Beware the Amish pirates

a day late

April 5th, 2007 by Katie

I was just reminded of the significance of the fact that yesterday was April 4. If you go back in history a few decades - you’ll remember that April 4, 1968 was the day MLK Jr. was assassinated. But right now, I’m more interested in what happened one year before that on April 4, 1967 (40th anniversary was yesterday). King gave one of his more famous speeches at Riverside Church, titled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.

I’ll spare you a reflection or commentary of that here but I just want to make note of this anniversary and suggest that you all take a little time to read it (pdf)* or listen to it (quicktime).* It’s pretty long so you might have to take more than a “little” time. I must have been out of the loop yesterday because I didn’t hear or read anything about it in the media. I usually catch things like this.

I must say though, that it’s not a very big mental jump to replace a few words and King could be speaking to us today. Forty years later, the message is as relevant as when he made it.

*if you don’t want to download the pdf, it’s also here and audio can also be heard here (realmedia) and here (mp3).

a sign of hope

March 29th, 2007 by Katie

As someone who raised a bit of a stink about the whole Lancaster Mennonite Conference-vote-to-not-ordain-women thing, I want to direct your attention to some good news. There was also a letter from the bishops recently to people in the conferece that I would also call hopeful.

So, to the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, I want to say “Thank you.” I must confess, I wasn’t sure you had it in you, but with a little time for pondering and for the dust to settle, I see hope, strength, and wisdom in this resolution. I guess I had too little faith. Well done, the church will be better for it. I’m curious to see how this will play out.

To the bishops - you are asking some good questions and bringing up some important issues and I’m also curious to see where this will go.

Just an image in my head

March 28th, 2007 by Katie

I thought I would share this little image that I can’t get out of my head. I don’t think there’s a point here, I just find it frightening. It’s my image for how things are going in the current administration.

The United States is a big car hurtling down a busy highway at about 150 mph. It is swerving a lot and hitting things but keeps barreling on. Bush is at the wheel and his buddies are in the front seat. They’re all drunk teenagers and they’re having a big party up there. The rest of the country is in the backseat. Some in the back are sleeping peacefully and some are holding on with white knuckles and have that freaked out look on their faces. They’re freaked out because they know there is a really big wall just a mile or two up the road and we’re all going to crash and burn. They also have a sneaking feeling that after all the crashing and burning. Bush and his buddies are going to get up, brush themselves off and stumble away - unscathed.

Anyway, that is my image. I’d really like to get out of the car. Anyone else?

Volunteer anyone?

March 16th, 2007 by Katie

I’ve spent the last year and a half doing voluntary service with Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC). At the end of my term (August), I’m moving on to other things and BMC is looking for another volunteer. If you are a person (or know someone) who is especially concerned with LGBT justice as it relates to the church, you might consider looking into this. read more »

In a different spirit

February 2nd, 2007 by Katie

I wrote this yesterday before I read Angie’s post. Her thoughts on Dorothy Day and the church reflect very well my own thoughts. While Angie’s post is thoughtful, mine is angry. Maybe in a few days, I can manage thoughtful but for now, this is what I’ve got:

A Little Stunned

A couple days ago, as I was skimming through the Mennonite Weekly Review. I noticed this item on the front page. My immediate response was to roll my eyes and think, “well, they would wouldn’t they?” and I went on with my day. Now, the more I think about it, the saltier I get. Carol Oberholtzer, the chair of the conference’s Women in Leadership Subcommittee, said she “was a little stunned.” Well, I guess so. I mean, this is 2007, and they are having a vote on whether women can be ordained? LGBT people don’t have a chance there. Here’s what I have to say to all those “credentialed leaders” who took that vote: “well done, the church will be better for it.” No, I’m not just blaming the minority that voted against women and justice but all of them, and the rest of the Mennonite Church with them. read more »

Things we don’t say

December 8th, 2006 by Katie

I’ve been thinking about things we think but don’t say because we’re still afraid to challenge some parts of the status quo publically and out loud. By “we,” I mean people in general but especially those of us of a more progressive or even radical persuasion. I feel there is a certain amount of self-censorship among us because sometimes if we said what we really think, it might prove all of conservative’s worst fears about us. It may also be that we don’t feel like getting into a big annoying discussion that will really just go around in circles and would be easier to not have. Have you ever tried to explain your faith or politics to someone in your second or third language? It gets confused and difficult and it is easier to talk about the weather because that is what they taught us in high school language class. That is what it seems like to me. read more »

Polygamous Anabaptists

November 16th, 2006 by Katie

The Mennonite Weekly Review reported this week that the world’s largest Anabaptist Conference, the Meserete Kristos Church of Ethiopa, recently made two groundbreaking (maybe even radical) decisions. One is that women can now be fully active in leadership in the church. My only comment to that one is: well done, the church will be better for it. More interesting to me is the other decision. Polygamous converts can now be baptised into the church without divorcing all but one of their wives. The church is still saying monogamy is the way to go (their “teaching position”) and men shouldn’t marry any more wives once they are part of the church (also probably shouldn’t be leaders).

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feel-good progressive evangelical leader getting old

October 3rd, 2006 by Katie

I recently went to hear Jim Wallis speak near Minneapolis. I went because I had a question I wanted to ask him and because I wanted to see if my annoyance with him is more than me just being cranky. He was pimping the paperback version of his most recent book so I thought I would go. He talked for a long time and was “funny” and “charming” and didn’t really say any thing I haven’t heard from him before in radio interviews or writings for Sojourners. I haven’t even read his book and I’m tired of it.
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an event to attend

September 21st, 2006 by Katie

In addition to this event that Lora pointed out a few days ago is another event that y’all should consider if you are Mennonite*. I went to the Young Adult Fellowship retreat last year in Ontario and it was pretty cool. This year it is near South Bend, IN and is happening the weekend of October 20. Check it out. I think I’ll be there (along with all the other cool kids) so you should too.

I don’t think that I’ll be able to go to the Hesston thing but would love to hear from those who go. These would both be good places to hype our awesome blog.

*Sorry to those of you who aren’t Mennonite but Anabaptist in the non-Mennonite sense that most of my stuff is rather Menno-centric. That is my connection to the Anabaptist thing and, yeah, sorry. I am also sorry for the run-on sentences and poor grammer that you will see from me as I continue to post.

the queer radical Mennonite conundrum

September 21st, 2006 by Katie

I’m going to do a spin-off from the speech I pointed you all to last week. So here is the conundrum. I grew up Mennonite. I went to a lovely, nurturing, happy, rural church (East Union Mennonite Church) where I was baptized at 16. I went to a Mennonite summer camp (Crooked Creek Christian Camp) for quite a few years and loved it. I went to many a Mennonite bi-annual conference as my parents were youth leaders for many years and when I was in high school. I went to a Mennonite high school (Iowa Mennonite School) where I learned lovely things about Mennonite history and faith along with the English and Trig. I served for a year with Mennonite Central Committee (SALT) in South Africa. I spent four formative years at Goshen College. I highly value every one of these institutions as they have played a major part in my formation. Those institutions represent an integral part of almost my entire life. The problem arises when I realize that every single one of these institutions would discriminate against me if I were to want to work for them or even volunteer for them as an openly queer Mennonite.

I feel quite a bit of loyalty to the Mennonite Church because it is an important part of who I am. I feel that I am part of the church as much as any other Mennonite who says I shouldn’t be. According to the official membership quidelines and many Mennonites - I shouldn’t teach, preach, or work for any official part of the church or even be a member. To me, it feels like the church is not living the values that I learned from the church. read more »

Intro to Katie

September 14th, 2006 by Katie

I guess it is about time I introduced myself and wrote something. I’m Katie Hochstedler, aka Katie Ho. I’m young and Anabaptist and I’d like to think I’m radical. Who know’s who’s really radical and who’s not?

I spend my time living in Minneapolis and working for Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests as a full-time volunteer. It is the best way I know that I can be Anabaptist. I’ve been here for a year and I’ll be here for one more. Before that I was studying at Goshen College and before that I was growing up near Kalona, Iowa.

Something I find amusing about volunteering is that while I am working with an organization that is involved in both the Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren, I have been volunteering through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and now the United Church of Christ Volunteer Ministries. Neither MVS nor BVS will have BMC as a placement so other churches are supporting me.

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