Ohh…internet blog sites. I’ve never tried one…this is my blog cradle. I will be nurtured here — or shaken out of my comfort to my metaphorical baptism by carpet-burn. And I choose to sign my name to YAR, because I think it’s got potential. The potential to hurt and heal – to annoy us in our comfort, challenge us in our disregard and sooth us in our ailing. It could just be annoying, though. I’ve thought about that. And I’m mostly fine with that too. Especially because recently a friend challenged me to start saying stuff — even if I don’t think I have it right — because, we’re doing this as a community right (like those Anabaptists we keep clinging to), and if I get something wrong, eric or Lora or Michael J will call me on it — and then we’ll have a conversation and someone will learn something.
So, that’s why I’m a young Anabaptist radical — cheap right. Later we might define all those terms. For now: engage as you feel drawn or estranged by any part of that title. I’m still trying to figure out if I like young people or Anabaptists or radicals and when I think of them all together, I get real worked-up. But I’m young and occasionally radical and I try to be Anabaptist — so me blogging here sort of makes sense. I come, at least, from an historically Anabaptist church in Harrisonburg, VA. And they used to be radical, Anabaptists, I mean — but probably my church too.
The thing that makes the most sense is that I love the Church, specifically the Mennonite one — well, what I imagine the Church could be and what I catch glimpses of the Church being sometimes. Most of the time, I find myself wishing the Mennonite church was more Anabaptist (we’ll talk about definitions later, I said!) than it is. So I do things like: This summer, I biked across the country with a bunch of folks who imaged the church in some creative (and not so creative) ways (www.bikemovement.org). We are writing and DVDing about our experiences and the stories we heard — and maybe, through lots of conversation and sweet PR moves, we can figure out how to convince people that the Mennonite Church really is struggling in its present form and… I can’t give it all away; we need you to buy the DVD so we can get out of debt.
Here I am then. Tim Showalter. A Bible/Religion and Philosophy major and Women Studies minor at Goshen College, trying to engage some Anabaptists in fruitful conversation. I read theology when I’m not doing schoolwork (which is largely reading theology). I work at a bike shop — because I believe in bicycles. I also work at a small diner — because I believe in spiral fries and reuben sandwiches. I heard once that Michael Sattler’s favorite sandwich was the reuben. Speaking of…remember when his wife left the convent and he left the monastery and they got married? I always liked that — it’s really post-modern and non-committal — yet committal at the same time. Too much bad cinematography.