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In the Shadow of Classist Ethnocentrism: Prophetic Voices Against “The Status Quo”

This is taking a new thread of thought from somasoul’s comments in the “Christarchy!” post Lora wrote (thanks Lora)
I find often on this blog a tendency to attack what is seen as the “Christian” status quo, readily identified as the following:

1) Rich

2) Sheltered

3) Spiteful of “sinners”

I will, of course, say “Amen”, “Amen” and “Amen”, provided the caveat that this refers mostly to North American suburban Christians – and, in the global scheme of Christendom, this is a small portion of the body of Christ.

I mention this because I sometimes wonder when we take on a prophetic voice to critique Christians for the above errors, if not this critique itself issues forth from a privileged and ethnocentric perspective. (more…)

International Bloggers’ Day for Burma


Free Burma!

Last week I wrote about the worsening situation in Burma. Today is International Bloggers Day for Burma and the country is in the midst an increasingly repressive crackdown on thousands of monks and ordinary people in the country who were on the streets last week. The BBC reports:

Residents of the main city, Rangoon, say the streets are quiet during daylight hours, with the police and army keeping a low profile.

But during the overnight curfew, they say raids by the security forces continue.

The BBC’s Chris Hogg, in neighbouring Thailand, says if it is a tactic designed to scare people, it is working.

Click the read more link to sign the petition. (more…)

Running from the Military Police

This last weekend, I had to decide exactly how radical I wanted to be. I was put in a situation where I stood between an AWOL soldier and the military police, who very much wanted to arrest him. If only I had a nickel for every time this happened, I’d have close to five cents. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly a classic “What would you do?” moment, but it was interesting just the same, and I thought y’all might be interested in hearing about it.

A conscientious objector, who has been trying to get out of the Army for more than two years, was facing a deployment on Friday night. He had applied for CO status and was denied … twice. While he was in Iraq the first time, he refused to load his weapon even when on patrols. When he got back he filed a Habeas Corpus in federal court, challenging the ruling, and was denied … thrice (if you count appeals and temporary restraining orders). He made it very clear to his chain of command that he was not going to go back to Iraq under any circumstances. They hadn’t even gotten him to pick up his weapon for about a year. His commander, however, wasn’t taking no for an answer. So, Agustin made himself “unavailable” during the final deployment formation (aka he went for a drive at an undisclosed location). Saturday morning, he went to the military police station and turned himself in.

At that point, he expected to be court-martialed, given a dishonorable discharge, put in jail for 5-9 months, and then move on with his life. I’m not sure why he expected this to happen. Maybe because that’s what his military counselors, his lawyers, and current precedent suggested would happen. It was not to be, though. He was instead brought back to his house where his wife, two daughters, and I were hanging out, and he was told to get his gear. He explained that there was no point, because he wasn’t going to deploy. The First Sergeant was like, “Okay, whatever.”
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“That which exists is possible”

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…)

second time around

for thos of you who missed it the first time around (and i guess now a second time, since we just got Katie’s new posts up), Katie posted a link (hidden deep in her introduction) to a great little speech she gave.

i wanted to pull it to the forground here and identify some of the fantastic questions it addresses – maybe get some conversations going over it.
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YAR Travelogue from Venezuela No. 3

On Tuesday we took a tour of the area around Merida with our guide named Alberto. Alberto was born up the valley from Merida in the Andean foothills and for the last 7 years has been a guide for tourists. He told us stories of mountain rescues and handling Anacondas. When I asked him what he thought of Chavez, he said that he liked Chavez, but not the people he works with. Specifically, Alberto likes what Chavez has done to protect Venezuelan culture. He grew up watching Dawson’s Creek on television, but now television stations must also carry some Venezuelan content. In the same way radio stations must regularly air an hour of Venezuelan music. Alberto felt this was a good way to protect Venezuelan culture from being lost.

When I asked Alberto what he didn’t like about the people who worked with Chavez he talked about the corruption he witnessed first hand at an organisation he worked for. He said they recieved government money, but didn’t do anything to show for it.

Chavez has good ideas Alberto said, but they aren’t always carried out well.

an event to attend

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.

YAR Travelogue from Venezuela No. 2

So today I had another opportunity to get a skewed sampling of Venezuelan opinions on Merida´s cable car, the highest and longest in the world. In one of the stations on the way up, Charletta and I struck up a conversation with an professor of computation (accountancy?) and her husband an economics professor. Not surprisingly, they don´t like Chavez. They described his government as violent and polarizing and they said that freedom of press is gradually being eroded and they are worried for the future of democracy in Venezuela. When we asked about all the projects that Chavez is doing to help people (more on this in a later post), she said that they were good ideas, but badly executed and claimed that they were so corrupt that very little of the money actually helped people.

All this was quite interesting, but then some warning lights went off for me when I shared about working in Colombia and they said “Oh, they have a much better government over there”. For those of you who haven’t been following Colombian politics, the country is currently governed by Álvaro Uribe who has promised to end the civil war by beating the guerillas militarily. While I was there working with CPT last year there was a massacre in the peace community of San Jose de Apartado that was likely carried out by the Colombian military. In response, Uribe accused the community of collaborating with the guerillas. Nuff said. (more…)

Confessions of a Tattooed Mennonite

Hello, everyone. This blog does the body/soul good! For the past few years, I’ve been addicted to “confessional” forms of literature. As a poet, I just can’t stay away from bringing skeletons out of the closet or mucking through some pretty big issues in my own work. The other young women in my grad workshop don’t see what the big deal is…What I’m finding is that even though my home community was supposedly “progressive” in many ways, I grew up thinking my voice was somehow inferior. I know others will relate to balking at any form of confrontation, too. Well, today I am noticing a silence in our (mostly rural?) “anabaptist” congregations towards issues that once gave us our name and purpose, and as a young woman I want to speak out “firmly but gently.” Poetically, if you will. To hold us accountable, to remind us of a God much bigger than any red, blue, or purple state and what our neighbors think of us. I’m beginning to publish inside the “Menno Realm,” something that’s frightening for me b/c of its obvious audience. But (I think) I’m ready. Grandma, Grandpa, prepare thy ears!

Intro to 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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while we’re doing introductions

we should also be doing trust falls and walks-a-miles.

maybe. on the other hand, here’s a bit about me: i’ve been involved with cpt and various other activist groups on and off since attending my first (gateway) SOA protest. i was in South Dakota for a bit, with the warriors on La Frambois island back in 2000, and went to Vieques, Puerto Rico several times to protest my government’s use of civilian farmland for target practice. etc.
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Why Young Anabaptist Radicals?

Why start a blog for Young Anabaptist Radicals? I’d been thinking about the idea for a year or two since Michael Sharp started up the Mennonite Progressive list. It seemed like there was interest among folks, but an email list didn’t seem to be the best focus. I bounced the idea off various friends and people I met and found that people were interested in the idea of a blog where they could publish their perspectives in a more permanent format.

Some of the folks I talked with only heard of Mennonites after reading John Howard Yoder and were interested in exploring what it means to be an Anabaptist, regardless of what church they are from. Others grew up in the Mennonite church and identify with their roots, but have questions about where the church today is headed. 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. (more…)

design update

just a few changes left to make. there’ll be a new background graphic for the footer, with a border that spans the whole page. also some other things maybe. i’ll do some work on the sidebar features and see what sweet plugins i can find. done all that.

if you’re up for some real excitement, turn off all the images (you can do this in the preferences of most browsers) and check out the back-up header. or turn of your css styles and view the page naked. (return to basic yar style)

first yar meeting

some of us met today to rant about various things and worship golden calves. the usual. it was great. i see this being a fabulous little blog in the near future – and a major menno hit down the road. we’ve got ideas from hot topics (boring) to mennonite organizations (lame) to ‘evil vs. good’ and ‘who does god hate’ surveys (good) and bible verses of the day (hot). we’ll be talking theology, faith and irreverance – tradition and radical reform. we’ll be throwing metaphorical molotov coctails at your over-literal assumptions. we’ll be snobs about your snobbery and smugly reject your smugness. all that in one little blog with a silly title.

jo ho yo got nothin’ on this concern group.

selective systems of service and poverty

This afternoon I was taking a test for a course called Jesus and the Gospels. I was laboring over questions and getting irritated with myself for not studying more. But there was a time issue – not only a commitment issue. I like Jesus – and the Christian Scriptures that recall the good news that surrounds his stories. I like trying to remember which Gospel is the longest, the shortest, the oldest, the most Jewish. I like trying to recall which Gospel contains what parable and that John’s gospel is the only one in which the hackneyed “for God so loved the world…” passage appears. Some of it is rote memorization for memorization’s sake, but I do like knowing, at least, that Jesus does say “I am the way,” but that he only says it in one of the four Gospels. Only one of the writers chose to put that phrase on the lips of Jesus. I think that is interesting. But this isn’t the point. (more…)