Biographical

Theological Education, Anyone?

Hi, I’m Amy. I’m not new to the blog–I’m a frequent lurker and occasional commenter.

As someone who is entering seminary this year, I’m interested to know if any of you are going to seminary, or if you have considered it, or if you even care about theological education. What is the value of that to you, fellow YARs?

I’m going to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (this is my first year), and trying to figure out how to get my Anabaptist stuff while here. You might be asking why a Mennonite would go to a Lutheran seminary–well, show me a Mennonite seminary that is in the city, and focuses on urban issues, and I’ll be there!

I’m looking forward to reading your comments, and hearing your perspectives.

Portrait of an Anabaptist Radical (Young?)

Hello, hello. I am Steve Kimes and I’ve posted a few comments, but I’ve just had the opportunity to join this infamous group, so I figured I’d take the time to write a few paragraphs about me, as an introduction.

First of all, I wasn’t raised Mennonite/Anabaptist. I actually wasn’t raised Christian. I came to the Anabaptist fold via conservative evangelicalism. My career choice was missions, specifically working with the poor in Bangladesh, after a missions trip in Calcutta and Bangladesh for six months. However, God led my wife and I to work with the homeless in Portland, OR instead.

But, since our background was missions, we approached doing homeless ministry from a missions perspective. So we invited the homeless to our home, trying to understand their culture and ways. We try to love them within their culture, rather than bringing them out of their culture, trying to teach and demonstrate how to live for Jesus as a homless and/or mentally ill person rather than just as a middle class person. (more…)

young anabaptist radicals

I teach anabaptist theology at columbia bible college in abbotsford, bc. I’m intrigued by the title of the site and find it quite appropriate in that I believe that the nature of the 16 century movement was in many ways a youth movement. Many of the early radicals were dead before they reached the age of 30! e.g Grebel and Denck to name my 2 favs. as one who seeks to inspire a new movement in the 21st century I was excited when a friend told me about this site. I look forward to reading and posting occasionally and recommending this site to students.

A Theology of Enough: Speed and the Working Week

I apologise for my long silence. I’ve recently been thinking a lot about “a theology of enough”, pace of living, and sustainability in all areas of our lives. Instead of crafting a beautiful and articulate essay, I thought I’d offer my ramblings and learn from what responses and questions, if any, fellow YAR readers have to offer to the considerations. I think considering the way we pace our lives, and in particular our working lives, is a spiritual discipline, and therefore an important idea to consider – whether for the first time or as a reminder. (more…)

My Life in a Box

First, I think a short introduction is in order before I begin. I am a university student. I live in a city of about 750,000 people that has a large Mennonite population, but in addition to that, I live in the ‘Mennonite suburb’ of the city, where Mennonite churches are found every block and everyone is related to their neighbors. I am Mennonite, and proud of it:). And I have now officially, after many months of reading the articles but not participating, joined YAR. Upon the recommendation of my good friend ST, I accessed this site and found myself part of a community much different than my own.

When I began reading the articles on YAR, I did not know what to expect. ‘Young Anabaptists’ I understood. But ‘Radicals’? Weren’t those just our ancestors, people from years ago who fought for a bible in the vernacular, for the believers baptism and for a right not to enter combat? We don’t still have ‘radicals’ now do we? By this point, I can only imagine what many of you are thinking based on my naive and ignorant questions. However, I currently find myself within a community, a church family and a school environment that is, sadly, apathetic. With so many resources accessible for me to access global news, with so many protests, rallies and demonstrations happening to raise awareness for good causes, and with so many people around me suffering from my ignorance, why is that I rarely feel compelled to do something? I have participated in missions trips, I have spent time in the inner city with homeless people and prostitutes and I attend a University right in the middle of the most impoverished area of the city, and yet I have managed to remain in my bubble, separating myself from the things that are too difficult to acknowledge.

(more…)

Introducing myself: An excuse to navel-gaze.

I’m Skylark, a self-described YAR who found this place totally by accident. I was looking for info on Jerry Jenkins coming to Kidron Mennonite because I’m the newspaper reporter who covers Kidron. This was the first hit in a Google search. Hi Tom. :-) I got sucked into Tom’s post about his concerns over Jerry Jenkins’ visit. One post lead to another, and I really like this place.

A little about me: I’m 23, female, Mennonite, pacifist, and vegetarian. Over the summer I followed the progress of Bike Movement (Denver Steiner and I go to the same church), and of course I covered it when BikeMovement came to Kidron Mennonite in August. It seems like almost anything that happens event-wise in Kidron is at that church. :-P Not that there are many other options for venues. That put me in contact with an area Christian young adult group. I’ve been a part of the group since. I’ve totally gotten on board with Denver’s push at church to create safe spaces where young adults and others can ask “unsafe” questions and explore issues we would otherwise ignore in favor of more sanitized church activities. My mentor and I have gotten to know each other a lot better lately, and we’ve known each other since I was 13, so that’s pretty cool. (more…)

Introduction, confession and questions

Do I qualify as a YAR? I’m not quite sure. I have the A – I feel strongly about the Anabaptist vision and have committed myself to working for three Mennonite institutions during my thus-far career. But young? Who knows, anymore. At the last church-wide convention, where I went as part of my job, I was turned away by the big biceps at the front desk for having already (if barely) eclipsed the 30 threshold.

I’m Ryan Miller. I write. I take photos. I think about ways to communicate within the church and outside of church structures. I’ve worked for Mennonite Mission Network for the last two-and-one-half years, which puts me in the midst of a church structure – a job that can offer ascending stories of inspiration . Does that leave any room for radical? And do I define radical in terms of conceptual theology or as an action-based, lived-out, grit-under-toenails type of Christianity that not only identifies with the poor and oppressed, but goes out of its way to address their needs.

So I’m not sure if I fit here. And that’s not the confession. (more…)

living tribute

I learned of Martin Luther King, the hero of the Civil Rights Movement, in school.
I learned of Martin Luther King, the peacemaker, at church.

In both cases I learned about King as an icon. He was like an angel-man, superhuman. King became a real person when I moved to Atlanta.

It was a fall from a pedestal of sorts, when I learned about all of the trials, the fractures, the tribulations, the anguish, and the arguments that went on behind the scenes of the marches and the committee meetings. To listen to lectures by the veterans of the movement, (Former Ambassador Andrew Young, Rev. Joseph Lowery, R. D. Abernathy, Rev. James Orange) all still involved, but some bitter, some who have appropriated the movement…whew! I learned about the hundreds of sidelined and under-recognized women who laid the groundwork for so many of the church meetings, boycotts, and potlucks (Septima Clark, Montgomery Women’s Council, Ella Baker, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson). Most of all, when I saw the struggle of his immediate family to know how to live out the legacy of the father they lost when they were young children, it all became so tangible. (more…)

a year-end blessing

This year has been a year of transitions for me. I’ve moved twice, changed jobs, started graduate school, left graduate school, and watched the path of my life change in ways I never would’ve imagined when the year began. This is how life goes, I guess: we think we have it figured out and new things come along and we find ourselves all over again. In the past year I’ve learned that there’s a difference between job and vocation. I’ve been reminded that no one really has it figured out, no matter how much it appears that way. I’ve come to appreciate—again—the myriad of opportunities I have in my life, and am continually trying to figure out how to make the most of what I’ve been given.

To all of you, wherever you are and whoever you are, young or old, may the coming year be a year of growth, of challenges, of opportunities. As you celebrate the birth of Christ and enter into the new year, may you find yourself discomforted in ways that move you to work for peace in your own life and in the world. May the light of Christ shine within you and among you. May you find God in unexpected places.

The God of Coincidence

It seems to me that church folk talk a lot about God doing this or that in our lives, and rightly so I guess. “God told me this or has been telling me that”, is a common utterance, but I’ve been avoiding that terminology for some time now. I guess I am uncomfortable with this assertion at times. Please don’t get me wrong, it is not my intent to discourage anyone who uses these expressions or to imply that they are wrong to do so. Nor am I calling God’s existence or presence into question. I am only expressing my own doubt or lack of understanding in the matter. My questions are of free will, and Divine orchestration. Good stuff happens to bad people and bad stuff happens too good people and vice versa and none of us can predict it consistently. (more…)

Intro to Tom

I have always been wary about getting involved with internet forums, chat rooms, blogs and the like, but here I am. My name is Tom (or Thomas) Dunn, I am a recent graduate of Bluffton University and am currently the youth pastor at Kidron Mennonite in Kidron, Ohio. I have heard about YAR from a number of different places, but most recently was reminded of it by Becca, who was home and at church a couple of Sundays ago. She said she had some poetry on the site about Mennonite sermons, and since I had just given a Mennonite sermon that particular morning, I thought it would be worth my while to read these poems. I read them, and they are good, but I didn’t stop there. I continued to read through many of the various post on YAR and my interest has been sparked.

As I said earlier, I am still wary about posting things on the internet. I’m not sure if it is just me being old fashioned, or the fear of becoming addicted to this and then getting a my space page, a face book page (I actually do have a facebook page, but my room mate from college set it up), and spend all my time blogging and networking over the web. But even deeper than this, I think I have a fear of my virtual self—who will I be on the pages of YAR? Will I still be Tom Dunn or will I become something I’m not. Will I get caught up in projecting myself as an intellectual, intelligent, educated, open-minded, globally aware young anabaptist radical, or can I just be myself? Is it possible to be yourself on the internet? Well, as you may have gathered since you are currently reading all this over the internet, I have decided to post here on YAR, and spark the beginning of my virtual self.

Wealth: A Mennonite’s experience in London

Pedestrians on the London Bridge during the evening commute out of the City of London

I’ve always known I’ve had a problem with The Rich. I had a bias against The Rich for a long time. It also took me a while to notice I was one of them. I had expected to have inner conflicts by traveling to “third-world” countries (low life expectancy, low standard of living, low literacy rates, high poverty) and being faced with extreme poverty – not only an opposite lifestyle than I was used to, but also a lifestyle that was in direct relationship with my lifestyle : my demands had caused their poverty.

I’ve also known that Mennonites have appeared to favor missions and outreach to places with high levels of poverty and have had few resources to spend for missions and outreach to the upper echelons of society. I knew for this reason that living in one of the highest affluent areas in London could prove interesting as a missionary. I hadn’t, however, expected inner conflicts and deep moments of pain and sorrow as a result.

Have you tried living in the world’s most expensive city while having a deep theological and personal foundation of identity in walking with and learning from the Poor of the earth? It’s trying and tiring. (more…)

Intro to Jason

I’m someone who’s mostly been away from Mennonites for the past three years, but having the distance has shown me (maybe by omission) the value for me of relationships with young Anabaptist folks — particularly ones who are passionate about investigating what it looks like to try to form our lives and relationships based on taking seriously this faith we supposedly ascribe to.

I was talking with Sarah Thompson — who’s the North American representative to AMIGOS, the Mennonite World Conference’s global young adult network — about those sorts of interests (wanting to get to know passionate Menno young folks, to talk about the church and if/how it fits with us), which is what tipped her off to nominate me for the position I’m now in as the Mennonite Church USA rep to AMIGOS. More specifics will be coming up on AMIGOS, I’m sure, but feel free to check in or ask any questions y’all like. (more…)

some small thoughts

radical self love
a roommate once wanted to start a “masturbate for peace” campaign. he was shot down by everyone he talked to. i now wish i had backed him up. but this isn’t really a post about that…

“love your neighbor as you love yourself.” is that a command or a statement of fact?

make someone happy – buy yourself an iPod.
maybe this is a post about that after all…

world peace
i’ve discovered the key to world peace. (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…)