Beware the Amish pirates

Grieving and Honoring 5 years of Young Anabaptist Radicals

September 7th, 2011 by TimN

Grasshopper with Dew Drops on Clover at Sunrise

Yesterday was 5 years to the day since my first post here on YAR, a week after Eric opened things up.

I was writing a little over a month after I returned to the United States from two and a half years in the United Kingdom, where Anabaptism was a set of values and relationships rather than a bunch of denominations. I longed for something similar in the US. I first started sending emails out to people about the idea of starting a blog in October 2005, when I was still in England. As I said in my first post:

The people I talked with shared an interest in a space where they could explore Anabaptist values and how they apply to broad areas like economics, war and society and more specific issues like abortion, homosexuality and the “war on terror.” They wanted a space to disagree or agree openly with the church,with society and with each other.

This is attempt to build that space.

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Who do we want to be?

September 6th, 2011 by AmyY

I’ll admit at the outset–I used to read YAR and comment on post back in the day, but got busy with seminary.  But, now that I’m out of school I’ve had renewed time and interest in reading again.  I don’t feel like I have much of a right to comment on the state of YAR, because I’ve not been back int the blogosphere long.  But, I’m going to comment anyway.

It’s been five years since YAR got started.  When I first started reading, there was a decent balance between men and women commenting and posting.  And there were a lot of questions about who this group was, who it included and excluded, and what this group wanted to be.

Looking at where the group is now, and using my powers of deduction, I see a lot of white, cradle Mennonite guys posting on this site.  I wonder what happened to the women.  I don’t see them posting much.

That’s leads me to my question for this group–when I look at the suggested taglines for YAR, it makes me wonder if these taglines maintain an exclusive vibe to them.  The biggest culprits are the ones that really made me laugh–”Quilting outside the lines” and “Not necessarily naked”.  I almost voted for one of them, but then I realized that this feeds right into the insider problem of the Mennonite church. read more »

Poll for new YAR tag line is up

August 27th, 2011 by TimN

Vote for your favorite new tag line for Young Anabaptist Radicals in the right hand sidebar. read more »

YAR Tag line contest for 5th anniversary

August 23rd, 2011 by TimN

As we approach our 5th anniversary (August 31st), I’m please to announce a tag-line contest. For the last 5 years, our inconspicuous tag-line has been “A Metaphorical Molotov.” I’ve decided its time for something new and I’d like your help coming up with something suitably funny and incisive. So between now and August 26th, post your ideas here in the comments. On Friday, I’ll post the suggestions in a pole and you all get to vote on your favorite. If you no one else has any ideas, we can just spend the next 5 years watching out for Amish Pirates.

Also, think of something interesting to write about on August 31st.

YAR Meetup on Wednesday at 9 pm at Mennonite Convention in Pittsburgh

June 29th, 2011 by admin

Who: Readers of and contributers to Young Anbaptist Radicals blog of all ages and anyone else who wants to join us.
What: To meet each other in person and to hang out and talk
When: Wednesday, July 6 at 9 pm
Where: Young Adult Lounge in convention center (map forthcoming), David L Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
How: As proposed by AlanS

If you can’t find us, call or text TimN at 312-505-7461 or AlanS (Alan, if you want your phone number here, leave it in the comments and I’ll add it later)

YAR meet up at Convention?

June 13th, 2011 by AlanS

If you can’t watch the video above, the main question is this:

Is anyone from YAR going to the MCUSA convention in Pittsburgh, Pa.  And if so, are you interested in meeting up face to face?  Maybe 9pm-ish on either Tuesday or Wednesday of that week?

Young Anabaptist Radicals now on Facebook

January 24th, 2011 by admin

Well, the poll results are in and a majority of you wanted a YAR presence on Facebook. Here it is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-Anabaptist-Radicals/131225733607986

Like away. If Facebook import doohickey works like it should*, YAR posts should show up on your news feed whenever they post here.

Also, suggest a new poll int the comments. My imagination is running a little slow today. read more »

YAR Christmas Reflection

December 24th, 2010 by TimN

Nativity and Advent Candles

Dear Friends, Enemies and Pirates,

This Christmas I want to let you know that I’m grateful for this little corner of the internet that you create through your presence and participation. It’s been more then four years since a group of us came together around the idea of a blog for Young Anabaptist Radicals. Most of the people in that group are long gone and many others have come and gone in that time. Some of us are still around, but stretching the definition of Young, Anabaptist and/or Radical. Fortunately, we never quite agreed on what any of those words meant to begin with. read more »

When we first visited Young Anabaptist Radicals PLUS first new poll in over a year!

November 23rd, 2010 by TimN

Our poll “When did you first visit Young Anabaptist Radicals?” which ended today holds the record for longest running one in YAR history, clocking in at over a year and two months (It went up on September 24, 2009). Not surprisingly, it also holds the record for most responses at 183.

Because it’s been running so long, it’s been skewed a bit by all the first time visitors showing up and dutifully answering the questions, but I think the numbers themselves are quite interesting:

Year when you first visited YAR:
2006: 19
2007: 17
2008: 10
2009: 15
Last 3 months: 16
First time: 106 read more »

Never doubt that a small group of marginal wierdos chan change the world.

April 1st, 2010 by TimN

In fact, according to Clive Thompson, marginal weirdos brought us computer, democracy and the novel. Basically, Thompson argues that when the audience gets too big for a conversation, it stops taking risks. Which is why I’ve come to see these long posting breaks on YAR as pruning moments. A 10% drop in visits to YAR in March means 10% more risk taking! Another part of Thompson’s argument is the way small groups can have wider ripple effects.

For example, I have to admit that I’ve been a Twitter skeptic. I just can’t bring myself to try to squeeze a meaningful into 140 characters. Its probably quite closely tied with my lack of enthusiasm for texting. Maybe its a generational thing. But I discovered that technology doesn’t wait for us to get used to it. Turns out people have been tweeting about YAR for at least a year. read more »

Why I left YAR, and why I’m not likely to come back regularly

February 26th, 2010 by Skylark

Looks like Folknotions paved the way for me on this one. I’d pretty much forgotten about YAR until yesterday TimN sent me a new incoming comment on a post I’d put up well over two years ago.

Like Folknotions, I didn’t leave YAR because I thought YAR was a bad place or because anyone had angered me. Rather…

1. I’m not Mennonite anymore, even though Anabaptism still influences my thinking and theology.

I started attending a Mennonite church with my family when I was 12. I left that church a little over a year ago, at 25, because of some undesirable circumstances that culminated and made clear to me in an instant that it wasn’t the church for me anymore. I haven’t set foot in that building for anything church-y since, and have had only limited contact with its members since. (My family still goes there, though, and I have lots of contact with them.)

When I left initially, I took a few weeks off from faith communities. I decided to check out a United Church of Christ congregation in the small town where I was living at the time. My dad’s side of the family is all UCC, so I felt a little more comfortable checking out a UCC church than the Methodist church next door, to which I had no pre-existing connection. I felt a need to participate in a faith community, but my finances had become such that I needed a church to which I could walk. Since I was planning on moving from that small town, I knew from the start that this congregation would be a transitional church for me.

It was a relatively “safe” place for me to be at that time in my life. I had broken off an engagement to someone I loved very much, and he was still making me miserable through stalking me and some other measures. In contrast to the Mennonite church I’d left, where there was an insanely high percentage of twentysomethings, this UCC church was highly concentrated with people above 70 years of age. It had the “new and different” appeal to me of being a fairly liturgical church and following a more formalized pattern of rituals than the Mennonite congregation. I know it’s backwards to most people for anyone to “discover” liturgy as something “new and different,” but I guess you’ll get that when every church you’ve regularly attended your entire life has eschewed any connection to the lectionary. read more »

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Why I’m Leaving YAR

February 17th, 2010 by folknotions

So I’ve been a contributor to YAR since early 2007 and have engaged in some interesting discussions with some of the collaborators and even met, discussed, and dined with some of the administrators here. Yet, for the past…oh, year and a half I suppose, I’ve pretty much only contributed book reviews. And in the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve only registered objections to some of the posts I’ve encountered.

I think it’s only fair, and correct, and in the interest of maintaining the fellowship here, that I step out from YAR. But, an explanation rather than a self-righteous “screw you guys, I’m going home!” is in order since explanations are so lacking in the blogosphere (and in my comments the last few months - Sorry Tim but I’ll send you an e-mail if I think I can answer your question about Marxism).

There are a number of things that led me in that direction, several of which I will enumerate here:

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Can you help out a YAR community member in need?

January 4th, 2010 by TimN

Jason Barr's house burning

I returned to work to work today to find an email about the complete destruction of my friend Jason Barr’s home over the holidays. Jason and his wife Gretchen didn’t have insurance, so their depending on good old Anabaptist mutual aid to recover from a loss of just about everything they owned in the fire (that’s their apartment burning in the photo above). If you can give them a few dollars to help them rent a new place and replace their stuff, it would be much appreciated:

Please give to support Jason and Gretchen

For those of you who don’t know Jason personally, he has been involved in Anabaptist circles for a number of years thinking and sharing about Christ-archy. read more »

YAR’s word cloud as interpreted by Wordle

February 9th, 2009 by TimN

This evening while browsing the 5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year I came across Wordle, a wonderful tool for building word clouds.

What are word clouds? We’ve actually already got our own rather dull cloud of post tags tag cloud way down there on the right hand column. In this case the categories most often used are larger and the categories less often used are smaller.

The first cloud below is based on all the words in recent posts on YAR and the second on all recent comments on YAR. The bigger the word, the more often it is used. I think you’ll agree its a fun and informative look.:

YAR posts
Wordle: YAR - Feb 9, 2008
YAR comments
Wordle: YAR comments - Feb 9, 2008
Note that both of these representations are fleeting as they change as soon as the next comment or post is added.

Why aren’t more women commenting?

August 4th, 2008 by TimN

Urbanmenno and Lora have posted comments that address an issue I’ve been meaning to raise for months. We finished up a poll last month that made it clear that the site as a whole has a larger male readership then female (64% male and 36% female). But the ratio of women to men in comments seems to be much lower then that. I’m reproducing Urbanmennos and Lora’s comments here because I think they need more visibility then the tail end of an unrelated post:

Urbanmenno says:

Tim made a good comment on urbanmennonite.com in regards to the above Menno Roundup referencing this post’s discussion and in fairness to all involved, I’ll post it here as well

Tim’s comment:

I’m one of the men who was involved in the discussion you referenced on YAR. Initially I was chastened by your comment, but I’ve done some more thinking about it, and I think when it comes to anti-sexism work, women shouldn’t always have to be the ones defending equality. Sometimes men need to confront men about sexism and not expect women to do the work.

Maybe no one’s going to change anyone’s mind, but blatant sexism and oppression need to be challenged. Silence is not the solution.

Urbanmenno’s response:

I actually think there are a lot of men on YAR who do a great job of speaking up for women’s equality and I applaud them. And I don’t have a problem at all with the men defending the good fight. Particularly since it can be really hard as a female to keep having these kinds of conversations over and over again — soul-killing actually.

I drew attention to the post not to chastise any of the men involved. I saw the post and resulting comments more as another example of where women are talked about and not talked with. It would be interesting to take that particular post and ask the general YAR audience why didn’t women comment on it …

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