So when I arrived in the hall for the opening worship service on Monday evening, I was surprised to discover that hymns did not form the backbone of the singing. As the week progressed, it appeared that in fact hymns would take a backseat in the adult worship services for the duration. I was disappointed, a little confused, and as Betsy Headrick McCrae noted in her story Wednesday afternoon, thrown off-balance. I didn’t know the songs the worship band led. I missed the hymns I had grown up singing and come to love. Wasn’t this the Mennonite convention, after all? Weren’t hymns and four part harmony our bread and butter? I heard a similar sentiment echoed frequently throughout the week. Where had the hymns gone? (more…)
New Heaven, New Earth: Anarchism and Christianity Beyond Empire
August 14 & 15, 2009
2509 Harvard Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38112
This year’s anarchism and Christianity conference, hosted by Jesus Radicals, will look squarely at the economic and ecological crisis facing the globe, and point to signs of hope for creativity, for alternative living, for radical sharing, for faithfulness, for a new way of being. We are living in a karios moment that will either break us or compel us to finally strive for a new, sane way of life. The question we face at this pivotal time is not if our empires will fall apart, but when they will fall–and how will we face it? We hope you will join the conversation. (more…)
June 25, 2009 activism, Anabaptism, Awesome Stuff, Change, children, Church, City, Civilization, Clothing, communication, Community, Conscientious Objection, Consumerism, Contemplation, Corporations, culture, Current Events, Discipleship, Economics, Education, Emerging Church, End Times, Environment, Ethics, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Food, Foreign Policy, Fun, Gender, Global Church, God, Group Identity, Healthcare, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Interfaith, International Relations, Leadership, liberation theology, Love, Loyalty, Mental health, Music, New Monasticism, Nonviolence, Peace & Peacemaking, philosophy, Polarization, Police, poverty, Power, Prayer, Privilege, Race, Roman Catholic, Science, Spiritual Life, Stewardship, Stories, submergent, Technology, Television, The Bible, Theology, Tolerance, Tradition, Travel, Urban Ministry, war, Wealth, Writing, Young Folks 0 Read more >
For those familiar with Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church (different from Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Church… though it is darn confusing…), they recently launched a website called Re:Sound. Their first project is a sort of indie-rock version of a lot of classic hymns such as “Softly and Tenderly”, “What Wonderous Love Is This”, “Doxology”, “Amazing Love”, “I’ll Fly Away”, etc.
If you’ve attended a Mennonite church for any period of time, you probably have sung these hymns a lot. These re-creations are really good and I highly suggest them. Through Noise Trade for a limited time, you can pay what you want for the 12 tracks, or refer 5 friends via e-mail and get it for free. It’s pretty simple. Check it out.
In May, I attended Brian McLaren’s conference for his new book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope. I was hungry for the ways he articulated the dangers and opportunities we face in this century. Attending Brian’s conference was so refreshing, just to see people talking about these issues. There’s a further summary of the conference content by ST.
Much of the ideas in his book are not new to the faith-based peace activists I know. However, there is a lot we need to face in the inconvenient truths of environmental issues, and crises connected to humanity’s overconsumption. When activists talk about these issues, people are put off by the stark realities we expose them to, those realities being hard enough to face as it is.
McLaren talked about these painful issues in a way that was easily understandable for mainstream evangelicals or folks on the fringe of the church. He applied the example of Jesus and his relevance to our times, naming the social and political backdrop of Jesus’ life during a period of Empire, inequality, and injustice.
What was so important for me, was the chance to go deeper than intellectual discussion of crisis scenarios, deeper than fix-it mode. It was an opportunity to feel, to grieve and to struggle with hope through worship and the arts. (more…)
Ba-ack step, tri-ple step, tri-ple step, ba-ack step, spi-in left…
I had way too much fun swing dancing this weekend. When I sat down to blog about it on my personal blog today, I started realizing just how much gender roles are infused into that seemingly-innocent passtime. I thought back to my comment in response to Tom’s giving-up-music post, how it was admirable to be willing to give up something you like because something else is more important. I realized swing dancing might be that for me. Now, I know I only just got back into it, and it’s not an ingrained part of my life (yet; it very well could be soon). When near a thrift store today, I stopped in to see if they had any heel-less shoes I’d want to wear dancing.
The difference between music/secular music and dancing is the music is a personal morality issue, which the prolific YAR posters tend not to be concerned about, while the dancing definitely could contribute to social sexist pressures and all that. (more…)
If you remember, in my intro post, I mentioned that I am a youth pastor. I am in my 8th month of youth pastoring now, and I would like to discuss with YAR an issue that am dealing with as a pastor: Music.
Nine months ago (before I was a YP) music was not an issue at all in my life. I listened to whatever I wanted to, and on occasion I would censor some “bad stuff” from myself. For instance, if the song blatantly objectified women (i.e. anything on MTV), promoted violence, sex, drugs etc. I would try to avoid it. That being said, my personal “censoring filter” was pretty generous. By and large, if I liked the way it sounded I listened to it. (more…)
I have a short “networking” request:
A good friend of mine, who recently lived and worked in Jerusalem, is putting together a dvd on Gaza for Catholic Relief Services (crs.org). Unfortunately, copyright laws are creating a few road blocks to the process, so he is looking for independent artists/musicians/music that he could use for the purposes of the dvd. If you know anyone, are an artist yourself, or have music you would be willing to share for the project, I would greatly appreciate any help with this. The music should be really wide ranging in genre…and the whole project is really fantastic…
A few weeks ago, Nathan suggested that the singer/songwriter Derek Webb was trumpeting Anabaptist values. I haven’t checked out a new artist Christian music field for quite sometime now, but upon looking at his website I discovered that he was offering his all of latest album, Mockingbird, free to download. As a properly frugal Mennonite, I decided it was my duty to download it. Today I finally got around to listening to it.
What I discovered was a pleasant surprise: the first sarcastic Anabaptist “Christian Music” artist I’ve ever come across (though admittedly I don’t know that many). Here’s a sample:
don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music
don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law
i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me
– from “A New Law”