve seen some 23 year olds who are not as young at heart as some 46 year olds. The willingness to embrace differences and not being set in their ways to learn, to ask, to discuss to challenge and to be challenged… I think these are what makes us young.

Anabaptist

The Anabaptist movement came out of the radical reformation, which challenged the foundations of the church and state. As FreeRadical put it in his first post:

Was Anabaptism about doctrine, about lifestyle, about traditions? Was it all about a new way of doing church? Was it any of those?

The defining trait of historical Anabaptism was really not any of those. Anabaptism was not about a new system, a new institution. Rather, Anabaptism was a label given to those radicals, those people who couldn’t get along with any system. Anabaptism described those who didn’t give a damn about what the government said or did, no matter if it was civil government or church government.

Radical

Over 400 years, the churches that make up the Anabaptist family have become institutions themselves. The fire of the early faith and radical witness to the powers has wasted away into little more than a slight guilty feeling we get when watching violent cartoons or spending an hour at the local soup kitchen. Challenging the status quo has become less of a priority. As BeccaJayne, our resident poet, put it in a recent comment:

We don’t WANT to be recognized as an alternative way of practicing Christianity anymore, either because it could be viewed as political, or because it might cause conflict within communities, work places, etc. In other words, we’d have to change in small ways and big; and right now, I see us as being very comfortable. Really stressing things like simple living and starting peace at home would send shockwaves through many of our churches. I really think we’d lose some folks who want to walk into church on Sundays and feel like they are in any other Protestant service.

So as radical Anabaptists, we’d like to imagine together what it might mean to root our lived faith today (and tomorrow) in the spirit and soil of early Anabaptism. What does this mean politically? What does this mean socially? What does this mean theologically?

Oh, and one more thing. If you think that perhaps we’re getting too carried away with the whole radical thing, here’s one last quote from Brian Hamilton, our resident theological historian (or is he a historical theologian):

And insofar as radical really does mean a return to the radix, or root, every radical must trace their history back to its source—no branch is nourished by the roots except through the other branches and through the trunk. (Originally a comment in response to a post on another blog about YAR)

For more on how all three of these elements come together see responses to R?, a post on this subject by Eric.

Interested in joining the conversation? We welcome your comments on posts or if you’d like to write a post for YAR, email admin [at] young [dot] anabaptistradicals [dot] org and explain a bit about why you’re interested.

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