A few years ago, while on a work-related trip in Southeastern Asia, I met with a man who represented the Vietnam-U.S. Friendship Association. We sat and talked for awhile, and he shared with me what was happening in his country. He told me that the Vietnam War (known there as the American War) no longer mattered. Aside from the fact that more than half of the country’s population was born long after the war was over, the Vietnamese people, he told me, were looking ahead. “The past is past,” he said. “We live today and dream of the future.” (more…)
I need some help.
Elections are about three weeks away, and I haven’t decided whether or not I should vote. I just moved to this area a few months ago and I don’t know much about local politics, but I am familiar with the U.S. congressman from this area, and I’m not impressed with him. (more…)
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).
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…)
“The Kingdom of God breeds prophets; the Church breeds priests and theologians. The Church runs to tradition and dogma; the Kingdom of God rejoices in forecasts and boundless horizons. The men who have contributed the most fruitful impulses to Christian thought have been men of prophetic vision, and their theology has proved most effective for future times where it has been most concerned with past history, with present social problems, and with the future of human society. The Kingdom of God is to theology what outdoor colour and light are to art. It is impossible to estimate what inspirational impulses have been lost to theology and to the Church, because it did not develop the doctrine of the Kingdom of God and see the world and its redemption from that point of view.”
Walter Rauschenbusch, A Theology for the Social Gospel, 1917.
Today I had the chance to hear Gene Sharp speak at the John Howard Yoder Dialogues on Religion, Nonviolence and Peace at the University of Notre Dame. I was not familiar with Sharp’s work prior to this event, although his most famous book is The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Sharp’s talk, entitled “Principled Non-violence: Options for Action,” was interesting on many levels and, I think, quite pertinent for us YARs. (more…)
A few days ago, I was asked what I dream of for the church. It came just after an unrelated discussion about this event. The truth is, I couldn’t answer that question at the moment. I’m still stewing over it; it involves something along the lines of a place where we can share our joys as well as our brokenness. I want church to be a place not that caters to individual whims but which draws in all followers of Christ and transforms us one by one. I want it to be a place that always leaves me slightly discomforted. I want the church to be a place that deals more in the spheres of grace than of legalism.
I’m not attending the gathering at Hesston College, but I do like their questions on the web site, so I’m going to steal a few, and toss them at you all. How would you re-imagine the church? What do we really care about, and how can we make that happen? Of what do you dream?
One of my old professors teaches a course on international development in which he instructs his students in each of the three theories of development (read: why people are poor and what they need to be not poor). At some point during the semester, he requires his students to decide which theory of development they like best, and use the Bible to back up their position.
We read the Bible through cultural lenses. This explains, to some extent, why there are Christians who swear by free trade, others who’ve literally written the book on liberation theology, and still others who insist that Jesus was a warrior despite that whole bit about loving one’s enemies and turning the other cheek. It is in that spirit that we bring you the Bible verse of the day, which may or may not end up being regular feature. We hope you’ll enjoy it, and remember that if the Bible were to be made into a movie, it would probably be rated NC-17.
A gem from Proverbs 31, for all of you who’ve given up on being (or finding) a “Proverbs 31 woman”:
“Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”