Beware the Amish pirates

Democratic candidates will debate lgbtq issues

July 11th, 2007 by Jonny

I don’t know if I should be bringing politics into this already-heated blog that’s taking on lgbtq, extra-marital sex, and abortion issues, but hey — why not? So here it is.

According to the New York Times, the Human Rights Campaign — an lgbtq rights advocacy organization — and Logo — a cable tv network geared toward the lgbtq community — will host a one-hour Democratic presidential candidate debate focused on gay rights issues on August 9. What impressed me most of all about this is that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have all agreed to attend already.

Here’s the official press release from the HRC, and here’s the NY Times article.

Anonymity and Internet communities

July 7th, 2007 by Jonny

These thoughts are partially inspired by some recent conversations with a few YAR writers, and folknotions’ post on the San Jose YAR meetup.

I’ve been thinking recently about the strange aspect of anonymity that makes this and other online communities distinct from print publications, face-to-face discussions, etc. In the past few years I’ve had on-and-off involvement in a few online Mennonite communities — some more anonymous than others (for instance, Yahoo group “MennoNet” was a frustrating waste of time). Ultimately, one of the aspects that frustrates me when taking part in these groups is the aspect of anonymity and lack of community — where I feel like writers aren’t willing to remain accountable to each other, take responsibility for what they write, and generally maintain a level of respect and decency. I certainly don’t think this is happening here (and I don’t mean to be targeting people with creative usernames here), but in other groups it often reaches a point where people seem to regress to name-calling and attacks, partially because they can hide behind their cryptic usernames. Again, I don’t see that happening here.

That being said, I’ve also found myself wanting to know more about my fellow writers here on YAR, beyond the regular posts on ethics/theology/ecclesiology. read more »

CPT gets some publicity…

May 31st, 2007 by Jonny

cptrich.jpg

Some BBCers followed around a recent CPT delegation, and posted photos with captions. Even some photos and quotes from our very own YAR member Rich. Looking good, Rich.

I’d be interested in hearing some thoughts on CPT’s work, or ways to work for peace and/or justice. Should the church be actively supporting this sort of work? I’d argue that CPT is doing great work, but recently I’ve heard some critiques accusing CPT of working for “justice” instead of “peace”. What is the role of forgiveness is situations of oppression?

Just trying to stimulate some discussion…

A Mennonite Theology of Culture

May 29th, 2007 by Jonny

I just returned from a 3-week trip to Europe studying Anabaptist/Mennonite history, led by Goshen College professor John D. Roth. We started in the Alsace region of Eastern France, and traveled through Switzerland, Southern Germany, Northern Germany, Friesland in the Netherlands, and then finished in and near Amsterdam. We visited current Mennonite (or historically Mennonite) congregations as well as historic sites in Anabaptist and Mennonite history.

These are thoughts which arose during that trip, but were most recently inspired by Edward Christian’s post on Radical Anabaptism and Radical Biblical Exegesis, as well as Nate Myers’ comments on FolkNotion’s post Is it really a sin?, but I thought they deserved their own post. I’ve done my best to keep up with YAR, but I’m sure these things have been said earlier by others (and probably in better ways), so I apologize for that.

As I read the Schleitheim Confession, I realized — as many modern Mennonites have realized before me — that I didn’t (and don’t) like it. At all. This admission led to a basic question that probably arises from any study of the early Anabaptists: “What am I supposed to do with this? How should I respond to (bad) Anabaptist theology?” And as I say it, I realize that I’ve been taught to think of the latter question as a form of heresy. read more »

Mennonite Church (global?) identity

November 11th, 2006 by Jonny

(This was originally written as a response to Eric’s article on “Calling the church to go pee pee,” but I decided that I don’t really want to be associated with Eric, and my post brings up some new issues. So I deserve my own [first ever] post. And since it’s my first post, I apologize if this topic has already been discussed enough. I haven’t been keeping up with all the posts over the past months.)

Good thoughts, bro. Like you, I wonder about the drive to look back to the “original” Anabaptists as a model for our developing church identity. A few weeks ago, Brian McLaren came to Goshen College and hosted a meal for a select group of AMBS and GC students interested in the future of the Mennonite Church. The discussion quickly turned to the developing identity of the Mennonite Church, and the growing feeling among young people that there’s a lack of intentionality about the formation of that identity. Not surprisingly, pacifism was the first thing mentioned as the central point of Anabaptist/Mennonite identity, and Brian encouraged us to emphasize that aspect in the future. There was a clear sense that what the Mennonite Church really needs is to return to the perfect example of the 16th century Anabaptists.

Let’s not be nostalgiac about the early Anabaptists. read more »